Essence Of Information Technology Landscape In Business Organizations

Any manufacturing organization would ideally have its Vision and Mission to guide them through its future course.

But does the organization have an Information Technology vision in place. Some organization may question this need, they may feel that the organizational focus should be on its core competency and Information Technology just plays a role of an enabler. But on the contrary such organizations are in greater need of an Information Technology vision. The role of Information Technology is that of a business driver in today’s competitive environment and not just an enabler.

Now lets analyse the need and essence of Information Technology Landscape for a business organization.

Consider an XYZ organization, which after half a decade of existence had entered a phase of business growth. Till date the role of Information Technology would have been that of a support system. My experience says that most of the organizations in such a scenario tend to focus on their core competency and grabbing more business opportunities, and almost no attention is given to the key role Information Technology can play.

Keeping in mind the type of competition and constraints the business organization faces, like for example high demand and need for rapid increase in manufacturing capabilities, need of sizeable investments to enter new markets or more focus for business tie ups, its apparently difficult to focus and believe that Information Technology can be a business driver. But the fact of the matter is, it really is. So the question is how can it be done?

The organization requirements can be divided majorly into functional requirements (very specific to the industry domain), routine transactional requirements, content management requirements, workflow requirements and Infrastructural requirements.

Now the organization has to have an Information Technology Landscape plan, based on its current and future business landscape.

There can be phase wise implementation of the Information Technology landscape plan. Start with covering the domain functionalities (R&D, F&D etc), the benefits would be evident in this case. Followed by transactional systems (like ERP) and then content management systems. The benefits of such systems will be realized over a period of time, ideally after the stabilization period.

For workflow systems, they have to be built at an enterprise level. These workflow systems are of critical importance to an organization. The effectiveness of above systems can be greatly hampered by an inefficient workflow system in place.

Information Technology infrastructure is an on going process in an Information Technology landscape implementation. Any effective technology solution would have to be right collaboration of business software applications and hardware infrastructure.

The most critical of all is to always have an Integration Route, which the Information Technology landscape implementation strategy would follow. This well planned Integration Route is required for a holistic Information Technology perspective.

Gradually as the Information Technology landscape builds up in the organization, there will corresponding benefits in terms of business process automation, business process management, and finally leading to effective knowledge management with in the organization. In such a scenario, the Information Technology acts as a business driver; there onwards Information Technology perspective will be part of any future organizational strategy in scaling business growth.

How Information Systems Help Organizations Meet Strategic Business Objectives

It’s inconceivable for businesses to operate without significant investments in systems. E-Commerce firms like eBay, Google and Amazon will simply vanish without employing information systems. Service industries like finance, real estate, insurance, education, medicine and travel will cease to operate if not bolstered with information systems. Likewise, retail giants such as Sears and manufacturing firms like General electric and General Motors bank upon information systems to thrive and prosper.

Tall buildings with elevators, offices, and telephones were used to be the foundation of business in 20th century but information technology can solely determine the success or failure of a firm in 21st century. It’s not possible for a firm to implement corporate strategies and achieve corporate goals without efficient use of information system. A company decision like launching new products or enhancing market-share depends on the quality and kinds of information systems in the organization.

Specifically, business firms invest profoundly in MIS in order to achieve six strategic business objectives:

  • Customer and supplier intimacy
  • Operational excellence
  • Competitive advantage
  • Improved decision making
  • New products and services and business models
  • Survival

Customer and Supplier Intimacy

Knowing millions of offline and online customers can bring windfall gains to the company which is why companies invest a significant amount of time and money to enhance intimacy with the customers. MIS and technologies help companies great deal to engage with customers.

Operational Excellence

Businesses continuously better the efficiency of their business in order to achieve higher profitability. MIS and technologies are amongst the most effective solution available to a company to ameliorate operations.

Competitive advantage

When a firm provides superior products at low cost and respond to customers in lesser time fetch higher sales and revenue to the company.

Improved decision making

Right information at right time is required to make an informed decision. But if a company counts on best guesses, forecasts and luck, the result will be misallocation of resources, poor response time and over or under production of goods and services.

New products and services and business models

MIS and technologies enable firms to create new products and services as well as new business models. A business model explains how a company produces, delivers and sells a service or product to create wealth.

Survival

Firms also invest in information technologies to meet the necessities of doing business. For instance, In the New York region introduced the first automated teller machines in 1977.