University of Dayton
School of Business Administration
Winter (Spring), 2009

MBA 660
Information Technology and Systems

IT-Enabled Research Paper Assignment


OVERVIEW

One of the key elements of this class is to help students understand how information technologies influence how business and individuals do their work. 

Hence, your assignment is to identify a firm or an industry (in which you are interested) that appears to make use of an information technology to provide some aspect of its product or service to its customers in a novel or creative way (at least relative to others). This does not mean that you have to use a "technology" company, but you do need to find a company that makes a unique or innovative use of a technology as it delivers its primary product or service.  You may use any firm, but you might wish to avoid class examples, as these have been elaborated rather fully in our class discussions. I am not requiring you to exclude these firms, but you should go beyond what we have discussed in class if you choose one of these. You may use any citations of course materials you deem relevant for this assignment.

Some questions you might address with this approach include: 

  1. What opportunities does the technology you identify offer to a firm to change how it does business?
  2. How will the technology you identify change the traditional relationship between your company and its customers? Its suppliers?
  3. What business strategy does the firm you are reviewing appear to employ, and how does their use of the technology you identify aid the implementation of these strategies (i.e. what is the linkage between their business strategy and their IT strategy as demonstrated by how they employ the technology in question)?

As you can see, this assignment is relatively open to interpretation. Hence, I am NOT looking for any particular firm or technology; that's up to you.  You can select the technology of your choice and the firm of your choice, and then address issues requested and beyond. This does leave the assignment somewhat ambiguous, however, the purpose is to get you to think about the information technology for business critically, and addressing for the most part issues you believe to be relevant. One request that I do have is that I not get a bunch of papers telling me about a company's web site.  I personally think that one has been beaten to death, and submissions of this type will be viewed dimly by the person grading your assignment (if you get my drift).  You can go with the Internet, however, you had better come up with something interesting (and there is still a LOT of stuff out there in that area). 

DELIVERABLES

There is one major deliverable: a paper on the day and time specified.  If you desire, you may take up to 20 pages to complete this assignment, however, this is not a requirement. The paper may be as small as 12-15 pages (plus references and figures). The paper should feature 1.5 line spacing and 1-inch margins.  It should also have a title page and page numbers.  Finally, there should be a bibliography of cited references, done in APA (American Psychological Association) style

This assignment is due on the day defined in the course syllabus.

GRADING CRITERIA

The grade will consist solely of the grade on your paper.

The grade will be comprised of a grade component for coverage of the technology, understanding of the technology and business process, and as well a component for the professionalism of the paper (organization, style, grammar, etc.). The paper will be assessed on the basis of completeness, accuracy, and understanding.

FINALLY

This assignment is not meant to make your lives miserable; it is intended to force you to think broadly about emerging technologies and their applications for business.  Use your imaginations and try to have some fun with it.