Digital Endeavors are Critical to Staying Competitive

The business world has undergone significant changes during the past several years, especially as digital operations have gained momentum and opened up new room for growth. Big Data in particular is often recognized as one of the most disruptive occurrences to hit the corporate environment, enabling firms of all sizes to analyze various forms of information to gain unique perspectives on what steps must be taken to augment efficiency.

Despite these innovative opportunities, however, ultimate business success often relies on how competent the workforce is at leveraging emerging digital technologies. This fact was highlighted in a recent Gartner report, which estimated that roughly a quarter of all companies will lose their competitive advantages by 2017 due to digital incompetence.

Gartner Managing Vice President Diane Morello asserted that digital business strategies have had a major impact on the corporate landscape as a whole because these initiatives have encouraged organizations to rebuild critical programs and find new ways to put employees to work. In fact, the survey found that approximately 90 percent of respondents believe their long-term competitive ranking will rely on their ability to acquire the right talent.

"Few things have jumped into the consciousness of business executives as quickly as digital business," Morello asserted. "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."

Navigating the digital realm
There is no doubt that digital strategies have become the norm in the business world. In fact, Gartner noted that digital resources have become a "common and unifying language" that allows individuals from all walks of life and industries to express similar concerns, endeavors, and objectives.

At the same time, failing to take full advantage of the digital frontier will prevent firms from staying competitive. Decision-makers must take the time to pursue projects that will provide internal experts with the information and wisdom needed to ensure companies are able to meet and, hopefully, exceed expectations.

"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," Morello said. "Their concern is justified."

An IDG Enterprise study of more than 800 executives who have already deployed or plan to implement Big Data initiatives highlighted how embracing these projects can improve internal operations. Specifically, 52 percent of respondents said Big Data programs improve the quality of their decision-making processes, and 47 percent said the endeavors boost decision-making speed. Another 44 percent of companies said analyzing information gives them greater opportunities to plan and forecast future changes, and 42 percent said Big Data enables them to develop new products and revenue streams.

Unfortunately, there are some inherent challenges associated with Big Data, IDG Enterprise reported. These issues tie back into the Gartner report because many of the problems derive from concerns about maintaining enough human capital to support critical Big Data initiatives.

Clearly, the digital landscape is playing a major role in the development of business, and executives who can't guarantee their organizations' effective use of advanced technologies and programs will find it increasingly challenging to compete in the long run. Mitigating this risk requires decision-makers to plan ahead and implement robust training programs to keep employees educated and aligned with future objectives. If companies neglect these initiatives, they'll find it difficult to embrace the digital frontier without facing unnecessary challenges.

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