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Book Review: Beyond Digital

Recently, I read a book written by two PwC principals, Paul Leinwand and Mehadeva Matt Mani: Beyond Digital: How Great Leaders Transform Their Organizations and Shape the Future. This isn't just any how-to book about digitization, but a sophisticated primer on determining your organization's unique value contribution and then ensuring value creation remains sustainable.

Leinwand and Mani have realized that organizations can't just transform to digital and be done. They rely on a large body of new research; while significant, digital transformation is less critical than understanding the nature of competitive differentiation and competitive advantage. Typical leadership may be "in the game," but simply doing what others do will lead to insignificance. The future is all about substantive differentiation and creating measurable and meaningful value for everyone involved.

The authors identify seven(!) imperatives that leaders should follow:

  • Reimagine your company's place in the world

  • Embrace and create value via ecosystems

  • Build a system of privileged insights with your customers

  • Make your organization outcome-oriented

  • Invert the focus of your leadership team

  • Reinvent the social contract with your people

  • Disrupt your leadership approach

My take is that a book entitled "Beyond Digital" should expound on the digital exosystem's benefits for organizations and then (arm waves) discuss the "beyond" stuff. However, that's not this book. Written by analysts, it's, of course, case study based. And it already assumes you've digitized and are ready for the seven imperatives that will help you glean maximum value from digital transformation. This is all good, but perhaps they should have called it "Done Digital: Now Do These Things."

Also, the ideas are for V and C level executives. So, this may not be you, who may have been assigned to research going paperless. So, it's somewhat of a miss there. Furthermore, it's clear what Leinwand and Mani are recommending, but there's no framework or maturity model, and there's no direction to find such a thing. Perhaps, the next step is to work with PwC in a professional capacity? This "now what" really disappointed me.

Overall, I'd give this book a 6/10 on the strength of the imperatives and the case studies.



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