Digital Transformation Books to Read in 2020

Digital Transformation Books to Read in 2020

Here’s a collection of digital transformation books from a technology, organization, product, and strategic perspective for the CIO, digital marketers, and CTOs.

According to a blog posted on TheWashingtonPost , “In 2015, 43 percent of adults read at least one work of literature in the previous year. That's the lowest percentage in any year since NEA surveys began tracking reading and arts participation in 1982, when the literature reading rate was 57 percent.”

This is a disappointing statistic as the reading habit is widespread among some of our generation’s most successful people.

Warren Buffet makes it a point to read 500 pages a day, Mark Cuban reads 3 hours a day, and Bill Gates has a habit of reading 50 books in a calendar year!

A point to ponder: A successful digital marketer needs to have a curiosity like a child and an insatiable thirst for knowledge. 

This is where it becomes essential for you to read the digital transformation books.

The good news is you can get these digital transformation books on Amazon at a reasonable price.

Before we look further into these books, I would like to divert your attention to a more important issue.

The After-Effect of Coronavirus on Businesses

While the entire globe is trying to combat coronavirus, businesses have been forced to shift to remote work and embrace the latest technologies to survive in these difficult times. 

A meme recently went viral in the wake of the pandemic, which suggested that COVID-19 is leading digital transformation initiatives within businesses, instead of CTOs and CEOs.

Digital transformation

This meme couldn’t be more accurate!

The fact is, today, digital transformation has become the center stage attraction and has become the new trendy hashtag on LinkedIn.

Everyone wishes to learn more about digital transformation.

And the best way to do that is by learning more about developing and executing effective digital marketing strategies

The quickest and most efficient way to do that is by researching for blogs and articles on Google. 

However, if you wish to dig deep, this write-up has been written specifically for you.

Here’s a takedown of digital transformation books available on Amazon that you should read in the year 2020.

List of Must-Read Digital Transformation Books Available on Amazon in the Year 2020

1. The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age by David L. Rogers (2016)

The Digital Transformation Playbook

Target Audience 

Enterprise IT leaders

The overall message from the book

David Rogers, a pioneer in digital business strategy and digital transformation, wrote this book to address two crucial questions:

  • What is the best way to adapt to the digital age?
  • What would be the distinguishing factor between the businesses that manage to adapt to the digital world from those that do not? 

This book was written before the pandemic; hence, it does not consider the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the speed at which businesses had to react to it.

However, it gives its readers a different perspective on digital transformation.

The book states that digital transformation is more of strategic thinking than the technology itself.

It is based on a decade long research that the author did while teaching at Columbia Business School and consulting for businesses worldwide.

He showcases how pre-digital era companies can reinvent their game plans, capture the new digital opportunities, and rethink their underlying assumptions in 5 different domains of strategy: customers, competition, data, innovation, and value. 

Roger illustrates several frameworks in the book, practical tools, truckloads of examples, and case studies from large corporates like Google and Airbnb.

Which business sector would be much benefited?

Legacy businesses

Why should you read it?

This book showcases how established companies with legacy technology can transform themselves into digital organizations.

The good news is that it provides a step-by-step guide for doing it.

There is absolutely no reason for startup digital marketing companies to be the only pioneers of innovation.

They should not be the only means to supplant established firms.

According to David, the problem is that businesses often do not have a playbook to rely upon to comprehend and address the competitive challenges of digitization.

This book is written to help you comprehend, strategize for, and compete in the digital playing field.

About the Author 

David Rogers is a faculty member at Columbia Business school, which is globally recognized for its digital strategy.

David is known for his pioneering work on digital transformation. 

He is the author of four books, including his best-selling book “The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age,” published in 9 languages.

Rogers has delivered workshops for executives in thousands of companies, including Google, Citi, Unilever, GE, Toyota, Cisco, HSBC, SAP, Pizza Hut, Rock Café, Telstra, Kohler, Saint-Gobain, among others.

He delivers keynotes at conferences across the globe on digital transformation and its impact on emerging technologies.

He has appeared on ABC News, Channel News Asia, The New York Times, and The Economist. 

He is also the recipient of the 2009 Award for Brand Leadership at the World Brand Congress. 

His recent research is focused on digital transformation in big data, the Internet of Things, omnichannel shoppers, customer data sharing, and digital marketing in the COVID era.

2. Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee (2014)

 Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation


Target Audience 

Companies that utilize digital technologies to drive significant amounts of profit, productivity, and performance

The overall message from the book

Westerman and McAfee - both MIT and Bonnett of Capgemini Consulting illustrate the principles and practices resulting in successful digital transformation. 

With the help of studies of more than 400 global firms, including Asian Paints, Caesars Entertainment, Codelco, Lloyd Banking Group, Nike, Burberry, and Pernod Ricard, the authors explain the successful transformation in a concise, two-part framework.

You can learn from the book where to invest in digital capabilities and how to lead the transformation.

From the book, executives will learn:

  • How to engage better with customers?
  • How to digitally improve operations?
  • How to create a digital vision?
  • How to govern digital activities?

This playbook will work as a guide for leaders who are serious about digital transformation. 

Which business sector would be much benefited?

Manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, financial services, etc. 

Why should you read it?

Most of the digital transformation books concentrate on digitally native companies to demonstrate success.

However, this book focuses on how large corporations in traditional industries employ digital marketing to gain strategic advantage.

The authors in this book argue that digital masters excel at two essential capabilities:

  • Building digital capabilities through rethinking and enhancing their business processes, customer engagements, and business models
  • Building strong leadership capabilities to envision and drive transformation

They look to develop strong leadership capabilities to envision and drive transformation.

About the Authors 

George Westerman is a renowned Research Scientist at the MIT Sloan Center for Digital Business. 

He is also the faculty chair for Sloan’s highly-rated executive education course, “Essential IT for Non-IT Executives.”

Didier Bonnet works as a Senior Vice-President at Capgemini Consulting.

He has written many articles and is frequently quoted in the press, including the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and Financial Times.

Andrew McAfee also works at the MIT Sloan Center for Digital Business as a Principal Research Scientist.

He has also worked as the faculty of Harvard Business School and as a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

3. See Sooner, Act Faster: How Vigilant Leaders Thrive in an Era of Digital Turbulence (Management on the Cutting Edge) by George Day and Paul Schoemaker

See Sooner, Act Faster: How Vigilant Leaders Thrive in an Era of Digital Turbulence

Target Audience 

Digital marketers and other major players in an organization

The overall message from the book

The book strives to provide a handbook to digital marketers and other significant players in the organization.

It helps them anticipate threats, spot opportunities, and act faster when introducing digital transformation is right.

Which business sector would be much benefited?

All business sectors striving for digital transformation

Why should you read it?

This book contains the different tools you thrive for when digital advances intensify turbulence. 

In today’s time, business turbulence is the new normal.

And, now more than ever, the company’s survival is contingent upon vigilant leadership that anticipates threats, spots opportunities, and acts swiftly when it is right.

This book contains real-life examples of reputed organizations like Adobe, Amazon, and Mastercard.

Through these examples, the author tries to describe the best way to distribute the scarce resource of attention, detect weak signals, separate them from background noise, and strategically respond before competitors have a chance to do it.

The author showcases the best ways to foster vigilance and agility throughout the organization.

Thanks to this approach, you are deemed to end up with higher profits, more growth, and longevity for your organization.

About the Authors 

George S. Day is the Professor and Senior Fellow of the Mack Institute for Innovative Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

He has so far written 19 books on innovation, marketing, and strategic management.

Paul J. H. Schoemaker is the founder of Decision Strategies International.

He also held the positions of CEO and Chairman in the organization.

He recently launched Q2 Tech.

He has so far written 11 books and has served on the University of Chicago and the Wharton School faculties. 

4. Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an Era of Mass Extinction by Tom Siebel

 Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an Era of Mass Extinction

Target Audience 

CEOs and key decision-makers of an organization

The overall message from the book

To become successful, the CEO must drive digital transformation from the top down.

It is the responsibility of the CEO and top-level executives to create a digital value proposition that distinguishes their company from their competitors.

Large companies have a distinct advantage of transforming their existing data into a competitive advantage to control new players’ entry.

Start by building use cases that generate measurable economic benefits. Solve IT challenges later on.

Look out for near-term results. 

In case a solution cannot be achieved in a year, don’t go for it.

Remember, the market is moving too quickly to rest on your laurels.

