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Questions

1.What capabilities does IT offer the companies?

2. How can a generalist understand, let alone evaluate, the large and constantly changing set of available information technologies? Is it possible for someone who is not a dedicated IT specialist to sort through these technologies and match them to business needs?

Q3) How do head decision maker (CEO, GM etc) contribute to IT success? What roles should they play throughout the course of any IT effort?

4.With ever decreasing costs of Technology, does IT capabilities are getting easier to acquire?

5.Is it a good idea or a bad idea to pursue competitive advantage and differentiation via IT?

6.Should IT be used to force organizational change, or only to support it?

Railway Reservation

Capabilities mentioned in the case: Reduction in time and expense involved in ticketing Quicker service to passengers Quick and easy availability of information regarding trains and accommodation availability Reduction in scope for unethical practices in reserving accommodation Other capabilities: Ability to perform analysis on the train bookings. For example, analyze various types of trends. This can help plan the investments properly. Ability to react quickly. For example, change prices quickly or dynamic pricing, introduce new trains, etc. Ability to get up to date reports on status of train bookings. How many berths filled up, etc.

A general manager should consider IT as a tool available at his disposal. The goal of the general manager should be to understand what the technology can do for the organization. The general manager should be asking himself questions, such as how can the technology make the supply chain more efficient, or reduce the time to serve a customer. The general manager does not need to understand the gory details of how the technology operates. The understanding and evaluation of these details should be delegated to technical experts. The general manager should ask for feedback on technical details of the technologies from the technical experts and use it to make his decisions.

A head decision maker can contribute to IT success in the following ways. By being an advocate and evangelist, in the organization, of IT changes. The head manager should be able to demonstrate the value of the IT change and convince stakeholders about it. By leading the process of IT change. If the size of the IT change is big, the head manager may need to be a change agent. He may have to create a vision in the organization about the change, and drive the change. By ensuring proper IT training to employees. One of the important reasons for success or failure of IT in organizations is the ability of employees to properly use it. For this, it is important that employees are properly trained to make effective use of the IT systems at their disposal. By defining requirement of IT systems By doing proper analysis of cost and reward of IT. For capital intensive IT projects, the head manager has to do proper analysis of cost and reward of the IT system. Unlike most other capital investment projects, it can be hard to measure the benefit of IT systems as they tend to be intangible in nature. So, one of the critical contributions a head manager can make is to capture the benefits of IT systems in monetary terms that reflect either in top line or bottom line of the organization. By factoring in risk related with IT deployments. The risks associated with IT systems tend to be different from risks associated with other types of investments. For example, the time to implement IT systems is prone to lot of variability and unpredictability. The head manager should be able to manage these risks. These risks should be factored in the cost-reward assessment and then managed properly. The roles played by a head manager in the course of this effort are: Advocate/Evangelist Change leader Decision maker In the Railways reservation system case, the role of the head manager is primarily that of decision maker. If a decision is made to implement a new PRS, the head manager will also have to play the role of a change leader for the new system to be successfully used by Railways.

The answer is Yes and No. There have been some reductions in costs of IT, specially the cost of hardware. Furthermore, technologies such as cloud computing convert the cost structure of IT systems from Capex to Opex. However, IT systems have become increasingly complex as organizations depend on them for increasingly complex and mission critical tasks. The additional complexity has led to increase in other types of costs, such as, software costs, costs of trained personnel to implement and manage the IT systems, costs related to integrating different IT systems together. Many companies around the world have pursued IT as a competitive advantage. Examples of such companies are Walmart, Amazon.com, some Indian private sector banks such as ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank. In these companies, IT has been used heavily to bring improvements in primary activities of the value chain such as operations or logistics. On the other hand, there are also successful companies that use IT more selectively, Toyota being a prime example. Further, there are numerous examples of companies that failed trying to pursue IT as a competitive advantage. The dot com bust of 2000-2001 offers several examples of such companies, some of them being Webvan and Pets.com. Before pursuing a strategic IT investment, it is critical that the organization does a thorough analysis of its value chain and how IT can create sustainable value for the organization and the customers it is serving. This analysis should be the basis on which the organization decided to make a strategic investment in IT or not. If a rigorous approach is followed in the analysis, then the investment in IT has a much higher likelihood of success and of becoming a competitive advantage.

IT can be used for both purposes, either to force organizational change or only to support it. An example for the former is IIMK changing its technology partner for the ePGP program. The new technology will be used to force an organizational change vis--vis the ePGP program. An example of using IT to support organizational change is when Infosys brought about the rule that employees have to work for 9:15 hours every day. Infosys used information technology to track the number of hours spent at work, which is only a supporting function. Hence, IT was used only to support the organizational change.

