Disruptors Demystified

Innovation at Deloitte

What are the four disruptors and how should you respond? Read our simple guide to the major forces that we see having a profound impact on many established businesses.


Many people have heard of Bitcoin, an alternative currency that doesn’t rely on banks or governments. The technology that underpins this is blockchain - a protocol for securely representing and/or exchanging value over the internet without an intermediary. There is a growing buzz about how it might transform legacy processes across all industry sectors, from banking to digital rights management, changing how businesses interact with their customers, how individuals transact and how our internet-of-things devices operate.

What is blockchain and how does it work? Put simply, a blockchain is a powerful system for organising things of value. A blockchain (or distributed ledger) is a database shared with all participants in a network, which enables secure representation of things (of any sort - from currency to property title deeds, to medical records) within a secure ledger. It stores every transaction ever executed between the participants of the network and ensures the integrity and accuracy of the entire network at all times.

Your Blockchain to do list

Questions to ask

  • How could blockchain impact my industry and business?
  • Do I own processes or operate in a markets which rely on trusted participants?
  • Does identity matter to me or my business?
  • How can I harness the technology early to gain a competitive edge?
  • What specific use cases could be implemented in a short time frame with minimal risk?

Actions to take

  • Take time to get to grips with the fundamentals of blockchain, and build an understanding of how it may be relevant to your organisation.
  • Ensure key members of your leadership team are equally aware, CFO’s should understand cost or revenue implications, CTO’s should be well briefed on technical implications and risk or compliance officers should be considering the implications of new distributed data models. Operationally, Blockchain has the potential to change both front and back office processes. It’s important your wider organisation is prepared.
  • Understand the next steps you could take in response to opportunities or threats. Consider experiments or proof-of-concepts to test new ideas in relation to the way your business manages digital identity, digital assets and digital workflow, all of which are set to be disrupted.

For information on Deloitte’s Blockchain Advisory Services contact Stephen Marshall.


The trend towards crowdsourcing has been driven by widespread connectivity bringing together communities of people to tackle a particular task or project. This gives you the ability to access hard to reach skills or bring together large groups of people to perform tasks, for example.

Recently the breadth and complexity of the problems these communities are called upon has expanded, from micro-tasks such as collection of data right through to advanced analytics. Businesses are increasingly able to use this on-demand workforce for a variety of aspects of their work and achieving better, faster and cheaper outcomes. With more frictionless collaboration, people looking for more control and flexibility in their work and the range of skills needed in a fast-changing world, means that crowd communities are becoming more and more relevant. Although adoption in this space is rapidly maturing, both employers and employees need to be aware of the advantages that can be gained as well as the challenges of utilising the crowd effectively.

Your Crowdsourcing to do list

Questions to ask

  • How could crowdsourcing change my resourcing strategy?
  • Which projects require fast results, as well as access to skills and outside thinking into our organisation?
  • What areas of the business are too important to experiment with or should be excluded from the crowd model?
  • What resources do we need in place to be able to integrate and hand-off between the crowd and our business?
  • How can you make crowdsourcing part of your core resourcing model?

Actions to take

  • Have a structured and well-thought-out approach to identify where crowdsourcing can be of benefit, followed by an experiment to test those benefits. Once tested and benefits are proven, you will need to build crowdsourcing into your business as usual processes. This isn’t easy and takes real time and commitment. Don’t expect to see instant cost reduction as it takes time and investment to make change successfully occur.
  • Whatever you send to the crowd, be aware that it is going to people who sit outside your organisation. This doesn’t mean the people can’t be trusted but you need to consider your risk appetite accordingly. People who have worked in the crowd for many years are often quite well-known so you know who is reliable and does a good job. If something is inherently too valuable to share with a third party - it isn’t right for the crowd.
  • The crowd works well where you have a well-defined goal or outcome to work towards. Where the end goal is not clear, it is hard for the crowd to work it out for you.
  • Crowdsourcing doesn’t perform well without the right level of engagement from the business. This starts with the selection of the problem, how it is broken down into appropriate parts, sent to the right crowd and then integrated once it has been completed.

For information on Deloitte’s Enterprise Crowdsourcing Advisory Services - Deloitte Pixel - contact Carl Bates.

Robotic Process Automation

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the use of software to automate computer-based work, and it operates by performing rules-based tasks using existing IT applications just as a person would. RPA is one of a number of approaches to automation and because it does not require new IT systems to be built, RPA has the capability to deliver benefits more quickly and at a lower cost.

Awareness and use of RPA is growing. We are increasingly seeing deployments reaching enterprise scale, where multiple robots are combined to create a virtual workforce – a back-office processing centre but without people. There are financial benefits owing to the lower cost of software compared to a typical salary, and firms are also seeing non-financial benefits including improved accuracy, timeliness, and operational flexibility.

RPA is increasingly being combined with a new breed of cognitive technologies that can automate non-routine tasks like reading, handwriting, identifying images and writing prose. When combined with RPA these technologies can automate some tasks entirely.

Your Automation to do list

Questions to ask

  • How does the business case for any existing IT transformation, outsourcing or offshoring programme (including the timelines for benefits to be realised) compare to that for RPA?
  • Do you have multiple business applications which don’t communicate with each other or require teams to operate manual workarounds to complete day-to-day work?
  • What is the potential of automation and cognitive tools to transform the efficiency and effectiveness of your service delivery and customer experience?
  • What mixture of technologies is right for your business?

Actions to take

  • Get started - identify a good candidate process and build a proof of concept to see how the technology could work for you.
  • Identify areas of your business with good potential for robotics and conduct an initial ‘size of the prize’ exercise to build an initial business case.
  • Establish your strategic objectives for automation (cost, quality, control and timeliness) to prioritise opportunities.
  • Establish your automation strategy and governance model before you move forward with a larger programme.
  • Consider whether you want to explore the opportunities for automation in-house, or create a strategic partnership.

For information on Deloitte’s Robotic Process Automation Advisory Services, contact Graeme Knopf.


FinTech is redefining the traditional financial services markets by delivering stronger customer engagement, redefining business processes and disrupting the traditional value chains. Using modern development methodologies, and with a higher appetite and acceptance of failure, FinTech ventures are rapidly evolving and developing solutions that better meet the needs of 21st century retail and business customers.

In lending, peer-to-peer lending and more sophisticated credit modelling are revolutionising the segment. In the payments sector, mobile wallets and payments are enabling safe real-time money transfer. In investments and wealth management, robo-advisors providing automated investment services are disrupting the traditional investment models. Start-ups are also bringing in new concepts, such as banking-as-a-service, that promise to offer improved customer service and enhanced staff productivity.

As a consequence, incumbent financial services businesses are being challenged by new entrants and disruptive technology solutions. But the dialogue within our businesses does not need to be only about challenge, the FinTech revolution also offers real opportunity.

Your FinTech to do list

Questions to ask

  • How do we best engage with the FinTech ecosystem and understand the key players relevant to our business?
  • How do we engage with, and make the most of, our relationships with FinTech businesses?
  • What are the FinTech solutions that will make the most impact to our business or market?
  • How can we integrate FinTech solutions and ways of working with our traditional models?
  • What changes need to happen to our business in order to adapt to the new ways of working?

Actions to take

  • Understand how FinTech technologies and business models are likely to impact my business.
  • Seek opportunities to change my organisation to make it more agile and inclined to innovation.
  • Investigate how my organisation is structured to get the most from collaborating with FinTechs.
  • Engage with FinTech businesses to collaborate on projects.

For information on Deloitte’s FinTech Advisory Services for Institutions, contact Louise Brett.

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