Welcome to the fifth issue of i-MBA Scope, devoted to technology and more precisely to the impact of digitalization in business, which ranges from intelligent factories under the Industry 4.0 paradigm, via blockchain in logistics and financial transactions, to data analytics as the number one weapon in customer relations and marketing. Generalized digitalization of business processes and operations, together with technology’s penetration in our daily lives through smart products and the ever increasing power of edge devices, e.g., the handy smartphones with apps-for-almost-everything, is one of the major changes and challenges facing both companies and society.
The penetration of these new technologies raises many questions. Undoubtedly they can increase productivity, provide new levels of quality and innovation, and even contribute to democratization, for example through the built-in decentralization aspect of block chain. But many people do not trust decisions, answers, or recommendations from artificial intelligence applications, as emphasized in a recent Forbes study, analyzed in an article entitled “Can We Solve AI’s Trust Problem?”, by Babson College Professor Thomas H. Davenport in the Winter 2019 issue of MIT’s Sloan Management Review (see the ‘We Suggest’ section for the references). Large percentages of the survey respondents were “interested”, but also “concerned”, “skeptical”, or “unsure” when it came to their feelings towards AI entering our lives. Prof. Davenport suggests three issues to address in order to reverse this trend of skepticism:
- Be realistic about what the new technologies can deliver. It is best to under-promise and then over-deliver, than the other way around.
- Disclose as much as possible about the AI technology and how it will be used. Customers and employees should be able to realize for themselves that the new technology can be an opportunity to address their issues.
- Develop external certification of AI’s underlying models and algorithms. Similarly to the taken-for-granted certification of drugs, product safety or accounting processes, some trustworthy third part organization would probably need to be established to ensure the reliability of algorithms underlying, for example, self-driving cars, AI health diagnosis or AI investment advice.
One thing is sure, the digitalization wave is here, and we have to work hard to both understand its benefits and mitigate its risks.
The first article of this 2019 spring issue of i-MBA Scope is an interview with Mr. Makis Antypas, Chief Information Officer of Viva Wallet. Viva Wallet has succeeded an extraordinary transformation from a local software house to an international FinTech disruptor. Mr. Antypas shares insights and advice about leading the technology-driven innovation that has enabled this success.
In the second article, Professor Diomidis Spinellis, explains that today, almost all managers are running a software business. This is because of the generalization of digitalization to virtually any kind of business sector. He highlights implications from this shift on strategy, business models, offerings and business processes. Professor Spinellis, who is currently the Chair of the Department of Management Science & Technology, will also be teaching a new elective from the academic year 2019-20 entitled “Managing Digital Organizations”, reinforcing the technology orientation of the MBA International Program.
In the Career and Alumni Corner, we interview Mr. Plοutarchos Rigas, Industry Sector Lead in Education, Greece, Cyprus & Malta at Microsoft and i-MBA class of 2016, about job challenges and innovation at Microsoft. We also proudly present yet one Alumni Success Story that of Ms. Ioanna Stanegloudi, Co-Founder & Chief Risk Officer of Verge.Capital, a FinTech startup, and i-MBA class of 2008. She gives an insider story of what it means to become a first-time entrepreneur after close to two decades in the corporate world.
The newsletter also contains suggested links to topics related to digitalization and technology-driven transformation, as well as information about recent events, in particular the 4th Annual Sustainability Summit that took place on March 20th 2019 in the impressive premises of the old Athens Stock exchange and featured good practices related to sustainability and innovation in Greek companies and organizations, including NGOs.
Upcoming events include the 2019 Career Fair and the i-MBA Open Day where the program is presented to new potential candidates for the academic year 2019-20.
The application process is open, with deadline May 31st. If you are internationally oriented and an active pursuer of professional advancement, with strong intellectual ability and academic performance, all combined with relevant work experience and an interest in societal issues, we warmly invite you to file an application on our website: www.imba.aueb.gr.
I wish you a pleasant reading and an engaging navigation throughout our newsletter!
Asc. Professor Klas-Eric Soderquist, Director, MBA International Program