The name of the game in business today is “digital.” In fact we hear a lot about the “digital landscape” or the “digital workforce” or “digital marketing.” So if one thing is clear it’s that digital is driving business and that to succeed in your vertical you need to be on top of your game in this most important sector. But let’s be clear about what is meant by “going digital.” Gartner describes the digital business as follows:
Digital business is the creation of new business designs by blurring the digital and physical worlds. Digital business promises to usher in an unprecedented convergence of people, business, and things that disrupts existing business models. With more than seven billion people and businesses, and at least 35 billion devices, communicating, transacting, and even negotiating with each other, a new world comes into being: the world of digital business.
When we talk about a digital business, think mobile, cloud, Big Data, social media – and the enormous ways these emerging and disruptive technologies have transformed the business landscape in the past 5 years. Think about the way that digital transformation changes the interaction with customers or how employees do their jobs or how it creates new and innovative lines of business.
Digital is the new face of business and it’s absolutely incumbent that organizations get onboard. Here are some specific reasons why.
Disrupt or Be Disrupted: Digital is a new imperative. It’s not an option or a nice-to-have. Since the emergence of the “consumerization of IT” about 5 years, customers have been calling the shots about what they want in terms of products, goods, and services. The convergence of mobile, cloud, and collaboration has led to new types of customer engagements, new ways of using technology to meet customers where they are, and new business models. Businesses that are complacent in this area will get left behind, plain and simple!
Mobile is Everything: While it should be obvious by now, businesses need to be clear that mobile is the future of everything. The continued ascendancy of mobile computing over desktops, coupled with the rise of Internet of Things and wearable device, are marking another new era in the form factors of computers and how we interact with them. If you haven’t started to digitize your consumer experience so everyone can access your products, goods, and services on a mobile device, then it’s not too late. But you’ll need to get going because wearables and Internet of Things will add an extra level of complexity to this mix.
Customers Want Real-Time Insights: Customer expectations have risen through the roof and will continue to drive businesses to “go digital” or go home. Customers want specific services tailored to their needs and they expect businesses to understand those needs. They aren’t satisfied with just ordering products, they want recommendations about what to order next (think Amazon’s customer recommendations) and want to track when the shipments will arrive. This requires data and lots of it. Businesses need to have a 360 degree view of those customers and use that view to create a seamless, organic experience 24/7 across multiple platforms and devices. As the world shifts to IoT-enabled devices, expectations will also increase as more data will mean more opportunities to engage with and please the customer.
Also keep in mind the future of the internet (more below); Web 3.0, or the semantic web, is a collaborative effort to make the internet more automatic or ‘smarter’ in the way it interacts with humans. Its hallmark will be to bring customized information to the user rather than having the user “go out” and search for a needle in the haystack. New business service models will focus on customer-centric delivery platforms based on ‘smart’ inferences into their behaviors, preferences, and likes. Digital businesses will need to adapt to these models to stay relevant.
The “Internet of Things” Demands It: The ability to receive real-time awareness of our physical world and interact with that data through touch-based, wearable, and augmented reality are just some of the many ways that the Internet of Things will exert wide-ranging and disruptive impacts on all levels of business and society. Current trends indicate that the internet will not just pertain to random “things” but will literally be ubiquitous, or what some are calling the “Internet of Everything.” Experts predict that there will be 25 billion objects connected to the internet by the year 2020. This past fall Google kicked off its Physical Web project, which gives a preview of what it sees as the next generation Internet – the linking of objects via wireless URLs for ubiquitous communications between devices. This will not be your grandma’s internet, and businesses will need to be agile and scale quickly if they want to keep ahead of the digital disruptions spawned by the future internet.