Magazine article Information Management

Book Review: Digital Capital, Harnessing the Power of Business Webs

Magazine article Information Management

Book Review: Digital Capital, Harnessing the Power of Business Webs

Article excerpt


TITLE: Digital Capital, Harnessing the Power of Business Webs AUTHORS: Don Tapscott, David Ticoll, and Alex Lowly ISBN: 1-57851-193-3 PUBLISHER: Harvard Business School Press PUBLICATION DATE: 2000 LENGTH: 248 pages PRICE: $27.50

SOURCE: Any bookstore

The "digital revolution" is evolving all around us, both in our personal and business lives. As we witness these fast-paced changes, it is difficult to maintain a perspective on what has happened, what is happening, and what the future will bring. Digital Capital takes a look at all this in a new and different way.

The reader is presented with an overview of how the power of the Internet and business Webs opens the door to alternative business models. This leads to innovative concepts in connectivity, information sharing, business alliances, and customer relationships. As the book explains, digital capital adds new dimensions to traditional business formats. Entirely new "value propositions" are created as "human capital," "structural capital," and "customer capital" are recast into "digital capital." Organizations with the foresight needed can leverage these possibilities, evaluating and effectively executing the adaptations needed to be successful.

The authors have presented the information in a stimulating and thought-provoking way. Digital Capital begins by providing the reader with an overview of Internet-based business relationships: agoras, aggregations, value chains, alliances, and distributive networks. Next, the human element is covered. This pertains to in-house staff, employees of businesses participating in a B-Web alliance, and customers. The question is, how do we best manage the human capital within changing organizational frameworks? Strategies may rely less on in-house staff than independent specialists or other "inter-enterprise" relationships.

Defining who the real customer is has become increasingly important and difficult. The reader is presented with case studies illustrating how businesses must transform to operate within an increasingly price-sensitive, customer-centric environment. Value/ supply chain arrangements demand full disclosure and cooperation between partners and the end customer. As a result, nothing is secret anymore. Everyone knows the participants in the supply chain, their costs, and profit margins. This book does a good job of making these points very clear,

The classic "four Ps" of business are fading in importance as "digital capital" gains prominence. …

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