Digital Transformation

10 books to help you lead digital transformation

Looking to implement or improve your company's digital transformation strategies? These books can help you get started.

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Image: iStockphoto/monticelllo

Most businesses are now undergoing a digital transformation—but only 21% have implemented a firm-wide strategy, according to a recent survey from SAP and the Economist Intelligence Unit. Some companies lack the capacity and time needed to experiment and execute new strategies, according to Marc Cecere, vice president and principal analyst on Forrester's CIO role team. Oftentimes, employees lack needed analytics skills and customer experience design skills.

These 10 books can help you learn more about why digital transformation is imperative to the success of your business, and how to get started.

1. Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation

By George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee

While many digital transformation efforts in the news center on Silicon Valley tech stars, 2014's Leading Digital explains how digital tools such as analytics, social media, and cloud computing have fundamentally changed all business industries. The authors examined more than 400 global firms, and highlight how large companies in sectors including finance, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals are using digital means to gain strategic advantages. They also share the principles and practices that aid successful digital transformation, and a step-by-step transformation playbook for business leaders.

SEE: What CEOs are getting wrong when it comes to digital transformation

2. Digital to the Core: Remastering Leadership for Your Industry, Your Enterprise, and Yourself

By Mark Raskino and Graham Waller

2015's Digital to the Core, written by two Gartner analysts, describes how enterprises and business leaders must remaster themselves toward digital in order to succeed. The book draws on interviews with more than 30 C-level executives from large companies include GE, Ford, and McDonalds, and makes the case that all leaders must understand the impact the digital revolution will continue to have in their industries, businesses, and leadership styles and practices. The authors also incorporates Gartner's CIO and CEO research for further insights.

3. Disrupting Digital Business: Create an Authentic Experience in the Peer-to-Peer Economy

By Ray Wang

Disrupting Digital Business, published in 2015, argues that the digital transformation demands enterprises focus on experiences and outcomes, rather than products and services. With social and mobile technology, customers, employees, suppliers, and partners can directly connect and communicate with one another, influencing decision making and spending practices. Wang explains how organizations can embrace the digital shift, and offers a new way of thinking about business that includes consumerization of technology and the new C-suite, data's influence on driving decisions, digital marketing transformation, the future of work, and matrix commerce.

4. The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age

by David L. Rogers

In The Digital Transformation Playbook, digital expert and Columbia Business School professor Rogers makes the case that digital transformation is not about updating technology, but about improving strategic thinking. Published in 2016, this book seeks to teach pre-digital-era companies how to embrace the new opportunities of the digital world. It includes real-world case studies from companies including Google, GE, Airbnb, and the New York Times, along with practical frameworks and step-by-step planning tools.

5. Digital Transformation: A Model to Master Digital Disruption

By Jo Caudron and Dado Van Peteghem

With the rapid rate of disruption across all industries, now is the time to transform your business for the digital age, the authors of 2014's Digital Transformation argue. This book acts as a guide for anticipating the change, and teaches business leaders how to view digital threats as opportunities for innovation in your business.

6. No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends

By Richard Dobbs, James Manyika, and Jonathan Woetzel

The McKinsey Global Institute authors of No Ordinary Disruption take a deep dive beyond headlines of disruption to analyze the forces transforming the global economy over the next two decades. They also offer a roadmap for business and government leaders to reinvent their institutions, and take advantage of coming technological changes. The book, published in 2015, includes a number of anecdotes, data, and graphics, and is aimed at an audience of middle and senior level managers, investors, and policy makers.

SEE: Why the CIO is essential to digital transformation

7. Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation

By James McQuivey

In Digital Disruption, James McQuivey, a Forrester Research analyst, uses real-world examples across a variety of industries to demonstrate how companies can best evolve and compete in the modern era of digital change. He offers in-depth advice around adopting the right risk-taking mindset, seeking spaces in your industry where new technology creates opportunity, and disrupting yourself. The 2013 book also offers ways to assess your organization's readiness for digital initiatives.

8. Digital Transformation

By Mark Baker

Baker's Digital Transformation is a practical collection of case studies and insider knowledge aimed at CEOs, executives, board members, and investors who are interested in achieving digital transformation at their organization. The book is structured around answering the who, what, when, where, why, and how of digital transformation efforts, and offers a blueprint for how to get a digital project started with either your internal staff, a consultant, or a chief digital officer with the highest levels of effectiveness.

9. Digital or Death: Digital Transformation—The Only Choice for Business to Survive, Smash, and Conquer

By Dominic M. Mazzone

Digital or Death offers an entertaining, high-level look at digital transformation, avoiding obsolescence, and using different theories and models for success to your advantage. In this 2014 book, Mazzone, the managing partner of Smashbox Consulting Inc., examines how organizations can get started creating a comprehensive digital strategy and a global digital presence, and how to beat the competition using digital methods.

10. Digital Strategy: A Guide to Digital Business Transformation

By Alexander Rauser

Digital Strategy, published in 2016, offers practical solutions for enterprise leaders looking to stay relevant in today's fast-paced business environment, or for those who want to be digital disrupters. While most businesses today use digital tools, many lack digital strategies, and risk losing out to competitors by failing to take advantage of available tools, or wasting resources. This book takes leaders through the steps of understanding a digital strategy, and creating, implementing, and maintaining it long term.

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About Alison DeNisco

Alison DeNisco is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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