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Driving Digital : Microsoft and Its Customers Speak About Thriving in the E-Business Era

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Today, technology is more than a business tool, it is the force that drives business. Now, this timely and incisive book reveals what every executive and manager needs to know to understand IT and take full advantage of the digital revolution. Robert McDowell charts the trajectory of both the companies making a smooth transition into the new age of technology and the companies being left behind. Using vivid examples from his 10 years of experience at Microsoft, he explains the importance of using information ...
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NY 2001 Brand new hardback. McDowell is Vice President of Microsoft. Preface by Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft. "As a manager in any organization, of any industry anywhere, ... you've known for a while that your company's strategy and vision had better include technology. Now here's a book to help you fully understand how leading organizations are shaping strategy, 'driving digital' throughout the enterprise, and selling this new way of thinking to executives and managers who ju st don't get it. Read more Show Less

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2001 Hard cover First edition. Illustrated. New in new dust jacket. Gift Quality. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Glued binding. Paper over boards. 256 p. Contains: Illustrations. ... Audience: General/trade. Gift Quality. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Read more Show Less

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New Ships From Canada. New in new dust jacket. Glued binding. Paper over boards. 256 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. From the Publisher As a manager in any ... organization, of any industry anywhere, you ve known for a while that your company s strategy and vision had better include technology. If it doesn t, your enterprise will wind up as roadkill on the information superhighway. Now here s a book to help you fully understand how leading organizations are shaping strategy, "'"driving digital"'" throughout the enterprise, and selling this new way of thinking to executives and managers who just don t get it. Robert McDowell s Driving Digital combines the experience and candor of a Microsoft Corporation vice president to show why technology is no longer just a tool. He shows how it can become a driving force in today s workplace--an essential core of any business plan--and shares the secrets of how to make it happen in your company. In his ten years at Microsoft, McDowell h. Read more Show Less

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2001 Hard cover First edition. Illustrated. New in new dust jacket. Glued binding. Paper over boards. 256 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. From the Publisher ... As a manager in any organization, of any industry anywhere, you ve known for a while that your company s strategy and vision had better include technology. If it doesn t, your enterprise will wind up as roadkill on the information superhighway. Now here s a book to help you fully understand how leading organizations are shaping strategy, "driving digital" throughout the enterprise, and selling this new way of thinking to executives and managers who just don t get it. Robert McDowell s Driving Digital combines the experience and candor of a Microsoft Corporation vice president to show why technology is no longer just a tool. He shows how it can become a driving force in today s workplace--an essential core of any business plan--and shares the secrets of how to make it happen in your company. In his ten years at Microsoft, McDowell h Read more Show Less

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Overview

Today, technology is more than a business tool, it is the force that drives business. Now, this timely and incisive book reveals what every executive and manager needs to know to understand IT and take full advantage of the digital revolution. Robert McDowell charts the trajectory of both the companies making a smooth transition into the new age of technology and the companies being left behind. Using vivid examples from his 10 years of experience at Microsoft, he explains the importance of using information technology at all levels within organizations, the essentials of job training and support, and the need to turn all business plans into technology plans.

Driving Digital is a must-read for professionals at all levels striving to stay at the cutting edge of the digital age.

About the Author:
Bob McDowell is a vice president of the Microsoft Corporation. He lives in the San Juan Islands.

William L. Simon is a best-selling author, collaborator, and award-winning film and television writer.

Now here's a book to help you fully understand how leading organizations are shaping strategy, "driving digital" throughout the enterprise, and selling this new way of thinking to executives and managers who just don't get it.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Dispensing basic advice on how businesses can adapt to our technological age, McDowell, a Microsoft vice-president, and Simon (Beyond the Numbers) explain, "Earlier technologies were like equipping a home with indoor plumbing: they saved time and made the experience more pleasant... but in this new era, the technology becomes a catalyst for changing the business itself." In the aftermath of the dot-com meltdown, which has senior managers reassessing the role of the Internet and related technologies in their organizations, this engaging book couldn't be better timed. The authors stress that technology must be at every organization's core, enabling a firm to improve upon what it does and to gain competitive advantage, and that various corporate technology-based systems need to work in concert. Prescriptions for incorporating technology range all over the map and cater to CEOs who lag behind the curve: for example, senior management must communicate by e-mail to show, at least symbolically, that their company is devoted to change; firms should put as much information as possible about their inner workings on corporate intranets. Devoted readers of business books, and those under 35, won't find much new in these lessons, though they are worth repeating. But old-school management may find this clear advice helpful. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
McDowell, a vice-president of Microsoft, and collaborator Simon delve into the business use of information technology. While businesses have used computers since the early 1950s, e-business as a unique approach dates to about 1996. The critical difference between a business that uses computers and an e-business is that the latter uses computers as part of a defined strategy. This book's strong suit is that it was written by a Microsoft executive who has a commanding overview of business applications. McDowell tends to favor such large organizations as Ford, Texaco, Lloyds TSB Bank, and the Commonwealth of Virginia, although smaller businesses (e.g., a two-room inn on Puget Sound) are also included. In each instance, the text is enhanced by the case illustrations of the various business entities. Many of the points made in the book transcend the current issues and practices, but given the rapidity of change within the computer industry, the book will have a relatively short shelf life. Recommended only for specialized collections. Steven Silkunas, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Philadelphia Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780066620923
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/1/2001
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.39 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Bob McDowell is a vice president of the Microsoft Corporation. He lives in the San Juan Islands.

