MSc E-Business and Innovation
Innovation with digital technologies in forward-looking organisations.
About The Course
Successful innovation means answering the questions: what is needed and what is possible? Business leaders must understand tech and business context to flourish. This course explores how to use IT to gain competitive advantage, open up new markets, enhance customer and supplier relationships, and streamline core processes.
This Masters degree is taught by experts from the Management School and the School of Computing and Communications. It is a unique combination of management, business and computing. We look at entrepreneurship, e-business and digital technologies in everything from start-ups to multinationals. The first modules focus on management and technology, whilst the following modules build on each other, advancing your knowledge in the most effective way.
We will ask you to frame your approach to business innovation using theories and current research. This helps you think in a more systematic way, which is perfect for enterprise systems, business analysis and the SAP system. You can then choose from a research, start-up or consultancy-based dissertation, depending on your future career path.
Starts in October
Designed for graduates from any discipline seeking a career as a technopreneur or ICT professional.
During your first term from October to December you will study two bridging modules, Management in Context and Technology in Context, to allow you to establish the foundation needed for the subsequent modules delivered throughout the programme, regardless of what you have studied for your first degree. You will also study five further core modules as below:
Management in Context
This module introduces you to the theory underlying management studies while at the same time starting to develop your key managerial skills.
In addition to key management texts, media representations of management in the British context and beyond will be drawn on, including contemporary sources such as newspapers and TV documentaries that have a specific management orientation, as well as presentations from guest speakers from the business community. There is an emphasis on task- and project-based learning.
The module also places the study of management within the global context. This involves exploring the wider socio-historic/socio-economic contexts in which management is enacted, reflecting on different forms of organising work, and examining cultural and historical differences.
The topics covered include:
- Defining management
- Representations of management (media)
- Management in context – the business landscape
- Management in the 21st century – challenges and issues
- Management in the 21st century – challenges and issues
- Studying and theorising management
- Types and forms of management (historical and cultural)
- Leadership and managing people
- Forms of organising – teams and groups
- Introduction to project management
- Introduction to financial control
- Introducing strategy
- Managing a high-tech business
- E-business management
Technology in Context
The overall aim of this module is to give you a basic knowledge of the key information and communication technologies (ICT) that are being deployed in the current and emerging information industry. The technologies are presented at an overview level, but with an attempt to teach the underlying principles so that you understand what lies behind the many acronyms and product titles in this field.
The module is made up of lectures and computer-based sessions. Both elements will be assessed.
The types of topic likely to be covered are:
- Introduction to computer systems and networks
- Introduction to the Internet and WWW
- Advanced networking and distributed computing
- Network security management and e-commerce
- Introduction to databases
- Real-world business experience
- World Wide Web
- Server-side programming
- Client-side programming
However, because of the nature of the subject, the precise details will be subject to change.
The module presents a variety of frameworks and case studies that help the student formulate a comprehensive understanding of E-business in theory and practice. The course does not involve rote learning format; rather it is interactive, multi-modal, and real-world. Lectures are more like working lectures and involve various exercises that help you understand and employ the various frameworks.
On completion of this module students should be able to:
- Appreciate the multifaceted nature of E-business
- Be capable of applying frameworks to case studies, e.g. E-business model frameworks and strategy
- Understand the key issues that E-business practitioners face
- Participate in a real-world challenge that forms the backbone of the coursework
Successful innovation involves the dynamic dance of two questions: what is needed, and what is possible? You will have the opportunity to explore the way in which many innovations involve crossing boundaries. You will look at why some innovations fail, what forces lead to the diffusion of innovation, how entrepreneurs innovate to survive, and the extent to which innovation is a networking activity.
The module adopts innovative teaching and learning methods, designed to encourage creative thought, and uses a blended learning approach. You will have access to module space resources and a forum. Group work is facilitated by use of a Wiki (the collaborative software behind Wikipedia), where you work collaboratively in small groups to analyse current innovations.
You will keep an online academic learning log, which is private to you and to tutors, giving you the opportunity to develop a personal journey through the module with tutor support. This is combined with highly interactive face-to-face workshops.
- What is innovation?
- Models of innovation
- Innovation as evolution
- Process innovation: craft to mass production
- Process innovation: mass to lean production
- Collaborative innovation
- ICT and the information age
- Open innovation and mass collaboration
This module consists of two parallel streams offering a comprehensive study of both the potential of digital innovation and the wider implications of digital innovation for society and the digital economy.
