Review of Driving Digital Strategy

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  • Overview
  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples


Harvard Business School professor Sunil Gupta describes the ways that digital disruption emerges from surprising places. Giants like Deere & Company and Goldman Sachs, he reports, are reinventing themselves in the digital realm and claiming new territory on the frontiers of business. Gupta advises reimagining your firm’s core competencies and knitting digital tech into each process. In his overview of sweeping, transformative change, he offers firms a comprehensive digital framework. He only hints at nitty-gritty details, but his useful examples of firms that nailed digital transformation will spark ideas for executives and strategists.

About the Author

Harvard Business School professor Sunil Gupta, PhD, is an expert in digital strategy for business.


To reinvent your business in the digital arena, distill the “core essence” of your organization.

Professor Gupta advises you to consider your company’s scope and business model as you explore the opportunities of having a digital platform in an aligned ecosystem of products and services. He describes how Deere & Company evolved into digital services while expanding its scope and remaining authentic to its brand and history of providing heavy machines for agriculture and construction. Deere built expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), analytics and information technology. It leverages its machinery by using installed sensors and software to automate usage and to collect and analyze data to help farmers manage their business. In 2014, Deere had 60,000 employees and $36 billion in global sales.

Business that used to revolve only around their products now must be more customer-centric. Car makers, responding to technologies that reduce the demand for cars, are rethinking their business as “mobility” rather than as auto manufacture. Amazon taps into the “synergy between complementary products” by selling its Kindle reader (“the razor”) at a low price in order to reap continued future sales of e-books (“the blades”).  “Rather than treating digital strategy as a separate exercise,” Gupta writes, “you must embed it into the operations and DNA of your organization, in a way that touches all aspects of your business.”

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