Read the Marchand, et al. (2000) article (link provided in this week’s outline). Then rank the information orientation of a company or an organization of your choice as low (0-40%), medium (40-70%), or high (above 70%). Based on the guideline provided by the authors, what advice would you give to the senior executives on improving their information orientation?
I would classify my organization (FusionStorm) as having and IO of 70%
80% – Information Technology Practices (ITP) – FusionStorm does a reasonably good job of managing information technology applications. The company is a fast growing 750 million dollar system integrator with approximately 500 employees. FusionStorm is an entrepreneurial organization with roughly 50% of the workforce being engineers and 25% of the labor force in field sales there is quite a bit of innovation which happens outside the confines of the traditional corporate IT organization. FusionStorm’s IT, legal teams and executive teams do a good job to enable and adopt outside innovation while protecting the corporation. Cloud computing and the availability of resources has certainly had an impact on the pace of innovation, FusionStorm is no different and I think huge benefits are being realized but new paradigms are also challenging traditional Information Management Practices. A few years ago every organization was trying to determine how to cope with Shadow IT (http://www.gartner.com/it-glossary/shadow/). Today Shadow IT is just another name for cloud computing and organizations are more focused on shifting Information Technology Practices to adapt to Shadow IT and foster innovation rather than to shut down shadow IT and choke innovation. We leverage various SaaS solutions to gather information on customer and markets but I do not think we do a good enough of looking at market data and altering our trajectory based on market conditions. Our analytics tend to favor historical data as a predictor of the future rather than market data and inference.
60% – Information Management Practices (IMP) – FusionStorm does an OK job of capturing this information. We are excellent at gathering data within a closed system. We do not do a good job of enforcing the human aspects of data collection and this is most apparent is areas of the business such as sales and marketing. Gathering things like sales pipelines require human interaction and while our sales teams enter opportunities and develop pipelines we do little in the way of measuring the accuracy of the pipeline outside of total forecasted dollars vs. closed business. Our lack of concern for understanding where the business is coming from has always troubled me. Achieving revenue goals does not help determine how you might have to pivot the workforce or strategic engineering objectives, an inability to forecast accurately (from all aspects) creates significant risk for the organization.
70% – Information Behaviors and Values (IBV) – Most of our systems are architected in such a way that data can’t be directly tampered with or skewed. We have a high level of transparency regarding all corporate metrics and we encourage employees to engage by questioning information and challenging strategy. With this said access to information allows information to be exported, massaged and represented from a perspective which may only expose the data required to drive to the desired outcome. It is not always easy to cross reference this data which sometimes leads to decisions which are based on a micro perspective or personal strategy rather than on a macro perspective which aligns with the corporate strategy.
As an organization, we need to enhance our capabilities around capturing and leveraging market data to predict market trends and opportunities better. While we do a good job or mining our historical data and making organizational adjustments based on predictive historical analysis we need recognize that there is a paradigm shift happening. The industry is moving at an unprecedented pace and we need to enter and exit markets faster than ever before, market data and inference in addition to our historical data adds tremendous value.
We need to relook at our process and adjust them to ensure we are capturing better data originated by humans. While we don’t want to slow the process down, we need to have a process which validates information from all perspectives.
Restraint is critical when making decisions based on data represented outside of well known controlled and trusted constructs. Corporate Information Systems are architected with controls that ensure the integrity of the data. Because of our culture and the transparency it values, we allow this data to be exported from corporate information systems and massaged, this allows for corruption of the integrity of output. Often this technique is used to focus on an aspect of data that drives a decision or outcome that may not align with the corporate strategic objectives.
Marchand, D. A., Kettinger, W. J., & Rollins, J. D. (2000). Information Orientation: People, Technology and the Bottom Line. Sloan Management Review, 41(4), 69. Retrieved from https://portal.lib.fit.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com.portal.lib.fit.edu/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=melb26933&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA64190756&sid=summon&asid=f92ff4366659963004ef3d52d0f86fd5