This sponsored post is produced by Axway.

Everywhere you turn, there’s no escaping the impact that digital technology has had on our professional and personal lives. From smartphones and social networks to cloud computing, big data, and now the Internet of Things, digital technologies have transformed organizations across every industry and in the process, have rewritten the rules of business.

In today’s digital world, expectations are skyrocketing. Competitive landscapes are being reshaped, opportunities appear and disappear faster than ever before, established business models are becoming obsolete overnight, and the way organizations interact with customers, partners, and even competitors is changing beyond recognition.

Stepping back, the impact has been startling. Half of the Fortune 500 companies have disappeared since the year 2000. From the data center all the way to the mobile device, and now out to the physical environment, new approaches to delivering immersive experiences have emerged. In the process, many of the existing systems, processes, and relationships that have defined the business landscape for the last century, have changed significantly or have been made obsolete.

What’s fascinating about all the changes taking place is the increasingly blurred line between the digital and physical worlds. The lack of distinction between the two also forces us all to rethink how we do business — which is exactly what digital business is all about. In order to increase agility, innovation, and customer responsiveness, enterprises must rethink their digital strategies.

This rethink is essential as it is the only way organizations can meet, and ultimately exceed, rising customer expectations. Simply put, technology has introduced and provided customers with access to all new solutions and services. They can buy anything, from anyone, instantly, and have it delivered anywhere. They also have more information at their fingertips about organizations, products, and services than ever before, and if they don’t like something, they can tell the world in minutes. It may have had a few false starts before, but the “age of the customer” has truly arrived.

To be successful in this new world order and enable a new way of doing business, organizations need to connect people, processes, and intelligent things seamlessly into their business processes. This type of integration is often a complex journey that requires organizations to first enable digital connectivity, then digital services and finally — digital experiences.

While a company’s exact starting point might vary due to their legacy infrastructure and environments, these are three key steps that all organizations need to carefully manage to create the foundation for digital enablement:

1. Digital connectivity

Business processes have changed dramatically with the advent of digital. There is more data created and collected from more sources across organizations than organizations have previously had to manage. To capitalize on the opportunities this presents and unlock insights from the avalanche of data, organizations need to convert business processes to digital ones and connect data flows across silos by using technologies such as APIs, MFT and EDI integration.

2. Digital services

Exposing and consuming business services through digital channels can expand business relationships and add value for customers. Google Maps is a perfect example. Think of all the different applications and services that it is integrated with — everything from Yelp to Uber — and how that ultimately increases the value of Google Maps for both Google and its business partners. And this isn’t just something for the new generation of technology companies to take advantage of. Businesses in retail, finance, hospitality, and many other industries have the opportunity to use APIs to enable partners to leverage their services in new ways, and in turn, create new revenue streams.

3. Digital experiences

Changing how business works and creating new business models through digital platforms is vital to digital success. For example, banking services are becoming dramatically different as individuals can easily access information in a mobile environment equally as well as they can in person. The journey that Amazon has been taking also shows what is possible. Over the years, it has created new business models through its digital platforms that have transformed its core business from an online bookstore to a cloud-computing giant that is competing with traditional enterprise IT companies like Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft.

By following these principles, organizations can set themselves up for success. Putting in place the foundational elements to power digital business can yield the agility needed to deliver compelling customer experiences and capitalize on new business opportunities as they arise.

While the process can seem daunting to organizations that come from a different era of doing business, the path doesn’t have to keep business leaders up at night. Astute executives that embrace these changes and enable their organizations to capitalize on digital technologies can navigate this new environment swiftly to ensure success.

Don’t dread digital anymore — focus on enabling it.

Jeanine Banks is Executive Vice President, Global Products & Solutions at Axway.

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