“Digital business” is a term that has been around for decades. In fact, it was mentioned in the second session of the 84th U.S. Congress in 1957, more than a decade before ARPANET (the network that was the basis for the Internet) was established, and 36 years before the debut of the World Wide Web that we know and depend on today. But only in the past year or two has it become one of the hottest topics across the business landscape, with almost every major research house making bold predictions about the expected digital business transformation in the coming years.
But what exactly is digital business, and why should it be at the top of organizations’ agendas? That’s a question we’ll attempt to answer in this blog post, the first in a series about digital business and what it means for organizations in today’s business landscape.
Gartner defines the term as “the creation of new business designs by blurring the digital and physical worlds.” That’s a start, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture about the real benefits delivered by digital business. Speaking of that, Forrester revealed that 74% of business executives say their company has a digital strategy, but only 15% feel they have the skills and capabilities to execute it – so clearly organizations’ ambition far outweighs their talent in regards to embracing a digital business model. This also means that with many businesses struggling to implement digital technologies, a significant opportunity exists for early movers to become leaders in their industry. But to truly understand how organizations can benefit from becoming a digital business, it’s helpful to start by looking at the driving forces behind the movement:
- Consumerization of IT: IDG Enterprise defined this term as “the propensity for users’ experiences with technology as consumers to impact their expectations regarding their technology experiences at work.” And it’s growing fast: IDG published a survey last year that found that that 83% of organizations are planning to invest in mobile technology in the next 12 months, with the majority of spending being for tablets and training (49%). In addition, the survey found that 90% of enterprises say that the use of consumer or individual services used for work is pervasive today including Dropbox, Google, Skype, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networking sites.
- New Business Models: Admittedly this is a bit of a strange one, as digital business is its own business model. But the takeaway is clear: with the proliferation of social, mobile, cloud and analytics technologies (among others), organizations of all sizes and types face the reality of re-evaluating how they do business on a daily basis – or risk losing ground to competitors.
- Rising Customer Expectations: Nowadays, consumers like you and I are more savvy, informed and demanding as ever. We have the ability to engage with businesses through a variety of ways, and on our terms – and as a result, organizations need to adapt to make sure they’re delivering an optimal customer experience. Put simply, as a business, your prospective customers live in an online world, and you need to embrace digital technologies to reach them. Cater to their behaviors, or risk losing out on growth opportunities.
Ultimately, embracing digital business has become a necessity for organizations today, and that’s the most direct way to answer the question of why it should be at the top of their agendas. In the next few blog posts, we’ll dig deeper into how organizations can implement a digital business strategy and succeed from it.