Marco Iansiti

David Sarnoff Professor of Business Administration
Unit Head, Technology and Operations Management

Unit: Technology and Operations Management

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Marco Iansiti, David Sarnoff Professor of Business Administration, heads the Technology and Operations Management Unit and the Digital Initiative at HBS. He has taught a variety of Executive Education and MBA courses on innovation, entrepreneurship, and operations, and is the creator of two HBS courses: "Managing Product Development" and "Starting New Ventures" (with HBS Professor Myra Hart).  Iansiti is currently collaborating with Prof. Karim Lakhani in the design of a third, new MBA course on Digital Innovation and Transformation.

Professor Iansiti is an expert on the management of innovation and of innovative organizations, with a special focus on strategy, business models, and new product development in high technology industries. His research studied innovation and operations in both firms and firm networks.   He examined the strategy, business models, and innovation processes of a variety of organizations including Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Wal*Mart, AT&T and Dell, and Google, among many others. He is the author or coauthor of more than 100 articles, papers, book chapters, cases, and notes, including "The Ecology of Strategy" (with R. Levien), which was published in the Harvard Business Review, in March 2004. His second book The Keystone Advantage: What the New Dynamics of Business Ecosystems Mean for Strategy, Innovation, and Sustainability (also with R. Levien), published in August 2004 by HBS Press, was selected as one of the 10 best business books of the year by Strategy and Business. His latest book One Strategy: Organization, Planning, and Decision Making (Wiley Press, 2010) was written with Steven Sinofsky. Professor Iansiti has advised a variety of Fortune 500 companiesas well as many "new economy" start-ups (e.g., Yahoo!, eBay, ModelN, etc...) and established firms.  Iansiti is a member of the board of directors of Keystone Strategy Inc., a consulting firm he co-founded. Iansiti was also an original co-founder and member of the board of Model N Inc. (NASDAQ:  MODN).

Featured Work

Publications

Books

  1. One Strategy: Organization, Planning, and Decision Making

    Learn from the concepts, capabilities, processes, and behaviors that aligned around one strategy with the hard-won, first-person wisdom found in One Strategy. Challenging traditional views of strategy and operational execution, this book - written by Microsoft executive Steven Sinofsky with Harvard Business School professor Marco Iansiti, bringing a combined forty years of management and research experience - describes how you can drive innovation by connecting the potential of strategic opportunities to the impact of operational execution. Taking lessons from the unique combination of real-world experience managing a large scale organization with academic research in strategy and innovation, the book provides a unique perspective on strategy development, alignment and execution, and reveals what it takes to align a complex organization around one strategy, manage its execution, and reach for "strategic integrity." Drawn from Sinofsky's internal Microsoft blog where he communicated some of the management processes the team put to work while developing a 4,000 person, multi-year project - Microsoft Windows 7 - One Strategy shares the hard-won insights you can use to successfully make the leap from strategy to execution.

    Keywords: Strategy; Organizations; Planning; Decision Making;

    Citation:

    Sinofsky, Steven, and Marco Iansiti. One Strategy: Organization, Planning, and Decision Making. NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2010. View Details

Journal Articles

  1. A Study of Economic Impact of Cloud Computing

    In this paper we find that advances in cloud computing likely will extend the IT induced economic growth in developed economies and foster growth in economies where IT penetration is not yet fully mature. We conclude that governments should work together to take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing.

    Keywords: Globalized Economies and Regions; Internet; Information Technology; Economic Growth; Cooperation; Government and Politics; Innovation and Invention; Information Technology Industry; Public Administration Industry;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Gregory L. Richards. "A Study of Economic Impact of Cloud Computing." International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management 12, no. 4 (2012): 344–372. View Details
  2. Entry into Platform-based Markets

    This paper examines the relative importance of platform quality, indirect network effects, and consumer expectations on the success of entrants in platform-based markets. We develop a theoretical model and find that an entrant's success depends on the strength of indirect network effects and on the consumers' discount factor for future applications. We then illustrate the model's applicability by examining Xbox's entry into the video game industry. We find that Xbox had a small quality advantage over the incumbent, PlayStation 2, and the strength of indirect network effects and the consumers' discount factor, while statistically significant, fall in the region where PlayStation's position is unsustainable.

    Keywords: platform-based markets; winnter-take-all; first-mover advantage; indirect network effects; video game industry; Quality; Network Effects; Market Entry and Exit; Technology Platform; Motion Pictures and Video Industry;

    Citation:

    Zhu, Feng, and Marco Iansiti. "Entry into Platform-based Markets." Strategic Management Journal vol. 33, no. 1 (January 2012): 88–106. View Details
  3. Intellectual Property, Architecture, and the Management of Technological Transitions: Evidence from Microsoft Corporation

    Keywords: Intellectual Property; Technology; Transition; Software; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan David, and Marco Iansiti. "Intellectual Property, Architecture, and the Management of Technological Transitions: Evidence from Microsoft Corporation." Journal of Product Innovation Management 26, no. 3 (May 2009): 248–263. View Details
  4. The Information Technology Ecosystem: Structure, Health, and Performance

    A number of modern industries are organized as complex networks of firms whose integrated efforts are necessary to deliver value to end customers. The complexity of these networks, or business ecosystems, and the associated interdependencies among firms, make traditional antitrust market analysis difficult. The information technology (IT) industry today consists of a rapidly evolving and massively interconnected network of organizations, technologies, products, and consumers. In the IT ecosystem, the vast majority of organizations provide applications. To assess the health and competitiveness of business ecosystems, three aspects of ecosystem health inspired by their biological metaphor and expressed in terms of their ecosystem analogy: robustness, productivity, and innovation are used. In conclusion, the ecosystem appears to be working well and recovering from the financial excesses of the late 1990s. Software and hardware platforms are witnessing significant innovation and evolution, which is in turn fueling innovation in a broad variety of applications and business models.

