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Home > Operations Management Finance Library > Digital Capital: Harnessing the Power of Business Webs

Operations Management Finance Library

Digital Capital: Harnessing the Power of Business Webs

Don Tapscott, David Ticoll, and Alex Lowy (2000)

Why Read It?

  • Provides insight into the growing importance of new electronic marketplaces.

  • Explores how the internet and digital media open up new avenues to wealth creation, using real-world examples.

  • Guides companies wanting to successfully develop business-to-business exchanges or other electronic alliances and accumulate digital capital.


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Getting Started

Digital Capital examines how companies are reinventing their business models around the way the internet is now being used, and is aimed at those who don’t know how to create an internet-based business model or want to improve the one they already have. Introduces key concepts of e-commerce, business webs, and models, discusses the changes that are occurring in the global economy, and outlines eight strategic stages in creating a successful business web.

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Don Tapscott (b. 1947) is Chief Executive and Founder of New Paradigm, a think-tank and strategy consulting company. He teaches at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, and is the author of a number of books on business strategy and the digital economy.

David Ticoll is a Research Fellow at the University of Toronto Knowledge Media Design Institute. He writes on business strategy and technology, and is a director of the Information Technology Association of Canada. He is presently the CEO of Convergent Strategies.

Alex Lowy is a business writer and was previously Director of Training & Development for the City of Toronto. He went on to co-found The Alliance for Converging Technologies, and is an adjunct faculty member at two business schools; in 2003 he formed the Transcend Strategy Group.

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  • Advises on how to establish competitive business models based around digital media.

  • Explains the different business frameworks and their characteristics: agoras, aggregations, value chains, alliances, and distributive networks.

  • Discusses how business webs manage to cut through traditional barriers to enable buyers and sellers to meet, negotiate, and assign value to goods freely.

  • Examines different types of industry and how they can benefit from business webs, from retailers who can aggregate, to banks that use distributive networks.

  • Features companies that have transformed their industries through innovative changes in the way they talk to their customers.

  • Discusses the economic impact of the internet on existing business models.


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  • Works through the systems of suppliers, distributors, services providers, infrastructure providers, and customers that use the internet for business communications and transactions.

  • Considers how to build on the business models that use the internet to best advantage, to help create effective business networks.

  • Describes new digital marketing innovations such as immediate shopping, improved customer relationships, better communication, price discovery, and experience rather than product.

  • Shows how different companies can add knowledge and value to a product or service through innovation, enhancement, cost reduction, or customization.


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Think of customers as part of your b-web and prospects as candidates for relationships, not as markets for your products.

B-webs are the mechanisms for the accumulation of digital capital, the knowledge- and relationship-based currency of the new economy.

If the corporation embodied capital in the industrial age, then the b-web does the same for the digital economy.

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