Online education portals like Udacity and Coursera are really changing the world of remote learning in significant ways. By making free and high quality education accessible to a global audience, these platforms are opening up undreamt of possibilities for communities around the world to improve, grow, and prosper in the digital economy of the 21st century. Education at top tier colleges and universities has traditionally been a social and economic privilege, but now anyone can join in the learning revolution by sitting in virtual classrooms with the world’s best and brightest educators. Whether this involves learning how to code and build smart phone apps, or starting up a new business, or learning about public health literacy, the sky is the limit of what’s now possible.

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7 reasons why your business needs to go digital by the end of 2015

The name of the game in business today is “digital.” In fact we hear a lot about the “digital landscape” or the “digital workforce” or “digital marketing.” So if one thing is clear it’s that digital is driving business and that to succeed in your vertical you need to be on top of your game in this most important sector.




When we talk about a digital business, think mobile, cloud, Big Data, social media – and the enormous ways these emerging and disruptive technologies have transformed the business landscape in the past 5 years. Think about the way that digital transformation changes the interaction with customers or how employees do their jobs or how it creates new and innovative lines of business.

Digital is the new face of business and it’s absolutely incumbent that organizations get onboard. Here are 7 specific reasons why.

1. Disrupt or Be Disrupted

Digital is a new imperative. It’s not an option or a nice-to-have. Since the emergence of the “consumerization of IT” about 5 years, customers have been calling the shots about what they want in terms of products, goods, and services. The convergence of mobile, cloud, and collaboration has led to new types of customer engagements, new ways of using technology to meet customers where they are, and new business models. Businesses that are complacent in this area will get left behind, plain and simple!

2. Mobile is ubiquitous

While it should be obvious by now, businesses need to be clear that mobile is the future of everything. The continued ascendancy of mobile computing over desktops, coupled with the rise of Internet of Things and wearable device, are marking another new era in the form factors of computers and how we interact with them. If you haven’t started to digitize your consumer experience so everyone can access your products, goods, and services on a mobile device, then it’s not too late. But you’ll need to get going because wearables and Internet of Things will add an extra level of complexity to this mix.




3. Customers want real-time insights

Customer expectations have risen through the roof and will continue to drive businesses to “go digital” or go home. Customers want specific services tailored to their needs and they expect businesses to understand those needs. They aren’t satisfied with just ordering products, they want recommendations about what to order next (think Amazon’s customer recommendations) and want to track when the shipments will arrive. This requires data and lots of it. Businesses need to have a 360 degree view of those customers and use that view to create a seamless, organic experience 24/7 across multiple platforms and devices. As the world shifts to IoT-enabled devices, expectations will also increase as more data will mean more opportunities to engage with and please the customer.

4. The Future Internet demands it

The future of the internet, which goes by various names, such Web 3.0 or the semantic web, is a collaborative effort to make the internet more automatic or ‘smarter’ in the way it interacts with humans. Its hallmark will be to bring customized information to the user rather than having the user “go out” and search for a needle in the haystack. New business service models will focus on customer-centric delivery platforms based on ‘smart’ inferences into their behaviors, preferences, and likes. Digital businesses will need to adapt to these models to stay relevant.




5. IoT requires a digital strategy

The ability to receive real-time awareness of our physical world and interact with that data through touch-based, wearable, and augmented reality are just some of the many ways that the Internet of Things (IoT) will exert wide-ranging and disruptive impacts on all levels of business and society. Current trends indicate that the internet will not just pertain to random “things” but will literally be ubiquitous, or what some are calling the “Internet of Everything.” Experts predict that there will be 25 billion objects connected to the internet by the year 2020. Last fall Google kicked off its Physical Web project, which gives a preview of what it sees as the next generation Internet – the linking of objects via wireless URLs for ubiquitous communications between devices. This will not be your grandma’s internet, and businesses will need to be agile and scale quickly if they want to keep ahead of the digital disruptions spawned by the future internet.

6. Smart machines are rapidly transforming the jobs landscape

The convergence of latest advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning are leading to the rapid automation of jobs in ways that seemed like science fiction just a few short years ago. Research shows that many CEOs are underestimating the systemic and deep impact that smart machines will have through 2020, as well as the potential for them to replace millions of middle-class jobs in the decades to come. Gartner is even saying that “the smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT.” The tech research company is also currently projecting that 2015 is a benchmark year, or the time when companies need to start introducing policies and programs for a “digital workforce” in order to stay in the top quartile of productivity by 2020.


7. Cyber-security requires digitization

The increasing scale and level of malicious attacks against organizations of all sizes means that everyone needs to be extra vigilant about cyber-crime. The best recourse is to make sure your business is onboard with the latest digital technologies. The IT landscape has changed so dramatically in recent years. The constant updates of new server/endpoint virtualization, cloud computing, mobile device & BYOD support, Internet of Things, and now the imminence of new approaches to device management like Unified Endpoint Management – means increasing challenges for organizations to scale up their cyber-security infrastructure. This continuous adoption of new technologies adds further uncertainty and complexity to the security infrastructure. Organizations need to be proactive and experiment with Big Data security analytics programs and security-in-the-cloud initiatives to be onboard with the latest advances. Failing to keep up with the latest measures now will only lead to an increased risk of a major security breach.

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About Jeffrey Walker

Jeff is a business development consultant who specializes in helping businesses grow through technology innovations and solutions. He holds multiple master’s degrees from institutions such as Andrews University and Columbia University, and leverages this background towards empowering people in today’s digital world. He currently works as a research specialist for a Fortune 100 firm in Boston. When not writing on the latest technology trends, Jeff runs a robotics startup called, along with oversight and leadership of - an emerging market assistance company that helps businesses grow through innovation.