Digital Business

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What You Need to Know Before Starting a Platform Business

There’s a great deal of enthusiasm about platform strategies these days. Entrepreneurs pitch their startups as the next Uber, the next Facebook, or the next Airbnb, while executives in established companies are retooling their strategies around platforms to drive growth and compete digitally. But creating a successful platform business is not easy — as economists Richard Schmalensee and David S. Evans explain in this MIT Sloan Management Review interview.

Seeing Beyond the Blockchain Hype

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 8 min 

Blockchain has recently taken center stage in the conversation about management’s digital makeover. Many believe the impact of blockchain on the ways organizations function and produce value may be greater than other technologies that have grabbed most of our recent attention — data and analytics, the cloud, even artificial intelligence.

MIT SMR and MIT Press Announce Book Publishing Partnership

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 1 min 

MIT Sloan Management Review and MIT Press join forces to launch two new book series exploring the digital frontiers of management. One series will feature original titles. The other series will collect the best MIT SMR articles on key digital topics. Editor in Chief Paul Michelman will serve as the overall series editor. The series will marry groundbreaking new ideas from leading lights in academia and industry with practical advice on how to prepare for the future.

Building a More Intelligent Enterprise

The authors examine how managers can combine a sophisticated understanding of human decision making with technology-enabled insights to make smarter choices in the face of uncertainty and complexity. Integrating the two streams of knowledge is not easy, but once management teams learn how to blend them, the advantages can be substantial.

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Mastering the Digital Innovation Challenge

For Volvo Cars, pursuing digital innovation required fundamentally rethinking the organization, while also keeping the core business functioning efficiently. The company did so by balancing four interrelated competing concerns: (1) new and established innovation capabilities; (2) process and product focus; (3) external and internal collaboration; and (4) flexibility and control in relationships with external partners.

To Improve Cybersecurity, Think Like a Hacker

To protect their organizations from cyberthreats, companies need to understand how hackers go about their work. The authors’ research suggests that hackers’ attacks typically involve four steps: identifying vulnerabilities; scanning and testing; gaining access; and maintaining access.

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Unexpected Benefits of Digital Transformation

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 4 min 

Digital technology creates new opportunities to work differently, which in turn offers opportunities to infuse technology into the work process. When managers shift from thinking about digital tools themselves to a focus on how the tools help companies work differently, they can begin to identify ways to transform the company’s processes to get real value from integrating new tools.

What Executives Get Wrong About Cybersecurity

Cyberattacks are in the news. All kinds of organizations — ranging from Target Corp.and Bangladesh Bank to the Democratic National Committee in the United States — have fallen victim to them in recent years. MIT cybersecurity expert Stuart Madnick explains some of the biggest cybersecurity risks businesses face today — and what executives should do to decrease their companies’ vulnerabilities.

How Blockchain Will Change Organizations

Blockchain technology has the potential to transform how businesses are organized and managed. It allows companies to eliminate transaction costs and use outside resources as easily as internal resources. The implications for areas such as accounting, contract negotiation and enforcement, sales and marketing, and capital investment are myriad. Companies should start exploring how this technology could impact their industry and processes.

Your Digital Talent Needs May Not Be What You Think They Are

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 6 min 

In the quest for digital talent, many employers are falling prey to common misconceptions. One assumption is that advanced technical skills are the most valuable asset, but “soft” skills such as communication and collaboration are just as (if not more) important. And many of the skills, technical or otherwise, that companies seek may be better obtained in current staff by fostering collaborative learning — which may also improve employee retention.

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Warding Off the Threat of Disruption

In a fast-changing digital landscape, companies shouldn’t wait too long to reconfigure their offerings — but they also should be wary of moving to an untested technology too soon. Monitoring trends in related industries and identifying high-potential startups for acquisition helps to ensure appropriate timing for business model changes.

Winning the Digital War for Talent

Competition for digitally savvy talent has never been higher, but companies’ methods for acquiring and keeping the skilled employees they need are outmoded. Whether they want to develop capabilities in employees or tap on-demand talent markets — or some mix of both — human resources directors need to experiment with new talent management models.

When Employees Don’t ‘Like’ Their Employers on Social Media

When employees are not fans or supporters of the company’s products on social media, it sends an ambiguous message and could deprive the company of potential supporters. Employers can counter this by encouraging their “digital native” employees to become brand ambassadors for the company.

How to Develop a Great Digital Strategy

As companies recognize how important a digital strategy has become, they find themselves torn between different strategic options. The first decision is to choose between a customer engagement or a digital solutions strategy. Which to pursue depends on existing capabilities and competitive direction — but companies should avoid trying to do both.

Do You Have a Conversational Interface?

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 5 min 

AI-driven interactions between customers and brands will soon be occurring more often. Messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger and Slack will combine with AI to make sense of text — both conversational and written — and offer services in real time. Companies can prepare for this shift by choosing a platform, running experiments, and begin introducing AI to their customers today.

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