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The role of information technology systems in a business environment can be classified into four broad categories. These categories include function performance, communication through networking, management and enterprise roles.

Information technology provides commercial and industrial systems for businesses. These systems enable businesses to function effectively and efficiently.

Function IT Systems

Function IT systems are applications that allow individuals to function effectively in the workplace. Examples of common IT systems that enhance workplace functions are word processor applications, spreadsheet applications, statistical analysis software and computer aided design (CAD) programs. Employees can work and perform their task individually or collectively using these specialized software technologies.

Network IT Systems

Network IT systems allow effective communication within and outside an organisation. Examples range from simple e-mail (electronic mail) to blogs, wiki sites, IM (instant messaging) and electronic conferencing systems. These types of technologies promote interaction and collaboration among working groups and also facilitate quick information flow at all levels.

Management IT systems

Management IT systems(MITS) can be defined as planned applications that are designed to process data and transform the processed data into useful information for management decision making.

It should be noted that Management Information systems (MIS) are subsets of Enterprise IT systems (this is explained later on in this article). However, because of the vital role MIS play in a business environment, it is considered here as a major information technology for businesses.

In a typical scenario, management operates at different levels and so it is possible to apply management information systems at these varied levels.

Basic examples of management information systems are human resources management systems, financial management information systems and marketing management information systems.

Enterprise IT Systems

Enterprise IT systems are technologies designed to integrate and manage entire business processes for large organisations. Typically, enterprise application software is hosted on large servers over a computer network. Transmission of information can either be internal or external.

Examples of enterprise information systems may be accounting software, health care specific software or Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Another good example of software application within this category is Customer relationship management software (CRM).

The role of Information technology in business is wide and varied. It can be said that IT provides a huge range of capabilities that enhance management performance at all levels. It is therefore important to understand the four major categories of IT systems and their functions and roles in a business environment.

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The Power of Information Technology in Business Transformation


The impact that  Information   Technology  (IT) has on the ways  businesses  are conducted is undeniably gigantic in proportions. With the advent of the Internet, conventional methods of doing businesses have been altered to a great extent as evidenced by the emergence of e-commerce. In addition, the ever pervasive use of World Wide Web for a myriad of applications also triggers the growth in IT. Boundaries of time and space are transcended and “the world is flat” now. Globalisation ensues and a corollary that follows is even more intense competition among  business  entities. Such is the eloquent testimony of the power of IT to transform  businesses !

With the awareness of such enormous influence of IT on  businesses , this naturally calls for a greater need to focus on a firm’s IT and strategic management. Of particular concern is the use of IT on strategic management. In view of this, the role of  Information   Technology  has expanded, changing its role as a traditional  information  system function to one that is increasingly a general management concern. Three important concepts related to this observation should be given attention. These are strategic management,  Information   Technology  (IT) and Management  Information  System (MIS). The descriptions that follow explain the relationship between these concepts.

The first relationship is that between  Information   Technology  and Management  Information  System. The traditional view of  Information   Technology  is such that  Information   Technology  is seen as a function through which data are processed. In this perspective, systems merely serve the  information  needs of various managerial roles. Hardware and software support are accordingly important for this function. Strategic planning involves making decisions that are unstructured. Consequently, this renders the use of information systems for such decisions impossible as the data then are only suitable for making decisions that are structured in nature.

The second relationship is that between strategic management and Management Information System. In reference to the aforesaid relationship explained above, it is noted that this relationship was prevalent until the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was at this juncture of time that the need to tailor the information system to that of the organizational strategic planning arose. The implication is a new perspective devoted to strategic management and Management Information System. One proponent of this relationship is McKinsey & Co, who published a report titled Unlocking the Computer’s Profit Potential in 1968. The report recognised the importance of this relationship, thus urging managers to have a renewed perspective on the role of computers such that they should not be regarded as merely data processing resources. Instead, they ought to be viewed as providing the means towards supporting the organization’s strategies.

