Digital Transformation
21 Instructional Hours

Digital Transformation

Enhance Performance Through Data & Analytics

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Digital Transformation

About the program

A global arms race of digital transformation is underway, impacting virtually every business in every sector. In order to survive, compete and ultimately win, organizations must transform business models dramatically – moving away from age-old product-centric to new-age customer-centric models.

Led by world-renowned faculty and industry experts, this program provides a survive-and-thrive course for executives seeking to guide their business lines through this critical period of disruption and opportunity.

Based on custom programs developed for several large Canadian financial institutions, you will gain a thorough understanding of the key topics required to plan and execute digital transformation, and capture value from the use of analytics and data-driven decision making throughout the organization.

Topics include:

  • Principles of Digital Transformation
  • Digital Transformation Current 'State-of-the-Art'
  • Analytical Decision Making
  • Pricing and Customer-Centric Analytics
  • Big Data and AI

Who should attend

Business leaders looking to enhance the performance of their business lines by incorporating data-driven decision making.

You might also be interested in: Strategy, Leadership

CCDI Partnership


Smith School of Business is an Employer Partner of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion.

Organizational Benefits

  • Measure your organization's current state and readiness for digital transformation
  • Compare your organization to industry leaders of digital transformation
  • Support the integration of an analytics mindset within the management culture
  • Determine highest ROI analytics-based activities
  • Foster a data-driven, analytical culture for managerial decision-making

Personal Benefits

  • Gain an understanding of the key principles and technologies involved in digital transformation.
  • Learn the strategic and tactical roles that analytics play in a modern, data-driven institution.
  • Understand the principles of analytics and apply these to decision-making practices
  • Use the principles of analytics to improve project and process performance
  • Create a personalized digital transformation action plan for your organization

Program content

The program leverages the educational power of multiple teaching tools, including class discussions, lectures, simulations and the exchange of ideas and perspectives with faculty and fellow participants. Additionally, every participant will make use of the Analytics Capabilities Assessment Tool (ACAT) - a proprietary diagnostic tool to assess the current stage of an organization's digital transformation and enable the development of a personalized action plan.

The program has a number of interrelated modules.

Principles of Digital Transformation

  • Take a comprehensive view of your organization and understand the current state regarding all things digital
  • Identify the highest potential value gaps that exist, and understand how to fill those gaps for maximum ROI
  • Learn a framework and set of key principles to guide and enable enterprise level digital transformation, covering structure, processes, systems, skills, tools, and technology

Analytical Decision Making

  • Learn how to break down decision-making problems, including those that involve risk, using a variety of tools and frameworks
  • Learn how to convert huge quantities of ill-structured data into manageable amounts of organized information
  • Discuss how to handle complex decisions in the presence of uncertainty
  • Understand how to balance intuition and analytics to make solid decisions and influence others

Driving Value through Customer-Centric Analytics and Precision Pricing

  • Explore the importance of considering the full spectrum of customer behaviours as a core of a customer-centric business model
  • Discuss how customer behaviours affect optimal pricing, product offering and promotion decisions
  • Study general strategies for business-to-business and business-to-consumer customer analytics using examples from a variety of enterprises
  • Leverage Precision Pricing and Revenue Optimization (PPRO) to determine pricing and product availability across various selling channels

Big Data and AI

  • Assess the role of analytics and AI capabilities to find insights in very large or unstructured data sets, including credit card transactions, social networks and online shopping data
  • Survey various AI methods appropriate for different analytical objectives, including classification, neural networks, recommender systems and smart contracts
  • Examine IT infrastructure, tools and technologies that enable maximal value of data assets
  • Gain a foundation for using AI technology on big data to enable data-driven decision making within your organization

Analytics, Strategy & Change

  • Learn how to translate digital & analytics opportunities into reality
  • Understand the key pillars of digital transformation plans
  • Gain insight into the strategies and tactics used by Digital Industry Leaders – who's doing what, what's working, what's not
  • Discuss your particular digital transformation and analytics challenges, and sketch out a roadmap to take you and your organization forward IG

In-Person Learning

Learn alongside fellow participants from across the country, discovering best practices that span industries and sectors.

Our in-person programs include classroom learning sessions led by award-winning Smith School of Business professors and industry experts. Practice new skills in breakout sessions, projects and simulations, and apply your learning toward real-world case studies.

