News at Smith

Sunil Mithas Releases New Book on Digital Intelligence

Jan 13, 2012
World Class Faculty & Research


Sunil Mithas

Released in January 2012, Sunil Mithas’ new book, “Digital Intelligence: What Every Smart Manager Must Have for Success in an Information Age,” lays out the information you need to know about IT to succeed in business.

Mithas, an associate professor of information systems at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, references some recent business casualties that were a result of reported digital missteps of leaders and managers: Borders and Blockbuster; and now possibly Kodak.

“New progressive CEOS need to know about IT and online experiences to be successful,” says Mithas. “Many of these leaders are digital immigrants – they have no formal information technology training, but they need to acquire it because the knowledge is mission critical in the current business environment.”

Steve Jobs, one of the most successful technology entrepreneurs and executives of all times, did not have a formal degree in computer science or programming yet he transformed at least six industries with his digital intelligence, adds Mithas. “No one is born with DQ [digital quotient],” says Mithas, “but anyone can acquire it, even without writing a computer program.”

That’s where his book comes into play. In it, he outlines a three-pronged strategy for leveraging digital resources: synchronization, governance and management.

“The book lays out the most basic competencies and skill sets for thinking about IT and IT-enabled changes that all managers should have,” says Mithas. “Information systems is a relatively new field compared to other management disciplines. Knowledge of how to think about and deploy digital resources can provide significant opportunities to managers for competitive success.”

To Mithas, digital intelligence is similar to and an important complement to other types of competencies, such as emotional intelligence or cultural intelligence, that all managers must have. In fact, Mithas sometimes uses another term for digital intelligence: “ITracy.” He argues that ITracy has become a differentiating and, sometimes, a must-have survival competence in this information age, when literacy, numeracy and knowledge of other conventional management areas is relatively more pervasive.

“I believe this book is one of the first attempts to crystalize the last two decades of research on why digital resources matter and how to manage them, in an accessible way for managers and executives,” Mithas says, when he talks about the goals for writing the book.

For more information about the book, visit:

About the Author

Sunil Mithas is an associate professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland in the Decision, Operations and Information Technologies Department. He earned his PhD at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and an engineering degree from IIT, Roorkee. Before pursuing his PhD, he worked for about ten years in engineering, marketing, and general management positions with the Tata Group.

He teaches core and elective courses in MBA and Executive MBA programs and a course in the PhD program. He was identified as a 2011 MSI Young Scholar by the Marketing Science Institute. The MSI Young Scholar Program selects about 20 of “the most promising ‘younger’ (i.e., doctorate received 3–6 years ago) academics” and a “likely leader of the next generation of marketing academics” every two years to enhance their research collaborations and engagement with the Marketing Science Institute.

His research focuses on strategic management and the impact of information technology resources, such as IT spending, IT applications, and IT human capital. His research has appeared in premier journals, including Management Science, Information Systems Research, MIS Quarterly, Marketing Science, Journal of Marketing, and Production and Operations Management. Some of this work has been featured in business publications such as Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, Bloomberg, Computerworld, and InformationWeek. His papers have won the best-paper award and best-paper nominations.

Sunil Mithas on Twitter: @ITisIMP & #DIGINTELBOOK

Alissa Arford, Office of Marketing Communications

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.