Press Release

ORLANDO, Fla., October 23, 2012 View All Press Releases

Gartner Reveals How to Forge "The Digital Edge"

Findings from Newly Released e-book "The Digital Edge: Exploiting Information & Technology for Business Advantage" to be Presented at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, October 21-25, in Orlando


Digital technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) are opening up new opportunities for companies to create new sources of customer value and revenue streams, according to Gartner, Inc. However, meaningful digitalized revenue opportunities are difficult to access and address, leading to significant challenges in establishing a fully digitalized business.

In the e-book “The Digital Edge: Exploiting New Technology and Information for Business Advantage”, launched this week, Mark P. McDonald, group vice president and Gartner fellow, reveals how forging an edge requires new thinking and new approaches for bringing together digital and physical resources. The result is a new source of advantage, where technology supports growth.

Mr. McDonald is discussing some of the key findings from the book at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, which is being held here through October 25. He is explaining how the increasing density of digital technology is fueling new kinds of innovation that can provide organizations with a digital edge.

“The first wave of business investment in technology created the modern IT-enabled enterprise by automating and integrating back-office and operational processes,” said Mr. McDonald. “Then the Internet wave of investment created electronic copies of analog business models in the form of e-commerce, Web stores and the like. Digitalizing the business represents a new wave that will drive business investment in IT, based on the evolving capabilities of mobility, analytics, social computing, communications and cloud technologies.”

Gartner believes that a digital edge comes from creating new combinations of analog and digital resources resulting in new sources of customer value and company revenue or results. Analog resources refer to the people, how they are organized, the equipment they use, the facilities they work in, as well as the company's other physical aspects. Digital resources include information, customer history, situational awareness, and so forth. Digital resources also include the equipment that processes information such as mobile phones, tablet computers, sensors, computer controlled machinery, etc.

However, a digital edge rests on more than the relationship between analog and digital resources. These types overlap in the sense that organizations can achieve similar goals with different types of digitalization.

“Selecting the right type of digitalization rests on the scope and requirements of the outcome a company seeks from digitialization,” Mr. McDonald said. “The outside-in process for building a digital edge starts with an outcome that provides the basis for working outside in. The results build up a digital edge based on achieving specific outcomes in the context of an overall theme or value proposition.”

 Building a digital edge involves more than putting a Web facade on a brick-and-mortar operation. Companies who give themselves a "Web-lift" merely add sales channels that are easy for others to imitate. Developing the alternative, a digital edge, involves creating new connections and capabilities across the enterprise. Companies must build up their internal digital capabilities to produce externally relevant outcomes and results. 

“Companies have a choice. They can apply new technologies to achieve even greater levels of operational integration and control, a technological approach to business based on making the enterprise better. Or they can fully digitalize,” said Mr. McDonald. “Fully digitalized businesses are already emerging, and they represent the superior choice because they go well beyond the familiar models that rely on advertising or freemiums.”

Mr. McDonald will present additional information at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in the session, "Digitalizing Business" at 9:30 a.m. EDT today. During the session, Mr. McDonald will discuss specific examples of how "old line" companies are digitalizing their value and revenue streams.

In addition, Mr. McDonald will host a Tweet Chat via Twitter on Wednesday, October 24, at 1:45 p.m. ET. To participate and/or follow along, please follow the hashtag #GartnerChat. Additional details regarding the Tweet Chat are available on Mr. McDonald’s blog at

The ebook, “The Digital Edge” is available on Amazon, and Apple’s iBooks. For other books by Gartner analysts, please visit

About Gartner Symposium/ITxpo
Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the world's most important gathering of CIOs and senior IT executives. This event delivers independent and objective content with the authority and weight of the world's leading IT research and advisory organization, and provides access to the latest solutions from key technology providers. Gartner's annual Symposium/ITxpo events are key components of attendees' annual planning efforts. IT executives rely on Gartner Symposium/ITxpo to gain insight into how their organizations can use IT to address business challenges and improve operational efficiency.

Additional information about Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, is available at Video replays of keynotes and sessions are available on Gartner Events on Demand at Follow news, photos and video coming from Gartner Symposium/ITxpo on Facebook at, and on Twitter at and using #GartnerSym.

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