How Microsoft willfully disrupts

When you think of disruptive innovation, what comes to mind?

We tend to think of companies with an innovative new product that disrupts an established industry—or creates a whole new one. It’s what Microsoft did with personal computers. What Apple did with the iPhone. What Wikipedia did to traditional encyclopedias. What Netflix is doing to television.

But these are extreme examples, ones that tend to be few and far between. Not every business can get to this level of disruption in their area. Still, there are a few ways you can purposefully disrupt your own business to help you grow in the long term.

Learn from a long and storied history

Let’s use Microsoft as an example. They don’t always get enough credit in the tech community on their innovation. But as a long-time Microsoft partner, we can appreciate how many bold steps they’ve taken over the years to reinvent themselves and keep their diverse ecosystem thriving.

A recent Gartner report along these lines is telling. It talks about how for the past 42 years, Microsoft has worked to disrupt industries—and itself—time and time again. The report dubs Microsoft a “resurgent” disruptor.

You’re probably familiar with some of their biggest plays. In the early days, Microsoft bundled several productivity tools into the Office Suite. More recently, they bought Skype. They tried a defensive strategy with their mobile offerings. They’ve started to embrace open source. The list goes on.

Sometimes, Microsoft has been successful at what they went after. Other times, less so. The point is—Microsoft is always on the move. They’re willing to experiment. They’re quick to reinvent themselves. We can all learn a lot from the strategies Microsoft uses.

Scale strategies to your org’s size

Granted, Microsoft is a tech titan, with products used by billions. This affords them a certain latitude for experimentation that not all of us have. But you can adopt some of Microsoft’s tactics for a smaller scale.

Some key examples:

  • Become a trusted supplier for your demographic.
  • Look for ways to disrupt your internal culture, processes, and products.
  • Don’t be afraid to try self-disrupting and defensive approaches.
  • Know that not everything you try is going to work. And that’s okay. Embrace trial and error.

How Binary Tree can help

If you’re looking to disrupt your internal processes and move to the Microsoft cloud, Binary Tree can help you get there. (Though we also help you make the move in the least disruptive way possible.) As an example, check out Binary Tree's solutions for cloud computing and IT modernization.


Source: Gartner. Willful Disruption: Microsoft as a Resurgent Disruptor. December 20, 2017.