William L. Simon is a best-selling author, collaborator, and award-winning film and television writer.

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Read an Excerpt

The problem is never how to get new,
innovative thoughts into your mind,
but how to get old ones out.

-- Dee Hock,
creator of Visa,
as quoted by Price Pritchett

Chapter One



Technologically Illiterate
Managers Should Quit Now



In mid-1996, The Wall Street Journal ran an article chuckling over the way corporate CEOs were resisting computers for their personal use. The mocking headline read, "Computer Illiterates Still Roam Executive Suites."

Among the executives coming under sharp-eyed scrutiny was General Electric's chief executive Jack Welch, a man renowned as perhaps the best corporate leader in history. But, according to the article, Welch "didn't have a personal computer in his office until several months ago," and he "has yet to find time to try it." As for understanding the Internet, Welch had owned up to backwardness, calling himself "a Neanderthal."

By 1999, though only a year away from his publicly announced retirement, Welch decided that leading GE into the new technology era couldn't wait until his successor took over. Now describing the Internet as "the most revolutionary thing to happen since the Industrial Revolution" and "the most exciting thing I've seen in business" (this from a man who had been running GE for nineteen years), Welch launched a company-wide effort under a banner labeled "DestroyYourBusiness.com."

A flood of speeches, memos, and e-mails carried the same blunt message to the GE business managers: change your business model, or somebody else will. As one company manager described this sudden shift, "If you want to keep working at thecompany, you definitely embrace the idea. It's not optional."

Reporters began to claim GE employees had taken to calling Welch "e-Jack." As they say, there's no zealot like a convert.

Still, Welch worried whether the company had the needed kinds of employees: "Do we have the right gene pool; do people who join big companies want to break glass?" And he didn't delude himself it was going to be easy: "We've got to break this company to do this -- there's no discussion, we've just got to break it."

Clearly Welch had become convinced there's a sea of change going on in corporate America. Some managers and company leaders have already shared his conversion...some haven't but only need a little convincing...some never will. Companies led by those who don't understand the changes being brought by the Digital Revolution, who don't grasp that IT -- Information Technology -- needs to be seen as a strategic weapon, won't be with us very long.

If that sounds dire, if it sounds like something that nobody but a Microsoft executive would say, just remember: throughout the history of American business, size and profitability had been no guarantees of longevity. Of the hundred largest U.S. companies at the beginning of the last century, only sixteen are still in business. Nearly half the companies on the Fortune 500 list in 1980 were gone from the list by 1990. Nearly half had disappeared from the top!

It's striking when a company in an industry widely looked on as hidebound, traditionalist, and about as adapted to change as a dinosaur, confounds expectations.

Early in the year 2000 -- appropriately timed, as if to usher in the new century -- Ford Motor Company chairman William Ford and his CEO Jacques Nasser took turns at the podium in front of a crowded press conference to announce a new program. Their company would provide a free personal computer to each of its 350,000 workers, from the executive suite to the production-line workers and the cleanup crews. Everybody.

Free.

Not for use at work, but for their homes.

And not just a computer but a modem and printer as well, plus Internet access at the bargain price of $5 a month.

Why? The incredibly generous offer wasn't motivated by goodnatured hearts or pure generosity, but by an understanding that a company must have a technologically literate workforce to remain competitive in today's world, and that an Internet-savvy workforce is an essential part of making this happening.

Nasser called the move part of the company's strategy for staying on top of fast-moving electronic business developments as it strives to be consumer driven.

"It's a competitive advantage for us," he said, pointing out that many of the employees would achieve a new level of capability. At the same time, he saw the move as bringing technology to "people who have been outside the fence of opportunity...so they can participate in this golden age of wealth creation."

The following day, Delta Airlines became the next major U.S. corporation to make a similar offer -- subsidized personal computers and Web access to all employees.

It's too early to know whether these deals will prove to be empty and expensive grandstanding or a major step into the future. But one thing is clear: The leadership of Ford and Delta were each taking a major leap toward remaking their companies for the age of e-business and the Digital Revolution.

You have to admit it's quite a shift for corporate top management to think this way about the requirements for remaining competitive. What is it that makes this era so much different from the past?

The era of computers in business that began in the 1950s and '60s, in what we now refer to as the mainframe era, depended on those Cadillac-sized machines that could only be operated and made useful by highly trained specialists in white jackets, looking something like a mob of heart surgeons gathered for an operation. And although the early mainframes packed no more computing power than the machine now sitting on your desktop, they were soon producing near-miracles.

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