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Hardcover How Digital Is Your Business? Book

ISBN: 0609607707

ISBN13: 9780609607701

How Digital Is Your Business?

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Book Overview

The authors of "The Profit Zone" cut through the digital hype and show that becoming a digital company means going back to basics and focusing on customers, profit, talent and time. Slywotzky and Morrison provide the ideas, tools and examples everyone in business needs.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Real Insights, Practical Tools, Great examples

As the world turns, firms are coming to realize that the real action in the digital space is --quietly, quickly and systemically -- seeing what new profit options digital technologies can open up for your customers and your firm. This book sets important frameworks for thinking, provides great checklists and templates, and goes through important examples on how it has been done.A great companion to this is "Net Ready" by Amir Hartman and John Sifonis -- Read Slywotsky's book first --then use Net ready tools to continue through implementation. (These two books are the basis for the "Coaching in the Converging Economy" course in the MBA Program in the Smeal College of Business at Penn State.)"How Digital is Your Business" reflects great thinking, practically tuned.

Great introduction to DBD for those new to the game

There are a plethora of business books that may be quickly tossed aside as current events rend their relevance asunder. This is not one of those books.Slywotzky and Morrison have admirably produced a generic template by which any business in any industry may move toward a more digital business design. Offering all the answers would be an insurmountable task. Instead Slywotzky and Morrison provide the proper questions any businessperson should ask. The book's title, in the form of a question, is an indication that readers will be required to do much thinking to provide their own answers.According to the authors, the objective of business is to know what the customer wants, rather than guessing and gambling that a set of pre-produced products will strike the customer's fancy. All in all, Slywotzky and Morrison sample companies that: 1. Develop a new DBD without the burden of legacy systems or infrastructure (Cisco, eBay) 2. Form a hybrid model of DBD from a largely virtual organization to one that encompasses virtual and physical facilities (Dell) 3. See the necessity to change from their traditional business model to DBD and have the courage to commit (Schwab, GE, IBM ) 4. May never have considered DBD in the past since their industry did not seem to fit the mold (Cemex)These four divisions seem to apply to the majority of companies in existence today. In effect, any company can benefit from DBD if their fundamental business model is already sound. Slywotzky and Morrison focus on successful companies that have adopted DBD. I would have been interested to hear more about companies that tried and failed to change their business. The authors do mention the Schlitz Beer debacle of the mid-1970's in which the company assumed (wrongly) that customers wouldn't notice an unappetizing haze at the bottom of the bottle. But this example doesn't address a failure to implement Digital Business Design. Perhaps in their next book, Slywotzky and Morrison can provide us their in-depth analysis of some specific DBD failures. There are plenty of examples to choose from this year.An important dimension not addressed in the book is DBD adjustment during bad economic times. How might DBD be beneficial in an economic downturn, such as we are experiencing now? Unfortunately, the book was published just as the crash of 2000 occurred. There weren't many companies to examine in terms of approach to the sudden change of the economy. I presume we will see many such books in the coming year, and I would suggest that the authors of "How Digital..." update their book to include shining icons (if any) of economic survival, thanks, in part, to DBD.Slywotzky and Morrison are quick to point out that the successful digital innovators did not arrive at their current state without pain. They also do not pretend that the DBD enhancements of these companies are perfect. But the companies are constantly striving to improve their business designs.Chapter 15, "The Digita

A Great Book on Using Digital Technology Strategically

This is not a book on the latest technology fad. Instead, it is about business strategy, and how to use technology to develop and execute the right strategy. The book has three key premises:1) A business must be run according to its "business design" (the framework the authors use for developing and articulating the strategy a business should follow).2) Digital technology dramatically enhances the strategic opportunities available to any business today -- even if it is not obvious at first how.3) Business success (i.e. growth and profitability) depends crucially on figuring out what those opportunities are, determining how to exploit those opportunities, and then aligning the company around executing on those opportunities.The natural audience for this book is anyone who has P & L responsibility (or aspires to have such responsibility) in a business or a division.In my opinion, the message is dead-on. In particular, I think the "business design" construct they use is extremely powerful and actionable. My only complaint is that I wish they had spent a chapter explaining the "business design" construct in more detail for readers not already familiar with it. (The authors might respond that they have already done so in their earlier books -- "Value Migration" and "The Profit Zone" in particular -- but as they themselves say, you must repeat your message 700 times if you want it to be heard!)The book is extremely readable: * The first two chapters explain the basic concept. * Many of the subsequent chapters are devoted to an analysis of a particular business and how that business used technology to its strategic advantage. * A few chapters are devoted to particular digitally-enabled strategic options or themes that the authors believe deserve highlighting. * The last chapter exhorts the reader to champion and execute digital opportunities tirelessly, and gives some tips for how to do so.All in all, a great book for anyone interested in this topic.

