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Lecture 11
IS Leadership and the User
Side of IS
MGMT 6180 - © 2012 Houman Younessi
Lecture 11
IS Leadership
In order to understand the type of leadership appropriate for the IS function, we
must first understand the possible roles IS may assume in a firm. There are
four distinct role types recognizable:
IS as business support function
IS as a production “factory” function
IS as a change enabler, “turn-around function”
IS as a strategic component
MGMT 6180 - © 2012 Houman Younessi
Lecture 11
IS Leadership
IS as Support Function
This is the traditional, “old-school” view of IS.
Most organizations start here. In such a role,
IS is deemed as a tool to support and
sustain current business operations and is a
subservient function to not only the
enterprise strategy but also its operation
direction.
In such enterprises, despite the widespread
use of IS/IT, the firm may not be inherently
dependent on the advantages it provides.
Many professional offices, small to medium
commercial organizations and the like still
fall into this category.
MGMT 6180 - © 2012 Houman Younessi
Lecture 11
IS Leadership
IS as an Production, “Factory”, Function
In this view, IS is deemed as an
integral and critical but still
operational aspect of the
enterprise. IS and particularly IT
becomes the central hub and the
backbone of the operation, its
“production facility” so to speak.
Examples might be stock
exchanges, airlines, order and
shipment management firms.
MGMT 6180 - © 2012 Houman Younessi
Lecture 11
IS Leadership
IS as a Change Enabler (Turn-around Catalyst)
In this view, IS is a vehicle for
business transformation.
Emerging IS technologies would
be implemented to reposition a
firm and transform how they do
business fundamentally.
Examples include Geico, IBM
Domino’s Pizza
MGMT 6180 - © 2012 Houman Younessi
Lecture 11
IS Leadership
IS as a Strategic Component
In this view, IS is a vehicle for
strategic positioning and gaining
of strategic advantage .
Information systems may or may
not be the core business of the
enterprise
Examples include TD Ameritrade,
Google, eBay, Amazon, Walmart
MGMT 6180 - © 2012 Houman Younessi
Lecture 11
IS Leadership
Transition and Maturity
Enterprises do not stay within one
framework forever. Organizations change
and it seems that they mature towards a
strategic view and integration of IS.
We must examine:
1) The level of centrality and criticality of
the IS function to the operation and as
such need for availability and
responsiveness of the IS-based
technology, and,
2) The level of criticality of the IS to the
future, growth and positioning of the
enterprise, and as such need for IT
innovation.
MGMT 6180 - © 2012 Houman Younessi
Lecture 11
IS Leadership
Transition and Maturity
Responsiveness
Factory
Strategic
Support
Turnaround
Dental clinic
Nasdaq
IBM
Walmart
Geico
Domino’s
Innovation
MGMT 6180 - © 2012 Houman Younessi
Lecture 11
IS Leadership
States of IS Strategy Formulation
Organizations and their IS function may formulate their IS strategy in a
progression of stages/states:
The burning platform state -- in which demand
for IS support exceeds supply and where IS is
engaged in reacting to crises, repairs, and
competing critical demands. IS is a quandary
and at times is perceived as a threat and a sink
hole for cash.
The support role state -- in which demands
for IS services have been controlled,
captured, categorized, and prioritized. IS
becomes a dependable support function
MGMT 6180 - © 2012 Houman Younessi
Lecture 11
IS Leadership
States of IS Strategy Formulation
The alignment state -- where IS recognizes
and utilizes the organization's business
strategy as the basis for opportunity
prioritization and the design of its
organizational structure, processes, and
infrastructures.
The linked business/IS strategy state -- in
which IS and business strategies are aligned
through co-development and the IT strategy
is embedded in the business strategy.
MGMT 6180 - © 2012 Houman Younessi
Lecture 11
IS Leadership
States of IS Strategy Formulation
The IT-enabled business transformation
state -- where industry-altering
technological concepts are pursued and
become strategic for IS and the business.
The IS-led business/IS strategy state -where all or major components of
business strategy are identified and
contributed by IS.
MGMT 6180 - © 2012 Houman Younessi
Lecture 11
IS Leadership
Leadership of the Support State
Business focus tends to be on the core business with some incremental
process improvement. The major business objectives are to deliver the
requisite at minimum cost. Performance measure are on cost and traditional
budget and service quality control. Corporate involvement is limited and is of
supervisory nature.
The IS leadership is viewed as functionaries
MGMT 6180 - © 2012 Houman Younessi
Lecture 11
IS Leadership
Leadership of the Factory State
In this state, IS’s vision is longer-term and is aimed to support and extend
core business while staying with or ahead of competition. The mantra is
increased productivity and profit contribution. As such, revenue and profit
target as opposed to cost targets are pursued through operating efficiencies.
Infrastructure and system complexity becomes a major technical issue.
Performance measures are in terms of not only cost but profits, asset
leverage and system and service quality, productivity and efficiency.
The IS leadership is viewed as business-informed technocrats
MGMT 6180 - © 2012 Houman Younessi
Lecture 11
IS Leadership
Leadership of the Turnaround State
Vision remains medium term with short-term targets aligned with the turnaround
horizon of the enterprise. IS’s focus is on identifying those technology trends that
can provide significant business process change in line with the turnaround
objectives. Speed of deployment and effectiveness of the opportunities identified
are the major business challenges. In addition to the traditional performance
measures of cost, revenue and profit; speed of deployment, and ability to add ISbased momentum to the turn-around effort are at play.
The IS leadership is viewed as entrepreneur
MGMT 6180 - © 2012 Houman Younessi
Lecture 11
IS Leadership
Leadership of the Strategic State
Vision is long-term, targets range from long to immediate-term. Business focus
is to build new business opportunities based on new IS technologies as they
emerge, use IS to scale the business and increase market share, or use IS to
drastically improve the way objectives are met vis a vis the rest of the industry.
Key business challenge is to manage growth and stay in lockstep with
corporate strategy particularly when new and attractive technology becomes
available. Performance measures are profitable growth, asset leverage,
market-share gain, net present value.
The IS leadership is viewed as a business visionary.
MGMT 6180 - © 2012 Houman Younessi
Lecture 11
The User Side of IS
MGMT 6180 - © 2012 Houman Younessi