How to avoid it and thrive in the Digital World
Children born today will grow up in a very different world from their parents – it will be a fully digital world and will go far, far beyond the ‘digital foothills’ we are seeing today. It will impact virtually everything we do: in our social lives, in business, in our government, our environment, where and how we live. The fusion of ubiquitous and affordable communications, cloud based computing and smart devices that enables the digital world is unlocking a Pandora’s box of innovation - put simply, anything that can be digital will be.
So far the impact of the digital world has largely delivered faster, cheaper and better versions of things we already had but even so its effects have been profound and widespread: nearly everyone on the planet now has access to the kinds of connectivity, information, entertainment and business that were previously the preserve of a comparatively wealthy few. But over the next decade or so, the digital world will be all pervasive, not because it’s cool but because it is cheaper to do what we do today with physical approaches but increasingly because digital technology allows us to do things we could never do without it.
But the digital world doesn’t just enable new products and services or old ones to be delivered in a different way - it enables entirely new business models to exist and alters the way companies operate. The main reason for this is because it dramatically reduces transaction costs – the costs of doing business and in doing so it turns on its head the century old concept companies growing ever bigger. The digital world makes it much easier for companies to disaggregate and focus on what they do best while partnering with others to provide a complete service. At the same time, barriers to market entry get lowered – today you can address markets of billions of people, at very low prices and still make good returns because you don’t have to build the go-to-market infrastructure.
This article is the first in a series based on Keith Willetts new book Unzipping the Digital World, available from the TM Forum and Amazon in hardback and Kindle formats. Later articles will explore key competencies in greater detail.