As a 21st century brand, you’re on mobile. You’re on social networks. You’re tracking customer behavior and looking into brand new ways to target them. You’re on top of all this tech, right?

Actually, you’re only just getting started. You may be opening up new opportunities, but chances are, you’re still handcuffed by outmoded ways of thinking.

The network and ecosystem have changed. Everyone’s talking to everyone now. Everyone has or will have the potential to reach a universal audience from the palm of his or her hand, for free, in an instant.

According to eMarketer, “Just under one-quarter of the world’s total population will use smartphones this year — and by 2017, more than one-third of all people around the globe will be smartphone users.” Meaning that in the not-too-distant future, nearly every last one of us — from a CEO in Manhattan to a farmer in Nigeria — will be able to share their thoughts and ideas, worldwide, for free, in HD, on the go.

This democratization of communication modes is completely transforming society — and your consumers. Their abilities to share what they do, where they do it, and how they liked it, are exploding.

This means the networked ecosystem is now where your business needs to operate.

In a world where consumers have enormous influence, you must ask how can you leverage that power to drive value for your brand.

Look at “network-first” companies like Lenndo, which bases credit-worthiness on social media profiles instead of credit reports, and Patientslikeme, which connects people suffering from diseases to share experiences, information, and create better treatments. These trendsetters are redefining their industries and upsetting the status quo while taking a growing piece of market share.

You too can — and must — think outside conventional organizational lines and use the burgeoning network of people and things to drive new value.

Get out of the weeds of your organizations and focus everything — strategies, tactics, organizational initiatives, marketing, sales, and human resources — on how the networked consumer is going to engage the marketplace.

Take recruiting. How will those opportunities be filled in a marketplace of knowledge workers who are all connected? Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Indeed, and others point to a different approach to the power dynamics at play in a networked universe.

How will supply chains be sourced and fulfilled, and product parts manufactured? Networked 3D printing will be a reality. What does that mean for your product development, sourcing, and retailing universes?

How will we deliver better wellness solutions to keep our teams healthy and avoid skyrocketing, inefficient, procedure-driven health care costs? Omada Health, Turntable Health, Oscar, and Better point to a new way.

All of this needs to be top-of-mind as we move into the next year — and more importantly — the next half of the decade.

Be part of the conversation

If everyone’s talking to everyone across digital platforms, around the world, you need to be a part of it to shape the conversation. That means taking advantage of all social channels and knowing — inside-and-out — what’s happening in the digital spheres of influence impacting your brand, product, company, and industry vertical.

You need to be screen-agnostic and analyze and measure the impact of your communications across platforms where people are, when they’re there, and in ways that are meaningful to them — around the globe. Only then can you decide what to say, when, and where to drive the conversation to the precise place your business needs it to go.

The connected and networked world is an exciting opportunity for companies to drive meaningful change, transform into faster, more nimble consumer-centric organizations, and connect to ever-expanding global markets in ever-more powerful and efficient ways.

It’s time to capitalize on the power of the networked economy and turn the era of connection into a time of opportunity for your brand, your company, and your career.

Jeff Dachis is chief evangelist for Sprinklr. Prior to this role, he founded and sold Dachis Group, a pioneering social business software and solutions firm, to Sprinklr. He is also the co-founder, former CEO, and former chairman of Razorfish, the world’s largest digital marketing solutions firm. He is passionate about the intersection of the Internet, technology, big data, social marketing, digital marketing, design, entrepreneurship, and startups. You can reach Jeff on Twitter @jeffdachis.