The objective of this course is to give the students a thorough understanding of the information technology, economic, and organizational issues of doing business in a digital environment, such as the Internet. 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.
Recommended reading
The following are recommendations - I won't expect you to be familiar with them.  They are excellent background material and something to read if you want to dive deeper into some of the areas of the course,
whether you are doing this for grades or not). To get a bit plugged in, you could check out WiredFast Company or Business 2.0 as well.
Electronic material: Some will be made available in Blackboard, otherwise, you may find at BRINT, Slashdot or other places on the Net with relevance for the theme of the day. If you need to look up something specific, try Wikipedia. For the Internet challenged, books and texts are almost too numerous to mention.  No real recommendations here, how about Internet for Dummies? At least it sells well... For any other book, well, try my favorite books page.

Class preparation
This is a graduate and elective course, so it goes without saying that students are well prepared and interested..... 

will be based on the following criteria::

Individual participation (50% of grade) will be based mainly on the individual student's contribution in the classroom and electronic discussion.

Group performance (50% of grade) is determined by a paper written by students in groups of no more than 3.  The content of the paper will be developed by the groups, but typically students write a business plan for a new company or a strategic action plan for a major technology initiative for an existing company.  Students can choose to write about how some technology might influence an industry, or vice versa.  Or you can choose to write a teaching case (with study questions and teaching notes) for use by future classes.

Detailed seminar plan
This is a draft.  Repeat after me: This is a draft....
Moreover, it is based on the 2003 course and it will change -- guaranteed -- before the course starts.
Date/lecturer Topic & study questions Preparation
Internet and the new business connectivity

January 8, 0900-1200, Ekeberg

Espen Andersen
What is Internet technology? How does it really work?  What are the implications for business and organizations?

Study questions:

  1. What is different about competing in a digital world?
  2. (This is a hard one, but interesting and it goes to the core of this course): Information on the Internet is transmitted using a communications protocol called TCP/IP.  IP is packet-switched rather than a line-switched communications protocol.  What does this mean? What are the business consequences of these two different ways of transmitting information?
  3. The Catatech case: How much of a threat is e-Herramientas and the Internet to Catatech? What should Marisa Rivera do about it?

During this class, we will discuss what you will do for a project.  Some of you will want to write a business plan for a new or existing company, some of you may want to study one particular technology and its influence on an industry, some of you may want to examine an existing company and its uses of the Internet.  We will need to form groups and determine at least a few suggestions for projects.

Read and be prepared to discuss:  Further reading (for the especially interested):
  • Anything from the recommended literature, especially Cairncross' or Amor's books
In your spare time:
Network economics
January 22, 0900-1200, Ekeberg

Michael L. Katz, UC Berkeley
Patrick Rey, Université Toulouse

Network economics - a discussion focusing on innovation, competition and value creation in telecommunications and electronic markets.  This is a larger conference with its own program, including a panel discussion with various notabilities from Norwegian telecommunications firms and regulators  - see note in Blackboard.
Read and be prepared to discuss: 
  • Chapter 7 (Networks and Positive Feedback) in Shapiro and Varian.
  • Katz, M. L. and C. Shapiro (1994). "Systems competition and network effects." Journal of Economic Perspectives 8(2): 93-115.
  • Andersen, E. and Ø. Fjeldstad (2003). "Understanding inter-firm relations in mediation industries with special reference to the Nordic Mobile Communication Industry." Industrial Marketing Management 32: 397-408. (This reading has relevance for the next two lectures as well, so skim it for this lecture and reread it for lecture 3 and 4.)
Competing with technology: The case of Opera
Sandvika, Aud. 3
January 26, 0830-1115, followed by lunch until 1230.

Rolf Assev, EVP EVP Marketing and Strategic Alliances, Opera Software.

Espen Andersen
Opera Software ASA is a small (120 employees) software development company from Oslo.  The company is famous for its Opera browser, available for most computer platforms, and is now on the treshold of doing great in other markets, such as mobile phones.  The case illustrates the challenges facing a company in the commercialization phase. There will be a lunch for the MBA students with the main speaker after the class.

