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Digital disruption: 10 ways to survive and thrive

With digital disruption threatening enterprises in every sector, it’s time for C-suites to get serious about game-planning for the future of their businesses. PwC has a punch list that can help

Source | | Clint Boulton

Digital disruption hasn’t reached its zenith, leaving many CEOs still desperate to learn how to get ahead of it. Fear not: PwC principal Tom Puthiyamadam is on a mission to save corporate C-suites from themselves.

Some CEOs are embarking on vision quests to help navigate digital disruption, which is marked by a shift in profitability from one prevailing business model to another. Puthiyamadam, who leads the PwC’s digital services practice and oversees its experience center, recalls one recent conversation with a CEO client who attended a “digital bootcamp” in Europe.

The CEO was told he must join Twitter and that his business would be disrupted in two years. Puthiyamadam quickly assured the CEO that the threats weren’t so imminent. Indeed, he regularly cautions clients against acting rashly because the wrong bets, from service ideation to technology choices, can set a business back years. “Don’t believe you need to act frantically and in panic mode because your business is going to get completely overwhelmed,” Puthiyamadam tells

It’s sage advice, perhaps easier to hear than to follow at a time when businesses are being rapidly disrupted. Two-thirds of business leaders believe their companies must pick up the pace of digitalization to remain competitive, according to Gartner. To help, Puthiyamadam and colleagues Mathias Herzog and Nils Naujok created a list of 10 ways to win at digital disruption.

1. Embrace the new logic

Don’t write off that digitally-enabled upstart just because it operates in a narrow niche. Zume, for example, uses robots to help humans make, bake and deliver pizza. Zume is hardly challenging Dominos, Pizza Hut and Papa John’s, but the company stands as a sterling example of how robots and automation can augment rather than replace working humans. The lesson: Don’t write off the challengers.

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