2.2. Digital Business Landscape

The last twenty years have been a time of considerable technological growth, changing how we live and do business.  At the end of the 20th century, Google was in its infancy and well-known strategists were dismissing Internet advertising models (Porter, 2001). Today, Google generates more advertising revenue than any other firm and has risen to become the most profitable media company on the planet. Billions in advertising dollars are poured into digital efforts, and this shift has reshaped industries and redefined skills needed to reach customers.

Twenty years ago, Apple Inc. was considered a tech-industry ‘has-been’. However, by the spring of 2010 Apple grew to be the most valuable tech firm in the United States, selling more media and generating more profits from mobile device sales than any firm in the world. In 2020, they became the first U.S. company to have a market capitalization of $2 trillion (Bursztynsky, 2020). Technology is more personal and portable.

The turn of the century also gave birth to social media networks, which quickly became hotbeds for digital media marketers and influencers. Facebook, the largest social media network, reached 2.9 billion active users by the fourth quarter of 2021 (Statista, 2001). Firms are harnessing the power of social media to generate new product ideas and promote sales. These new communication channels also provide a platform for anyone to share their thoughts and opinions, both good and bad. Companies must constantly review information shared to mitigate potential negative impacts to their business. These tools have also allowed misinformation to flourish.

Social media information is just one form of data that is being collected by companies for data analysis. Data analytics and business intelligence drive discovery and innovation and redefine modern marketing and business. Massive amounts of data are stored and analyzed to assist managers in decision-making, from looking for new sources of revenue to efficiencies in business operations. The growth in data collection has highlighted the need to consider customer privacy, which can shred corporate reputations if mishandled.

The way we conceive software and the software industry is also changing radically. IBM, HP, and Oracle are among the firms that collectively pay thousands of programmers to write code that is given away for free. Today, open-source software powers most of the websites you visit. The rise of open source has rewritten the revenue models for the computing industry and lowered computing costs. Cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) is turning sophisticated, high-powered computing into a utility available to even the smallest businesses and nonprofits.

The pervasiveness of computing means many devices and appliances are now ‘smart’. Smart technologies ensure electric devices are connected to a network, allowing for the exchange of information to carry out requests and provide customer convenience. Smart devices incorporate machine learning and artificial intelligence to assist users better. The data collected by these devices provides more detailed insight into consumer behaviours and can assist with marketing and product development.

Technological disruptions aren’t going away and will almost certainly accelerate, impacting organizations, careers, and everyday life.  It’s time to place technology at the center of the managerial playbook.

1.1 Tech’s Tectonic Shift: Radically Changing Business Landscapes” from Information Systems Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted—modifications: rewritten to update the content.


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Information Systems for Business and Beyond Copyright © 2022 by Shauna Roch; James Fowler; Barbara Smith; and David Bourgeois is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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