Interactive Business Is Everyone’s Business

By David Sauter, CEO

Published: June 12, 2014

“With more than seven billion people and businesses, and at least 35 billion devices, communicating, transacting, and even negotiating with each other, a new world comes into being — the world of interactive business.”

After introducing the concept of interactive business into our daily grind more than a year ago, we continue to see more and more research leaders from Gartner to Forbes, and some of the world’s leading companies, from IBM to John Deere, embrace the strategy. As a result, we’ve seen these companies quickly lead their markets with a focus on generating growth and creating value in a digital world.

Interactive Business

Take this example from an article on heralding CIOs to embrace digital business. “Consider the digital business that Starbucks has become. Since creating Digital Ventures, a marketing-IT partnership funded like a startup in 2009, Starbucks has become a retail leader in mobile payments, improved its loyalty card system with complementary smartphone apps and other innovations, and created a nationwide digital network that offers free in-store Wi-Fi and third-party content.”

Yet, when many talk “digital,” an image of a Facebook business page, a single website, or a lone app still come to mind. This is narrow-minded and not the case.

Digital business is more than using online tools, it’s more than keeping up with what everyone else is doing – it’s about infusing a digital mindset throughout a business’ strategy, process, and implementation. Digital business is the creation of new business designs by blurring the distinction between digital and physical business practices.

Taking the reigns of the modern digital business, leading companies today are finding success by openly ushering in an unprecentended convergence of people, process, and technology:

  1. In People: The title ‘chief digital officer’ may yet go the way of the ‘chief evangelist,’ but the digital business movement is a force business leaders can’t ignore. When employees throughout an organization understand, value, and actively evangelize the latest digital tools and technology, there is greater opportunity for innovation throughout the business. If customers are using technology, businesses need to follow suit.
  2. In Process: Consider the value of increased speed in communication, solving internal and external business process problems in the blink of an eye. Interactive or digital business infuses the use of digital strategy and technology into speeding up, increasing effectiveness, and overall improving business processes.
  3. In Products: The presence and integration of things, connected and intelligent, with people and business is taking products to the next level. Technology is rapidly impacting the way people interact with and even use products. Think about the latest integrations of technology and data collection into gigantic pieces of heavy machinery; with the goal of improving it’s use and making a job easier for those who operate it.

Using social, mobile, and data based platforms to improve business has a company wide impact, from boosting sales to improving marketing and revitalizing customer service. Successful business leaders will need digital business skills. While new roles, such as a chief digital officer, will emerge as catalyst roles, all business leaders and CIOs will need to develop digital leadership and technology capabilities to define and execute an impactful digital strategy.

The concept is compelling and the success cases are mounting.

From interns to engineers and marketers to executives, interactive business is everyone’s business.