why is new technology often disruptive for existing it systems

A disruptive technology is one that displaces an established technology and shakes up the industry or a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry. Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen coined the term
disruptive technology. In his 1997 best-selling book, The Innovator's Dilemma, Christensen separates new technology into two categories: sustaining and disruptive. Sustaining technology relies on incremental improvements to an already established technology. Disruptive technology lacks refinement, often has performance problems because it is new, appeals to a limited audience and may not yet have a proven practical application. (Such was the case with Alexander Graham Bell's electrical speech machine, which we now call the telephone. ) The personal computer ( ) displaced the typewriter and forever changed the way we work and communicate. The combination of affordability and a user-friendly interface was instrumental in the rapid development of the personal computing industry in the 1990s. Personal computing disrupted the television industry, as well as a great number of other activities. transformed the way we communicating, largely displacing letter-writing and disrupting the postal and greeting card industries. made it possible for people to call us anywhere and disrupted the telecom industry.


The and made a mobile workforce possible and made it possible for people to connect to corporate networks and collaborate from anywhere. In many organizations, laptops replaced desktops. largely replaced and and, because of the available apps, also disrupted: pocket cameras, MP3 players, calculators and, among many other possibilities. For some mobile users, smartphones often replace laptops. Others prefer a has been a hugely disruptive technology in the business world, displacing many resources that would conventionally have been located in-house or provided as a traditionally hosted service. has had a major impact on the way we communicate and -- especially for personal use -- has disrupted telephone, email, instant messaging and event planning. In his book, Christensen points out that large corporations are designed to work with sustaining technologies. They excel at knowing their market, staying close to their customers, and having a mechanism in place to develop existing technology.


Conversely, they have trouble capitalizing on the potential efficiencies, cost-savings, or new marketing opportunities created by low-margin disruptive technologies. Using real-world examples to illustrate his point, Christensen demonstrates how it is not unusual for a big corporation to dismiss the value of a disruptive technology because it does not reinforce current company goals, only to be blindsided as the technology matures, gains a larger audience and market share and threatens the status quo. See also: , Jim Hall: I would argue that the most remarkable changes over the past few years have been in the energy sector. We're already seeing price structures in renewables - offshore wind and solar in particular - become price competitive with fossil fuels and that represents a massive change in technology and economics. And, obviously, transport is on the cusp of significant disruption with the introduction of electric vehicles and driverless cars. But I also think that changes on the demand side are potentially disruptive, again most notably in energy and transport. The introduction of 5G telecoms services has been slower than anticipated, largely because demand simply isn't there yet.


Rick Geddes: Clearly, there is lots of innovation happening in the transportation sector. All of the big automakers are engaged in intense competition to develop and deliver greater levels of autonomy and safety in their vehicles. And there are lots of new technologies being tested and developed Б such as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication and -- vehicle-infrastructure integration Б that could accentuate the impact of these innovations. But technological disruption doesnБt always require big system change. ThereБs also a lot of innovation happening at the material level Б new concretes and road surfaces, new bridge technologies, new coatings for water and sewage pipes, for example Б that are also having a significant impact on the way we plan and deliver infrastructure. Darran Anderson: I think Rick is absolutely right. Technology can change the way people think about living and working; it can influence the way people interact on a daily basis. Transportation is definitely in an era of potentially revolutionary change in our future mobility options.


But I also look at it as a Бsystem of systemsБ where we can use transportation technology as one part to help improve the quality of life for our citizens, such as greater access for those with disabilities, or significant accident reductions. Right now, IБm focused on the technologies that form the backbone of all this Б WiFi, 5G, DSRC, Internet of Things and analytics systems, for example, and their security and privacy needs. Shashi Verma: I would agree. And I would add that, more often than not, it's the more mundane technological advances that have the greatest influence. Consider, for example, how the introduction of pneumatically controlled doors changed the efficiency of trains; rather than needing 8 employees to operate a 6-car train, you suddenly needed just two - a driver and a guard. Modern computer controlled signaling has allowed us to put many more trains through a tunnel than ever before. And the introduction of smart ticketing technologies (like the Oyster Card in London) has not only had a huge influence on revenue, it's also taken steps out of the customer journey which, in turn, increases our capacity.

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