7 Top Small Business Disrupters

Like it or not these seven business disrupters will penetrate the business world and become embedded in consumer lifestyle.


Since the age of distributed computing, technology advances have disrupted business environments year-over-year – with the rate of change constantly gaining speed. 2017 will not be any different.

Seven disruptive technologies have been incubating over the years and are now either mainstream or will be very shortly. Business and IT executives should ensure these technologies are included in their business strategies and models if they wish to protect and grow their businesses. 

While there are a number of disruptive technologies in the works, there are seven technological business disrupters that are become core to up-and-coming and major business enterprises across the spectrum of industry sectors.

The seven disrupters are:

  1. The API virtual organization
  2. Artificial intelligence (AI)
  3. Blockchain distributed ledgers
  4. The digital economy
  5. Internet of things (IoT)
  6. Software as a Business entities
  7. Straight through processing (STP)

1.   The API virtual organization

Through the use of APIs (application program interfaces) companies are able to quickly compose new application solutions and create new business models.

By the end of the 20th century we went through the paradigm shift from vertical organizations to horizontal organizations. Then business began to morph again into virtual organizations. Today that virtual organization transformation is changing from a virtual collection of individuals working together as one enterprise to a combination of software applications united by APIs to create new enterprise business models. 

2.   AI

Artificial intelligence has been around for decades – but it gets better every year.

Today AI has bifurcated into multiple sub-specialties – cognitive computing, deep learning, and machine learning. One of the results of these efforts are anti-money laundering (AML), fraud, and know-your-customer (KYC) software services that operate in real-time, inline with the transaction so that providers can build customer loyalty and generate additional revenues while minimizing risk exposures.

Cognitive computing is starting to simplify the software testing efforts so that new or updated applications can be delivered more quickly. Self-driving cars are the latest craze in the auto industry – a craze dependent upon deep learning – while machine learning is behind all the Amazon Echo, Apple Siri, Google Home and Microsoft Cortana digital assistants.

Similarly, IBM Watson’s cognitive computing and machine learning components are finding their way into commerce, financial services, healthcare and other industry sectors where the software is providing advanced digital assistance to bankers, doctors, retailers, and others. 

3.   Blockchain

At the beginning of the year we wrote the “Why Blockchain Adoption is a Slow-Go” blogs. Surprisingly, the technology is going through a rapid maturation cycle and companies are shifting from development proofs of concept to lines of business projects as they seek to derive early positive returns on investment.

Projects run the gamut from greenfield to those that augment the current business processes to complete replacements for existing applications. There are a number of letters of credit, records management and supply chain projects popping up while companies have scaled back on using blockchain in areas that are heavily regulated for now.

4.   The Digital Economy

Consumers live on their smartphones and other digital devices.

So much of the buyers’ world is influenced by what the user sees electronically. Consumer-oriented companies must be on the Internet and find ways to impact buying behaviors – whether the purchase is online or in a physical facility.

This phenomenon goes across all industries and in some areas such as retail it is dramatically disrupting markets such that stores – and whole companies – are shutting down as they fail to compete in the digital economy.

Next- Small business disrupters 5 through 7 and Summary

Cal Braunstein
Cal Braunsteinhttp://www.rfgonline.com
Mr. Braunstein serves as Chairman/CEO and Executive Director of Research at the Robert Frances Group (RFG). In addition to his corporate role, he helps his clients wrestle with a range of business, management, regulatory, and technology issues.  He has deep and broad experience in business strategy management, business process management, enterprise systems architecture, financing, mission-critical systems, project and portfolio management, procurement, risk management, sustainability, and vendor management. Cal also chaired a Business Operational Risk Council whose membership consisted of a number of top global financial institutions. Website

Featured Items