As a dynamic phenomenon, technology is crucial in opening new opportunities for startups and entrepreneurs in Africa by creating new markets and business models.
A very practical aspect of technology that continues to impact the business world is a disruptive technology.
What Is Disruptive Technology Exactly?
Disruptive technology is an innovation that causes major changes in the way consumers, businesses, and industries operate.
One might say disruptive technology sweeps away the systems or habits it replaces because it has attributes that are recognized as superior.
In simple terms, disruptive technology is a new technology that significantly changes the way an existing market or industry operates or one that enters the mainstream and changes the way most people think or behave.
Disruptive Technology in the Business Landscape
Disruptive technologies are changing the business environment, and leveling the competitive ground between large, well-established companies and start-ups in the following ways:
- Increased competition: Startups can enter and are agile enough to disrupt established markets and develop new ones with innovative technologies, making it harder for well-established companies to maintain their dominance.
- Innovation acceleration: disruptive technology is forcing established companies to speed up their innovation efforts or risk being left behind.
- New business models: Startups can use disruptive technology to develop fresh, more effective business models that go up against the status quo.
Established businesses, on the other hand, benefit from several advantages in the market share arena, which include:
- Financial resources: Established businesses have access to a larger pool of funds that they can use to buy up startups and put money into disruptive technologies.
- Brand recognition: In some markets, established businesses have an advantage over startups due to their strong brand recognition and devoted customer base.
- Industry experience: Established businesses have a competitive advantage over startups because they have a thorough understanding of the industry and the market.
Overall, disruptive technology is creating a more competitive and dynamic business environment where startups and established businesses must both constantly innovate and adapt to stay relevant.
Some examples of disruptive technologies in Zambia include:
- Mobile money services: Mobile money has revolutionised financial services in Zambia by providing a more accessible and convenient way to handle financial transactions. e.g. MTN Mobile Money, Airtel Money etc. These innovations have changed how businesses make and receive payments and have increased financial inclusion in populations lacking access to traditional banking.
- Rideshare apps like Ulendo and Yango have disrupted the transportation sector in Zambia by offering more efficient, convenient, and accessible services than traditional taxi services. They have further improved the overall experience for riders and drivers.
- Another example is Solar Energy Solutions, the technology has disrupted the Zambian energy sector by providing a more accessible and sustainable alternative to traditional energy sources. This has been achieved by providing a more sustainable and efficient solution for energy production and consumption companies such as Pay-as-you-go by Vitalite, Azuri Technologies, and others.
Potential of Disruptive Technology
The potential of disruptive technology is often underestimated, in part this is so because the technology itself is often misunderstood. Disruptive technology is not necessarily new or groundbreaking; it is a technology that has the potential to change an existing market
In many cases, disruptive technology is not initially adopted by the mainstream market, as it is often seen as too risky or unproven. However, over time, as the technology matures and user accessibility improves, it can gain mainstream adoption which can lead to several benefits including lower prices, improved quality, and increased competition.
Disruptive technology has the potential to revolutionise an industry, as it can make products and services better, faster, and more affordable. In some cases, it may even create entirely new markets.
The benefits of Disruptive Technology to startups
- Different disruptions offer opportunities for startups by helping to address unmet needs such as bolstering businesses’ visibility, increasing reach to their target audience, and offering a highly personalised approach.
- Disruptive technology provides opportunities for startup companies to gain a significant foothold in existing industries. Those who begin offering the new technology early can establish themselves as thought leaders in a fresh market. This then provides a unique chance for small startups to experience rapid growth and potentially outperform larger, more well-established companies.
- Further, disruptive innovation makes services and products accessible to lower-income markets by creating more affordable, simpler, and user-friendly alternatives to traditional products and services. This is achieved by identifying unmet or underserved customer needs, streamlining processes, and reducing costs through the use of new technologies and business models. As a result, products and services that were once only available to high-income earners become accessible to a wider range of consumers, including those with lower incomes.
How does this happen?
- Disruptive innovation achieves this by reducing the cost of goods and services through new technology, new business models, and new distribution channels. This often involves creating a new market by making a product or service more affordable and accessible to more people, including lower-income markets. Additionally, it can also challenge the established players in an industry by creating new competition, leading to reduced prices and better services for the consumers.
- Further, disruptive technology can offer consumers even more notable benefits. These include increased convenience and accessibility such as mobile apps, IoT and online marketplaces that make it easier for consumers to access goods and services, regardless of their location or the time of day. This has proven to be especially beneficial for consumers in remote or under-served areas.
- Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning can be used to personalise and improve customer experience. Businesses could lower their cost of providing customer service and increase their capacity by using technology like AI. By learning from the habits of the customer and how other users interact with the technology or features, the technology starts to recommend actions allowing customers to quickly and easily find the information they need.
- As Disruptive technology increases efficiency and provides convenience, it helps customers save time or money, or even both. This enhances the quality of life for all parties involved. By giving businesses new tools and resources that make it simpler to gather data and conduct analysis.
We can expect to see more disruptive technologies enter the business world. And as more startups discover new ways of offering solutions to diverse problems, disruptive technologies are making this process easier and more efficient.
As technology and innovation experts, BongoHive Consult offers expertise in identifying, evaluating, and implementing disruptive technology for established businesses and SMEs.
We assist in:
- Assessing technology needs and aligning with business objectives.
- Analysing market trends and researching emerging technologies.
- Providing implementation guidance and project management support.
- Ensuring technical and operational compatibility with existing systems.
- Training and upskilling of personnel.
- By leveraging the latest technology, our consultancy tech team helps established businesses to improve efficiency, stay ahead of the competition, and drive innovation.
BongoHive Consult offers expertise and solutions for businesses and corporations looking to incorporate and leverage the use of technology and innovation. Get in touch with us by visiting our website at [email protected] or call +260 97 362 1800