This blog is about the digital business era. The blog posts are brief, foods for thought. They comment on articles, events etc. with a personal touch.

The Rock Stars of Digital Business

Written by Jan Amtoft
The "digital era" that dawned upon us all in the beginning of the millennium, has gone through significant phases of development, and web commerce economy is now in full blossom.

Some of the rock stars of the first web-commerce wave are well known: Jack Ma, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page. Their companies shot up and shook down strong and profitable industries, making dollar billionaires of their owners in the process. They base their business success on the emergence of massively large social communities on the internet which are nurtured and regulated by their businesses. The social media based web-commerce has become a profitable digital business. And they are successful digital leaders.

It’s quite evident that digital business cannot be ignored by companies any more. First and foremost the business models of all industries are turning digital. If companies can’t lead or even catch up, they will vanish. Analog businesses and strategies will become “investor repellants” of the future. And toe-dipping into the pool of digital business won’t fool the seasoned investor. The business executives that successfully lead companies into the digital business era, will be the rock stars of digital business.

My prediction is that in the near future, big value creation opportunities will accelerate away from the current, well-established web-commerce space, into something new. Venture capital will plunge into new opportunities based on technologies like big data, internet of things, social media and smart devices. The operating model of these companies will be much different from the traditional operating model of large companies, even from ones with a significant web-presence. It is once again time to “Wake up and smell the Coffee.” There is a second chance to exploit the internet, when whole industries go digital.

Join my quest for the rock star of future digital business. The traditional CO roles of marketing, sales, logistics and distribution, manufacturing, procurement, technology and information each contains some of the ingredients, but none of them can make it on their own. These roles are functional whereas the future roles will be channel or product orientated, at least until the dust once again settles. With the proliferation of new, disruptive technologies, the digital business leadership role has to change. New digital operating models simply calls for new organization forms that are not function orientated. I’m looking for answers to the following key questions:
  • Which areas are important to include in digital leadership
  • Why are these areas important, what value do they provide?
  • How can a digital leader direct and guide his teams?
  • When is the digital leader meant to take charge?
  • What questions should be asked to direct the teams?

This post is the first in a quest for the rock stars of digital business. I am interested in finding the core disciplines that will make such digital leaders highly successful, how they will work, and how the future digital executive will be educated.
A key goal is to give you inspiration on how to deal with the digital business era. Another goal is to get feedback on ideas and thoughts. Have a great digital business era!
Confucius – you cannot open a book without learning something - /jan