Home > Articles > Business & Management

📄 Contents

  1. Industrial Revolution Similarities
  2. How Digital Revolutionizes Business
  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

How Digital Revolutionizes Business

Digital Is Core to Business

Digital today provides immediacy. It’s about listening to what your markets want and need, and then creating business models and strategies that address those needs and wants quickly. Your markets demand responses now. What often “makes sense” to someone thinking logically doesn’t apply to someone thinking viscerally. Transformation is all about being responsive versus reactive. All markets are constantly morphing—evolving through consumer-driven wants. Innovation most often starts in the field, not in a focus group.

Digital Breaks Down Business Silos

Digital is not a silo. It transcends the typical business models and profit and loss (P&L). It also transcends the traditional channel mix. Digital transformation impacts experiences, technology, and people. It may incorporate the usual, but it also transcends the usual business models and units. That’s why it’s so complex and hard for companies to get good at it.

People have to be involved in it on a day-to-day basis. When people say, “What is digital?” they don’t know because the term is so broad, so generic, so all encompassing. We could be talking about marketing channels and digital business strategy and somebody else is talking about the design of the website. Digital is all of those things and so much more. Even though many people mistake it for a faster record keeping or tracking system (two-dimensional) that’s not what the Internet of Things (IoT) or digital is. It’s more than that.

What Sir Richard Arkwright saw in the 1700s was what today’s digital transformers are seeing as well—the third and fourth dimensional potential of technology. The ability to digitally transform a company means going beyond just collecting big data. It means interpreting it, understanding what it’s telling us, and seeing new ways to help end users interact with and engage with your company, products, and services as a result.

Digital Gives Customers (A Loud) Voice

Business is very different today. Release your products as soon as possible, or else you will start to lose customers rapidly away. For example, in the gaming industry, if you are piloting a new game in beta but are consistently delaying release, your customers will react negatively unless you are adequately responsive to them.

Customers are in control today because they can talk to each other about your brand through digital channels, where it’s publicly visible to everybody. They can even be louder than the marketing division of that brand. They’re the ones who are going to choose who they follow, what they buy, and what their experience will be. If you don’t understand their pain and know how to give them what they want with the great customer experience they expect, they’re going to find someone who will. Pre-digital, it was easy for a giant company to just drown out any of that negative noise with marketing. Because there wasn’t a forum or social network for consumers to voice concerns, or a way for people to come together and really get their opinions out, a bad customer experience wasn’t a big deal unless the person managed to get the attention of the media.

Even then, the screams died pretty quickly. With the Internet, those screams and issues are preserved for eternity—along with your responses even down to the letters you write and actions you take, or don’t take.

What happens in times of disruptive change is that traditional metrics like quality, durability, and longevity are either challenged or thrown out, and values like speed, low cost, efficiency, and immediacy become the bar by which all challengers are measured.

New innovative companies initially come into the competition in a small way, and traditional businesses may not see them as a threat because they don’t have the established brand awareness. Traditional businesses may feel safe and underestimate the new company’s potential by comparing their offering to what’s already there. Then the new company expands their initial business model and leveraging their technology platform, or combines technologies and quickly become a clear threat.

What we see are many companies although successful, mistakenly value the things their customers don’t particularly care about, instead of focusing on the things their customers really want. When the gap between what a company values and what their customers value gets too big, that’s when competition move in. That’s why digital leaders put their customers in more control. That’s not a bad thing.

Digital Enables Big Bang Disruption

They call them “Big Bang Disruptors” because you don’t see them coming as they may not even be coming from areas you consider your industry. Remember Sir Richard Arkwright combined different technologies from different industries to kick-start an entire revolution. To say that someone who doesn’t even compete with you can be one of your biggest threats is not an exaggeration.

Remember the almost dominance of stand-alone GPS systems like Garmin, Magellan, and TomTom? They thought they were the only game in town and were just competing with each other—until every smartphone on the market came with GPS and free map apps like Google Maps. In an article, they wrote for the Harvard Business Review, Larry Downes and Paul F. Nunes, consultants at the Accenture Institute for High Performance, wrote: “But now entire product lines—whole markets—are being created or destroyed overnight. Disruptors can come out of nowhere and instantly be everywhere. Once launched, such disruption is hard to fight.”

Digital technologies level the playing field and accelerate the pace of delivery of large scale innovations. Gordon Crovitz, writing for the Wall Street Journal, agrees. Crovitz said, “Powerful new technologies like cloud computing and big data allow entrepreneurs to develop products and services that are ‘simultaneously better, cheaper, and more customized,’ ‘This isn’t disruptive innovation. It’s devastating innovation.’”

Few industries, if any, are immune to disruption. If your business is going to survive, you need to accept this reality. Twenty years ago who could have predicted that something as simple as a mobile phone would turn industries like home phones, pinball and arcade games, GPS devices, casinos, cameras and video, flashlights, travel agents, restaurant guides, and newspapers upside down?

Customer demand is also going to force changes in heavily regulated industries like pharmaceuticals, transportation, and energy. We’ve already seen regulated services like education, medicine, and law face change.

Innovation changes not only the way people do business but the rules about how we do business. It always has and it always will. Just about the time we learn the new rules, they change again. In 1995 Joseph L. Bower and Clayton M. Christensen’s wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review, “Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave.” The article taught us what we know about how to spot disruptors before they cripple or kill our business.

Bower and Christensen told businesses to “be on the lookout for upstarts that offer cheap substitutes to their products, capture new, low-end customers, and then gradually move upmarket to pick off higher-end customers.” When disrupters do appear, like a few lone ants strolling across a kitchen counter, it’s time to act quickly—either by acquiring them ASAP, or embracing similar technology and business models.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020