    Keywords: Business Ventures; Networks; Value; Customers; Performance Productivity; Product; Software; Innovation and Invention; Competition; Business Model; Hardware; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Gregory L. Richards. "The Information Technology Ecosystem: Structure, Health, and Performance." Antitrust Bulletin 51, no. 1 (spring 2006). View Details
  5. Managing the Ecosystem

    The days of the corporate lone wolf are over. In our increasingly interconnected world, standing alone is no longer a viable business model. Instead, smart companies rely heavily on networks of partners, suppliers, and customers to achieve market success and sustain performance. These networks look increasingly like a biological ecosystem, in which companies succeed and fail as a collective whole. They operate in a business environment of shared fates and business models, and see their ecosystems as helping them become more resilient to market changes and more responsive to customer needs. Business ecosystems are widespread within industries such as banking, biotechnology, insurance, and software. As with biological systems, the boundaries of a business ecosystem are fluid and sometimes difficult to define. Ecosystems traverse industries and encompass the full range of organizations that influence the value of a product or service.

    Keywords: Integrated Corporate Reporting; Partners and Partnerships; Industry Clusters; Customers; Markets; Situation or Environment; Banks and Banking; Insurance; Software;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco. "Managing the Ecosystem." Optimize 4, no. 2 (February 2005). View Details
  6. Experience, Experimentation, and the Accumulation of Knowledge: An Empirical Study of the Evolution of R&D in the Semiconductor Industry

    Keywords: Knowledge; Research and Development; Hardware; Semiconductor Industry;

  7. From Physics to Function: An Empirical Study of R&D Performance in the Semiconductor Industry

    Keywords: Science; Research and Development; Performance; Semiconductor Industry;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Jonathan West. "From Physics to Function: An Empirical Study of R&D Performance in the Semiconductor Industry." Journal of Product Innovation Management (1998). View Details
  8. Technology Development and Integration: An Empirical Study of the Interaction between Applied Science and Product Development

    Keywords: Technology; Research and Development; Integration; Information; Science; Product;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco. "Technology Development and Integration: An Empirical Study of the Interaction between Applied Science and Product Development." IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management 42 (1995): 259–269. View Details
  9. Charging Energy and Phase Delocalization in Single Very Small Josphson Tunnel Junctions

    Keywords: Energy;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, A. T. Johnson, W. F. Smith, H. Rogalla, C. J. Lobb, and M. Tinkham. "Charging Energy and Phase Delocalization in Single Very Small Josphson Tunnel Junctions." Physical Review Letters 59, no. 4 (July 1987): 489–92. View Details
  10. Possible Observation of Charging Energy Effects in Single Ultra-Small Josephson Tunnel Junctions

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, A. T. Johnson, W. F. Smith, C. J. Lobb, and M. Tinkham. "Possible Observation of Charging Energy Effects in Single Ultra-Small Josephson Tunnel Junctions." Japanese Journal of Applied Physics, Part 1, Regular Papers & Short Notes 26, nos. 26-3-2 (1987): 1557–1558. View Details

Book Chapters

  1. Business Network Transformation in Action

    Keywords: Business Ventures; Networks; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Transformation;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Ross Sullivan. "Business Network Transformation in Action." In Business Network Transformation: Strategies to Reconfigure Your Business Relationships for Competitive Advantage, edited by Jeffrey Word. Jossey-Bass, 2009. View Details
  2. Project Leadership and Organization

    Keywords: Projects; Leadership; Organizational Design;

    Citation:

    Clark, K. B., M. Iansiti, and R. Billington. "Project Leadership and Organization." In The Perpetual Enterprise Machine: Seven Keys to Corporate Renewal through Successful Product and Process Development, edited by H. K. Bowen, K. B. Clark, C. H. Holloway, and S. C. Wheelwright. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. View Details

Working Papers

  1. Principles that Matter: Sustaining Software Innovation from the Client to the Web

    Economic analysis often reviews the role of principles—such as respect for intellectual property rights—in driving innovation. Given the interdependent nature of innovation in information technology, three core principles have emerged that work together to ensure that complementary, interconnected products coexist and compete. These core principles are particularly important when applied to platforms, which have played a central role in enabling the development and distribution of the variety of applications and services that drive the popularity of software. The first principle focuses on enabling choice: firms should allow consumers and partners to have a real choice between complementary products and services from otherwise competing firms (e.g., a browser should enable a consumer to choose a home page provided by a competitor). The second principle focuses on opportunity: specifically, opportunity that is facilitated by giving developers platform access and the ability to innovate and build on platform technologies to create new products and services. The third principle focuses on interoperability: vendors should enable products to work together so customers can realize the full benefit of complementary products offered by competing vendors. Following this principle enables products to connect to each other in appropriately defined ways, and ensures that users can port their data between products securely and reliably. This paper reviews the rationale for these principles and examines their impact on competition in the cloud computing ("internet software") environment.

    Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions; Technological Innovation; Intellectual Property; Partners and Partnerships; Competition; Information Technology; Internet;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco. "Principles that Matter: Sustaining Software Innovation from the Client to the Web ." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 09-142, June 2009. View Details
  2. Dynamics of Platform Competition: Exploring the Role of Installed Base, Platform Quality and Consumer Expectations

    This paper seeks to answer three questions. First, which drives the success of a platform, installed base, platform quality or consumer expectations? Second, when does a monopoly emerge in a platform-based market? Finally, when is a platform-based market socially efficient? We analyze a dynamic model where an entrant with superior quality competes with an incumbent platform, and examine long-run market outcomes. We find that the answers to these questions depend critically on two parameters: the strength of indirect network effects and consumers' discount factor of future applications. In addition, contrary to the popular belief that indirect network effects protect incumbents and are the source of market inefficiency, we find that under certain conditions, indirect network effects could enhance entrants' quality advantage and market outcomes hence could be more efficient with stronger indirect network effects. We empirically examine the competition between the Xbox and PlayStation 2 consoles. We find that Xbox has a small quality advantage over PlayStation 2. In addition, the strength of indirect network effects and consumers' discount factor in this market are within the range in which platform success is driven by quality advantage and the market is potentially efficient. Counterfactual experiments suggest that PlayStation 2 could have driven Xbox out of the market had the strength of indirect network effects more than doubled or had consumers' discount factor increased by fifty percent.

    Keywords: Price; Network Effects; Market Platforms; Monopoly; Quality; Competitive Advantage; Technology Platform;

    Citation:

    Zhu, Feng, and Marco Iansiti. "Dynamics of Platform Competition: Exploring the Role of Installed Base, Platform Quality and Consumer Expectations." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 08-031, November 2007. View Details
  3. The Tortoise and the Hare: An Empirical Investigation of the Dynamics of Integration, Differentiation and Incumbent Adaptation

    Citation:

    Westerman, George, Marco Iansiti, and F. Warren McFarlan. "The Tortoise and the Hare: An Empirical Investigation of the Dynamics of Integration, Differentiation and Incumbent Adaptation." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 03-002, July 2002. View Details
  4. Intellectual Property, Architecture, and the Management of Technological Transitions: Evidence from Microsoft Corporation

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, and Marco Iansiti. "Intellectual Property, Architecture, and the Management of Technological Transitions: Evidence from Microsoft Corporation." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 03-020, July 2002. (Revised 3/06.) View Details
  5. Experience, Experimentation and the Accumulation of Organizational Capabilities: An Empirical Study of R&D in the Semiconductor Industry

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Jonathan West. "Experience, Experimentation and the Accumulation of Organizational Capabilities: An Empirical Study of R&D in the Semiconductor Industry." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 96-032, April 1997. View Details

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. SAP 2014: Reaching for the Cloud

    In May 2014, Bill McDermott will become the sole CEO of SAP AG, the world leader in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) field. The case occurs in January 2014 at SAP's investors meeting, at a time when the company's stock is near record high. A 2010 strategy committed the company to a transition to cloud computing. The main driver behind this transition was the development of SAP HANA, an in-memory computing technology that combined database, data processing, and application platform functionality. Ownership of cloud infrastructure was a key question. SAP could build, own, and operate its own data centers, or partner to locate SAP HANA and other products with other cloud infrastructure providers, such as Amazon, Microsoft, or IBM. McDermott also had to make decisions around the organization and leadership of the company's cloud efforts.

    Keywords: information technology; Cloud Computing; platform; strategy and execution; strategy and leadership; enterprise resource planning; software; Information Technology; Technology Platform; Information Technology Industry; Germany;

    Citation:

    Lakhani, Karim R., Marco Iansiti, and Noah Fisher. "SAP 2014: Reaching for the Cloud." Harvard Business School Case 614-052, January 2014. (Revised March 2014.) View Details
  2. Managing with Analytics at Procter & Gamble

    Senior management at P&G has put a strong emphasis on using data to make "better, smarter, real-time business decisions." The Global Business Services (GBS) organization has developed tools, systems and processes to provide managers throughout P&G with direct access to up-to-date data and advanced analytics. In addition, GBS has embedded analysts within the business units to work alongside leaders and managers in driving real-time information-based decision making. Equipped with the tools provided by GBS, Alan Torres, vice-president of North America Fabric Care, must finalize the forecast for P&G's laundry detergent sales. Results for the two months since introducing concentrated powder laundry detergent in select retailers saw a surprising jump in sales of over 10%, but would the trend continue as the concentrated detergents were introduced across North America?

    Keywords: analytics; Data Management; Forecasting; information technology; Shared Services; Procter & Gamble; Laundry Detergent; Information Management; Forecasting and Prediction; Information Technology; Mathematical Methods; Consumer Products Industry; North America;

    Citation:

    Davenport, Thomas H., Marco Iansiti, and Alain Serels. "Managing with Analytics at Procter & Gamble." Harvard Business School Case 613-045, April 2013. View Details
  3. Microsoft Server & Tools (B)

    Supplement for case 613031. Update on progress of Microsoft's Server & Tools Business through July 2011. Satya Nadella and his team explore whether or not to support Linux on Windows Azure.