This gives rise to the distinction between Strategic Information System and the more operationally inclined Management Information System. Some examples of Strategic Information Systems operating at real companies include SABRE reservation system (American Airlines), ASAP-order entry system (American Hospital Supply Co), Economost order entry system (McKesson Corp.) and APOLLO-travel agency reservation system (United Airlines).

Essentially, Strategic  Information  System achieves its objectives through a number of mechanisms. Two mechanisms of particular interest are reconfiguration of the  information  flows within an organization and development of inter-organizational systems that extend beyond the traditional standalone  information  system at each organization.

One basic concept behind reconfiguration of  information  flow is that of timeliness of  information . This implies that the flow of  information  is structured such that data are available when they are required. Consider the case of a strategic  information  system designed to collect data on flight bookings whereby the  information  is exchanged between the airline organization and its partnering ticketing agents and travel agents. By virtue of this  information  flow, the airline can inform the relevant ticketing agents and travel agents to modify the number of discounted seats available based on the current level of ticket sales. As for inter-organizational systems, this is basically self-explanatory.

The third relationship is that between strategic management and  Information   Technology . This relationship serves to emphasize the role of  Information   Technology  as one that influences the formulation of a firm’s strategy rather than merely supporting its operations. This is exemplified by Merrill Lynch as its strategy demonstrates that IT has the capability to enable the development of superior substitute products or services. Its Cash Management Account (CMA) system shows that IT has the ability to alter the way  businesses  are conducted in the financial industry.


Online Bachelor Degrees in Information Technology


A bachelor degree in  Information   technology  is an undergraduate degree that is three to five years in duration. The bachelor’s degree in IT focuses on computers and  technology  unlike the computer science degree where students are also required to study management and  information  theory. It also concentrates on  business  and communication applications of computing and there is added emphasis on areas such as e – commerce, e –  business  computing for  business  and  business   information   technology  undergraduate courses. Bachelor of Science in IT abbreviated as BSc. IT is usually conferred after a period of three to four years of undergraduate course of study in IT. Bachelor degrees in  Information   Technology  are abbreviated as BIT, BinfTech, BinfoTech or B.ICT.

In Australia, the bachelor of  information   technology  is a three year under graduate degree while in Canada; it’s a four year under graduate degree. In Malaysia, most of the private and public universities offer BIT degrees. In Netherlands and U.S, BIT degrees are awarded after four years with specialization in a certain field. In India, the bachelor of IT is a three year undergraduate degree course e.g. a degree program in IT is offered by Indira Gandhi National Open University, IGNOU at New Delhi in collaboration with a leading UK vocational qualification provider Edexcel.

The four year course is divided into nine trimesters and in the first two years, curriculum is provided by Edexcel. The successful completion of 2 years leads to the procurement of an award of BTEC HND (Higher National Diploma) in computing or computing and multimedia from Edexcel which is then followed by the IGNOU’S award of bachelor of IT degree.

Bachelor’s degree in  information   technology  is designed such that it will develop your technical and  business  skills which are highly valued by employers today. The specialization can be done on networking, web development, project management;  information  security etc. Students can specialize on any of the three basic areas such as programming, computer support, and network administration.

Some of the popular bachelor’s degrees in  information   technology  are:

  • B.S in  Information   Technology  or Network Administration
  • B.S in IT or Programming
  • BS in  Information   Technology 
  • B.S in IT or Database
  • B.S in IT – Web Management
  • B.S in IT – Database Administration
  • B.S in IT – General IT
  • B.S in IT or Multimedia and Animation


Information Technology in the Hospitality Industry


Traditionally, hotels were largely dependent on cards and paperwork at the front desk to keep in touch with old and current customers. They were largely at the mercy of the desires of vacationers to arrive, and on their own efforts and staff to be ready for potential surges or long droughts of occupancy. Luckily, such inconvenience and old-fashioned methods are long since past, thanks to advances in information technology.

The first area in which information technology became important was in regards to billing. Old-fashioned paper-based book-keeping was time consuming and inefficient, and was not able to quickly tell a hotel owner what the situation of their hotel was. Luckily, advances in modern record keeping allow for a hotel owner to keep track of what they have on hand, how much of it they have, and how much it costs. Accounting is complicated, but advanced accounting software, especially that tailored to the unique needs of the hospitality industry, helps to enable hotel owners to make smart decisions. Services and products that are no longer used can be quickly cut off to save money, while those who show demand can be increased in quantity or modified so as to reduce the heavy usage.

