When I was asked to join Daryl Plummer, managing vice president, chief of Research and chief Gartner Fellow, on a webcast about Digital Disruptions, I immediately started thinking about all of the seismic events that have occurred in the tech industry since I joined decades ago.\nIn my view, the most disruptive occurred in the early 1990s due to a trifecta of concurrent trends. The first was the publishing of the late Dr. Michael Hammer\u2019s seminal piece, \u201cReengineering Work: Obliterate, Don\u2019t Automate,\u201d in Harvard Business Review in 1990. This helped fuel a global mania around the need for \u201cBusiness Process Reengineering\u201d that turbo-charged the management consulting business as C-level execs began to rethink their fundamental business processes.\nThe second catalyst was an industry-wide shift towards cheaper and more flexible alternatives to mainframes. Goodbye green screens, hello GUIs. Good riddance to proprietary hardware, operating systems, and databases, welcome open systems \u2013 RISC-based UNIX machines and relational databases. Sayonara dumb terminals, PCs for everyone.\nThe hardware shift also led to the third driver \u2013 the global demand for Enterprise Resource. At the time, many large companies had multiple back-office systems. They may have had financial apps from McCormack & Dodge, MRP II from ASK, logistics and\/or supply chain systems from several more. Some of the largest manufacturers discovered that they had deployed more than 10,000 separate apps throughout their organization. They opted to use BPR and ERP to rationalize their software portfolios.\nThe ascent of ERP rapidly turned out to be the full-employment act for consultants. If managed right, these advisers could parlay an initial BPR assignment into an ERP system selection and then into the far more lucrative multi-year, ERP implementation engagement. The early ERP 1.0 or 2.0 versions proved not to be really usable until the 3.1J version, or higher. \u00a0This led to the continuous need for relatively expensive upgrades required scarce\/expensive third-party resources.\nAs it turns out, killing apps \u2013 and their corresponding hardware clusters \u2013 proved hard to do. For one thing, those rationalizing the portfolio didn\u2019t think about how quickly new, must-have apps would come along. \u00a0The ERP wave was followed by new software for supply chain planning, CRM, PLM, HCM, asset management, and ecommerce\/procurement. This led to a new wave of app proliferation that left IT scrambling to keep up with disparate data structures and UIs, and integration and master data management challenges.\n\u201cWe\u2019re in year 10 of a three-year upgrade.\u201d\nWhen the first ERP buyers purchased their systems in the early to mid-90s, it\u2019s highly unlikely that they would have anticipated that they might be running a version of that software 20-25 years later, or that they would have sunk over $1B into that investment over the life of the investment in licensing, services, and staffing. \u00a0Many are now suffering from the ERP migraines of trying to consolidate all of the instances into a single, global, on-premise system. As more than one CIO has whispered to me, \u201cWe\u2019re in year 10 of a three-year upgrade.\u201d\nFast forward to 2017\nLooking for parallels with the early 1990s, one could argue that there is nothing comparable today to Dr. Hammer\u2019s original HBR article or his subsequent book, "Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution,\u201d co-written with James Champy. There is no shortage, though, of great research on digitizing business processes that reduce or eliminate any remaining friction in connecting with customers and other constituents in the extended enterprise.\nClient-server is quickly disappearing. GUIs gave way to browsers. Servers have gone to the cloud. While most desktop PCs may soon join the endangered species list, laptops and smartphones are the most popular access devices. Adios 10 Mbps Ethernet access and slow dial-up connectivity, hello high-speed Wi-Fi.\nWhile on-prem ERP is still the dominant back-office system, there is a growing demand to move more and more functionality out of the data center and on to the public cloud. \u00a0While the public cloud has been the platform of choice for first time ERP users, we are seeing growing interest by Fortune 500 companies to \u201ccut out the tax\u201d they have been paying in annual maintenance for innovation that they are not able to use. They want to move away from having to double or triple their COE staffing needed for the next upgrade and required testing.\nToday, conversations with most CTOs and CFOs quickly turn to the need for bi-modal systems. Their strategy is to leave their legacy ERP alone as the system of record and leverage agile development and the cloud for rapid iterations for a \u201csystem of innovation.\u201d This requires new platforms that come with a ready-made ecosystem of third parties apps and productivity\/analytical tools that can be easily plugged into the platform. More and more they want ERP, PLM, and supply chain apps to be migrated from on-prem to a cloud platform.\nThe most forward-thinking execs are also looking to leverage AI\/machine learning to know more about their customers. They have been populating data lakes with huge volumes, but have not been able to fully realize the value. This is changing.\nAt the same time, many are creating innovation labs where they are inverting business processes to look at them from a customer\u2019s perspective. Imagine being able to take that ERP budget for that on-prem COE support system and use it and the staffing for digitization and innovation!\nThe real disruption going forward is that it\u2019s true that every company now has the opportunity to be a technology company. The tools are more user-friendly and affordable. Workers are more digital-savvy than they were in the 1990s. They expect change.\nThat said, we\u2019re not done. There\u2019s still a lot more work to do. Don\u2019t miss this powerful webcast: Gartner 2017 Forecast for Digital Disruption, presented by Salesforce.