Schedule and Preparation for Sessions

The schedule below contains the details of the course. This course has three main methods of learning, summarized as:

Class Meetings and Case Studies

There are a few lecture/discussion sessions on the concepts with important pre-readings. The other sessions are detailed case studies that require significant preparation and discussion in class.

Group Presentations

There is a group presentation to practice making engaging management presentations on complex topics.

To gain most value from the cases it is important to come ready to discuss, argue, interpret, and give advice on the major issues. The cases will be run on a very interactive basis with all participants given an opportunity to contribute. To focus your reading and analysis, a list of discussion questions for each case is provided in the Assignments section.

When preparing case studies, I suggest three steps:

  1. Read the discussion questions for the case.
  2. Read the case and perform an industry analysis (e.g., Porter 5 factor analysis) and identify the critical success factors for the firm. These concepts will be discussed in Ses #1 and #2.
  3. Prepare brief answers for each discussion question and meet with your group if time permits.


The list of readings for each session is prioritized in order of importance. You are expected to have completed the readings even though each reading may not be discussed in detail in every class. All required readings are in the course pack.

Readings are of four types:

  1. Cases that must all be carefully prepared.
  2. Readings that are to be read carefully. These are listed in the pre-reading column in order of priority.
  3. Readings specified as (skim) are important topic areas in which you should have a brief "overview" understanding.
  4. Readings specified as (further) are recommended only for students who are particularly interested in the topic and are not required reading. These readings are not provided in the reading pack.

The course is more heavily loaded with readings in the early sessions. There are no readings in the last 6 sessions. Please plan your time for the course accordingly.

1 Key IT decisions and IT governance

Ross, Jeanne, and Peter Weill. "Six IT Decisions Your IT People Shouldn't Make." Harvard Business Review (November 2002).

———. "Recipe for Good Governance." CIO Magazine, June 15, 2004.

Weill, Peter, and Marianne Broadbent. "Describing and Assessing IT Governance: The Governance Arrangements Matrix." CISR (Center for Information Systems Research) Research Briefing, October 2002.

2 IT portfolio and business strategy

Weill and Broadbent. Chapter 2.

Jeffery, Mark, and Ingmar Leliveld. "Best Practices in IT Portfolio Management." MIT Sloan Management Review 45, no. 3 (Spring 2004): 41-49. (skim)

Luftman, Jerry. "Align in the Sand." Computerworld, February 17, 1997. (skim)

Markides, Constantinos. "In Search Of Strategy." MIT Sloan Management Review 40, no. 3 (Spring 1999): 6-7, plus "executive briefings of the cases". (skim)

Business operating models
3 Business operating models Ross, Weill, and Robertson. Chapter 2.

Unification model

Case: UPS (streamlining operations, costs)

Visit: UPS

Replication model

Case: 7-Eleven Japan (increasing revenue and reducing costs)


Diversification model

Case: Manheim (developing a new online channel)

Visit: Manheim

Coordination model

Case: Merrill Lynch (developing a single face to the customer)


Merrill Lynch




Guest speaker

Karl Wachs, CIO Celanese

Visit: Celanese
9 IT governance 1 Weill, Peter, and Jeanne Ross. "A Matrixed Approach to Designing IT Governance." MIT Sloan Management Review 46, no. 2 (Winter 2005): 26-34.
10 IT governance 2
Ensuring business value

Case: State Street Corporation (governance for "One State Street")

Visit: State Street

Handout: Fondstad, Nils, and David Roberston. "Linking Mechanisms at TD Banknorth." CISR (Center for Information Systems Research) Research Briefing, March 2006.

12 Case: Banknorth (governance model to acquire 25 banks in 11 years)

Guest speaker (first hour):

Stuart Scantlebury, Boston Consulting Group (BCG): "Getting optimal business value from IT: How does BCG help clients do it?"

Linking IT infrastructure to strategy 1

Broadbent, Marianne, and Peter Weill. "Management by Maxim." MIT Sloan Management Review 38, no. 3 (Spring 1997): 77-92. (skim)

Weill, Peter, Mani Subramani, and Marianne Broadbent. "Building IT Infrastructure for Strategic Agility." MIT Sloan Management Review 44, no. 1 (Fall 2002): 57-65.

14 Linking IT infrastructure to strategy 2 Hagel, John, and John Seely Brown. "The Joy of Flex." CIO Magazine, September 1, 2005.

Guest speaker:

Dr. Mark McDonald, Group Vice President, Executive Programs, Gartner

16 Case: Delta Airlines (creating a digitized business platform)

Visiting lecturer: Dr. Jeanne W. Ross, Principal Research Scientist, MIT CISR

Stages of enterprise architecture maturity

Ross, Weill, and Robertson. Chapter 4.

Ross, Jeanne, and Peter Weill. "Understanding the Benefits of Enterprise Architecture." MIT CISR (Center for Information Systems Research) Research Briefing, July 2005.


Visiting lecturer: Dr. Jeanne W. Ross, Principal Research Scientist, MIT CISR

Using outsourcing strategically

Case: Dow Chemical (strategy and technology for 50 joint ventures)

Ross, Jeanne, and Cynthia M. Beath. "Sustainable Value from Outsourcing: Finding the Sweet Spot." MIT CISR (Center for Information Systems Research) Research Briefing, March 2005, or if you have the Enterprise Architecture as Strategy text, read Chapter 7.

Koch, Christopher. "The Truth About SOA." CIO Magazine, June 15, 2006.


IS planning

Case: Style Industries (managing a fast-growing small manufacturing company)

20 IT investment decisions (techniques for justifying IT investment including real options)

Jeffery, Mark, and Ingmar Leliveld. "Best Practices in IT Portfolio Management." MIT Sloan Management Review 45, no. 3 (Spring 2004): 41-49.

Weill, Peter, and Sinan Aral. "Generating Premium Returns on Your IT Investment." MIT Sloan Management Review 47, no. 2 (Winter 2006): 39-48.

Weill and Broadbent. Chapter 3. (skim)

Fichman, Robert, Mark Keil, and Amrit Tiwana. "Beyond Valuation: 'Options Thinking' in IT Project Management." California Management Review 47 (Winter 2005): 74-96. (skim)

Benaroch, Michel. "Managing Information Technology Investment Risk: A Real Options Perspective." Journal of Management Information Systems 19, no. 2 (Fall 2002): 43-84. (further)

21 Case: Colway Stores (prioritizing IT investments in retail) Complete the analysis as a group exercise and prepare up to three PowerPoint slides of your analysis and rankings for a possible presentation.

Group presentations

Team 1: IT Integration after M&A

Team 4: Industry study


The role of management and IT savvy

Case: The information technology system that could not deliver


Group presentations

Team 2: Online social networking industry

Team 3: IT consulting topics


Guest speaker:

Mr. Kumud Kalia, Chief Information Officer, Direct Energy, Toronto, Canada

26 Course summary