    Keywords: Technological Innovation; Disruptive Innovation; Information Technology; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Alain Serels. "Microsoft Server & Tools (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 613-046, January 2013. View Details
  4. Microsoft Server & Tools

    In 2011, Microsoft's Server & Tools Business (STB) was large, fast growing and highly profitable on the strength of traditional packaged product lines led by the Windows Server operating system. Even as the current packaged business was performing exceptionally well, Microsoft's leadership understood that cloud based solutions would become more prevalent in the future. As the newly appointed President of STB, Satya Nadella had to find a balance between managing the current packaged business and building the cloud offering.

    Keywords: technology; information technology; Computing; Enterprise Computing; Servers; Cloud Computing; Microsoft; Technology Evolution; technological innovation; disruptive innovation; Technological Innovation; Disruptive Innovation; Information Technology; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Alain Serels. "Microsoft Server & Tools." Harvard Business School Case 613-031, January 2013. (Revised April 2013.) View Details
  5. Microsoft Server & Tools (C)

    Supplement for case 613031. Update on progress of Microsoft's Server & Tools Business through August 2012. Pleased with the Windows Azure product, Satya Nadella must decide how to attract customers to the cloud based platform.

    Keywords: technology; information technology; Computing; Enterprise Computing; Servers; Cloud Computing; Microsoft; Technology Evolution; technological innovation; disruptive innovation; Technological Innovation; Disruptive Innovation; Information Technology; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Alain Serels. "Microsoft Server & Tools (C)." Harvard Business School Supplement 613-047, January 2013. View Details
  6. Ricoh Company, Ltd.

    Ricoh, the Japanese copier manufacturer, is committed to reducing its environmental impact to one-eighth of its 2000 levels by 2050. It has already introduced three stages of environmental awareness to its operations, and its recycled copier business broke even in 2006. The company developed environmental accounting methods and produces annual environmental and sustainability reports, but Ricoh is concerned that investors may not take these efforts into account.

    Keywords: Environmental Accounting; Financial Reporting; Integrated Corporate Reporting; Investment; Operations; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Environmental Sustainability; Electronics Industry; Manufacturing Industry; Japan;

    Citation:

    Eccles, Robert G., Amy C. Edmondson, Marco Iansiti, and Akiko Kanno. "Ricoh Company, Ltd." Harvard Business School Case 610-053, February 2010. (Revised December 2011.) View Details
  7. Innovation: A Customer-Driven Approach

    Provides a selection of methodologies for the investigation of user needs, concept development, and product design.

    Keywords: Customer Relationship Management; Product Design;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, Thomas J. Kosnik, and Ellen Stein. "Innovation: A Customer-Driven Approach." Harvard Business School Background Note 695-016, November 1994. (Revised October 2011.) View Details
  8. CA Technologies: Bringing the Cloud to Earth

    Adam Famularo, general manager, Cloud Computing business, CA Technologies, and David Dobson, WVP and group executive, Customer Solutions Group, were preparing for a presentation on communicating and positioning CA Technologies' new strategy for cloud computing. Analysts had voiced concern over several 2010 acquisitions, and highlighted CA Technologies' need to clearly state its strategy and objectives and identify a compelling way to position and differentiate its cloud offerings. Industry pundits claimed the mainframe- CA Technologies' bread and butter- was dead and would go away. Famularo knew CA Technologies' line of products was anything but outdated, having evolved to help enterprises manage and secure their increasingly complex IT environments. In 2010, analysts reported that CA Technologies' mainframe business was strong and accounted for over 60% of the firm's revenues and a majority of its profits, with no sign of slowing down. But given the attractiveness of CA Technologies' current mainframe and distributed business lines, how firmly would the company back the emergent cloud business? Should CA Technologies' cloud business be positioned as an incremental, complementary addition to its mainframe and client-server businesses or should it be framed as a disruptive and entirely revolutionary technology?

    Keywords: Disruptive Innovation; Product Positioning; Expansion; Internet; Technology Adoption;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Kerry Herman. "CA Technologies: Bringing the Cloud to Earth." Harvard Business School Case 611-047, June 2011. View Details
  9. SAP AG: Orchestrating the Ecosystem

    Business ecosystems require careful orchestration and strategic choices regarding make/buy/partner decisions and membership access. This case examines the strategic and technological issues related to managing SAP's thriving ecosystem of user communities, software vendors, integration partners, and technology providers. It details how the ecosystem gets developed and the challenges in meeting the needs of the internal organization, large partners, and small up-and-coming firms. SAP executives, in this case, have to make a decision if a relatively small startup firm should be elevated to the highest strategic partnership level, normally reserved for very large firms.

    Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions; Organizational Structure; Partners and Partnerships; Business Strategy; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Karim R. Lakhani. "SAP AG: Orchestrating the Ecosystem." Harvard Business School Case 609-069, April 2009. View Details
  10. General Mills (A)

    General Mills is an 80-year-old company that specializes in consumer foods such as cereal, snacks, baking, and dinner products. Although General Mills is, on the whole, a very successful company, they have, in the recent past, had to face challenges as a result the changing environment in the food manufacturing industry. Three main factors have affected this industry including: (1) the rise of Wal-Mart and the resulting shift of pricing power from the manufacturer to the retailer, (2) the infiltration of more private-label products into the market, and (3) the rise in commodity costs as a result of inflation (for example, the Producer Price Index (PPI) which tracks the inflation/deflation for raw materials used by food manufacturers increased by 5.9% from April 2003 to April 2004).

