Digital Is Changing Everything . . . Except the Need for Strong Leadership – Forbes

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It’s impossible to exaggerate how profoundly the digital revolution already has impacted our lives, from banking, dating, dining, home-buying, shopping and traveling to the way we communicate, perform our work, get news, practice medicine, fight wars and design, manufacture and distribute things. The pace of change has been breathtaking and, if anything, may be accelerating.

Incredibly, just a generation ago, Amazon, Facebook and Google—among the companies driving this revolution—didn’t exist, and Apple and Microsoft were still in their infancy, with the original Windows operating system making its debut in 1985 and Windows 3.0 appearing in 1990.

Now, Apple, Alphabet (Google’s parent) and Microsoft are the three largest U.S. firms by market capitalization; Amazon is fifth and Facebook sixth.

More importantly, the digital revolution shows no signs of slowing down. Microsoft, for example, grabbed headlines earlier this summer when it announced plans to spend some $10-$15 billion to connect rural Americans to the internet “using TV white-space technology,” explained here. It clearly understands the upside of reaching millions of additional consumers.

By now, it should be obvious that the world of online streaming, artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality, additive manufacturing, autonomous driving, white spaces and all the other developments associated with the digital age are here to stay. And if you’re not keeping up, or better yet, staying ahead, you might pay a heavy price.

This is true not just for tech companies. Companies across virtually every industry are realizing that digital technology is disrupting and transforming how they work, compete and create value, and that their future success probably depends on their ability to make these forces work for them.

Leading digital transformations is no easy task because there’s more to it than mere technical know-how. Even executives with technical backgrounds, such as those leading high-tech aerospace and defense firms, have mixed records in this area, as a recent BCG analysis showed.

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