April 2, 2021
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New essay from Temple University faculty member Munir Mandviwalla and five industry executives offers an outlook for how various industries should react following COVID-19

PHILADELPHIA, April 2, 2021 — Business and industry as we once knew it has changed. What was their “normal” is likely not coming back either.

As we move past the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s imperative that the many affected industries find a way to move forward too. But how do they do that? 

That’s the question explored in “An industry perspective on major post-pandemic issues,” a new essay that was recently published in MIS Quarterly Executive. Authored by Munir Mandviwalla, associate professor of Management Information Systems (MIS) and executive director of the Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT) at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, the piece outlines seven key recommendations for industry to consider in the wake of the pandemic.

It’s not a traditional academic paper, full of methods and data analysis, instead it offers practical suggestions that can be immediately applied to business and industry. It’s also unique that Mandviwalla is the only author to come from academia; all five of his coauthors are senior industry executives.

The co-authors for the piece include Dinesh Desai, executive chairman and founder of Emtec, Inc., an IT consultancy firm; Linda Descano, executive vice president at Red Havas; Larry Dignan, editor in chief of ZDNet and editorial director of ZDNet’s sister site TechRepublic; Chris Kearns, senior vice president in Operations and Technology at NBCUniversal; Raghu Sankaran, chief information officer (CIO) and chief information security officer (CISO) at Scholastic.

“There are really three things that make this paper so unique,” Mandviwalla says. “First, the recommendations reflect the experience and expertise of my co-authors. Typically, industry avoids getting involved in academic knowledge creation, yet this group was willing to take the leap. Secondly, all the authors are either IBIT award winners or IBIT members. Finally, the speed at which this paper was completed and published was just not normal. Typically, these types of things take multiple years, but we all worked on it rapidly including the editor-in-chief and reviewers of MIS Quarterly Executive. The essay was fast tracked for publication, going from conception to publication in less than 3 months. Lightning had to strike in three places for this to work, and it did.”

The seven key topics explored in the paper are listed below. Each topic includes its own specific set of recommendations from the authors.

  1. Digital transformation must remain a priority
  2. Business valuation of IT must shift assumptions
  3. Data is now even more central to business models
  4. Business continuity and operations planning require a fresh approach
  5. Remote work is a reality but management and tech need improvement
  6. Workforce recruitment and development face new challenges and requirements
  7. IT must play a central role in enabling societal and local responsibilities

The suggestions made throughout the paper are far reaching. For instance, with regard to remote work, Mandviwalla and his colleagues argue that it should now be used as a recruiting tool when hiring employees, and note that this could be especially impactful when it comes to recruiting IT talent.

They also suggest that employee productivity and innovation could be increased by sharing critical performance data regularly with employees.

“A lot of these topics came from our Digital Fireside Chats, which IBIT has been hosting since the pandemic started. Many of the topics we discuss have been either directly or tangentially related to those chats,” Mandviwalla says. “This is an information systems journal, but the recommendations are broadly applicable, and that’s a credit to my co-authors and their expertise.”

Since its launch earlier this month, the paper has been the most-downloaded paper at MIS Quarterly.

ABOUT THE FOX SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

The vision of Temple University’s Fox School of Business is to transform student lives, develop leaders, and impact our local and global communities through excellence and innovation in education and research.

The Fox School’s research institutes and centers as well as 200+ full-time faculty provide access to market-leading technologies and foster a collaborative and creative learning environment that offers more than curriculum—it offers an experience. Coupled with its leading student services, the Fox School ensures that its graduates are fully prepared to enter the job market.

The flexibility and responsiveness of our knowledge-creating research faculty allow the school to address the needs of industry and generate courses and programs in emerging fields. As a leader in business research, the Fox School values interdisciplinary approaches and translational research that influence and impact real-world problems. Our research informs an adaptive curriculum, supports innovation in teaching and prepares students for the ever-changing business environment.

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