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From The CriticsSmart Web architects study effective business models. But where to look among the sea of competing case studies? Don Tapscott, the bestselling author of The Digital Economy, has asked members of the Alliance for Converging Technologies to separate the wheat from the chaff.
In a series of articles authored by ACT members, Blueprint to the Digital Economy lays out the rules of the new economic landscape, examines how industries have changed as a result of the digital revolution and explores the ramifications of Internet-enabled enterprise. Unlike Michael Wolffs Burn Rate, which chronicles one companys misfortune, Blueprint offers an action-oriented, insider look into companies that have hit upon successful business formulas.
Its also a chance for corporate bigwigs to recount their battles and look into their crystal balls. Some senior execs seem keen on touting their savvy business moves and altruism (Raymond J. Lane, president and COO of Oracle boasts that his company wired George Washington Carver Middle School in South Central Los Angeles), but the authors mostly offer useful case studies. GeoPartners James Moore recounts how Eric Schmidt and John Herr leveraged the capabilities of the Internet to effectively market Java, which had begun as a research tool. Two Bell execs explain how empowering the customer can benefit the company, Carl E. Gustin shares Kodaks strategies for accommodating new technologies and Lloyd Darlington discusses how Bank of Montreal has adapted to e-business. And just about everyone describes a vision of the next killer app.
While the book has a predominantly optimistic tone, some of the contributors mix in a healthy dose of skepticism. Lane thinks well enter an information age only when access to information is simple and low-cost probably in the new millennium. And Internet architect Vint Cerf warns that the Net is not a utopia but a reflection of the real world. He suggests ways to develop national and international security policies to prevent widespread Internet fraud.
We are bombarded by information these days, but knowledge remains an elusive commodity. Blueprint offers lessons from the likes of GM, IBM and HP, but as the authors imply, its up to you to navigate the landscape of the emerging Internetworked Economy.