    Keywords: Competitive Strategy; Change Management; Cost Management; Problems and Challenges; Inflation and Deflation; Price; Consumer Products Industry; Manufacturing Industry;

    Citation:

    Gilmartin, Raymond V., Marco Iansiti, and Bianca Buccitelli. "General Mills (A)." Harvard Business School Case 608-004, December 2007. (Revised July 2008.) View Details
  11. Microsoft Office 2007

    A discussion of the history and processes behind the development of Microsoft's Office 12 software.

    Keywords: History; Software; Research and Development; Business Processes; Product Development;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Bianca Buccitelli. "Microsoft Office 2007." Harvard Business School Case 607-015, February 2007. (Revised August 2007.) View Details
  12. Semiconductor Industry, 2002, The

    The semiconductor industry has exhibited an unparalleled rate of innovation since its birth over 50 years ago. Describes how technological innovation has shaped industry structure.

    Keywords: Technological Innovation; Industry Structures; Semiconductor Industry;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Marcin Strojwas. "Semiconductor Industry, 2002, The." Harvard Business School Background Note 604-045, October 2003. (Revised March 2004.) View Details
  13. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company: Building a Platform for Distributed Innovation

    Surging costs of building a state-of-the-art fabrication facility were pushing firms to outsource manufacturing while advanced technologies were requiring a tighter coupling between design and manufacturing. Explores the development of strategy in this environment. Although Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) began as a pure-play manufacturer, its position in the industry grew, and it had the power to wield influence over several critical control points in the chip development process. The central issue is the decision TSMC must make regarding how to structure its dependencies and interfaces with its customers and technology suppliers.

    Keywords: Strategy; Business Model; Networks; Product Design; Production; Decisions; Customer Relationship Management; Supply Chain Management;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Marcin Strojwas. "Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company: Building a Platform for Distributed Innovation." Harvard Business School Case 604-044, October 2003. View Details
  14. Model N Inc.

    The CEO of a Silicon Valley start-up needed to make organizational and product changes to deliver a new software solution to a Fortune 500 customer. He was wondering how he should structure the company to best meet the requirements for this particular customer, while also positioning the company for future growth. He was operating under a tight time frame and was considering options ranging from focusing the entire company on this one project to spreading out his team over several projects. The case raises such issues as developing a successful business model for a software company, outlining a distinction between software platforms and software applications, strategies for product development in tight time frames, leading a company through a transition, knowing when it is time to change directions, setting and communicating a new direction amid ambiguity, and judging how much change employees can handle at one time.

    Keywords: Business Model; Business Startups; Trends; Communication; Customer Focus and Relationships; Selection and Staffing; Time Management; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Business Strategy; Software; Computer Industry;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Alison Berkley Wagonfeld. "Model N Inc." Harvard Business School Case 604-015, July 2003. (Revised October 2013.) View Details
  15. Motive Communications

    The founders of Motive Communications, Inc., a recent start-up dedicated to reinventing the support chain involved in the delivery of information technology support services, put in place a development process hinged on extensive customer feedback. As part of this, a select group of "lighthouse customers" agreed to pay $50,000 to participate in beta testing--but as a deadline approached, none had sent in their checks. The founders therefore reevaluate the lighthouse policy and its rationale.

    Keywords: Business Startups; Customer Relationship Management; Risk and Uncertainty; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Rayport, Jeffrey F., Marco Iansiti, Myra M. Hart, William W Chan, and Find Findsen. "Motive Communications." Harvard Business School Case 699-157, April 1999. (Revised October 2001.) View Details
  16. eFrenzy, Inc. (A)

    Details how to design, launch, and scale a rapidly growing Internet venture. Focuses on the challenges and opportunities involved in leveraging a network of partners.

    Keywords: Corporate Entrepreneurship; Business Growth and Maturation; Internet; Product Development; Business or Company Management; Problems and Challenges; Information Technology Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Nicole Tempest. "eFrenzy, Inc. (A)." Harvard Business School Case 600-093, March 2000. (Revised April 2001.) View Details
  17. CitySoft, Inc.

    Two entrepreneurs are discussing how to scale-up their new company. They face a variety of issues, ranging from hiring and training to strategy and focus.

    Keywords: Business Startups; Business Strategy; Business Growth and Maturation; Selection and Staffing; Internet; Web Services Industry;

    Citation:

    Hart, Myra M., Marco Iansiti, Andrea H. Chermayeff, and Diana S. Gardner. "CitySoft, Inc." Harvard Business School Case 698-080, April 1998. (Revised November 1999.) View Details
  18. Lucent Technologies: Optical Networking Group

    Set in June 1999, this case describes the development of a new platform product, the Wavestar OLS 400G, that responded both to a demand for greater "bandwidth" and aggressive competitors seeking to supply it. The 400G's development process took only 14 months and pioneered a number of new development approaches, while expanding customer and supplier bases. Yet traditional customers remained concerned that the 400G was not as "feature-rich" as they wanted, and many in Lucent's Optical Networking Group felt "burned out" by the hectic development pace. Students debate what should follow the 400G project. The first option is an evolutionary product, relatively consistent with the later releases of 400G but extending its performance by as much as a factor of two. The second option is to ignite another technological revolution, using a "clean sheet of paper" to completely redesign the 400G platform and potentially achieve more than a four-times performance improvement.

    Keywords: Customers; Operations; Product Development; Performance Improvement; Technology; Technology Networks;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Barbara Feinberg. "Lucent Technologies: Optical Networking Group." Harvard Business School Case 600-053, November 1999. View Details
  19. Living on Internet Time: Product Development at Netscape, Yahoo!, NetDynamics, and Microsoft

    Describes how four companies in the Internet software market approach product development. Drawing upon short case studies of three recent projects, students are invited to synthesize the common attributes of development practice in turbulent environments.

