Areas of Expertise (8)
Supply Chain Management
T. Ravichandran is the Associate Dean for Research, and the Irene and Robert Bozzone’55 Distinguished Chair and Professor in the Lally School of Management & Technology, RPI. He is also the Academic Director for the MS in Supply Chain Management program and the Faculty Director for the Center for Supply Networks and Analytics.
Ravi’s long term research interests focus on digital strategies of firms and the mechanisms through which digitization is transforming firms, markets, supply networks and industries. His research has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Ministry of Education, Singapore. His research has won several awards including the 1) Best Information Systems Publication in 2010 (Association of Information System); 2) Best Published Paper Award, 2010 (Information Systems Research); 3) Best Paper Award, Software Technology Track (HICSS, 2010); 4) Best Paper Award Honorable Mention (IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 2007); 4) Best Academic Paper Award (Second Supply Chain Management Symposium, McMaster University, 2004); 6) Best Paper Award (OCIS Division, Academy of Management, 2001).
He currently serves as a Senior Editor of MIS Quarterly and as a Department Editor for IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management. He recently completed a four year term as an Associate Editor of MIS Quarterly and a three year term as an Associate Editor of Information Systems Research.
Ravi led the effort to design, launch and scale two new graduate programs, MS in Business Analytics and MS in Supply Chain Management. He founded RPI’s Center for Supply Networks and Analytics and established corporate partnerships to support the Center. .
Prior to joining Rensselaer, Dr. Ravichandran had extensive business experience having served as a Consultant to the Reliance Group, as the Assistant Director of National Productivity Council, India and as a Production Manager in Flakt AB (now Asea Brown Boweri). He has also been a successful entrepreneur; he started, built and ran an IT services firm.
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale: Doctor of Business Administration, Management Information Systems 1996
National Productivity Council, India: Post Graduate Diploma, Industrial Engineering & Information Systems 1987
University of Madras, India: Bachelor of Engineering, Production Engineering 1983
Media Appearances (1)
7 signs it's time to kill an investment
CIO Magazine print
... Strategic IT investments entail risk, but are generally forward-looking in nature. "They are bets made to proactively create digital options for the firm," explains T. Ravichandran, professor of supply chain management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Yet if an investment leads to a project that isn't fully up and running within a pre-defined time-frame — perhaps six months or a year — it might be time to rethink the initiative's strategy and goals, or to move on to something else.
Value Gains in Business Process Outsourcing: The Vendor PerspectiveInformation Systems Frontiers
Sukruth Suresh & T. Ravichandran
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is a contemporary phenomenon that has gained significant traction in recent years. Like other forms of outsourcing, BPO is both beneficial and risky. While extant research has examined the risks in outsourcing for clients, a limited insight exists on the risks associated with BPO for vendors. We examine the contexts in which the value proposition of BPO varies for vendor firms based on the risks associated with the contract. The risk in this context is posited to vary based on the type of task outsourced, the outsourcing motivation of the client and the duration of the contract. Using a sample of 231 BPO announcements over a thirteen-year period, we test our hypotheses using an event study. We find that BPO creates significant value gains for vendor firms, particularly for knowledge intensive processes. In addition, vendors lost value when they were sought out to develop specific capabilities for the clients that involved knowledge intensive processes. While vendors benefited from longer duration contracts, these benefits were not found to significantly vary across the different types of tasks outsourced.
Knowledge Transfers in Alliances: Exploring the Facilitating Role of Information TechnologyInformation Systems Research
T. Ravichandran, Simona Ileana Giura
Strategic alliances have become popular organizational forms in the last two decades. Prior research suggests alliances promote knowledge sharing between the partners. In this research, using patent data, we study the impact of information technology (IT) intensity on knowledge flows in alliances. Research has shown that prealliance knowledge stocks of the partners facilitate knowledge flows to the focal firm. We find that knowledge flows to the focal firm are enhanced when the focal firm and its partner have high IT intensity. We find support for our theorizing that IT is a necessary complementary resource that facilitates knowledge flows among partners in alliances.
Exploring the relationships between IT competence, innovation capacity and organizational agilityThe Journal of Strategic Information Systems
Business environments today are characterized as being very dynamic and hyper competitive. Organizations in these environments have to be agile in order to adapt their strategies and actions to be successful. While it is recognized that information technology can enable firms to be agile, there is a limited understanding of the mechanisms through and the contexts in which Information Technology (IT) enhances agility. This study examines two key antecedents of organizational agility, namely the IT competence of a firm and its innovation capacity and, examine their independent and joint effects on agility. We test our model using data collected from large firms in the US. The results provide strong support for our model. We found that firms with superior IS capabilities coupled with an aggressive IT investment orientation create digital platforms that enable them to be agile. We also found that the innovation capacity of the firm has a positive relationship with organizational agility and that firms with higher innovation capacity are better able to leverage their digital platforms to enhance agility. Our results indicate that organizational agility has a strong positive impact of firm performance. We interpret and discuss these results and their theoretical and practical implications.
Mitigating Diminishing Returns to R&D: The Role of Information Technology in InnovationInformation System Research
T. Ravichandran , Shu Han, Sunil Mithas
Increasingly, firms across many industries are grappling with the challenge of declining returns to research and development (R&D). In this study, we investigate if and how information technology (IT) can help firms deal with this problem. We theorize that IT systems can help firms to cope with the complexity and inefficiency in managing innovation when R&D investments scale. We explicate the mechanisms through which IT enables firms to cope with the challenges they face when scaling their R&D and we posit that IT will mitigate the diminishing returns to R&D. Using archival data for 161 firms from 1991 to 2003 we find support for our conjecture that IT mitigates the diminishing returns to R&D. The mitigating effect of IT is stronger for firms facing greater complexity in their R&D activities, as measured by inventor intensity and geographical and technological complexity. We interpret and discuss these findings and their practical and theoretical implications.
