Section 02: Monday and Wednesday, 10:15 - 11:30 a.m. (Healy 105)
Section 01: Tuesday and Thursday, 10:15 - 11:30 a.m. (Healy 105)
Section 03: Tuesday and Thursday 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. (Healy 103)
Office: 35th and N Street building
Office telephone: (202) 625-0103 Facsimile: (202) 625-0139
Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org Ewan@Lampeter.ac.UK
World Wide Web: http://www.georgetown.edu/sutherland http://www.lamp.ac.uk/~ewan
Office hours: Tuesday and Thursday 11.30-12.30
Read this document carefully. It is my learning contract with you for the semester. If you have any questions please ask them; the sooner the better.
All students are encouraged to use electronic mail and news to communicate with me and with each other. A course evaluation form will be issued towards the end of course on which students are invited to make anonymous comments which are used to help revise and the develop the course for future years.
Assignments must be the work of the student or students submitting the work. Plagiarism will be severely penalised.
Documents, including this one are available on the World Wide Web at URL: http://www.georgetown.edu/sutherland/mgmt550/ . Arrangements can be made for students wishing to create their own home page.
Wednesday 30th August and Thursday 31st August 1995: First Class Meeting:
Monday 4th September 1995: Labor Day Holiday
Friday 10th September 1995: Team lists of team members due (submit by electronic mail)
Monday 9th October 1995: Columbus Day Holiday
Thursday 23rd November 1995: Thanksgiving Recess
Wednesday 6th December and Thursday 7th December 1995: Final Class Meetings
Thursday 14th December (5 pm): Final take-home examination paper
If you have an outstanding reason, almost any deadline can be changed by prior agreement. Unanticipated lateness represents bad planning or procrastination, both of which are highly undesirable. There will be a penalty of twenty percent per day (or portion thereof) for work that is late, i.e. after five days you will get zero. Weekends will count.
Vice-President Gore has brought to prominence issues concerning the information society and what he calls the National and Global Information Infrastructures. These ideas have been reflected in policies in Europe, Japan and elsewhere. Information and information technology are now seen as important issues in economic productivity and competitiveness. The social implications of access to information and its absence have also been highlighted.
In the early 1980s Information Systems (IS) emerged from its surgically clean and isolated backrooms to become a strategic issue; the result of what were to prove inflated claims made for 'strategic information systems'. This highlighted the already evident problems encountered by senior executives in the management of information systems and the problems faced by the IS function in achieving strategic objectives.
Perhaps surprisingly, strategic management is a relatively recent phenomenon, dating only from the 1950s, thus, it is the same age as commercial data processing. Strategic management is still maturing, its hold over the business is far from complete, with some functions remaining relatively independent. Although IS has become part of the domain of strategic management, the tools for managing IS remain remarkably crude, especially when compared to the technology.
If, as has been claimed, the use of information systems yields competitive advantage, then analysis of examples should yield benefits on two levels:
Failure to deliver benefits for other companies would undermine the credibility of IS as an area of strategic initiative and might even remove it from consideration in strategic management. Given the rudimentary state of strategic management theory, it seems reasonable to expect insights into strategic management from the use of a tool such as IS; not least because of the claims made for its efficacy and the often dramatic changes its use makes to business.
The problem then is one of harnessing IS for strategic purposes, which implies some sort of organizational process. Much of the efforts over the last decade have emphasized planning of IS in a formal sense, rather than integration or increased organizational learning. Formal planning of the type frequently discussed in information systems is by no means obligatory in other areas of business.
Business strategists became interested in IS because:
Meanwhile, IS managers developed an interest in strategic management in order to:
It is impossible to ignore external stake-holders, the computer and telecommunications industries. They have grown on the back of ever-increasing sales, primarily to large corporations where data processing departments were also growing rapidly. The pattern of technological advances translated into commercial pressures and shorter product life cycles which drove vendors into an increasingly desperate push for business with which to generate the cashflow necessary to pay for the development of the next round of products. The computer and telecommunications industries are characterized by a frenetic search for anything which might help to sell new systems or to retain existing customers. The justification for sales in the 1960s and 1970s was savings in direct labor costs, but this could not be so easily applied to replacement systems in the 1980s, here the strategic justification was welcomed. It has been alleged that these industries are driving the political programmes for the information society.
The relationship between strategic management and information systems has been explored for over a decade. The progress has been rather disappointing, nonetheless, it is clear that the use of so-called strategic information systems fails to take organizations outside the rules of the competitive game. All the evidence reinforces those rules, bringing down on the heads of the unwitting, reminders of the consequences of failure in the marketplace. There are no prescriptions--no magic bullets, no snake oil--certainly none that work. The slow pace of advance in our understanding of the relationship between strategic management and information systems makes it questionable whether a theoretical basis will be discovered in the near future. We are left managing a highly sophisticated technology with little to guide us. This makes the subject particularly prone to flavour-of-the-month styles of management, whether outsourcing or BPR.
