Digital business incompetence will cause a quarter of businesses to lose competitive ranking by 2017, according to Gartner, Inc.
During the second quarter of 2013, Gartner conducted a survey of 151 participants who were intimately involved in making digital business strategy decisions or in locating, developing and acquiring talent for those digital business strategy endeavors.
Ninety percent of respondents thought that competition for talent will make or break digital business success.
"The next decade will move beyond the notion of using technology to automate businesses and toward positioning technology as revenue builder, market maker and customer finder," says Diane Morello, managing vice president at Gartner.
"When companies have those targets in mind, digital business becomes real. The impact of digital business will be undeniable: It will introduce new business models, cause industries to be 'digitally remastered' and change the way that businesses put great minds to work.
"Few things have jumped into the consciousness of business executives as quickly as digital business," continued Morello. "In our recent Talent on the Digital Frontier survey, roughly one in two participants say that their digital business strategy either is their business strategy or is at least an integrated part of that business strategy."
According to Morello, a digital business strategy creates value and revenue from digital assets. It goes beyond process automation to transform processes, business models and customer experience by exploiting the pervasive digital connections between systems, people, places and things.
Digital business has rapidly become a lingua franca of modern business, a common and unifying language across people whose native languages — in the modern age, the languages of organisations, companies, cultures and occupations — are different.
To jump-start digital business activity, Gartner recommends identifying key strategy players and possessors of technology and business expertise both inside and outside the enterprise and engaging them to launch a digital business community of practice to enrich cross-business understanding.
"Demand is growing for insight into digital business, particularly among CEOs and CIOs who fear that their companies may be falling behind new business models and competitive opportunities," says Morello. "Their concern is justified."
Morello notes that digital business will concentrate almost exclusively on new sources of revenue derived from new products, services, channels and information for new customers and constituencies.
On top of the expectation that digital business expertise will spread around businesses within two or three years, other indicators suggest that digital business represents not an extension of the past, but rather, a different trajectory.
"Revenue ambitions will go unmet if senior executives ignore the cultural and organisational challenges that accompany digital business," says Morello.
The world of digital business does more than pose challenges for executives. It also opens opportunities to use digital technology to reach beyond organisational boundaries, to assemble problem-solving expertise from around the world, to weave a fabric of knowledge and expertise across communities of practice, and to understand and exploit new models of work.