The best business books of 2016 for CIOs
2016 may be over, but the scale of digital transformation seen during the past 12 months across business, society and in our personal lives marks it out as a watershed year for information technology. Digital contagion has spawned countless new business models in organizations large and small, while technologies such as AI, IoT and virtual reality have not only become viable but widely deployable.
The best-placed chroniclers of such revolutionary times are business authors and academics, management gurus and futurists, IT industry insiders and C-suite executives close to the action, and here we provide our pick of the best of their insight and analysis in our business books of 2016.
Required reading for CIOsBe the Business
CIOs in the New Era of IT
Through her executive recruitment company, Heller Search Associates, and her Movers and Shakers blog for CIO magazine, Martha Heller is arguably the highest profile CIO headhunter in North America. That makes her a confidante of top CIOs — and the management teams seeking to recruit them. In an era of momentous digital change, there is a critical question on their minds — is the CIO a leader of digital business strategy and, if so, what does it take for them to fulfil the role? The title of Heller’s book answers the question: CIOs should occupy what is still largely a digital leadership void. But doing so will mean augmenting their skill sets in some pretty dramatic ways. Heller does not try to paint the scope of that new role alone, but draws on the voices of numerous CIOs from companies as diverse as Stanley Black & Decker, Adobe, Vanguard Group, JetBlue and AstraZeneca. The advice is well-informed: CIOs — in cahoots with their business stakeholders — need to wrangle the multiple digital initiatives that inevitably exist across the company to ensure the resulting applications scale, integrate and are secure. In essence, their job is to make digital an enterprise capability. They need to be ‘competitive capabilities champions.’ By exploiting their end-to-end view of how the business works and knowledge of new technology capabilities, the CIO has the unique opportunity to propose how new process and product initiatives can create differentiation for the business. They also need to run IT like it was their own business, says Heller’s line-up of CIOs, placing investment bets like a CEO and fostering an innovative culture. While being business-oriented, though, they shouldn’t abandon their deep knowledge of the technology stack, the architecture or how a new array of suppliers fits into their portfolio. As Ralph Loura, CTO at Rodan + Fields, tells Heller: “To be a CIO today, you have to be the master of almost everything: technology, finance, legal….” As with The CIO Paradox, this latest book is written in Heller’s engaging, informal style, and provides deep and entertaining insights into what successful CIOs are morphing into.
• Read Martha Heller on ‘The critical success factors for digital CIOs.’
How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World
Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott
• See I-CIO’s Big Thinker interview with Don Tapscott.
The Value Imperative
Harvesting Value from Your IT Initiatives
Gerald Grant and Robert Collins
The City of Tomorrow
Sensors, Networks, Hackers, and the Future of Urban Life
Carlo Ratti and Matthew Claudel
• Watch our Big Thinker video series with Carlo Ratti.
Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future
Ludicrous Misadventures in the Tech Start-up Bubble
How Today's Market Leaders Can Beat Disruptive Competitors at Their Own Game
Jeff Loucks, James Macaulay, Andy Noronha and Michael Wade
Every year, 9,000 executives pass through the high-level business training at the Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Switzerland. And by 2015, almost every one of them was asking the same set of fundamental questions: Could start-ups use digital technologies and new business models to disrupt my industry or company? How are these disruptors attacking established businesses so successfully and quickly? And how can I access the same technologies to create business models that compete effectively and ward off these existential threats? IMD got together with some of Cisco’s brightest digital leaders to come up with some answers. Researching, surveying and interviewing more than 1,000 executives — including the leaders from numerous start-ups — and analyzing the business models of 100-plus disruptive firms, they have been able to gauge the scale of threat faced by different industries (their business models, offerings, and value chains) as they are sucked into ‘a digital vortex.’ The outcome: a series of models, strategies and approaches, centered on business agility, designed to help executives and the companies they run survive, and even thrive, in this volatile new world.
How Networked Markets are Transforming the Economy — and How to Make Them Work for You
Geoffrey Parker, Marshall Van Alstyne and Sangeet Paul Choudary
CIOs across many industries are being tasked with exploring how their organizations can become established at the center of the new ecosystems that are coalescing around new digital models. In insurance, for example, where things like driverless cars and sharing accommodation are resetting the traditional concept of the ownership of the customer, there are animated conversations between the insurance sector incumbents and automotive companies, energy firms and accommodation brokers about how they will form and control such platforms. The models inspiring them are, of course, Uber, PayPal and Airbnb and the like, but this is unchartered territory. Platform Revolution, written by three top academics aligned to MIT’s Initiative for the Digital Economy and Platform Strategy Groups, provides a deep analysis of how platforms work as they match producers and consumers in a multi-sided marketplace. As well as exploring the what, how, and why of this revolution, they also seek to arm the reader with an ‘owner’s manual’ for creating a platform marketplace, drawing on the strategies behind some of today’s rising platforms in sectors as diverse as shoes, spices, dating, energy, home appliances and education.
Also high on the I-CIO reading list
Digital Uncovered: It Takes a Lot More than Technology to Succeed in the Digital World
A primer on the potential of digitalization of business for your CXO colleagues.
The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology
An illuminating and broad analysis of the impact of the blockchain on business.
Technology vs Humanity: The Coming Clash Between Man and Machine
Thought-provoking call-to-action on how the exponential rise of digital technology can be suitably harnessed and channelled rather than overwhelming key aspects of our lives such as work and social structures.
Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built
An authoritative account of the rise of China’s e-retail phenomenon, underscoring how the country’s entrepreneurs are just as capable of outstanding innovation and ambition as any of their Western rivals.
The Network Imperative: How to Survive and Grow in the Age of Digital Business Models
Barry Libert, Megan Beck, Jerry Wind
How the nature of business is undergoing a systemic change, with network models such as Airbnb and Uber showing how the models can rapidly disrupt and dominate.
Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane
IoT’s profound impact deconstructed by the author of Bank 3.0, with contributions from Deutsche Bank’s chief data officer JP Rangaswami and Xero CMO Andy Lark.
The Industries of the Future: How the Next 10 Years of Innovation Will Transform Our Lives at Work and Home
The shape of life to come from Hillary Clinton’s former innovation guru.
Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley
Antonio García Martínez
A warts-and-all account of the insular world of Twitter and Facebook as the social powerhouses thrash about trying to turn customer data into big money.
Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy
Exploring the dystopian potential of data-driven mathematical models.
China's Mobile Economy: Opportunities in the Largest and Fastest Information Consumption Boom
For western CXOs who’s view of the tech tsunami reshaping China is still opaque.
The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism
Socio-economic analysis by the New York University Business School professor of how digital empowers the sharing of assets and turns employment in gigging.
Digital vs Human: How We'll Live, Love, and Think in the Future
A witty and profound analysis of why a future dominated by digital technology needs to be first and foremost should human-centric.
The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism
Informed, up-to-date analysis of the state and future impact of AI, and how automation will rewrite current economic models.
Big Data in Practice: How 45 Successful Companies Used Big Data Analytics to Deliver Extraordinary Results
Use case-rich volume for business management rather than data scientists, cataloging at a very high level how big data can be turned into business value.