The “combined value” to society and industry of the digitization that is already occurring in every industry could generate upwards of $100 trillion over the next 10 years, with society set to gain more than business.

However, this transformation also brings with it risk, according to new research by the World Economic Forum.

With digitization affecting every industry and creating new ways of capturing and creating value, the research, which is part of the Forum’s Digital Transformation of Industries (DTI) project, focuses on the “combinatorial” effects of digital technologies – mobile, cloud, artificial intelligence, sensors and analytics, among others.

“Society and the environment stand to gain the greatest share of the rewards from digitization through improvements to welfare, health and other means. To capitalise fully, however, policy-makers must put in place an agile regulatory environment and incentive mechanisms that unlock investment, while businesses must fully embrace sustainable business practices. There is a win-win for business and society if we can look beyond immediate commercial gain in favour of long term value creation,” said Mark Spelman, Co-Head, Future of the Internet Initiative, World Economic Forum.

“This in-depth industry analysis proves that there can be no business strategy today without digital strategy. Being digital means being ready to go beyond technology investments to embrace wider organisational and cultural change,” said Mark Knickrehm, Group Chief Executive, Accenture Strategy, Accenture, USA.

“To succeed, business leaders must be able to balance existing capabilities with big-bet investments in entirely new digital business models. And they must be prepared to take risks with partners across industry borders,” he said.

About the Digital Transformation of Industries Project

In 2015, the DTI project had two areas of focus. It developed detailed perspectives on the impact of digital technologies across six sectors – automotive, consumer industries, electricity, health, logistics and media – to identify key digital drivers and trends, outline industry-specific opportunities and risks, and calculate the sector-specific value-at-stake for business and society.

The project also identified common digital patterns across industries and investigated key questions about them. The four cross-industry themes identified were Digital Consumption, Digital Enterprise, Societal Implications and Platform Governance.

In 2016, the initiative will focus on the impact of digital transformation on an additional 10 industries, further deep-dives into industries from this year’s project, and examine a number of cross-industry topics such as platform governance, societal impact, and policy and regulation.

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