The Challenge of Change
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The Challenge of Change

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The Challenge of Change. The Challenge of Change. A major feature of information technology is the changes that IT brings. Those who speak of a revolution from technology are really talking about change. Business and economic conditions change all the time; a revolution is a discontinuity, an abrupt and dramatic series of changes in the natural evolution of economies. In the early days of technology, change was gradual and often not particularly significant. The advent of personal computers accelerated the pace of change, and when the Internet became available for profit-making activities around 1992, change became exponential and revolutionary. The Challenge of Change. To a great extent, your study of information technology is a study of change. In what way can and does technology change the world around us? The impact of IT is broad and diverse; some of the changes it brings are profound. Information technology has demonstrated an ability to change or create the following: Click the shapes to read about some of the changes technology brings. The Challenge of Change. Within organizations: Create new procedures, workflows, workgroups, the knowledge base, products and services, and communications. Organizational structure: Facilitate new reporting relationships, increased spans of control, local decision rights, supervision, the formation of divisions, geographic scope, and "virtual" organizations. Inter-organizational relations: Create new customer-supplier relations, partnerships, and alliances. The economy:
Alter the nature of markets through electronic commerce, disintermediation,
new forms of marketing and advertising, partnerships and alliances, the cost
of transactions, and modes of governance in customer-supplier relationships.
G
Education:
Enhance "on campus" education through videoconferencing, e-mail, electronic meetings, groupware, and electronic guest lectures.
Facilitate distance learning through e-mail, groupware, and videoconferencing.
Provide access to vast amounts of reference material; facilitate collaborative projects independent of time zones and distance.
E
National development:
Provide small companies with international presence and facilitate commerce.
Make large amounts of information available, perhaps to the consternation of certain governments.
Present opportunities to improve education.
National development:
Provide small companies with international presence and facilitate commerce.
Make large amounts of information available, perhaps to the consternation of certain governments.
Present opportunities to improve education.


Transforming Organisations
How is information technology changing organizations? One impact of IT is its use to develop new organizational structures
The organization that is most likely to result from the use of these variables is the T-Form or Technology-Form organization, an organization that uses IT to become highly efficient and effective.
The firm has a flat structure made possible by using e-mail and groupware
(programs that help coordinate people with a common task to perform) to increase the span of control and reduce managerial hierarchy. Employees coordinate their work with the help of electronic communications and linkages.
Click to access a diagram of the T-Form Organization
Link to Diagram 1.1 of T-Form Organisation


The T-Form Organisation Continued
Managers delegate tasks and decision making to lower levels of management, and information systems make data available at the level of management where it is needed to make decisions.
In this way, the organization provides a fast response to competitors and
customers. Some members of the organization primarily work remotely without
having a permanent office assigned
The company's technological infrastructure features networks of computers.
Individual client workstations connect over a network to larger computers that
act as servers.
The organization has an internal Intranet, and internal client computers are connected to the Internet so members of the firm can link to customers, suppliers, and others with whom they need to interact.


The T-Form Organisation Continued
They can also access the huge repository of information contained on the Internet and the firm's own Intranet.
Technology-enabled firms feature highly automated production and electronic
information handling to minimize the use of paper and rely extensively on images
and optical data storage. Technology is used to give workers jobs that are as complete as possible.
In the office, companies will convert assembly line operations for processing documents to a series of tasks that one individual or a small group can perform from a workstation.
The firm also adopts and uses electronic agents, a kind of software robot, to perform a variety of tasks over networks.


The T-Form Organisation Continued
These organizations use communications technology to form temporary task
forces focused on a specific project. Technology like e-mail and groupware facilitate the work of these task forces.
These temporary workgroups may include employees of customers, suppliers, and/or partner corporations; they form a virtual team that meets electronically to work on a project.
The organization is linked extensively with customers and suppliers. There are
numerous electronic customer/supplier relationships.
These linkages increase responsiveness, improve accuracy, reduce cycle times, and reduce the amount of overhead when firms do business with each other.
The T-Form Organisation Continued
Suppliers access customer computers directly to learn of their needs for materials, then deliver raw materials and assemblies to the proper location just as they are needed
Customers pay many suppliers as the customer consumes materials, dispensing with invoices and other documents associated with a purchase transaction.
The close electronic linking of companies doing business together creates virtual
components where traditional parts of the organization appear to exist, but in
reality exist in a novel or unusual manner.


The T-Form Organisation Continued
The traditional inventory of raw materials and subassemblies is likely not to be owned or stored by a manufacturing firm. This virtual inventory actually exists at suppliers' locations.
Possibly the subassemblies will not exist at all; suppliers will build them just in time to provide them to the customer.
From the customer's standpoint, however, it appears that all needed components are in inventory because suppliers are reliable partners in the production process.
This model of a technology-enabled firm shows the extent to which managers
can apply IT to transforming the organization.
The firms that succeed in the turbulent environment of the twenty-first century will take advantage of information technology to create innovative organizational structures.

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