C1- UCB (Union Chmique Belge) Capabilities listed in UCB case: Single email system Standardized desktop environment Data center consolidation along with physical and data security Regional Help desks Remedy software system Standardization of business process execution across UCBs 3 businesses, viz: Chemicals, films and Pharmaceuticals. Common HR policies and practices like employee review process - PeopleSoft and eRecruiting. 3R project Right Information to the Right Person at the Right time - Improve productivity of the organization through faster channel to communicate, faster access to information and decision making. It provides a platform to collaborate with the business users and understand the business requirements from the markets. A platform for centralizing the procurement leading to better price negotiation there by reducing operational cost. Common knowledge management forum and access to everyone in the corporation.

A generalist in current times must at least possess these strengths in effectively running an organization:- Have the ability to understand and appreciate the contemporary technological advancements. - Envisage the growth of the organization in terms of its business, resources, customers, support and finally knowledge and information. - Have a big picture of how the organization is to be run in a co-ordinated manner interconnecting the attributes listed above. - Have a constant quest for continuous improvement and efficiency in every area of business operations. Once these strengths are there, a good general manager can mobilize the implementation of technology solutions to put systems in place. In UCB case, Vincent Damien, the IT director is a person with economics back ground. The person as such need not be a technology expert and doesnt need to get into the micro level details. He/she just need to do the periodic evaluation to see the results and ensuring that it is moving in the desired direction.

The case UCB has many references how its IT director Vincent Damien contributed to IT success. First and foremost identified the need for significant improvements in the current IT/IS management. He felt that the lack of standardization led to tremendous redundancy, inconsistency and inefficiency. He ramped an efficient set of second line leaders with deeper knowledge and skills in realizing the IT solutions in various departments. As mentioned in the previous question, he had the big picture view of how to transform the organization to establish an efficient, robust and strong motorway of information that would help support business processes, improve end users productivity and facilitate faster decisions He put forth the vision of transforming the information systems to meet the business requirements, reduce heterogeneities, improve communication and cost effectiveness. Damien had step wise plan of improving the IT and IS systems in the organization like the single email system, common desk top work environment, new data center etc. He delegated the implementation to his respective management staff and monitored the progress. Damien as IT director was able to understand high level concerns in implementation of the IT systems and facilitate the methods of solving the same. Identify the resource pool available globally to tap and outsource to get the technology solutions implemented faster.

The decreasing costs of technology viz. hardware, software and networking indeed help in firms to decide to improve or enhance its IT and IS systems from a budget point of view. However there are challenges too. The replacement of the existing system becomes complex as the size of the organization becomes bigger. Companies have to weigh the options of extending the services of the current vendor against going with altogether a new vendor. The support team needs to be trained in the new system which may prove to be a blocker if the relevant skill set is not already present. Adopting IT early, definitely gives a competitive edge and differentiation for any company competing in a tough market with lots of players. A good example of this would be DELL who created a differentiation by having only an online channel and following a no retail strategy. However, since the processes and deployment of IT is more or less standardized, the competitors esp. the economically mightier ones also would catch up in a matter of time. So pursuing on IT alone would not guarantee a sustainable competitive advantage. Companies would have to look into other strategies like core competence and innovation for sustaining their edge in the market. Having said that, adopting IT definitely accelerates the business process execution and brings uniformity across the organization as can be seen in the UCB case. So whether for differentiation or not, companies are investing in getting the best IT infrastructure in their organization. The measure of edge or differentiation depends on the level of IT integration that the companies have done in interconnecting the various components of their business process

IT can be used for both, viz: forcing an organizational change and also to support it. Many companies would first use IT to support its organizational changes and standardization of its operations. E.g: When an organization adopts Agile methodologies, it starts using the related software tools to start collecting data and measuring the progress and there by using IT to support its change. Once the relevant changes are put in place with the help of IT, organizations start thinking about how to diversify using the new IT setup that they have created initially for the support purpose. In other words, IT throws up new business ventures for the companies to move into providing consultancy services, coming up with new business opportunities etc. This way IT is used to force an organizational change. IBM starting the services business is a good instance of IT forcing the organizational change. A good example from the UCB case would be that IT in a supporting form enables the UCB to identify the business synergies of its various verticals like films and chemicals or the research between pharma and chemicals etc. This acts as a motivator for UCB to think about merging the verticals or making the research labs common for chemical and pharma etc

