This wonderful book links information technology with strategy by identifying a new paradigm they call N=1 and R=G. Products and services are being provided on a “one-at-a-time” basis for individuals and businesses, hence, N=1. At the same time resources are now global, hence, R=G. Companies are struggling with this shift from undifferentiated products to the current “mass customization” approach now in play, a phenomenon famously described by Ford when he said that “Any color is okay as long as it is black.”
The shift identified by the authors is illustrated by a plethora of mini-cases throughout the book, many of which are Indian companies. These companies utilize global resources to co-create value for both the company and the individual or single business.
The authors clearly identify the “what” and the “why” of the morphing of products and services and then provide direction for managers to understand actions necessary to remain competitive. Legacy skills, mindsets, authority, and decision structures, along with the technical architecture of the firm must change to take advantage of the N=1 and R=G world of competition and value creation. This transformation will create challenges for existing companies and will create opportunities for newcomers. However, the authors do not suggest the need for radical, immediate change, but small, consistent changes that are directionally consistent. There must be a point of view of the emerging competitive environment that fosters this type of change.
Although the book is somewhat technical, it does provide a solid framework for the kind of change the authors believe is necessary to sustain competitive advantage in the future.
This book deserves a solid four star rating and is a valuable book to both read and retain for future reference.