Digital Business Success Driven by Talent, Collaboration: Gartner

The importance of having a digital business strategy has quickly jumped into the consciousness of business executives.

The ability to acquire talent could make a big difference in digital business success as digital business incompetence will cause a quarter of businesses to lose competitive ranking by 2017, according to a survey of 151 business leaders in charge of locating, developing and acquiring talent for those digital business strategy endeavors.

Having a digital business strategy—which goes beyond process automation to transforming processes, business models and customer experience by exploiting the pervasive digital connections between systems, people, places and things—has quickly jumped into the consciousness of business executives.

"The next decade will move beyond the notion of using technology to automate businesses and toward positioning technology as revenue builder, market maker and customer finder," Diane Morello, managing vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. "When companies have those targets in mind, digital business becomes real. The impact of digital business will be undeniable: It will introduce new business models, cause industries to be 'digitally remastered' and change the way that businesses put great minds to work."

Once a digital business strategy team is hired, an organization should promote employee engagement, as doing so will make the organization more attractive to prospective employees and increase talent retention rates throughout the shift toward the digital strategy, the report recommended.

Gartner also recommended identifying key strategy players and possessors of technology and business expertise both inside and outside the enterprise and engaging them to launch a digital business community of practice to enrich cross-business understanding, as well as chief intelligence officers who can learn to orchestrate talent across multiple employment models and channels to quickly take advantage of global ecosystems to build digital expertise.

"Demand is growing for insight into digital business, particularly among CEOs and [chief intelligence officers] who fear that their companies may be falling behind new business models and competitive opportunities," Morello said. "Their concern is justified. Digital business will concentrate almost exclusively on new sources of revenue derived from new products, services, channels and information for new customers and constituencies. On top of the expectation that digital business expertise will spread around businesses within two or three years, other indicators suggest that digital business represents not an extension of the past, but rather, a different trajectory. Revenue ambitions will go unmet if [chief intelligence officers] and senior executives ignore the cultural and organizational challenges that accompany digital business."

The report noted that the world of digital business has the potential to open opportunities to use digital technology to reach beyond organizational boundaries to assembling problem-solving expertise from around the world to gather knowledge and expertise across communities of practice in order to understand and exploit new models of work. The quest for digital business expertise also provides an opportunity for chief intelligence officers and human resource executives to create an alliance that helps them meet their respective outcomes.

"Together, CIOs and HR talent executives scour the globe for qualified experts and talented people and bring them into their work streams, no matter their locations or their employment arrangements," Morello said. "Relying solely on tactics of yesterday to find, acquire and develop digital business knowledge, skills and competencies will cause many businesses to fall behind as other businesses advance. The impact on people, talent and long-term workforce strategy will be high, and the willingness to break through stale or aging people practices will build advantage."