- Opinion & Analysis
- Read Time: 5 min
Most companies have yet to figure out how to leverage their existing information assets to generate growth.
Recent research indicates that managers at top-performing companies are able to identify the nature and array of initiatives they may need to implement, then determine the unique combination of IT service clusters necessary to create that agility.
Managers are continually being confronted with new and ever-changing competitive pressures from deregulation, globalization, ubiquitous connectivity and the convergence of industries and technologies.
After nearly two decades, technologists and strategists are still working out a productive alliance in the business world. Many companies accept that information technology enables their competitive edge, but their efforts to partner it with business are failing.
When senior managers at United Parcel Service (UPS) first decided more than 15 years ago that package tracking had become a competitive necessity in the package-delivery industry, they discovered that developing the capability was not as simple as writing or buying a package-tracking application.
New information technologies bring new business challenges: threats from new competitors and opportunities to change focus and practices. The business impact of new technology usually receives the most attention —appropriately — but managers shouldn’t overlook the rippling effects on the company’s IT function.
A powerful way to implement advanced software technologies is through incrementalism. Each self-contained implementation sequence achieves a specific business result. Using the strategy at a large manufacturer of office furniture systems, the authors implemented supply-chain-planning and-scheduling software at six sites — on time and within budget. The three critical success factors were technology divisibility, technology and methodology fit, and technology and organization fit.
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.
In recent years, there have been calls and prescriptions for business transformation.1 There has also been growing pressure for radical change in how the IT function is organized and managed. Rockart et al. captured the consequences of an agenda for reform in the IT function, and Cross et al.
As managers experience more volatile marketplaces, global competition, shortened product life cycles, customer pressures for tailored offerings and tighter performance standards, they increasingly depend on new information systems.
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.
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