Vendors, but also the analysts (and I see a trend...), are increasingly using the term 'disruptive' for new products, new technologies or whatever. And lately it kind of got to me, simply because - most of the time - there's no basis at all to define something 'disruptive'. It kind of inflates the term...big time.
'So what', I hear you say. Well, there is off course not much of a problem when a vendor defines their own technology or produtc as being 'disruptive'. I know where it comes from and I understand the vendors wish to increase its turnover by claiming to sell a disruptive technology/product/etc..
But when analysts do it, I am getting more suspicious and sometimes extremely annoyed. It is the analyst that needs to be neutral, a bit restrained and off course critical. The analyst needs to put this 'disruptive' stuff a bit in perspective for the reader.
Let's try to get some sort of definition to the word 'disruptive'. So I did some research and ended up with Kalle Lyytinen's paper from 2003 in MIS Quaterly called;
"The disruptive nature of Information Technology Innovations: The Case of Internet Computing in Systems Development Organizations"In my opinion a very good paper. And by the way; in his study he shows that Internet Computing has radically impacted the IT innovations of firms both in terms of development processes and services. Maybe not at all suprising, but if you compare this type of innovation with (let's take an arbitrary example that is often defined as disruptive*) DW appliances......
Lyytinen defines disruptive innovation as:
They radically deviate from an established trajectory of performance improvement, or redefine what performance means in a given industry (Chistensen and Bower 1996). They are radical (Zaltman et al. 1977) in that they significantly depart from existing alternatives and are shaped by novel, cognitive frames that need to be deployed to make sense of the innovation (Bijker 1987). Consequently, disruptive innovations are truly transformative (Abernathy and Clark 1985). To become widely adopted, disruptive architectural innovations demand provisioning of complementary assets in the form of additional innovations that make the original innovation useful over its diffusion trajectory (Abernathy and Clark 1985; Teece 1986). By doing so, disruptive innovations destroy existing competencies (Schumpeter 1934) and break down existing rules of competition.
Are appliances or new technology for data storage and data management really disruptive? Or are they just the natural flow of continuing innovation. I think the latter.
Let's be cautious in using big words like 'disruptive'.......
* Did a quick search on 'Disruptive' in B-eye-Network and found 128 hits, most of them appliances or other 'revolutionary' database products/technologie
Posted June 10, 2009 2:11 AM
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