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The New Technology Elite: How Great Companies Optimize Both Technology Consumption and Production

ISBN: 978-1-118-10313-5
400 pages
March 2012
The New Technology Elite: How Great Companies Optimize Both Technology Consumption and Production (1118103130) cover image


How-to guidance for optimizing incumbent technologies to deliver a better product and gain competitive advantage

Their zip codes are far from Silicon Valley. Their SIC codes show retail, automobile or banking. But industry after industry is waking up to the opportunity of "smart" products and services for their increasingly tech-savvy customers. Traditionally technology buyers, they are learning to embed technology in their products and become technology vendors. In turn, if you analyze Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and eBay, you marvel at their data centers, retail stores, application ecosystems, global supply chains, design shops. They are considered "consumer" tech but have better technology at larger scale than most enterprises. The old delineation of technology buyer and vendor is obsolete. There is a new definition for the technology elite - and you find them across industries and geographies. The 17 case studies and 4 guest columns spread through The New Technology Elite bring out the elite attributes in detail. Every organization will increasingly be benchmarked against these elite - and soon will be competing against them.

  • Contrasts the productivity that Apple, Google and others have demonstrated in the last decade to that of the average enterprise technology group
  • Reveals how to leverage what companies have learned from Google, Apple, Amazon.com, and Facebook to your company's advantage
  • Designed for business practitioners, CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, technology vendors, venture capitalists, IT consultants, marketing executives, and policy makers
  • Other titles by Vinnie Mirchandani: The New Polymath: Profiles in Compound-Technology Innovations

If you're looking to encourage technology innovation, look no further. The New Technology Elite provides the building blocks your company needs to become innovative through incumbent technologies.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xxi

Part I The Convergence of Technology Production and Consumption

Chapter 1 The New Monday Morning Quarterback 3

Case Study: UPS—That’s Technology “Amore” 15

Chapter 2 The “Industrialization” of Technology 25

Case Study: HP—The Quest for a “10 Out of 10” Supply Chain 32

Chapter 3 From Amazon to Zipcar: No Industry Untouched 39

Case Study: Roosevelt—Innovation Island 49

Chapter 4 Australia to Zanzibar: No Country for Old Products 57

Case Study: Estonia’s “Tiigrihupe”—Tiger Leap 66

Chapter 5 Convergence, Crossover, and Beyond 71

Guest Columns: Crossover Executive Perspectives 84

Perspective 1: Tony Scott (CIO, Microsoft) 84

Perspective 2: Vijay Ravindran (Chief Digital Officer, The Washington Post Co.) 86

Part II Key Attributes for the New Technology Elite: Three Es, Three Ms, Three Ps, and Three Ss

Chapter 6 Elegant: In a World of Flashing 12s 93

Case Study: Virgin America—Redefining Elegance in Flying 103

Chapter 7 Exponential: Leveraging Ecosystems 111

Case Study: RIM’s Evolving Ecosystem 119

Chapter 8 Efficient: Amid Massive Technology Waste 123

Case Study: Facebook’s Hyperefficient Data Center 133

Chapter 9 Mobile: If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be Xiamen 139

Case Study: The Boeing 787 and HCL Technologies 149

Chapter 10 Maverick: No Rules. Just Right. 155

Case Study: Apple—A Thousand “Nos” and Ten Gutsy “Yeses” 163

Chapter 11 Malleable: Business Model Innovation 173

Case Study: Valence Health 186

Chapter 12 Physical: Why Test Driving Is Still Important Even in a Digital World 193

Case Study: Taubman Shopping Centers 205

Chapter 13 Paranoid: But Not Paralyzed 211

Case Study: Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform 220

Chapter 14 Pragmatic: When Attorneys Influence Technology Even More than Engineers 225

Guest Column: Legal Considerations in Technology Product Launches—Benjamin Kern 233

Chapter 15 Speedy: In a New Era of Perishability 241

Case Study: Corning—The Gorilla® Glass Rocket Ride 248

Chapter 16 Social: Amid Chatty Humans and Things 255

Case Study: Lexmark Genesis—A Printer for Our Social Times 265

Chapter 17 Sustainable: Mining the Green Gold 271

Case Study: Google’s Green Initiatives 282

Part III Outside Influences on the Technology Elite

Chapter 18 Making Regulators More Tech-Elite 291

Case Study: 3M’s “Periodic Table” 299

Chapter 19 Society’s Changing View of Technology 305

Guest Column: Smart Products Consumers Can Trust—Professor Mary Cronin 313

Chapter 20 Market Analysts Morphing 317

Case Study: Amazon 2010 Shareholder Letter 323

Endgame: “Welcome to the NFL” 327

Notes 333

About the Author 367

Index 369

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Author Information

VINNIE MIRCHANDANI has been called "The King of Wow" for his keen eye for technology-enabled innovation. His blog, New Florence. New Renaissance, has cataloged 2,500 posts of innovative products, projects, and people in work, life, and play. His last book, The New Polymath (Wiley), was widely praised as an "innovation firehose." He is President of Deal Architect, a technology advisory firm. In prior roles, he was an analyst at Gartner, Inc., a leading technology research firm, and a global consultant at PwC, the advisory firm. He has keynoted at many business and technology conferences and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, Financial Times, and other executive and technology publications.

