Courseware & Insight at the Intersection of Tech & Strategy by Prof. John Gallaugher, Carroll School of Management, Boston College

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Topics/Table of Contents for Information Systems: A Manager’s Guide to Harnessing Technology v. 5.0 (Aug. 2016)

Access the online version of Information Systems: A Manager’s Guide to Harnessing Technology

  • 1. Setting the Stage: Technology and the Modern Enterprise
    • 1.1 Tech’s Tectonic Shift: Radically Changing Business Landscapes
    • 1.2 It’s Your Revolution: Your favorite businesses, brought to you by the 30 and under set
    • 1.3 Geek Up—Tech Is Everywhere and You’ll Need It to Thrive
    • 1.4 The Pages Ahead
  • 2. Strategy and Technology: Concepts and Frameworks for Understanding What Separates Winners from Losers
    • 2.1. Introduction: Operational Effectiveness vs. Strategic Positioning. The Struggles of TiVo, the Disruption of FreshDirect
    • 2.2. Powerful Resources: What does it take to build sustained competitive advantage and what is technology’s role? Imitation-resistant value chains, brand, scale, data, switching costs, network effects, distribution channels, and more.
    • 2.3. Barriers to Entry, Technology, and Timing: Stop thinking ‘first mover’, start using timing and tech to create advantage
    • 2.4. Key Framework: The Five Forces of Industry Competitive Advantage: Understanding tech’s role in market competition.
  • 3. Zara: Fast Fashion from Savvy Systems
    • 1. Introduction: Building the world’s largest pure-play fashion retailer, Zara v. Gap, Tech tackles the sweatshop
    • 2. Don’t Guess, Gather Data: Powering a better, more profitable model through technology
    • 3. Moving Forward: Excellence does not equal perfection – tradeoffs in Zara’s winning approach, plus Minicase: Prada’s tech stumbles
  • 4. Netflix in Two Acts: The Making of an E-Commerce Giant and the Uncertain Future of Atoms to Bits
    • 1. Introduction: Reed Hastings, Hero to Chump to Hero, Hollywood couldn’t have scripted it better
    • 2. Act I: David Becomes Goliath: Crafting Killer Assets for DVD-by-Mail Dominance
    • 3. Act II: Netflix and the Shift from Mailing Atoms to Streaming Bits: How to win when nearly everything changes in the shift to streaming
  • 5. Moore’s Law and More: Fast, Cheap Computing, and What This Means for the Manager
    • 1. Introduction: Three curves that tell the future. Your fast/cheap crystal ball. Understanding tech-driven market creation and lessons from Apple to Amazon to emerging economies to Moore’s Law in your medicine cabinet.
    • 2. The Death of Moore’s Law? Why history’s greatest economic gravy train will come to an end in your lifetime.
    • 3. Bringing Brains Together: Supercomputing, Grids, Clusters, and Putting Smarts in the Cloud. From Watson to children’s toys to practical examples leveraging the massively parallel cloud, innovator it’s time to get your geek on.
    • 4. E-waste: The Dark Side of Moore’s Law: It’s all great until it has to be thrown away.
    • 5. Mickey’s Wearable: Disney’s Magic Band: DisneyWorld dumps paper tickets for an experiencing-enhancing, wallet-connected bracelet. The inside story of making $1 billion+ in complexity turn into a dance of delight.
  • 6. Disruptive Technologies: Understanding the Giant Killers and Tactics for Avoiding Extinction
    • 1. Introduction: Why are giants toppled? How to recognize the risk, and planning to be the disruptor and not the disrupted
    • 2. Bitcoin: A Disruptive Innovation for Money and More? Explaining the promise and challenges of a potentially world-changing technology
  • 7. Amazon: An Empire Stretching from Cardboard Box to Kindle to Cloud
    • 7.1. Introduction: Executing a brilliant vision or an occasionally profitable, low-margin hype-machine?
