Driving Digital by Isaac Sacolick – a book review

Driving Digital: The Leader's Guide to Business Transformation Through TechnologyI just finished Driving Digital: The Leader’s Guide to Business Transformation Through Technology by Isaac Sacolick. Note: I received a free copy of this book for review.

The short review:

Excellent…the best book I’ve read on the subject. Go buy it if you want/need to transform your business.

The long review:

I’ve read a number of books on digital transformation over the years. Many were very good, some weren’t.  Most were very theoretical who’s authors spend their time talking about the importance of digital transformation to a business but I can’t recall one single book (other than the one being reviewed) that provided an actual game-plan for driving digital transformation.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s lots of theory in this book about WHY companies need to transform their organization but just as importantly (or maybe more importantly) there is more discussion of HOW to drive this transformation.

If you don’t know Isaac, you should check out his linkedin profile and his website. He’s spent years doing exactly what he writes about in this book.  He’s learned the hard way about how to transform an organization by actually doing it rather than sitting in a consulting practice and talking to people that have done it.  Toward the beginning of the book, you can see just how well Isaac understands digital transformation with the following statement (from page 13):

Digital transformation is not just about technology and its implementation. It’s about looking at the business strategy through the lens of technical capabilities and how that changes how you are operating and generating revenues….Ultimately, digital transformation is about automating more of operations, generating revenue-leveraging digital capabilities, and bringing new convenience and value to customers.

I spent the majority of the time reading this book nodding my head and highlighting passages. My kindle notebook for this book has over 100 highlights, which is rare for me while reading these types of books.  Isaac has filled the pages of this book with quite a lot of practical knowledge worth more than the cost of the book.

One of the major aspects of this book that I really like is the very descriptive nature of HOW a CIO can begin driving digital using agile.  I’m a big fan of agile and I’m a fan of agility so seeing Isaac talk about agile practices makes me happy. He writes:

The first place to start is to develop the organizational model and practices that enable the executing of a digital agenda driven by customer and market feedback. You need the IT organization to learn agile practices and develop an agile culture.

A reader can read those lines and think “I just need to implement agile and we’ll be able to drive digital transformation!” — and they’ll be wrong. Agile is just part of it.  Thankfully, Isaac follows up with the following:

…agile is a practice, and it by itself isn’t going to make the IT team fully capable to solve transformational challenges.

Agile (or any method) isn’t the answer to anything other than how can we get this project completed. That said, agility within the organization (and within the IT group) is absolutely necessary for transformation of any kind, especially digital transformation and Isaac does a phenomenal job outlining how do drive digital transformation using agile practices in this book.  This book is both a descriptive and a prescriptive look at driving digital and should be at the top of your reading list. Go buy it.