Disrupting the Disrupters

The Route to Reinvention

Thoughts from Adam Hale on the EY Global Digital Leadership Forum

Disruptive innovations have been around for as long as Man. It appears to be in our make-up to continually displace earlier technologies, and experience demonstrates that companies need to be on the ball to ensure they are not caught out by the ‘next big thing’. The horse is given a cart. The cart is given a steam engine. The internal combustion engine replaces the steam, and a car replaces the cart. Amazing innovations, but Mr Ford comes along with his mass production techniques, the Model T is born, and all of a sudden these massively over-priced machines of the elite are available to the masses at a fraction of the cost. Now that is disruption to a market.

This week I was very happy to be asked to join EY’s Digital Leadership Forum and panel, which included other entrepreneurs from several companies making disruptive change on the market. These ‘disrupters’, such as Mimecast and ConcretePlatform, discussed how innovative thinking not only grows brands, but also changes and evolves an existing market.

At Sage People we are trying to achieve, in our own humble way, an equivalent effect with cloud-based HR. Huge corporations employ systems by Oracle, SAP, at great expense, that can take a long time to implement – we offer equivalent systems in a fraction of the time at a lower cost.

We are even disrupting a disruptive business like Workday, which is already taking HR to the cloud (just because a business is cloud-based, doesn’t mean it can’t itself be disrupted). We take businesses like Betfair and SDL live in a matter of a few months. And it took us just three years to develop a robust enterprise suite to beat the market giants we come up against. That’s pretty disruptive.

The UK has an incredibly vibrant atmosphere of growth for new tech businesses, and it appears that things will only get better. It is a fertile ground for disruptive businesses, many of which are in existence, but often held back by antiquated people systems. To recruit, reward, and retain the very best, they need systems that back up their fantastic customer propositions. At Sage People we like to work with disruptive international businesses, to aid their growth. The disrupters aiding the disrupters; by helping people to do what we’re doing ourselves, we add another differentiation to our model.

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