Channel NewsAsia

Keep pace with change or face Digital Darwinism

With technology advancing faster than ever before, companies are under pressure to keep pace or face the danger of falling behind the curve. There is a term for this and it is called Digital Darwinism.

SINGAPORE: With technology advancing faster than ever before, companies are under pressure to keep pace or face the danger of falling behind the curve. There is a term for this and it is called Digital Darwinism.

In an ephemeral economy driven by 21st century technological changes, today's new product can rapidly become tomorrow's outdated model. Companies like Nokia, Microsoft and Research in Motion - once the standard-bearers in their respective fields - are now playing catch-up.

Faye Chua, Head of Futures Research at Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, said: "When we talk about Digital Darwinism, it is when technology is advancing very, very quickly. Businesses and sometimes individuals to some extent, aren't keeping up to the pace of change...they are falling behind. So that is the concept of Digital Darwinism...technology moving very quickly while we and businesses are trying to play catch-up."

Many firms find that they are facing a series of changes caused by Digital Darwinism. Traditional business models are changing, new competition is emerging globally, and customer behaviour is fast-evolving.

Ashley Friedlein, CEO of Econsultancy, said: "I think companies need to recognize that digital transformation is about change, big change, sometimes...a change to the entire business model. It certainly is a change to the way organisations work, the kind of skills that they need, and certainly a change to the experience that companies provide to their customers via digital media as well as existing media."

And the changes can cut across sectors or industries as a whole. A recent research by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants highlighted the various technological trends important for the sector to adopt and adapt to. While the top three were classified as So-Mo-Clo (social, mobile and cloud), other trends that were cited include Big Data, Cyber Security and Artificial Intelligence.

Victor Keong, Cyber Risk Services Leader at Deloitte, Asia-Pacific, said: "I think our Western counterparts are a lot more advanced than we are. Technology-wise, Asia generally lags the US and the Europe by a factor of 6 to 12 months, in terms of adopting new technology. But because we have such close ties with some of our Western trading counterparts, Singapore is being looked at as one of the leaders in the region in terms of adopting cyber security, new cyber security defences and measures."

As technology progresses at lightning speed, businesses may look for the next big idea to build their future. But industry watchers say it is just as critical to look back at history to avoid some of the biggest mistakes ever made in not keeping pace with change.