How Digital is Your Business?
By Adrian J. Slywotsky and David J. Morrison, with karl weber
Crown Business, New York (800) 842-3075, 344 pages, $25
Warning against the blind embrace of gee-whiz technology (resulting in Web sites so frustrating that users flee to competitors or in phone menus that lock callers into voice-mail jail), Slywotsky and Morrison challenge business leaders to consider which technology is best for customers.
From this sensible base the authors take readers through nuts-and-bolts business issues to a plan for going digital, or semi-digital. With examples from Dell, General Electric and Charles Schwab, the book provides guidelines for generalizing the concept of digitization to any business of any size. Practical and enjoyable, the book holds interesting discussions on the customer's evolving viewpoint, the uses of digitization in attracting and retaining talent, and the concept of managing "bits" (information) to improve speed, reduce errors, and save money.
There is also an exhaustive exploration of the online choice board (such as Dell's) as a way to empower customers and provide businesses with data regarding real, not forecasted, demand. The authors offer a good starting place for the bricks-and-mortar organization seeking to survive in a dot-com world.