There are two types of companies in today’s modern economy: those that have digital technologies and are getting by; and those that are sharply focusing digital solutions to accelerate their place in the market.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, James Manyika, Gary Pinkus and Sree Ramaswamy presented an analysis of the digital phenomenon, observing that there is a direct correlation between savvy digital adoption and heightened corporate innovation and performance. They identify the two worlds as the “haves” and the “have-mores.”

However, the researchers note, the companies that are behind aren’t the ones who have been reluctant to invest in equipment and systems – “most sectors and companies now spend heavily on IT.” The gap, they claim, “is in the degree of digital usage.” For example, leading companies are more likely to encourage digital engagement with suppliers and customers. “This engagement can range from digital payments and advertising to interactions on social media and in virtual marketplaces,” they said. Digital technologies in the workplace also make a difference.

Manyika, Pinkus and Ramaswamy did not address the insurance sector directly, but it’s worth noting the spirit of their analysis. That is, companies may be pouring a great deal of money into technology, but this only takes things so far. Dropping technology in and of itself on top of an organization will not deliver overnight success. If anything, it could exacerbate underlying management issues. To succeed in the digital era, it takes forward-thinking and inspired management, that is open to change, and willing to test and experiment.

In a post looking at the HBR analysis, Daniel Newman, CEO of Broadsuite Media Group and President of V3B, also suggests that many businesses make heavy investments in hardware expecting digital miracles. “Investing too much in cutting-edge hardware may not be the best tactic,” he states. “As we move away from the era of Moore’s Law, it’s becoming more important to focus on business-savvy software applications and cloud platforms that can make use of existing technology. Look for software that help make data and business functions more actionable, and use the cloud to make it cheaper and easier to access.”

Agility – not expensive technology solutions – make digital a success, Newman adds, Today’s cloud-based solutions help pave the way to such business-savvy software, he says.

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