Professor Mohan

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New frameworks to analyze digital ecosystems and adapt your business models to compete in digital ecosystems rather than industries.
Mohan Subramaniam
PROFESSOR Mohan Subramaniam


Available From MIT Press or Amazon

My book is about a new paradigm for competitive strategy, essential for industrial era legacy firms to remain relevant in the new digital  era. For decades, legacy firms have anchored their competitive strategy on products and industry characteristics. These approaches are getting outdated. This book offers a modern perspective of competitive strategy that is anchored on data and digital ecosystems.  Its contents include the showcasing of data’s enlarged role in modern business, a fresh conceptualization of digital ecosystems tailored to  the needs of legacy firms, along with new frameworks that show how digital ecosystems can amplify the power of data for competitive advantage. I highlight the significance of interactive data, and why it is more powerful than episodic data that most legacy firms currently  use. I present digital ecosystems as a combination of production and consumption ecosystems. Production and consumption ecosystems  can help a legacy firm unlock the value of data at various levels – from a primary level of improving operational efficiencies, to more advanced levels of driving new data-driven services and transforming products into digital platforms. To harness the power of these digital  ecosystems, legacy firms must migrate their regular customers into digital customers – or customers who offer new kinds of interactive  data (possible because of sensors and IoT); they must confront new digital competitors – or competitors who compete with similar data,  not just with similar products; and they need new digital capabilities that can jettison them into new digital frontiers.  A unique feature of this book is that its new paradigm for competitive strategy harnesses the foundations of a legacy firm’s traditional  strengths. It shows how legacy firms can use its prevailing infrastructure to leverage data’s more expansive role, by thoughtfully applying  and emulating best practices of the digital titans such as Amazon and Google. It offers insights on how the new and explosive power of  data can also stem from a legacy firm’s prevailing assets and infrastructure including its products. The book also offers frameworks to establish how firms can build new digital ecosystems from its old industry networks. In other words, this book shows how legacy firms can  construct its new competitive strategy from the scaffoldings of its old strategic strengths. Although its new digital strategy may entail major transformations in its prevailing business models, the firm need not forgo its old sources of competitive advantage.  I believe in the coming years more and more legacy firms will want to learn about new ways of using data. They would want to understand how modern concepts of competing in digital ecosystems applies to their prevailing business models. The need is global. Every industrial firm irrespective of their geography will want to adapt their business models in ways that leverage the modern power of data and  digital ecosystems. This book offers systematic frameworks, approaches and insights to do so.  It presents the future of competitive strategy

I am a Professor of Strategy and Digital Transformation at the IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland. I focus on the digital transformation of incumbent industrial firms and new sources of competitive advantage in the digital age. I am a recognized thought leader in digital strategy, and have helped senior executives in several companies find new sources of value and growth for their companies when competing with data within emerging digital ecosystems.

I outline my thinking in my 2022 book The Future of Competitive Strategy: Unleashing the Power of Data and Digital Ecosystems, wherein I introduce a new paradigm for competitive strategy anchored in data and digital ecosystems and the game-changing role of digital technologies in the modern economy. Legacy firms have for decades anchored their competitive strategy in products and industry characteristics, but these approaches are now becoming outdated. My book therefore explains how legacy firms can harness their existing assets, infrastructure, and traditional strengths to leverage the new and explosive power of data by thoughtfully applying and emulating the best practices of digital titans such as Amazon and Google.

My articles regularly appear in Harvard Business Review and MIT Sloan Management Review. I have also published articles in several leading academic journals such as Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, the Journal of Management, and the Journal of International Business Studies, and my research has been recognized by awards from Strategic Management Society, McKinsey Corporation, the Academy of Management, the Academy of International Business, and the Decision Sciences Institute.

I serve as a member of the editorial advisory board of MIT Sloan Management Review, and am an ad hoc reviewer for Strategic Management Journal, the Academy of Management Journal, Management Science, Organization Science, the Journal of International Business Studies, the Journal of Management Studies, the Journal of Product Innovation Management, and Information Systems Research. I also frequently get invited to deliver keynote speeches in company conferences.

Before joining IMD in August 2022, I was an Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the Carroll School of Management in Boston College.

Executive Teaching
Apart from my current position in IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzrland and previously in the Carroll School in Boston College, I have taught in several international programs in France, Austria and Germany and in multiple executive programs around the world such as ISB in Hyderabad, India. I have lectured for Telekom Austria and Voestalpine Steel in Austria, along with companies such as General Motors, Avantor Corporation, and Hamilton Sunstrand in the United States. I have been a keynote speaker for industry conferences such as LIMRA (for insurance) and consulted several startups. In India, I have conducted multiple workshops on Strategy and Digital Strategy for senior executives from Dell Corporation, HP Enterprises, PepsiCo, Cognizant, Tata Consulting Services, Infosys, HCL, The Aditya Birla Group, Godrej Consumer Products, HDFC, SBI Cards, the United Health Group, Dubai Ports, and the National Thermal Power Corporation among others.
Some Of The Companies I Have Worked With
A selection of articles, interviews and webinars I have done on the subject of Digital Strategy  & Digital Transformation.

The Four-Tier Framework for Digital Transformation

The concept of digital transformation needs no introduction to executives today. Indeed, digital transformation may even be one of the most referred to phrases in business  these days. Its significance is evident given the game changing role of digital technologies in the  modern economy. The transformational impact of these technologies on business is comparable to what steam power, electricity, railroads, and computers did to the industrial  world over the last three centuries. As a phrase, digital transformation may also appear selfexplanatory. Digital refers to a slew of modern digital technologies, such as sensors, the  internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI); while transformation points to how prevailing business models must change in non-trivial ways - not only to avail of the benefits, but also to contend with the disruptive threats associated with these technologies.

How Smart Products Create Connected Products

The data streams generated by customers using smart, connected products  can lead to new products and services. As leaders of legacy product  and service companies anchored in  traditional value chains seek ways to  prosper in the digital economy, one of  the most important questions they can  ask is, “How can we turn our existing customers into  digital customers?” Digital customers don’t simply  buy products and services: Their interactions with  those products and services generate data that companies leverage to provide them with greater value  over time. Those data insights also help companies  attract new customers, create fresh revenue streams,  and expand the scope of their businesses. This customer-generated data, which is often combined with  other data streams, has fueled the growth engines of  companies built on digital platforms, like Amazon  and Google. Legacy companies typically collect episodic data  from discrete events — the sale of a product or the  shipment of a component, for instance. Amazon and  Google capture a continuous stream of data at every  customer touch point on their platforms that is used  to generate a new class of insights that play a more  expansive role in their businesses. All of their customers are digital customers. Now, thanks to technologies such as sensors, the internet of things (IoT), and  artificial intelligence, legacy firms, too, can transform  their customers into digital customers who generate  streams of data via their interactions with connected  products.

If you have any questions or are interested in any of my work please feel free to contact me by email at :


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