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Essentials of IS Success


Jordan recognized that two areas were needed to address for the information infrastructure: improved information to enable the company to streamline, integrate, and time-synchronize operating processes; and the redesign of management processes.  Any information technology project would only success with effective integration of the organizational information infrastructure.

The Scott-Morton model was used to evaluate the information infrastructure because there needed to be balance in the individual skills/roles, management processes, technology, structure, and strategy if an organisation is to take advantage of opportunities from information system that serve business requirements at all levels (Warwick IMS study notes, 2002).

Individual skills/roles

Do individuals have the skills to take advantage of information systems?

Jordan recognized the importance of learning how to use information to manage the business and create a shared understanding of the direction the company needed to take.  Although there was insufficient information showing skills training and education were introduced, benefits did occur.  For example, the managers learnt to look at the business as a whole and the focus had totally changed to market-oriented rather than functional excellence.  Both field and headquarters personnel accepted the HHC overwhelmingly and most sales people believed it made their jobs easier and more productive.  Hence, the infrastructure was able to turn the company to a learning organization that individualsˇ¦ skills were enhanced.

Management processes

Do management processes support organisational learning or is the focus on control?

Jordan adopted a modular and evolutionary approach for the change process and it proved that it was natural and manageable, which supported organizational learning rather than focused on control. 

The process of assimilation was important for the success of the infrastructure.  According to the IT Assimilation Model (Applegate et al, 1999), Frito-Lay had successfully passed through phase 1 and 2.  In phase 1, Jordan made a right decision to invest and project initiation with attention and commitment.  In phase 2, Jordan allowed technological learning and adaptation through user-defined pilot projects.  However, it seemed that phase 3 was under stagnation as there was no appropriate systems and controls to ensure that the technologies were utilized efficiently and economically, and could be maintained over a long period of time as they diffused throughout the organization.  For example, managers were overloaded with information for proper use.

Technology

How versatile is the existing technology and what opportunities are there to introduce new technologies?

The company was originally operated at different areas with different speeds and varying levels of effectiveness.  The information technology supporting the business operations also showed the same varying levels of sophistication and effectiveness.  The island of automation provided only limited benefit.  Therefore, the merging of excellent, up-to-date systems and old, outdated systems and manual processes optimised across the whole business rather than to optimise each function.  This could also create infrastructure with greater efficiency, faster response and more powerful analysis of data across functions.

Structure

Do the organisational structures enable or inhibit the introduction of information systems? 

Jordan recognized that the building of information infrastructure required redesigning the organization structure.  The original structure inhibited the introduction of information systems.  By 1990, Jordan led the company to an organisational restructuring to a hybrid structure with a set of planning and control systems that would be timed to the business information cycle and would reflect the need for more rapid business decision-making such as the trimester planning process.  This infrastructure with hybrid structure realigned organizational culture to be company initiative, reduced operations and cycle time. 

Strategy

What is the business trying to achieve and what part can information systems play?

The business was trying to adopt micro-marketing strategy and attain achievements in three areas: recast the vision for a change as a corporate-wide initiative rather than just a field sales initiative; create an organization with both centralized and decentralized structure; and provide the information to support decentralized decision-making with centralized control.  The HHC and the new infrastructure played important role in the achievements as it enabled all employees to obtain access to timely and relevant integrated information to support the micro-marketing strategy, while the management could maintain certain control through the new systems.  The new infrastructure also realigned new culture towards corporate-wide initiatives.


References

Applegate, Lynda M; McFarlan, F Warren and McKenney, James L (1999), Corporate Information Systems Management, 5th Edition, Irwin McGraw-Hill, MA

Laudon, Kenneth C and Laudon, Jane P (1998), Management Information Systems: New Approaches to Organization & Technology, 5th edition, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey

Warwick IMS Study Notes (2002), University of Warwick.


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