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The 5 technologies driving digital disruption


In his latest blog post, Geoffrey Moore discusses the five technologies he believes are driving digital disruption. The five are cloud, smartphones, social media, data science and the internet of things.

As of November 2nd, HP has split into HPi and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Hewlett Packard Enterprise is natually keen to explain to people what the new company stands for - why we went thru the pain of splitting in two. In order to do this, we talk about "The Four Transformation Areas". These are the four technology areas that Hewlett Packard Enterprise can help you put in place.

In order to introduce the Four Transformation Areas, we talk about the "Idea Economy". This is Hewlett Packard Enterprise's take on what Geoffrey Moore refers to as digital disruption. It's taking an idea to an outcome, typically a product or service, where idea is enacted using digital technology. 

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Geoffrey Moore believes that there are five technologies driving the Idea Economy or Digital Disruption. While Hewlett Packard Enterprise doesn't provide all these technologies, I think that Geoffrey Moore's list bears a strong resemblance to our Four Transformation Areas. 

Let me go thru Geoffrey Moore's five technologies and map them to our Four Transformation Areas.  


1. Cloud

Let's start with cloud. Cloud is a huge subject. But I believe that when it comes to digital disruption there are two things about cloud that are of particular relevance. 

The first is the ability to stand up services very quickly - a development service, a testing service, a platform for a canary rollout or a platform for a full rollout. When people think about cloud, they typically mean "public cloud", but actually, a private cloud service may be a better option. So, let's not limit our thinking to public cloud. Let's also include the possiblity of IT offering a series of private cloud services like those I've listed above.

The second is the ability to create "composable applications". I've talked to a lot of customers about digital disruptiona and what they are doing in this area. And one of the things that comes through very strongly is the composition of a digitally disrupting service. In the past, our applications tended to be monalithic - they ran out of our data center, with all the code sitting in our data center. Digitally disrupting applications tend to be mosaics with code in the data center, but also, a lot of "cloud platform services" as well.  In other words, we have moved from the need to manage monoliths in the data center to the need to manage hybrid applications. 

So, I would like to rename "cloud" in the context of digital disruption to "hybrid platform" - a platform on which you can develop, test, rollout and manage an application that is a mosaic of code in your data center, but also of cloud platform services provided by others.

In Hewlett Packard Enterprise speak, we call this "Hybrid Infrastructure", and it's our first Transformation Area.


2. Smartphones

Smartphones .. smart, and with us all the time. And so they are front-end tool of choice if we want to digitally disrupt either a whole business model (like Uber or Airbnb) or a business operation (like Netflix, online check-in, online banking, etc). 

Thus, the ability to develop, test, deploy and manage the performance of, mobile appications is important. 

Lucky end-users - they get a cool, always-with-them, mobile interface. But spare a thought for the internal people taking part in the back-end business processes. Do they have to put up with slow networking and clunky web user interfaces? No, they don't. When we think about digital disruption, particularly digital disruption of business operations, we need to consider Enterprise Mobility too - mobalizing steps in the back-end business process for which the actors are "out and about". 

This is what, in Hewlett Packard Enterprise-speak we call "Mobility and Workplace Productivity", and it's our second Transformation Area.


3. Social Media

When we think of social media, we typically think of Twitter or a community web site. These things are, of course, important. When I buy from, I look throught the "social media interactions" to help me make my decision. Or, during a Nascar race day, Nascar is scanning Twitter feeds to work out what the fans are interested in. 

I would, however, also like to include other "human interaction" sources in this technology area. For example, Auckland Transport in New Zealand, is automatically scanning video feeds looking for traffic jams, people having fallen onto train tracks and cyclists at traffic lights so they can give them priority. 

As regards Hewlett Packard Enterprise's Transformation Areas, we dont' provide a social media platform per se, but we do have the Big Data technology to understand the human interactions contained therein. So, the ability to actually understand tweets, emails and video feeds is part of our third Transformation Area, Big Data.


4. Data Science

Where to start? There is so much to say about next generation Data Science and Big Data (in fact, I'm going to write a whole blog post on Data Science, Big Data and Digital Disruption very soon).   But it is universally excepted that Big Data and new Data Science techniques like "smart machines" are one of the key fuelers of digital disruption.  In fact, at a recent conference, Geoffrey Moore did a poll asking the audience which technology they felt was the most important in digital disruption and Data Science came out top.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise's third Transformation Area is all about next generation Data Science and Big Data. 


5. Internet of Things

Geoffrey Moore points out that smart sensors and smart devices means that a lot of human tasks can now be done "for free" - in other words the smart sensors and smart devices will perform the human's roll for them. 

Hewlett Packard Enterprise doesn't make internet of things devices, but there are, I think, two areas where our Transformation Areas can help.

Firstly, smart sensors and smart devices generate huge amounts of machine data. Terabytes of the stuff. We need a platform that can collect, store and analyze all this data. This is one of the key capabilities of our Big Data Transformation Area.

Secondly, we don't want smart cars being remotely driven off the freeway. Depending on whose predictions you accept, there will be something like 20 billion connected (i.e. on a network) smart devices and smart sensors by the year 2020. That's 20 billion more things for hackers to go at. And so, security of the applications and data associated with our smart devices is going to be paramount, and while you might not say that security is fueling digital disruption, I would say that without security, our ability to use internets of things is going to hit a glass ceiling of public mistrust unless they are secure.

Security is Hewlett Packard Enterprise's forth Transformation Area.


Want more?

If you'd like to see what else I've written on digital disruption, then please go to this page.

I also curate a page on digital disruption. Myself and my collegues tend to post a couple of times a week on the goings-on in the world of digital disruption. 


Mike Shaw
Director Strategic Marketing

linkedin.gifMike Shaw

About the Author


Mike has been with HPE for 30 years. Half of that time was in research and development, mainly as an architect. The other 15 years has been spent in product management, product marketing, and now, strategic marketing. .

Fer Rod

Thanks for this great post Mike ;)



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