Occupations dealing with information now represent more than 50% of total U.S. employment; indeed, this shift represents the only source of new jobs in many manufacturing industries. In emerging economies where educational attainment is rising, specialization in particular industries has already created virtuous cycles of growth that draw jobs from industrialized nations. Because the movement of information is almost frictionless and the barriers to entry are so low, industrial complexes based on service delivery represent one of the most competitive and rapidly changing arenas of global competition. Indeed, given favorable logistical circumstances and modular processes, firms in service industries can even integrate into manufacturing, taking their customers' markets for their own. Practical models are urgently needed for this theme, as the immediate survival of many U.S. firms is at risk.
In the last funding cycle, UCLA CIBER partnered with UCLA Anderson's Center for management in the Information Economy to support the Business Information Technologies (BIT) project, a collaborative international survey of service activity by twenty leading international research institutions. Students worked alongside mature scholars to collect baseline data, and findings were discussed at more than 40 practitioner meetings around the world. This work also was incorporated into two Anderson School MBA courses (Global Operations Strategy and Managing the Information Economy) and many executive education programs (including the Sony Global Leadership Institute).
BIT is now affiliated with Service Research and Innovation Institute (a new organization akin to IKEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), but remains based at UCLA. Through BIT, UCLA CIBER will encourage more applied student research in this theme by providing subsidies for travel to field sites, organizing study tours to service industry complexes, and expanding the modules on service industrialization in our MBA courses. Our business advisors point to this area as the one with the most acute need for informed leadership.