The MIT Center for Digital Business A Partnership in Research
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The MIT Center for Digital Business is an industry funded research program at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Below are a number of questions frequently posed to our staff.

Q: What is the MIT Center for Digital Business?
Founded in 1999, the MIT Center for Digital Business is the world's largest center for research focused on the digital economy. We have worked with more than 50 corporate sponsors. We have funded more than 60 faculty and performed more than 75 research projects. Our faculty and sponsors represent the leaders in Digital Business research, analysis and practice worldwide. Together, we are inventing the future of Digital Business.

Q: What does the Center for Digital Business do?
A: Our mission is to be the leading source of innovation, knowledge creation, dissemination and utilization, in management theory and practice for Digital Business. Toward this end, we have established a large-scale research program to investigate the latest trends and techniques in Digital Business. The core of this program is the custom matching of sponsor companies with MIT faculty to form research teams that address issues that are relevant to both industry and academia. This approach to applying rigorous research methodologies to solve some of industry's most relevant questions creates generalizable knowledge that is valuable not only to the specific company involved, but to all our understandings of how to use digital technologies most effectively. The knowledge created through this process is then disseminated through a variety of means, including daylong research workshops; a 2-day annual sponsor conference, bi-weekly lunch seminars, site visits, and working papers and other publications. These activities are designed to help our faculty, students and sponsors understand the challenges and opportunities offered by Digital Business..

Q: Who is involved?
A: The Center enables a partnership of today's industry leaders, the top Digital Business researchers, and future business leaders. Current sponsors such as Capgemini, Cisco, Cognizant, General Motors, McKinsey, SAP, Suruga Bank and Thomson Reuters actively collaborate with renowned MIT researchers such as Profs. Erik Brynjolfsson, Glen Urban, Andy McAfee and Michael Cusumano. In addition, tomorrow's top Digital Business leaders participate through the MIT Sloan School's graduate programs, and by collaboration with our sponsors to address real-world business questions.

Q: How does it work?
A: We have created a partnership between research, industry, and education that provides a unique value to those that participate. For example, industry is involved first hand with leading research and provides direction for the education of future business leaders. The students have an opportunity to assist in the creation of groundbreaking research and interact with leaders of industry. The Researchers have the "real world" of industry on which to base and test their hypotheses.

Q: Can you give me an example of a project that generated an ROI for a sponsor company?
A: Professor Glen Urban partnered with Intel to help improve the success rate of downloads on one of their sites (Internet ready cameras). By allowing web site visitors to opt into an experimental site, Professor Urban conducted a series of five experiments to determine the optimum mix of information, graphics and interactivity (persona, voice, etc.). The optimum mix improved the download rate from less than 65% to more than 85%. Since a failed download has real cost (excessive use of call center, lost business, disgruntled customers), Intel estimated they would save nearly $18 million dollars from implementing Professor Urban's "trusted advisor".

Q: Who works on a project?
A: Each project has a Principal Investigator who must be a Professor or Principal Research Scientist at MIT. In addition, nearly all projects have PhD or Masters student(s) that work as Research Assistants. The sponsoring company typically will commit similar human resources in order to implement the results of the project during and after the project period.

Q: Why should my organization be involved?
A: Sponsors of the MIT Center for Digital Business build personal and professional relationships that enable their organizations to be Digital Business leaders. As a sponsor of the Center, your organization will participate on the leading edge of the research and developments in the field of Digital Business. You will derive first hand knowledge of how Digital Business is reshaping organizations and how they deal with their suppliers, partners, and customers. Sponsors of the MIT Center for Digital Business drive research, participate in thought leadership, and potentially direct the future of how the Internet and related technologies impact business. In addition, Sponsors gain access to MIT's Sloan School of Management's top MBA students through company-specific, short-term research projects and unique recruiting events designed solely for them. The Center enables the interaction of today's industry leaders, the top Digital Business researchers, and future business leaders./p>

Q: How can I participate and how much does it cost?
A: There are three levels of sponsorship available at the Center for MIT Digital Business. Member Sponsors participate in all activities with the exception of the Focused Research Project. Member Sponsors contribute $25,000 per year. Research Sponsors have all the advantages of Member Sponsors plus a dedicated research project directed by one of our Faculty. Research Sponsors contribute $150,000 per year. Principal Sponsors have all the advantages of Research Sponsors, plus the dedicated research project is larger in scope, participation in multiple projects is available and a seat on the Executive Board to help guide the Center. Principal Sponsors contribute $300,000 per year and make a three-year commitment.

Q: What kind of companies do you work with?
A: We will work with any company, as long as they have an interesting issue that matches with the interest and expertise of our faculty and research staff. We do not exclude competitors.

Q: Didn't you used to be called the Center for eBusiness?
A: Yes, we changed our name to the Center for Digital Business in 2006 to more accurately reflect the breadth of research that we are conducting.

Q: How can I learn more?
For more information, please visit our website at or
contact the Center directly at 617-253-7054 or

MIT Center for Digital Business > About > FAQ