Most hotels are familiar with booking rooms and reservations over the phone, but information technology has expanded well beyond that. Hotels can now work with various online travel companies and booking services to have their rooms booked online, with no need to employ expensive staff. This also allows a hotel to advertise their open rooms and special deals directly to persons who would be most likely to purchase them, instead of wasting lots of money advertising in an unfocused manner. High quality information technology thus allows for better arrangement and management of bookings in order to allow a hotel to better maximize occupancy, and to know in advance when large groups or lean times are approaching. This allows a hotel manager to make plans regarding temporary staff, good times to renovate or expand, or other concerns, because he/she can determine the state of their hotel currently and for the next few months with only a few clicks on the computer.

The advances in information technology extend well beyond booking, however. The internet is essential for vacationers who wish to contact those back home, and for those traveling on business to get in touch with the office. Therefore, wireless internet has become a very common and very useful service for hotels to provide. Many business minded persons even require that a hotel offer internet services so that they can keep working while on the road. Luckily, such services are easy to provide, as all that is required is a wireless router and various devices to ensure the entire hotel is filled with the network. Modern advances in wireless internet also allow for the wireless internet provided for hotel visitors to be used to network the hotel itself. Security cameras, door locks, and other devices essential to hotel security and safety can be wired into the network, so that staff are alerted whenever a door is propped open, a fire alarm goes off or suspicious activity occurs. Though the hotel guests are wholly unaware of it, this sort of added safety and security keeps them safe, and in the event of a problem they will most certainly appreciate the benefits of such a system.

As advanced as it is, information technology in the hospitality industry is still going forward. Intelligent booking systems enable rapid and efficient guest feedback, along with the ability to predict who is likely to use the hotel again and inform them via e-mail or text messages when good deals arrive. Hotels with room service or other guest services can offer their menus online, allowing for quick updates, high-quality photos, and other ways to allow guests to see and order services before they even arrive. There are also advances in terms of payroll and inventory which make information technology a valuable asset for saving money and maximizing profits. The unique nature of the hospitality industry makes it a great place for new and emerging information technology, and forward-thinking hotel owners and managers are always looking for smart equipment and software to invest in.


Project Management – Why Information Technology Projects Fail


To understand the reason why Information Technology projects fail, it’s important to understand the roles people play in delivering IT projects.

The Players

The Business (often referred to as the project “sponsor”) drives the project. Whether it is a new application to improve business processes or upgraded hardware, the project itself is driven by The Business that generates revenue for the company.

Business Analysts are key players in IT project delivery. The Business knows what the end result should be, whether it is cost savings, improved revenue or any other desired result. Unfortunately, technical project staff generally understand their own specific disciplines and rarely grasp the big picture or business concepts that drive projects. The Business Analyst gains an understanding of the big picture and translates it into technical requirements so technical project staff can architect, design deploy and operate a solution.

Technical Project Staff are equipped and trained in specific disciplines. They are assigned technical tasks to perform as a component of the overall project delivery. Technical Project Staff rarely see the big picture or the end result of their efforts.

Project Managers manage all of the processes, resources, budgets, risks, schedules, tasks and communications necessary to complete the project. Project Managers interact with all of The Players.

Some Failure Points

Information Technology Projects fail for a number of reasons, and the responsibility for failure can fall on any or all of The Players.

The most obvious point of failure is in the gathering of business requirements. Often projects require restarts or multiple restarts due to the failure to gather business requirements accurately, changes in requirements (usually as business evolves) or change in scope.

Before blaming the Business Systems Analyst for this Information Technology Projects are managed by a Project Manager and driven by The Business who play key roles in project success. In addition, with every increase in productivity and ability to deliver complex systems and infrastructure, the bar is raised again on the definition of success to deliver even more complex systems faster, meeting customer functional and non-functional requirements with predictable schedules and costs.

