- Research Feature
- Read Time: 25 min
Outsourcing can be more than a tool for cutting costs and improving organizational focus. Increasingly, it is a means of acquiring new capabilities and bringing about fundamental strategic and structural change.
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For many product-oriented companies, establishing a corporate consultancy can be a good first step toward a more solutions-based orientation. As Ericsson, Shell and AT&T, among others, illustrate, the consulting unit can take a number of forms dictated by its key knowledge base and its relation to the product businesses‘ value chain. The challenge is to determine how similar the consulting unit should be to the parent company in identity, mission and structure.
Vertical “command and control” sabotages organizations that need bottom-up innovation to be competitive. Yet organizational integration is increasingly essential. New research shows how technology is helping cutting-edge companies meet the challenge by integrating horizontally.
Traditional teams are not faring well in today business environment because they are too inwardly focused and lack flexibility. The authors detail the high levels of performance of a new, externally focused team, the X-team and outline the five components of X-teams they have studied.
Fast-growing founder-run companies are more likely than other companies to need strong boards — and less likely to have them. That's the message of a study by Annette L. Ranft and Hugh M. O'Neill.
The researchers looked at 91 U.S.
During the 1980s, Benetton was known as the archetypal network organization. But it decided to take a new direction representing a major discontinuity with its past and a divergence from industry practices. Without giving up the strongest aspects of its networked model, it integrated and centralized, exerting greater control over its supply chain even as it diversified its operations and product lines. The authors offer a detailed case study of this dramatic transformation.
Research shows that the most successful strategic alliances are in companies that have a dedicated function specifically assigned to oversee alliances. Such companies more readily solve problems related to the four key alliance-management elements — knowledge management, external visibility, internal coordination and accountability.
How one company implemented a “telework” program that transformed paper-based processes and reliance on voice communications into automated procedures supported by full-scale connectivity.
How a diverse group of IT managers responsible for global technology infrastructure developed a way of working together that enabled Xerox to create and transfer knowledge more effectively.
As service and product outsourcing become more commonplace, new organizational forms are emerging to facilitate these relationships. Chase Bank has created “shared services” units that compete with outside vendors to furnish services to the bank’s own operating units.
Current models of organizational strategy and structure fail to meet the challenges of the information age. Based on field study, the authors conceptualize an architecture, or guide, for virtual organizing that focuses on the importance of knowledge and intellect in creating value. Information technology lies at the heart of this business model for the twenty-first century.
Creating a business-driven IT infrastructure requires that executives thoroughly understand their firm’s strategic context. By formulating a series of business and IT maxims — short simple statements of the business’s positions — managers can identify the IT infrastructure service suited to their company. Organizational, political, cultural, and reward system issues, as well as a lack of IT leadership, may form implementation barriers.
Successfully managing technological change involves the ability to improvise in response to unexpected opportunities. Organizational changes associated with technology implementation don’t have a beginning and an end; they are ongoing. The authors identify three types of change that build on each other over time. Two conditions that enable the use of an improvisational model are internal alignment and adequate resources.
In order to successfully implement change, both line managers and IT specialists must give up their belief in the magical power of IT. The hard reality of IT-enabled transformation is that change is everyone’s job.
The three communities of executives, engineers, and operators do not really understand each other very well. A lack of alignment among the three groups can hinder learning in an organization.
In an overview of the future role of the IT organization, the authors examine the business and technological changes that are effecting change in many IT units. They cite eight imperatives in which IT organizations must excel in order to succeed. Additionally, they examine the evolving key of IT managers: ensuring that all line managers understand the potential of IT and how it can be used to implement business strategies effectively.
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