    Keywords: Product Development; Internet; Software; Situation or Environment; Volatility; Risk and Uncertainty; Research and Development; Information Technology Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Alan D. MacCormack. "Living on Internet Time: Product Development at Netscape, Yahoo!, NetDynamics, and Microsoft." Harvard Business School Case 697-052, November 1996. (Revised June 1999.) View Details
  20. Inktomi: Scaling the Internet

    Presents the early months of Inktomi, a company that invented the world's first truly scalable architecture for the Internet. This core technology provides a platform for a variety of innovative applications. The company must decide the direction it wants to take.

    Keywords: Technological Innovation; Leadership; Corporate Strategy; Internet;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, Myra M. Hart, and Richard Bergin. "Inktomi: Scaling the Internet." Harvard Business School Case 699-156, April 1999. View Details
  21. Staples (A)

    Chronicles development of a new business concept. Starts with Stemberg's search for a new employment opportunity, then provides details of his decision to launch a new venture concept through careful matching of personal capabilities and experience against a variety of marketing opportunities. Stemberg redefines his supermarket skills as distribution skills and systematically searches for industries where they can be applied.

    Keywords: Marketing; Personal Development and Career; Entrepreneurship; Management Skills; Retail Industry;

    Citation:

    Hart, Myra M., Marco Iansiti, and Barbara Feinberg. "Staples (A)." Harvard Business School Case 898-157, January 1998. (Revised September 1998.) View Details
  22. Katie Burke (A)

    Follows the career of Katie Burke, HBS MBA 1995. Offers the opportunity to discuss a variety of issues, including innovation, software development, entrepreneurship, new venture design, and career choices.

    Keywords: Information Technology; Entrepreneurship; Personal Development and Career; Business Startups; Innovation and Invention;

    Citation:

    Hart, Myra M., Marco Iansiti, and Barbara Feinberg. "Katie Burke (A)." Harvard Business School Case 698-092, April 1998. View Details
  23. X-IT Products, LLC

    Two entrepreneurs, Andrew Ive and Aldo DiBerlardino, are poised to launch their first product. The decisions they make will have a crucial impact on the future of their company.

    Keywords: Forecasting and Prediction; Entrepreneurship; Product Launch; Outcome or Result;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, Myra M. Hart, and Barbara Feinberg. "X-IT Products, LLC." Harvard Business School Case 698-084, April 1998. View Details
  24. Staples (C)

    The search for appropriate hardware and software to support the launch of a new large-scale retail operation forces the management team to define their goals at a very detailed level and to make all underlying assumptions explicit.

    Keywords: Goals and Objectives; Hardware; Software; Business Startups; Management Teams; Retail Industry;

    Citation:

    Hart, Myra M., Marco Iansiti, and Barbara Feinberg. "Staples (C)." Harvard Business School Case 898-159, January 1998. (Revised March 1998.) View Details
  25. Silicon Graphics, Inc. (A)

    Based on a Silicon Valley company that has developed the capability to compete in a rapidly growing, highly turbulent environment. This capability hinges on its flexible and rapid development process, which the case characterizes in detail. Focuses on the development of the Challenge server, a critical product with which Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) plans to expand its product line and customer base. The project is in its critical "bring-up" stage, close to its scheduled launch. Ron Bernal, the project leader, needs to decide whether the product is ready for shipment. The issues that face him in this decision capture the essential challenges of SGI's product development approach.

    Keywords: Product Development; Hardware; Product Launch; Managerial Roles; Expansion; Design; Software; Computer Industry; Electronics Industry; California;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Ellen Stein. "Silicon Graphics, Inc. (A)." Harvard Business School Case 695-061, April 1995. (Revised December 1997.) View Details
  26. BancZero New Product Development

    The Mexico City office of a large U.S. bank is asked by clients to develop currency swaps, a derivative financial product. This case deals with the new product development process in financial services, and the problems and issues that are raised in product development in a volatile environment.

    Keywords: Product Development; Banks and Banking; Financial Instruments; Situation or Environment; Problems and Challenges; Risk and Uncertainty; Volatility; Banking Industry; Mexico City; United States;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Alberto Moel. "BancZero New Product Development." Harvard Business School Case 697-044, November 1996. (Revised September 1997.) View Details
  27. Innovation in Action: Product Development Projects and Action-Based Learning, Instructor's Note

    As a project-based course, Managing Product Development has been carefully designed so that classroom discussion and students' project team activities infuse each other: learning from course materials enhances project activities, which in turn enrich subsequent discussion. Projects enable students to experience the product (or service) development process in an environment that encourages experimentation and learning. Although the challenges are real, students can be flexible in how they organize and manage the process; as such, they are designing their own learning experience, experimenting with different managerial and organizational approaches, and testing different innovative methodologies. This note provides extensive background on the kinds of projects students participate in, how these unfold, the various milestones that help both instructors and teams keep activities on track, how classroom learning is linked to project work, and the pedagogical challenges (and satisfaction) involved. Appendices provide examples of student "archives," the principal output of the teams' efforts, and other relevant materials.