Technical Project Staff are also accountable for targeting improvement to quality, cost control, productivity, and meeting customer expectations even as we see rapidly changing requirements and tools.

Additional failure points include:

Project Cancellation – There are a number of reasons why sponsors might cancel a project. Topping the list is a change in business direction.

Cost Overruns – At some point a project may become to costly to complete and it becomes time to cut your losses or restart.

Resource Constraints – One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is attempting to deliver information technology projects with existing staff, or to underestimate work effort and resources required to deliver the desired end result

Scheduling Issues – An Information Technology project must be carefully scheduled to insure the desired result is achievable in the required timeframe. I recently relocated a data center over the holiday season and found out the hard way that it takes much more time during that time of year to get things done,

Poor or Lack of Communication among The Players – All of The Players involved must be in the loop for a project to succeed. Regular communiques, email, phone calls, scheduled and ad-hoc meetings all contribute to keeping everyone up to date and moving in the right direction.

Poor Project Risk Management and Recovery – The risk of project failure must be clearly understood and business expectations managed. Failure to do so may result in failure, cancellation or worse.

See our article entitled “Five Things you Must do for your Project to Succeed” for useful information on making your projects succeed.

By Greg Pack


Impact of Information Technology on Organizational Performance


Investment in IT is usually aimed at improving productivity, profitability and quality of operations but Devaraj and Kohli (2003) were unable to identify the impact of  technology  on the organizational performance. Kelly (1994) found out that the reason for the inability to properly explain the relationship between  technology  and productivity was due to the aggregated unit of analysis at the organizational level which adds to the complexity of isolating the effects of any individual  technology . He noted that the chance of finding IT usage impacts depends on how detailed the analysis is. Devaraj and Kohli (2003) stated that examining the amount of money invested in IT may not yield accurate measure of IT effectiveness because levels of usage could be different across industries, firms and processes. In their own contribution to the fledging debate on IT usage impacts, Goodhue and Thompson (1995) explained that the fit between task and  technology  would have to be established before IT utilization can lead to individual performance impacts. In order to achieve task-  technology  fit, the  technology  and targeted application would have to be compatible as well as the availability of qualified users who will use the  technology  (Goodhue & Thompson, 1995). This proposition implies that IT infrastructure and the organization’s  business  goal would have to be in alignment.

The IT usage literature has shown that there is difference between voluntary use of IT and mandatoriness. Subjective norm was found to affect mandatory IT use whereas it was absent in voluntary use. Also, it was noted that pay off in  technology  do not usually occur instantaneously but are realized over time (Devaraj and Kohli, 2003; Hartwick and Barki, 1994). Peffers and Dos Santos (1996) conducted a survey on the impact of IT in banks and observed that cross-sectional studies that are done soon after applications are installed may not yield desired results by not finding benefits even if their is potential for large benefits. Their study indicated that impact of IT on performance became apparent after certain time lag and that benefits from IT accrued more to early adopters than late adopters.


Devaraj, S., & Kohli, R. (2003). Performance impacts of  Information   Technology :

Is actual usage the missing link. Management Science, 49(3), 273-289.

Goodhue, D.L, & Thompson, R. L. (1995). task  technology  fit and individual performance. MIS Quarterly, (19)2, 213-236.

Hartwick, J., & Barki, J. (1994). Explaining the role of user participation in  information  system use. Management Science. 40, 40-465.

Kelly, M. (1994). Productivity and  Information   Technology : The elusive connection. Management Science, 40(11), 1406-1425

Peffers, K., & Dos Santos, L. (1996). Performance effects of innovative IT applications over time. IEEE Trans Engrg. Management, 43(4), 381-392.


How Information Technology Is Beneficial


Information Technology is associated with developing, studying and designing the information related to computers. These days, the IT sector is growing very fast, and this field has good opportunities in Education and Business Industries. In business the up-to-date changes in the global market can be easily identified with the development of IT sector. The key factor of using information technology is the hardware devices and software applications. In solving complicated mathematical problems this sector plays an important role.