The first stream - a narrative looking at core digital developments offering the seeds of innovation - considers contemporary issues in computer science, with emphasis on developments with the maximum potential for innovation and impact on society. Topics may include:
- Ubiquitous computing and Mark Weiser’s vision of the disappearing computer
- Mobile computing and supporting users on the move
- Cloud computing as a step towards open data and big data
- Open hardware and hacker culture
- Developments in the World Wide Web, including Web 2.0 and Web 3.0
- Social computing and supporting communities
- Challenging the way we interact with computers, including tangible user interfaces (physical computing) and haptic interaction
- 2D and 3D visualisation, including immersive environments
- Gaming, including serious games
For selected topics, appropriate experts will be brought in to lead sessions.
The second stream - a meta-narrative looking at issues such as what makes a good digital innovation, seeking more radical innovations and methods, and models of intellectual property related to digital and software innovation - consists of a set of seminars which challenge you to think about issues relating to digital innovation and its impact on society and the digital economy.
Business Planning and Finance
This is a project-based module in which you work in small groups to research and develop an entrepreneurial idea into a business plan for a new venture. You will make a formal presentation of your plan with the aim of obtaining funding for the venture and are interviewed by an enterprise panel. The enterprise panel may include a bank manager, a business angel and/or a venture capitalist.
This complex task brings with it many learning benefits. Through action learning, you learn first-hand about the entrepreneurial processes of opportunity recognition, start-up and growth and associated activities such as networking, intelligence-gathering and credibility management. This enables you to develop specific skills such as market research and analysis, sales forecasting and how to develop financial statements.
In developing the business plan, you learn how to take an integrated view of all aspects of a business, and this should then enable you to apply and interrelate the various functional components of the curriculum.
The module is carefully structured to provide an integrated sequence of topic seminars, designed to support the development of the plan, and tutorials in which you discuss problems you encounter at the various stages of the process.
This module gives you conceptual tools and frameworks for thinking about the complexity of organisations, with a special emphasis on the role of information and information systems.The module enables you to develop a broad understanding of the nature of organisational complexity, especially in the context of acquiring, processing and disseminating information both efficiently and effectively. You will learn about the general tools used for pre-analysis and structuring of complex organisational situations and will also develop practical skills in using soft systems methodology (SSM), a methodology widely used in industry and developed at Lancaster by Professor Peter Checkland.
You will be introduced to various tools and frameworks that can help managers understand and reflect on the context they are in and what possibilities it offers for action. The ideas are drawn largely from the domains of ‘soft’ operational research and organisational learning, and include systems thinking, diagramming techniques and cognitive mapping.
The framework of concepts which the module provides helps to link the organisational analysis of e-business with issues of technical implementation.
In your second term from January to March, you will study five core modules:
Technology for E-Business
This module is designed to help you understand the constant shift in web technologies and to enable you to conceive, design and implement superior e-business and e-commerce solutions. It is aimed at those who may be considering future careers as product managers or solution architects and thus encompasses business and design aspects in addition to technology issues.
You will acquire a detailed understanding of design, implementation and operational aspects of web-based e-business systems. You will also develop a deep understanding of current web technology trends and key web technologies, understand and practise web design and engineering methods, and learn how to measure the success and quality of an e-business system.
Case studies draw together key features from each part, setting the scene for a group project where you then use your skills to conceive and design an innovative web solution.
The module is organised into key topics: Web 2.0 architecture, design methods, cloud computing, web APIs and mashups, OpenSocial web, web analytics and business intelligence.
Part 1, Web 2.0 architecture, sets the scene for the module by exploring current trends in web technology and investigating design and architectural issues of modern web applications.
This module provides an integrated and critical overview of key concepts and techniques associated with marketing and consumer behaviour online. No prior academic and/or applied grounding in marketing or knowledge of marketing issues related to the e-business environment is assumed (if necessary, background reading and materials will be provided).
In this module we put emphasis on the fact that a marketing strategy for the online environment is, or is becoming, increasingly critical for most organisations. However, the integration of marketing within the e-business technological platform and interface tends not to be given enough attention in organisations. Marketing managers need to be conversant and confident with the dynamics of online consumer behaviour and they have to understand the current limitations of this new channel, but without neglecting the basis of consumer behaviour.
