Consumers and suppliers are now highly dependent on information technology so they expect the same from their partners. Likewise, businesses are under pressure to remain competitive even under harsh operating conditions such as small budgets. Information technology is the platform for merging these divergent needs and is therefore indispensable in the business arena.
How management in my company expects IT to improve business
The most basic level of expectation within my company is cost reduction (Prewitt, 2004) Information technology facilitates the automation of recurring tasks such that the company’s employees can dwell on core functions. In the end, the firm may not need to employ so many staff members because most of the repetitive work is already being handled and this translates to cost reduction. One example in this area is distribution and document creation. Such activities like report writing no longer need to take as much precedence as they did before the incorporation of IT into business practices.
My company also expected improved communication within the organization. Instant exchanges between customers and staff, staff and staff, or staff and administrators were expected to dramatically improve through the use of information technology. Getting feedback would be an easier task through this process. It was also expected that the organization could surpass geographical barriers to communicate effectively with stakeholders. In so doing, the company can correspond with suppliers or even consumers in a part of the world that would normally not have been accessible. IT, therefore, overcomes the hurdles that traditional communication channels cannot.
The firm also believed that the employment of IT would allow them to meet and even exceed consumer needs. This would increase its competitiveness and eventually its profitability. It believed that timely deliveries were one essential part of satisfying buyers and to do so, the company had to halve waiting periods in between orders. Consumers also needed to track the progress of their orders and IT would assist in achieving that. Operational efficiencies can also trickle down to the consumer who appreciates lower prices. These are only possible when production itself is carried out properly. The company also expected that customer service would be better because feedback could be enhanced. All these improvements could be translated to better company performance (Regan and O’Connor, 2002).
Information access is another important area that was expected to improve through IT. Here, managers knew that to facilitate fast decisions, staff had to be equipped with all the information they needed. When information access is fast then the company’s representatives could move swiftly and this could cause them to seize various opportunities presented to them at any one time. Brand managers are expected to be informed about consumer trends, sales personnel can increase response times to clients and business intelligence can be shared easily between vendors. Furthermore, it was expected that fast information access would assist in better team outputs by concerned individuals. All the latter were supposed to be the benefits of efficient information access.
How my company’s business IT is not/ is meeting business needs within this organization
In my company, one of the biggest challenges is redefining the perception of IT as a technical rather than a people-based process. Some managers tend to focus too much on the practical aspects without necessarily remembering that no IT business solution can work in isolation. It needs commitment and dedication from employees or the people affected by it. To this end, the people issues essential in making IT successful are easily forgotten.
Some employees have even become frustrated by the lack of collaboration and have started developing a negative attitude towards IT-based solutions. Another people-based issue that may be blocking full technology success in the organization is the lack of involvement of all implementers in decision-making. When internet-based or information technology-based solutions are being developed, all major decision-makers need to be made part of the process. Their contributions in terms of the debate will play a large part in determining the success of the solution. In my organization, there is still a top-down approach to IT. The people most affected by an IT solution are not involved in system development and this could be seriously changing the effectiveness of the process (Prewitt, 2004).
In instances where a certain type of solution requires training, my company may delay a little more than usual to get everyone on board. Additionally, implementers may have a hard time trying to convince top management of the need for additional funds in the company budget for IT training. Because of this, process changeovers often take longer than they are supposed to and this wastes valuable time needed to do productive work. In the short term, this may lead to a diminished ability to meet business needs.
My organization also seems to have a particularly challenging time trying to reorganize business processes. Some solutions have been implemented so quickly without rethinking how best to change the business structure. Employees have found themselves trapped in complex systems and this has substantially reduced their ability to yield effective results. Several opportunities to simplify processes still have not been harnessed within the company and this is dragging them down. These actions can be likened to the proverbial ‘new wine in old wine skins. Failure to make drastic changes, in the beginning, could be hampering the potential for change presently.
On the other hand, the organization has still managed to meet several business needs that are affected by IT. For example, the organization has invested heavily in ensuring that its external stakeholders are involved in the business applications. The firm’s suppliers have been working hand in hand with the company to ascertain that expected results are dully met.
This organization needs to be lauded for focusing on external partners because one cannot pride oneself in being a top-notch businessman if one possesses inferior customer networks or inferior supplier connections. Getting input from suppliers and customers has contributed greatly towards meeting some of these stated business needs. One of the methods the organization has used to get consumers on board is feedback systems. It frequently asks for consumers’ opinions on new IT solutions. Negative feedback is usually given the seriousness it deserves as the organization always tries to put the customers’ concerns first (KuoWei, 2005).
Information technology does have its fair share of hurdles but these can be easily overlooked when one considers other benefits like better customer satisfaction and improved company reputation. My chosen organization is already witnessing these benefits but is yet to fully embrace them. Some of the challenges that have impeded it include top-down approaches and perception of IT as a technical process alone. However, it has benefitted from IT because of supplier–business cooperation. It has also collaborated with customers to determine whether their solutions are working. This has changed the way they do business.
Regan, E. & O’Connor, B. (2002). End-user information systems: Implementing individual and work group technologies. (2nd ed.) New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Prewitt, E. (2004). How to succeed under pressure. Framingham, 18(1), 1.
KuoWei, L. (2005). Managerial thinking in the 21st century. American Academy of business journal, 6(1), 195-200.