Driving Digital Strategy | Sunil Gupta

Summary of: Driving Digital Strategy: A Guide to Reimagining Your Business
By: Sunil Gupta


In the book ‘Driving Digital Strategy’, author Sunil Gupta showcases how established companies can reinvent themselves through digital transformation. By distilling the core essence of a company, Gupta provides a comprehensive framework for change that revamps their processes and operations, incorporating digital technology throughout. The book delves into the specific examples of Deere & Company, Tencent, and The New York Times, illustrating how they successfully immersed themselves in the digital era, adapting their scope and business models to align with digitally rooted ecosystems of products and services.

Digital Disruption Made Easy

In “Driving Digital Strategy,” Professor Sunil Gupta advises companies to reimagine their core competencies and integrate digital technology into every process. The book explores how giants like Deere & Company and Goldman Sachs have successfully reinvented themselves in the digital space. Gupta offers a comprehensive digital framework that encourages businesses to distill the core of their organization. Though lacking in nitty-gritty details, the book provides useful insights and examples for executives and strategists on the path to successful digital transformation.

Embrace Digital Strategies

In the book, the author encourages companies to align their ecosystem of products and services with a digital platform. He highlights the evolution of Deere & Company into digital services while expanding its scope and remaining authentic to its brand. Digital strategy should be embedded into the operations and DNA of your organization, in a way that touches all aspects of your business. The author cites Tencent as an example of a successful company that developed the messaging app WeChat and added capabilities, such as paying bills, ordering food, and making appointments. This led to the growth of WeChat payment service, threatening China’s market leader, Alibaba’s Alipay.

The Transformation of The New York Times

The New York Times shifted from advertising-based revenue to a subscription-based model between 2000 and 2017, reflecting a change to a demand-based economy. Gupta argues that access to products, rather than ownership, will drive business success. Platforms like Amazon and eBay showcase the virtuous cycle of network effects, which draws in more sellers, attracting more buyers and consequently more sellers.

NASA Crowdsources Solutions

In her book, Gupta details NASA’s innovative approach to finding solutions to a problem with solar panels on the International Space Station. Rather than relying solely on internal ideas, NASA held a global contest that produced better than expected results at a lower cost. Gupta also examines how companies like L’Oreal are effectively managing their physical and online presences to complement each other. By training salespeople in-store and using email campaigns to remind customers to buy refills, L’Oreal’s approach in customer engagement illustrates how businesses can adapt to changing consumer behavior and preferences.

Mapping the Customer Journey

To effectively market your brand, you must understand your customer’s decision journey from purchase to usage. Along the way, your marketing should align with your brand’s values, and you should measure the impact of your campaigns in terms of increased transactions. Don’t be fooled by online likes and views, which have no real value. It’s essential to stay true to your company’s core DNA and leverage your assets. Unilever’s success in the least-electrified regions of India, where they launched an entertainment and news channel for basic mobile phones, is a great example of this approach. Within six months, the channel had eight million subscribers.

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