Study Questions:
1. Which markets are Opera aiming for, and what are the critical competitive dimensions in each market?
2. What are the main threats and opportunities for Opera.  Do they have a technology-based competitive advantage?  If so, what is it?
3.  What does it take to make the next generation of mobile phones take off?
Read and be prepared to discuss:
  • Chapter 8 (Cooperation and Compatibility) and 9 (Waging a Standards War) in Shapiro & Varian
  • The Opera home page.
  • This article about the battle for the mobile browser in Salon magazine. (May require viewing a commercial before getting access).  Also, this short article from Open Mag.
Further reading (for the especially interested): In your spare time: Check out Slashdot, an online community that gives a good example of the technology audience to Opera's products and evolution.
Technology and the Value Network: The case of telecommunictions
Sandvika, Auditorium 3
0830 - 1115
followed by lunch until 1230.
Monday, February 2

Espen Andersen
Berit Svendsen, CTO Telenor
In this session we will look at technology in a Value Network, exemplified by the case of the Nordic Mobile Telecommunications industry.

Study questions:
1. How does Telenor and other telephone companies make money?  Which parts of their business are likely to grow in the future? To shrink?
2. What is ARPU and how can Telenor increase it?
3. Why does it make sense for a telecommunications company to price calls within their network lower than between their network and other telecommunications companies networks?  Are there circumstances when this does not make sense?

Read and be prepared to discuss: 
  • The Concours Group (2001): Doing business in a mobile world, Re.Sults report
  • Reread the stuff on network externalities from session 2.
Further reading:
The politics of technology
February 12
09:00 - 12:00

Espen Andersen
Note: In this class, we will also discuss the term papers.  Please orient me as to what you will write and with whom.

In this class, we will discuss various political implications of information and other technology - both from business and societal perspective.

Study questions:
  1. Two of Friedman's terms are "the golden straightjacket" and "the electronic herd" - and these two concepts create problems for finance ministers the world over.  What are they? (they may not be in this chapter, but you can guess.....)
  2. The central point in Klein's book is that multinational companies have more power than democratic institutions, and that they exploit that power to their advantage.  How powerful is a company such as Nike? Starbucks?  World News Corporation?
  3. What have question 1 and 2 got to do with technology, anyway?
  4. Read Lauren Weinstein's Risks column. Do you agree in his conclusions?  What would Friedman say to his argument?  Klein?  Landes?
Read and be prepared to discuss:
  • Chapter 10: “Information Policy” in S&W
  • Landes, David S. (1998). The Wealth and Powerty of Nations. New York, Abacus, chapter 14 and 15
  • Klein, N. (2001). No Logo. London, Flamingo, chapter 9, “The Discarded Factory”
  • Friedman, T. L. (1999). The Lexus and the Olive Tree. New York, Farrar, Strauss Giroux., chapter 3 and 4
  • Weinstein, Lauren (2004). Outsourced and Out of ControlCommunications of the ACM, 47(2)
Further reading for the especially interested
  • Lessig, L. (2001). The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World. New York, Random House.  Check out Lawrence Lessig's blog and the article about him in Wired Magazine.
  • Eric Raymond: The Cathedral and the Bazaar, excellent piece on the relationship between the open source and the free software movement.
  • Howard Rheingold (2002): Smart mobs: The next social revolution. On the self-organizing impact of mobile technology.
In your spare time:
  • Stephenson, N. (1999). In the Beginning....Was the Command Line. New York, Avon Books.  Available for free here.  Excellent treatise on what technology really means. If you understand and like this article, then you really grok tech.
Technology and consulting - a view from the inside
Feb 16th, Auditorium 3
0830-1115, with a lunch for the MBA students afterwards.
Tor Jakob Ramsøy, principal and head of McKinsey & Company's European Outsourcing Practice

Jonas Wedin, consultant, McKinsey Business Technology Office, Stockholm

In this session, we will hear about recent developments in technolgy use from a well-known consulting company: Tor Jakob Ramsøy has worked both with Accenture and McKinsey on issues of technology evolution and strategic decisions in technology-rich industries.  Jonas Wedin has done work on outsourcing.  They will talk about how technology is used within a consulting company itself, as well as give some thoughts on how the recent evolution in technology use, specifically the increasing advances in outsourcing, are changing how companies think about technology.

Study questions:
1. What drives value creation in consulting companies?
2. Imagine you are a consultant with McKinsey, who has been asked to help a company evaluate whether to outsource its IT helpdesk to India. What information, and through what kind of information system, would you want a) for your own part, to understand the problem; and b) to present to the company?
3. Why do companies outsource information technology provision and information systems development?
4. "You cannot outsource something that is strategic" is commonly heard when discussing outsourcing.  Do you agree?  What does "strategic" mean in this setting?

