Usually, in my classes of “Information Systems” at EADA Business School (www.eada.edu), in the Executive MBA, Executive Marketing Management, Executive Operations Management and General Management programs, at the end of the last session I give to students a brief resume of key aspects I consider every ‘non-technical manager’ should know and consider about “Information Technologies”.
They are 12 key concepts I try to work during sessions in order to thought about the role of Managers in front of IT.
We are not talking to IT Managers (CIO), but the “Functional Managers” (Marketing, Operations, CEO,…) and the have a huge responsibility, also, in “Information Systems / Information Technologies” selection, adoption and exploitation.
I want to share with you these 12 key concepts
- Information Systems (IS) comprises all the processes, policies and resources involved in gathering, storing, processing and transforming information, so that it can be used by organizations in their decision making processes. Information Technologies (IT) are all the tools (hardware and software) which help us to improve and optimize these systems.
- Information Systems form a part of the company's infrastructure (value chain) and they need to be coordinated and balanced with the organization’s Planning Systems, Control and Compensation and Incentives.
- Information Systems enable us to record transactions (information gathering) and constitute a support for planning and the setting of objectives, the design and carrying out of actions in order to accomplish these objectives and to control the results of these actions.
- Information Technologies are applied in all the departments and areas of the company, both at a specific departmental level and at a business processes level (interdepartmental).
- These tools are used at all levels of the organization: operational (information gathering, recording...) tactical (monitoring initiatives, information analysis...) and strategic (decision making).
- Information Technologies (IT) constitute a source of improved productivity inside companies, automating structured processed (logistics and distribution, manufacturing...) and enhancing people's capacities in non-structured processes (meetings, collaboration and team work, knowledge management...). The incorporation of technologies is not in itself a guarantee for improved productivity unless it is accompanied by the corresponding investment in training and change management.
- IT’s play an important role as a source of innovation (the product as such) and/or as a support to innovation in the services and products of organizations.
- IT tools may be classified into business technologies (support to business processes, such as ERP), into function technologies (for specific tasks such as office automation tools or CAD) and into networking technologies (which facilitate interaction between people, such as e-mail, instant messaging, blogs, wikis...)
- Quite often, the IT/IS/ISO department acts as an agent for change inside organizations due to the impact it has on the organizational processes of companies.
- The Internet has changed the way we interact with each other as well as many corporate business models. Web 2.0 has provided a new way of working and communicating between people and companies and it has both external applications (communication, marketing, customer loyalty, listening to the market...) and internal applications (collaboration, communication...) in different areas and departments (training, HR, communication, quality, marketing and sales, project management...).
- Company managers and administrators cannot relinquish their responsibility to IT’s and must leader three main functions in this field: helping to select the most appropriate Its for the business, making sure that professionals adopt and use these applications and ensuring they are put to proper use.
- There are a series of decisions on IT which we cannot leave solely in the hands of the “IT Department” (“Information Systems” or “Information Systems Organization”) and these must be taken in line with the organization’s needs and business strategies.
Do you agree with me?