Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Systems As Planned Organizational Change

You’ve ever asked yourself what’s an information system? Majority would say that it’s a computer program, but of course not a system analyst! Technically speaking, an I.S (common acronym for an information system) is : interrelated components working together to collect, process, store and disseminate information to support decision making, coordination, control, analysis  and visualization in an organization. Well, I might not sound technical because maybe you expected some I.T jargon. The technicality comes in when manager thinks of implementing an I.S in his organization.
Development of an IS is an organizational planned change. Anyone with the title of a manger must know the meaning of planning-addressing the future of a firm with regard to what the organization needs to do to actualize its goals in the future.

The planning process may even unveil unseen hurdles, which would have slowed down or terminated the organizational change in question.

There are four types of structural organizational changes enabled by information technology:

  • Automation
  • Re-engineering
  • Rational
  • Paradigm Shift

This is the common type of IT enabled organizational change. The first automation systems involved assisting employees carrying out tasks effectively. Customers too enjoy the fruits of automation through effective and quality services & products. A local example of an automation system is the Safaricom’s M-pesa service. The system achieved its goal perfectly. Can you just imagine sending and receiving money by just a press of button? Other organizations have introduced the service too. E.g. Zain (Zap), Yu (Yu cash), Family Bank (Pesa Pap!).


This is a deeper form of organizational change. It involves streamlining of procedures. Organizations vary in procedures. Supermarkets use retail management systems to handle stock, either selling or taking stock. Assuming there’s no system, the whole process would be one hell of a task! Thanks to IT for the R.M.S.


This is the most powerful organizational change. It involves analyzing, simplifying, & redesigning business process (unique ways in which organizations coordinate & organize work activities, information, and knowledge to produce a product or service).

By doing so, an organization improves speed, service & quality. Business re-engineering reorganizes work flows, combining steps to cut waste & eliminating repetitive, paper-intensive task. The job might be eliminated too. Here’s an international example involving Ford Motor Company.
Accounts Payable Clerks used to spend most of their time resolving discrepancies between purchase orders, recovering documents & invoices. Ford re-engineered its accounts payable process, such that the purchase department enters an order into an online database that can be checked by the receiving department, when the ordered items arrive. If the goods match the purchase order, then the system automatically generates a check for accounts payable to send to the vendor. No need of venders to send invoices.

Paradigm shift

It involves rethinking, changing the business model & the nature of business. Paradigm shifts & re-engineering often fail because it’s difficult to orchestrate organizational change. Most organizations embrace these changes because the returns are awesome.
As I earlier said, any organizational including IT enabled ones, must be planned first to prevent any fallbacks. Organizational fallbacks maybe disastrous to the internal as well as external environments of an organization.

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