Systems Acquisition and Implementation Management

Introduction

To determine the directional influence of particular information systems on organizational decision-making, it is necessary to look at associated cost-reduction effects. Organizations like THM Corporation can employ new information systems to allow the cost-reduction effect to work in the direction of either centralization or decentralization. For example, the implementation of a network may allow managers to exercise greater control over a large number of employees and thereby reduce agency costs, yet it also allows lower-level managers to gain access to more information, thereby lowering decision information costs.

Business Problem

The main problem of THM Corporation is that its management does not want to invest in new technologies. The combined cost-reduction effect may work in the same direction but it can also work in opposite directions. It is, therefore, necessary to look at the area and purpose of information systems use within organizations. In some organizations, information systems may be employed to lead to more centralization, while in others it leads to more decentralization.

By looking at the specific situation, a differentiated view of the role of information systems is provided. Rather than viewing information systems as a criterion for the allocation of decision-making authority, it has also been proposed that organizations shape the information systems to conform to their needs. This means that it can be employed to work in the direction of both centralization and decentralization. It is argued that it is essentially managerial action that influences the outcome. One stream of research has suggested that those with power in organizations use information systems to reinforce the existing power structure, this, in turn, affects the way information systems are employed (Badiru, 44).

Rather than viewing organizational decision-making as an outcome of the employment of information systems, it has been suggested that information systems facilitate organizational design by providing managers with choices. For example, if decentralization is the desirable outcome, then information systems are the tool by which managers may bring about the outcome (Frame 65). This managerial action imperative suggests that managers are in control of organizations and can shape them to their needs, yet managers often do not have this control, since they lack the power or resources to push for either more centralization or more decentralization.

There are several organizational circumstances, such as availability of technology and expertise, social and legal structures, and community opinion, which influence the decision-making authority in such a way that the outcome of managerial action may not work in the desired direction (Senge, 76).

Technology: Internal and External Demand

While the impact perspective suggests that particular technologies in THM Corporation predispose corporations to exhibit certain structures by constraining available options, the choice perspective emphasizes the possibility of making managerial decisions regarding the desired outcome of implementing information systems. External demands for THM Corporation were increased competition and internationalization of the retail industry, market-entry, and new opportunities created by globalization. Rather than viewing the organization as being predetermined towards a specific structural outcome, technology is the product of human interaction, design, and appropriation.

This perspective is supplemented by the normative suggestions of information systems specialists, who decide upon an ‘optimal’ information architecture based on an organizational needs analysis. The inherent assumption is that information systems specialists can satisfy the demands of technological, political, and social concerns when making decisions about the appropriate system to implement. Empirical evidence to support the choice perspective remains limited, primarily because of the difficulty in operationalizing the match between the technological, political, and social demands of the organization and the intentions of managers or information systems specialists. For THM Corporation, the internal demands were ineffective communication and a lack of coordination within the corporation (Laudon & Laudon 84).

Approaches to Purchasing Management

For THM Corporation, the emergent perspective posits that the use and consequences of information systems are a result of complex social interactions between the institutional framework and the actions of individuals. Because of the dynamics of organizational settings, the frequently changing preferences of individuals, and the adapting organizational context, neither the intentions of managers nor the technological environment within the organization can fully predict the outcome of information systems employment within modern corporations. The interplay of time, objectives, given institutional frameworks, individual preferences, and choice processes are the central concepts of the emergent perspective (Laudon & Laudon 76).

Rather than ascribing the cause of outcomes to the role of either technology or actors, this perspective adds a third dimension, namely dynamic processes over time. For, THM Corporation this makes the operationalization of the concept more difficult to investigate empirically. Introduction of groupware into the organization and concluded that the groupware application enabled and constrained work practices at the same time. These studies suggest that technology does not determine the trajectory of organizational change, but that the implementation of the technology leads to rules for its use, which in turn influence rules of new work practices that become legitimized by a new organizational policy.

More recently, the emergent perspective has received growing support, because the impact perspective of information systems has produced contradictory empirical findings. Introducing information systems, THM Corporation paid special attention to the new structure and coordination of international activities. Information systems allowed THM Corporation to coordinate and improve communication between regional officers and simplify routine work and improve the communication process (Badiru, 88).

Agile methods represent a group of methodologies used in software development. These methods involve users in communication as the main principles of these methods are collaboration between team members, process adaptability, and iterations. Just as a computer executes one operation, one line of code, at a time but in so doing solves a complex problem, so the programmers themselves, in executing one task at a time, are engaged in a greater task–that of learning the system in which all their tasks are embedded; and even though they may often appear to be as oblivious to that system as the computer itself is to the work that it performs learning the system is a key factor in the programmers’ effectiveness. Agile methods are based on effective communication and collaboration between all team members (Frame 33).