A CEO/CIO Perspective on Computer Investment Objectives

This title of this book is misleading to the detriment of the book's sales by understating the book's focus. The subject matter is really how to create new business models for outperforming competitors by taking advantage of the potential of computers and electronic communications. You can become more digital and not differentiate yourself in the eyes of customers, and that will be a losing strategy, as the authors make clear. In fact, almost all companies fall into that trap now.I found this to be by far the best book that the authors have written. The ideas are immediately applicable, the concepts are clear, and the writing is especially transparent. This book will be valuable to CEOs by making them more aware of how to redesign a business model, and to bring them up-to-date on the potential applications of information technology for this purpose. The book will be valuable to CIOs by making them aware of business model redesign as a discipline. Companies usually make computer investments because the old system can't be kept running any more, or because of some potential for incremental cost savings. By contrast with those approaches, the authors' concept of Digital Business Design is "about using digital options to craft a business model that is not only superior, but unique." So before you spend all that money to put in all kinds of new data processing capability, consider this book. It will be your best investment. But realize that the book is also not focused on technology, per se. So if you want to learn specifically about which digital technologies you should be applying, look elsewhere.The book is made practical by a four quadrant approach to help you diagnose the quality of your business model's design and how digital you are. Most companies will find themselves in the weak business design quadrant. The dot coms are highly digitalized, but usually have weak business models. Some innovative companies have great business models but are slow to put in computer technology. In a series of case histories, the authors make the case for having much more rapid revenue, profit, and stock price growth from using Digital Process Design. The examples include Dell versus Compaq, Cemex's computer-based dispatch of roving cement trucks in Mexico, Charles Schwab versus Merrill Lynch, Cisco Systems versus 3 Com et al, GE, IBM, AOL, eBay, and Yahoo! I enjoyed the way the authors posed the next set of business model challenges these companies face today. The benefits of this new approach include improvements in knowledge, better fitting with customers, operating in real time to get results faster, customers happily serving themselves to create better results at lower cost, preventing errors rather than fixing them after the fact, enormous productivity improvements rather than small ones, and totally integrated business systems within and without your company. The authors give you a set of questions to lead you through the analysis ne

Finally, a book about STRATEGY first

As the books about digital technologies continue to pile up, you may wonder which ones to read, if any. The authors readily acknowledge this in their introduction, but claim differentiation from their focus on strategy first and technology second.They are smack on the money.Almost all books today speak about how the "Internet changes everything," how there is "this technology" and "that technology" that can turn your company into a super power. What they don't consider is how your business model itself is affected. As a businessperson, it is the latter that I want to understand - how will my strategies need to change, and what are the new concepts I should integrate into my current strategy to ensure competitiveness over the next year or two. This is the focus of the book.You have already seen many of the companies that are covered - Cisco, Dell, GE - but they are now dissected with a focus on their strategies rather than technologies. Much more interesting are the discussions of trends and concepts that you can apply right away. For example, as customers change from passive to active, how can you leverage that trend to enable faster growth and better service? A second example involves the Choiceboard, a strategic tool you can use to raise your business model. As I see dot.com's falling like flies, I continually consider how they would have fared if they could have focused on their business model rather than just introducing cool new technologies.While the book was weak on the technology side, I was fine with that. My priority is to focus on my business model first, and then to understand which technologies will get me where I want to go.Overall, I'd highly recommend it for any strategist. Those with a deep focus on technology may be dissatisfied, but anyone who is concerned with their business model will find much insight within.
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