Strategy, not Technology, Drives Digital Transformation | DigiTrans

Strategy, not Technology, Drives Digital Transformation

Digital success isn’t all about technology: The 2015 Digital Business Global Executive Study and Research Project by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte identifies strategy as the key driver in the digital arena. Companies that avoid risk-taking are unlikely to thrive and likely to lose talent, as employees across all age groups want to work for businesses committed to digital progress. The report is online and in PDF form, with a Digital Business Interactive Tool to explore the data set.

Read More
Blockchain’s next steps

Blockchain’s next steps

Blockchain, a secure, distributed database, is gaining momentum as a technology that could allow greater financial inclusion worldwide (read our explainer of the technology). MIT Sloan professor Simon Johnson has stepped up MIT Sloan’s blockchain offerings with a new independent study course and a re-tooled existing course that examines blockchain’s implications for economic and financial development.

Read More
Augmentation Versus Automation: AI’s Utility in the Workplace

Augmentation Versus Automation: AI’s Utility in the Workplace

On May 23, 2017, the MIT Sloan School of Management hosted the 14th annual CIO Symposium: “The CIO Adventure: Now, Next and… Beyond.” The one-day event brought senior IT executives together to discuss key technologies, including IoT, AI, blockchain, big data, DevOps, cloud computing, and cybersecurity. The main idea was to help prepare these tech leaders for challenges they face, including shepherding ongoing digital transformations, building a digital organization, and managing IT talent.

Read More
Accelerate Access to Data and Analytics With AI | DigiTrans 2017

Accelerate Access to Data and Analytics With AI

Training employees how to locate and use data insights is a major Big Data bottleneck. A potential solution: AI systems that compress employees’ learning curves.

Even if businesses have made sizable investments in data and analytics, every employee doesn’t necessarily understand how to properly use that data. Learning enough to take advantage of those investments requires time and effort for each employee. While deep reservoirs of data may exist in the organization, the flow through individual employees may be more of a trickle than a cascade.

Artificial intelligence-based approaches may be able to help by enabling each employee everywhere to know what the organization overall knows somewhere.

Read More
It's Time to Think Beyond Cloud Computing. | DigiTrans 2017

It's Time to Think Beyond Cloud Computing.

Fasten your harnesses, because the era of cloud computing’s giant data centers is about to be rear-ended by the age of self-driving cars. Here’s the problem: When a self-driving car has to make snap decisions, it needs answers fast. Even slight delays in updating road and weather conditions could mean longer travel times or dangerous errors. But those smart vehicles of the near-future don’t quite have the huge computing power to process the data necessary to avoid collisions, chat with nearby vehicles about optimizing traffic flow, and find the best routes that avoid gridlocked or washed-out roads. The logical source of that power lies in the massive server farms where hundreds of thousands of processors can churn out solutions. But that won’t work if the vehicles have to wait the 100 milliseconds or so it usually takes for information to travel each way to and from distant data centers. Cars, after all, move fast.

Read More
The Four Ways to Manage Digital Talent and Why Two of Them Don’t Work | DigiTrans 2017

The Four Ways to Manage Digital Talent and Why Two of Them Don’t Work

With digital skills in short supply, companies must rethink the ways they engage with key talent

Digital has not only forced us to reimagine where and when work is done, but also who is going to do it. Digital leaders are experiencing new challenges as they compete for digital talent that is in high demand. They are dealing with three key shifts: (1) a shortage of talent with the requisite digital and social skills, (2) the need for flexibility to scale according to project requirements, and (3) skilled digital workers often choosing to work as freelancers. Digital marketplaces for freelance IT talent, such as Topcoder, Upwork, Kaggle, are rapidly growing as more people are choosing alternatives to full-time employment. Forbes estimates that 35% of people are choosing freelance work and this is rapidly growing, particularly among millennials. Companies that design workplaces for flexible approaches to both work and workers are more likely to succeed in the world of digital.

Read More
A New Approach to Automating Services | DigiTrans 2017

A New Approach to Automating Services

Companies are achieving productivity gains by using software robots to perform routine, rules-based service processes. If implemented well, such automation can result in high-performing human-robot teams, in which software robots and human employees complement one another.

Read More
To Improve Cybersecurity, Think Like a Hacker | DigiTrans 2017

To Improve Cybersecurity, Think Like a Hacker

Cyberattacks are an increasingly common and worrisome threat. To combat the risk, companies need to understand both hackers’ tactics and their mindsets.

If you have any doubts about the need for a new corporate cybersecurity mindset, the daily news contains plenty of sobering evidence. Recently, Yahoo Inc., which was in the midst of a planned transaction to sell its core businesses to Verizon, disclosed that it had been the target of two of the biggest data breaches ever, with sensitive information stolen involving more than 1 billion user accounts in 2013 and 500 million in 2014.1 In addition to highlighting Yahoo’s cybersecurity vulnerability, the attacks have resulted both in a delay in the planned acquisition by Verizon and in a probe by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about the disclosure of the breaches.2 The incident raises broad questions about how cyberthreats affect mergers and acquisitions deals, and it could have an impact on disclosure guidelines and regulations.

Read More
What Managers Need to Know About Artificial Intelligence | DigiTrans 2017

What Managers Need to Know About Artificial Intelligence

MIT SMR and Boston Consulting Group are collaborating on a new research initiative, Artificial Intelligence & Business Strategy, to explore the most important business opportunities and challenges for managers posed by AI.

The field of artificial intelligence (AI) is finally yielding valuable smart devices and applications that do more than win games against human champions. According to a report from the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver, the products of AI are changing the competitive landscape in several industry sectors and are poised to upend operations in many business functions.

Read More
Why Your Company Needs Data Translators | DigiTrans 2017

Why Your Company Needs Data Translators

In many organizations, there remains a consistent disconnect between data scientists and the executive decision makers they support. That’s why it’s time for a new role: the data translator.

Over the past two years, we’ve worked extensively with leaders in the world of professional sports, a field known for its use of analytics. An emergent theme of our work has been the persistent cultural divide between the decision makers on the field and the data analysts who crunch numbers off of it.

Read More
Four Management Lessons From Self-Driving Cars | DigiTrans 2017

Four Management Lessons From Self-Driving Cars

Though much attention has been centered on self-driving cars, business is missing the key lessons about AI that the evolution of the automobile has to offer.

It is hard to discuss artificial intelligence (AI) without mentioning self-driving cars. A typical perspective is to look forward to a driverless future, marveling at the possibilities and implications for how we work… or not.

Read More
Learning the Art of Business Improvisation | DigiTrans 2017

Learning the Art of Business Improvisation

Improvisation may seem to be spontaneous, but managers can foster it in innovation projects through the deliberate development of certain processes and capabilities.

The ability to innovate and rapidly respond to changes in the business environment is critical to competitiveness and success. Creativity and problem-solving skills are key elements of improving the outcomes in projects that require innovation. Iterative development, improvisation, and experimentation combined with focus and flexibility are needed to identify new business opportunities and effectively execute projects. But business demands also require efficiency, and many organizations pursue disciplined project management and product development practices that emphasize standardization and consistency to help drive down costs.

Read More