oa South African Journal of Information Management - Convergence of emerging information technology and business practice in the digital economy
The current era has been termed the knowledge era. It needs to be questioned what makes it so different from previous eras to have been specifically characterised as constituting a new era of business. A central tenet of the current era is the convergence of information technology and business systems in what has been variously termed the digital, knowledge, global, network or the new economy. At the core of these concepts, which for all practical purposes are in effect very similar in nature, is the reality that modern day economic transformation is being driven by the development and diffusion of emerging information technology. It is such a pervasive transformation that there are few domains of the business environment in which organizations function that have not been influenced by it. Consequently it entails a dramatic shift in the traditional strategy, business operations and culture of enterprises both within the public and the private sector. Transformations that impact on all aspects of the economy and society are rare. With this in mind this article sets out to trace the convergence of emerging technology and innovative business practice. The digital economy is as much a story about changes in business practice, global market structures, human learning experiences, a changing society and political systems as it is about emerging technology innovations. As this new age unfolds, South African business institutions will need to contend with a radically transforming business environment, one that will require a new strategic business model. The characteristics of this environment are briefly explored and a strategic model presented for debate. This model is designed to integrate business practice and information technology transformation.
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