I'm having a field day at the Collision Conference in New Orleans. I will be sharing a ton of insights and interviews I've had, but this one couldn't wait. Sheldon Monteiro, SVP and CTO at SapientNitro so eloquently summed up the 7 most critical factors of growth, that I want to share with you what he presented.

The One That Rules Them All
As his talk was on the "CMO 2.0: Rise of the Chief Marketing Technologist", it's not surprising that digital was at the core at all 7 factors of growth. Today, digital impacts everything you do as a business--regardless of what business you're in. As we explore the 7 most critical factors of growth, we'll illustrate and reinforce how digital has been the persistent factor that impacts all of them today and for the foreseeable future.

Factor #1: Experience
Do you remember reading that book The Experience Economy back in 1999? Well, it's taken 16 years to come to fruition, but we're finally here. Businesses have shifted from being "Customer Focused" to "Experience-led" and largely due to the impact of digital. Now with big data, we can measure the impact of the experiences we create both online and offline. No longer is it good enough to focus on the customer, we need to lead with powerful experiences that move our customers to action. Smart phones are connecting our customers to unique experiences and we're getting real-time feedback. The Experience Economy took longer than we were all expecting, but make no mistake. We're here and the companies that deliver amazing experiences are growing substantially faster than those who merely focus on their customers.

Factor #2: Commerce
We used to focus on a "Point Solution" such as ringing the cash register or driving a shopping cart basket through to a specific check out page. These were the point solutions, which have given way to "Omni-Channel" commerce. You can buy just about anything from just about anywhere thanks to open APIs, cloud computing and agile methods. From ordering a pizza via Facebook, to hitting the "buy" button on Pinterest, to using your Apple Watch to make a payment without pulling out your credit card, the nature of commerce has evolved to an omni-channel strategy that requires an entirely new way of envisioning the way people buy things today.

Factor #3: Organization
If you're company is still operating in silos, you will be disrupted within the next few years. Collaboration reigns supreme with the deployment of cloud computing and agile methods of working together. Smart phones let your employees work anywhere, anytime on anything. Instead of organizing your team in siloed functional areas, take a queue from Slack, which brings your core team of innovators together--despite having formal structure. Breaking up teams by functional areas is an archaic way of organization your company. Instead, building agile teams who collaborate and solve problems.

Factor #4: Marketing
Perhaps I'm jaded because I've been talking about this one for the past 22 years, but marketing has (long ago) migrated from "Mass" to "Precision". This one should be obvious, but many companies still treat marketing as a one-to-many function. No question that's easier to do, but your results are screaming that it's the wrong thing to do at any price. Precision is about thin slicing your target so that you're authentically speaking to the very heart of the person you're looking to engage. The more narrow, the more focused, the better your results.

Factor #5: Data
We've moved from "Backward Looking" to "Real-Time Impact". Gone are the days when we review data from a historical perspective. By that time the opportunity has already slipped through your fingers. Real-time impact is about seeing your data in the moment and making decisions that impact your growth right now. Retailers are able to pinpoint the inventory that's not moving and do something about it (i.e. merchandise differently). Traffic apps reroute fleets of drivers in real-time to keep them moving and allowing deliveries to arrive on time. Google Analytics, Adobe Test & Target and other reporting platforms allow you to change up what's not working online and immediately address the blockage in your customer journey. Gone are the weekly, monthly and quarterly reports. By then you've missed the opportunity.

Factor 6: Products & Services
It's no longer about "Individual Products", but rather a "Service Ecosystem". Just like your organization if your products are operating in their own silos, you will continue to lose market share. Today your product must operate in an well defined ecosystem. This is why Apple's and SalesForce.com's App Store have done so incredibly well. They know that their product isn't the whole enchilada. Sure the first iPhone and original version of SalesForce.com was powerful, but neither was anything compared to what they have now that there's a full end-to-end service ecosystem built on their platforms. More over, you don't have to be the platform to be hugely successful. Just look at Marketo who has become the default marketing automation system tightly integrated to SalesForce.com. By building your product into a larger service ecosystem, your building off the momentum created by other well-established businesses.

Factor 7: Enterprise IT
We used to live in an "Industrial" world. Now we're living in "Multi-Speed". What does that mean? No longer does the IT department control the speed of technology adoption. Agile methods have allowed non-technical groups like marketing departments to deploy technology at speeds previously unthinkable. If a need exists, technology will be deployed at the speed commiserate to the level of the need--despite a company's desire to "maintain control".

Digital at the Core
With the help of smart phones, big data, wearables, open APIs, IoT (the internet of things), cloud computing and agile methods, it should be clear why digital is at the core of each of these seven forces. While none of this, in and of itself, is entirely new, my hat is off to Sheldon Monteiro, SVP and CTO at SapientNitro, for so eloquently summarizing what we all need to ensure we've figured out. Our growth (and ultimately our survival) are at stake if we get any of these 7 forces wrong.