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FREE online courses on Information Technology - Chapter 1 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY - INTRODUCTION


We are living in revolutionary times, a revolution brought on by dramatic advances in information technology (IT). If the steam engine, new forms of power, and mechanization created an Industrial Revolution over 150 years ago, computers and communication equipment have produced a Technology Revolution in the last half of the twentieth century. The Computer has been called “the machine that changed the world”. You will encounter many coworkers who have not yet developed a vision for what information technology can create. They may be using rigid, old systems or fail to see the emerging role of IT in communications. We believe that information technology has and will continue to revolutionize management.


To name a few contributions, IT


¨       Provides new ways to design organizations that can lead to structures like the T-Form organization described later in this chapter.

¨       Creates new relationships between customers and suppliers who electronically link themselves together.

¨       Enables tremendous efficiencies in production and service industries through electronic data interchange to facilitate just-in-time production.

¨       Changes the basis of competition and industry structure, for example, in the airline and securities industries.

¨       Provides mechanisms through groupware for coordinating work and creating a knowledge base of organizational intelligence.

¨       Contributes to the productivity and flexibility of knowledge workers.

¨       Provides the manager with electronic alternatives to face-to-face communications and supervision.


A major objective of this text is to communicate the excitement and opportunities provided by this revolution in information technology.


But, to obtain the benefits described above, you have to be able to manage the technology. In the mid 1990s, two senior managers lost their jobs over information technology. The long-term chairman of Macy's department stores retired because, though a great merchant, he never developed the skills for choosing computer systems or analyzing a balance sheet. The chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, resigned over the failure of the Exchange to complete its Taurus paperless settlements system.


The Stock Exchange has spent over $100 million and estimated that it would take three more years and twice the initial investment to finish the project.


A manager must have a number of skills to succeed in the competitive, global economy that characterizes the end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first century. One of the most important is an understanding of and ability to manage information technology. The purpose of this text is to prepare you for this important managerial role.



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