Are You a Digital Disruptor or Disruptee?

Preview of January 21 Webinar on Digital Transformation

You can’t do research on decisioning technology without having the words digital disruption, digital transformation, and customer centricity jump out at you… to the point they become almost interchangeable.  They aren’t. They are all different vantage points into a common problem: technology is giving an unfair advantage to those who weaponize their data. 

As an analogy, if you were one of millions of youngsters who grew up reading comic books, you remember “Mac,” the 98-pound weakling who was constantly getting sand kicked in his face at the beach in those famous Charles Atlas ads. (If you’re not familiar with Charles Atlas or his ads, you can check out his story here.)


Charles Atlas Ad - Transformation

Disruption vs. Transformation
Mac’s otherwise peaceful life was being disrupted by a muscled bully who delights in using his size to intimidate and embarrass others.  Mac’s antagonist had clearly spent time in the gym getting into fighting shape; as a result, he was bigger than anyone else on the beach, so no one could stop him from throwing his weight around.

Over time, Mac decided he was tired of being bullied: he commits himself to undertaking a transformation of his own. It was a purely defensive response: equal parts not wanting to be taken advantage of anymore and wanting to get a few licks himself against his nemesis.  And in no time, he’s back at the beach, tanned and buffed, and settling old scores with his adversary.

Bullying in the Digital Age
Bullies in the Digital Age are more sophisticated than they were in the Golden Age of comic books: instead of kicking sand in your face and stealing your beloved, today they kick well-designed, niche software apps in your market and use them to steal your customers. 

Just ask retailers, hotels, taxi companies, video and record stores what Amazon, AirBnB, Uber, Netflix, iTunes and other online competitors have done to their businesses. Each of these companies fell victim to digital disruption: a competitor using digital solutions to better serve, and ultimately steal, their customers.  But there is a countermeasure: it is called digital transformation…creating your own digital solutions to better serve, and ultimately steal, customers from your competition. 

Why Transform?
In the simplest terms, one company’s transformation is their competitors’ disruption; it’s a non-stop, net-sum slugfest.  In such a skirmish, the company with first mover advantage holds the high ground until someone else comes along and knocks them off. 

When you are locked into a competition such as this, if you are not on offense, you are on defense. As in sports where there are competing offensive and defensive strategies, the motivation for undertaking a digital transformation effort is two-fold:

  • Offensively: Being the disruptor gives you first-mover advantage and technological leadership; a well-implemented customer centric strategy means that you’ll be making smarter, faster, and more profitable customer retention and acquisition decisions than your competitors.  This puts you in the ideal position to poach their customers, grab market share, and build up a technological lead on your slower-moving competitors.
  • Defensively: If you are not the disruptor, you are the disruptee, meaning that industry change is coming your way, and you are at the mercy of the disruptors and their customer acquisition efforts (i.e. yours).  There are two advantages, though: the first is that you can observe competitors’ strategies, see the market’s response, and learn from any mistakes they make; the other advantage is data you already possess; if you can get it unified and put into play quickly, it can help you increase customer satisfaction and retention, thus, ward off disruptors.

Given the stakes, it may seem tempting to maintain the status quo and do nothing until the dust settles.  The problem with that approach is that – according to a recent survey of financial services executives conducted by Ernst & Young – 85% of financial institutions are already hard at work implementing a comprehensive digital transformation program. So while you’re standing in place taking a breather, 85% of your competitors are going to be trying to run around, through, and over you.

Getting Your Company in Fighting Shape
So if the fight is coming to you, you’d better rally your entire company in preperation for battle, and quickly.  Who do you call to get started?  For those familiar with recent analysts’ reports on how to launch an enterprise-wide digital decisioning effort, FICO is a top provider of customer-centricity solutions that have already helped enterprises around the world achieve digital transformation.

According to the latest New Wave report from Forrester Research, “FICO is best for companies automating consequential business decisions. Because FICO supports both business-rules authoring and advanced analytics modeling, enterprises can use FICO to make sophisticated decisions. FICO also offers business solutions that encapsulate decision expertise for vertical and horizontal applications.”

FICO’s Centralized Decisioning solution is already helping customer achieve digital transformation by:

These are the sorts of unfair advantages that disruptors use to gain the upper hand in markets in which they complete.  Centralized Decisioning empowers your entire organization to beat the bullies in your industry to the first punch, by making better, faster, and more profitable decisions for your company at every turn. The bullies in your industry won’t see you coming, and they won’t know hit them. So if your company is ready to the “Hero of the Beach,” it’s time to hit the gym. And then hit the beach, with complete confidence that you’re ready for whatever the competition has in store.

To read more about Centralized Decisioning, including case studies and whitepapers (registration may be required) please visit

To register for FICO’s January 21 Webinar, “Digital Transformation: Are You a Disruptor or a Disruptee?” visit

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