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This content is taken from the University of Reading's online course, Digital Leadership: Creating Value Through Technology. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds My name is Maks Belitski. I’m a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Henley Business School, University of Reading. Well, this course will introduce you to digital technologies, to what we call SMACI. Social media, mobile, business analytics, business data, and Internet of Things, and cloud computing. All of them are interrelated and they’re becoming more and more important for business– independently, on location, on the country, on the industry, because their technologies are becoming more and more embedded into the business model of the companies. Just making sure that your technologies are perfectly aligned with your business model so you know how to strategically grow and develop your customers to sell. However, the challenges– you need e-competences.

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 seconds You need a certain number and a combination of skills. It’s marketing skills, it’s IT skills, it’s analytical skills, strategic skills to be able to recognise, adapt, change and implement new technologies. A new digital technology wave is coming and it’s inevitably putting more pressure on businesses, independent of the size, small and large and medium. And, in fact, the small and medium companies are benefiting more by technology. And that’s what we see. They’re becoming more aggressive and investing in new technologies and this instantly gets them access to their large pool of resources and a larger market.

Skip to 1 minute and 36 seconds Well, this course will allow independently who you are in your background– we’ll introduce you to the digital technologies and we’ll allow you to do your first steps towards becoming an e-leader, to making sure that you pick up the right technology for your business that can be aligned with your business model, and in fact change your business model in the way that you’re more agile and you can reflect faster with the technology to any changes in the market. So to win, obviously a competitive advantage, to be the first mover, also to have some secrets and some strategic protection.

Welcome from the team

Welcome to the course!

We’re looking forward to meeting you over the next four weeks. Throughout the course we’ll encourage you to share examples of the role that new technologies play in your organisation and how they strengthen competitiveness. This will enable you to benefit from other learners’ experiences and to reflect on more effective approaches.

What will we cover?

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Describe how new technologies can help your business increase sales and returns on investment in technology and reflect this understanding in your preparation for this course.
  • Gain a better understanding of different technologies and how they can be applied to enhance the management, strategy and marketing of a business.
  • Use consulting techniques to produce a set of requirements and plans, to assist decision makers in formulating business technology solution strategies that ensure business sustainability.
  • Construct a matrix of the competences that you and your team need to develop to make the most effective use of digital technologies within your own organisation.

If you’re new to FutureLearn, why not familiarise yourself with the How it works section.

Keeping a learning journal

We recommend you take notes throughout the course. You should use whichever format suits you best, whether that’s a paper notepad, a document in Word or another text editor. You might even consider using a blogging platform such as Tumblr, wordpress.com or Blogger, which would allow you to share your reflections with others – read the guide to blogging tools to find out more. Keeping a learning journal will help remind you of what we’ve covered in the course and how this relates to your own experiences. This can be really helpful when it comes to applying what you’ve learnt to your own job role. You may like to note down the learning objectives listed above, but also add some of your own personal objectives in your journal.


We will also invite you to complete an optional poll in Weeks 1 and 2 so that we can analyse and share the results with you whilst the course is live. The aim of these polls is to help you reflect on where your organisation is currently positioned in terms of digital leadership and its use of emerging technologies.

Peer review

In Weeks 2 and 4, you will be asked to write a short (up to 500 words), peer-reviewed assignment on the main topic from that week. Submitting your assignment will allow other learners to read your work and provide feedback, as well as giving you an opportunity to provide feedback to others. This can be a great way to learn from the experience of others. However, if you feel uncomfortable having your work read, or you have written about your own company and would prefer to keep it private then you may like to write it in your personal journal.

A-Z Glossary

We have included an A-Z glossary which is available as a PDF download. This will explain some of the words and phrases that are used in the course. It’s a work in progress, so if there’s anything you think is missing, let us know in the comments.


You can find the transcript for each video by clicking View Transcript in the bottom left of each video. You can also download a PDF version at the bottom of each Video Step.

The team

The digital leadership team at the Henley Business School aims to provide face to face teaching and training to fill the digital skills gap in the economy. These programmes equip students with key knowledge and skills to design and develop business solutions that involve the alignment of business strategy and technology.

The course is presented by members of the Digital Leadership team including; Maksim Belitski, Vicky Weizi Li, Kecheng Liu, Andrew Godley and Vaughan Michell.

Throughout the course you will see posts by Maks and Vicky and it is worth following them both (click the link to their profile and then the pink button under their biography), to view their responses to common queries. Maks and Vicky will be joined in the course discussions by Buddhi Pathak, a Doctoral Researcher at the Henley Business school.

Maks, Vicky and Buddhi will try to answer as many comments as they can but won’t be able to answer everyone. By following other profiles, any comments made will appear in your activity feed on your profile, which you can filter by ‘Following’.

What will we cover?

The course consists of four weeks and each week will focus on a particular area of interest. These are outlined below:

Week 1: An introduction on how new digital technologies can help organisations overcome digital challenges and increase sales with return on investment. We will examine the ‘e-competences’ required for success and examine the Three Dimensions of Digital Leadership.

Week 2: For this week we will be focussing on the Business-IT alignment model: What it is, the importance of aligning business and IT strategies, how this can be applied within the workplace and discovering some of the constraints and challenges of using IT.

Week 3: Find out about digital technology leadership and what it means. We will hear from business leaders and about how much value digital technology has added to their business; and we will be introduce to 3 ‘disruptive technologies’ and how the digital landscape is changing with mobile apps, cloud computing and big data.

Week 4: Our final week will explore and discuss social media and the Internet of Things within the business; and look at the opportunities and challenges that present themselves within these 2 digital technologies. We will ask you to submit a short assignment, using all the information you have gained over the the week.

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This video is from the free online course:

Digital Leadership: Creating Value Through Technology

University of Reading