The Seven Steps to Nirvana: Strategic Insights into eBusiness Transformation

By Mohan Sawhney (Author), Jeff Zabin (Author)

mse-book-sevensteps-730x500

Available for purchase at:icon-amazon-blue

Today’s most successful companies never sit still. Even as they introduce their newest e-business initiatives, their next generation of improvements is already near completion. Traditional organizations¿especially larger, low-tech businesses¿must reinvent themselves if they are to hold their positions against these new business competitors.

The Seven Steps to Nirvana leads managers through the systematic stages needed to transform traditional businesses¿regardless of their industries¿into fierce competitors. Combining hard-hitting analyses with case studies of businesses that made the transition, this concrete, practical tour de force opens readers¿ minds to:

  • Essential differences between e-commerce and e-business
  • The evolutionary stages of e-business intervention
  • Strategies to overcome inertia and organize for speed

Written by one of BusinessWeek’s 25 most influential e-business innovators, The Seven Steps to Nirvana is a trove of innovative techniques for brick-and-mortar businesses to meet–and overcome–the challenges of today’s faster, nimbler e-upstarts.

While some might find the title’s promise of transcendental beatitude a trifle overreaching, The Seven Steps to Nirvana nonetheless provides some excellent insight into the design and implementation of an e-business game plan at “low-tech, smokestack” companies that have heretofore shied away from cyber-strategies. Mohan Sawhney, the McCormick Tribune Professor of Electronic Commerce and Technology at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and Jeff Zabin, a consultant, writer, and speaker, have produced a thought-provoking yet practical entry point for senior managers and other leaders at these firms. The book progresses from creating an overarching initial vision and initiating other critical preliminary preparations to “putting your money where your mouth is, and getting people in the organization to embrace the oft-threatening new world of e-business.” Particularly notable are sections on “thinking like an architect (to) open your mind to new possibilities for business innovation” and mitigating channel conflict–or “dissension among the existing institutions”–by making sure the electronic enhancements you are about to append are truly synchronized complements to what you already have. The ideas behind it all are solid and, perhaps most commendably, are anchored to the needs of a real-world customer base. —Howard Rothman

Although sometimes hyperbolic, Sawhney, an influential professor at Northwestern’s business school, and co-writer Zabin provide a comprehensive conceptual framework for conducting e-business that sets their effort apart from the summer’s many similar books. Targeting senior management, the authors outline their seven steps (vision, evolution, strategy, synchronization, infrastructure, capitalization and organization) for leveraging a company’s advantages.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Sawhney is a professor at Northwestern University. Speaking at the World Economic Forum, he said that “the pure-play online company is being exposed as a myth.”

Sawhney has made waves in academic circles by favoring industry publications like Business 2.0 and Red Herring over academic journals. Business Week named Sawhney one of its “e-biz 25” last May, calling him a “John Maynard Keynes for the Net age: A theorist ready to bet on his ideas.” In Seven Steps , he admits to “paint[ing] many topics with broad brushstrokes,” but he makes it clear that e-business and e-commerce are not synonymous. E-business is the “use of the Net, in combination with other network technologies and forms of electronic communication, to enable any type of business activity,” and Sawhney offers a panoply of ideas for transforming existing businesses into e-businesses. David Rouse

Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Insights and Frameworks for Transforming Traditional Bricks-and-Mortar Operations into Fast-Responding, Customer-Centered Companies

“This book provides the best roadmap I have seen for harnessing the power of e-business to leverage your company’s advantages. Sawhney and Zabin present customer-centered business models for an e-enabled world, a refreshing change from technology-centered books.”

Philip Kotler
S. C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing
Kellogg Graduate School of Management

 

“In a clear and compelling style, Sawhney and Zabin provide a cogent roadmap to navigate the challenging world of e-business without losing sight of the timeless elements of management.”

Ravi Kalakota, Ph.D.
CEO, E-Business Strategies
Author, E-Business 2.0: Roadmap for Success

 

The Seven Steps to Nirvana is an invaluable compass for enterprises as they chart their course on digital strategy. It stands tall above the hype and confusion surrounding e-business.”

Melvyn E. Bergstein
Chairman and CEO
DiamondCluster International

 

“When I took a look at Boeing’s interaction costs and discovered that e-enabling the business could save as much as 50 percent, I became an instant believer. Anyone still sitting on the fence ought to read this book.”

Phil Condit
Chairman and CEO
The Boeing Company

 

“Mohan Sawhney has provided inspiration to me and my colleagues. This book is written for real managers in real business.”