    Keywords: Management Practices and Processes; Management Style; Product Development; Projects; Groups and Teams;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco. "Innovation in Action: Product Development Projects and Action-Based Learning, Instructor's Note." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 697-107, June 1997. View Details
  28. Managing Product Development: Matching Technology with Context, Instructor's Note

    This overview to Managing Product Development (MPD) both previews course material, cases, exercises, and lectures--and provides its conceptual and academic underpinnings. Additionally, this note links these materials to the activities students will be undertaking in their term projects. The overarching premise of the course is that product development performance is driven by a process that matches technological opportunities (i.e., what is possible) to their application environment (i.e., user needs, manufacturing exigencies, and strategic aims). This process is particularly characterized by the generation, retention, and integration of knowledge through carefully designed and sequenced iterations of experimentation. Product development performance itself is linked to a variety of managerial levers that help "fit" the details of this process to its environment. These range from investment in experimentation methodologies and tools to the specification of an appropriate sequence of activities, project stages, and milestones; from the selection of an appropriate project organization to the creation of an effective development strategy.

    Keywords: Curriculum and Courses; Product Development; Knowledge Management; Performance; Projects; Management Practices and Processes; Opportunities; Strategy; Management Analysis, Tools, and Techniques;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco. "Managing Product Development: Matching Technology with Context, Instructor's Note." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 697-103, May 1997. View Details
  29. Introduction and Overview: Managing Product Development, Instructor's Note

    The first module, comprising three cases and a team exercise, provides an impressionistic look at all the issues raised in greater detail in subsequent classes. It thus enables students, who come to the course with a range of experience and skills, to get up to speed on product development essentials. In essence, it teaches students a common language and a common knowledge base that they will use not only in classroom discussions but in their own project activities. This note shows how the module material links both to subsequent material and to issues student teams are grappling with as their projects get underway.

    Keywords: Experience and Expertise; Product Development; Projects; Groups and Teams;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco. "Introduction and Overview: Managing Product Development, Instructor's Note." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 697-104, May 1997. View Details
  30. Product Development Foundations, Instructor's Note

    As emphasized in the course overview, excellence in product development is built on three foundations: the activities aimed at generating, retaining, and integrating knowledge. They form the critical building blocks for the conceptualization and implementation of any new product. The module--and this note--focus on each of these foundations in detail and introduce a variety of methodologies and approaches. The six classroom sessions draw upon cases, conceptual notes, interactive lectures, and an exercise. The note shows how these are linked together, to subsequent module themes and materials, and to student project activities.

    Keywords: Knowledge Management; Product Launch; Infrastructure; Product Development;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco. "Product Development Foundations, Instructor's Note." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 697-105, May 1997. View Details
  31. Product Development Process, Organization and Improvement, Instructor's Note

    Explores how development projects fit (or do not fit) within a firm's development strategy and its wider competitive goals. Module materials, and this note, focus on two broad approaches to process design (sequential and flexible) that were originally introduced in the first module (Introduction and Overview), detailing how they are organized, the environments for which they are most appropriate, and how process design itself can be a source of organizational improvement. In addition, the materials in this module integrate all the learning generated from previous modules, as well as the knowledge students have gained from their own projects.

    Keywords: Goals and Objectives; Management Practices and Processes; Product Development; Performance Improvement; Competition;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco. "Product Development Process, Organization and Improvement, Instructor's Note." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 697-106, May 1997. View Details
  32. Product Development Performance, Instructor's Note

    Focuses on what constitutes product development performance and how it is assessed. Performance, as explained in both the note and in the materials for this three-session module, refers to the performance of both the product and the organizational process producing it. Moreover, the two are not independent but should instead reflect each other. At the same time, there is no one, best, approach to achieving superior performance. However, as the course materials and the module note emphasize, excellence stems from the careful design and implementation of the activities constituting the three critical foundations introduced in the previous module, Product Development Foundations.

    Keywords: Management Practices and Processes; Infrastructure; Product Development; Production; Performance Evaluation;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco. "Product Development Performance, Instructor's Note." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 697-108, May 1997. View Details
  33. Team New Zealand (A)

    The case describes the development process used by Team New Zealand to design their two yachts for the 1995 America's Cup. During development, the team makes extensive use of simulation and physical prototyping to improve the initial design concept. As they approach construction, they must decide whether to build both boats at the same time and, if so, whether to vary their designs. The decision hinges on evaluating the benefits of different experimentation strategies. Includes color exhibits.

    Keywords: Product Design; Design; Product Development; Sports; Ship Transportation; Research and Development; Situation or Environment; Decisions; Sports Industry; New Zealand;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Alan D. MacCormack. "Team New Zealand (A)." Harvard Business School Case 697-040, October 1996. (Revised April 1997.) View Details
  34. Silicon Graphics, Inc. (B)

    After the release of the "Challenge" computer in 1993, Silicon Graphics executives meet to discuss the follow-up project. Should they pursue an incremental improvement to the Challenge, or opt for a radically new design recently demonstrated at Stanford University?

    Keywords: Decisions; Technological Innovation; Management Practices and Processes; Product Development; Hardware; Computer Industry;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Alan D. MacCormack. "Silicon Graphics, Inc. (B)." Harvard Business School Case 697-038, September 1996. View Details
  35. Microsoft: Multimedia Publications (B)

    Microsoft is about to release an apparently successful CD-ROM baseball product. The company is trying to determine what product(s) should be developed next, how it should organize itself, and what role it should play in the development of such products.