Session Leaders

Session leaders include senior professors from Smith School of Business and knowledgeable experts from industry. These outstanding teachers are constantly in touch with today's business world through real-world business experience, Board memberships and their own consulting practices.

Session leaders include senior professors from Smith School of Business and knowledgeable experts from industry. These outstanding teachers are constantly in touch with today's business world through real-world business experience, Board memberships and their own consulting practices.

Elspeth Murray has served as the Associate Dean - MBA and Masters Programs since 2012, and has been a professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at Smith School of Business since 1996. She also holds the CIBC Fellowship in Entrepreneurship, and founded Smith's Centre for Business Venturing. Prior to joining Smith, she worked in industry for 7 years for several firms including IBM, and Canadian Tire. As an integral part of her work in the strategy and new venture fields, Dr. Murray specializes in the management of change. In 2002, she co-authored a best-selling book, Fast Forward: Organizational Change in 100 Days, Oxford University Press, with Dr. Peter Richardson. She has recently co-developed (with Dr. David Saunders) the Analytics Climate Assessment Tool (ACAT), which is used to assess organizations technological capacity, skill sets, and analytics culture. Current research is focused on best practices in leading and managing change to create an analytics culture.

Dr. Murray teaches on many MBA and Executive Education programs, and consults widely with a diversity of firms including BMW, Detour Gold, Wawanesa Insurance, Versacold Logistics and the Auditor General for Canada. She serves as a Director for several firms and is an advisor to several start-ups and CEO's. Dr. Murray received an undergraduate degree in computer science and mathematics, and an MBA, both from Queen's University. Her doctorate in Strategy and Management Information Systems was completed at the Richard Ivey School of Business.

David Saunders served as Dean of Smith School of Business from 2003 to 2019. Under his strategic leadership the School experienced dramatic growth, including the addition of new and innovative MBA, professional Masters and executive education programs. To keep pace with this growth, he oversaw significant expansions with the Kingston campus and SmithToronto, the school's state of the art facility in downtown Toronto, and the naming of Smith School of Business after a $50 million gift from Stephen J.R. Smith.

In support of Smith's mission to develop outstanding leaders with a global perspective, Dr. Saunders internationalized the School, adding 80 strategic partnerships around the globe. Under his leadership Smith School of Business forged exclusive relationships with IBM to create The Cube, Canada’s first demonstration centre for IBM Watson and Bluemix technologies, and with the Canadian Olympic Committee, to provide business education to Canadian Olympic athletes and national sports federations.

Dr. Saunders (with Dr. Elspeth Murray) has developed the Analytics Climate Assessment Tool (ACAT), which is used to assess organizations technological capacity, skill sets, and analytics culture to compete effectively with business analytics in the era of Big Data. ACAT guides the creation of tailored executive education programs to enhance organizations analytics culture, strategy, and leadership.

In addition to teaching numerous executive education programs, he has consulted to many diverse organizations throughout his career, including Bantrel; Oerlikon Aerospace Hydro-Québec; Teleglobe Canada; Lantic Sugar; Computer Imaging and Graphics; International Aviation Management Training Institute (IAMTI); Institute of Canadian Bankers (ICB); and Royal Victoria Hospital.

Dr. Saunders has a rich background as a researcher, and is co-author of the world's three largest selling negotiation textbooks, among numerous other books and papers. He earned a PhD in social psychology from Western University in Canada.

With a unique ability to present technical topics in an easy-to-understand and inspiring way, Steve is a sought-after professor and AI expert at Queen’s University’s Smith School of Business. He leads both introductory and expert-level courses on multiple aspects of AI in undergraduate, graduate and executive education programs. He has been selected by students in the Master of Management Analytics as MMA Professor of the Year for the last three years running.

Holding PhD, MSc, and BSc degrees in Computer Science, Steve’s research focuses on analytics, machine learning, and natural language processing. His work has been published in leading journals including IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Empirical Software Engineering, and others. In recognition of his work in the analytics and AI space, he was awarded a prestigious Scotiabank Scholar research grant.

Beyond teaching and research, Steve has run a big data startup company and conducted industrial operations research at Raytheon, a major U.S. defense contractor and commercial electronics company. He regularly consults with a wide range of organizations on the application of AI for best business outcomes.

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