Jack M. Greenberg
Chairman and CEO
McDonald’s Corporation

 

“To date, the incursion of e-business skirmishes has been perpetuated for the most part by startups, technology companies, and the so-called early adopters among the Global 2000. But soon­­just as all disruptive innovations tend to experience a lag time to mainstream acceptance­­the real revolution will begin, with the lion’s share of low-tech, smokestack businesses finally getting religion! Rather than preach to the converted, this book is targeted to senior managers and leaders of these latter companies. To borrow a phrase from Apple Computer, this book is e-business for the ‘rest of us.’ There are no Ciscos and Dells here. … In this book, we focus on real people and real businesses in mundane sectors of the economy. … For them, this book lays out a systematic approach for exploiting the new possibilities of e-business.”

In the world of e-business, “e” is just the means. “Business” is the end. The fundamentals of business have not changed. Firms still win by creating superior value for their customers and by building superior business architectures. Executives who lose sight of this fact­­whether due to technology, bureaucracy, or the gold-rush mentality­­risk becoming disoriented and even lost.

The Seven Steps to Nirvana is a compass for senior executives as they embark on the journey of e-business transformation. Tested before thousands of executives, whose collective insights helped shape its content, this visionary book provides a systematic roadmap for the steps needed to convert large, established companies into fierce, twenty-first-century competitors.

Steeped in ancient wisdom, grounded in a powerful array of sense-making frameworks, and brought to life through dozens of real-world examples, The Seven Steps to Nirvana brings clarity and insight to a wide range of strategic issues, including:

Understanding the true scope of e-business
Defining the evolutionary path for your e-business initiatives
Formulating a winning e-business strategy
Finding opportunities for leveraging the core business
Synchronizing customer touch points and resolving channel conflict

The Seven Steps to Nirvana is more than just another “e-business book.” It is, in fact, a strategy book for the new world of business. It shows how to weave technology, strategy, processes, infrastructure, and organizational issues into a rich tapestry to create the businesses of the future. And it reminds us that e-business is ultimately business, by putting customers at the front and center of e-business initiatives.

Insights and Frameworks for Transforming Traditional Bricks-and-Mortar Operations into Fast-Responding, Customer-Centered Companies

“This book provides the best roadmap I have seen for harnessing the power of e-business to leverage your company’s advantages. Sawhney and Zabin present customer-centered business models for an e-enabled world, a refreshing change from technology-centered books.”

Philip Kotler
S. C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing
Kellogg Graduate School of Management

“In a clear and compelling style, Sawhney and Zabin provide a cogent roadmap to navigate the challenging world of e-business without losing sight of the timeless elements of management.”

Ravi Kalakota, Ph.D.

CEO, E-Business Strategies

Author, E-Business 2.0: Roadmap for Success

The Seven Steps to Nirvana is an invaluable compass for enterprises as they chart their course on digital strategy. It stands tall above the hype and confusion surrounding e-business.”

Melvyn E. Bergstein

Chairman and CEO

DiamondCluster International

“When I took a look at Boeing’s interaction costs and discovered that e-enabling the business could save as much as 50 percent, I became an instant believer. Anyone still sitting on the fence ought to read this book.”

Phil Condit

Chairman and CEO

The Boeing Company

“Mohan Sawhney has provided inspiration to me and my colleagues. This book is written for real managers in real business.”

Jack M. Greenberg

Chairman and CEO

McDonald’s Corporation

“To date, the incursion of e-business skirmishes has been perpetuated for the most part by startups, technology companies, and the so-called early adopters among the Global 2000. But soon­­just as all disruptive innovations tend to experience a lag time to mainstream acceptance­­the real revolution will begin, with the lion’s share of low-tech, smokestack businesses finally getting religion! Rather than preach to the converted, this book is targeted to senior managers and leaders of these latter companies. To borrow a phrase from Apple Computer, this book is e-business for the ‘rest of us.’ There are no Ciscos and Dells here. … In this book, we focus on real people and real businesses in mundane sectors of the economy. … For them, this book lays out a systematic approach for exploiting the new possibilities of e-business.”

Mohan Sawhney is the McCormick Tribune Professor of Electronic Commerce and Technology­­and director of the Center for Research on Technology, Innovation, and E-Commerce­­at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Named by BusinessWeek as one of the 25 most influential people in e-business, Sawhney is an internationally renowned consultant, writer, teacher, adviser, and speaker.

Jeff Zabin is an independent writer and speaker, and a research fellow with DiamondCluster International, a premier business strategy and technology solutions firm. He is a co-founder of an e-business thought leadership network, called nMinds, and a strategic advisor to several technology and e-commerce companies.