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Lack of digital standards making data management increasingly complicated

With no international alignment on how to regulate the digital environment, organizations are managing an increasingly complicated set of conflicting rules in key markets, according to a new report from management consulting firm A.T. Kearney.

At the same time, there are growing fears about a new “digital cold war” and the “splinternet,” where the Internet becomes more balkanized, the report said. This is forcing organizations worldwide to shift strategies on everything from procurement to customer engagement.

The study, put together by the firm’s Global Business Policy Council, said companies can no longer be passive observers of the digital revolution. Instead, they need to actively adapt to the present disorder while also preparing for the future digital order by embarking on strategic end-to-end digital transformations.

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Green LED lights and rows of fibre optic cables are seen feeding into a computer server inside a comms room at an office in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014. Vodafone Group Plc will ask telecommunications regulator Ofcom to guarantee that U.K. wireless carriers, which rely on BT's fiber network to transmit voice and data traffic across the country, are treated fairly when BT sets prices and connects their broadcasting towers. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Much attention is focused on the “techlash” nature of new policies on key issues such as consumer privacy, data protection, and anti-competitive practices, the report said. But many governments are now aiming to strike a balance in policies that both maximize the upsides of digital business and mitigate its downsides.

Whether those governments are able to deftly strike such a balance will influence the ability of companies to use digital technologies effectively in the coming years, the report said.

“This cycle of innovation, adoption, and then regulation is consistent with previous waves of technological change,” said Paul Laudicina, founder and chairman of A.T. Kearney’s Global Business Policy Council and co-author of the report. “Today, the intense regulatory debate regarding digital technologies is creating a high degree of uncertainty about how the policy environment will evolve.”

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