The IT Disruption

It came to my mind recently on how the IT has changed the world after reading ING’s transformation plan. What is actually happening in ING Bank is that their strategy is to move from a banking company with IT services to an IT company with Banking services (or so I understood – anyway, that’s not the point). It also came in a moment when I am about to lead a course for people who want to change their career from other industries and become Business Analysts.

Based on the above, I got into a little debate with my husband on how disrupting the IT has been to so many industries and how it shaped not only the world of consumers, but the world of jobs and careers. And it actually struck me in how many ways IT has shaped the careers and why a Business Analyst today is far more than a person who gathers information and designs IT applications… it is more like a person that by doing that, it is shaping the world and destroying entire career paths, through its disruptive effect on so many domains. It may sound a little exaggerated, and, of course the BA as part of the entire IT industry is doing that, but it is clearly a statement that I intend to sustain. So I am gathering examples to do it. Any other ideas?

1.Communication

25 Years Ago: Phones / Mail

Now: Smartphones / Email / Instant Messaging / Social Media / etc.

Bad Business/Career Choice: Phone Landline / Mail

Who has/uses a landline phone at home? Who sens mails (not emails) to friends? Communication is by far, the domain in which the IT has shaped the world most. Think about how communication was done before: it was the telegraph from 1844 to 1879, when the telephone was invented. The telephone gradually became the #1 one to one communication tool (and still is to some extent) and progressed to the mobile phone at the end of the century.

Then, the smartphones, a, one would say, insignificant extension of the mobile phone just disrupted the Communication industry, because from that point on, every phone operator (and phone producing) company needed to become an IT company. Who couldn’t adapt was out of business. And the best example is that of Nokia, who, by the start of the smartphone era was the undisputed leader in phone production, only to be bought just a decade later by Microsoft for pennies.

Meanwhile, the e-Mail has been severely more disrupting to the Mail itself. In fact, in less then two decades, it brought the paper mail to a sort of antique way of communication, used more due to regulations than need.

All in all, the IT changed the Communication business dramatically, in an incredibly short amount of time… and is constantly doing so. Being a BA in a Communication company has less and less to do with phones, land lines or letters and more and more to do with IT.

2.Financial Services – Payments

25 Years Ago: Cash / Debit Card

Now: PayPal / ApplePay / GooglePay

Bad Business/Career Choice: Payment Cards

It may be true that credit cards are here for half a century, but they actually boomed quite recently. In fact, the balance slowly but definitely moved from cash to card.  While cash is slowly disappearing as a payment method (though no country had the guts to give it up), the danger is actually on payment cards as well, as a newcomer has come into business: digital pay. Well, the point is that IT companies have realized that they have the infrastructure to actually take the payment tools away from financial institutions and move them to IT. It doesn’t mean that they will transform into banks (it is not their purpose), but rather take on the broker of payment like Visa or MasterCard.

This process is as slow as the movement from cash to card, but it is a process that is definitely happening and that will have the same final result. Being a BA for payments should make you concentrate more on IT than on “plastic materials” management.