I recently attended the Forrester Forums event in Chicago and heard James McQuivey and Bill Doyle speak about digital disruption. The information that was presented in their session did two things: 1) It reaffirmed what I see happening daily in the world of B2B ecommerce, and 2) It floored me how widespread this phenomenon is and how blind many B2B organizations are to its existance, let alone its effect on their businesses. Quivey says in his recent Forbes.com article, Digital disruption, when properly understood, should terrify you.” I agree.

What exactly is digital disruption? Digital disruption is defined as “death by a thousand digital cuts.” This translates into the idea that either your big competitors will make a thousand digital improvements to their existing products and services OR a thousand new competitors will wipe you out with their digital innovations.

Here’s a short video of James McQuivey talking about digital disruption.

If, after watching that video, the idea of your competitors using digital disruption in your industry doesn’t scare you, consider how Amazon.com singularly uprooted booksellers and dedicated music stores and has now moved into the realm of everything retail. Likewise, consider the recent launch of AmazonSupply.com. What will this new online competitor do to your business if you are a distributor or manufacturer/distributor of the products offered in one of the thirteen verticals that AmazonSupply currently offers?

If you are thinking that digital disruption doesn’t apply to you simply because your products are sold in the business-to-business (B2B) market and not sold to consumers, you are mistaken. It should matter more to you for two reasons: 1) B2B ecommerce is growing rapidly and is estimated by Forrester Research to be twice the size of the consumer ecommerce market, and, 2) Since many B2B industries are slow to adopt technology, you are less likely to see it coming until it is too late.

Don’t let digital disruption from the competition affect your business. Instead, look at how you can revolutionize your own business and disrupt your industry to your advantage.