Introduction to IT& E-Commerce Course

Today, Information Technology is at the forefront of corporations seeking to increase and maintain competitive advantage in their industries as well as global marketplace. The IT & E-Commerce course will deepen student’s understanding of what IT is, how it helps, lead/support business strategy, product development, operations, business process, and provide opportunities for new business growth. The course will identify current/leading technology trends, and how those trends can help provide definitive benefits to corporate profitability.

This course is intended for the MBA generalist, and will assist students with understanding the overall IT Environment (strategic, organizational, technological, and managerial) from an “Executive Perspective” enabling them to develop the knowledge, skills, and capabilities necessary to help make IT decisions as future managers or executives.

Video Transcript

Well, welcome. This is IT and e-commerce. My name is Fred Vona. I’ll be your professor this semester. Let me quickly tell you a little bit about myself, and then we’ll get into the nuances of the course. First of all, I want you to know that I’m a graduate of Whitman in the MBA program. So I have been here, I’ve studied while I’ve been working in a full-time job. So I’m sure that you’re all going to be challenged to stay on the right and the narrow track here. But trust me, I’ve been there, done that. So I’m walking in your shoes.

I attended Whitman back in 2008 and graduated in 2011. I had a great experience. And I’ve been in close contact with a lot of my classmates from that. So, I’m hoping that you’re able to do the same as you move forward. In addition to going to Whitman, I also attended MIT Sloan School for some courses in a program in strategy and leadership. I have a master’s degree from Ohio State University in sports management, and I have a bachelor of science degree from Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts in education and history. My current job—besides teaching you here at Syracuse—is I work for Oracle Corporation. I have 21 years at Oracle. I lead a customer services organization for our financials and insurance industry.

So what I’m bringing into the course and what I’m hoping that we can share together is our knowledge that we all bring to the team—my knowledge of Oracle and Technology and my customers and what they’re doing, and your knowledge of what you and your company are doing. And together, we’ll explore IT. From a personal perspective, I’m a Bostonian. I’m proud of that. I root for all the Boston teams. Yes, I’m a New England Patriots fan. And I’m also a cyclist. I have been participating in what we call the Pan-Mass Challenge for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for the last 13 years. We’ve raised a half a billion dollars for Dana-Farber over the last 36 years. So I’m proud to say that I do that every year, and it keeps me in good shape.

So as we move on to the course, I want to ask you a question. Why are you here in an MBA program? And I ask that to every class that I go to. Basically, there’s three reasons. One is to enhance your business knowledge. Two is to create a network of contacts with your classmates—and that’s important. As you go through the program and go through my class, there’ll be an opportunity to interact and be part of a group and interact with fellow students. And that’s important. You create connections, you create sharing of knowledge, and sharing of ideas—and sharing of potential opportunities going forward. And that’s part of the reason why you’re here. And obviously, the last is from a personal perspective. You’re here for career advancement. So, take advantage of that, take as much as you can out of the course. I’m available for questions at all times.

This is not just an IT e-commerce course. And I want to kind of clarify that. This is more of IT today and how it plays into a global economy. Because technology has allowed us to be global in nature, and we’ll get into some of that during the course, we’re going to take an executive approach to this. So I’m anointing you as CIOs as of this minute. I am deputizing you. You’re now a CIO. You’re going to eat, think, sleep just like a CIO. And the reality is that that’s going to put you into a position to think at an executive level, which you’re going into an MBA program. You have the hopes of attaining a higher opportunity in your companies and with another company. You want to become and aspire to be as good as you can and as high in the ranks as you can. So having an executive presence, having an executive thought perspective is going to be key to that. I also want you to understand that IT is becoming more prominent. And I want you to understand from a CIO perspective how IT is becoming more prominent in decision-making, strategy, etc., within your companies and within the corporate landscape as a whole.

So the way we’re going to approach the course is this way. We’re going to use a series of case studies, article reviews, and a book called The Adventures of an IT Leader. We’ll use that as we go through the course. And you’ll have case studies in different technology areas, in different corporate strategies, approaches, etc. I’ll also be tapping into some of the other courses that you’re taking in the program—strategy, some financial, etc.—and we’ll dovetail that into the course. So, as we go forward, I’m hoping that you enjoy the course. I’m always open for questions. And, of course, I’m always open for insights that you might have to make the course better. I’m looking forward to working with everybody in the course. I wish you the best of luck. And hey, have fun.