The role of IT service in the education field is well-known. The quick access provided by this sector helps the teachers and the students in studying the course material without difficulty. The online libraries and dictionaries helped the students to study the subject easily and to increase their grasping power. The addition of information technology in schools, colleges and universities helped the students to understand the basics of each subject well. Nowadays, most of the educational centers started with the online grading system, which even helped the parents to monitor their children’s performance.

The importance of IT service in the management field is relatively significant. It helped the managers in adopting the new technologies and to foresee the possible influence of this technology. The managers can be benefited with the automatically stored the secret information and the effectively arranged computer packages. It gives the appropriate information in front of their computer screen with just a click on the mouse. Even if, one has to handle these software programs in an efficient way, they need to undergo some effective training in information technology.


Small Business Owners Need Not Be Scared of Information Technology


This year Ford introduces inflatable seat belts for the rear seat occupants, Toyota Prius will sport the solar powered ventilation system, Chrysler will launch the adjustable air suspension and Mercedes-Benz will unveil its hybrid. You are not intimidated by all this high  technology , are you? You say, “Bring it on. I love the  technology  for the safety, fuel economy and convenience that it brings.”

Do You Find IT Intimidating  Technology ?

Then why is it that many small  businesses  are scared of  information   technology . No, I don’t have survey results to support that. But there is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest this is the case. In fact, it is so bad, IT seems to stand for Intimidating  Technology  for some of you. Yes, I agree that some of the IT technical jargon can be intimidating. But so will the automotive jargon. Sometimes the pace of change in IT itself can add to the intimidation factor. But then the pace of change in automotive markets is no less either.

Let us take the example of building your company web site. Some of you may be technically savvy and handle the whole thing soup-to-nuts. This is understandable – so do car enthusiasts. This is a very small percentage of the people who are either IT business owners or happen to be technically savvy.

But for the vast majority of you, when you buy a car, you intend to drive it. You focus on its features and the accessories you need and you are prepared for an occasional tire change or engine oil top-up. You don’t worry about how to fix the transmission or swap the engine. This is a healthy attitude to  technology , any  technology .

I find that some small  business  owners are so scared of  technology  that they either don’t have a web site at all or entrust the entire thing to the techies. You are the person most familiar with your  business . You know the nuances of your market and the right ways to communicate with your clients and prospects. You need to be familiar with the different tools available and their pros and cons and you need do the evaluation, just like you will test drive the car you intend to buy. Let the techie install, configure and secure the web site for you. Then you step in and create the content. Modern tools allow any non-technical person to create content and publish it to the web site. Let the techie then help with maintenance, support and upgrade.

Convert It To Indispensable  Technology !

When hybrid  technology  made its appearance in cars a few years ago, it gave a big boost to fuel efficiency. In a similar manner,  information   technology  is enabling you to reach markets inaccessible earlier, make you as effective on the road as you are in the office and automate your operations seamlessly from end-to-end. Approach IT just like buying a car. Instead of Intimidating  Technology , it will become Indispensable  Technology .


The Basics – How Information Technology and The Internet Has Changed How We Do Business


Introduction: If you’re of a technical nature, you may be expecting to see words like TCP/IP, NAT, Spanning Tree Algrorithm, Subnet Masking, Edge Routers, and Cisco IOS. However, this brief article is not meant for you, it is a concise view of how communication technology has evolved the business sector in the US an across the world.

Information technology (IT), is defined as “the use of technologies from computing, electronics, and telecommunications to process and distribute information in digital and other forms” (ref: Encarta Dictionary.) Information Technology, particularly in telecommunications-based company applications, helps a corporation triumph over time, geographic, and cost constraints to build and sustain a successful business. These three tactical capabilities of telecommunications networks emphasizes how several e-business applications can help an organization capture and provide information quickly to end users at remote locations as a relatively cost effective solution, as well as supporting its strategic company objectives. Using telecommunications technology can bring together not only employees, customers, consultants, subcontractors, and suppliers, but hopefully new potential customers! Some details of the specific areas how communication technology brings value to a company and supports greater profitability:

  • Time Constraints-Eliminated:

    Provide requested information on a real-time basis to remote users (these can be internal company staff or existing, potential customers.) If you are using a Point-of-Sale operation, credit card approval without hesitation, thus getting closer to a paperless operation. International travel does not have to be in your plans, as this technology can replace these gatherings. You no longer have to spend unproductive hours in airports or suffer jetlag upon arrival/return.

