Digital Business: the 4.0 revolution of companies

Innovation, digitalization, and dematerialization, all lead toward a single epochal turning point: Digital Business. In marketing, as well as in building a company’s Brand Identity, there is always talk of “digital” and renewal strategies.

But what is Digital Business and how does it work? Closely related to Digital Transformation, Digital Business is nothing but the digital transformation of companies and their business.

From finance to fashion, from telecommunications to transportation, the key to reinventing a company lies in understanding how to leverage digital technologies to create a new business or apply these technologies to an existing business.

To learn more about what it is and the potential of Digital Transformation, read the article on the dedicated page. Just like for business, digital innovation is primarily a matter of vision.

In a few words? Experience, knowledge, and the necessary intuition are needed to lead companies towards true automation.

The central theme, however, remains the ability to balance technological investments to finance and monitor a company’s performance.

The 7 pillars of Digital Business

Beyond trends, what are the solutions and approaches that can really make a difference?

What are the digital strategies needed for a company to take the first steps in creating new business models and bring about a true Digital Business? Let’s find out point by point.

Business Intelligence

Understood as Business Analytics, or even Real-Time Analytics (for real-time business control) and Social Media Analytics (for sentiment analysis and reputation measurement).

Specifically, Business Analytics relies on qualitative and quantitative insights to guide a company’s actions. In other words, it transforms data into information, combining exploratory data analysis with the use of statistical techniques and algorithms.

digital business examples

Predictive Analytics, Clustering, and Forecasting are just some examples of the tools used to enhance the knowledge extracted from data. The process of data collection, transformation, and analysis involves four phases:

  • Data Collection: gathering and organizing data.
  • Data Modeling: configuring data based on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
  • Reporting: compiling the most relevant data and information into shareable documents.
  • Dashboarding: based on reporting, data generates dashboards and different visualization and consultation methods functional to the business.

Big Data

That is the processing of large quantities of heterogeneous information.

Given the volume of data produced, today the challenge of Digital Business lies in collecting and interpreting all Big Data, especially from sensors integrated into thousands of objects connected to the Internet (Internet of Things), to have an even more realistic view of a company’s revenue.

It goes without saying that the integration of Analytics and Big Data constitutes a fundamental strategy in terms of Digital Transformation.

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Internet of Things (IoT)

According to the official definition by Internet Business Solutions Group: “IoT can be considered as the moment when more devices than people started to be connected to the Internet.”

Essentially, in addition to smartphones and tablets, the vast network of connected devices contains sensors capable of collecting and exchanging data.

This applies to a wide variety of objects: from cars to GPS devices, from oil wells to turbine engines, to smartwatches and wearable devices, to refrigerators…

Thanks to software and various components, the fields involved in what is also known as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) include: Analytics, machine learning, and Big Data.

Machine Learning

Understood as the set of mechanisms for automatic learning and models for forecasting. Put aside Will Smith and “I, Robot” for a moment; artificial intelligence can also be applied to marketing and business strategies.

How? By creating an artificial intelligence platform (AI) on your own website, even a Chatbot, and machine learning software capable of combining human skills and collected data to improve customer support and predict user actions.


Literally a “chain of blocks,” Blockchain can be considered the Internet of Transactions. Initially created for Bitcoin trading, this new technology allows the creation and management of databases structured in “blocks,” each of which contains and manages multiple traceable transactions.

In the field of Digital Business, it proves to be a reliable method resistant to intrusion attempts into data archives. Every successful marketer is aware of it: most users access the internet using their smartphones and stay connected via mobile devices for at least 60% of their time.

Apps are undoubtedly a great resource to boost a company’s Digital Business and bridge the functional gap between e-commerce and physical stores.

Customers prefer to buy, read reviews, compare, and use coupons through their smartphones, and at the same time, apps allow tracking the customer journey, collecting statistical data, geolocating, and monitoring the user.

Mobile Technology

Every successful marketer knows it: the majority of users access the internet using their smartphones and stay connected through mobile devices for at least 60% of their time.

Apps are undoubtedly a great resource for enhancing a company’s Digital Business and bridging the functional gap between e-commerce and physical stores.

Customers overwhelmingly prefer to purchase, read reviews, compare, and use coupons via their smartphones. At the same time, apps enable tracking the customer journey, collecting statistical data, geolocating, and monitoring the user.

Cloud Computing

Last but not least, you’ve surely heard of Cloud. Well, Cloud Computing is nothing but a technology that allows access to data, applications, and services over the Internet.

It primarily involves Apps loaded on a kind of “cloud” on the network (hence the term cloud), capable of providing analyses related to data storage, processing, or transmission, closely related to Business Intelligence.


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How to build a successful Digital Business

“Between saying and doing, there is the digital.” According to Gartner, Digital Business doesn’t mean expanding the use of technology in the company but thinking about technology in an entirely new way, as a source of innovation and opportunity.

create successful business

To implement a good digital strategy, there are some steps to consider.

