5 Companies Disrupting the Web

"Small groups of people to use technology to disrupt industries."


This was a dominant theme in Gartner Vice President, Distinguished Analyst  Don Scheibenreif's keynote address at Gartner Customer 360 Summit 2015 in San Diego this week. 


A fitting message, as emerging companies are using technology to disrupt businesses because, according to Scheibenreif, they (1) don't have legacy infrastructures to hold them back and (2) don't have fear. What they do have, Scheibenreif continued, is a genuine desire to make things better and, of course, make some money. On their quest, the following five companies, as outlined by Gartner at its Customer Summit, may challenge your more traditional digital business model. 



Acquiring customers (whatever those customers look like in an organization) is an imperative part of any business model, but sometimes those responsible for acquisition aren't the most knowledgeable about what they are selling. 


Started by Harvard behavioral scientists, the company has attracted companies like Xerox and others for its ability to let companies gamify their sales teams. For example, the sales staff receives a series of questions and challenges each day. From there, the usual game mechanics (leaderboards, points, etc.) are in place. Most importantly, according to Scheibenreif of Gartner, is that Qstream proved that product knowledge retention is increased by 170 percent by use of this application, which has huge implications for sales training and a company's acquisition and retention efforts. 




'Net users are all too familiar with sections on a website dedicated to Frequently Asked Questions, but those pages don't offer the most intuitive user experience. Many FAQs don't even include search functionality to allow visitors to find exactly what they are looking for quickly. 


AnswerDash provides contextual help on a website by anticipating visitor questions. In the example given during Gartner's keynote presentation, Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) uses AnswerDash so that anywhere a person moves to on the website will prompt a list of FAQs that are relevant to where that person is on the page - reducing, according to Scheibenreif, support tickets by 50 percent using this technology.  




Most college students can tell someone when the keg is finished, but SteadyServ has carved out a spot for itself in the restaurant business for its ability to indicate to a bar owner when he or she is about to run out of beer. Then, SteadyServ synchronizes replenishment with the distributor and the brewer. Anticipating when a customer needs to place an order and filling that order is recurring revenue gold. For the bar owner, he or she can use SteadyServ's analytics for more informed inventory decisions. 




Young, old and everyone in between, it's easy to forget to take medication. DoseSystem is a medicine box with reminders and confirmations. According to Gartner, health care providers are seeing improvements in the quality of care because people are taking their medication. 



It's companies like these - that are independent but so deeply tied to an industry - that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT) acquisition "movement," which from 2012-2014 accounted for $7.4 billion - solving pain points through physical products, technology, data and more. 



Rasberry Pi

Out of the UK, Rasberry Pi is a "make your own thing" organization that is teaching people - even kids - how to build computers, program and more. Gartner even says that children have built bird houses that really tweet and the crowd-favorite Parent Detector. Today's Web users are ready and willing to share their expertise for the betterment of a crowd. Companies will want to evaluate whether there is room for crowdsourcing type elements in their business model. 



Bonus: Amazon 

Although Amazon is more than 20 years old, its startup mentality is propelling the company into a new, more connected world by changing the way customer engagement takes place. 


This is never more apparent than in Amazon Dash, which has the potential to change data collection, brand loyalty and how products are replenished. Operating as a Wi-Fi-connected device that can be hung or taped to home products or appliances, Amazon Dash makes it so that consumers can simply push a button and re-order their favorite products. 



While not acting as a subscription service in a traditional sense, Amazon Dash is an informal commitment from end-users that they would like to replenish products like laundry detergent, razors or even food items from certain brands. 


For further reading, check out, "How Amazon Dash Will Change Everything," as well as, "3 Top Rules for Subscription Management."


Functions Will Change

Clearly emerging companies are using technology and data to connect people, businesses and things. What's particularly noteworthy is that Scheibenreif says instead of waiting for "perfect," startups are putting their products out there, getting feedback and re-tooling again.


Startups' eagnerness will disrupt many more traditional Web businesses, because customer relationship management (CRM) systems will need to connect with physical devices, marketing teams will need to find the appropriate level of communciation with very personal issues (like medication), content will need to be refreshed more often and the list goes on.