The University of Southampton
Courses

COMP2205 Commercial Aspects of IT

Module Overview

This course aims to introduce students to the fundamental commercial issues inherent in IT projects and their contexts, with focus upon smaller rather than larger operations. The target audience will be taken to be an early-career IT team leader, manager, or entrepreneur.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This course aims to introduce students to the fundamental commercial issues inherent in IT projects and their contexts, with focus upon smaller rather than larger operations.

Learning Outcomes

Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • To develop written communication skills appropriate to Commercial aspects of IT.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Specify appropriate company structures for different kinds and sizes of IT business
  • Identify financial options and their consequences for starting-up, acquiring, and selling IT businesses.
  • Suggest incentives and reward structures for team members and IT business
  • Construct, track, and restructure project budgets
  • Identify pros and cons of various management and leadership styles for IT project teams.

Syllabus

Topic - The viable systems model; general systems theory, stakeholders, external (uncontrollable) factors. - Introduction to the structure and functions of an IT business, value-added reseller, retailer, services/software house, facilities management, consultancy. Special case of a research group. - The cost and reward structure of an IT business, shareholders & classes of shareholder, contribution/value-added, operating profit, profit before tax, declared profit; dividends. - Buying, starting-up, and selling IT businesses; loans, venture capital; exit planning; financing, leverage; capitalisation of intellectual property; valuing the business; board control, the special case of the 40:40:20 triangle. - Selling shares in the business, flotation, unlisted securities market (USM). - The cost structure of an IT project: Distinguishing between pay and cost; direct overheads and allocated overheads; costs of being in business and of staying in business; buy or lease; out-source or in-house. - Project budgeting; estimating, providing quotations, offers, and estimates; contracts and bidding: time & materials, firm fixed price, cost plus; penalty clauses; negotiating, renegotiating, and walking away. - Managing project budgets; effects of schedule slippage and budget over-run; staying in business; cash flows, discounted cash flow, NPV, IRR, break-even. - IPR; licences and licensing; confidentiality, non-disclosure. - Risk management and risk analysis; probability, severity, exposure, amelioration, insurance; bankruptcy. - Cost-benefit analysis; customer value, stakeholder value, shareholder value; link to cash flow, cost savings, productivity, quality enhancement (faster, quicker, better) - Managing knowledge workers; management, leadership, and entrepreneurship; incentives; selected theories of management & leadership. - Working in the IT industry: retainer, freelance / self-employed, contracted, consultant, employee; legal and commercial issues including tax, IPR, confidentiality; career planning; changing jobs, changing employers, changing roles. - Power, influence, politics, culture; what matters; who and what you want to be; positioning for success

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lecture - 36 hours per semester Tutorial - 12 hours per semester

TypeHours
Completion of assessment task98
Wider reading or practice52
Total study time150

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 40%
Assignment 30%
In-class Test 30%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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