Research

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SRITNE faculty is engaged in progressive research in areas that are crucial to the IT industry and the networked economy. We extensively work on real life ICT issues faced by business and society. The list below provides a snapshot of some of the areas we are working in. However, our large research ecosystem enables us to work in new uncharted areas beyond what is listed below.

Current Research Topics
Based on the above philosophy, our current research themes include: 
BUSINESS VALUE OF IT
The reach and impact of technology in the modern firm spans a range of business objectives from cost reduction to improved efficiency to product and process innovation. However, IT investments are risky in that they involve significant uncertainty in realization of benefits as well as require substantive complementary changes in structures and processes to realize such benefits. Further, to the extent that IT investments create growth options for firms that are more intangible in nature, it becomes difficult to assess the value of technology investments from their accounting statements or other tangible public sources. At SRITNE, we are engaged in research that analyzes the various impacts of IT, the drivers of such impacts, and new frameworks to accurately value IT investments and companies. Illustrative research questions are:
 
  • What are some of the models used to assess the risk and value of IT investments? 
  • What are some of the complementary investments required to create value from IT investments?
  • What is the nature of returns to IT investments? Are these returns reflected in the accounting performance of the firm? Or do IT investments contribute more to the intangible performance of the firm?
DIGITAL COMMERCE
Research interests under digital commerce can be classified into several sub-streams:

E-retail
As the e-commerce battle between multinational giants like Amazon and eBay and the Indian players like Myntra and Flipkart heats up, SRITNE plans to create new knowledge in this exciting space. While the Indian players have been very successful in establishing themselves using innovations like Cash on Delivery, it remains to be seen that how the multinationals will react to their success. While the tussle between these pure e-commerce players is quite captivating, the impact of e-retailers on the brick-and-mortar stores is no less interesting. Some of the research questions that are currently being explored are:
  • What are the best features for a marketplace model vs. a merchant model?
  • How does the “showrooming” behavior of customers, where customers check out products like apparel on the brick-and-mortar store, but buy the selected product for a cheaper price online, affect profits of the physical store? What can the brick-and-mortar stores do to counter the effect of showrooming?
  • Do brick-and-mortar stores with their own online storefronts have an inherent advantage over pure-play e-retailers because such stores can have multichannel shoppers?

Mobile
The impact of mobile devices on digital commerce is unprecedented. This is because these devices enable several new approaches to create value for customers. For example, location based advertising allows highly granular targeting based on geographic location of customers. The effectiveness of this kind of advertising can be further improved due to the historical behaviour of customers. Further, mobile apps are an entirely new approach to engage customers and are expected to have as fundamental an influence as the creation of websites nearly 20 years ago. SRITNE is currently interested in research such as:
  • What are the best ways to use mobile devices to engage customers?
  • What are the most effective ways to monetize mobile Apps?
  • How can mobile Apps be used to improve process efficiency within firms?

Social Networks
Social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn have created fundamentally new ways to capture information about an individual. For example, the exchange of information on day-to-day activities on Facebook incentivizes individuals to divulge their behavioural attributes. Such information can then be potentially tapped to engage customers. Further, new business models like Airbnb allow individual ownership of an asset to be effectively utilized for business purposes because of the trust created due to social ties. This allows for very interesting investigations such as:
  • Can social network connections be used to advertise more effectively?
  • To what extent can trust be created due to network connections?
ORGANISATION OF TECHNOLOGY
Firms today have a plethora of options available to organise their technology function. While some firms own all their technological assets, others transfer them to a third-party provider for improved focus on core competency, and greater organisational flexibility and agility. Indeed, the relationship between clients and vendors has witnessed a major transition from being just a price based, arms-length arrangement to a long-term partnerships, which, in turn, has changed the very basis of competition; in many industries today, competition between individual firms has given way to competition between their respective value networks. Technological advances like cloud computing and newer sourcing models such as crowdsourcing are also reflective of new channels of technology consumption. However, evidence from industry suggests that despite the myriad of options available to firms to organise their technology function, a large number of them fail to pick the right technology organisation that is aligned with their business needs.  For instance, almost half of all outsourcing programmes fall way short of expectations, only 10% yield the expected cost savings, and a mere 6% result in significant satisfactiongains. At SRITNE, our faculty are engaged in understanding the risks and challenges unique to different IT organisations as well as the capabilities required to create value. Illustrative research questions include:
 
  • How are the risks and risk mitigation methods unique to traditional outsourcing engagements different from those used in emergent sourcing models such as crowdsourcing, etc?
  • What are the different firm attributes and transaction costs that influences firms' choice of technology organisation?
  • What is the relative value of the contract versus complementary capabilities and processes such as relationship management in each of these forms of organisation?
TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION

It is axiomatic that innovation is critical to competitive advantage of firms, especially in high-tech industries. At SRITNE, we are engaged in research that explores the nature and impacts of innovation, both at the industry and firm level. The following research questions are illustrative of the work that we are currently engaged in at the centre:
 

  • What is the patent premium in various hi-tech industries? How does this premium vary across discrete and complex industries? The former (latter) refers to industries where product innovations build on few (many) patents that are often held by the same (different) firms.
  • What are some of the firm capabilities (e.g. marketing and manufacturing capabilities) that complement the innovative capabilities of the firm to drive competitive advantage? What is the relative value of each of these capabilities?
  • Is there a relation between patents and market value of the firm? What explains this relation? Are patents reflective of the technological ability of firms or do they impose barriers of entry in key technological areas?
  • What influences firms' decision to make versus buy innovation? For instance, MNCs may grow in host markets through either wholly owned subsidiaries or acquisitions. What are some of the factors that drive this choice?