Harvard Business Review Press
October 1, 1999
Richness or reach? The trade-off used to be simple but absolute: your business strategy either could focus on “rich” information – customized products and services tailored to initial audience – or could reach out to a larger market, but with watered-down information that sacrificed richness in favor of a broad, general appeal. Much of business strategy as we know it today rests on this fundamental dilemma.
Now, say Evans and Wurster, the new economics of information is eliminating the trade-off between richness and reach, blowing apart the foundations of traditional business strategy. Blown to Bits reveals how the spread of connectivity and common standards is redefining the information channels that link businesses with their customers, suppliers, and employees. Increasingly, your customers will have rich access to a universal alternatives, your suppliers will exploit direct access to your customers, and your competitors will pick off the most profitable parts of your value chain. Your competitive advantage is up for grabs.
To prepare corporate executives and entrepreneurs alike for a fundamental change in business competition, Evans and Wurster expand and illuminate groundbreaking concepts first explored in the award-winning Harvard Business Review article “Strategy and the new economics of information,” and present a practical guide for applying them. Examples span the spectrum of industries – from financial services to health care, from consumer to industrial goods, and from media to retailing. Blown to Bits shows how to build new strategies that reflect a world in which richness and reach go hand-in-hand and how to make the most of the new forces shaping competitive advantage.
Philip Evans is a Senior Vice President of The Boston Consulting Group in Boston. Thomas S. Wurster is a Vice President of The Boston Consulting Group in Los Angeles. The authors are coleaders of The Boston Consulting Group’s Media and Convergence practice.