June 08, 2010


Datasets creative large
No causation without correlation
Effect not artifact

December 11, 2009

Tis' the season

Its the time of the year when WISE (Workshop on Information Systems Economics) rolls along. This year we celebrate its 20th anniversary at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. I've never missed a WISE meeting since I graduated from my PhD program at Connecticut. So thats 10 in a row now!

The main theme for WISE over the years has been to uncover the economic value created by IT in business, and to a lesser extent (some of us hope to change that), in society. If I had to point to one source where this collective wisdom is made accessible to all its the new book titled Wired for Innovation by Erik Brynjolfsson (MIT) and Adam Saunders (Wharton). Its a great read and future CEMBA students can expect it to be assigned as pre-class reading.

Among the interesting themes in the book is the notion that traditional national income accounting methods (think GDP calculations) woefully underestimate the value created by digital goods and platforms. A couple of interesting examples from the book - if you buy a $1 copy of the NY Times its shows up in the GDP, but if you spend 30 minutes on NYTimes.com, it does not show up. Likewise, whats the value to consumers of better information (say from free Google searches) or newer platforms such as eBay. They cite our Consumer Surplus in Online Auctions paper in the journal Information Systems Research where we demonstrate that in 2003 consumers got close $7 billion in welfare gains from eBay. In contrast, their revenues, which would have showed up in that year's GDP was $2.1 billion!

On a personal note, our above-mentioned paper was selected as one of five best IS papers by a committee of senior scholars. Regretably, neither me nor my co-authors (Galit Shmueli and Wolfgang Jank) will be at ICIS 2009 to receive this in person.

Off to Phoenix and then to warm India tomorrow!

Happy holidays to all and peace on earth.

November 20, 2009

Co-authors blogging..

Its nice to have co-authors blogging about joint work. Here is a link to Nishtha's post on our recent study measuring returns to human capital investments in the offshore industry.

September 03, 2009

Dial M for Mackerel..

The competition for rural India targeted information services is heating up with Nokia joining ITC eChoupal, Reliance and the Tatas. As I mention in this recent Wall St. Journal article with a catchy title "Dial M for Mackerel..." this is good news for the Indian farmer, and yet another chapter in the success of India's mobile telecoms story.

However, newer companies venturing into this tough tough market (think illiteracy meets fragmented land-holdings meets high price sensitivity) should be prepared to be in it for the long haul. Even in the best of circumstances, IT yields supermodular returns only when accompanied with the the necessary organizational complements (say process redesign accompanying an enterprise wide ERP implementation). Not only have the incumbent players (eChoupal) for instance invested heavily in developing the necessary societal complements (a "sanchalak" or a "human counselor" in every village plays a critical role in overcoming techno-socio barriers), the newer entrants will face the familiar chicken and egg problem of simultaneously growing a substantial user base and leveraging that data to offer highly personalized services.

Anyway, makes for an interesting space to watch...

November 29, 2008


I came in to work this morning to catch up on mutliple things, but its hard to focus on anything when once considers that the seige in Mumbai is now into its third day! Much has been said already, so I don't need to rehash anything. I was particularly struck this morning by a moving piece by Sambit Bal, editor of Cricinfo.com.  He writes, 

"...I have watched a city of a million dreams held hostage by 20 or so men who have purged from their souls every trace of humanity - let's not confer on them the dignity of a religion - and I have felt the blood drain out of me...."

Go home Kevin P and company. Perhaps, one day, there will be another innings that will make more sense...