HBR – What Makes a Company a Digital Master?

Harvard Business Review IconHarvard Business Review (HBR) featured an excellent interview –  ‘What Makes a Company a Digital Master’ with George Westerman, Research Scientist in the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy.

The video interview  spotlights Westerman’s findings of companies in mainstream industries that are using big data, mobile, predictive analytics, social media, sensors and cloud computing to establish long-term competitive advantage.


HBR - What Makes a Company a Digital Master

To watch the interview on the HBR site, click here.

Leading Digital - Turning Technology into BusinessWesterman is one of the authors of ‘Leading Digital – Turning Technology into Business Transformation’.  The book provides rare insights into companies that continue to use technology to transform such as Caesars Entertainment and Progressive.

Caesars Entertainment, under the leadership of Gary Loveman, CEO and former Harvard Business School professor, continues to be on the leading edge of customer loyalty and analytics programs.  The company’s recent technological innovations are focused on enhancing the customer experience for middle-market customers:   mobile check-in at the airport and incentives sent directly to mobile phones (for example, if you are having a poor gambling experience – a digital coupon will be transmitted to your phone) are two such examples.

The November 2014 issue of Harvard Business Review provides further insights on the subject of digital transformation.  Michael Porter’s and James Heppelmann’s article on ‘How Smart, Connected Products are Transforming Competition‘ is one of the best HBR articles that I have read, and provides insights on the ‘New Technology Stack’.  Porter ( Professor at Harvard Business School) and Heppelmann (President & CEO of PTC) present a vision of the ‘new technology infrastructure’ required to transform digitally.  If you are a fan of Porter’s Five Forces model, this article spotlights the role of technology in reshaping entire industry structures.

Harvard Business Review - the New Technology Stack

Source: Harvard Business Review

For example:

  • Bargaining Power of Buyers:  “Smart, connected products dramatically expand opportunities for product differentiation, moving competition away from price alone”.
  • Rivalry Among Competitors:  “Smart, connected products have the potential to shift rivalry, opening up numerous new avenues for differentiation and value-added series”.
  • Threat of New Entrants:  “New entrants in a smart, connected world face significant new obstacles, starting with the high fixed costs of more complex product design, embedded technology and multiple layers of new IT infrastructure”.
  • Threat of Substitutes:  “Smart, connected products can offer superior performance, customization, and customer value relative to traditional substitute products, reducing substitution threats and improving industry growth and profitability”.

The ‘mini case study’ references to Joy Global, Tesla, ZipCar, Babolat, Metronic Sonos, Philips Lighting and others may expand your vision of how to transform.

When a company becomes a digital master, one establishes new industry boundaries, constructs systems of systems and creates sustainable competitive advantage that is unlikely to be rivaled.

By Nick Mavrick

You can find Nick Mavrick on Google+

Intelligent Response specializes in operationalizing Predictive Analytics, Market Research, Quantitiative Marketing and Digital Advocacy in Washington DC.

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