Ask me Anything with Jeff Sampler, Professor, CEIBS

Dr. Jeffrey L. Sampler’s research analyses the intersection between strategy and technology. His research interests include the strategic implications of new technology, and the management of information as a strategic resource.

His current work focuses on strategic shock absorbers — a study of factors that allow business to stay grounded even when they encounter unexpected change. Interestingly, the foundation for the research is 15 case studies on Indian companies. He has special expertise in outsourcing, especially in India.

He is an expert in helping businesses make plans for the future. His newest book is Bringing Strategy Back: How Strategic Shock Absorbers Make Planning Relevant in a World of Constant Change.

  • Professor of Management Practice at China Europe International Business School.
  • He was Fellow of Strategy and Technology at Said Business School and Fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford.
  • He has also been Research Scientist in Centre for Information System Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) since 2001.
  • He has been featured in Newsweek, BBC Radio, CNBC, Economic Times, Financial Mail, and IT Web.
  • He has written two books on the economic transformation of Dubai, Sand to Silicon and Sand to Silicon — Going Global.
  • He has advised and been a board member of both FTSE 100 corporations and start-ups.
  • He has been an advisor to former president of Nokia for 5 years and advised 2 Heads of State

Go on, post your question in the comments below. You can listen to him at the upcoming ‌


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  1. Thank for the opportunity to connect with you!  I have two questions.

    1.What are the key value propositions (both generic and specific) that can be presented by an IT outsourcing services company from India. Is there any major shift in value proposition pitch from 10 years back to the next decade?

    2. What are the marketing challenges that you foresee for Indian-origin enterprise software applications globally? Can you share some solutions with respect to what their brand building strategies should be?

    Technology Marketer

  2. Given that you have studied Indian companies, what sort of future preparedness do you see in the Indian ecosystem, especially, compared to China?

    Secondly, are Indian BPOs losing the edge that English speaking youth gave it? Will there be scope for such an edge in the age of automation?

  3. Thanks for NASSCOM Community to connect with Dr Jeffery L Sampler !!!

    What is the impact on Blockchain technology on Indian economy ?

  4. Thanks for your questions, all questions will be answered tomorrow. We are taking more till 4p.m. today. 

  5. Hi Jeff,

    What are your thoughts on artificial intelligence in education? How will it impact the industry in the future? And how will the smart-classrooms change with AR/VR technology?



  6. Thanks for the opportunity Jeff. I have a question for the professor in you. For a long time, it has been said that the youth of India is its strength. The IT sector benefited in a massive way from the available talent and the youth benefited from the BPO jobs. But that balance is already breaking. There are less jobs than before, the existing degrees can’t get a decent job and new job roles are still being defined. 

    How do you think India can manage its young talent well in the coming decade? Are there any lessons from China? 

  7. Too early to tell impact of blockchain on India economy. Regulation will be a major factor in adoption of blockchain, so this is very difficult to predict.  However, if the potential of Internet of Things (IoT) is to be realized, an automated secure payment (including micropayment) mechanism is required.  Blockchain is probably leading candidate for this at this time.  Thus, if India wants to implement IoT, blockchain, or something similar, will be required.

    1. IT outsourcing still has much potential in India, but much of the low hanging fruit is gone!  Outsourcing activities in the future will not just require technical knowledge, but business domain/industry knowledge, as applications must be shaped to specifics of a business, not just generic code. Most of those opportunities have been taken!  Thus, the value proposition will be either highly specialized emerging technical knowledge – blockchain, etc, or combining business and technical knowledge to create business solutions, not just software.
    2. Marketing challenges follow-on from above statement. India has huge technical credibility, but as solution is tied into business more intimately, these not only requires business domain knowledge, but also country knowledge, as business regulations and practices differ in country, region, etc. For India to have crediiblity in doing this, it will be the next step of development to create IT solution companies, not software companies.

  8. Indian companies have one huge advantage compared to Chinese companies – traditionally, Indian companies have focused on external/global opportunities from Day1, while Chinese companies have tended to focus on the internal China opportunity. Thus, many Indian companies are better known globally than Chinese companies, but this is changing with Alibaba and Tencent.

    The English speaking advantage of India will be significant for some time – automation will not remove this obstacle in the short to medium term.

    The more interesting question – which Indian software companies could enter China?  This is probably the single biggest software market in the future – can/should India ignore this opportunity?

  9. No lessons from China. They solved this problem through limiting birth.  For India, youth and numbers are a blessing if enough good jobs can be created.  If not, more bodies are a drag on the economy.  Good news, I think India has caught the entrepreneurship bug!  Everyone sees opportunity, particularly in mobile.  Also, more new companies focusing on domestic opportunity of India, rather than serving global markets.  Other factor driving this is the cost to start a business has declined dramatically, as most software is “pay as you go” these days.  No one understands India better than Indians!!!! Huge opportunity!!!!!

  10. In the short to medium term AI not critical for classroom. At least at graduate level.  In an MBA, many of the questions/problems are highly unstructured, and thus not easily solvable by AI.  I think you will see more electives with AI providing in-depth analysis/support and students/managers can then make more informed choices.  So hopefully, management moves from intuition to factual insights!

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