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Six crucial strategies that define digital winners

Leading organizations use AI to gain insights into the customer experience and to create impact through redesigning critical operational processes.

Virtually all of us use companies that have pivoted to successful platform business models, embraced AI, and pioneered other digital technologies. These companies have inevitably taken one step beyond the obvious, and they’ve inevitably taken intrepid risks.

Many of these companies have reinvented themselves and significantly boosted their sales and market values. But not every company that travels this road will thrive so spectacularly. Still, organizations are asking the same questions: What is the secret to successfully leveraging platforms, AI, and other digital technologies in today’s digital race? What strategies and operating models are winning?

We found out by identifying the characteristics and strategies of the world’s most prosperous digital companies. These leading companies report their people, processes, products, services, and technologies set them apart. Their operating models include responsiveness, innovation, and brand and market reputation focus, all while providing consistent outcomes.

The capabilities that differentiate such companies from others—learning, speed, and ongoing exploration—fuel their strategies. These same capabilities bolster the bets they’re making on new platform business models and support their singular and distinctive focus on mastering a new era of branding. Reconceiving the customer experience on platforms and establishing deep bonds of trust take center stage.

In this Research Insight, we explore the top six strategies these companies pursue to perpetuate success in the digital marketplace:

  1. Orchestrate digital ecosystems and platforms.

  2. Build trust to build your brand.

  3. Reimagine customer behavior.

  4. Curate data that “thinks” and “acts.”

  5. Create an exponential learning environment.

  6. Foster a culture of inclusion.


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Meet the authors

Karen Butner, Global Research Leader, Supply Chain, Automation, Virtual Enterprise, IBM Institute for Business Value, Consulting

Manish Goyal, Global Leader, Artificial Intelligence (AI) practice, IBM Consulting

Julie Scanio

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, Global Business Advisor for Watson Internet of Things Consulting Solutions, IBM Consulting


Skip Snyder

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, Vice President, Partner, and Growth Leader, IBM Consulting

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Originally published 18 July 2019