Course 2022-2023 a.y.


Department of Management and Technology

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
CLMG (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  12 credits SECS-P/10)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)

Suggested background knowledge

WARNING: no prerequisites for this course. Students are expected to participate to lessons, since a consistent part of the learning experience is related to in-class interaction, exercises, guests, feedback. This course relies on teamwork. Students will be asked to shape their teams, choose a company to digitally transform, deliver their project at the end of the course. It means that class participation is fundamental.

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 organisational competencies to harness the opportunities related to Internet and digital technologies (Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, Big Data, ICTs in general). We discuss the best practices to manage a project of digital transformation, through convenient theories and practical assignments (teamwork, discussions with company experts, ...) We blend the business side with the technological aspects, to get a comprehensive picture of how digital transformation works in real companies.


  • In this course, we review the technological change drivers, the digital strategies, the resulting organizational design choices, 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, AI, IoT, 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 also a sophisticated group 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 projects and 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. Talks with managers in charge of digitally transformed processes, or projects of digital transformation (live-case studies!).


The course main topics are:

  • Technology trends driving digital business transformation.
  • Characteristics of digital transformation projects.
  • Artificial Intelligence, basics and application to companies.
  • Artificial Intelligence: impact on company processes.
  • IoT and Cloud: impact on company processes.
  • Strategic impact of digital transformation, theories and measures.
  • Organizational choices for a digital tranformation project.
  • Change management.
  • Live case studies: digitally transformed companies.

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 (Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Cloud computing, ...).
  • Illustrate how the trends can be adopted in traditional companies to improve competitive advantage.
  • Design a theoretically sound digital transformation project.
  • 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, ...).
  • Help companies in understanding technologies.
  • Develop an orientation to act as a consultant.

Teaching methods

  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Group assignments
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)


Important information:


This course relies on teams and teamwork. Students will be asked to shape their teams, choose a company to digitally transform, deliver their project at the end of the course. Teamwork can happen in class as well. It means that class participation is fundamental.


Other information on teaching methods:

  • Continuous teamwork: you have to develop your own digital transformation idea in virtual 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.
  • Virtual "company visits": live-cases 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%  Field project on digital trasformation (teamwork).
  • 20%  In-class presentation of team projects.
  • PASS/FAIL, Individual exam. In case of FAIL, 4 points are subtracted from the final grade.
  • Peer evaluation (to confirm your grade or to lower it in case of negative feedback from your peers, from 0 to minus 4).



Written exam (essay and/or multiple choice questions).
Please note that the readings for attending and non-attending students are different.

Teaching materials


  • Course slides.
  • A short list of papers to be announced in class.


  • Individual exam will be focused on slides and on 5 papers from the abovementioned list


Important Note: in case the readings below were also available on the Journal website in form of WEB PAGES (html) it is mandatory to get the pdf from the library.
PDFs could show more contents than the web page on the website. This often happens for journals such as HBR, SMR, CMR, …

Where to find the papers? You can find the listed papers

a) on the Bocconi’s library (the database name is Business Source Complete);

b) on on Jstor, when logged in as Bocconi students;

c) directly on the Internet.


Important note 2: non attending students do not have to study course slides.


List of papers/Reports to prepare the non attending exam.

Please note they are split by topics treated to give non attending students a good clarity of the subject matter:


1) Definition of digital transformation + strategic and organizational impacts

  • Verhoef P.C., Broekhuizen T., Bart Y., et al, 2021, Digital transformation: A multidisciplinary reflection and research agenda, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 122
  • Kretschmer T., Khashabi P., 2020, Digital Transformation and Organization Design, California Management Review, Vol 62


2) Technologies and their impact on digital transformation processes (mainly referred to Artificial Intelligence)

  • McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), A future that works, Full report, 2017 (148 pages).
    You should be able to retrieve the file here:
  • Wilson J.H., Daugherty P.R., 2018, Humans and AI are joining forces, Harvard Business Review
  • Gerbert P., Duranton S., Steinhäuser S., Ruwolt P., 2018, The Build-Or-Buy Dilemma In Ai, Boston Consulting Group Henderson Institute.
    You should be able to retrieve the file here:


3)Theoretical foundations of digital transformation

3a) Impacts of technologies on users:

  • Venkatesh V., Davis, F.D., 2000, A theoretical extension of the technology acceptance model: Four longitudinal field studies. Management Science
  • Venkatesh V., Bala H., 2008, Technology Acceptance Model 3 and a Research Agenda on Interventions, Decision Sciences


3b) Principles of knowledge nature, and knowledge management in data driven and data rich organizations:

  • Brown J.S., Duguid P., 1998, Organizing knowledge, California Management Review 40(3): 90
  • Feldman M.S., March J.G., 1981, Information in organizations as signal and symbol. Administrative Science Quarterly 26(2): 171-186
  • Hansen M.T., Haas M.R., 2001, Competing for attention in knowledge markets: Electronic document dissemination in a management consulting company, Administrative Science Quarterly46 (1): 1-28,
  • Haas M.R., Hansen M.T., 2007, Different knowledge, different benefits: toward a productivity perspective on knowledge sharing in organizations, Strategic Management Journal 28(11)



Last change 20/07/2022 13:15