Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The New Digital Age - book review

There is absolutely no doubt that digital will reshape the way we live and work. So the subtitle of this book 'Reshaping, the future of people, nations and business', by two of the gurus of digital, was of immediate interest.

It is a very readable book and does provide a vision of the future. Yet, to me, it said little about how business would be reshaped - reshaping procurement doesn't feature at all. There is little which would justify the book being located on the 'business and management' shelves in a library or bookshop (even on line). It could be used as a stimulus for discussion along the lines of 'so how would this translate to the procurement world?' - sadly that answer is not found in this book.

Procurement does however get a very brief mention, specifically on p.205, but don't get excited - unfortunately the authors discuss the inflexibility of defence procurement and how users are adapting by 'flying below the procurement radar' and work-arounds. If that is the view of two influencers it is a sad reflection on strategic, agile procurement!

One thing did strike me was the narrow vision of our two friends - for example, they still view a world of nationality based on physical land boundaries. Why should that constraint of birth place, whether for individuals or companies remain in the future - in the future, could we not opt to have nationality based on some form of virtual affiliation, say something like the old EEC or Commonwealth with laws which dictate how those of that 'national' affiliation chose to trade and do business, why not? If such virtual nationalities were created you would have transformed the rules of trade and could opt to have trade with only 'virtual states' able to trade in their own currency, tariffs, licences, language, and laws.

However, if you want some more grounded ideas on how digital can reshape procurement now, I suggest you look beyond The New Digital Age , perhaps even my own white paper on how procurement strategy needs to address digital.

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