Building Digital Culture: What we thought

The CMI Management Book of the Year Awards, sponsored by Henley Business School, took place on Wednesday 7th February. Building Digital Culture: A practical guide to successful digital transformation by Daniel Rowles and Thomas Brown won the 2018 ‘Management Futures’ category. We asked both Sam, a third year Business & Management student, and Dr Rodrigo Perez-Vega, a marketing lecturer, to review the book and share how they thought it benefited them…

Sam Porter, third year Business Management student:

“This book by topic would fall under the ‘digital’ umbrella. But what is digital?

Daniel Rowles provides a coherent explanation as to what digital is, what it means, and why we need it. Also, notably, how businesses can fail to succeed, or (hopefully) succeed through failure.

Big or small, a key message for all commercial organisations is the need to implement a digital culture, and establishing a flexible structure of managing and planning digital ventures.

As a third year Business and Management student, I have studied a variety of different subject areas, from accounting, strategy, marketing and HR to name a few.

For me personally, reading this book has opened my eyes to the real situations faced by people that champion digital transformation. Often, academic literature may have a 2D view. They tend to suggest a method or framework to succeed, and will consider the variables. Yet miss out some of the less obvious political factors that have a bearing on decision makers.

The need for true authenticity was also stressed, my favourite example was that of Pepsi’s ‘Refresh Project’. And why they decided to can it (pun intended)* which I would definitely recommend looking up.

The need to measure success was highlighted throughout. This may seem like an obvious one, but practical methods of how to use analytics tools were also given. Given Google Analytics is alien to a large proportion of students, like myself, having these instructions was extremely insightful on how we can measure and analyse data.

In a few words it’s hard to sum up this book, but I can only describe it as one of a kind!

*Pun stolen from this book”

Dr Rodrigo Perez-Vega, Lecturer in Marketing:

“I’m not surprised that Building a Digital Culture by Daniel Rowles and Thomas Brown won this year’s CMI Management Book of the Year, after all, we’ve experienced the disruptive nature that technology has had on people and businesses.

The book examines from a practical perspective how digital transformation can be implemented in an organisation, and it highlights some of the risks and opportunities that digital technologies give to a company in terms of new channels, new tools and new business models.

As a lecturer in Digital Marketing, the book certainly encourages me to design modules that develop the skills and strategic thinking that are needed to tackle the digital skills gap that currently exists in the marketplace. I always tell my students about the importance of gaining digital skills, and that’s probably why our digital marketing modules and programmes are increasingly popular among business management students.

 Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the insights from senior managers that complement most of the chapters. Their comments illustrate the importance that digital has on their organisations, and how, in hindsight, many of them would want to engage with this transformation earlier and in a more strategic way.

 I would highly recommend the book to managers looking to implement digital transformation in their organisation, but also to business students, even if they are not thinking of a career in digital marketing, as the book clearly illustrates how the digital transformation affects every aspect and role within an organisation.”


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