Which business sector would be much benefited?

All business sectors looking to adopt digital transformation

Why should you read it?

This book will inform you of everything about how new technologies are disrupting business and government.

It will also guide your company to harness this digital disruption to your advantage and transform itself.

Thanks to modern technology, we see cloud computing, artificial intelligence, big data, and IoT. 

These four technologies are transforming the way we function in the 21st century.

Through this book, the author guides you to learn the best ways to utilize these technologies in driving digital transformation.

He also uses real-life practical examples of how large corporations like Enel, 3M, and the U.S. Department of Department employ these technologies to develop fantastic results and thrive in today’s digital era.

About the Author

Tom Siebel has been a prominent name in the IT space for more than four decades now.

He has been building technology from mainframe databases to AI systems deployed on cloud computing. 

Following his Oracle Corporation career, he founded Siebel Systems, a leading enterprise software company, before merging with Oracle in 2006.

He is now a founder and CIO of C3.ai.

The company is building AI software for manufacturers, energy companies, the U.S. military, and other industries.

5. Why Digital Transformations Fail: The Surprising Disciplines of How to Take off and Stay Ahead by Tony Saldanha 

Why Digital Transformations Fail: The Surprising Disciplines of How to Take off and Stay Ahead

Target Audience 

Business owner, an executive, or a manager of people looking to adopt digital transformation in their organization.

The overall message from the book

The book intends to provide practical, tested, and reliable tools and ideas on the best ways to thrive on digital transformation.

Which business sector would be much benefited?

Government, corporate settings, academia, or non-profit sector

Why should you read it?

In this book, the author provides you with a five-stage model for carrying out a digital transformation.

As a former vice president of IT and shared services for Procter & Gamble, the author explains why digital transformation fails.

According to him, digital transformation’s failure is not due to innovation or technological problems, but the real deal is in detail.

Yes, the “devil is in the details.” as he enumerates in the book.

Due to a lack of clear goals and an undisciplined process for achieving those details the digital transformation process.

As we move into the digital era where the lines between the physical, digital, and biological worlds are blurring, it is imperative to become the next Netflix instead of the next blockbuster.

With the help of dozens of case studies and enumerating his own experiences divided into five parts, the author showcases how to make the digital transformation a considerable success.

About the Author

Tony Saldanha is the most sought after speaker and leader of our generation. Addition to that he is also a Fortune 25 executive in the Global Business Service (GBS) and Information Technology area.

He has more than three decades of international business experience in the US, Asia, and Europe. 

He was named on the ComputerWorld’s Premier 100 IT Professionals list in the year 2013.

During his extensive 27-year-old career at Procter & Gamble, he ran IT and GBS across all global regions.

He assisted in creating a multi-billion dollar best-in-class operation.

Tony offers his valuable insights on digital transformation, especially internal business operations, to boards and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

He also devotes his time in angel investing, advising nonprofits and venture capitalists and start-up companies, and starting up technology companies of his own.

6. The Technology Fallacy: How People Are the Real Key to Digital Transformation (Management on the Cutting Edge) by Gerald Kane, Anh Nguyen Phillips, Jonathan Copulsky, and Garth Andrus

The Technology Fallacy: How People Are the Real Key to Digital Transformation

Target Audience 

Managers and business leaders

The overall message from the book

This book works as a useful guide for surviving digital disruptions that are not merely about technology but also about organizational changes needed to take advantage of technology’s full potential. 

Which business sector would be much benefited?

All business sectors looking to transform themselves digitally.

Why should you read it?

In this book, the authors have told us that digital disruption is all about people. 

Effective digital transformation involves changes to organizational dynamics and the way the work needs to be done.

Digital transformation is much more than merely about technology.

It involves organizational changes that are required to maximize the utilization of technology. 

By concentrating on both people and processes of an organization, you can respond swiftly to digital disruption.

By altering the company culture to be more agile, risk-tolerant, and experimental, your organization stands a chance to compete with digital disruption.

The authors have researched for more than four years.

They surveyed more than 16,000 people and conducted interviews with managers at reputed companies like Walmart, Google, and Salesforce.

After accumulating all this information, they have introduced the concept of digital maturity and the need for every organization to understand its “digital DNA” to stop “doing digital” and start “being digital.”