  • Prohibitive Expenses- Removed:

    Minimize the cost to the corporation for long distance calls, international calling plans, or pay per use video conferencing sites. You may also find the need NOT to purchase that Video Conferencing Equipment and large conference table! Using more COTS communication techniques, utilizing the Internet, can be a very cost effective solution for many companies, vs. the cost of more traditional means of communication.

  • Geographic Constraints-Nonexistent:

    Present information about business transactions from remote locations. Use the Internet to receive customer orders from your sales staff around the world to a central company database. Merge this information into your order processing and/or inventory control application without human intervention. This approach provides enhanced customer service by eliminating additional delay in processing customer orders and reduces the time between shipment and invoicing, for improved cash flow. Using this technology can remove the need for costly business trips, or collaborative meetings with clients.

Strategic Capabilities e-Business Examples Business Value

The evolving trend in computing and telecommunications market is the volatile growth of the Internet.

The Internet has become the principal and most significant network identified to date, and has migrated into a global information superhighway. The Internet is continually intensifying, as more and more businesses and other organizations (and their users), computers, and networks join this global society. The interconnection of thousands of network routers, switches and other equipment provides the means for millions of computer systems and users around the globe can communicate to each other. These computers are owned by of business, universities, clients and joint business partners. The Internet has also become a key stage for a rapidly expanding list of information, services and business applications, including electronic-commerce systems supporting the public to purchase items directly from the vendor.

Websites offer information and support direct ordering systems for electronic commerce between businesses, their suppliers and consumers. E-commerce websites usually offer all the products and services of regular retailers. Many businesses have setup business-to-business transaction accounts to provide immediate confirmation of purchase orders or inform the buyer of the status of their order. The Internet also provides “discussion forums” formed by thousands of special-interest newsgroups. You can contribute in discussions or post messages on any of these topics for other users, to which they can read and respond. In addition, you can make online searches using search sites and search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, MSN, ASK, and others. To assist in relatively quick and timely communication medium, you can utilize “chat” software applications to communicate in real-time.

This is very effective in getting a quick question answered or providing information to someone in need. Business use of the Internet has expanded from into a large platform for deliberate business applications. Collaboration among business associates, providing customer and vendor support, and electronic business have become major industry uses of the Internet. Companies are also using Internet technologies for marketing, sales, and customer relationship management applications, as well as cross-functional business applications, and applications in engineering, manufacturing, human resources, and accounting Utilizing Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software, or applications included in many Operating Systems (Linix, Windows, etc) the company engineers can now hold virtual meetings in which drawings can be viewed in real-time, on a virtual “whiteboard”. Those attending can monitor, revise or comment on the drawings as the meeting unfolds. One example is the IBM implementation of “Sametime®”, in which global meetings can be implemented using the Whiteboard approach. If the company finds value, they can involve their customers to also attend anywhere in the world. This collaborative effort can be priceless, as bringing experience from around the world may just save an error in design, or provide a cost improvement suggestion to bring down costs of the product or service.

Primary uses of the Internet’s are:

  • Downloading:

    Transfer data, electronic files, software, reports, articles, information, drivers and applications to your local system.( Insure your computer is protected with virus and spam/malware protection software!)

  • Discussions:

    Participate in discussion forums or post messages on specialized forums created by thousands of special-interest groups.

  • Chat:

    Hold real-time text conversations in chat rooms with Internet users around the globe. Text orientated cell phones are now enabled to participate in this means of communication.

  • Surf:

    Navigate to hundreds of thousands of hyperlinked websites and assets for information, leisure, or electronic commerce.

  • E-Mail:

    Use e-mail to exchange electronic messages with other clients, customers or business partners. This has become the standard in timely communications between and within businesses.