For THM Corporation, the information processing perspective focuses on communication patterns and information flows within organizations. This approach shares the same assumptions as of the rational perspective–mainly that individuals are rational and working toward a common goal. Under these assumptions, the introduction of IT is mainly concerned with changes like information processing and communication within organizations, especially about the amount and location of information processed. The corporate IT function is also charged with the role of proactively promoting IT throughout the group–both to the general business community and the IT community.

This is achieved by such activities as promoting IT awareness among the senior managers with seminars and ad hoc consultancy; promoting specific IT initiatives to the business unit IT managers; disseminating information on industry trends and new developments; facilitating training for programmers and actively facilitating the career development of senior staff; keeping the managers informed about industry developments, and providing sponsored consultancy to assist programmers in specific areas (Laudon and Laudon 43). These roles are, in the main, performed only by Strategic Leadership companies A key role of the center in both styles is the facilitation of communication and experience sharing between business units. Communication reduces ‘re-invention of the wheel’ costs and also speeds the diffusion of innovation and the transfer of skills across the group.

Interaction between the IT managers is significantly higher in Strategic Leadership companies, which place a high degree of emphasis on functional leadership and promotion of synergy. Researchers admit that agile methods are effective when they are applied and used in small projects. they allow flexibility and close cooperation between programmers and management. Because the service roles are concerned with the professional delivery of IT services, their perceived success depends on the effectiveness and efficiency of their management–just as for an external company providing the same services in the open market (Laudon and Laudon 62).

For THM Corporation, the main risks connected with Agile methods are changeability and iteration. The main problem is that iteration is not quite the same as repetition: each time one goes through something, one gains a bit more knowledge, and that knowledge feeds back into the process. Sometimes it is necessary to wait for something to make sense, or the material only gradually takes shape in the mind. A bit of knowledge the programmer acquires through working on a small part of a large system gradually expands as more bits are added to it. The Agile methods and techniques are effective solutions to daily problems faced by programmers.

The programmer undergoes a continual but not necessarily conscious process of relating each new piece to those learned so far. He or she weaves this information into a matrix of bits, categorizing each about what has come before. He or she may derive the categories from an intellectual schema that comes from formal training or may simply figure one out for himself or herself based on the data presented by his or her experience (Frame 65).

Over time the programmer modifies the conceptual schema as the data increase, adapting the “system” to fit the ever-increasing repertoire of activities and the growing mass of technical, social, and experiential data, perhaps supplementing the data with reading reference material as well. Thus programmers learn, or create, “systems” by constantly relating new material to what is already known. They then, in their interactions with each other, with clients or management, and with the computer and its software, intersubjectively validate their understanding, and the existence, of those systems (Burkun, 23).

Implementation Problems

For THM Corporation, the organizational design dimension will be the main challenge. Since decision-making requires the availability of unambiguous information, new information systems have the potential to shift the level of decision-making by providing access to information. Internal coordination costs are a function of agency costs and decision information costs. Decision information costs are costs associated with the sending of information upwards in the hierarchy, with miscommunication and opportunity costs caused by delays in communication (Laudon & Laudon 98).

Agency costs result from costs in monitoring the organizational members who execute tasks, bonding costs resulting. from frequent communication between employees and managers, and any other residual losses that may arrive as a result of a lack of information. Since decision information costs increase as decision-making authority is moved higher in the hierarchy, a possible conclusion appears, that decentralization is the answer to the problem. Yet, as decision information costs decrease, agency costs increase. Thus it is necessary to minimize total internal coordination costs (Burkun, 27).

In THM Corporation, the driven need for change is to reduce negative emotions and attitudes which prevent the company from effective and fast changes. Resistance to change is defined as “mistakes or overlooked issues in an implementation plan. Tacit resistance does not disappear but ferments, grows into sabotage, or surfaces later when resources are depleted. mill’s operation. Some of the operators relinquished their novel power by tactfully educating their foremen, but others felt they had earned the right to more autonomy” (Leonard-Barton and Krausm 108 cited Frame 54).

For example, norms can channel employees with particular titles and presumed competencies, responsibilities, and entitlements into certain technological spaces at particular times to engage in particular tasks. The IT set not only shapes technological activities but also permits emergent processes of talk that create a narrow, locally organized sense of technological context that is negotiated throughout the communication. The content and style of what is or is not said in this technological discourse can affect problem-solving; for example, the experiences that employees acquire by working together and by reported or perceived reputational assessments can lead to beliefs about the distribution of technological knowledge that can, in turn, influence who is consulted (Senge, 32).