    • 7.2. The Emperor of E-Commerce. A dance of robots and tech for warehouse efficiencies. The negative cash conversion cycle. Cementing scale, convenience, and selection advantages for your first choice (and often only) online shopping destination. Prime, mobile, and gadget experiments to move from shopping list to ship-it-now.
    • 7.3. Kindle on Fire: The Rise of Digital, the Everywhere Store, and New Opportunities from e-Book, Tablet, TV, and Phone. Success and struggles in platform creation. Channel pressure and disintermediating publishers from books to games to TwitchTV.
    • 7.4. Amazon and the Cloud: From Personal Storage to AWS. A multi-billion dollar business that’s used by some of tech’s biggest players.
  • 8. Understanding Network Effects: Strategies for Competing in a Platform-Centric, Winner-Take-All World
    • 8.1. Introduction: Why this is often the most powerful force in tech market competition and platform creation.
    • 8.2. Where Does All That Value Come From? Exchange, stability, and a platform’s complementary benefits.
    • 8.3. One-Sided or Two-Sided Markets? Not all network markets are the same.
    • 8.4. How Are These Markets Different?
    • 8.5. Competing When Network Effects Matter: strategies for building success and challenging the leaders.
  • 9. Social Media, Peer Production, and Web 2.0
    • 1. Introduction: a rundown of the web’s and app world’s most popular services. Yep, they’re all social.
    • 2. Blogs
    • 3. Wikis
    • 4. Social Networks
    • 5. Twitter and the Rise of Microblogging
    • 6. Prediction Markets and the Wisdom of Crowds
    • 7. Crowdsourcing
    • 8. Get SMART: The Social Media Awareness and Response Team: How to build and run the social side of your business.
  • 10. The Sharing Economy, Collaborative Consumption, and Creating More Efficient Markets through Technology
    • 1. Introduction: a multitude of models
    • 2. Boom Times and Looming Challenges in the Sharing Economy
    • 3. Future Outlook: Established Players Get Collaborative
    • 4. Airbnb: Hey Stranger, Why Don’t You Stay at My Place?
    • 5. Uber: Sharing Economy Success from Tech-Fueled Superior Service
  • 11. Facebook: A Billion-plus users, the High-Stakes Move to Mobile, and Big Business from the Social Graph
    • 1. Introduction: a 19 year old builds a service used by more than 1 in 7 people on earth. Tech, the entrepreneur’s ownership stake, and power lessons from meteoric growth.
    • 2. Disrupting Competition, Building Competitive Advantage, and the Challenging Rise of Mobile
    • 3. Lessons from Facebook as an Apps Platform: Early Promise, Continued Challenges, Mobile Missteps
    • 4. Advertising and Social Networks:  A Challenging Landscape but a Big Payoff
    • 5. A Platform Player that Moves Fast and Breaks Things: What All Managers Can Learn from Facebook’s Mistakes, Responses, and Pursuit of New Opportunities
  • 12. Rent the Runway: Entrepreneurs Expanding an Industry by Blending Tech with Fashion
    • 1. Introduction: Two women build a “fashion company with a technology soul” loved by more than five million
    • 2. Founding the Business. Are We On To Something? Product/Market fit, the minimum viable product, and crafting value and delight in a two-sided market.
    • 3. Customer Engagement (Mobile, Social, and Physical Storefronts)
    • 4. Big Data for Big Results, Driving the Business Through Analytics
    • 5. Operations and Logistics: tech orchestrates “Cinderella moments”
    • 6. Expanding with New Models: your closet in the cloud
    • 7. Conclusion: Building a unicorn and paying it foward
  • 13. Understanding Software: A Primer for Managers
    • 1. Introduction: What is software and why is it “eating the world”?
    • 2. Operating Systems: they’re everywhere! PC, enterprise, mobile, and embedded systems.
    • 3. Application Software: from the desktop to the enterprise. A manager’s guide to enterprise acronym soup.
    • 4. Distributed Computing, Web Services, and APIs: The platform builders.
