Any manufacturing organization would ideally have its Vision and Mission to guide them through its future course.
But does the organization have an Information Technology vision in place. Some organization may question this need, they may feel that the organizational focus should be on its core competency and Information Technology just plays a role of an enabler. But on the contrary such organizations are in greater need of an Information Technology vision. The role of Information Technology is that of a business driver in today’s competitive environment and not just an enabler.
Now lets analyse the need and essence of Information Technology Landscape for a business organization.
Consider an XYZ organization, which after half a decade of existence had entered a phase of business growth. Till date the role of Information Technology would have been that of a support system. My experience says that most of the organizations in such a scenario tend to focus on their core competency and grabbing more business opportunities, and almost no attention is given to the key role Information Technology can play.
Keeping in mind the type of competition and constraints the business organization faces, like for example high demand and need for rapid increase in manufacturing capabilities, need of sizeable investments to enter new markets or more focus for business tie ups, its apparently difficult to focus and believe that Information Technology can be a business driver. But the fact of the matter is, it really is. So the question is how can it be done?
The organization requirements can be divided majorly into functional requirements (very specific to the industry domain), routine transactional requirements, content management requirements, workflow requirements and Infrastructural requirements.
Now the organization has to have an Information Technology Landscape plan, based on its current and future business landscape.
There can be phase wise implementation of the Information Technology landscape plan. Start with covering the domain functionalities (R&D, F&D etc), the benefits would be evident in this case. Followed by transactional systems (like ERP) and then content management systems. The benefits of such systems will be realized over a period of time, ideally after the stabilization period.
For workflow systems, they have to be built at an enterprise level. These workflow systems are of critical importance to an organization. The effectiveness of above systems can be greatly hampered by an inefficient workflow system in place.
Information Technology infrastructure is an on going process in an Information Technology landscape implementation. Any effective technology solution would have to be right collaboration of business software applications and hardware infrastructure.
The most critical of all is to always have an Integration Route, which the Information Technology landscape implementation strategy would follow. This well planned Integration Route is required for a holistic Information Technology perspective.
Gradually as the Information Technology landscape builds up in the organization, there will corresponding benefits in terms of business process automation, business process management, and finally leading to effective knowledge management with in the organization. In such a scenario, the Information Technology acts as a business driver; there onwards Information Technology perspective will be part of any future organizational strategy in scaling business growth.