It Strategy

Topics: Management, Harvard Business School, Project management Pages: 12 (2195 words) Published: April 18, 2013
B19 – IT Strategy

Start January 31, 2013 Ends April 25, 2013

Day and Time: Thursday 12-14 & 14-16

Instructors:Stefan Henningsson (
Jonas Hedman (
+ guests

Course Description
This course uses the IVK Case Series to examine important issues in IT management through the eyes of Jim Barton, a talented business (i.e., non-technical) manager who is thrust into the Chief Information Officer (CIO) role at a troubled financial services firm. The course follows Barton through challenges, mistakes, travails, and triumphs. We take this journey with him, commenting on and debating his choices and decisions. During his first year as CIO, Barton confronts issues related to skill and talent management; IT costs, budgets, value, and chargeback systems; priority setting and financial justification of IT investments; project management; runaway projects and underperforming vendors; security risks and crises; Web 2.0 policies; communications with other senior executives; vendor management; infrastructure standardization; support for innovation; and risk management. As Barton encounters these issues, we address them too, through associated readings. As we examine and critique both research and conventional management wisdom on these topics, we’ll derive a framework for managing IT as a business leader.

Course Book
The main text for this course is the book “Adventures of an IT Leader”, also called IVK after the company in the book.

Adventures of an IT Leader
Robert D. Austin, Richard L. Nolan, Shannon O’Donnell | Apr 21, 2009 Publisher: Harvard Business School Press (1 Mar 2009)
ISBN-10: 142214660X
ISBN-13: 978-1422146606

Among other places, the book is available from

Obtaining Harvard Business School Publishing Materials
Some of the readings in this course must be acquired online from Harvard Business School Publishing. You can access the site to download these materials here:

At this site you will need to use a credit card to purchase copyrighted materials, which you will then download in PDFs and be able to print as is convenient. Please be sure to use this link, not the main HBSP website, so that you get the discount associated with the course.

Course blog
The course blog is the official source of information, where updates, session presentations, etc. will be posted. 

Session 1: Introduction to the Case Method and the Course
(Thursday, January 31, 12:00 to 12:00, ScrollBar)

Reading (please read before class):

“A Note on Case Learning,” HBS 899-105 (download/purchase from HBSP website)

IVK 1 – The New CIO

“Understanding Financial Statements” HBS 5238BC (download/purchase from HBSP website)

Assignment Questions (think about and discuss with others before class):

Consider the exhibits at the end of IVK-1; what do they tell you about the IVK Corporation’s business situation? Why has this company replaced its CEO?

If you were Jim Barton, would you accept the CIO job offered by the new CEO? If he accepts, what should be his plan of action? What should he do first? Second?

What would be your best single piece of advice to Barton if he decides to take the job? What should he watch out for? Where should he be careful?

Session 2: Challenges Facing the New CIO
(Thursday, February 7, 12:00 to 16:00, ScrollBar)

*** IBM Guest Presentation ***


IVK 2 – CIO Challenges

IVK 3 – CIO Leadership

IVK 4 – The Cost of IT

Assignment Questions:

How do you interpret the kid’s advice to Barton: “You need to know what you don’t know?”

Davies predicts that Barton will be gone in a year; why does he say this? Do Maggie’s notes (exhibit at end of IVK-2) shed any light on Davies’ assertion?

What should be Barton’s plan for reaching out to other CIOs...
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