Information Systems

Digital technologies (mobile, cloud, big data and analytics, Internet of Things) are transforming how businesses compete. Today, digital transformation is accelerating with emerging technologies including artificial intelligence, robotics, smart devices, 3D printing, and more.  Our focus of the field of Information Systems is to: help you understand how these technologies and associated platforms are changing competition and how firms can respond to adapt and thrive in this uncertain environment. To be a successful leader in the digital world, you must understand not just digital technologies but how they drive business strategy and enable new business models. To this end, courses in information systems are aimed at providing you with essential knowledge about digital technologies, how to manage the technology, and how digital technologies influence strategy and structure.


Vidyanand (VC) Choudhary
PhD, Purdue University

Sanjeev Dewan 
PhD, University of Rochester

Vijay Gurbaxani 
PhD, University of Rochester

Ken Kraemer
Professor Emeritus
PhD, University of Southern California

Tingting Nian
PhD, New York University

Mingdi Xin
PhD, New York University

Lecturers and Researchers


Undergraduate business classes may be found through the UCI course catalogue.

MBA Core Course Description

207. Competing in the Digital Age
Digital technology platforms – smartphones, cloud computing, wired and wireless communications, Internet of Things—have become the foundation for a large share of economic activity, leading to what is called the digital age. Many products have been (music, movies, newspapers, financial instruments) or are being (cars, medical devices, industrial machines) digitized. Marketplaces are increasingly being structured as digital platforms (travel, advertising, auctions). As a result, there is a fundamental and ongoing shift in the sources of value creation and competitive advantage toward digital technologies. We have observed that companies that understand how to harness the power of digital technologies are winning; those that don’t often lose.

Through our research, we have learned that creating value in a technology-driven world is driven by management practices that complement the foundational technologies. A business can succeed by developing new knowhow and business practices suited to the digital age and representing it in software. With better data and advanced analytics, companies can develop a more sophisticated understanding of their customers, operations, and products. 

The objective of this course is to train the next generation of business leaders how to leverage digital technologies to grow their companies profitably. This course will prepare students to drive digital (business) innovation.

We will begin by discussing the technological forces of change. We will then develop the capability to identify emerging technologies that have the potential to disrupt the status quo. We will explain what software is and how it can be leveraged in business. Students will learn the capabilities of new forms of software (like analytics and machine learning) both conceptually and through hands on experience.

We then shift to studying the economics of the digital world, which are different from the economics of a physical world.  Students will learn the economics of digital products and platforms. Based on their understanding of the technologies and their economics, students will then learn how to apply strategy frameworks and gain insights into new ways to compete and organize.

We close with technology decision-making. The objective is for students to develop an understanding of the factors they must consider. These include evaluation of the technology investments from a financial perspective, the timing of the investment, whether to build, buy or partner to acquire the technology, and how to build systems that are adaptive and flexible.

MBA Elective Descriptions

272. Critical IT Decisions for Business Executives
Develops frameworks to help business executives make critical IT decisions. Examples include how much to invest in IT, how to maximize return on IT investment, sourcing and business process outsourcing, strategies for digital environments.

273. Business Intelligence for Analytical Decisions
Introduces methods to mine data repositories for business intelligence to facilitate analytical decision-making. Topics include clustering for market segmentation, association rules to discover relationships between different purchase decisions, Naive-Bayes classification techniques for decision making using decision-trees.

279. Digital Strategies and Markets
Examines how online social media are impacting organizations and markets. Topics include collective intelligence, online social influence, social networks, and social media monetization. The target audience consists of students interested in IT consulting, competitive strategy, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

290. Special Topics in Information Systems
Studies in selected areas of information systems. Topics addressed vary each quarter. Past courses include: Data and Programming for Analytics, Analytics & Technology Consulting, and Technology Strategy Consulting.

PhD Course Descriptions

291-IS1. Governance, Management and Impact of IT (2 units)
IT has become a critical driver of growth in companies and economies, accounting for 50% of capital investment in the US. Accordingly, understanding the drivers and impacts of IT investment is a major area of research in information systems. Initially, research was unable to empirically associate positive outcomes to IT investment, however, more recently, research at the firm and country levels has shown that IT investments contribute strongly to output growth, productivity and market value. These findings reflecting excessively high returns on IT investment presents a puzzle that is the subject of current research. The potential for such high returns also points to the importance of studying effective management of IT. This seminar will cover topics such as contribution of IT investment to firm-level and country level productivity; role of IT in multifactor productivity growth; role of IT in globalization; incorporation of IT risk and externalities; and impact of unmeasured investments in organizational capital and intangible assets. We will also cover topics on IT governance such as the role of contract design in achieving effective governance of IT sourcing relationships; economic impact of IT outsourcing focusing on market returns and on labor productivity; pricing of IT products and services; and HR practices and human capital development policies that affect information workers’ performance in unstable environments characterized by offshoring.

291-IS2. Digital Business (2 units)
Businesses will succeed in the global innovation economy by deriving competitive advantage from IT-enabled strategies and business models. Innovation in organization structure and in processes is a critical component of innovation, and one that is less easily replicated than product innovation. This seminar will study the role of IT in business innovation including business model innovation, and digital business strategies. Business model innovation includes research on network enabled firms and the location of work. Digital business strategies include leveraging customer information for business intelligence and personalization; personalization-for-privacy tradeoffs; design and pricing strategies for electronic marketplaces; role of reputation systems and transaction costs in consumer-oriented electronic markets; analysis of IT-enabled social networks; impact of social media on organizations and markets; supply chain strategy for digital goods; and pricing and versioning strategy for information goods.

291-IS3. Economic Theory in IS (2 units)
Technology is changing rapidly and enabling many new ways of doing business. This rapid pace of change makes it important to identify underlying principles and frameworks that can help explain emerging phenomenon. Economics provides a number of such frameworks and this course will cover such topics including transaction cost economics and search costs; agency theory; theory of network goods; systems competition; compatibility decisions and the role of standards; complementary products; auction theory; price discrimination and product versioning; horizontal and vertical differentiation models; Information goods; product bundling and competition; and applications of economic theory in electronic markets and electronic commerce.

291-IS4. Pricing Strategies for Information Goods (2 units)
This course will introduce the classic Principle-Agent models, and discuss how these models can be applied to Information Systems economics research. The course consists of lectures on the basic models and in-class presentations and discussions on selected articles.