Introducing a major new technology into an established bureaucracy of THM Corporation is not at all easy. The driven need for change and key success factors are explained by the following facts. At the pharmaceutical company, managers had to hire a full-time Unix expert to be on-site because there was no Unix expertise present to oversee the installation and support of the advanced workstations. Our early experience with university test sites also revealed that the software requires a computing infrastructure that is only beginning to emerge in many parts of the scientific world.

Furthermore, there is often resistance to changing practices that work well. When the changes in practice are accompanied by a major change in the supporting technology, the challenge is all the greater. The management should demonstrate the feasibility of technical solutions to a range of important questions and explore the patterns of use that need to be understood to have this technology accepted by the appropriate user. In contrast to office workers, pharmaceutical companies’ employees resist change because of a lack of skills and additional training needed for effective performance. The outcomes are improved working conditions and motivation among employees (Frame 51).

Another important aspect of technological change in THM Corporation is the existence of different substantive and social domains. For example, technological innovations have both horizontal and vertical structures where there are attendings or specialists with significant autonomy at the top of a vertical construction that can include a division. Finally, computer systems rely on a variety of technologies for computing, communicating, and transforming information.

For example, the chart often combines technical reports and a large body of seemingly chaotic written material. Different employees, employing different IT techniques, contribute to the chart; this information may be used not only in planning for production facilities but may also be retrieved for studying employees and groups categorized by similar problems. The interpretations by IT professionals of the materials assembled in a chart reflect a complex set of professional and social relationships and attributions about the distribution of IT skills (Frame 72).

The importance to manage resistance to change is explained by faster and effective implementation of new technology and cost savings. There are many challenges in introducing any technology into modern business environments. Modern IT organizations are frequently nowhere as technically advanced as certain portions of the scientific and engineering world. Change management and leveling resistance to change are crucial steps as well as the substantive review supervised by at least one program manager. For the most part, the employees involved in all of these various steps have only recently begun to use PC for word processing and electronic mail.

Introducing a technology that uses the Unix operating system, advanced workstations, and complex, high-functionality software is the main challenge. Managers in IT organizations facing a revitalization challenge must devote considerable effort at the front end of their transformation to the creation of resources. Bank managers attempting to revitalize their organizations also need to seek new external resources as they launch their transformation process. They often do this by increasing their debt burden or placing additional stock in the market, often on unfavorable terms because of their strained performance condition (Owens and Wilson 81).

Conclusion: Success Factors

The example of THM Corporation shows that the diversity and relative nature of the various possible success criteria derive from four factors. First, there are many different kinds of success – for example, economic, strategic, or behavioral. Different theoretical perspectives vary in their focus on the effectiveness criteria of information systems. The economic perspective, for instance, focuses on cost-benefit analyses or returns on investment. Industrial economists propose measures such as return on assets or average growth. Strategic management researchers emphasize the importance of matching the information systems strategy with the organizational strategy.

Behavioral scientists often speak of user acceptance or decision-making quality when discussing information systems’ success. Second, the level of analysis is important. Information systems can support individual decision-making, but can also enable the competitive advantage of the organization. From the macro perspective, Information systems are judged by their ability to help the organization gain competitiveness, which will lead to higher returns on investment. From the micro perspective, knowledge workers require information to execute their tasks, so information systems are judged against the requirements of organizational members.

Organizational level measures tend to focus more on criteria such as return on asset measures, while individual-level indicators rely on measures such as system use, system satisfaction, or decision confidence. Evaluations tend to differ, depending on whether they are made by the users of information systems, by information systems specialists, or by the executives responsible for supporting the investment. Effectiveness measures essentially have no objective referent. They are mental abstractions used by individuals to interpret their understanding of the situation. The outcome of information systems employment may be a result of opposing forces that enable and constrain information systems to have the desired effects in the social context in which it is being implemented.

Works Cited

Badiru, A.B. Quantitative Models for Project Planning, Scheduling and Control. Quorum Books, 2002.

Burkun, S. The Art of Project Management. O’Reilly Media; 1 ed, 2005.

Frame, J.D. The New Project Management: Tools for an Age of Rapid Change, Complexity, and Other Business Realities. Jossey-Bass, 2005.

Laudon, K. C. & Laudon, J. P. Management Information Systems: Managing the Digital Firm, 9th Edition, 2005.

Owens, I. Wilson, T. Information and Business Performance: A Study of Information Systems and Services in High Performing Companies. Bowker-Saur, 1996.

Senge, P. The Fifth Discipline. New York: Doubleday, 1990.