About the Authors

Gerald C. Kane is currently designated as a professor of Information Systems at Boston College.

Anh Nguyen Phillips is a Research Lead at Deloitte Center for Integrated Research.

Jonathon R. Copulsky is a retired Principal of Deloitte Consulting LLP.

He teaches marketing, branding, and marketing technology at Northwestern University.

Garth R. Andrus works as a Principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP. 

7. Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership when Algorithms and Networks Run the World by Marco Iansiti and Karim Lakhani

Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership when Algorithms and Networks Run the World

Target Audience 

CEOs, CTOs, and key decision-makers in the organization

The overall message from the book

The authors explain how digital technology revolutions in the past 50 years have resulted in a new competitive landscape.

Today, there is a need for a new digital operating model.

Which business sector would be much benefited?

All businesses looking to adopt digital transformation in their organizations

Why should you read it?

This book will help you learn different ways to reinvent your organization around analytics, data, and artificial intelligence (AI).

It will also help you know the best ways to eliminate the traditional constraints of scale and scope that have held your business for several years. 

The authors in this book explain how leaders can utilize their skill sets to develop better strategies and lead their companies.

This especially comes handy when algorithms and networks run in the world.

Various reputed organizations like Airbnb and Microsoft have already showcased their research that AI-driven processes are more scalable than traditional techniques.

The author also explains how the collisions between AI-driven, digital, and traditional firms are reshaping industries.

It is also changing the makeup of our economy and forcing traditional companies to re-architect their operating models. 

This book will make you think hard about how your company can compete, function, and drive a new generation of business capabilities in the modern era of digital transformation.

About the Authors

Marco Iansiti is a co-director of the Laboratory for Information Science at Harvard and the Digital Initiative at HBS.

His research deals with the scrutinization of the digital transformation of companies and industries.

The entire focus on the research is on AI-Centric operating models, digital ecosystems, and the impact of AI and network effects on strategy and business models.

His work on digital transformation has recently received lots of attention amongst academics and practitioners.

Several of his writings have been featured in the HBR’s list of top ten articles of the year for three of the last four years.

Karim R. Lakhani is currently designated as a Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School.

His specialization lies in technology management, digital transformation, and artificial intelligence (AI).

His publications exceed 150 peer-reviewed papers in leading management, economics, and natural science journals; executive-oriented articles in Harvard Business Review and MIT Sloan Management Review, and Harvard Business School case studies.

8. Be the Business: CIOs in the New Era of IT by Martha Heller

Be the Business: CIOs in the New Era of IT

Target Audience 

CIOs who wish to lead innovatively in today’s digital economy

The overall message from the book

In her witty style, the author defines the top ten skills and behaviors that need to be adopted by CIOs to become successful in an ever-changing landscape.

Which business sector would be much benefited?

All businesses looking to adopt digital transformation in their organizations

Why should you read it?

Heller gets at the heart of the topic by providing useful insights about what CIOs are trying to achieve. 

Earlier large organization CIOs used to work as traffic cops regulating the selection, execution, and use of Information Technology.

However, in today’s digital world, they must serve as a concierge of IT capabilities by providing their advice and suggestions to leverage new and emerging technologies.

This book is ideal for those who are ready for new roles as technology coaches.

About the Author

Martha Heller is the Founder and CEO of Heller Search Associates, a recruitment firm specializing in executive IT placement.

Before starting her own business, she worked as a Managing Director of the IT Leadership Practice at ZRG Partners.

Final Thoughts

The books that I have mentioned here offer a wide range of insight for CTOs, CEOs, executives, business owners, industry leaders, and legacy companies.

With so many strategies for overcoming digital transformation, there is truly something for everyone in this list of top 8 digital transformation books available on Amazon.

However, once you read this thing, one thing will get apparent - it is a warning that digital transformation is no longer approaching; it is already here. 

So, start a plan to do a cultural shift to embrace this latest technology in every sphere of your organization.

Chances are, anyone procrastinating this vortex of change will end up risking a massive fall in their business.

Vivek Asrani is working as a Senior Content Specialist at Acquire. He has been providing high quality content to clients over a period of 7 years. Many of his articles have been published in magazines and blogs. His expertise revolves around blogging, website content writing, press releases, infographics, eBooks, etc. He loves reading and writing.

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