GRA8829 Competing in the Digital Economy

MBA program, Winter 2001

[What's new] [Administrivia] [Seminar plan] [Discussion group] [Literature]
[Participants' email] [Term paper groups]
[Espen Andersen's home page] [Hanno Roberts' home page]
[Prior courses of similar nature (BI pages): 1997/1998/1999/2000]

What's new


The objective of this course is to give the students a thorough understanding of the strategic, economic, technical an dorganizational issues of doing business in a digital environment, such as the Internet or mobile technology. Students interested in pursuing careers developing and managing electronic commerce systems or participating in startup companies will receive an excellent foundation in the basic technologies of global electronic networks and their managerial implications.

Computer use
This seminar will make extensive use of "normal" information and communications technology, in the sense that all assignments, messages, discussions and hand-ins will be done electronically. Students are expected to actively participate in discussions (electronic or in the classroom) to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the topics, and will have a large degree of influence over the content of classes and the topic for their term paper.

necesse est.....  This is a high-intensity course at an advanced level, so attendance is mandatory and intense participation the norm rather than the exception. Formal evaluation is as follows:

Detailed seminar plan
The dictatorial right to change and amend this at any time and on any whim is most explicitly reserved.....
Date/lecturer Topic Preparation
Friday January 5th
Espen Andersen
Introduction to the course, a discussion of Internet trends. 
Course content and preparation.
Read and be prepared to discuss: Do: Visit MIT Media Lab's web page and see some of the interesting things they do with wearable computing.

Prepare: What do these terms mean?  Are they important--and if so, why?

  • ADSL and SDSL, 802.11b and perhaps 802.11a
  • Firewire, USB, Bluetooth and especially Ricochet
  • SMTP, TCP/IP, URL, HTML, HTTP, SGML and especially XML
  • Java, DirectX and especially Jini
Consider: What does being digital mean? What characterizes a digital world?
Tuesday January 9th
Hanno Roberts
Job and service costing

Intellectual Capital and Intellectual Assets

Read and be prepared to discuss:
  • Lovelock et al: Ch. 10 – Pricing services, pp. 343-368
  • Afuah and Tucci, Ch. 7 – Valuing and Financing an Internet Start-Up, pp. 106-120
Suggested readings
  • "Paying Respects", The Economist, May 20, 2000, p. 20
  • E-cash 2.0, The Economist, Feb. 19, 2000, p. 67
  • Shapiro & Varian, Ch. 5 and 6: (Recognizing and Managing Lock-In), pp.103-171
  • Too Few Pennies from Heaven, The Economist, July 1, 2000, p. 77
  • Karl Sveiby: Market Value of Intangible Assets
Tuesday January 16th
9:00-12:00 CET
Hanno Roberts
Business models Read and be prepared to discuss: 
  •  Afuah and Tucci, Ch. 6 – Value Configurations and the Internet Start-Up, pp. 87-105
Suggested readings:
  • Ch. 2 – The End of the Chain, pp. 21-44, from Mary J. Cronin (2000). Unchained Value: the new logic of digital business. Boston: Harvard Business School Press
  • There's Nothing On, The Economist, Oct. 7, 2000, p. 17
  • A Blueprint for Bricks to Clicks, Strategic Finance, Nov. 2000:  26-42, and Dec. 2000.
Wednesday January 17th
Hanno Roberts
Pricing models Read and be prepared to discuss:
  • Ch. 9 – Pricing Knowledge: implementing new revenue models, Dawson, pp. 188-205
  • Ch. 2 – Pricing Information, Shapiro and Varian, pp. 19-51
Suggested readings
  • W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne (2000). Knowing a Winning Business Idea When You See One, Harvard Business Review, September-October: 129-138.
  • Death of the Salesmen, The Economist, April 22, 2000, p. 63
  • Karl Sveiby: Intangible Revenues
  • Karl Sveiby: Measuring Intangible Revenues,
  • Karl Sveiby: Fourteen Ways to Charge for Knowledge
  • Tracking down online content, Bizreport, Dec. 21st, 2000
  • Shame about the Statistics, The Economist, Dec. 23, 2000, p. 109
  • Net Wealth, The Economist, June 17, 2000, p. 84
Monday January 29th
Espen Andersen and/or Hanno Roberts
Measurement concepts (BSC, CPI/Value Drivers, EFQM)