  • AWARENESS: the starting point is undoubtedly the awareness that no business can last forever. Technologies are constantly changing, and the real challenge is to understand when to stop and experiment with a new development environment.
  • CREATE A ROADMAP: developing a new product/service also means analyzing the company’s gaps and strengths until identifying the vehicle for change.
  • TECHNOLOGY: imagining the ideal IT architecture means designing the necessary technology for the right Digital Business, including software, Apps, intelligent units, and various platforms.
  • THE RIGHT PARTNER: designing the necessary technology is not enough, and achieving such a feat alone is not so easy. The advice is to turn to companies and specialized firms in the IT sector (Cisco, Oracle, SAP, and so on) to get support and assistance.
  • DIGITAL WORKFORCE: empower your team to use the new digital tools by helping them identify new opportunities (training, mentoring, workshops, training, strategic and managerial updates).
  • SECURITY: after analyzing the strengths and weaknesses, the means, and the necessary strategies, one should never forget to secure their business by reviewing and implementing security policies (even if they already exist).
  • STAY HUMAN!: strange but true, no matter how automated your company has become, there will always be areas where “human contact” is essential, especially when it comes to customers.

Main requirements

Summing up, once your Digital Business strategy is established, there is one last point to analyze: how to deal with the chaos of data and information?

There are 5 main skills that a manager/entrepreneur should consider for long-term success:

  • Build a multitasking team with both IT and marketing and communication skills.
  • Move toward process automation.
  • Know how to engage customers and employees.
  • Apply strategies and analysis to obtain detailed information.
  • Keep in mind the risk of information loss.


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Who needs Digital Business

  • All companies decide to adopt digital models to create intelligent products and services that can amaze customers and support employees.
  • In terms of integration, for those who want to enhance the functionalities of their software and cloud platforms.
  • For companies that no longer know how to handle the massive volume of data and information and need detailed analysis of it.
  • For tourism companies or transport companies that want to remove intermediaries, or rather become the only intermediary between the demand and supply of a “physical” service.

digital models

Leading Sectors

As we have seen from Big Data to Predictive Analytics, from algorithms to Cloud computing, from social media to Internet of Things, technology is rapidly changing.

The implications cut across the entire IT landscape, reinventing business processes and restructuring organizational setups.

Let’s explore together the sectors that have most effectively leveraged the potential of Digital Business, within what we could define as the 4th industrial revolution.

Banking Sector

The true challenge of Digital Business in this case lies in the ability to create a quality customer experience, mainly related to e-banking and human resource management processes.

As early as 2015, 25% of the IT budget was allocated to providing new responses and services in the Mobile, Big Data, Analytics, and Cloud domains.

Healthcare Sector

In this case, we talk more about digital health than Digital Business. Thanks to digital tools and assistive technologies, it is possible to stay connected 24/7 with doctors and specialists.

With Big Data and Analytics systems, all useful information for monitoring and personalizing healthcare assistance can be captured and studied.

Retail and Consumer Goods

According to an Accenture report, 63% of consumers would have no problem entrusting a sensor with the task of autonomously ordering what is needed at home.

online business impact

The role of the “physical” store is inevitably changing, and the “third” generation of e-commerce is shifting towards new purchasing methods, from online to on-demand, fully leveraging the impact of technologies on their business.

High Tech

Closely related to innovation and technology, Digital Business makes high-tech a privileged sector. Cutting-edge software and technologies improve companies’ performance and profits in terms of insight visibility and overall business management.

In its various applications (from home automation to robotics, from telematics to the automotive industry), the Internet of Things increasingly allows bridging the gap between the physical and virtual worlds.

Manufacturing Industry

In addition to innovative business models, essential for increasing revenues, reducing costs, and optimizing gross revenue, the manufacturing industry focuses both on the production of “digital smart products” and the customization of the customer experience.

Transportation, Catering, Accomodation

Similar to smart machines and “intelligent factories,” the tertiary sector makes Digital Business a fundamental resource. It primarily involves simplifying real-time data analysis, geolocation, and the use of Information Technologies aimed at optimizing customer centricity.

“Digital Disruption”: case histories

At this point, it’s clear: Digital Business has the ability to merge both the traditional physical world and the modern digital world, creating both innovative opportunities and real threats to the old way of doing marketing.

The feared “digital disruption” literally “destroys” the “old” business models while rewarding the new “digital beginners“. Here are some examples worth mentioning:

Blockbuster VS Netflix

Blockbuster, the global leader in the entertainment industry, had thousands of “physical” stores in the mid-nineties.

netflix streaming site

Failing to fully grasp the ongoing shift that made “physical rental” obsolete in favor of faster “streaming consumption,” it was wiped out from the market in just a few years. In its place, Netflix, founded in 1999, leveraged the potential of technologies and replaced Blockbuster at its peak.

Netflix now boasts tens of millions of subscribers to its streaming services worldwide.

Coop & Barilla

Expo 2015: COOP made its debut in the world of Digital as the “First supermarket of the future“. The goal?

Promote a new customer experience through the introduction of digital solutions: from interactive counters to vertical shelves and data visualization screens.

products digital platform

The brand awareness and reputation enjoyed by Barilla nationally and internationally are the result of well-crafted marketing and communication efforts.

Among the various Digital Business strategies, Barilla utilized Mobile and Internet of Things resources by creating apps like Ipasta and harnessing the potential of smartphone GPS technology for insights.

A notable project born from these synergies is Cucina Barilla, a digital platform for complementary products.

Other examples: are Amazon, Uber Pop, and AirBnb… which have radically changed the traditional way of doing marketing.

digital business examples


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