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How to Ride the Crest of the Digital Business Wave

Technology in the hands

EMC’s CEO Joe Tucci recently remarked that,

“the transition to an ever more connected world, brought on by the Internet of Things (IOT) is a huge digital wave crashing down upon business as usual. Businesses must decide whether they want to ride opportunities presented by this wave or crash under it.”

While all companies want to ride the digital wave, experience has shown that many appear overwhelmed by the challenge and have limited understanding of how to maximise business value. The terminology alone can be a challenge for many: the IOT’s, Social Business, Mobile Business, Crowdsourcing, Prosumer’s, Web 3.0, Social Media…….and the list goes on.

wave digi

Many companies begin by identifying digital business exemplars and try to understand what they do.

Typically, they will come across a Starbuck’s or a Threadless, for example.


A digital business transformation success story. Transformed from a position in the noughties of closing stores and loosing money to now processing over 3 million mobile payments per week and widely heralded as a digital business exemplar having services offerings on multiple platforms.


A crowdsourcing exemplar. Their designs are created by independent artists meaning that Threadless doesn’t need to hire and pay designers, but share in the economic benefits of the submitted designs and have done so for many years now.

So what’s the next step:

This is where most companies and managers struggle. Typically more questions than answers at this stage, with the how questions being the ones that are most frequently asked….

Typical Questions Include:

1. How can my organisation successfully undertake Digital Transformation?
2. How can I become a digital innovator?
3. How can I design winning value propositions?
4. How can I successfully apply the crowdsourcing technique?
5. How do I design a “sustainable” crowdsourcing solution?
6. How to successfully apply Social Media with all stakeholders in my business ecosystem?
7. What does Social Media mean for my business?
8. Which Social Media model is the right fit for my business?
9. What do consumers really want?

In the last 2 years, I have been asked these questions on multiple occasions by many business people. Hence, in working with the IMI, we decided to design and develop the newly launched MBS in Digital Business.

Our goal is to provide participants with State of the Art MethodsUser Centred Agile Approaches and Decision Making Frameworks to enable them to answer these questions and to maximise their business value in a world where over 3 billion people are online, 91% of adults have mobile devices within reach 24/7, and there are predicted to be over 50 billion connected devices by 2020.

The challenge of course is not only to see what is possible, but to determine what is profitable with digital business.


Dr. Philip O’Reilly is a Senior Lecturer at University College Cork and is the Programme Director for the MBS in Digital Business. Philip has delivered keynotes and workshops to numerous multinational companies and at leading practitioner events including the Banking & Payments Federation of Ireland National Conference and recently received the Stafford Beer Medal in recognition of the most outstanding contribution to the philosophy, theory and practice of Information Systems (IS) from the Operational Research (OR) Society at an Awards Ceremony.

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