Course 2019-2020 a.y.


Department of Management and Technology

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
CLMG (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/10) - M (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/10) - IM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/10) - MM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/10) - AFC (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/10) - CLELI (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/10) - ACME (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/10) - DES-ESS (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/10) - EMIT (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/10) - GIO (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/10) - DSBA (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/10) - PPA (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/10) - FIN (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/10)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)

Mission & Content Summary


Want to transform traditional companies in digital champions? Digital startups are skyrocketing and profoundly changing markets and sectors. And yet, the most part of the traditional companies continues to operate without a deep understanding of the digital rules. Digital transformation is the fast and profound transformation of traditional business, internal processes, individual and organizational competencies to harness the opportunities related to Internet and digital technologies (Artificial Intelligence, Information & Communication Technology, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, Big Data). We discuss the best practices related to the usage of ICTs and we experience practical laboratories/company visits on how to make them real in traditional companies.


  • In this course, we review the change drivers, the digital strategies, the resulting organizational countermeasures, in case of digital tranformation of traditional companies.
  • We discover that the nature of information in companies is currently facing a major transformation: user-generated content, bottom-up collaborative innovation and social network applications are producing an unbearable amount of information. Still, in many cases businesses are information rich, but knowledge poor. In order to turn this critical mass of information into usable knowledge, companies need to rethink their relationship with the information itself. We tackle this critical problem, in order to build a practical suitcase of actionable best practices and to make the digital transformation of traditional businesses possible.
  • The exam, of course, is a sophisticated group field work and not only a theoretical test.
  • The course has three sections, useful to turn a traditional company into a digital one:
    1. A theoretical framework to understand the pillars of a successful digital transformation. This framework includes the focus on digital strategies, the setting of company goals, the operation aspects, and the change management facets.
    2. A practical review of the major technologies driving digital transformation.
    3. Visits of digitally transformed companies and of technology suppliers (they are live-case studies!).

The mail topics are:

  • Technology trends.
  • Strategies to add value through technologies.
  • Performance goals and metrics + change management.
  • A live case study: a digitally transformed company.
  • Artificial Intelligence, basics of models construction and application to companies.
  • Artificial Intelligence: impact on company processes.
  • IoT and Big Data: impact on company processes.
  • Intelligent Automation: impact on company processes.
  • A live case study: a digitally transformed company.
  • Case study debriefing.
  • Final projects presentation.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Explain the most relevant technological trends that enable the digital transformation of business (AI, IoT, Cloud, Networks, ...).
  • Illustrate how the trends can be adopted in traditional companies and embedded in their strategies to improve competitive advantage.
  • Summarize the most important managerial theories to manage digital transformation.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Design and Develop a concrete plan for digitally transforming a company.
  • Develop a strategy to help change management in target companies.
  • Design the concrete business usage of contemporary technologies (AI, IoT, Cloud, Networks, ...).
  • Help managers in understanding technologies.
  • Develop an orientation to act as a consultant.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Company visits
  • Group assignments
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)


  • Continuous teamwork: you have to develop your own digital transformation idea in groups, as it happens in a real company project or in a consulting company.
  • Students' presentations: you have to pitch your deliverables, you have to get feedback from colleagues and professors in order to improve your ideas.
  • Guest speakers: digital champions, to give you a real taste of the digital transformation experience.
  • Company visits: visits of digitally transformed companies and of technology suppliers.

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Peer evaluation


Grade, for attending students, is composed of:

  • 80% Digital Trasformation teamwork.
  • 20% In-class presentation of your project.

PASS/FAIL, Individual exam. In case of FAIL, 4 points are subtracted from the final grade.

  • Peer evaluation (to confirm your grade or to diminish it in case of negative feedback from your peers, from 0 to minus 4).


One-shot written exam (essay and/or multiple choice questions).

Teaching materials


  • D.L. ROGERS, The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age, Columbia Business School Publishing, 2016 (a selection of chapters, to be announced in class).
  • Course slides.
  • A short list of papers to be announced in class.
  • Important: book chapters + papers not exceed a maximum amount of 5 readings, to be assessed in the individual exam (e.g. two chapters + 3 papers).


  • D.L. ROGERS, The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age, Columbia Business School Publishing, 2016.


  • A.P. MCAFEE, Enterprise 2.0, Sloan Management Review, 2006, Vol 47, #3.
  • S. COOK, The contribution revolution, Harvard Business Review, October, 60-69, 2008. 
  • I. TUOMI, Data is more than knowledge: Implications of the reversed knowledge hierarchy for knowledge management and organizational memory, Journal of Management Information Systems 16 (3): 103-117, 1999. 
  • J.S. BROWN, P. DUGUID, Organizing knowledge, California Management Review 40(3): 90, 1998. 
  • E.C. WENGER, W.M. SNYDER, Communities of practice: The organizational frontier. Harvard Business Review (January-February): 139-145, 2000. 
  • M.S. FELDMAN, J.G. MARCH, Information in organizations as signal and symbol. Administrative Science Quarterly 26(2): 171-186, 1981. 
  • M.T. HANSEN, The search-transfer problem: The role of weak ties in sharing knowledge across organization subunits, Administrative Science Quarterly 44(1): 82-111, 1999.
  • M.T. HANSEN, M.R. HAAS, Competing for attention in knowledge markets: Electronic document dissemination in a management consulting company, Administrative Science Quarterly46 (1): 1-28, 2001. 
  • M.R. HAAS, M.T. HANSEN,  Different knowledge, different benefits: toward a productivity perspective on knowledge sharing in organizations, Strategic Management Journal 28(11): 1133, 2007. 
  • R.O. MASON, Four Ethical Issues of the Information Age, Management Information Systems Quarterly, Vol. 10, n. 1, 5-12., 1986.
  • S. BRIN, L. PAGE, The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine, in: Seventh International World-Wide Web Conference (WWW 1998), April 14-18, 1998, Brisbane, Australia, 1998.
  • Please find the papers on the Bocconi’s library (the database name is Business Source Complete, on on Jstor, or directly on the Internet).
Last change 16/06/2019 20:41