Rethinking Competitive Advantage: New Rules for the Digital Age

Currency. Nov. 2020. 224p. ISBN 9780525575603. $28. BUS
Business consultant Charan believes that the digitization of business has radically changed the way it’s practiced by successful companies, with the understanding that companies must go digital or die. He sees this digital transformation as more than just incorporating online platforms, but also restructuring what the business does. Modern technology can aggregate and analyze data on consumers and therefore allows companies to identify consumers’ needs and set out to fulfill them by offering personalized products and services. This, in turn, helps them increase the size of their market. Charan is at his best in the chapter on “Digital Platforms at the Center of the Business,” in which he tries to show what various portals can do and how they should be used. He also gives insightful profiles of a number of companies, such as Fidelity PI, Walmart, and Disney. However, often the advice is abstract and vague, such as “hiring the right people” or “leaders need imagination and vision.” Additionally, his sketchy discussion of algorithms and their uses is a major lacuna.
VERDICT This book is aimed at managers trying to understand how to transform from traditional to digital businesses.
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