Graham Waller & Mark Raskino’s new book on Digital business has a lot to recommend it. The two authors are colleagues at Gartner and it’s clear that the book unifies not only their perspectives but also a lot of wisdom gleaned from their myriad interactions with client organizations, on what is needed for a successful transition to Digital business.
The book pushes the increasingly common perspective that Digitalization is inevitable and that companies who don’t make this transition in the near term will struggle to survive. While we certainly see the coming Digital revolution as significant, strategic, and revolutionary – it’s no small part of why Innovation Vista has been formed! – we believe the impact will vary significantly in speed across industries. The earliest impact will likely be felt where there is a significant share of costs being expensed in personnel roles “one level above” the current limit of IT system capabilities. Robotic Process Automation and Machine Learning, to name two coming waves of change, will likely enable a step up “one level”, and if this enables a takeout of a significant portion of an organization’s fixed or variable costs, disruption is coming to that company’s competitors. In some industries it will take multiple “steps up”, and in others automation and AI alone may not represent a disruption even after several steps, or ever. Having said all that, we understand the reasons behind the sense of urgency deployed by the authors, as there are far more companies at risk of underpreparation than those who may be justified waiting and watching.
The strongest aspect of the book is its “Core” message of the extent to which organizations need to change their assumptions, their decision processes, their org-charts, ultimately their entire business models, in order to deal with the coming revolution, whether they are playing offense or defense. In fact the book makes clear in its several sections that new mental models are needed for whole industries, companies, and ultimately, individuals. Real world examples are utilized throughout the book to make it an effective read for business leaders as well as IT leaders. There are specific actions and questions suggested which take the book beyond just a deep analysis to becoming an initial instruction book.
We have no hesitation putting Digital to the Core on the newly-conceived Innovation Vista “Reading List” as a great book to introduce readers from a wide range of backgrounds to the topic of Digitalization. For those interested in taking the steps it suggests, the book will serve not just as an introduction but as a wise set of steps to start them on the path.