Digital has affected everything around us—the way we eat, the way we shop, and the way we talk. Each generation—baby boomers, Generation X, and millennials—has found new ways to express understanding and to modernize meanings. said that in 2015, “we added more than 150 new words and definitions, and revised over 1,000 entries.” When is the last time you refreshed your lingo to align with the digital age?

For all those who are affected by the fear of missing out (FOMO), here are five words to ensure you look and speak digital:

1. Digital, formerly known as power

Last year, an article in Harvard Business Review predicted that “The next billion consumers to come online will be making their digital decisions on a mobile device—very different from the practices of the first billion that helped build many of the foundations of the current e-commerce industry.” Emerging markets have skipped an entire era of PCs and jumped right into mobility through tablets and smart phones. We have better communication. We have more power in our pockets than ever before, giving birth to seamless connectivity between devices. Natural, adaptive, and anticipatory needs are charting the course for reinventing customer experiences, with the aim of redefining the game.

FACT: According to Forrester Research, 89% of online adults use two or more types of Internet-connected devices. In fact, 59% of them have switched devices while completing common everyday tasks.

2. Collaboration, formerly known as transparency

Collaboration is nothing new. However, with the rise of cloud computing and a faster Internet, connectivity and transparency of information have taken on a whole new spin. Enterprises are able to compete at a global scale, share knowledge across boundaries, and empower people both outside and within the company.


FACT: Aberdeen found that collaboration improves operational performance, with a 131% increase in operational efficiency, a 122% improvement in on-time project delivery, and a 55% increase in annual company revenue. The research also showed that collaboration improves customer centricity, with customer response times improving by 96% and the shortening of the average sales cycle improving by 116%.

3. Analytics, formerly known as personalization or customization

Information today often takes on a life of its own. The level at which we talk about data has changed. We now talk more about metadata or big data. Data science and analytics are becoming their own industry, and companies are just playing catch up. The definitions of products and services are also becoming interchangeable. Digitally enabled, analytically powered smartphones provide users with transparency, predictability, dependability, and convenience. For example, geomapping and analytics have transformed the experience (and minimized the competitive pressure during the New York rush hour) of hailing a cab to simply tapping a button.

FACT: More than 38 billion things will connect to the Internet by 2020 (Juniper Research).

4. Agility, formerly known as failure

Companies are slowly reshaping their business models to adapt and benefit from rigorous emerging technology innovations. Startups and startup culture surround you in coffee shops and corporate offices. Adapting to the culture of fail first, fail fast allows for agility and maturity to drive innovation.

FACT: Cognizant has found that 33% of companies have changed their business models to derive the benefits from a better use of customer data (100 Questions, Page 18, Cognizant Centre for the Future of Work and Oxford Economics).

5. Popularity, formerly known as currency

The way we market or think about marketing has evolved over the years. McKinsey says that “Relevance is the currency of the digital age.” We chase bloggers, social-media experts, and influencers of the digital era. How did you get a million people to follow you in a week?

FACT: Barclays found that 84% of companies use some form of social media to achieve a wide array of objectives—from tracking internal project-management progress to brand bolstering to improving net promoter scores.

What language are you speaking?

In 2014, the Internet completed 20 years of widespread existence. We know it as the era of information. Boundaries of information were redefined. People all across the world were, for the first time, consuming, experiencing, and sharing without boundaries. A new meaning of the term digital was born, and over the years its definition has become only more complex and nuanced. What else has changed in our worlds?

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We’re looking deeper and wider than ever before. When we say to gather market insights or understand and improve customer experiences, we mean digital.

The digital economy is the single most influential driver of innovation, growth, and competitiveness. New digital trends such as cloud, mobile, IoT, and machine-to-machine connections through sensors are radically changing the business landscape, reshaping the business models and revenue streams, erasing the boundaries of enterprises, and increasing the responsibilities of business leaders. With less than 40% of today’s firms being truly digital, the opportunity in front of most companies is immense. Instead of letting FOMO guide their strategies, companies must try to understand the new semantics, reshape their business models, and benefit from being in the ever-changing digital mainstream.

What other semantics do you find changing the digital world?

Join Cognizant at Adobe Summit to learn how we are helping  our clients move beyond customer experience, from doing digital to being digital. Request a meeting with our digital experts onsite or attend our speaking session with US Bank on a 360 Degree View of Customer Data.

Sowri Krishnan

Sowri Krishnan

Sowri is Senior Vice-President at Cognizant Digital Business, heading the company’s Interactive and Cloud Lift business, globally. He has 20-plus years of... Read more