Faculty profile: Naren Peddibhotla

Naren Peddibhotla

The landscape of commerce changes every day, and that change has been moving at lightning speed since the advent of the Internet and e-commerce. It’s a world that Naren Peddibhotla, assistant professor of technology management, knows well. After a decade in sales, marketing and other professional pursuits in the business world, Peddibhotla is now devoted to teaching and research in the area of how information technology can help a company succeed. After earning an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, he joined the Utica campus faculty in 2007. His research interests include the evolving world of commerce and how the interactivity of company and user is changing not only how people browse and buy, but how e-commerce sites market to each specific user.

“I look at the human factors and issues,” he says. “Why do people contribute to or write reviews for sites like Amazon, Best Buy, etc.? That research includes the value of user reviews on business sites. It’s not just about boxes, cables and technology, but how people use those things in organizations. It’s about what drives people to review things on e-commerce sites.”

On one hand, shopping has changed because of the new way in which we buy and sell services. On the other hand, Peddibhotla says, nothing has changed. One of the key factors to a successful business, whether a store is bricks-and-mortar or online, is providing value to a customer. Service providers and sellers need to know what their customers want, he says, a characteristic that cuts across information technology marketing and is the key to any business doing well.

When you shop on sites like amazon.com, you may notice the site making recommendations to you based on items you purchased or viewed earlier. Or you may have been to other websites where you’ve been shown advertisements for items you’ve looked at in the past on sites like Amazon or Barnes and Noble. According to Peddibhotla, this approach is an attempt at e-commerce sites to try and replicate the personalization in the small, local stores of yesteryear.

“Look at amazon.com in comparison to a small-town bookstore. The small bookstore owner may know what you like if you’re a regular customer and may suggest things for you to purchase. Amazon is using technology and reviews to replicate that experience for you. They are looking at what web pages customers click on and try to predict what type of products a customer may buy.”

However, when you go beyond the technology and marketing, Peddibhotla says he wants students to learn problem-solving and communication skills that help them not just in the classroom or the board room, but throughout life.

“That’s not unique to just my classes. Students should go out into the world with a string of problem-solving skills,” he says. “No matter what major or occupation, you have to communicate your case with logic, data, justified arguments to your peers, subordinates and superiors.”

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