10 of the best digital transformation books to read in 2023

Some leaders feel the very term “digital transformation” has become so widely used and so broad, it has become unhelpful. Whether you like the term digital transformation or not, it still has some truth behind it.

Even though digital transformation will look different for every company, it can be hard to pinpoint a definition that applies to everyone.

Digital transformation can be defined as the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business. The result: fundamental changes to how your business operates and how you deliver value to your customers, partners, and community.

Author and business futurist Greg Verdino defines digital transformation simply as closing the gap between what digital customers expect and what analog businesses actually deliver.

10 digital transformation books to read this year

However you define the term, here are 10 books to help you get started on leading digital transformation at your company.

1. See Sooner, Act Faster: How Vigilant Leaders Thrive in an Era of Digital Turbulence (Management on the Cutting Edge)

See Sooner Act Faster

Author: George Day and Paul Schoemaker

Why should you read this book? In this book, you’ll the tools for thriving when digital advances intensify turbulence. Business turbulence has become the new normal and a company’s survival depends on vigilant leadership that anticipates threats, spots opportunities, and acts quickly when the time is right.

Highlighting real-world examples from Adobe, MasterCard, and Amazon, the author’s describe how to allocate the scarce resource of attention, how to detect weak signals and separate them from background noise, and how to respond strategically before competitors do.

The authors show us how to foster vigilance and agility throughout your organization. The rewards? Higher profits, more growth, and longevity for your company.

2. Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an Era of Mass Extinction

Survive and Thrive with Digital Transformation

Author: Tom Siebel

Why should you read this book? In this book,you’ll learn how new technologies are disrupting business and government and how your company can harness this disruption to transform itself.

Withe the convergence of cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, and internet of things, these four technologies are changing how we operate in the 21st century.

The author guides you how these technologies are driving digital transformation and provides a roadmap to size today’s opportunities. The authors shows how companies such as Enel, 3M, and the U.S. Department of Defense are applying these technologies to stunning results and thriving in today’s new digital age.

3. Why Digital Transformations Fail: The Surprising Disciplines of How to Take Off and Stay Ahead 

Why Digital Transformations Fail

Author: Tony Saldanha

Why should you read this book? In this book, the author provides you with a five-stage model for executing a digital transformation. As a former vice president of IT and shared services for Procter & Gamble, the author outlines why digital transformation fail.

Why do you they fail? It’s not due to innovation or technological problems. It’s the details. Yes, the “devil is in the details.” A lack of clear goals and a disciplined process for achieving those make transformation fall off the track.

In the Fourth Industrial Revolution where the lines between the physical, digital, and biological worlds are blurring, it is important to become the next Netflix, not the next Blockbuster.  Using dozens of case studies and his own experience, the author shows how digital transformation can be successful, and not an existential threat.

4. The Technology Fallacy: How People Are the Real Key to Digital Transformation (Management on the Cutting Edge)

The Technology Fallacy

Authors: Gerald Kane, Anh Nguyen Phillips, Jonathan Copulsky, and Garth Andrus

Why should you read this book? In this book, you’ll learn that digital disruption is about people. Effective digital transformation involves changes to organizational dynamics and how work gets done.

Digital transformation is not about technology but organizational changes required to harness the power of technology. By focusing on the people and processes of an organization, you can respond quickly to digital disruption. By changing the company culture to be more agile, risk tolerant, and experimental, your organization can compete with digital disruption.

Drawing upon four years of research, surveying more than 16,000 people and conducting interviews with managers at such companies as Walmart, Google, and Salesforce, the authors introduce the concept of digital maturity and how every organization needs to understand its “digital DNA” in order to stop “doing digital” and start “being digital.”

5. MicroMarketing: Get Big Results by Thinking and Acting Small

Micro Marketing

Author: Greg Verdino

Why should you read this book? In this book, talks about how mass marketing is dead and how “micro” marketing can be “macro” marketing.  The author, Greg Verdino, is a highly regarded authority on the “digital now” and a leading thinker on digital transformation, technology trends, marketing innovation, and business strategy.

The book talks about why and how to rethink, retool, and revitalize your marketing strategies to take full advantage of the opportunities created by the microcontent explosion.

Learn how to find new customers, establish relationships, and get real business results with micromarketing.

6. Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation

Leading Digital

Authors: George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee

Why should you read this book? In this book, you’ll take steps toward becoming a “digital master,” no matter what organization or industry you are in. The author explains the phrase “going digital” is relevant for industries beyond tech, media, and entertainment.

With mobile, analytics, social media, sensors, and cloud computing, these technologies have fundamentally changed the business landscape. The authors highlight how enterprises in finance, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals industries are using digital to gain strategic and competitive advantage.

Based on a study of 400+ global firms, including Burberry, Caesars Entertainment, and Nike, the book shows what it takes to become a “digital master” to help you better engage better with your customers, digitally enhance operations, create a digital vision, and govern your digital activities.

