The best business books of 2017 for CIOs
Illustration: Sophie Melissa (Meiklejohn)
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The best business books of 2017 for CIOs

Kenny MacIver — November 2017
With era-defining themes of digital transformation, platform economics and AI, we select the books published in 2017 that are essential reading for digital decision-makers.

In the past few years, as digital transformation has moved from planning to execution at many companies and government agencies, there has been a real hunger for insight into the challenges that accompany that digital journey and the factors that inspire its success. That has provided rich material for business authors and academics, management gurus and futurists, IT industry insiders and C-suite executives as they seek to chronicle a revolution in processes. Below we offer our pick of the best of their analyses in our business books of 2017.
Required reading for CIOsA Seat at the Table
IT Leadership in the Age of Agility
Mark Schwartz
Be The Business
As CIO of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Mark Schwartz was a driving force for the adoption of Agile and DevOps practices within federal government. And his follow-up to 2016’s The Art of Business Value explores “the rough terrain of IT leadership” through that Agile prism. The CIO role as defined, conceived, and executed today, he argues, is incompatible with Agile thinking, which represents the best ways for IT to deliver value. But “by reconceiving the role based on Agile principles, we turn IT into a value-creation engine,” he says. That means boldly throwing off many of the attitudes and assumptions that have left the CIO meekly begging for a seat at the table, tearing down the wall between IT and business and steering the enterprise towards opportunities that create value. Courageous talk, backed by real insight.

Machine, Platform, Crowd
Harnessing our Digital Future
Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson
The Blockchain Revolution
MIT management school professors McAfee and Brynjolfsson, authors of the bestseller The Second Machine Age, deconstruct the three essential forces behind the evolving digital revolution: the shift from human ingenuity to AI machines, from companies focused on products to ecosystems built around platforms, and from core competencies grown within organizations to wider creative forces developed by loosely connected crowds. The implications for the way we run businesses, manage society and live our lives are profound — as are the choices that could either ensure a broad distribution of the digital dividend or the funnelling of wealth to an elite minority.
• See I-CIO’s Big Thinker interview with Erik Brynjolfsson

Digital @ Scale
The Playbook You Need to Transform Your Company
Dr Jürgen Meffert and Anand Swaminathan
The Value Imperative
Why do companies need to change to confront disruptive digital challenges? What scope of transformation do they need to embrace? And how exactly do larger organizations successfully achieve the necessary reinvention of their structures, processes, management approaches and the IT that underpins the business? McKinsey senior partners Meffert and Swaminathan share answers to those momentous questions by drawing on the management consultancy’s close involvement in the digital transformation journeys of literally hundreds of its clients from around the globe. Deeply analytical and peppered with case studies, self-appraisals and schematics, Digital @ Scale is both an inspirational guide and a digitalization survival manual for many in the C-suite.

The Digital Matrix
New Rules for Business Transformation Through Technology
Venkat Venkatraman
The City of Tomorrow
Business school professor Venkat Venkatraman has been focused on the intersection of business and IT strategy for more than three decades and he wrote The Digital Matrix not for “new digital shining stars” but for executives of legacy businesses in traditional industries. They know they need to transform their organizations by taking advantage of digital technology, he says, but find themselves “a deer in the headlights.” His counsel comes in the form of a framework designed to help executives shape digital business strategy; question their existing business logic, practices and assumptions; and guide them in assessing and executing the digital sea change.

Driving Digital
The Leader’s Guide to Business Transformation Through Technology
Isaac Sacolick
The Inevitable
As the former CIO of Businessweek, McGraw Hill Construction and Greenwich Associates, Isaac Sacolick has much to share about digital transformation. And with every company facing digital disruption, in his view, it is time to act or bow out of the game. “Your organization needs an updated set of practices to compete in a digital environment, deliver winning customer experiences, develop digitally driven products and leverage data for strategic insights,” he states. And he backs up such aspirations with a practical, four- step process, guiding readers how to: get the IT team ready with digital practices; propel investment and innovation; develop the foundations for digital execution; and drive digital growth and culture. An action plan for taking companies — and their IT leader’s careers — into the future.

Also high on the I-CIO reading list

Dual Transformation: How to Reposition Today’s Business While Creating the Future and Seeing What’s Next
Scott Anthony, Clark Gilbert and‎ Mark Johnson

Innosight consultants’ guide to how traditional market leaders can successfully counter the threat of disruption from digitally fuelled start-ups, winning Scott Anthony the Thinkers50 Innovation Award.

Building the Internet of Things:
Implement New Business Models, Disrupt Competitors, Transform Your Industry
Maciej Kranz
A case study-packed dive into the business-rocking impact of IoT from the head of Cisco’s Corporate Strategic Innovation Group.

The Upstarts:
How Uber, Airbnb and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley are Changing the World
Brad Stone
Entertaining and incisive look at how the titans of Silicon Valley succeed in building global platforms that overwhelm whole sectors.

Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone
Satya Nadella
A nice blend of a personal journey to the top of IT; a quest to recast the personality of the world’s largest software company; and an analysis of the tech waves of AI, VR and quantum computing.

Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality
Jaron Lanier
The ‘father of VR’ paints how the rise of the technology is about to change our relationship with reality for ever – at a business, personal and societal level.

The Mathematical Corporation: Where Machine Intelligence and Human Ingenuity Achieve the Impossible
Josh Sullivan and Angela Zutavern
Exploration of how the business rocket fuel of mathematics and big data are inspiring success at companies such as Ford, GSK, InterContinental Hotels and Merck.

The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future
Vivek Wadhwa and Alex Salkever
Thought-provoking look down the telescope at how exponential technologies (from AI and 3D-printing to genomics and autonomous vehicles) will determine the state — and fate — of humankind.
First published November 2017
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