Now is the time for all technology companies to gain a true appreciation of the future of their industry — the complex ecosystems, the industry-specific requirements, and the real benefits of digital innovation — and begin to develop the capabilities to exploit this new environment while scaling back on capabilities that are no longer relevant. Those that successfully take on this task will be the best positioned to capture the value being created in the new world of digitization.
Every company in the technology industry will require insight into the digital consumer — especially Generation C, that is always connected, always innovating, and increasingly making up the cohort of the global population that will begin entering the workforce over the next decade. A thorough understanding of these new demand-side consumer dynamics will help companies improve both their innovation efforts and their competitiveness — with the added benefit of a better understanding of the next generation of talent they must employ in order to succeed.
Technology companies must also gain an understanding of how digitization is transforming the technology industry ecosystem itself, and to rethink how they themselves fit into it. Delivery mechanisms are changing, and companies must reassess their interactions with upstream suppliers, downstream sales channels, go-to-market partners, customers, and the extended supply chains that connect it all.
In the new world of digitization, companies must be able to bring outstanding products and services to market, and do so quickly. Yet most players can no longer provide their customers with workable end-to-end solutions all on their own. Therefore, they must learn to operate within a context of increasingly global partnerships, joint ventures, and M&A activity, and to act fast when opportunities to improve the product portfolio arise — a critical capability as more customers demand open, flexible platforms on which to develop their increasingly digitized businesses.
Entire industries are being transformed by ubiquitous broadband; mobility; new platforms, services, and applications; and learning how to make use of massive amounts of customer data. Thus, technology companies must gain the ability to understand the process by which industry verticals will themselves be digitized, to devise specific strategies for developing the products and services that will serve these vertical needs, and to mobilize their people and organizations to work together with every vertical the company plans to serve.
Technology companies will also need to develop the ability to see how digitization might transform their own internal operations, from IT to human resources to finance. This effort will have the added benefit of helping them make the transformation to the extended virtual enterprise — and give them the experience necessary to sell internal digitization as a service to their own customers, as well.
Finally, given how quickly digitization is taking place — not just in the tech industry but in every industry — it is no surprise that governmental efforts to affect the process are gaining momentum. The legal and regulatory landscape is uncertain, and issues as far-ranging as the net neutrality, privacy, and copyright law and content, patents, and other forms of intellectual property all are in flux. Thus, every technology company must gain a clear understanding of the policy and legal environment in which it operates, and develop an effective voice for influencing the future course of that environment.