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If you’re just starting with digital transformation then the purpose of this post is to fast track you to some of the best literature and sources of thought leadership that I have found, since launching The Digital Transformation People back in January 2016.
Here are 4 excellent books that will give you a good understanding of what digital transformation is, and some practical insights on how to do it.
In October 2014, a groundbreaking book called Leading Digital: Turning Technology Into Business Transformation by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet and Andrew McAfee was published following a collaborative study by MIT and Capgemini. Based on a study of more than 400 global firms this book was the first I’ve found to really define the phenomena of digital transformation; the context and drivers for it and a roadmap for successful transformation. They were the first to coin the term “Digital Mastery” and showed a direct correlation between successful digital transformation and very significant gains in profitability. This is a must read and will give you a step-by-step guide on how to better engage with your customers, enhance operations and lead and govern your digital activities.
I’d recommend you read the whole thing but if you’d like an executive summary you can read it here.
Another great book that will give you some more context around the urgency of digital transformation and some insights into the rise of the so-called ‘Unicorn’s is The Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You by Geoffrey G Parker, Marshall V. Van Alstyne and Sangeet Paul Choudary.
You know about Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, they are all platform businesses who have discovered new ways to create value by leveraging the power of the network. As famously stated by Tom Goodwin in 2015: ‘Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.’
Platform businesses are a new phenomena that have learned to use technology to tap into new sources of value creation and supply from the network, without the need to carry vast inventory or assets themselves. A platform business going up against a traditional pipeline business will always win. The Platform Revolution will explain how and why this works and how you can leverage network effects within your own organisation.
So you’ll now know the key drivers for digital transformation and the threat posed by the new platform businesses and it’s clear that something has to change. You must learn to innovate to discover new ways to create value whilst continuing to run and protect your core business assets and customer base. How does an enterprise business organise itself to discover new sources of revenue and growth through innovation that could see it pivot into an entirely new business model?
The best answer I found to this question comes from Geoffrey Moore who you may know from Crossing The Chasm, in his new book Zone to Win.
This exceptional book explains how the modern enterprise can organise itself to encourage, test and leverage new innovations whilst continuing to deliver on the core revenue generating and efficient practices necessary for an effective enterprise. Moore explains that by dividing the enterprise into 4 distinct zones with the right metrics and governance in place for each, it is possible to protect the core business whilst discovering and scaling new revenue models. In fact, he makes the case that in this way, incumbents actually have a significant competitive advantage as they can use their existing routes to market and assets to quickly scale new revenue models. So, in this way, the enterprise can equip itself to defend against disruption and even go on the offensive and become a disruptor itself.
Finally, the decision is made and you are embarking upon a digital transformation. There’s no better time to enlist the help of a seasoned practitioner to walk you through every aspect of how to make your digital transformation a success.
Lindsay Herbert’s Digital Transformation: Build Your Organization’s Future for the Innovation Age will give you exactly that. Full of insights from experienced practitioners and with many examples across multiple sectors, Lindsay takes you through the definition, organisational structure and methods required to give your digital transformation the best chance of success. You’ll discover practical insights from people who have done this before as well as a grounding in new methods like DevOps and Design Thinking. Lindsay will take you through the organisational structure required, key stakeholders, roles & responsibilities, working with suppliers, the barriers you’ll face and the best ways to overcome them.
So there you have it, a step-by-step guide to delivering digital transformation from Lindsay Herbert. If digital transformation is on your to-do list then this along with Leading Digital, The Platform Revolution and Zone To Win should give you an excellent start to getting the job done.
I hope you found this useful and please share if you have any comments or recommendations of your own.
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