Transform or Die: 5 Facets of Digital That Will Decide Your Company’s Future

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The global community of digital citizens–people who are always connected–is growing at a terrific pace.

These individuals are placing new and greater demands on the businesses with which they interact and keeping pace with those demands may well be a “make-or-break” situation, according to research conducted by Institute for the Future and Vanson Bourne on behalf of EMC.

“Twelve months ago, maybe 15 months ago at the earliest, we started to see different kinds of people come through our briefing center,” said Jeremy Burton, EMC’s President of Products & Marketing.

A Primer on Digital Transformation and Why You Need It

video from Compte Capgemini

All of these people came with various questions revolving around the same fundamental theme, Burton says: the need to become a digital company.

We see this more and more here at MarketPro as well. Clients approach us after realizing they’re behind the game in terms of digital presence looking for guidance, leadership and digital marketing staffing talent to bring them back to relevance.

“Often it was not the IT guys that would come, certainly not the infrastructure guy,” Burton says. “Often it was a business guy with a new head of R&D in tow, which was a new one on us. And that’s gone from being a trickle to pretty much a weekly occurrence.”

That was the inspiration for the recent study, The Information Generation: Transforming the Future, Today, Burton says. Market research firms Institute for the Future and Vanson Bourne surveyed 3,600 business leaders across 18 countries from mid-size to large enterprises in nine industries to help build a picture of the top priorities required for business success today and growth over the next decade.

The New Rules of the Road


96% of business leaders believe new technologies have forever changed the rules of business by democratizing information and rewiring customer expectations. The top-reported customer expectations include faster access to services, 24/7 and “everywhere” access and connectivity, omnichannel and multi-device access,  and a more unique, personalized experience.

Business leaders agree that transformation is critical to meeting the demands of these digital citizens, dubbed the “Information Generation” by EMC. Burton notes they identified five make-or-break business attributes that businesses must gain through this transformation:.

  • The ability to identify and predict new opportunities in markets.
  • The ability to show transparency and build trust with their audience.
  • The ability to innovate nimbly and quickly.
  • The ability to provide unique and individualized experiences.
  • The ability to engage and respond to consumers in real time.

Businesses that hope to stay competitive will have to be flexible and innovative. They’ll require analytics capabilities and forward-looking talent to make use of it. And they’ll need the ability to combine those aspects to respond to opportunities revealed by data in real time.

While business leaders agree that these attributes are critical, few of them believe they’re doing well in those areas to date. When the researchers asked them whether they address these attributes very well and company-wide, only 12% said they could predictively anticipate new opportunities, 9% said they could innovate in agile ways, 14% said they could demonstrate transparency and trust, 11% said they could deliver a personalized experience and 12% said they could operate in real-time.

Preparing for a Data Tsunami

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By 2020, more than 7 billion people on at least 30 billion devices will have created 44 zettabytes of data, according to Gartner and IDC, respectively.

Yes, zetabytes. I’m not making that word up. That’s a trillion gigabytes each. Better brace yourself and batten down your company’s hatches for the flood of information coming your way.

Businesses understand they can get value from this data, but 49% of business leaders admitted they don’t know how to turn all of their data into actionable information. 70% say they can gain insights from data, but only 30% say they are able to act upon their information in real-time. Also, just over half admit they don’t use their data effectively and only 24% consider themselves “very good” at turning data into useful insights.

That means there’s opportunity for forward-thinking organizations to seize the initiative. Burton points to DISH Network as an example. DISH has introduced Sling TV as a way to stream live content to users’ devices without the need for a satellite dish or a contract.

Even insurance companies are getting into the act. It won’t be long, Burton says, before your car will be able to detect you’ve had a fender-bender, triggering your insurance company to send a drone to take pictures, call you a tow truck and send an Uber car to take you home. And shortly after that it will probably be driving itself and avoiding most accidents altogether.

Start preparing now so you’re able to keep up with the future’s evolving tech and growing ocean of data.

That’s not science fiction. We’re closer than you might think to innovations like these and many more we won’t even see coming. Start preparing now so you’re able to keep up with the future’s evolving tech and growing ocean of data. Accumulate digital citizens in your marketing leadership and learn to leverage flexible workforce solutions like digital marketing staffing.

You’ve got to get moving if you’re going to take advantage, Burton says, and once you start, have to keep that momentum going.

“Today you’ve got to figure out how to innovate,” he says. “But tomorrow you’re going to see networked ecosystems. The ball is not going to stand still; it’s going to continue to move.”

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