Independent Thinking Blog

Why Companies Need to Understand Digital Ubiquity

In his xPotomac remarks, Greg Verdino talked about hyperactivity and the fact that we are increasingly connected whenever we want and wherever we are. Laptops. Smartphones. Tablets. Smart screens on refrigerators (well, not my fridge). He called it “a state of and.”

In this environment, the device isn’t what’s relevant–it’s the connectivity. That we are connected, not how we are connected.

Digital ubiquity has consequences for business.

In this new environment, business needs to think differently. Verdino highlighted the need:

  • to focus on how goods can be delivered as services (e.g., BMW DriveNow).
  • to create strategies that are based on collaborative competitive advantage (Macrowikinomics is all about this).
  • to leverage Big Data (with better data, you can better compete in the marketplace).

Companies have a lot of work to do.

Case in point: I received a 3-month gift subscription to the New York Times. With my Times Digital Subscription:

“you now enjoy unlimited access to all the award-winning reporting, interactive multimedia, and innovations at and our mobile apps.”

Except I don’t. The digital subscription specifically includes app access on smartphones but excludes access on tablets. That’s $5 more per month.

It makes no sense.

Digital ubiquity is device agnostic.

The New York Times has a product it can’t sell and a service that puts customers into digital silos.

We don’t live in digital silos.

Companies need to rethink their business models in ways that mesh with customer behavior. I might pay $30 a month for a digital subscription, but I won’t pay $15 +5 (smartphone) or $35 for Web/smartphone/tablet minus crossword puzzle (which is an additional $6.95 a month).

Have a headache yet?

Organizations that talk to, respond to, and design products and services for customers because they are connected will have a competitive edge. Everyone else is going to have to figure it out or be left behind.

How is your business preparing for digital ubiquity?

Photo by Brian Pennington (Flickr).

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