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April 2016 – Prepared by Zeus Kerravala

The IT industry has gone through several waves of evolution since the mainframe was introduced back in the 1960s. The industry has moved from mainframes to mini-computing to the client/server era and, most recently, to the Internet age. Today, the industry sits on the precipice of another major transition—digital transformation is reshaping the business landscape faster than ever before.

Before the digital era, it took decades to disrupt an industry. For example, Walmart revolutionized the retail industry, but its impact took about 30 years to be realized. Today, companies that are considered digital natives—such as Uber, Square, Tesla and Amazon—have disrupted their industries in fewer than five years. Consider Uber’s effect on what was once a highly capital-intensive industry, as taxi companies would need to buy cars, obtain medallions or permits, train drivers and invest in the infrastructure to support the business. Today, Uber has made it possible for anyone to become a driver. More importantly, Uber has continued to evolve the business, as people can now book helicopters in Dubai, motorcycles in Singapore and cars with bike racks in Portland, Oregon, by using the company’s services.

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