Category: Digital Business

Redefining the digital divide

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 22 days ago

For most people, the “digital divide” represents the gap between those who have access to information and communications technologies and those who don’t. It deals with socioeconomics, infrastructure, fairness, and opportunity. Although that digital divide is certainly not to be taken lightly, another one is emerging in the world of business. This new digital divide is the widening gap between businesses that understand how to drive true value from new digital technologies, and those that don’t. 

While companies in the technology and software industries certainly understand how to “be digital,” the story is different for the other 90%+ of businesses in the economy. For them, only a relative minority “get” digital.  “Digital mastery matters,” said George Westerman, Research Scientist at the MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE).  “It matters in every industry. And any company can build the DNA of digital masters if its leaders have the will to do so.”

Westerman, along with Didier Bonnet, Senior Vice President at Capgemini Consulting, and MIT IDE Principal Research Scientist Andrew McAfee, studied more than four hundred global firms to understand how they transformed their organizations through digital technology. These businesses include some surprising—and some less surprising—names, including Asian Paints, Burberry, Caesars Entertainment, Codelco, Lloyds Banking Group, Nike and Pernod Ricard. Westerman, Bonnet, and McAfee call these companies “digital masters.” They present these visionary organizations, along with an extensive step-by-step transformation playbook, in their forthcoming book, Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation.

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Will online reviews require proof of purchase?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 month and 19 days ago

The success of recommendation and review websites and applications such as Yelp and TripAdvisor are undeniable. As of the end of July 2014, Yelp had a cumulative 61 million reviews. These reviews are quite powerful: studies have found that 88% of consumers trust them. Surprisingly, the vast majority of reviews on Yelp receive four or five stars (out of five).

But mention Yelp to a chef or restaurateur, and their reaction is likely to be much less positive. One of the issues is that of “cyber-shilling,” where consumers are paid to write reviews—positive or negative. And there have long been rumors and anecdotes of Yelp forcing businesses to pay to suppress negative reviews; this accusation has come up again in a recent shareholder lawsuit against Yelp. The outrage amongst the hospitality community in particular is so strong that a group of French restaurateurs and hoteliers is petitioning France’s Minister of Commerce to effectively ban all defamatory reviews.

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The digital business transformation imperative

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 4 months and 7 days ago

“What exactly does a digital business transformation mean?” asked Michael Krigsman, CEO of Asuret, Inc., and moderator of the "CIO, CMO, CDO Perspectives on Digital Transformation" panel at The 2014 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium.

Each of the panelists—F. Thaddeus Arroyo, CIO of AT&T Services, Inc.; Robert Tas, CMO & SVP of Pegasystems; Tanya Cordrey, Chief Digital Officer (CDO) of Guardian News and Media; and George Westerman, Research Scientist at the MIT Center for Digital Business—had his or her own take on the digital transformation facing most businesses today. 

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No substitutions allowed

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 6 months and 22 days ago

One famous scene from the movie Five Easy Pieces shows Jack Nicholson ordering a side of whole-wheat toast with his omelet at a diner. He’s then informed that the system doesn’t allow sides of toast. So he orders a chicken salad sandwich on whole-wheat toast—without butter, lettuce, mayonnaise, and chicken.

Nearly everyone recognizes what’s wrong with the “system” in this scenario—the customer doesn’t easily get what he wants. But the traditional approach to “fixing” this might be to simply add more options for what the customer might want. That change would impact the diner’s ordering system, the inventory needed in the kitchen, and even how the kitchen staff cooks. So sometimes it’s easier to simply say, “the system doesn’t work that way,” or, in other words, “no substitutions allowed.”

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What we’re learning from the Target data breach

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 7 months and 11 days ago

Data breaches in the news over the past two months have affected millions of people; 110 million Target shoppers and 1.1 million Neiman Marcus customers. Retailer Michaels Stores is investigating a possible data breach. In addition, some Marriott Hotels, Holiday Inns, Sheratons, and other sites managed by White Lodging Hotels were also the target of cybercriminals. As these retailers, businesses, and industry experts brief Congress on the situation, consumers are learning more about the implications of cybercrime. The overall takeaway is that data breaches are common and will continue. In fact, as The Washington Post reported in Experts warn of coming wave of serious cybercrime,” “Only 11% of businesses have adopted industry-standard security measures … and that even these ‘best practices’ fall short of what’s needed to defeat aggressive hackers.”

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Is there a hole in JetBlue’s digital strategy?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 9 months and 6 days ago

Winter weather—and its associated travel woes—are nothing new to the Northeast or the Midwest. But the early storm (Hercules) of 2014 saw a nearly unprecedented level of cancellations and chaos days after the actual storm. Those most impacted were passengers of JetBlue. The airline blamed both the weather and new FAA rules that extended the hours of rest crews needed between flights. Not only has this incident exposed some core airline operations issues—not planning for the extension in required rest hours and not having the flexibility to move aircraft—but it has also exposed some holes in JetBlue’s digital customer service.

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Bitcoin’s role in digital strategy

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 9 months and 11 days ago

The hype around Bitcoin is largely speculative; as The Washington Post stated in its article, “12 Questions about Bitcoin You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask,” the price of Bitcoin is “extraordinarily volatile,” also noting, “It lost more than 90% of its value between June and October 2011.” Since then, the currency has gone from $0.30 in 2011 to $600 today. It’s definitely a speculator’s market. The currency may continue to increase in value, or it may fall.

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