Read and be prepared to discuss:
  • Hansen, M., N. Nohria, et al. (1999). “What is your strategy for managing knowledge?” Harvard Business Review (March-April): 106-116 (this is repeated from GRA8254).
  • Utterback chapter on process innovation.
  • Amoribieta, I., K. Bhaumik, et al. (2001). "Programmers abroad: A primer on offshore software development." McKinsey Quarterly (2): 128-140.
  • Auguste, B. G., Y. Hao, et al. (2003). "The other side of outsourcing." McKinsey Quarterly (1): 52-64.
  • McKinsey Global Institute: Offshoring: Is It a Win-Win Game? Report available here, but requires registration before downloading.
  • Weinstein, Lauren (2004). Outsourced and Out of ControlCommunications of the ACM, 47(2)
  • Bob Cringely on outsourcing, with later clarifications.
Further reading (for the especially interested):
  • Nonaka, I. (1991). "The Knowledge-Creating Company." Harvard Business Review (November-December): 96-104. (this is repeated from GRA8254)
  • Kankanhalli, A., F. Tanudidjaja, et al. (2003). "The Role of IT in Successful Knowledge Management Initiatives." Communications of the ACM 46(9): 69-73. (this is repeated from GRA8254)
  • DiRomualdo, A. and V. Gurbaxani (1998). "Strategic Intent for IT Outsourcing." Sloan Management Review 39(4): 67-80.
Turning a company around with technology: The case of Glamox
Ekeberg, February 19th, 0900-1200

Espen Andersen
In this class, we will review how to write a business plan - and then analyse the Glamox case, in which a small Norwegian industrial lightning manufacturer goes through a dramatic change process.

Study questions:

  1. What is a SPOC?  What are the responsibilities of the SPOC?  What technologies and information do you need to run a SPOC?
  2. What are the differences between the “standard” way of producing lamp fixtures, and the new, componentized process in terms of
    a) lot size
    b) reset time
    c) product design
    d) management
    e) long-term market position?
  3. How does Glamox go to market (market, sell, and deliver its products) for the EPL and GMO divisions?  Who has market power and why?  What can Glamox do about it?
  4. What is Glamox' strategic position and outlook at the end of the case, and what strategic options does Christian Thommessen have?
  5. What would you have done differently from Christian Thommessen?
Is Glamox a typical Norwegian industrial company?  In what respects is it different from others?  Similar?

Read and be prepared to discuss: 
  • The Glamox case.
  • Chapter 10 (Innovation and corporate renewal) from Utterback.
  • Kotter, J. P. (1995). “Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail.” Harvard Business Review (March-April): 59-67.
  • Hammer, M. (1990). “Reengineering Work: Don't Automate, Obliterate.” Harvard Business Review (July-August): 104-112. (this one you have from the IT management course.)
Further reading (for the especially interested): In your spare time:
  • spare time? If you have that now, I really need to reconsider...
Growing and maturing the technical company
Sandvika, Aud. 3
February 23, 0830-1115, followed by lunch until 1230.

Roman Skofteby, Scali AS
Espen Andersen
In this class, we will discuss Scali, a small (50 employees) Norwegian software company in the cluster computing market, and what challenges they face in the interrelationship between technology and markets.


1. What are Scali's core markets, and how are they addressing them?
2. Which factors have made Scali successful so far?
3. How should they go forward?  What should be their sources of growth and profitability?

Read and be prepared to discuss:
  • Scali's web site at 
  • Chapter 3 "What products will customers want to buy?" from Christensen, C. M. and M. Raynor (2003). The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth. Boston, MA, Harvard Business School Press.
  • Greiner, L. E. (1972). "Evolution and Revolution as Organizations Grow." Harvard Business Review (July-August): 37-46.
  • Chapter 12, "On the Beach", from Cringely, R. X. (1992). Accidental Empires. Harmonsworth, Middlesex, England, Penguin Books.
In your spare time:
9 In summary....
Ekeberg, March 4, 0900-1200
Espen Andersen
We will discuss the term papers and sum up the course - including technology evolution and the view of managing evolving technology as a game of Tetris. Read and be prepared to discuss:
  • Be prepared to present your term papers and to critique the course.

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