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Digital transformation

7 November 2017

The article at a glance

Bringing digital business to the core of the Cambridge MBA. An explosion of growth in digital technology, brings with it opportunities – …

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Bringing digital business to the core of the Cambridge MBA.

Horizontal color image of businesswoman - unrecognizable person - working with digital tablet in large futuristic factory. Focus on businesswoman's hands holding black tablet, futuristic machines in background.

An explosion of growth in digital technology, brings with it opportunities – and challenges – for current and new businesses, so how are we equipping Cambridge MBAs with the tools to help them engage with and lead developments in the digital landscape in their future careers?

Dr Jane Davies
Dr Jane Davies

Jane Davies, Director of the Cambridge MBA says “The idea of what digital business is, constantly shifts – which is part of what makes this sector so exciting. It can encompass anything from digital trendsetters such as Uber, Google, Amazon and Alibaba – all of whom have transformed the business landscape over the last decade – to technical innovations such as the Internet of Things, AI and neural networks, Big Data, and blockchain.

“We see digital impacting every area of business so obviously it needs to be a core element in the MBA learning experience. Last year we added electives in Digital Marketing and Advanced Digital Business, a coding workshop, as well as our core class in Digital Business, and this year we’ve added the new Digital Transformations Concentration.”

In the Cambridge MBA Digital Transformations Concentration, students are encouraged to re-think how they would lead the transformation of their organisation through digital innovation. Is it about using data to make better and faster decisions? Expanding customer relationships? Or developing entirely new businesses in adjacent categories?

Students will explore breakthrough digital innovations such as mobile platforms, IoT, AI and analytics, look at business models across industries including healthcare and financial services, and examine how mobile platforms are enabling financial inclusion and clean energy in emerging economies.

Speakers include entrepreneurs from around the ‘Silicon Fen’ who have developed businesses which have innovated within the digital space, consultants on digital transformation, technology policy experts, and platform ecosystem builders. Michael Barrett, Professor of Information Systems and Innovation Studies, and Coach of the Digital Transformations Concentration says, “For some organisations, the idea of ‘being digital’ means re-examining and transforming current ways of doing business and understanding where new opportunities can be found. Organisations across a wide range of sectors and business ecosystems are looking to transform their strategies and tactics to operate through digital technologies, so that they remain innovative and competitive.

Professor Michael Barrett
Professor Michael Barrett

“Arguably though, thinking digitally, is not about re-formulating an existing business into an e-business. It is about how a leader can strategically enable an integration of connected and intelligent things with people and business into hybrid ecosystems, and understanding what frameworks and structures can facilitate such a successful transition.

“A classic example in the automotive sector is how an Aston Martin or a Jaguar can successfully operate within the emerging automotive and software ecosystem as they consider how driverless technology and digital platforms can best facilitate connectivity strategies which offer an array of digital services, while retaining a luxury brand image.”

With the growth of the digital landscape, and mobile devices outnumbering the population, it seems certain that future business leaders will need to be equipped with the skills to understand and innovate in a landscape of economic uncertainty and rapid technological advancement, but where vast opportunity exists.