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Labs that Close the Gap

Digital Value Lab

Harvard Business School has been teaching executives how to make their businesses more competitive for decades. Many of the lessons remain true. Some need updating because new technologies are challenging our assumptions. Digital technologies are disrupting the old ways of competing. 

Digital demands a new mindset. And not just in customer facing parts of the business. Or supply chain. New data sources and algorithms present opportunities in every function. They change how value is created, captured, and measured.  

The Digital Value Lab is established to look at how to measure and drive  digital and big data driven transformations in organizations. How can companies get the best return on their digital investments? What are the implications of data inputs and algorithms to the way companies make decisions? How does performance change when we make data-driven decisions? 

Adopting big data techniques allows us to change the cadence of decision making. Think of motorsport and the changes that can happen in a mid-race pitstop. The same can happen across the enterprise. Why stick to annual financial plans when we can make quicker decisions with more up-to-date data? Can we introduce more race track dynamism into our operations? 

Lab researchers adopt a variety of methods in their research from large sample empirical analysis, surveys and interviews, and in-depth case studies. 


The Digital Value Lab is led by: 

  • Suraj Srinivasan, Philip J. Stomberg Professor of Business Administration, Unit Head, Accounting and Management. He holds a PhD in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. 

Affiliated Faculty and Researchers

The following faculty and doctoral students are active researchers in the Lab.

  • Jung Koo Kang, Assistant Professor of Business Administration. He holds a Phd in Accounting from the University of Southern California.
  • Yuan Zou, Assistant Professor of Business Administration. She holds a Phd in Accounting from Columbia University.
  • Brian Baik, Assistant Professor of Business Administration. He holds a Phd in Accounting from the MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Wilbur Chen, Assistant Professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He holds a PhD in Accounting from Harvard Business School.
  • Sean Cao, Associate Professor at Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland. He holds a PhD in Accountancy from University of Illinois and a Master in Computer Software & Algorithms from Beijing Normal University.
  • Siyu Zhang, Doctoral Student in Accounting and Management, Harvard Business School
  • Terrence Shi, Doctoral Student in Accounting and Management, Harvard Business School
  • Robin Seibert, Visiting Researcher at Harvard Business School and Doctoral Student in Business Economics at Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf

Activities/Research Focus

The mission of the Digital Value Lab is to understand the impact of big data and digital transformation on performance and value creation in organizations. Research focus areas are: 

Digital Performance Impact 

  • How should firms calculate digital return on investment (ROI) and what factors determine success?
  • What is the impact of digital transformation on performance?
  • How do investors value digital transformation in companies?
  • How can non-technology companies improve the outcomes of their digital investments?
  • What is the performance impact of data-driven decision-making?

AI and big data in Banking and Capital Markets 

  • How do banks incorporate artificial intelligence in their credit decision processes? 
  • Where do digitization and automation fit into lending strategies?
  • How do fintech lenders add value?
  • Impact lending: How can AI help financial inclusion? 
  • How can big data be incorporated into financial analysis and valuation of companies?

Digital Governance

  • How can boards of directors provide effective oversight to opportunity and risk created by AI and big data?
  • Lab researchers are undertaking a large-scale survey of boards of directors and their AI orientation. 
  • How should organizations manage the risks created by the “AI enterprise”? 

Chief Data Officers 

  • The advent of the big data revolution has created a new C-suite executive, the Chief Data Officer. Who are CDOs, what do they do, and how is their role evolving?
  • What are the challenges facing CDOs today? 
  • How  do CDOs do to drive data driven decision making? 
  • The lab researchers are undertaking a large scale survey of CDOs.

The AI-Augmented CFO 

  • How are the accounting and finance functions in organizations changing from big data and AI adoption?
  • How is digital transformation impacting the future of the CFO function?
  • How do big data and AI change budgeting and forecasting?

AI/Digital Investments 

  • How are companies developing digital and data capabilities? Should they develop in-house capabilities or acquire them? 
  • What is the ROI on technology acquisitions by non-tech companies? 
  • How do companies integrate technology acquisitions?