What Is Digital Disruption? (Benefits and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 28 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Digital disruption is the transformation that occurs when new digital technologies and business models impact the value proposition of existing products and services. Disruption happens when it's necessary for companies to change the way they operate to stay relevant and competitive. Knowing what this means can help you keep up-to-date with the latest changes in your industry. In this article, we answer the question, 'What is digital disruption?' by providing eight benefits, giving seven examples and discussing some frequently asked questions.

What is digital disruption?

You might wish to find out more about digital disruption if you work in an industry that's experiencing the effects of digital transformation. Digital disruption is the result of digital technology dramatically transforming traditional businesses and industries through innovation.

It's also the opportunity for new businesses to emerge by using digital technology to create innovative products or services that compete with established businesses. Disruptive technology can also create an entirely new market and value proposition that eventually displaces an existing technology.

Related: What Is Disruptive Innovation and How Does It Work? (With Example)

8 benefits of digital disruption

Digital disruption can bring a host of new opportunities and great benefits, including:

1. Increases customer satisfaction

Disruptive technology can lead to increased customer satisfaction by making it easier for consumers to find what they want when they want it. It can also provide a more personalised experience that meets their individual needs. For example, innovative digital technology can create a more convenient way for people to travel around, resulting in customers feeling more satisfied with the service.

2. Enables businesses to enter into new markets

Digital disruption can enable businesses to enter into new markets that were previously inaccessible. This might be because the technology creates a new market or because it makes it easier for businesses to reach existing markets. For example, an increase in online shopping allows businesses to reach a global market of consumers, regardless of their location.

Related: What Is Digital Transformation? (Definition and Types)

3. Creates new business models

Digital technology can create entirely new business models that can be more efficient and effective than traditional models. This is beneficial because it can help businesses to remain competitive and relevant in an ever-changing market. For example, a mobile application can create a new business model for the transportation industry by connecting riders with drivers in real-time.

Related: Top 15 Digital Transformation Strategies for Businesses

4. Increases efficiency and productivity

Digital disruption can increase efficiency and productivity by automating tasks and processes. This can free up time for employees to focus on other tasks that require their attention. For example, online banking can automate the process of managing finances, resulting in employees having more time to complete their other duties, such as serving customers.

5. Facilitates innovation

Digital disruption can facilitate innovation by providing a platform for businesses to experiment with new ideas and concepts. This can be beneficial in a number of ways, such as helping businesses to compete with others, introducing new products and services or improving customer satisfaction. For example, 3D printing technology can help businesses create prototypes of new products quickly and cheaply without the need for expensive moulds.

Related: What Are Digital Skills? (Plus Importance and Steps)

6. Generates new jobs

Digital disruption can also lead to the creation of new job opportunities because businesses typically need employees with the skills to work with new technology. This can be beneficial for companies as it helps to increase the pool of talent that they have to choose from.

It's also beneficial for job seekers as it provides them with the opportunity to gain skills that are in high demand. For example, an increase in the use of social media by businesses creates a demand for employees skilled in content creation and online marketing.

7. Improves communication

Digital disruption can improve communication by providing new channels and methods for businesses to communicate with their customers. This can help businesses build relationships with their customers and understand their needs. For example, the use of chatbots can help businesses communicate with their customers in real-time, thereby providing them with the information they need quickly and easily.

Related: 12 Important Future Skills to Develop for the Workplace

8. Reduces costs

Digital disruption can also lead to cost savings for businesses by reducing the need for the completion of manual tasks. This is because businesses can automate tasks by using technology, which can help them save money on labour costs. For example, a business can use software to automate the process of customer service, which can help to reduce the need for call centre staff.

7 examples of digital disruption

These are some examples of digital disruption:

1. Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence means using computers to perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence, such as decision-making and pattern recognition. This technology benefits businesses by helping them to automate tasks, saving them time and money.

Artificial intelligence can learn to complete tasks on its own without human intervention, making it an excellent way for companies to improve their efficiency. Examples of artificial intelligence include:

  • retail chatbots

  • robots

  • self-driving cars

  • facial recognition technology

2. Blockchain

Blockchain is a type of database that can store information in a secure and tamper-proof way. This technology is good for businesses as it can help to reduce fraud and improve security.

Blockchain can also create a digital ledger of transactions which can track the movement of assets and reduce the need for paper records. This allows companies to keep track of their supply chain. Examples of businesses that can benefit from blockchain include:

  • banks

  • food and beverage companies

  • health care organisations

3. Cloud computing

Cloud computing means using remote servers to store and manage data instead of using local servers. This technology can help companies by reducing costs and improving efficiency. Cloud computing can also provide businesses with the ability to scale their operations quickly and easily. This is because businesses can access the resources they need on-demand without having to invest in their own infrastructure.

4. E-commerce

E-commerce refers to the buying and selling of goods and services online. This is advantageous for companies as it can help them to reach a wider audience and reduce costs. E-commerce can also provide customers with the ability to compare prices and products easily, which helps to create a more competitive market. E-commerce disrupted the traditional retail industry by providing customers with a new way to shop rather than having to visit brick-and-mortar stores.

5. Social media

Social media platforms have a major impact on the way businesses operate because it provides companies with an efficient, easy way to reach a large audience. Social media can also help businesses to build relationships with their customers and create a brand identity as it's a great tool for marketing and advertising. Social media networks disrupted the traditional methods of interacting socially by providing users with a new way to connect with others.

6. Mobile applications

Mobile applications disrupted many different industries, such as retail and banking, by providing customers with a new way to shop and bank. It's software that you can download and instal on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

This is convenient for customers as they can access information and services quickly and easily. Mobile applications can also help businesses to improve their customer service and marketing efforts. For example, companies can use push notifications to send updates and special offers to their customers.

7. GPS systems

GPS systems use satellite technology to pinpoint the location of a person or object. It disrupted the traditional method of navigating, namely by relying on paper maps. This technology is beneficial for companies as it can help them to improve their operations by providing real-time data. Companies can also use GPS systems for marketing purposes by targeting advertisements to people on the basis of their location.

Frequently asked questions

These are some frequently asked questions about digital disruption:

What's the difference between disruptive technology and sustaining technology?

Disruptive technology is a new technology that changes the way people behave, and sustaining technology is an existing technology that improves upon the current one. For example, social media is a disruptive technology because it changes the way people communicate.

Meanwhile, smart TVs are a sustaining technology because they improve upon traditional television sets. Disruptive technology can also become a sustaining technology when firmly established in society. Other examples of sustaining technology include smartphones, home assistants and personal computers.

Related: Top 15 In-Demand Technology Skills (Plus Definition)

What are the causes of digital disruption?

You can find many different factors that cause digital disruption since it's a complex phenomenon. Examples of such factors include the advancement of technology, changes in consumer behaviour, new regulations and the entry of new competitors. Other causes include the increasing global interconnectedness and the changes in the economic, social or regulatory ecosystems.

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