Document Scanning

Gartner hails ‘new era’ of digital industrial economy

According to Gartner, the IT world is entering a new era – the digital industrial economy.

In 2014, organisations around the world will be ploughing a total of $3.8 trillion (£2.4 trillion) into their IT budgets – up 3.6 per cent year on year, according to technology research firm Gartner.

However, senior vice president and global head of research Peter Sondergaard believes that it’s not expenditure alone that commentators ought to be getting excited by. Addressing a symposium in Orlando, Florida last week, he told delegates that the process of digitalisation had become so all-encompassing that it threatens to bring about a new era for the business world – something he called "the digital industrial economy".

Crucially, this won’t come about by IT departments working independently and in isolation. Rather, it’s an inevitable consequence of the world becoming ever more interconnected and businesses opening themselves up to an array of different data sources and service providers.

Mr Sondergaard calls this the ‘nexus of forces’ – in his words, "a confluence and integration of cloud, social collaboration, mobile and information".

"Digitalisation exposes every part of your business and its operations to these forces. It is how you reach customers and constituents, how you run your physical plant and how you generate revenue or deliver services," he explained.

"Enterprises doing this today are setting themselves apart and will collectively lead the new digital industrial economy."

To be sure, Mr Sondergaard’s forecast rests heavily on how information generation and management has progressively been altered since the introduction of technologies like cheap computing power, mobile devices and the internet. But does older data have a place in this new era?

It’s a given that many organisations carry a substantial pre-digital burden of paperwork, which might be kept as a legal requirement or because it’s still a valuable asset. There’s no real reason this information shouldn’t participate in Mr Sondergaard’s new digital industry economy too – it just needs digitising in order to do so.

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