What is Global Information Technology?

The emerging sub-discipline of Global Information Technology (GIT) is also referred to within the Information Systems (IS) discipline as Global Information Technology Management, as International Information Systems, and as Global Management Information Systems.

GIT encompasses multiple levels of analysis:      the nation(s), or international policy-making body. the firm(s), the MultiNational Enterprise (MNE) or the IT vendors the group(s) or team(s) the individual the technology overlay

Referent Disciplines: Clearly, these five levels of analysis look to numerous referent disciplines: Political Science, Economics, Law, Management, International Business, Human-computer interface, Crosscultural studies, Sociology, Psychology, Telecommunications, Computer Science.

Motivation for the emergence of the GIT sub-discipline. The obvious reason: the 1980s brought about increased levels of business globalization, international trade and competitiveness, and corresponding use of IT on a global basis including increased systems integration and convergence. The not-so obvious reason: GIT is a result of the traditional US-centric discipline of IS that has awoken to the practical and intellectual needs of examining IS (and IT) in the global context, rather than as a generic country-agnostic construct, or one in which US issues dominate the research agenda. This is why, in part, one finds "IT in country X," or "IT in (non-US firm) Y" as a legitimate area of research in GIT...at this stage. A third reason relates to the impact of culture on the development, implementation and use of IT around the world. With the move away from ethnocentrism, so increaseed attention is being paid to the impacts that culture, in its myriad variations, exerts.

Agenda & Issues. Two important articles that define GIT research follow. Noteworthy here is that while the first article's largest level of analysis is the firm (or set of firms) the second article lists four issues that are the national level of analysis.

Based on detailed interviews with IS executives charged with managing international IS, Ives and Jarvenpaa (1991) outline a global IS research agenda with four areas: (1) matching global IS strategy to global business strategy; (2) issues involving the technical platform for global IS applications; (3) issues involved in international sharing of data; and (4) issues of IS projects spanning cultures. Ives, B. and Jarvenpaa, S. .... Management Information Systems Quarterly.... In a "key issues" study, Dean & Ricks grouped issues for GIT into the following categories: (1) managerial/strategic, (2) technological/application, (3) host country social/cultural, (4) host country economic, (5) host country technological, and (6) host country political/legal. Deans, P.C. and Ricks, D.A. "MIS Research: A Model for Incorporating the International Dimension," The Journal of High Technology Management Research, 2, 1, 1991, 57-81

Introduction International commerce, characterized by near instantaneous trans-continental shifts in financial assets, assembly of products with components from all corners of the globe, and shifting populations of crossborder employees, has burgeoned over the past 20 years. At the same time, the development and distribution of computer and information technology has grown exponentially. New hardware and software devices are brought to market each week. Investment in these technologies continues to grow. The number of employees working with information technology also continues to grow.

These two phenomena, growth of global economic activity and of information technology, are not unrelated (Nanus, 1978; Bankes, et. al., 1992). Near instantaneous cross-continental cash management activities (Rochester, 1991), for example, could not take place without quick, reliable, and affordable telecommunications technology.

The simultaneity of these two trends, growth in information technology and globalization of business, raises interesting theoretical questions regarding the direction of influences between these two forces. To what extent does the growing power of information technology enable globalization? To what extent does increased globalization create demand and markets for ever more refined information technology? Do the new technologies enable firms to consider new markets and new activities? Do the desires of firms for international activities create demand for new technologies? Are uses for information technology in a global setting merely the logical extension of domestic information technologies? Does operating internationally create new areas of decision making such as the structure for direct foreign investment (Iyer, 1988)?

While there has long been some interest in global IS (e.g. Buss, 1982; Selig, 1982a; Selig, 1982b), issues within the U.S. business context have dominated I.S. research to date. However, as economic competition among nations and global commerce have grown in importance and attracted more attention, I.S. researchers are beginning to ask how their field is affected by changing from a domestic to global context.

This growing interest among I.S. researchers is paralleled by a growing interest in global trends among organizational and management researchers. This is reflected in recent Academy of Management Review (April 1991) and Management Science (January 1994) special issues focusing on the internationalization of management theory. Researchers in global IS are confronted with some of the same problems and decisions as their counterparts in organizational and management research. Among these problems are: What do we really know with confidence about MIS domestically within particular countries? Is it sufficient to test what these concepts in cross-cultural settings? Do new issues emerge only in the global context? By studying MIS in a global context, can we universalize our understanding of what occurs domestically (or will the lessons learned be so diluted that they are of little value in any particular situation)?

a high technology development in computing and microelectronics, designed to enhance manufacturing capabilities. Advanced manufacturing technology is used in all areas of manufacturing, including design, control, fabrication, and assembly. This family of technologies includes robotics, computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided engineering (CAE), MRP II, automated materials handling systems, electronic data interchange (EDI), computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) systems, flexible manufacturing systems, and group technology.

Benefit Of Extranet
Intranets, Extranets, and internets

The Internet (uppercase I) is the public network we use to send email and browse the Web. If we use the Internet protocols (such as TCP/IP) in a private network, we have created an internet (notice the lowercase i). Some vendors and associated literature use the term intranet to describe a private network that uses the Internet protocols. (Another term is extranet.)

Today, many businesses use the Internet to connect their internets with their customers, suppliers, and business partners. When implemented with proper security measures, Internetinternet associations provide a tremendous value to an organization. They dramatically reduce the costs of “doing” networking. The open, noncopyrighted standards of the Internet have been an extraordinary technical and financial blessing to the data communications industry and to our wired world. The virtual private network, introduced earlier, owes its existence to the Internet.

Both intranets and extranets are just like any other website except that they require user name and passwords to access the information. Extranets are distinct from intranets in that they are intended for users outside the company (whereas an intranet's users are those inside the company). Extranets are used to provide information to business partners, clients, special customers, or anyone else who needs access to information that would not be appropriate for the general public's consumption. Extranets can contain special pricing information for retailers, resellers, or wholesalers. Extranets might contain detailed product specifications and instructions, resources for product reps, or information on their product's latest features. At Newfangled we use an extranet for maintaining password protected client pages. On our client pages we post company and client contact information, links to pdf files of project related documents (proposals, contracts, creative briefs etc.), production schedules, and layouts of work in progress.

Extranets provide an extremely convenient method for sharing information with business partners and clients. In our case, our clients know exactly where to find all of the information relating to their projects. The client page can be accessed by anyone in the organization who needs to review and have input into the project. Client pages can be accessed from anywhere in the world at any time. Often we may have conference calls with people from various locations and our extranet enables everyone involved to look at the same information on the client page.

Another benefit of this approach is that the extranet's content is always current. Printed material presents the risk that old, out of date information might be in circulation. In contrast extranets "live" in only one place, and therefore the content they contain is always the most up to date. Companies can save a lot of time and money by replacing frequently changing printed versions of information with extranet versions. For example, we met with one client who had a spiral bound book that contained information about each of their company's locations. This information changed quite frequently and every time it changed, they would have to reprint, recompile, and redistribute the books. This process is both inefficient and expensive. Additionally, confusion resulting from the fact that the older books were still floating around caused misinformation to perpetuate itself. Because of this confusion, the printed source (even the new versions) would often be considered suspect as no one could be certain that the information was still correct. People had to contact the one responsible for maintaining the book to make sure the information they had was correct.

The use of an extranet eliminates the inefficiencies of this process. Instead of maintaining a printed book, the extranet contains the information. This allows the person responsible for the information to keep the extranet current, and anyone who needs the information to access it from there. Additionally, the information is always available right when they need it, rather than of having to wait for an updated book, or a returned call to confirm information

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