Designed for Digital

Prof Dr Martin Mocker publishes book on digital transformation

ESB Business School Professor of Information Systems Martin Mocker co-authored the book “Designed for Digital: How to Architect Your Business for Sustained Success” together with Jeanne Ross from MIT and Cynthia Beath from the University of Texas at Austin.

"Designed for Digital" offers practical advice on digital transformation of "big, old" companies, with examples that include Amazon, BNY Mellon, DBS Bank, LEGO, Philips, Schneider Electric, USAA, and many other global organizations. Drawing on five years of research and in-depth case studies, the book is an essential guide for companies that want to disrupt rather than be disrupted in the new digital landscape.

The authors distinguish between two types of transformations that both involve digital technologies (think: machine learning, the internet of things, blockchain, etc.), but that are very different transformations:

• Digitization is about the use of digital technologies to improve the operational excellence in a company’s business processes. For example, car manufacturers like Porsche are introducing smart factory concepts in their production processes.

• Becoming digital is about using digital technologies in a company’s offerings (its products and services) in order to create new value propositions. For example, Porsche is experimenting with new mobility services such as Porsche inFlow that are helping customers to be mobile without having to own a Porsche car.

Most traditional companies are not “designed” to be a digital company that can rapidly innovate digital offerings. Martin Mocker and his co-authors describe five building blocks of digital transformation. The five building blocks are organizational capabilities that help companies address five questions.

These questions relate to the companies' operational backbone, digital platform, external developer platform, shared customer insights and accountability framework.

The book is based on research of the past five years. The authors studied hundreds of companies using surveys and case studies that covered companies from around the world including Singapore, Chile, Germany, the US—truly international.

When writing the book, the authors had to work as a distributd team: in his personal note in the book, Prof. Mocker mentions that the author team exchanged over 2000 emails and had over 50 video calls.