Performance measurement and control

Read and be prepared to discuss: 
  • Ch. 6 – Scorecards as Management Control, pp. 146-188 from Nils-Göran Olve, Jan Roy and Magnus Wetter (1999). Performance Drivers. Chicester: Wiley.
  • Ch.7 - Networks and positive Feedback, Shapiro and Varian, pp. 173-225
Suggested reading
  • Karl Sveiby: The BSC and the IAM
  • Knowledge is Power, The Economist, Sep. 23, 2000, p. 29 
  • Labours Lost, The Economist, July 15, 2000, p. 66
  • Scandinavian Models, The Economist, May 20, 2000, p. 19
  • Rebuilding the Garage, The Economist, July 15, 2000, p. 63
Monday January 29th
Espen Andersen and/or Hanno Roberts
The Internet and power Read and be prepared to discuss: Study questions:
  • how does electronic commerce affect Catatech?
  • what should Marisa Rivera do?
  • using Afuah and Tucci chapter 3, what is GM trying to do with Why?
  • how does the introduction of the Internet into a value chain influence power?
Suggested reading:
  • Amor, Chapter 5, "Marketing Strategies on the Web."
  • Kalakota, Chapter 5, "Customer Relationship Management:  Integrating Processes to Build Relationships."
  • Buday, Champy og Nohria's The Rise of the Electronic Community (for full article, see InformationWeek , June 10, 1996)
  • Espen Andersen: Internett som konkurransearena. Praktisk Økonomi og Ledelse, januar 1997 (in Norwegian, good luck to you all....)
  • Cairncross chapter 5 and 6
Extra lecture!
Wednesday January 31
9:00 - 11:30
Finn Øiens auditorium
BI main campus, Sandvika
Clayton M. Christensen
The effect of disruptive growth on the vibrancy of companies and economies
  • Show up.
Wednesday February 7
13:00 - 16:00
Espen Andersen
Erlend Bruvik, Stocknet
B2B, B2C, P2P, D2D etc. Read and be prepared to discuss: 
  • Visit and study their service and business model
  • Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's report on B2B business (read the first 2 parts, look over the rest).  (Incidentally, this web site is a great source of good information on various things electronic and strategic.)
  • Case no. 4 (Verticalnet) in Afuah & Tucci
Study questions:
  • what are the differences between B2C and B2B?
  • why would a company want to join an electronic marketplace
  • why would it want to stay?
  • what is the value of Verticalnet?
  • how should Mark Walsh grow and develop the business?
Friday February 16th
9:00 - 12:00 
Espen Andersen
Getting it done - managing the business and technical development of an electronic business

Guest speaker: Mikkel Nielsen, Accenture: "The strategic development of an e-commerce project"

Read and be prepared to discuss (will change):
  • Chapter 9 (The General Manager and the Internet) in Afuah & Tucci
  • Shapiro & Varian: Chapters 5 and 6.
  • CIO Webmaster article on "Web wars" -- the conflict between Web developers and the traditional IT organization
Suggested reading:
  • Amor, Chapter 9, "Comparing Web Technologies."
  • Kalakota, Chapter 12, "Translating e-Business Strategy into Action."
Tuesday February 20th
9:00 - 12:00
(May be moved to the 21st or 22nd, will know shortly)
Espen Andersen
Final class: Presentation of student work  Be prepared to present your work
Tuesday March 22nd
9:00 - 12:00
Espen Andersen
E-management, globalization and our technological future Read and be prepared to discuss: Study questions:
  • what happens to companies in small countries with increased global competition?
  • what are the main effects of Internet on management of organizations?
  • how does Cairncross and Friedman's observations fit with your own experience?

  • what business opportunities do you see in a globalized setting?
  • What is Kurzveil's main argument about the evolution of computers and communication?
  • Do you agree?  Why or why not?
  • Would you like to have a computer that is smarter than you?  How would you manage it?


Required reading
These books are required reading:
Afuah, A. and C. L. Tucci (2000). Internet Business Models and Strategies: Text and Cases. Burr Ridge, IL, McGraw-Hill Irwin.
This new textbook, based largely on the value configurations framework created by Stabell and Fjeldstad, mixes theoretical summary and a good collection of cases of companies facing strategic choices in a digital world.

Shapiro, Carl & Hal R. Varian (1999) Information Rules : A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy, McGraw-Hill/Harvard Business School Press
(For more information, check out the dedicated Web site at  In the words of The Economist: "These two Berkeley professors bring a discipline to their analysis that is usually quite absent from the overheated burblings of the cyberprophets... [This book is about] rigorous and practical strategies, based on solid foundations, for surviving and prospering in the network economy.  [...] what is so likeable about this book--its fairmindedness and its wise pragmatism."

Almost required reading
This book is required reading unless you are very familiar with Web and computer technology and tools:
Amor, Daniel (1999): The E-business (R)evolution, Prentice-Hall
The "technology book" though there is little reason to feel intimidated even for confirmed non-techies.  Very complete book on all aspects of life online, practically oriented and surprisingly up-to-date.  And, for an added bonus, written by a European....
Recommended reading
These books, and a subscription (online, of course) to Industry Standard, Wired, Fast Company or the Red Herring (for the more financially inclined) is excellent background material (and interesting reading, whether you are doing this for grades or not). Bits: whatever you may find at BRINT or other places on the Net with relevance for the theme of the day.

BI Stiftelsens hjemmeside

Espen Andersen's home page
Last updated: March 13, 2001.

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