A business book explores future-oriented strategies.
Rakesh, CEO of an Indian IT services firm, and Wind, Lauder professor emeritus and professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, have teamed up to craft an essential, timely work focused on business transformation. Using the Covid-19 pandemic as a springboard, the authors suggest that the virus disaster spawns opportunities, while lessons can be learned for responding to future crises. Positing eight principles “to defend against disruptors or become one,” the authors offer a framework for implementing the tenets and 10 specific tools to facilitate execution. This already comprehensive package will be further enhanced by the subsequent addition of an online dashboard and app. Rakesh and Wind are insistent that becoming adept at transformation means embracing all of the principles, which can be customized regardless of an organization’s size or business type. They begin with an intriguing discussion of the core theme of disruption in business, consumer behavior, and society, pointing out that unruly influences already existed but were exacerbated by the pandemic. They highlight examples of disruption in several industry segments with text and illustrative charts, demonstrating how successful companies have constantly reinvented themselves.
The primary content of the visionary book is divided into eight chapters, one for each of the principles. The chapters explain in detail the associated principles. Embedded in every chapter are many highly engaging and relevant stories of innovative companies from around the globe that are fruitfully applying the tenets. The tales are vividly told and seamlessly integrated with the authors’ salient observations. At the end of each chapter is a series of strategic questions to help “assess how aligned you and your organization are with the principle and the ideas and examples discussed.” This approach exposes readers to numerous exceptional examples that not only perfectly illustrate the principles, but could spark innovation in any organization as well. For example, the second principle involves reinventing an approach to consumers and stakeholders through “customer-centric digital transformation.” Here, Rakesh and Wind ponder the particularly daunting challenge for legacy companies to replace their core systems with new, digital ones, a virtually impossible task. The authors arrive at an ingenious alternate solution— “create an intermediary layer that connects the front-end with the back-end. This can be done faster and cheaper than replacing the entire core systems.” The authors demonstrate in technical but comprehensible detail exactly how such a task can be accomplished. Similarly, the sixth principle, which discusses the need for “adaptive experimentation,” identifies the specific benefits of this practice while citing numerous state-of-the-art examples. Useful cases, illustrative charts and graphics, a consultative text, and thoughtful questions combine to make every principle-related chapter pertinent and actionable. The book closes with an extremely valuable section that includes a 10-step implementation model for applying the eight principles as well as 10 tools (worksheets) to assist in establishing the tenets. The tools themselves are carefully constructed and scrupulously described.
Brilliantly executed; a definitive work on business transformation.