LEADING WITH STRATEGY IN DIGITAL FIRMS
2018/2019, Semester 2
School of Business (Dean's Office (Biz))
Modular Credits: 4
Major technological innovations and inventions like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, 3D printing and Robotics are maturing to the point where the way we work and the way we live will be changed forever, just like businesses today cannot function effectively without the internet, email and the mobile phone.
How do today’s executives navigate the ever challenging business environment which is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA)? When you stand still on the information superhighway, you will get run over. When you stand still in a VUCA business environment, you will become irrelevant.
Do you have to be a internet-company or a cybersecurity-company or a mobile-company or a technology-company or everything? Is our world becoming a Internet of People or Internet of Things or Internet of Everything? Do you agree that data is the new oil?
The wave of digitalization is upon us. Which technologies will become mainstream and which new business models will be pervasive after they are experimented and deployed everyday by start-ups and enlightened old economy corporations? It is imperative that business leaders must keep pace with these waves of change in order to survive and prosper in this new business environment.
This module will focus on addressing the challenges of the digital firm. We will explore some of these maturing technologies and their impact on society and how businesses must deal with these major technologies and focus on developing strategy to compete successfully both domestically and internationally. We will explore the underlying concepts, analytical techniques, and evaluation of strategic options that form the basis for strategic analysis and action.
Our approach to the course will be practical and problem-oriented. The course emphasizes the application of concepts and analytical frameworks to the strategic issues faced by real companies. To that end, cases form an integral part of the course. Aside from cases, we will use lectures, presentations, and group discussions to teach the concepts and practice of leading with strategy in digital firms.
1. Review and understand current technological changes affecting today’s business environment
2. Demonstrate the strategic role of the leader in the digital age
3. Introduce frameworks and tools to identify and define strategic drivers for the digital economy (technology, people, business models)
4. Prepare the students for the coming transformation of the firm (organization design, value creation, strategy-operations alignment)
Case and reading package.
The Digital Enterprise Moving from experimentation to transformation, WEF Insight Report
Internet Trends 2018, Mary Meeker
Reading list (to be announced later)
Class Participation 30%
Group Strategy Report 40%
In-Class Test 30%
Assessment Component 1: Class Participation
It is important that you start seeing yourself as being able to contribute in strategic discussions in your workplace. This class is the opportunity for you to develop your analytical and communication skills in this area.
This class will be most rewarding when all participants contribute towards a meaningful learning environment. With full participation, you will gain insights about strategic thinking and strategy by working on the cases, interacting with others and building upon everyone’s ideas.
As this is a case-study based class, it is critical that class participants be ready to discuss and analyze pre-assigned issues and problems on cases and readings. All participants are expected to support your comments and inputs with facts and data from the cases, the text or from other readings.
Do note that in the business world, there are no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions to the strategic management problems or other business problems. I would look for recommendations of solutions based on your analysis of the facts and data as well as a sound knowledge of strategic management principles.
The following guidelines elaborate on how participation will be evaluated:
For Good rating:
Voluntarily speaks frequently
Responds well to additional probing, goes beyond class content
Answers questions well
Provides insightful comments and integrates additional material
Able to apply theory to specific issues
Provides content-rich answers
For Average rating:
Voluntarily speaks but only moderately
Responds appropriately but within the scope of class material
Answered questions adequately but not fully
Rarely integrates material from other sources
Uses theory narrowly and without application
Answers are adequate in terms of content
For Below Average rating
Does not participate voluntarily or only speaks when called upon
Does not respond well to questions and does not use material
Does not address or misses core issues
Unable to use theory
Provides wrong, trivial or distracting answers
Assessment Component 2: Group Report
This class will include a group project to analyze and develop a strategic roadmap for transformation in a listed/major company in our rapidly evolving world into a digital economy. This is an opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills to a real life situation.
Select a company for the project indicating the named company and the transformation initiatives. Submit an outline of the project to me by session 2 on 25 Jan 2019,
Each group will describe the problem statement in the context of some of the following areas requiring transformation efforts in order to thrive in the digital economy:
• Creating new digital businesses
• Changing the value chain
• Refreshing the value proposition
• Enhancing the customer experience
• Changing operations
• Redesigning organization structure
• Repositioning of people skills/competencies
For the selected areas, consider the details at three levels:
• The organizational level
• The process level
• The individual level
Each group would comprise of 3 to 4 members (max 2 of same nationalities). Each group will present the analysis and strategic roadmap on Session 12 and 13 (12 and 19 Apr 2019). Each group will have 20 mins for the presentation (every member is expected to present), followed by Q&A with the class.
As a guide, grades will be given based on the following weightage
• Introduction/background (10%)
• Analysis of current situation (40%)
• Strategic roadmap for the transformation efforts, including targeted outcome (50%)
Each group will submit their presentation slide deck to me by 2000 hrs on the Thursday before the sessions on Friday.
Each group will submit their written reports at the end of the Semester 2 by 2000 hrs on 19 Apr 2019. The written report should not be more than 3,500 words.
Assessment Component 3: In-Class Test
The In-Class Test will be administered after the recess week on Week 7 on 8 Mar 2019. More details will be provided later.
Academic Honesty & Plagiarism
Academic integrity and honesty is essential for the pursuit and acquisition of knowledge. The University and School expect every student to uphold academic integrity & honesty at all times. Academic dishonesty is any misrepresentation with the intent to deceive, or failure to acknowledge the source, or falsification of information, or inaccuracy of statements, or cheating at examinations/tests, or inappropriate use of resources.
Plagiarism is ‘the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own' (The New Oxford Dictionary of English). The University and School will not condone plagiarism. Students should adopt this rule - You have the obligation to make clear to the assessor which is your own work, and which is the work of others. Otherwise, your assessor is entitled to assume that everything being presented for assessment is being presented as entirely your own work. This is a minimum standard. In case of any doubts, you should consult your instructor.
Additional guidance is available at:
Online Module on Plagiarism:
Schedule and Outline
Introduction to the module
What is changing the world today?
What is meant by going digital?
Piyush Gupta: Big Data Revolution
Case Preparation for Session 2 - DBS – read the DBS 2017 Annual Report
The Leader’s mindset for the Digital Economy
Thinking strategically in the digital age
Case Discussion: DBS – Digital
Bank of Singapore
Case Preparation for Session 3 – Data Science at Target
Strategic Drivers for the Digital Economy – Technology (Mobile, AI, Analytics)
Case Discussion – Data Science at Target
Case Preparation for Session 4: Maersk: Betting on Blockchain
Strategic Drivers for the Digital Economy – Technology (Blockchain, Cloud, IT Security)
Case Discussion: Maersk: Betting on Blockchain
Strategic Drivers for the Digital Economy - People
Guest speaker – People Analytics
Case Preparation for Session 6: Zuora in 2017
Strategic Drivers for the Digital Economy – Business Models
Case Discussion: Zuora in 2017
Case Preparation for Session 8:
Voice War: Hey Google vs Alexa vs Siri
The future organization
Case Discussion: Voice War: Hey Google vs Alexa vs Siri
Case Preparation for Session 9: Alibaba Group: Acquiring Lazada
Value creation in the Digital Economy
Case Discussion: Alibaba Group: Acquiring Lazada
Material for Session 10: SingHealth Cyberattack
Discussion: SingHealth Cyberattack
Case Preparation for Session 11: Ping An - read the Ping An 2017 Annual Report
Case Discussion: Ping An
Group Report presentations
Group Report presentations