Information Technology, Organisations, and People: Transformations in the UK Retail Financial Services Sector

By Jeff Watkins | Go to book overview
Save to active project

1

BACKGROUND TO THE RESEARCH

This chapter describes the shift from the automating to informating uses of IT in the organisation through the 1980s to the 1990s, and the importance of integration in providing a platform for business transformation. It traces key shifts in IT/IS and organisational thinking and its influence on the strategies that organisations adopt to keep in step with rapidly changing conditions. It states the research questions and identifies the contribution of the research to the wider debate on IT for transformation. The treatment is not exhaustive but it is hoped that it is sufficient to give a taste of the key changes and to provide the context in which business transformation in the retail financial services sector is considered in the chapters that follow.


Information technology for transformation

In the early 1990s research reports in journals such as Business Week and the Harvard Business Review (Scott-Morton, 1991; Keen, 1991; Roach, 1991) focused on the disappointing results of the massive investments in IT in the services sector. Spending on technology had tripled between 1970 and 1990, yet white collar and office productivity in US businesses and organisations remained flat. Roach (1991) argued that the maintenance of current outdated IT infrastructures was adding to the burden of increasing costs in the services sector and that, for the majority of firms, the potential of IT had still to be realised. He advocated a strategic focus based on an efficient delivery system, a high quality product, and a flexible cost structure to ensure continued growth and global market presence. He stressed that the challenge was primarily managerial; that more effective ways of measuring and evaluating white collar productivity, quality, and IT were needed; and that outsourcing arrangements or strategic alliances would allow for economies of scale by sharing the costs of certain resource-hungry in-house functions.

Whilst making it clear that ‘economic efficiencies’ and radical change were necessary, Roach also warned that ‘overzealous cost cutting’ would ‘hollow out the sector’, affecting abilities to innovate, respond to customers, or provide quality service over the long-term.

-7-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Information Technology, Organisations, and People: Transformations in the UK Retail Financial Services Sector
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 260

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?