Gartner Blog Network

An atlas for digital opportunity

by Mark P. McDonald  |  May 6, 2013  |  Comments Off on An atlas for digital opportunity

An atlas is a collection of maps, graphical representations of the world that allow others to find their way in the new world.  We all face a new world of digital technology filled with uncharted territory.  Having an atlas of digital solutions would be helpful.  That would be nearly impossible given the endless and evolving world of digital possibilities.  Any digital atlas would be about as accurate as an atlas of the world constructed in the Renaissance — informative, incomplete and inaccurate.
While it is not possible to create an atlas of digital solutions, it is possible to outline the world of digital opportunity. An opportunity atlas provides a map for the relationships between various digital technologies and the solution areas where those technologies create value.  The digital opportunity atlas draft below reflects these two dimensions.


Insert the appropriate digital technologies in the columns of the atlas.  Gartner’s nexus of forces provide the columns for the example above.  The Nexus describes what the digital technologies are, but they shed a limited light on how those technologies come together to create value.  That is the focus of the rows in the digital opportunity atlas.


Ability is the opportunity for digital technology and its solutions.  Raising the ability of humans to be more informed, make better decisions, take more powerful actions, etc. reflects both the intrinsic nature of digital technologies as well as an immediate need for mankind.

Raising human ability demands raising enterprise ability, otherwise individual gains are lost in combination.  Enterprise ability revolves around creating new sources of value, revenue, sustainable operations, etc.  You cannot have one without the other, as many firms are finding when they near the edge of the productivity in their current business and technology models.

Raising ability, whether human or Ability requires creating new combinations that expand and evolve.  These combinations replace the prior focus on integrations that focused and consolidated actions and activities.   Thus an atlas of digital opportunities represents a combination of technologies (the columns) and the rows.

Draw your digital opportunity atlas by creating these connections and begin to map your digital solution future.

Additional Resources

View Free, Relevant Gartner Research

Gartner's research helps you cut through the complexity and deliver the knowledge you need to make the right decisions quickly, and with confidence.

Read Free Gartner Research

Category: digital-edge  digitalization  tools  

Tags: digitalization  tools  

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a Vice President and Fellow Emeritus in Gartner for General Managers Program.

Comments are closed

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.