A new report from research company Gartner has outlined what factors are going to be necessary for businesses looking to adapt to the digital revolution and stay ahead of their competition.

There were a number of key findings to come out of the report, with reconfiguring businesses towards a digital outlook essential for many firms. Embracing cloud-based solutions for challenges like strategy planning will become more important as this sector develops over time.

Companies were also encouraged to invest more in leadership development in order to build the technical capabilities of management. Getting these processes in place is an essential ingredient to make sure that companies can adjust to a digital business model.

While these trends are continuing to shape the future of digital corporate practices, there was also a warning when it came to preserving competitiveness. Gartner warned that companies will need to pursue their digital competence if they want to remain competitive.

In fact, the company warns that 25 per cent of businesses will lose their competitive ranking by 2017 if they are unable to pursue a digital business model. 

Ken McGee, vice president and Gartner Fellow, suggested this trend would particularly hit companies which are unable to adjust to new a new digital terrain.

"Digital business is not synonymous with IT. It is about revenue, value, markets and customers. It is outward-focused. It is a metaphorical combination of front office, top line and downstage compared with back office, bottom line and backstage. True, information and technology help to build the capabilities for digital businesses, but they are only part of a complex picture," said Mr McGee.

While this is a stark warning for companies who have yet to invest in online business processes, there are still possibilities for companies to embrace digital services in order to overcome the challenges they currently face.