Information Management: The Organizational Dimension

By Michael J. Earl | Go to book overview

21 The Changing Environment for IS Professionals: Human Resource Implications

J. DANIEL COUGER


Introduction

One of the key challenges of the 1990s is involvement of IS organizations in more of the information processing activities of the firm. That statement may evoke surprise, until one considers that only 5 per cent of the information in the typical firm is contained in data-processing files and records. According to research by Sprague ( 1991), 95 per cent of the information required to conduct business is in document form. IS has just begun to include the valuable information contained in documents, particularly those from external sources. The dissatisfaction with the IS organization's ability to impact more of the information activities of firms is causing management in some firms to reassign responsibility for some IS activities to operating departments.

This chapter derives three scenarios for the near-term potential IS environment. It is anticipated that one of these scenarios will be representative of the IS environment for the large majority of organizations. The qualifications of IS personnel to operate successfully in each of these environments are then identified. These qualifications involve: skill set, experience, and interest. Next, an analysis is made concerning the degree to which these qualifications can be developed for existing IS personnel. IS personnel have some unique characteristics that affect their ability to make the transition to the changing IS environment.

The projections and recommendations of this chapter are appropriate for non-profit and governmental organizations as well as profit-making organizations. However, to simplify terminology, the term 'organization' will be used to delineate functional organizations, and the term 'corporation' will be used to represent the overall organization.

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