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What is Digital Business and why it matters?
Karl Fischer

What is Digital Business and why it matters?

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 07:34

Gartner describes digital business as “the creation of new business designs that not only connect people and businesses, but also connect people and businesses with things to drive revenue and efficiency. Digital business helps to eliminate barriers that now exist among industry segments while creating new value chains and business opportunities that traditional businesses cannot offer.”

What exactly are those new business designs and what are the key capabilities and technologies that underpin this movement? A great article that answers the question is per The Huffington Post “Accenture Digital: 7 Digital Business Transformation Lessons”. Per the interviewed Dion Hinchliffe, a chief strategy officer at Adjuvi, the question is answered by highlighting the key elements of a digital business:

The Elements of a Digital Business 2015 – by Dion Hinchcliffe (Twitter: @dhinchcliffe)

The elements identified point to the combination of technologies that have individually become pervasive and more importantly, have in combination become a synergistic force for business transformation. Key amongst these technologies are:

  • Mobility: the pervasive use of cellular technology has created a connection to employees and customers that is unprecedented. mCommerce is a critical channel for engagement and the growing trend in Omni-channel capability is reflective of the progression to connectivity as the new normal.
  • Social: platforms such as FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn have become forums for engagement that are woven into the daily business process. The expectation for similar capabilities within organisations has seen the uptake of corporate forms of these tools and capabilities to enable collaboration and communication. Think SharePoint, Yammer and other such corporate endorsed toolsets.
  • Analytics: the availability of data and the tools with which to analyse the data for trends, predictive and prescriptive outcomes has enabled business to move to an information-centric culture. “Real-time” market, customer and competitor data is available and necessitates business capability that can respond in similar “immediate” time-frames. This has been seen especially in the digital marketing space where brand management and marketing across social platforms, customization of offers (individualised marketing) and digital advertising have been the early adopters and beneficiaries of analytic insights.
  • Cloud: private, public and hybrid cloud computing, storage and services have progressed rapidly and offer almost instantaneous IT capability on the scale of the web. Consequently the ability to rapidly enable new business models serviced through the cloud has removed barriers and presents significant challenges to long-established enterprise. Cloud capability is the essential enabler for digital business disruption.

Not surprisingly those are the nexus of forces that Gartner has been highlighting as the sources for Digitalisation (the new era in IT with respect to purpose, process and contribution).

Why Digital Business Matters

With an appreciation for what it is, as important is the answer to why digital business matters. In essence digital business reflects:

  • A significant change in expectations both from employees and customers. Ease of doing business (customer-sided) and performing work (employee sided) based on having the access and necessary tools determines success in attracting and retaining customers and employees alike.
  • Globally competitive markets: business can be done almost anywhere and immediately. Customers have choices enabled by their connectivity. For business based on specific regions, global competitors are now just a click away. Marketing and brand management in the digital space are at the forefront of capturing mindshare and wallet spend.
  • New opportunities through IOT and services related to the data generated by the connectivity of products. Consider use cases published by IBM.
  • The speed of implementation to rapidly test and ramp up capability is widely available. Consider Amazon Web Services and the progression of BI being offered in SAAS formats.
  • The “We” Economy where collaboration between organisations (perhaps previously segmented by their sectors e.g. manufacturing and retail) and customers drives a new model for business, collaboration and innovation.

Digital business is the reality of all enterprises today. Moreover, as business undergo their digital transformation, it “is all about restructuring industries and keeping up with blurring lines between businesses because even if you are not doing it, people in your industry are.”, Mike Sutcliff, CEO Accenture Digital, Huffington Post Article “Accenture Digital: 7 Digital Business Transformation Lessons”


The Huffington Post “Accenture Digital: 7 Digital Business Transformation Lessons”.

Gartner, “Putting Digital Business to Work in 2015″ 9 January 2015, Analyst(s): 

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