What Are You Going to Do When the Digital Vortex Comes For You?


You've heard the horror stories concerning digital disruption. Businesses and even entire industries have collapsed because of digitally-based businesses have created conditions that completely changed the game of business (also known as the "digital vortex" in the book). Instead of waiting for the digital vortex to hit your country or industry, start preparing to win with "Digital Vortex: How Today's Market Leaders Can Beat Disruptive Competitors at Their Own Game".

What Are You Going to Do When the Digital Vortex Comes For You?

Digital Vortex: How Today’s Market Leaders Can Beat Disruptive Competitors at Their Own Game is the response to the new digital bogeyman, digital disruption. It adopts the approach that established businesses shouldn’t wait to become passive victims of technological disruption. They shouldn’t wait until they become the next “Blockbuster” or “Kodak”. Instead,”Digital Vortex” helps businesses prepare and adapt for that disruption before it’s too late.

What is Digital Vortex About?

According to Digital Vortex, established businesses fail to stop digital disruption (like Amazon, Netflix or PayPal) because they don’t fully understand the nature of what’s happening. Many established businesses of today grew up in an era where almost every component of business was physical and fixed. Your business, customers and even competition had a physical location, The goal was to amass as many resources as possible at the cheapest cost to get the prize (customers).

Digital disruption totally upends that thinking.

Digital disruption creates something that the book calls a “digital vortex”, a combination of forces that help digitally-based businesses (like Amazon or Netflix) crush their non-digital competitors. Because of technology, digital-based businesses are able to scale in a way that a traditional business can’t. Thanks to technology, digital businesses are able to reach a global audience without the need for an expensive budget or equipment. Also, because of technology, digital businesses gain deeper access to their customers’ habits and preferences, allowing them to create products and services with more value. In summary, digital technology is changing the way companies “do business”, forcing other businesses to keep up or go out of business.

Businesses that want to survive digital disruption can’t rely on the simple strategies of the past. They can’t superficially imitate their competition, either. They need an understanding of what makes digital disruptors like Netflix, Amazon, Google, PayPal and Apple work so they can adapt their businesses to successfully compete. That’s where Digital Vortex comes in. It helps readers gain a deeper understanding of the digital environment so they can better leverage their businesses around it.

Authors Jeff Loucks, James Macaulay, Andy Noronha and Michael Wade are all writers, expert researchers, and leaders in Cisco’s Global Center for Digital Business Transformation. Loucks, Macaulay and Noronha are digitization officers with Cisco, in addition, serving as visiting scholars of the Global Center for Digitial Business Transformation. Wade is the Chair of Digital Business Transformation for Cisco and a professor at IMD, a Swiss school for executives that partnered with Cisco to create the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation.

What Was Best About Digital Vortex?

The best part of Digital Vortex lies in the book’s analysis and breakdown of digital disruption. Many books treat digital disruption as some magical and mysterious thing that can only be pursued by companies like Google. Digital Vortex dispenses with all of that, arguing that any business can innovate competitively if it can adapt its business model and create value for its customers. To make this message clear, the authors break down the vague concepts associated with digital disruption in the business world into words that leaders can understand.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Technology doesn’t fix everything, something the authors of Digital Vortex readily admit in the conclusion of the book. In fact, technology creates a whole new set of challenges and opportunities that go beyond “digital disruption.”Some of these issues include labor in an age of automation, surveillance, leadership styles, budgets, etc. These issues have a strong influence on the business environment of the future. Future discussion into this area could help readers gain a better understanding of the field before they begin the assessment and diagnostic in the book.

Why Read Digital Vortex?

Digital Vortex was written for leaders of established businesses who want to innovate for the future but feel left out of the conversation. Many books make the mistaken assumption that innovation is about the product. This takes attention away from what should be the real focus, creating customer value. Digital Vortex contributes to the conversation by arguing that businesses need the right business model in order to create superior value for your customers. That business model should develop through understanding how digital technology impacts business now and how it could affect business in the future.

Charles Franklin Charles Franklin is a Book Reviewer for Small Business Trends. He has a background as a professional reviewer, and is also a content provider and customer relations professional.