  • Purchasing:

    You can purchase anything via e-commerce retailers, service providers, and other websites offering “shopping carts” and checkout applications.

  • Remote Access:

    Log on to your corporate computer system and resources. Utilizing a VPN (Virtual Private Networking) application is paramount to providing a secure medium through the Internet. This is valuable to insure your data is not intercepted or used by unauthorized users.

  • Video Conferencing:

    This is the most efficient means to communicate with other business partners or your corporate employees. Using a inexpensive webcam and free application software can make this a very cost effective means to interface with others.

Each year, companies develop other uses for the internet, which as replaced many older means of telecommunications. Gone are the old modems, dial-up circuits, and leased lines. VPN via the Internet has replaced many dedicated communication circuits, as Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) have taken on a greater role. Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) have become second nature where a company is guaranteed a predefined level of service (quality) relative to their data circuit operation. At this point in time, the Internet is evolving again, noted as Internet 2.0. Software as a Service (SaS) is becoming a new business model for developing business applications. SaS allows a company to use application software located on a separate computer across the Internet, to support their business. It is less costly than “buying” the software, as you only pay for the time it is being used. Also, having this as parts of your disaster recover and backup planning can also simplify your business processes.

In 1964 Gordon Moore, of Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation in the United States, predicted that the number of transistors that could be fabricated on a processor chip would double every year. Known as “Moore’s law”, this roughly holds true (actually about every two years). It is unknown where or how the Internet will eventually evolve. However, many of us have not known this medium until we joined the working force. Now our children are exposed to this in school, any many know more about its operation and usefulness than many adults. What will it look like to our grandchildren?


Creating Business Value From Investment in Information Technology


The question I am asked most often by our clients is, “how do we get more business value from our investment in our Information Technology department?” In our experience there are four key areas that need to be addressed to maximize the benefit obtained from the investment in IT:

Align business cases with business strategy

In most cases, the business case for IT investments, including the development or purchase of new software, is not linked to a clear business strategy. IT investments are invariably made on the basis of proposed benefits which are rarely recognized and are often short-term in nature, rather than directly addressing capabilities required to support the organization’s vision.

By ensuring that every investment is directly supporting your business goals, and by regularly reviewing the actual benefits being delivered by past investments, you can begin to more effectively align your IT delivery to add true business value.

Address project management capability

Most IT departments are so overwhelmed by the rate of technology change and the continual demands from the business for new functionality, that they have neither the time nor expertise to address project delivery issues. This results in projects running over time, exceeding budget and failing to meet significant portions of critical business requirements.

Most of these potential problems can be avoided by simply following good project management practices and by ensuring that the structure, processes and underlying practices are proven and consistently applied. This can be effectively achieved by implementing a robust project lifecycle and then hiring experienced project management professionals to assist with the governance an execution of project management.

Accept ownership and responsibility

Similarly, most areas of the business are so busy attending to the rapid changes in their own markets and customer expectations that they have little time to concern themselves with the problems of their IT department.

It is imperative that businesses fully accept responsibility for the delivery of information technology. IT must be considered a critical and core part of your business and the delivery of IT value should be owned directly by the business. Insist on active management engagement and involvement, on focusing on only the most important business problems and on a financial business case for every improvement.

Leverage best practices

Information technology and software development best practices are understood, proven and well documented. Unfortunately, most IT departments are functioning at a process level that is many years behind best practice.

The following three areas are worthy of specific focus in this regard:

Gathering of business requirements:

Ensuring that business requirements are recognized and understood can lead to substantial efficiencies in project delivery and minimize costly rework and slippage in project timescales and costs. Using industry standard tools and notations such as the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) greatly assists in bridging the communication gap that frequently occurs between business process design and implementation.

Estimation and tracking:

Along with project management governance, the implementation and adherence to a robust software development lifecycle will improve the predictability of delivery and early visibility of any variation to plan.

Architecture and software lifecycle:

Effective enterprise and application architecture, coupled with appropriate use of agile development methods, assists in ensuring high quality, maximum flexibility and low levels of support and rework.