Introduction Why this book? And why now? After all (you may be thinking), this isn't the first book on e-commerce and the Internet. It may not even be among the first hundred books on these topics, as a casual glance at any bookstore's shelves makes clear. What can this book say that's new and different? That casual impression is correct in one sense, wrong in another. Correct because the digital revolution has been under way for years and has spawned hundreds of books, including several excellent ones. Wrong because How Digital Is Your Business? is not a book on e-commerce or the Internet. It's a book on digital business. And that means it could not have been written even eighteen months ago. We define a digital business as one in which strategic options have been transformed--and significantly broadened--by the use of digital technologies. Under this definition, it's not enough to have a great Web site or a wired workforce or neat software that helps to run a factory. A digital business uses digital technologies to devise entirely new value propositions for customers and for the company's own talent; to invent new methods of creating and capturing profits; and, ultimately, to pursue the true goal of strategic differentiation: uniqueness. Digital business, so defined, is a phenomenon that has emerged only since 1996. It gathered momentum in the last two years of the twentieth century. * Not until 1998 did Dell Computer's on-line configurator--one of the first Choiceboards, a powerful new tool for digital business--appear in anything like its current form. * Not until May of the same year did it become apparent that what we call 10X Productivity--order-of-magnitude improvement in cost, capital requirements, and cycle time--could be and in fact was being realized through the use of digital technologies. * Not until early in 1999 did it become clear that AOL, Yahoo!, and eBay had all developed viable business models for doing business on the Internet. * And not until the early months of 2000 did it become clear that GE, one of the business world's great incumbent companies, was moving forcefully to bring about the first successful large-scale transition from a nondigital to a digital business model. Add to these facts the reality that the creation of a fully developed digital business design takes four to five years to complete, and it's apparent that what we now know about digital business was impossible to know, except in vague outline form, prior to 2000. Thus, we'd argue, this is the first book about digital business. It won't be the last. Having been exposed to the hype and furor that digital technologies have aroused, we have no desire to contribute to them. But we believe that digital business represents a fundamental change from past business models. By comparison, other business movements, like the quality movement of the 1980s or the reengineering movement of the 1990s, will prove to be significantly narrower and more technical, and will have less impact. The breadth and depth of the digital revolution are so important that no one in business can afford not to make digital business a leading priority during the next half-decade. The situation of today's business leaders--those responsible for decisions that affect customers and determine how talent, money, and other resources are deployed--is comparable to that of any professional whose field is being altered forever by the emergence of a new and better way of working. Think of an architect during the early years of the twentieth century, when steel-girder construction and the invention of the elevator were making skyscrapers possible; or imagine a physician in the middle of the nineteenth century, when the discoveries of anesthesia (in the 1840s) and of sterile technique (in the 1860s) were transforming surgery from a torturous horror into a life-saving miracle. No responsible pSlywotzky, Adrian J. is the author of 'How Digitial is Your Business' with ISBN 9780609607701 and ISBN 0609607707.