August 06, 2007

Vandana MangalUCLA Anderson professor Uday S. Karmarkar and Vandana Mangal, associate research director of UCLA Anderson's Business and Information Technologies (BIT) Global Research Network, have co-edited a new book entitled, The Business and Information Technologies (BIT) Project: A Global Study of Business Practice. The book was published in February by World Scientific Publishing Company.

The book provides a global view of what is happening across the economic landscape as a result of rapid and ongoing developments in information technology. This unique and comparative picture of technology and business practices around the world is drawn from data gathered during annual surveys conducted by the BIT Project and partner institutions since 2004-05. The core survey has now been translated from English into Spanish, Italian, French, Chinese and German.

The book includes reports from the United States, Italy, India, South Korea and Spain. "Trends in information technology adoption vary from country to country," says Vandana Mangal. "There can be a lag between the introduction of a new technology in the United States and the time at which it is broadly adopted around the world," she says.

Mangal also notes that new information technologies are sometimes hyped upon introduction, as when radio-frequency identification (RFID) was mandated by Wal-Mart and the U.S. Department of Defense. However, RFID technology was not by widely adopted for several years.

"We are also finding that organizations in the United States are continuing to become flatter," says Mangal. The study suggests that technology is being used increasingly to support interaction and collaboration between partners, peers, vendors and suppliers. It is also providing new ways for firms to communicate with customers.

Mangal says that information technology is also contributing to an evolution in organizational structures. "Technology is enabling U.S. firms to become virtual and more geographically dispersed," she says.

The report suggests that some countries are slightly behind the United States in adopting new technologies - but appear to be following the same path. "Some of the things we saw in the United States in the first year, we did not see in Italy and India," says Mangal. "But we have seen similar things happen in subsequent years."

Some of these differences are associated with language barriers. "For example," says Mangal, "Italy is linguistically somewhat secluded since Italian is not widely spoken in other countries while several countries across the globe speak English and several speak Spanish. So countries with shared languages can work together as is seen in outsourcing from the U.S. and Britain to India."

The impact of information technology on business practices has been the central topic for the Business and Information Technologies Global Research Network. The BIT initiative, led by Karmarkar and Mangal, now helps to coordinate research projects in 15 countries. Some partnering institutions include SDA Bocconi and the Politecnico di Torino in Italy, IITB  and ISB in India, IESE in Barcelona Spain, Universidad Catolica in Chile, Humboldt University and ESMT in Berlin, Germany.

"We hope to publish one book every year," says Mangal. "So next year we would have reports from more partners. And we would also have comparative studies looking at data from different countries." The next edition will include data from 2005-06.

While this book is primarily intended for an academic audience, it will be valuable to anyone seeking to understand global trends in business uses of information technology. "We hope it will make people aware of what is going on in terms of technology impacting businesses," says Mangal. "We also hope that it addresses the bigger picture of service industrialization. Service sector jobs are changing and the number of jobs is going down. What kinds of service jobs will be available over the next five to ten years? That's the bigger picture."

For more information on UCLA Anderson’s Business and Information Technologies (BIT) Global Research Network, please visit their Web site.

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management, established in 1935, is regarded among the very best business schools in the world.  UCLA Anderson faculty are ranked #1 in "Intellectual Capital" by BusinessWeek and are renowned for their teaching excellence and research that advances management thinking and practice.  Each year, UCLA Anderson provides management education to more than 1,600 students enrolled in MBA, Executive MBA, Fully-Employed MBA and doctoral programs, and to more than 2,000 professional managers through executive education programs.  Combining highly selective admissions, innovative learning programs, and a world-wide network of 35,000 alumni, UCLA Anderson develops and prepares global leaders.

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