    Keywords: Product Development; Software; Product Design; Organizational Structure; Product Launch; Business Strategy; Consumer Products Industry; Information Technology Industry; Washington (state, US);

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Ellen Stein. "Microsoft: Multimedia Publications (B)." Harvard Business School Case 695-006, July 1994. (Revised March 1995.) View Details
  36. Understanding User Needs

    Presents an introduction to methods for understanding user needs in product development. Describes a number of techniques including the use of focus groups, interviews, questionnaires, the Kano method, Lead User analysis, the Product Value matrix, OFD, etc. Provides a "how to" for product developers, and includes theory as well as examples from practice.

    Keywords: Customer Satisfaction; Customer Value and Value Chain; Product Development; Mathematical Methods;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Ellen Stein. "Understanding User Needs." Harvard Business School Case 695-051, January 1995. View Details
  37. Microsoft: Multimedia Publications (A)

    Microsoft Corp. has built a highly successful business around computer software (both applications and system software) using a particular organizational structure. Now that the company has chosen to enter the consumer market with a CD-ROM product, how should Microsoft alter its product development process (if at all) for this new product?

    Keywords: Product Development; Organizational Structure; Software; Design; Expansion; Consumer Products Industry; Information Technology Industry; Washington (state, US);

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Ellen Stein. "Microsoft: Multimedia Publications (A)." Harvard Business School Case 695-005, July 1994. View Details
  38. Microsoft Corp.: Office Business Unit

    Describes the development of a new word processing software package, Word for Windows. The major focus is how the development process should be improved to reduce schedule slips and cost overruns. Some of the issues raised are: the use of schedules in managing development projects, cross-functional communications, program management, and differences between software and hardware development.

    Keywords: Communication Strategy; Cost Management; Business or Company Management; Time Management; Product Development; Programs; Projects; Hardware; Software; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco. "Microsoft Corp.: Office Business Unit." Harvard Business School Case 691-033, November 1990. (Revised May 1994.) View Details
  39. NEC

    Investigates product development practices at NEC. The company provides an intriguing example of how to build capability through a stream of product development projects. Focuses in detail on an engineering group that develops the core component of its line of supercomputers and mainframes, following its evolution through multiple product generations.

    Keywords: Product Development; Product Design; Innovation and Invention; Innovation and Management; Collaborative Innovation and Invention; Technological Innovation; Management Analysis, Tools, and Techniques; Information Technology; Factories, Labs, and Plants; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco. "NEC." Harvard Business School Case 693-095, April 1993. (Revised December 1993.) View Details
  40. Honda Today

    Describes a situation in which the manager in charge of a major development project at Honda needs to make a decision about the technical specification of the product. The decision has profound implications for the product concept and strategy, as well as for the technical feasibility and challenges of the design. The students need to evaluate different options and estimate their impact on the success of the final product. Underlines the importance of choosing an option that is consistent with the overall concept of the product and the company's design and philosophy.

    Keywords: Decisions; Product Design; Organizational Design; Performance Consistency; Projects; Auto Industry;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco. "Honda Today." Harvard Business School Case 692-044, October 1991. (Revised April 1992.) View Details

Presentations

  1. New Perspectives on the Business Value of IT

    We sought to unravel the link between IT investment and firm performance by examining deployed IT functionality (ITF). First, ITF appears to be an important link in the IT spend to business value chain. Second, ITF does not seem to be a commodity and has characteristics of a strategic resource. Third, firms with extensive ITF grow faster and on the margin breadth of ITF is more valuable than depth. Lastly, we find that faster growing firms may manage IT more efficiently than slower growers.

    Keywords: Perspective; Value; Performance; Investment; Management Analysis, Tools, and Techniques; Information Technology; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Brunner, David James, Bradley R. Staats, and Marco Iansiti. "New Perspectives on the Business Value of IT." Paper presented at the INFORMS Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, November 5–8, 2005. View Details
  2. Intellectual Property, Architecture, and the Management of Technological Transitions: Evidence from Microsoft Corporation

    Keywords: Intellectual Property; Management; Technology; Design; Computer Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, and Marco Iansiti. "Intellectual Property, Architecture, and the Management of Technological Transitions: Evidence from Microsoft Corporation." Paper presented at the Global Acquisition, Protection, and Leveraging of Technological Competencies, Katz Graduate School of Business, October 01, 2002. View Details
  3. Rapid Learning and Adaptation in Product Development: An Empirical Study of the Internet Software Industry

    Keywords: Learning; Product Development; Software; Computer Industry; Information Technology Industry; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, M. Iansiti, and R Verganti. "Rapid Learning and Adaptation in Product Development: An Empirical Study of the Internet Software Industry." Paper presented at the International Product Development Management Conference, Italy, May 01, 1998. View Details

Other Publications and Materials

    Research Summary

  1. Technology and Operations Strategy

    Marco Iansiti studies the evolving nature of strategy, innovation and operations in the modern enterprise. Over the past 20 years, he has researched the processes for technology adoption, development, and integration in hundreds of firms across a wide variety of industrial sectors. Additionally, he has studied the evolution of operating and innovation networks, also known as business ecosystems.  His latest research is on the interaction between strategy and execution, focusing on the drivers of strategic integrity.
    1. The Keystone Advantage: What the New Dynamics of Business Ecosystems Mean for Strategy, Innovation, and Sustainability with Roy Levien (Harvard Business School Press, 2004) was selected by Strategy + Business as one of the 10 Best Business Books on IT & Innovation in 2004.

    19 Oct 2011
    Financial Times
    30 Jan 2011
    New York Times