C2- World Bank Capabilities mentioned in the case : Effective international communications program is World Banks IT mission using upto-date technology to support projects towards poverty reduction in developing countries. That involve mainly 2 fundamental shifts in business strategy. I. Decentralization : Moving the banks business operations closer to the clients by decentralizing staff and deligate decision making power to local offices from HQ. There by saving travel cost, time. II. Creation of a knowledge bank : Delivering more comprehensive and integrated solutions by collaboration and provide a common platform for knowledge sharing among both internal and external stakeholders. 5-Point Program and offerings Global knowledge sharing Electronic shared access to documents, Electronic library, online knowledge sharing networks, Central cataloguing, Distance-learning centres and conferences. Integrated Enterprise systems Integrated 65+ fragmented systems and 100 databases High-speed global connectivity Integrated data, voice and high speed video-conferencing Enterprise computing services (Y2K) Standardized and integrated computing infrastructure, single resource mgmt system, Increased focus on offshoring, web services, respond to crisis Global customer support - 24/7 global support center

Banks New ICT evolution triggered from President who had high level faith on Mohamed V.Muhsin, Vice President and Chief Information Officer of World Bank authorized to give direction for IT success. The person who takes the companys IT decisions should possess thorough understanding of business objectives and challenges including critical processes and hidden risks. His knowledge on the latest technology trends is vital to anticipate the future requirement and position them to match the business needs. That is key to strongly adapt the change successfully. Another important point to consider is knowing Technological age (how soon it is going to obsolute etc). However, he need not be a dedicated IT specialist but he should be capable of driving the expectations and communicate with Technical consultants to analyse and finanlize the best suitable technology among various alternatives available.

In addition to all the qualities discussed for the previous question, Managing the change is big task without much of bias. High order networking & leadership and interpersonal skills is essential to bring success at each phase. Here, decision maker is visualized as a person involve from developing IT Corporate Information System strategy, set the milestones, closely monitor and control the implementations. Considering the budget volume, any small mistake lead to big impact over all, that too difficult to reverse. It is the responsibility of the CEO/GM to align the company, internally and externally, with their strategic vision. Decision makers always think optimizing the 3 directions - Innovation, Cost and Delivery while bringing new change in IT. In addition to that, decision makers follow below steps as well : 1. Keep the business leaders fully engaged on major change In this case, Muhsin encouraged to form systems renewal streeing committee to hear the voice of business users and address their concerns. 2. Managing the expectations is key to success 3. Sustained support from the Top management

Yes, Home grown innovation in IT Sectors are on the rise and Communication Era permits to transfer the technology anywhere, anytime and to anyone. Hence the breakthrough products and services are available at much cheaper rate than 10 year ago. The Technology revolution brings lot of collobaration among people across the globle. Use of Video Conferencing, VOIP, Telepresence, M2M Machine to Machine Comm, Virtualization, Cloud Computing, 4G, the much awaited LTE the Organization can save lot of operational cost in various ways. Example : Travel cost reduction and CO2 emission, Improved efficiency, Saving Time. Satellite technology, Internet access, IP Bandwidth cost is drastically coming down so that companies can easily make use of this technology to grow more and more. The Open Source programs and OS such as Open office and Linux gives us an option to save money to spend on Microsoft Office packages and Windows OS.

Its a good idea to pursue competitive advantage and differentiation via IT. As we know the Nokia history, leaders of Mobile phone world for several years in the beginning of the century. Nokia's primary losses have been in its market share for high-end smartphones. The success of Apple's iPhone and iTunes caught the leading mobile device makers by surprise. Without focused differentiation, Nokia did attempted to differentiate strategic capabilities along several dimensions such as cost, extended value chain, and technology and marketing but failed on innovation and adaption to Android move. Hence Nokia lost its business to rivals because they fail to forecast the future. Apple and Samsung occupied this place very well. For instance, nokia still survive because of cost advantage model, they failed in differentiating themselves in new technology innovation.

Both. Earlier corporate IT Security policy was rigid which is now more flexible and friendly in many organizations. Example, nowadays webbased outlook mail access allows the employee not to carry laptop where ever they go and run business everywhere. video collaboration - new ways of doing business. interact as if we were in same room to attend team meetings crisis management collaboration between global project teams remote access to experts training meet with customers, partners, suppliers, distributors remote consultation, appraisal and recruitment When audio conferencing is not much effective, this kind of technology encourage more involvment among the team spread across multiple locations.