Digital Business 101

Businesses and industries will transform when billions of things become digitally connected over the next 10 years.

The call arrives at 10 a.m. Your co-worker, Don, was in a minor car accident on the way to work. His Virtual Personal Assistant (VPA) alerts you that he’s in stable condition and en route to the hospital – and that you shouldn’t expect him at the meeting.

Ten minutes earlier, Don’s VPA detected his car crash and alerted Emergency Medical Response (EMR) systems and insurance carriers, and checked sensors in Don’s clothing to assess his condition. All of the systems communicated, coordinated, and initiated the necessary responses to care for Don, his car, and his extended relationships. They were connected. When billions of things are connected to the Internet and to each other, completely new scenarios for businesses — and your lifestyle — become possible.


By 2020, there will be five times more things connected than just personal devices. Moore’s Law will continue to make computing cheaper and cheaper, which means we’ll find sensors in many of the objects we use, wear and interact with each day. They will all communicate – with each other, with you, with businesses. They’ll even place orders and buy items on your behalf. “In digital business,” says Jorge Lopez, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, “Things have enough intelligence to negotiate with each other, as well as with people and business, in a manner never before achieved.”

Digital Business Spans Industries

What’s notable about the car crash scenario is its dependence on communication between multiple entities across industries. To create digital business opportunity, organizations must break a traditional mindset around what’s possible today, to explore what’s optimal for the specific moment. The business moment.


1. Things Become Major Players Digital business is specifically focused on the peer exchange and communication between business (including process and information), people and physical things as equal entities.

2. You Must Digitalize To be a digital business, an organization must be digitalizing its physical assets, as well as virtual assets (such as data and business processes).

3. Industries Blend A digital business must include the connection or integration with assets (business, people and things) beyond IT and beyond the control of any one company.

By 2020, organizations, their value chains and their ecosystems must become fully digitalized to seize the opportunities of digital business. With the rise of the Internet of Things, information will shape physical reality. Value is created by capitalizing on what’s possible in the business moment. Are you ready?

Gartner clients can read the report, “Agenda Overview for Digital Business, 2014” for a general overview on digital business. To look at how CIOs and IT leaders can take the next step forward to boost their future competitiveness by fully embracing digital business strategies, Gartner clients can also read the report, “Seize the Moment: Driving Digital Business Into 2015”.

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