Digital capital takes two forms. The first is traditionally counted tangible assets, such as servers, routers, online-purchasing platforms, and basic Internet software. They appear as capital investment on company books. Yet a large and growing portion of whatâ€™s powering todayâ€™s digital economy consists of a second type of digital capitalâ€”intangible assets.
They are manifold: the unique designs that engage large numbers of users and improve their digital experiences; the digital capture of user behavior, contributions, and social profiles; the environments that encourage consumers to access products and services; and the intense big-data and analytics capabilities that can guide operations and business growth. They also include a growing range of new business models for monetizing digital activity, such as patents and processes that can be licensed for royalty income, and the brand equity that companies like Google or Amazon.com create through digital engagement.