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Press Release

April 23, 2012
The New Technology Elite - Discover the Trends that Are Revising the Definition of Technology Excellence

Most businesses are seeing an avalanche of employees and consumers asking to interact with them using iPads, Android phones, Facebook pages and other “consumer tech”. Savvy companies are not just refreshing their internal IT for this tech savvy user – they are targeting this user with technology enabled “smart” products and services. In doing so, they are finding they can learn plenty about retail stores, data centers, logistics from Apple, Amazon, Google, eBay and others.  

John Wiley and Sons is releasing The New Technology Elite: How Great Companies Optimize Both Technology Consumption And Production ($29.99; April 2012) to examine two powerful trends that are stopping "IT as usual" in its tracks — the "consumerization of enterprise technology" and, in contrast, "the enterprising of consumer technology."  With seventeen case studies and four guest columns throughout the book, The New Technology Elite details the trends that are revising the definition of technology excellence.  

            No industry or geography is shielded. Walgreens, the pharmacy chain has a refill application that allows customers to scan the bar code from a previous prescription using a mobile phone, transmit it, and get a text message to go pick it up at a nearby store. Whirlpool's Duet washer/dryers come with LCD screens and various laundry apps designed to give users advice on stain removal and other laundry questions.  Their zip codes are far from Silicon Valley, and they may be thought as retail, automobile or banking businesses, but industry after industry is waking up to this opportunity of "smart" products and services. The New Technology Elite offers the how-to guidance a wide range of technologies to deliver a better product and gain competitive advantage.  Coverage includes the transition away from high-level technology to the new importance of:  

  • Product design elegance
  • Physical presence in strategic retail locations
  • Ecosystems of developers and thriving app stores
  • Social savvy
  • Paranoia in the world of hacker groups such as LulzSec and Anonymous
  • Pragmatism in a world where attorneys are even more influential than engineers
  • Being able to fly to Xiamen or Xanadu at a moment's notice

             Technology has traditionally been used for control and compliance. The New Technology Elite showcases the exciting transition to using technology for revenue and growth. It does so by showcasing technology “athletes” and the new records they are scaling. Soon, every organization will be benchmarked against these elite, and be competing with them .This book is essential reading for business professionals ranging from CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and technology vendors, to venture capitalists, IT consultants, marketing executives, and policy makers looking to encourage technology innovation.

Advanced Praise for The New Technology Elite

"Technology-enabled innovation is the future, but make no mistake, that future is here today. Mirchandani uses technology athletes to inspire us in that even the things we may think are impossible are in fact either a current or near future reality." —Michael McNamara, CEO, Flextronics

"In The New Technology Elite, Mirchandani reveals the secret sauce that separates corporate leaders from laggards and market winners from also-rans in the unforgiving global economy. He neatly deconstructs the creative spark, innovative thinking, and excellence of execution that successful companies must continuously master to translate smartly conceived and efficiently delivered technology solutions into market outperformance and sustainable competitive advantage. Doing so reminds us that while technology innovation may start with tightly orchestrated ideation in the dark recesses of the virtual back office, success is often determined by the industrial scale that is unleashed to create products and services that deliver vibrant and intuitive user experiences, as well as rich and utilitarian capabilities that anticipate customer needs, today and tomorrow, and measure up to, if not exceed, rising consumer and business expectations." —Francisco D'Souza, President and CEO, Cognizant Technology Solutions

"This book isn't for those who want to stick to 'IT as usual.' Mirchandani uses real-world examples to catalog the wide range of forces driving IT leadership to adapt or fail in the digital economy." —Chris J. Murphy, Editor, InformationWeek

"Today, every company must 'rethink everything' from their core processes to their fundamental business models. In his new book, Mirchandani shows countless examples of how new technologies have removed historic barriers thus allowing companies to rethink everything. Mirchandani's book is a must-read for business leaders who want to inspire and rededicate their workforce. More importantly, it will serve as a guide to the new ways with which collaboration, innovation, technology, and more will fundamentally, permanently, and perpetually change the businesses of today. If your firm has the will to change, this book has the guidance." —Timothy Christen, CEO, Baker Tilly


Vinnie Mirchandani author of the highly successful Wiley publication, The New Polymath, is a former analyst at Gartner, a leading technology research firm. He previously held various roles at PwC Consulting and now runs a consulting firm working with executives on technology strategy negotiations that is recognized in the Black Book of Outsourcing as a top advisory firm. Mirchandani consults with CEOs, CFOs, VPs of HR, Supply Chain managers and more. He has keynoted at many business and technology conferences and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Financial Times and other executive and IT publications. He is an avid blogger, writing about technology innovation on his "New Florence, New Renaissance" blog and about disruptive economics and technology waste on his "Deal Architect" blog, voted by The Industry Standard as one of its best technology blogs.

THE NEW TECHNOLOGY ELITE: How Great Companies Optimize Both Technology Consumption and Production; Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; Publication date: April 2, 2011; $49.95; Hardcover; 378 pages; ISBN: 978-1-118-10313-5

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