No matter what industry
your business is in, you’ve probably been affected by digital disruption—or you
will in the very near future. Half a century ago, a company listed on the
S&P 500 index could expect to prosper for an average of about 60 years, but
digitization and other forces have reduced that average lifespan to just 18
Going digital is on the minds of
nearly every executive today, but executing digital strategies seems to be a
slower process. However, here’s a look at four industries that have already
been transformed by digitization, and the further changes the future may hold
Media & Entertainment
One industry that has
experienced particularly significant changes at the hand of digital disruption
is the media and entertainment industry. The way that customers purchase and
use services like cable television, movies, and music has seen a dramatic shift
to digital through the development of streaming services like Netflix, Spotify,
Hulu, and many others. Accordingly, some of the biggest players in the tech industry
are branching outside of their original areas of focus in order to provide
customers with instant, unlimited access to shows, films, and songs.
The new industry-leading
providers of streaming services are still looking for ways to offer their
customers better products, primarily by curating higher quality collections of content.
The future of the industry, however, is anticipated by some to trend toward more
interactive experiences. The Internet of Things may create new media channels through
the connection of multiple devices, giving consumers more options for real-time
interaction with their favorite media.
Companies in the finance
industry have a long history of staying relevant by adopting innovative
technologies soon after they’re made available. Automation and
industry-specific software are consistently used by finance companies in order
to create more efficient processes and delegate simple tasks, freeing up time
for employees. Even in the banking sector, many companies have already created
fully digital platforms for clients to use, opting out of traditional brick-and-mortar
Digitization will likely
continue to streamline accounting and financial processes even further, giving companies
new options for providing clients with services at accelerated rates. The
financial firms involved will continue to adapt to new technologies, as they
historically have. However, one element that could bring a huge change to the
industry’s future is the development of digital currencies, like Bitcoin.
Unregulated and offering a high degree of anonymity, digital currencies may
disrupt the way that money changes hands, forcing financial institutions to create
new standards for monetary transactions and accounting.
The effects of
digitization in banking can already be seen, with the advent of a digital
dollar called the Bitt that acts in place of paper currency in the Caribbean
island nation of Barbados.
Digitization is about more
than the implementation of new technology. It’s about making everyday processes
more efficient in order to increase customer satisfaction. It should come as
little surprise, then, that the automotive industry has already seen some major
changes thanks to digital disruption, and is headed toward bigger changes in
the near future.
In recent years, many companies
have made a name for themselves as sustainability leaders through the
development of electric cars. Many of these manufacturers are also beginning to
offer their products at increasingly affordable prices. Rising concern about
climate change and a consumer desire to identify with brands that make
sustainable products have encouraged the automotive industry to shift in a more
While cars have
conventionally stood as emblems of personal freedom, many now wonder how long
that association will last as digitization take root. Industry-leading
companies will continue to brainstorm new ways for drivers to connect digital
devices to their cars and develop advanced safety systems like pedestrian
detection and electronic stability control for new models.
In addition, many
observers point out that the automotive industry is inching toward an even more
futuristic paradigm: the creation and mass availability of self-driving cars.
Leaders in the
manufacturing industry are paying more attention to the importance of
digitization than almost any other industry. However, as a whole, they still
are not allocating significant resources to pursuing the advances available to
Digital technologies have
enabled manufacturers to work more collaboratively with global partners, making
product design more efficient and enhancing the planning process. Advanced
analytical tools have generated more accurate forecasting trends, and increased
connectivity between machinery has led to better quality management.
The future of
manufacturing will be significantly impacted by the growth of the Internet of
Things. As our devices become more connected, collected data will allow
manufacturers to gain better insight into consumer behavior, and hopefully
create more successful products and generate bigger returns.
Another big factor in the
manufacturing sector is the success of 3D printing. Parts that previously
required mold casts or forge work to assemble can now be created with the click
of a button. Additionally, manufacturers can now explore the possibility that
expensive specialty tools and parts needed for certain products could be
created by their own company for pennies on the dollar.
Digitization and 3D
printing may allow smaller-scale manufacturers to sustain themselves without
the help of larger suppliers and their highly specialized, costly machinery.
This may create better options for partnerships as small, niche manufacturers enjoy
better opportunities for market penetration.