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Digital Capital: Harnessing the Power of Business Webs

Don Tapscott, David Ticoll and Alex Lowy

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Format: Hardcover, 272pp.
ISBN: 9781578511938
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Pub. Date: May 2000

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

The industrial-age corporation is crumbling. The new form of wealth creation is the business web,and the new basis of wealth is digital capital.

Schwab, eBay, Cisco, MP3, Linux, and dozens of other companies have transformed the rules of competition in their industries, seemingly overnight. They hijacked long-entrenched industry leaders with revolutionary offerings that surprised and delighted customers. These transformers could not and did not act alone: partners enabled them to move with stealth, speed, agility, and force. Such teams of innovators pioneered the business web, or "b-web", the new platform for competition in the twenty-first century. B-webs partner networks of producers, service providers, suppliers, infrastructure companies, and customers linked via digital channels are destroying the firm as we have known it and generating wealth in entirely new ways.

In Digital Capital, information-age visionaries Don Tapscott, David Ticoll, and Alex Lowy describe and explain the b-web phenomenon and the forces behind its emergence. Drawing on three years of multimillion-dollar research into hundreds of b-webs as diverse as the Microsoft alliance and the automotive industry, the authors illuminate the five distinct types of b-web now in play: Agoras, Aggregations, Value Chains, Alliances, and Distributive Networks. Punctuating their analysis with a rich set of case studies, they provide the definitive guide to business model innovation in the digital economy.

The book includes:
* The untold real story behind the story on successes like eBay, Cisco, Linux, Schwab, and Priceline
* Positioning and analysis of emergent e-businesses like Webvan, OptiMark, AT&T Solutions, and Enron
* A step-by-step process for b-web strategy design
* A new approach to maximizing organizational effectiveness in a multi-enterprise environment
* The "ABCDE's" of marketing—heir to the "four P's" of the industrial age
* Guidelines for deciding whether to hire, buy, or partner a needed capability
* A new set of lenses for viewing the stock market

The authors warn that participation in b-webs is not optional. To encounter and satisfy the digital customer, firms must lead or partner in one or more of these new business networks. While no single path leads to b-web success, businesses will adopt effective b-web strategies-or they will simply fade away.

Sustaining advantage in the digital economy demands more than superficial actions like attracting "eyeballs," launching a hot IPO, following "new rules," building a cool Web site, or even just focusing on customers. In Digital Capital we finally have a book that gets beyond whiz-bang clichés to today's central issues of competitive strategy.


"Digital Capital is unarguably the single best guide to corporate survival in the new economy. If your company wants to be in the phone book in the year 2003 and beyond, read this book."
-Warren Bennis, University Professor and Distinguished Professor of Business Administration, University of Southern California, and Coauthor, Organizing Genius and Co-Leaders

"The Internet revolution waits for no one-no country, no company, and no individual. The key to success in this revolution is harnessing the power of the Internet to gain sustainable competitive advantage and to create value for your customers. Tapscott, Ticoll, and Lowy show you how to do this by defining the business model for your company's survival in today's economy. Read this book to stay ahead."
-John Chambers, President and CEO, Cisco Systems

"By far the best work on the new business models required to compete in e-business. Pray that your competitors don't read it!"
--J. Bruce Harreld, Senior Vice President of Strategy, IBM

"We created eGM to transform General Motors into a major force in the digital economy. Don Tapscott and the Alliance for Converging Technologies team have greatly influenced out business design and are helping us to chart the future. Digital Capital does a great job of putting the task at hand in clear focus."
--Mark Hogan, President, eGM

"This dynamic work provides an unprecedented in-depth look at the new economics and the fundamentals driving the digital revolution. Anyone intrigued by the Internet's boundless possibilities will view Digital Capital as an essential guide to innovation and success."
-Jeffrey Mallett, President and COO, Yahoo! Inc.

"Tired of all the hype and clichés about e-business? Still don't know how to compete in a dot-com world? You just found your secret weapon. Tapscott, Ticoll, and Lowy cut to the core of what really matters-how to use the Internet for creating powerful business partnerships. You can't find a better guide to winning in the new digital economy."
-Kim Polese, President, CEO, and Cofounder, Marimba, Inc.

"The Internet has seamlessly interconnected customers, suppliers, and the workforce, and b-webs are effectively blurring all traditional roles and changing how we think about infrastructure. Digital Capital is a breakthrough-a must-read to understand the dynamics of how this new economy will unfold."
--Craig Conway, President and CEO, PeopleSoft, Inc.

"Digital Capital is an insightful guide to the rules of engagement in the new economy. Its explanation of collaborative business webs-the emerging market models for value creation-should be required reading for anyone who wants to reach the digital customer."
-Michael S. Dell, Chairman and CEO, Dell Computer Corporation

"Exciting and compelling, Digital Capital concisely captures important new thinking on Internet business models and how to apply them today."
--Larry Downes, Coauthor, Unleashing the Killer App

"The seminal book on business webs and how they can help move your business units into the new, new economy. Every business leader should read this book!"
-Robert Eaton, Chairman, DaimlerChrysler

"With a surgeon's precision, Tapscott, Ticoll, and Lowy define and explore new business models and opportunities coming to light in the emerging virtual 'agora.' Digital Capital is the guide to the new world of Internet work."
-William T. Esrey, Chairman and CEO, Sprint Corporation

"One of the most important challenges facing today's executives is the need to disaggregate and reaggregate their firms to harness the power of business webs. Digital Capital presents an actionable blueprint for meeting this challenge. If you have any responsibility for the future of your business, read this book."
-Durk Jager, Chairman and CEO, Procter & Gamble

"Simply a must-read. Digital Capital provides real out-of-the-box insights, and, even more, excites and captivates you."
-Jeff Papows, Former CEO, Lotus Development Corporation, and Author of Enterprise.com

"Digital Capital is an insightful and recommended read for anyone wrestling with the impact of e-business and the pace of change. Our business literally exploded with the b-web thinking outlined in this book."
-Peter Schwartz, Chairman and CEO, Descartes Systems

"Digital Capital provides clear insight into responding to the new economy. Working with the authors, our Corporate Foreign Exchange division embodied the ideas behind this book in its e-business strategy, and is now ready to participate successfully in many business webs."
-Alan Stewart, Deputy Chief Executive, Thomas Cook Holdings Limited, and Chairman, Global and Financial Services, Thomas Cook Group

"Digital Capital is the guidebook for any business leader who wants to win in the e-business world. Well written and provocative, this book provides us with the first practical navigation system for what the authors coin as 'b-webs'-the new platform for winning in the twenty-first century."
-Noel Tichy, Professor, University of Michigan, and Coauthor, The Leadership Engine and Every Business Is a Growth Business


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About the Authors

Don Tapscott is author of the international bestsellers The Digital Economy and Growing up Digital. With David Ticoll and Alex Lowy, he also coedited Blueprint to the Digital Economy. Tapscott is Chairman, David Ticoll is CEO, and Alex Lowy is Managing Director of the Alliance for Converging Technologies, an international research and consulting group that advises corporations and governments worldwide on strategy in the digital economy.

Table of Contents
Part IIntroduction1
1.Value Innovation through Business Webs3
Part IIThe New Models of Wealth Creation37
4.Value Chains93
6.Distributive Networks143
Part IIIThe Human and Relationship Elements of Digital Capital167
7.People: The Human Capital in the Business Web169
8.Marketing: Relationship Capital in the Web189
Part IVStrategies for Business Webs207
9.How Do You Weave a B-Web? 209
10.Harvesting Digital Capital231
About the Authors271

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