Cloud computing, mobility and big data are propelling CIOs forward.

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The results: automotive manufacturers including Ford, Audi and BMW and retail giants such as Otto, Macy’s and H&M have digitized many processes, and have achieved above-average customer intimacy.

However, organizations in industries such as pharmaceuticals and the public sector are lagging behind.

Internet economy expert and neuland founder Karl-Heinz Land believes there’s a reason for this development: “Many enterprises are yet to recognize the trend towards dematerialization - a by-product of digitization – that is turning our economy, industry and society on its head.” But according to Land, the speed at which companies adapt to these new development, is the make-or-break factor.

Against this background, the expert speaks of “digital Darwinism.” He explains: “When enterprises can’t adapt to the pace of change of technology and society, they will no longer be able to connect with their customers.” And Land has identified an explanatory factor for the lacking customer focus: “lumbering IT departments that do not arm their user departments with the tools they need to survive and thrive in the digital world.” Mobility, customer support, e-commerce and digital marketing are just some of the categories Land used to study ten industries last year.

The Digital Readiness Index provides clear indicators such as enterprises’ expected growth, plus future agility and profitability.

In addition, it shows which organizations are already making inroads into the virtual world by digitizing their processes – from development to production – and boosting their customer focus.And this transformation pays off – as demonstrated in a global study carried out by the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).It found that enterprises with a high degree of digital maturity generate more revenues than average (9 percent), are significantly more profitable (26 percent) and have a higher market valuation (12 percent).For Karl-Heinz Land, social media, big data, the cloud, mobility and security are key technologies for meeting users’ “always and anywhere” expectations.But the flexibility that sales and support teams can deliver to consumers starts in the back-end – the IT.This is why Land believes that “companies need a customer-focused strategy for technology – such as T-Systems’ zero distance.