Digital Business: A conceptual overview.

I feel compelled to research and write about Digital Business, as I truly believe the concepts behind it have already set in motion a revolution in the way the world conducts business. This is also my attempt at preventing business leaders (both present and future) from waking up the morning after their organization collapsed………in hindsight, realizing it was the lack of conceptual knowledge that ultimately led to them being trampled on by smarter competitors who not only embraced the new, fully digitized world, but also prepared for it.  Take what you read here and use it as a springboard to launch your creative juices, and stimulate a vision on applying the core concepts of ‘Digital Business’ to your organization.

What is ‘Digital Business’

Source: “The Future Of Business Is Digital” by Nigel Fenwick & Martin Gill For more info on digital business: http://j.mp/FORRDigital Data source: Forrester/Russell Reynolds 2014 Digital Business Online Survey

You may have already heard the term, and it being described as the future of business.  You may already know it’s something every organization needs to adapt to, but what does it mean? 

Gartner describes it as “the creation of new business designs that blur the digital and physical worlds.”  The 2 core concepts I think about when defining digital business are integration and rapid response.  It’s the blending of predictive analytics, digital technologies, artificial intelligence and the resulting real-time response.

To elaborate, let’s take a look at an example-

If you’ve ever had your cable hooked up, then you’ve probably been given a rather large window of the time of day your cable guy might show up, and how sometimes that window can last half a day.  In response to this issue posed to its’ customers, Comcast announced an app that allows their customers to track the assigned technician’s location in real time via their smartphones.  Now with this app, you will know exactly when your technician will show up, allowing you to plan the rest of your day accordingly, without having to stay at home while you wait.  The technicians’ GPS integrates with the app through the internet, allowing real-time updates to the consumer.  As you are probably aware, GPS already exists and so does the internet, but it’s the integration between that GPS device and the internet that initiates a rapid response.  It’s through the integration of all these tools combined (mobile, GPS, internet)  that defines the concept of ‘digital business’.

Get digital, or get out of the way.

Shifting the way we connect from desktop to mobile

At this point in the 21st century, it is accepted as common knowledge that the future of business is constantly changing.  Consumers expect to get what they want, when they want at the push of a button.  In just 10 years, we’ve seen this button go from the enter key on your desktop keyboard, to a ‘Buy Now” touch icon on your smartphone.  According to Pew Internet, “58% of American adults have a smartphone and 34% of cell internet users go online mostly using their phones, and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer”.

Therefore, if your business isn’t utilizing the growing benefits available via smartphone integration, you can bet a large percentage of your customers are moving to competitors who are.  It might be getting clearer that the backbone to the digital business model is the cell phone, and if mobile is the backbone, then the use of sensors and the data they capture, is the hipbone………and yes, they are connected.

Sensors and the Cloud:  A match made in digital heaven?

Please see Part 2 for more on the role of sensors in Digital Business, and the keys to visualization………………