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Digital @ Scale: The Playbook You Need to Transform Your Company

June 27, 2017


McKinsey experts Jürgen Meffert and Anand Swaminathan show how to implement a total digital transformation.

The digital revolution is here, and no industry is immune from its impact. The good news: all companies—big or small—can benefit. “When companies undergo a complete digital transformation, they realize new customer experiences, generate new value propositions, and raise the organization to new levels of effectiveness and efficiency,” explain McKinsey senior partners Jürgen Meffert and Anand Swaminathan in their book Digital @ Scale (Wiley, June 2017). “Companies that are unable to change, unable to extricate themselves from their old ways of business, will have no long-term future, and will fall by the wayside,” they write.

In Digital @ Scale, Meffert and Swaminathan, along with a group of expert contributors, present dozens of case studies, supported by years of McKinsey experience and data, to help leaders understand the significance and benefits of a complete digital transformation for their own companies. The authors provide detailed insights into the three pillars of transformation: reinventing (not just “fixing”) the business; building out a business architecture from the customer first back into organization; and establishing a twin-track IT structure in which day-to- day business is handled as normal along side agile IT systems for fast-developing projects.

Digital @ Scale helps leaders identify exactly what they need to transform, from the overall business model and the central elements of value creation such as product development, marketing, and the supply chain, through to basic functions such as technology, organization, and corporate culture. The authors show how to break down functional silos and build a digital team; appoint and empower a Chief Digital Officer; and continuously measure the benefits of digital change. They also explain why it is essential to move rapidly and commit to transforming the entire enterprise. Partial transformation is simply a band-aid that will fail in the long run.

Recognizing that there’s no one-size-fits-all process for digital transformation, the authors provide advice for businesses with very little digital experience as well as guidance for organizations that have already begun the digital journey. They illustrate their recommendations with examples of new initiatives at companies like Facebook, Apple, and Google as well as with studies of more traditional companies such as GE, Walgreens, Springer, and Toyota that have embraced digital and are thriving.

While it may not be easy for businesses to say good-bye to their old systems, it is necessary if they wish to survive. “Digitization presents an incredible opportunity—for your company, for your team, and for you as an employee or manager,” the authors write. With Digital @ Scale in hand, leaders have the authoritative advice and guidance necessary to launch a digital transformation that will benefit everyone involved, both now and in the future.



Anand Swaminathan is a Senior Partner based in San Francisco and is a leader at the intersection of Digital McKinsey and McKinsey New Ventures. He helps companies across industries leverage technology and digital capabilities to evolve their operating models and transform their businesses to effectively serve their customers, while scaling operations efficiently. He focuses on the retail, high tech, finance, and infrastructure sectors.

Dr. Jürgen Meffert is a Senior Partner in the Düsseldorf office of McKinsey & Company. He is both the Director of the global Digital Practice in the area of B2B, and founder of McKinsey’s initiative for SME growth companies. He advises global firms in the telecommunications, high-tech, and media industries, and has overseen extensive transformation programs in various fields: from growth and innovation strategies, marketing and sales, through to processes and organization.

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