Alliance Experience, IT-Enabled Knowledge Integration, and Ex Ante Value GainsOrganization Science
Yu Liu, T. Ravichandran
An important theme in the alliance research has been the study of how prior alliance experience translates into value gains from alliances. Despite the strong theoretical argument regarding the value-enhancing role of alliance experience, past research has reported mixed results. In an attempt to resolve the inconclusive findings, we provide a more fine-grained view of alliance experience by examining characteristics such as relatedness and diversity, which are defined based on the functional focus and the industry of the partner. Furthermore, we argue that since leveraging alliance experience is a learning process, a firm’s knowledge integration capabilities enabled by information technology (IT) should influence the extent to which the firm benefits from alliance experience. Using data from 1,030 alliances made by 89 firms across 11 industries, we test the effects of relatedness and diversity on abnormal returns following alliance announcements. We find that functionally related experience is positively related to abnormal returns, whereas partner industry-based related experience affects the expected value negatively. We also find that a firm’s IT-enabled knowledge integration positively moderates the effects of both related and diverse experience on abnormal returns. Our findings highlight that although knowledge gained through prior experience is important, complementary capabilities that enable firms to leverage and utilize such knowledge are also necessary for ex ante value creation in alliances. We interpret these findings and discuss their implications for research in both strategic management and information systems.
Governance of Interorganizational Information Systems: A Resource Dependence PerspectiveInformation Systems Research
Dipanjan Chatterjee, T. Ravichandran
In this paper we examine why firms seek to control and own interorganizational information systems, or IOS. Practitioners have largely cited the issues related to control and ownership of IOS, referred to as IOS governance in this paper, as the key reason behind the failure of many IOS initiatives. We distinguish between two IOS governance modes, transactional and financial, and develop a mediated-moderation model to explain the factors influencing the governance choices. In our model, the key motivators of IOS governance are the criticality and the replaceability of the resources that firms procure, which affect IOS governance through their influence on the degree of operational integration existing between partners. We hypothesize that while resource criticality will increase the needs for financial and transactional governance because of its positive impact on operational integration, resource replaceability will negatively influence governance needs because of its negative impact on operational integration. Furthermore, technological uncertainty associated with the resources is argued to negatively impact the extent of IOS governance exercised by firms by weakening the positive impact of resource criticality and strengthening the negative impact of resource replaceability on operational integration respectively. We empirically test our model using data gathered from a survey of 159 United States manufacturing firms. Results show that resource criticality positively affects the extent of financial and transactional IOS governance by increasing the need for operational integration, whereas resource replaceability negatively affects them by reducing the need for operational integration. Furthermore, technological uncertainty creates disincentives for IOS governance primarily by weakening the positive influence of resource criticality on operational integration, while no statistically significant effect of technological uncertainty on the relationship between resource replaceability and operational integration was discerned.
Information Technology, Network Structure, and Competitive ActionInformation Systems Research
Lei Chi, T. Ravichandran, Goce Andrevski
Researchers in competitive dynamics have demonstrated that firms that carry out intense, complex, and heterogeneous competitive actions exhibit better performance. However, there is a need to understand factors that enable firms to undertake competitive actions. In this study, we focus on two antecedents of competitive behavior of firms: (1) access to network resources and (2) use of information technology (IT). We argue that while network structure provides firms with the opportunity to tap into external resources, the extent to which they are actually exploited depends on firms' IT-enabled capability. We develop a theoretical model that examines the relationships between IT-enabled capability, network structure, and competitive action. We test the model using secondary data, about 12 major automakers over 16 years from 1988 to 2003. We find that network structure rich in structural holes has a positive direct effect on firms' ability to introduce a greater number and a wider range of competitive actions. However, the effect of dense network structure is contingent on firms' IT-enabled capability. Firms benefit from dense network structure only when they develop a strong IT-enabled capability. Our results suggest that IT-enabled capability plays both a substitutive role, when firms do not have advantageous access to brokerage opportunities, and a complementary role, when firms are embedded in dense network structure, in the relationship between network structure and competitive actions.
Diversification and Firm Performance: Exploring the Moderating Effects of Information Technology SpendingJournal of Management Information Systems
T. Ravichandran, Yu Liu, Shu Han, Iftekhar Hasan
A large body of research has examined the performance effects of diversification. However, these results have been mixed, and scholars have called for examining contingencies under which the effects of different types (related, unrelated, geographic) and levels of diversification on performance vary. This study attempts to fill this gap in the literature by arguing that examining the performance effects of diversification is incomplete without taking into consideration the firm's information technology (IT) spending. We posit that IT, by enabling coordination and control in firms, is likely to moderate the relationship between diversification and performance. Combining arguments from both resource-based view and the organizational controls literature, we theorize about the moderating effects of IT spending under different types and levels of diversification. Using data from large U.S. manufacturing firms, we test our research hypotheses. Our results indicate that while IT spending interacts with related diversification to have a positive effect on firm performance, similar interactions with unrelated diversification do not have any effects on firm performance. Furthermore, the interaction between IT spending and geographic diversification is positively associated with performance only when the level of geographic diversification is low. We interpret and discuss these results and highlight the theoretical and practical implications of our findings.