7. The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age

Digital Transformation Playbook

Author: David Rogers

Why should you read this book? In this book, you’ll be able to rethink your business for the digital age. If your business started before the Internet, you’ll the playbook for transforming in a digital economy.

The author argues digital transformation is not about updating your technology but about upgrading your strategic thinking.  Based on a decade of research, teaching at Columbia Business School, and consulting for businesses around the world, the author shows how pre-digital-era companies can reinvigorate their game plans, capture the new digital opportunities and rethink their underlying assumptions in five domains of strategy: customers, competition, data, innovation, and value.

The author illustrates every strategy in this playbook with real-world case studies from Google, GE, and Airbnb. With practical frameworks and nine step-by-step planning tools, the author shows how legacy businesses can transform to thrive in the digital age and drive profitable growth.

8. Driving Digital Strategy: A Guide to Reimagining Your Business

Driving Digital Strategy

Author: Sunil Gupta

Why should you read this book? In this book, you’ll learn digital transformation has become a necessity with the widespread threat of disruption.

The author explains how the New York Times has created a successful digital product behind a paywall, how Best Buy has transformed its business in the face of Amazon’s threat, how John Deere formed a data-analysis arm to complement its farm-equipment business.

The Harvard Business School professor, Sunil Gupta provides an actionable framework after studying digital transformation at Fortune 500 companies. In other words, he knows what works and what doesn’t. You can too. The author provides illuminating case studies of companies at the forefront of digital transformation and a comprehensive guide to help you take advantage of the opportunities in today’s digital age.

9. Driving Digital: The Leader’s Guide to Business Transformation Through Technology

Driving Digital

Author: Isaac Sacolick

Why should you read this book? In this book, the author explains that updating products, technologies and business processes in no longer enough. The race is now on for everyone to become a digital enterprise.

If you have been charged with leading your company’s digital transformation, the pressure has become intense and the correct path forward unclear.

The author shares the lessons he’s learned over the years as he has successfully spearheaded multiple transformations. With thorough research, the author examples how how to formulate a digital strategy, drive culture change. bolster digital talent, develop innovative digital practices, and pilot emerging technologies. This book will give you the digital practices needed to catapults your organization into next-level success.

10. 77 Building Blocks of Digital Transformation: The Digital Capability Model

Build Blocks of Digital Transformation

Author: Jace An

Why should you read this book? In this book, you’ll learn the building blocks of digital transformation and the approach to assessment and improvement of the digital capabilities to achieve successful digital transformation. This book is ideal for digital professionals in IT, marketing and sales and those who are digital consultants and digital planners.

This book highlights the “digital capability model” of 12 mega capabilities and 77 capabilities. It is organized the describe capabilities and their associated maturity levels, according to the taxonomy of the “digital capability model.”

A digital capability is an organizational capacity to produce intended and unique business outcomes by combining process, people, and technology. This book is a must-ready for anyone already involved in digital transformation, or wanting to learn how best they can implement and improve their digital operations with a proven, practical and digital framework.

BONUS #1: Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership When Algorithms and Networks Run the World

Competing in the Age of AI

Authors: Marco Iansiti and Karim Lakhani

Why should you read this book? In this book, you’ll learn how to reinvent your organization around data, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) and how to remove the traditional constraints of scale and scope that has hold business growth back for years. The authors explain how leaders can better develop strategies and lead their companies when algorithms and networks run the world.

From Airbnb to Microsoft to Amazon, research shows AI-driven processes are more salable than traditional processes. The authors explain how the “collisions” between AI-driven, digital, and traditional firms are reshaping industries, altering the make up of our economy, and forcing traditional companies to “re-architect their operating models.” This book helps you rethink how your company can compete, operate, and drive a new generation of business capabilities in the era of AI.

BONUS #2: Leveraging Digital Transformation: Proven Leadership and Innovation Strategies to Engage and Grow Your Organization

Leveraging Digital Transformation

Author: M. Nadia Vincent

Why should you read this book? In this book, you’ll learn what is missing from most digital transformation projects: excellent leadership. This book is a practical guide for business executives, C-suite leaders, and digital transformation leaders as they implement digital transformation.

This author provides insights in how to convert digital transformation and innovation into a lucrative investment for increased return on investment (ROI), how to create efficient environments that promote business innovation and disruption, and how to develop your vision for your business. This book shows you how to truly become a digital transformation guide at your organization and gives us all a roadmap for digital transformation success.

BONUS #3: Winning Digital Customers: The Antidote to Irrelevance

Author: Howard Tiersky

Why should you read this book?
In this book, you’ll learn a methodology to help your company focus on digital customers. This book will help your company better compete in the marketplace, identify quick wins in today’s digital world, and how to drive digital transformation. The author did his research so you can build a roadmap for success that concentrates your company’s resources on the digital customer. This book puts meaning behind the buzzword digital transformation with actionable steps and little tricks to help you better manage your transformation to digital.

What digital transformation books would you add to this list?

Is your favorite digital transformation book missing from this list? Leave a comment below so you can share your thoughts on digital transformation books that are a must read.