《HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW》SMART BUSINESS : What Alibaba’s Success Reveals About the Future Of StrategyMing Zeng
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Explores The Strategies & Practices That Have Made Alibaba Successful And How They Can Be Applied To Other Businesses
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★★ How Strategy Works in an Interconnected, Automated World ★★
Leaders already know that the classic approach to strategy–analyze, plan, execute–is losing relevance. But they don’t yet know what replaces it. As everyone and everything becomes more interconnected and digitized, how do you operate, compete, and win?
The book offers insights into the strategies and business model that have contributed to Alibaba’s remarkable success. It explores how Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce giant, became a global leader and what lessons can be drawn from its journey for the future of business strategy.
The book covers topics such as the use of cutting-edge technology, network expansion, specialized third-party roles, and data intelligence. It has been praised for its practicality and relevance to businesses that want to succeed in a fast-changing world.
Ming Zeng, the former Chief of Staff and strategy adviser to Alibaba Group’s founder Jack Ma, explains how the latest technological developments, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, the mobile internet, and cloud computing are redefining how value is created. Written especially for those outside the technology industry or the startup arena, this book introduces a simple, overarching framework to guide strategy formulation and execution in this data-rich and highly interactive environment.
Revealing the revolutionary practices that he and his team have developed at Alibaba, Zeng shows how to:
● Automate decisions through machine learning
● Create products informed by real-time data from customers
● Determine the right strategic positioning to maximize value from platforms and suppliers
● Repurpose your organization to further human insight and enable creativity
● Lead your company’s transformation into a smart business
The book highlights several key themes and lessons, including:
◆ 1. Digital Ecosystems: Alibaba’s success is attributed to its development of a digital ecosystem that encompasses a wide range of services and businesses, from e-commerce and cloud computing to financial services and logistics. Zeng discusses how businesses can create and leverage similar ecosystems to stay competitive in the digital age.
◆ 2. Data and Technology: Alibaba relies heavily on data and technology to drive its operations. The book delves into how companies can use data analytics, artificial intelligence, and other technologies to enhance decision-making, customer experiences, and business efficiency.
◆ 3. Platform Strategies: Alibaba’s platform-based business model allows it to connect consumers and businesses, facilitating transactions and interactions. The book explores the concept of platform strategies and their significance in the modern business landscape.
◆ 4. Global Expansion: Ming Zeng discusses Alibaba’s internationalization efforts and the challenges it faced when entering global markets. This offers insights for businesses looking to expand internationally.
◆ 5. Collaboration and Ecosystem Partnerships: Alibaba’s collaborative approach with various partners, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), is another focal point. Zeng explains how partnerships and collaborations can be critical for business success.
The book also provides valuable insights into the evolving landscape of business and offers guidance for companies looking to adapt and thrive in the digital era. It’s a recommended read for entrepreneurs, business leaders, and anyone interested in understanding how a Chinese tech giant like Alibaba has disrupted traditional business models and influenced the future of strategy.
With insights into the strategies and tools used by leaders at Alibaba and other companies such as Ruhan and Red Collar, in a variety of industries from furniture making to banking to custom tailoring, Smart Business outlines a radically new approach to strategy that can be applied everywhere.
About the Author :
Ming Zeng was the Chief of Staff and strategy adviser to Jack Ma at Alibaba Group for over a decade (2006-2017) as it blossomed into a $400 billion company. He is currently Chairman of the Academic Council of Alibaba Group and Dean of Hupan School of Entrepreneurship, founded by Ma and other Chinese business leaders. Previously, he taught at INSEAD and, in 2002, he was one of the seven professors who founded Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing. He wrote one of the first cases on Alibaba in 2000. The book he coauthored with Peter Williamson, Dragons at Your Door (Harvard Business Review Press), remains one of the most cited books about the strategies of leading Chinese companies.
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