Information Management: The Organizational Dimension

By Michael J. Earl | Go to book overview

16 IT and Organizational Change
DAVID BODDY
Introduction
This chapter is based on the proposition that worthwhile results cannot be obtained from the current generation of IT products simply by installing expensive, state-of-the-art technology. Our studies of many applications of computing and information technology have included both successful and unsuccessful examples ( Boddy and Buchanan 1986, 1987). The clear, practical lesson from this work is that the successful cases have usually been those where technological change has been accompanied by appropriate organizational change. The less successful ones have generally been those where projects have been dominated by technical considerations, with little or no thought given to organizational ones.The information technology products now available have characteristics which make it possible to transform business performance by their imaginative use--yet which at the same time make the achievement of that potential more difficult to achieve. Managers are confronted by technological opportunities. To make successful use of those opportunities, many decisions (other than those of a technical nature) need to be taken during the course of the project. Studies of organizational change regularly show the importance of the 'promoter' or 'champion' who is willing and able to 'own' a new idea or product, to develop it into an operational form, and to get it accepted and embedded in the organization. Our research into the kind of decisions that need to be taken if IT projects are to be successfully implemented suggests that many of these issues have no obvious or powerful 'owner'--which in turn leads to the thought that they can provide valuable new roles for lively and outward-looking members of IS departments.I begin by outlining very briefly those characteristics of information technology which open up new possibilities for business, and yet make their achievement more difficult. I then discuss in turn three major hurdles which need to be crossed if projects are to be successful. These are:
managing the project;
setting the right objectives;
changing the organization.

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