IBM's recent global C-suite study interviewed over 5,000 business leaders from more than 70 countries and from 21 industries. One of the most interesting findings (IMHO) focuses on so-called 'horizontal innovation' - the idea that where once it was comparatively easier for senior leaders to be able to anticipate where competition will come from, there is now a much greater risk from competition that is invisible until it is too late.
As new digitally-empowered businesses scale rapidly in one sector, re-wiring the value chain in a particular market through software, they are then able to more easily move horizontally into other sectors by re-applying their capability and expertise in new ways. The net effect being increasingly blurred boundaries between industries as sectors are brought together and potentially redefined. When the IBM survey asked senior leaders about the developments that they expect the next 'wave' to consist of, this industry convergence eclipsed other trends including rising cyber risk, the 'anywhere' workplace, and the sharing economy.
This, I think, is only one way in which digital is re-writing the rules of competitive advantage but it's a not insignificant one. When the potential is high for rapid disruption to come from anywhere, and disintermediation is happening at pace, we need to create a whole new level of organisational agility.