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Gartner’s ‘Hype’ report maps journey to digital business

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The journey to digital business is the key theme of Gartner, Inc.’s “Hype Cycle Report for Emerging Technologies, 2014.” According to Gartner, for enterprises setting out on the journey to becoming digital businesses, identifying and employing the right technologies at the right time will be critical. Gartner’s road map to digital business includes six progressive business era models that enterprises can identify with today and aspire to reach in the future:

Stage 1: Analog

Stage 2: Web

Stage 3: E-Business

Stage 4: Digital Marketing

Stage 5: Digital Business

Stage 6: Autonomous

Since the report is purposely focused on more emerging technologies, it mostly supports the last three of these stages: Digital Marketing, Digital Business and Autonomous.

The Digital Marketing stage sees the emergence of the Nexus of Forces (mobile, social, cloud and information). Enterprises in this stage focus on new and more sophisticated ways to reach consumers, who are more willing to participate in marketing efforts to gain greater social connection, or product and service value. Buyers of products and services have more brand influence than previously, and they see their mobile devices and social networks as preferred gateways. Enterprises at this stage grapple with tapping into buyer influence to grow their business.

Following are some technologies represented in the Digital Marketing stage: data science, prescriptive analytics, big data, content analytics, cloud computing, gamification and in-memory analytics.

Digital Business is the first post-nexus stage on the road map and focuses on the convergence of people, business and things. The Internet of Things and the concept of blurring the physical and virtual worlds are strong concepts in this stage. Physical assets become digitalized and become equal actors in the business value chain alongside already-digital entities, such as systems and apps. 3D printing takes the digitalization of physical items further and provides opportunities for disruptive change in the supply chain and manufacturing. The ability to digitalize attributes of people (such as the health vital signs) is also part of this stage. Even currency (which is often thought of as digital already) can be transformed (for example, cryptocurrencies).

Enterprises seeking to go past the Nexus of Forces technologies to become a digital business should look to these additional technologies: digital security, smart workspace, connected home, Internet of Things, mobile health monitoring and consumer telematics.

The Autonomous stage is defined by an enterprise’s ability to leverage technologies that provide humanlike or human-replacing capabilities. Using autonomous vehicles to move people or products or using cognitive systems to write texts or answer customer questions are all examples that mark the Autonomous stage. Enterprises seeking to reach this stage to gain competitiveness should consider these technologies on the hype cycle: virtual personal assistants, brain-computer interface, quantum computing, smart robots and autonomous vehicles.

The report can be found at http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/hype-cycles/.

Figure 1: Hype cycle for emerging technologies, 2014. Source: Gartner

Figure 1: Hype cycle for emerging technologies, 2014.
Source: Gartner

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