In spite of the clear benefits offered by digital, the business leadership surprisingly prefers to adopt a ‘wait & watch’ approach towards developing and implementing a digital strategy. What many conventional ‘market leaders’ fail to realize is that It’s no longer possible to separate “the technology” from “the business”.

Let’s face it; we are either online or sleeping. Technology is now is an inseparable part of every aspect of our personal and business life.

Customers are increasingly demanding to interact with companies anytime and anywhere. For instance, 72% of customers in a survey said they would replace some traditional channels with mobile apps if the capability were available. Similarly another survey found that organizations that were in the top third in terms of digital customer experience had 8.5% higher net margins and 7.8% higher revenue growth than their industry competitors.

‘Every Business is a Digital Business’ signals a transformational shift not just in the role of technology but also in business models that bolster success. The hot trends; social, mobile, cloud and big data are well past the experimentation stage. These technologies now offer practical, fast and cost effective solutions to some of our toughest business challenges and help in cashing in the biggest opportunities.

Clever confluence of Social, Mobile, Big Data, SDN and Cloud is the key to a winning Digital Strategy.

The world is going mobile and with it, our strategy must go mobile as well. In 2014, for the first time, mobile Internet usage will overtake desktop Internet usage. From the release of the first iPhone to the latest revolution in wearable technology like Google Glass, mobile devices have taken a hold on our lives. For many people, their first computer will be a mobile one. Mobile devices provide accessibility and help businesses reach their goals, whether it’s external (connecting customers) or internal (reviewing/controlling data, streamlining processes).

The rise of Millenials and Digital Natives among our young, current and future customers and employees, expect a brilliant digital experience in all of their interactions. They are not only the creators of many social networks, but they are also the early adopters who exemplify it. Millenials are the influencers you should be targeting to engage with in order to increase visibility.

Social Media has become an indispensable platform for interaction with customers. It is also a powerful tool for internal interaction; for reimagining how employees interact and collaborate. It offers new opportunities in personalized consumer engagement and loyalty at scale. This has huge advantages to drive revenue growth by customizing the experience for every interaction.

No one now suffers the lack of data. What is lacking though is our ability to deal with the velocity and volume of data. New technologies can help to accelerate the whole data cycle from insight to action, increasing the enterprise’s ability to deal with data velocity. Big Data Technologies are designed to handle large volumes of unstructured data to improve rate of response to deliver unprecedented competitive edge.

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is a new network paradigm that separates each network service from its point of attachment to the network, creating a far more dynamic, flexible, automated and manageable architecture. With SDN, businesses can realize the vision of a dynamic enterprise, deploying new projects quickly and determining just as quickly whether they are successful or not.

Cloud computing has already reimagined the way we look at IT infrastructure. With skillful cloud adoption, companies can enter whole new businesses or launch new products in short order. People today use devices interchangeably and expect their files, data and use cases to work seamless across them; cloud has a significant role in this context. Cloud can make businesses more responsive, flexible, scalable and competitive.

Traditional strategy can’t be tweaked for digital; you need a native digital mindset.

Before the Internet, business operated primarily in a physical world of “place”: It was a world that was tangible, product-based and oriented toward customer transactions. Today, many industries; all moving at different rates are shifting toward a digital world of “space”: more intangible, more service-based and oriented toward customer experience. For example, media is leading the way and watching how an industry that has struggled to get paid for content is now making the journey from place to space. Retail and financial services are not far behind media. Education, healthcare and legal services have gained significant momentum recently.

Where are your industry and your company on the journey from place to space? It’s a good time to review your digital business model. As we have seen in the move from print books to digital, once a tipping point is reached, the movement to space speeds up and is hard to resist. Just look at the demise of physical bookstores. Other industries will follow at different paces, driven, in part, by issues such as regulation, product complexity and how amenable the products are to digitization.

At this point, the question on every business leader’s mind should not be, “Are we going to use technology beyond the CIO/CTO domains?” It should be, “How can we embed technology into our business landscape in a way that will provide strong and sustainable competitive advantage?”

A digital mindset will separate tomorrow’s most successful business from their competitors.

In this day and age, everyone and everything is digital; and so is your business. What do you think?