Information Management and Strategy
This module focuses on the strategic rationale for IT. It has three main aims:
- to develop your understanding of the fundamental concepts and frameworks through which the potential for strategic IT applications with a strategic context can be identified and evaluated
- to help you work out the practice and problems associated with the planning, implementation and effective management of the information resource
- to enhance your appreciation of the field by giving you the chance to tackle issues or topics relating to those areas in depth, on a group basis
The emphasis in the module will be managerial – technology will be addressed, but always in the context of its strategic and organisational significance. Case studies are used to exemplify and reinforce both the strengths and weaknesses of current concepts and theories.Topics covered:
- The strategic context of information, systems and technology (IST)
- Nature of strategy and strategic complexity
- Introduction to strategic analysis
- Outside-in (environmental) and inside-out (resource) based analyses
- Appreciating the strategic role of IST
- Identifying the opportunities for IST – frameworks and models
- Planning-based approaches BSP
- Risk assessment and portfolio approaches
- Approaches to making and justifying the investment decisions
- Strategic IT examples – enterprise resource planning (ERP), business process re-engineering (BPR), and outsourcing
- Introduction to group topics
Managing IT Architecture
This module, which includes input by specialists from IBM, introduces you to the theoretical concepts and practical methods used to design and evaluate complex IT systems in terms of their architecture.
Using a rich mix of case studies the emphasis is on task and project-based learning. You will develop your understanding of the need for IT architecture and the role of the IT architect including an appreciation of the need for the IT architect to balance conflicting tensions between the different aspects of technical design.What you learn from this module can be applied equally to small and medium-sized businesses as well as larger scale operations, and will remain useful throughout your career.
There are two parts to this module, the first being a series of lectures delivered by IBM IT architects and focusing on the following topics:
- History of IT architecture
- What do IT architects do?
- Qualities and constraints in IT solutions
- What do Enterprise architects do?
- Computer security in architecture
- Tools of the architect's trade
The second is an intensive two-day workshop where you work in teams to specify and define a system architecture based on a concrete case study culminating in a presentation of your proposals to a client.
Business Analysis and Enterprise Systems
This module gives you hands-on experience of the academic version of a widely used enterprise technology, namely SAP.
Enterprise systems and integration solutions are essential to every modern enterprise, and Cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS) is opening a new range of integration solutions for businesses. Also, businesses that acquired and implemented ERPs in the 1990s and early 2000s are now dealing with upgrades for the years to come. These businesses are considering becoming hybrids: i.e., having a mixture of traditional ERPs and cloud-based services so that they can keep a solid platform but also enjoy the flexibility offered by the cloud.
ERPs are booming in China and many other developing countries. Therefore, irrespective of the specific technology (e.g., SAP), all business school graduates should acquire some preliminary knowledge of enterprise systems and of the integration they provide for companies.
This module familiarises you with the notion of integration and how companies can respond to their integration needs. Most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience of an ERP system and of using it to run a company – in this instance, you will be using SAP to run a virtual dairy company.
This final term draws together all your learning from the earlier modules and enables you to show your skills in applying your knowledge to an in-depth piece of work - either a consultancy based project in which you will work in small groups (typically three) with a company client, or a research project, or a start-up project with related dissertation. Regardless of the type of project, it is always done in close collaboration with an academic supervisor at Lancaster. Dissertations are handed in during September, and graduation takes place at Lancaster in early December.
Students on the E-BIN course recently participated in a hackathon, aimed at using technology to find innovative solutions to problems. During the 2-day event, the students worked intensively in multi-disciplinary teams to propose solutions to challenges in areas including sustainable transport, industrial heritage, enhanced visitor experience, data management and business intelligence.
The students were given the opportunity to interact and learn from experts-in-residence from organisations such as IT firms, transport firms, and environmental committees.
Our programme-specific scholarships for 2020 entry are aimed at high-achieving students with a strong academic or personal profile. We'll automatically consider you for these scholarships when you apply and if you are shortlisted we'll be in touch with the next steps, so it's best to apply as soon as possible.Apply for Masters
The Department of Management Science provides an extensive careers service and postgraduate students may expect to be eagerly sought after by employers. Major employers contact the Department each year to recruit. Many former students now hold senior positions in their organisation – as management scientists or as managers.
The Department has strong links with companies and organisations, many of which employ our alumni. Companies visit the department to make presentations and interview students as part of their selection process. In other instances, opportunities are advertised via the noticeboards and electronically on the student VLE. You are also asked to contact company recruitment offices directly.
Management Science, Operational Research, Logistics, Supply Chain and Market Analysis are seen by leading companies as the start of a fast track to promotion for high flyers with a numerate or scientific background. Project Management skills are also highly sought after by companies due to a need for improved project success rates and more global and complex project organisations. There is a continually growing market for the project profession which covers many roles from support to strategic leadership. Experience has shown that if you have a postgraduate qualification, you will not only obtain a better starting job but will also receive more rapid promotion.