    • 5. Writing Software: programming languages, Java’s appeal, and SDKs
    • 6. Understanding Technology beyond the Price Tag: Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and the Cost of Tech Failure. A sidebar on the failure and resurrection of
  • 14. Software in Flux: Open Source, Cloud, Virtualized and App-driven Shifts
    • 1. Introduction: This ain’t Daddy’s software world
    • 2. Open Source
    • 3. Why Open Source?
    • 4. Examples of Open Source Software
    • 5. Why Give It Away? The Business of Open Source
    • 6. Defining Cloud Computing
    • 7. Software in the Cloud: Why Buy When You Can Rent?
    • 8. SaaS: Not without Risks
    • 9. Understanding Cloud Computing Models: PaaS, IaaS, and Motivations and Risks
    • 10. Clouds and Tech Industry Impact
    • 11. Virtualization and Containers: Software That Makes One Computer Act Like Many
    • 12. Apps and App Stores: Further Disrupting the Software Industry on Smartphones, Tablets, and Beyond
    • 13. Make, Buy, or Rent
  • 15. The Data Asset: Databases, Business Intelligence, Analytics, Big Data, and Competitive Advantage
    • 1. Introduction: a growing and unruly asset, but a potentially critical source of competitive advantage.
    • 2. Data, Information, and Knowledge: Knowing the difference makes all the difference.
    • 3. Where Does Data Come From? Internal systems and third-party sources
    • 4. Data Rich, Information Poor: Why it’s not all that easy to pull it all together.
    • 5. Data Warehouses, Data Marts, and Technology behind “Big Data”. A manager’s guide from relational to NoSQL and Hadoop, and why every ambitious manager should understand the differences. Spotify’s DJ in the cloud.
    • 6. The Business Intelligence Toolkit: Critical technologies from reporting and query tools to AI and machine learning. How LL Bean wins big with big data.
    • 7. Data Asset in Action: Technology and the Rise of Walmart
  • 16. A Manager’s Guide to the Internet and Telecommunications
    • 16.1. Introduction: it all sounds impossible, but it works. Let’s learn how.
    • 16.2. Internet 101: Understanding How the Internet Works. The inside scoop on the ‘network of networks’ host, domain names, IP addresses, the DNS, and why you need to care.
    • 16.3. Getting Where You’re Going: How traffic is sent and routed. And why low latency is perhaps Wall Street’s most precious asset.
    • 16.4. Last Mile: Faster Speed, Broader Access: Wired and wireless solutions to satisfy your need for speed.
  • 17. Information Security: Barbarians at the Gateway (and Just About Everywhere Else)
    • 17.1. Introduction. Anatomy of the career-crushing Target hack, and other high-profile breaches.
    • 17.2. Why Is This Happening? Who Is Doing It? And What’s Their Motivation?
    • 17.3. Where Are Vulnerabilities? Understanding the Weaknesses and Developing Defense Skills.
    • 17.4. Taking Action: as an individual and enterprise.
  • 18. Google in Three Parts: Search, Online Advertising, and an Alphabet of Opportunity
    • 18.1. Introduction: Perhaps the most influential business of our time, and masters of the ‘greatest trick in business history’.
    • 18.2. Understanding Search: Guess what? You’re not really searching the Internet.
    • 18.3. Understanding the Increase in Online Ad Spending: Show me the money, and the results
    • 18.4. Search Advertising: Pennies from clicks make it rain serious coin
    • 18.5. Ad Networks—Distribution beyond Search: Everyone can Make Money from Google.
    • 18.6. More Ad Formats and Payment Schemes: Thinking beyond Pay Per Click.
    • 18.7. Customer Profiling and Behavioral Targeting: Who Are You?
    • 18.8. Profiling and Privacy: Where’s the creep-out line and why managers (and citizens) should understand this evolution.
    • 18.9. Search Engines, Ad Networks, and Fraud: The bad guys want to make money, too. Click to enrich the pockets of the mob.
    • 18.10. The Battle Unfolds: Google vs. the World and the evolution to Alphabet.
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