IT Management Issues Overview


Notes from an introductory course on IT

Using IT

  • There is a link between organizational strategy, business strategy, and IT strategy
  • IT architecture has 4 components and 3 questions: 
    • Hardware, Software/Applications, Network and Data
    • What, Where, Who
  • Emerging technologies need to be in your “bag of managerial tools”
  • Organizations now link to others with the Internet and EDI
  • Virtual Organizations change the way work is done
  • Deploying IT in an organization has unintended consequences
  • The medium used to send info. itself sends a message

IT is an Important Organizational Design Tool

  • Organizations can be optimized by ensuring that individuals do what they do best (interact with people) and computers do what they do best
  • IT can fundamentally change the way work is done by distributing the work to whatever resources can get it done
  • Control systems, HR practices, people, performance measures, processes and culture are all dependent on how IT is used (and vice versa)

Creating Strategic Advantages with IT

  • Barriers to entry – technology makes it hard for other to get into the game
  • Switching costs – technology use makes it difficult for customers to switch vendors
  • Product differentiation – products that incorporate information in them are differentiated from their competitors
  • Cost effectiveness – IT can improve internal operations which decrease cost of delivering products/services

Managing IT: Role of CIO and General Manager

Role of the CIO in planning information systems

  • Set IT strategy/vision/objectives
  • Devise blueprints for systems
  • Suggest IT processes and tools
  • Partner with business managers

Role of the general manager in planning information systems

  • Set business strategy/vision/objectives
  • Work with IT manager/CIO to develop IT strategy
  • Buy into needs/costs/benefits of IT choices

Managing IT: the Internet

  • Internet strategy – internal/intranet and public/Internet options
  • Jim Weinstein’s 8 metrics for evaluating web sites
    1. Quality and Quantity of Information
    2. Ordering and Ordering Support
    3. Customer Focus
    4. Product/Solution Focus
    5. Static/Dynamic
    6. Integration with other business processes
    7. Knowledge of site statistics
    8. Impact on bottom line

Sustainability of IT Advantages

  • Information Technology capabilities are a sustainable competitive advantage
  • Information Technology solutions, themselves, appear not to give a sustainable advantage

IT Imperatives Framework

  • Achieve 2-way strategic alignment
  • Develop effective relationships with line management
  • Deliver and implementation new systems
  • Build and Manage infrastructure
  • Reskill IT organization
  • Manage vendor partners
  • Build high performance
  • Redesign and manage corporate IT organization

Network Externalities

A good is more valuable to a user the more users adopt the same or compatible good. Externality can be direct (user benefits b/c others using same network – e.g. phones) or indirect (greater number of complementary products). Network externalities can lead to two potential inefficiencies: excess inertia (users wait to adopt a new technology or to choose among several technologies) and excess momentum (consumers rush to an inferior technology for fear of getting stranded). On the demand side, externalities give rise to multiplicity of equilibria, to inefficiencies, and to a need for coordination even when the technologies are supplied competitively. On the supply side, the choice of technologies relates to the problem of product diversity. On both sides, decisions by firms and users to adopt certain technologies give rise to games of timing, the two polar cases of which are wars of attrition and preemption games.

What are Protocols?

  • Physical level protocols for networking (e.g., ISDN, X.25, Frame Relay, ATM)
  • Network level protocols (e.g., IP of TCP/IP)
  • Higher level protocols (e.g., TCP of TCP/IP)

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