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53% of IT and marketing directors and executives expect data, apps and technology enabled processes to impact enterprise results in a moderate way in the next 12 months.

We've witnessed the remarkable growth of technology since the beginning of the dot com era, and the digital divide we've heard mostly about has to do with those who have access to that technology and those who don't. The digital divide is as much of a social problem as it is an economic problem, but there's also a growing divide in business between the companies who best take advantage of data and those who don't, an Apigee Institute survey has found.

App Economy Rewards Data Intensive Organizations

That the most data intensive companies appear to be more competitive than their counterparts is one of the biggest insights from the Apigee Institute's survey of 200 IT and marketing executives from firms with at least US $500 million in annual revenue.

This data divide among businesses is growing, and there are several recommended steps to take in order to keep up, Apigee reported in a report on the so called programmable enterprise. Together, the two reports make up the maiden publications of the newly created Apigee Institute, a research group formed by API vendor Apigee.

Taking advantage of developer and enterprise data is what Apigee does as an API provider to many large companies. With the formation of the Apigee Institute, the group hopes to tap into the c suite by providing reports and research on what it knows best.

In this case, Apigee surveyed directors and executives on just how dependent they are on their internal digital capabilities. Those who were the most successful in using data analytics, deploying apps and operating APIs, for example, were also more likely to self report they were outperforming their competitors on key business metrics, the report found.

Apigee defines these groups as top digital performers, and they were three times more likely to report strong outperformance on gross revenue and margin over their competitors. Companies who are taking advantage of their data capabilities seem to simply be even more confidant of their ability to do so in the future, and to consistently outperform their competitors.

That's a bit of a tenuous correlation, but it does highlight the fact business executives and directors could benefit competitively if they put more focus on their digital prowess.

"It's this simple; if you are a decision maker in a large company and want to stay relevant, apps, APIs and data should already be at the heart of what you do or next on your list," Chet Kapoor, CEO of Apigee said in a statement.

On Becoming a Programmable Enterprise

As smart, mobile devices have proliferated, the Web economy has become the app economy, what Apigee calls the programmable world. Businesses can keep up with the changing world if they respond to this device proliferation by becoming programmable enterprises.

Apigee recommends executives take the initiative on transferring customer and partner interactions to a digital platform, and to shoot for about 50% of those interactions to be digital by 2015. To begin this process, Apigee recommends benchmarking digtal capabilities against the top performers in a given industry.

Furthermore, companies need to align marketing and IT departments, ensure digital investments are connected directly to enterprise KPIs and to choose ROI criteria that pushes improved decisions on digital investments, Apigee reported.