ChessOrganisation of the Information Systems area

Within the sphere of strategic planning of information systems, at some point one must decide on the organisational model to be adopted in order to implement the plans.

If the aim is to achieve appropriate alignment with the business, it is vital that not only the scale but also the capabilities of the members of the information systems department should be consistent with the key capabilities demanded by the business strategy.

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If the technology sphere is a reflection of the products/services provided by the company, and if the technology competencies reflect the key competencies to be developed, then the structure and capabilities of the individuals employed must correspond to these concerns.

As with other areas, there are different options, including a joint decision within the Information Systems sphere to be reached in the planning process: the degree of outsourcing.

As this is a matter of options, criteria must be applied to establish the business strategy once again, and as usual there is no one size which fits all, as the outsourcing decision depends to a great extent on this strategy and the service market which would meet the company’s potential needs.

Expectations, training and change management

“Technology is a weapon for the benefit of the business strategy”

A typical ERP implementation project in the USA is budgeted at around 20.5 million dollars [1], and although this figure would not be applicable to the typical Spanish company, the proportion of the components involved could well apply. One conclusion drawn from this component analysis is that 36% of the cost of a large-scale project at a company is allocated to training, expectation management and changeover support. The alternative, in other words a failure to allocate either economic resources or management efforts, will lead to a fruitless and ongoing struggle which will ultimately prove expensive and frustrating both for those wishing to see their expectations fulfilled, and those attempting to satisfy them.

Technology is a weapon for the benefit of the business strategy. It is not a panacea; it does not offer competitiveness or improve processes in itself. It is a facilitator which must be properly administered by and for the people who belong to the organisation.


[1] Forrester Research (1998)

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