Presentation on theme: "Information Systems Management CIS 318"— Presentation transcript:
Information Systems Management CIS 318
Assessment: Exam 80 % Coursework 20 % Study guide: Duncan, W.M. (1997). Information Systems Management. University of London Press. This lecture is partly inspired by Duncans study guide, which can be bought in the universitys bookstore.
Good exam preparation: Try to answer study questions at the end of each chapter in Duncans study guide. Try to understand the lecture notes/study guide rather than to learn each individual aspect and also try to form your own opinion (i.e. critically evaluate the lecture, try to develop your own thoughts about what practical applications might be useful in this context and try to think of examples from the real world).
The course contains 9 Modules: 1.Organisational Context 2.Strategic Role of Information Systems 3.Strategy and Planning 4.Implementation 5.Evaluation 6.Service Management 7.Security Management 8.Organisational Change 9.Practical Applications (Oracle, SAP and Medical Information Systems)
1 st Module: Organisational Context for Information Systems: What is an organisation? No exact definition, but many examples. Examples: Corporate Business, Hospital, NHS, Employment Agency, UCAS, University, School or College, etc.
Development and History of Organisational IT The rapid progress of IT has enabled rapid changes within organisations and rapid changes in their structure. Organisations recognise the importance of IT and therefore focus their attention on the management of IT.
History: 4 Major Developments Batch Systems: 1950s to early 60s. Use of technology was isolated from actual work and processed at different times (e.g. copying financial/bookkeeping activities from forms into the system). Online Systems: From mid 60s onwards. As the name suggests, activities can be processed in real time (e.g. updating account details).
PCs: From early 80s onwards. PCs allow individual users to develop systems that are specialised to their own work, and to be mobile, e.g. work from home. Examples that have brought advances are relational databases, spreadsheets, word processing, etc. Traditionally, however, PCs were isolated from organisational systems. Networked Systems: From late 80s onwards. Networked systems have the advantage of connecting different individual systems into one coherent system, e.g. by making use of servers, letting people log in from their homes.
In summary: IT became an organisational resource in organisations of all sizes. It is widely available, supported by a wide range of hardware and software, and can be adapted to almost any purpose in this context. One of the most important questions is therefore not only to look at technical aspects, but also: -what management and marketing issues businesses need to consider in an attempt to optimise available IT resources. -Expressed simply: IT alone is not enough. IT Management matters.
IT as an Organisational Resource In the meantime, IT has become so widespread that it has an impact on almost any part of an organisation. This raises questions on how to integrate the many facets of information systems that exist in an organisation. For example: in many companies, each unit had their own IT tradition, and these units often optimised the systems to their own demands.
A very simple example would be that there are different labs in a university department, and each lab might prefer their own computer system, e.g. some may prefer to run their PCs on Windows, others on Linux, others may prefer to run Macintosh operating systems, yet others may prefer a mainframe. However, it is often necessary that all people in the department communicate with each other on a particular topic, and this might not work if people use different software that cannot be read on the other systems, e.g. Microsoft Office and Lotus might not be compatible.
Similar problems arise with communication programs, e.g. file attachments to Pegasus mail cannot be opened by Pine and it requires a number of intermediary steps to read the attachments, which might slow down communication. On the other hand, this decentralisation of resources has certain advantages. Just think of the mobility of employees nowadays. Fluctuation in companies is large, and people change jobs frequently. They often do better if they can use the systems they are familiar with rather than having to adjust to a new system every time.
This is an important question for every organisation. How can we fulfil every users needs without negatively influencing communication between different units in the same organisation. One could also say: how is it possible to balance the conflicting pressures between centralisation and decentralisation of IT (Duncan, 1997). It is not an easy decision how much independent decision making should be allowed and how much central control should be maintained. This will very much depend on the particular organisation and its staff.
For example, if it would not take a long time to train staff to use applications that were standardised for a particular purpose in the company, then it is usually better to use the standardised applications than to allow different applications that might have a negative impact on communication between staff. It is by all means important to not only consider technical aspects, but to focus on the people who will be using the systems. If they are not accepted by the organisations staff, then staff will not use them in an efficient way. This would be more expensive for the company.
To help the staff to use the systems in an efficient way, specific training courses might help, but they will cost the company a lot of money as well, and the more the systems differ, the more training courses are necessary and the more staff might end up being confused. In summary: The availability of IT in general and networked systems in particular has a large impact on individuals and teams of individuals within small units, larger units as well as within the entire organisation.
The Challenge of IT Management Duncan (1987) As IT becomes more important to the organisation, the issues which affect the IT function become less technology oriented and more business oriented A survey by Price Waterhouse revealed the biggest concerns of IT managers nowadays: 1.How to use IT to achieve organisational aims. 2.How to best achieve cost-effective services for the organisation. 3.How to reach these goals in spite of the rapidly changing IT climate nowadays.
The purpose of my lecture Information Systems Management is to show how IT managers try to cope with these concerns from a business perspective, but also from a social perspective of the individuals who are involved in these decisions. As all organisations are different, there are no optimal guidelines for IT managers about how to cope with these concerns, so IT managers often have to show a lot of flexibility and creativity when making decisions.
What also makes it difficult to develop guidelines is that IT is a very young field of study and our understanding on how to use it optimally is continuously revaluated. And once progress has been made in terms of developing guidelines on how to use a particularly technology optimally in an organisation, it is often replaced by a new, more-advanced technology that creates more applications and allows different ways of performing tasks.
Moreover, the technical complexity of IT has the consequence that there are many people with different expertise and different preferences working in a team, which might create communication barriers. There is a wide range of applications for IT, from clearly structured administrative transactions (e.g. how to open a new account in a bank) to largely unstructured problem areas such as large scale decision support on the London Congestion Charge project or on Expert Systems for Investment Decisions in Investment Banks.
This wide range of applications makes the task of an IT manager demanding, and therefore it is useful to have some training in Information Systems Management that allows prospective IT managers to develop their own ideas, come up with flexible solutions depending on the demands of the particular organisation, etc. Thats why the course has a structure that allows you to do your own thinking and come up with your own ideas, as the changing structure of IT prevents there to be an exact recipe of how to manage IT.
However, Information Systems Management is not completely unstructured. There are 2 large corporations that assist many companies with standardisation of information handling as well as with custom built applications. These companies are Oracle and SAP and they both have a range of organisations as their customers (with each customer facing different problems, having different organisational aims, staff hierarchies, etc.)
To help you better understand what these companies do, I will refer to some of their activities in my lecture. I will first go to these companies websites and show you how they advertise their products. I will then show you videos that refer to the way these companies try to help their customers. Please consider that these videos are promotional videos made by the companies. In my lecture, they are NOT meant to promote the companies. They are just intended to help you understand how Information Systems work.
They are also intended to familiarise you with the products of these companies, because knowledge of these systems might help you on the job market after your degree (like dreamweaver and photoshop might help you when you aim to work in web design). Because Oracle and SAP systems are so widely used in organisations all over the world, you might almost certainly come across these systems when you want to become an Information Systems Manager in a large company (and possibly also in small to medium sized businesses).
The hyperlinks of the websites I will show in the lecture are: