Upon successful completion of this chapter, you will be able to:
- Discuss the impacts of digital technology on the business landscape;
- Explain how strategy is impacted by technology;
- Describe the components of competitive advantage;
- Outline the value chain concept;
- Recognize the role technology can play in crafting an imitation-resistant value chain; and
- Explain the danger of relying on technology.
The world is changing rapidly, and the impacts of technology are profound. Digital technologies – devices that process digital signals – are advancing faster than any other innovation in history and changing the competitive dynamics of industry. Managers that understand the impacts of a rapidly shifting environment are better prepared to recognize both opportunities and risks and are able to formulate tech-centric approaches to markets. Managers also need to be able to see clearly through seemingly conflicting assertions about best practices.
This chapter will explain how firms can leverage technology for competitive advantage. It is important to note that technology alone is rarely the answer, but firms can weave technology into their operations in ways that create value. Two popular management frameworks, the value chain and the five forces model, will be explored to help understand competitive advantage.