Business, Information Technology and Society

By Stephen D. Tansey | Go to book overview
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IT and organizations

Organizations and IT: background
Competitive advantage and IT
Information strategy
Managing IT projects
The future of IT and organizations

Computers have grown in importance within modern organizations from an obscure back-room tool to a dominating feature of the whole organization. In this chapter we consider the ways in which information technology is managed; the central role its use now plays in enabling organizations to compete in the marketplace (or perform a socially useful role in the case of non-profit organizations); and how the planning of IT has become central to the strategy of the whole organization, often leading to its total reorganization. The consequences of this are explored in an analysis of the political forces unleashed within organizations by such changes, and of the likely transformation in the nature of organizations and the role of managers as a consequence of IT.

Organizations and IT: background

Processing modes and IT organization

We saw in Chapter 1 that originally computing was a specialized and technical operation carried out by experts on large and expensive machines in isolated air-conditioned environments. Naturally, when such machines were first employed by commercial and other organizations they were deployed in specialized and largely separate ‘data processing’ (DP) departments. If a query was made by managers which involved a non-routine analysis of the data, the expectation was that DP would take several days - if not weeks - to produce an answer. Such a department might well employ large numbers of staff. Many of these staff would be


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