However, there is a powerful and growing array of tools which can be applied to the problems of building and integrating information systems. The improvements in prototyping, software engineering and so on are quite remarkable, while the growing market in systems integration and outsourcing make it plausible to buy-in the expertise required.
Tools for the strategic management of IS remain inadequate, indeed the problem is still poorly formulated. Crude solutions such as the handing down of a business strategy to the IS function simply cannot convey the real thinking behind the strategy and are often incompatible with the style of strategic management in the company. Moreover, implementation and formulation cannot be separated; somehow the implementation of strategic management policies in the IS function must be integrated into the overall strategic management process. The Strategic Alignment Process is a plausible framework, but it still leaves much to be filled in.
In most companies, the strategic management process is not contrived to produce an architectural plan for a long lasting infrastructure, it is much less specific than that. In the only area where it does, in the description of the organizational structure, nobody believes the resulting chart. While formal planning methods have taught senior executives much about IS and the management of IS, it has not achieved the levels of understanding or the commitment necessary for real success or integration. Part of the problem is that these analyses of needs have been driven from the bottom-up, with the IS function providing both the impetus and the methodology.
One measure of the extent to which IS has penetrated the world of strategic management would be to determine how many corporations would claim that they had a core competence in information systems. The answers seem likely to include only: airlines, banks and retailers.
It is important to remember the challenge by Prof Henry Mintzberg:
The field of management information systems, ostensibly concerned with application, continues to try to define itself by what a machine is claimed able to do (but never quite does, although no one dares to find out). [Henry Mintzberg, 1989, page 79.]
This course will provide you with the background, language, and confidence necessary to harness information technology to business strategy and to understand its implications for firm, industry, and society.
We will look at the management issues related to the organizational use of IT. We will consider the relationship between information, information technology, business strategy, and organizational design. Information technology will be seen as:
We will examine the role of information technology in efforts to re-engineer organizational processes and the redefinition of industry boundaries.
We will rely heavily on the discussion of cases. Questions have been assigned for each case which you are asked to consider carefully. First, lightly skim the case, then look at the discussion questions before reading the case a second time. A third reading at a later time can often bring out additional understanding. Discussion with fellow students prior to class can also be helpful.
In addition to traditional teaching techniques and resources, students have access to the Internet. For this course there are pages on the World Wide Web and a discussion group using News as Georgetown.Mgmt550. From these pages are links to many other pages, newsgroups and distribution lists.
Building information businesses (team paper) 250 Technology update (team paper) 250 Take-home final examination 300 Class participation 200 TOTAL 1,000
The overall grading scale for the course is as follows:
Please think carefully about the implications of this kind of grading scale: every assignment is important, because one poor performance implies that performance on all the rest must be outstanding.
A 'B' means acceptable, a solid performance fulfilling the minimum requirements for a particular assignment. An 'A' exceeds the minimum criteria on all dimensions. An 'A-' or a 'B+' reflects work that is better than merely acceptable, exceeding the minimum criteria on several but not all dimensions. Any work that receives a grade of 'B-' or lower does not meet the minimum requirements for solid work.
Written work will be graded for presentation (appearance, layout, spelling, punctuation and grammar) as well as for content.
All written assignments must be prepared using word processing software. If at all possible, 'write' your take-home final on a computer. If you work in the Technology Center, please avoid showing your work to others.
Without preparation and participation the classroom experience of case studies will be unsatisfactory for all of us. If the preparation level is not at a high enough level, I will make cold calls--particularly 'at risk' will be people from whom we have not recently heard. Nothing makes case discussion fall apart faster than lack of preparation.
An 'A' grade for participation, involves some of the following:
For instance, if I ask something like, "what are the threats from new entrants for this industry", I would probably be inspired by a student who could list several and give an explanation and assessment of the threat from each. Participation by reading directly from the case may occasionally help us in clarifying some small point, but will not contribute towards your participation grade; neither will comments that, although perhaps appropriate ten minutes before, are now major digressions from the current conversation. On the other hand, if you say something 'wrong' or become confused, it will not count against you, though your classmates may disagree.
You may also improve your participation grade by submitting occasional newspaper clippings and URLs relating to the class. Please put your name on these and ensure that the source is clear. In some cases I will distribute copies of these in class. Helpful and positive contribution to the Newsgroup will also be rewarded.
If you never or almost never speak out in class or miss several classes you will receive a participation grade of C. If you speak occasionally but rarely say anything inspired or relevant, your participation grade will be some form of B.
If you miss more than two sessions you will receive a grade of D for participation (you may discuss with me reasons for additional absences).
If you are unable to attend a particular class you may write up the case discussion questions to avoid detracting from your participation grade.
You may appeal against any grade awarded on this course. To do so you must write a note to me explaining why you feel the grade should be changed and hand in the note and the work to which it applies. I will consider your request and either raise your grade as requested or leave it as it was. I will make a decision that takes into account fairness for all students. You must submit your appeal no later than two weeks after you receive the grade.
This course requires only modest use of computers to deepen your understanding of the subject.
The increased importance of the Internet and especially of the World Wide Web, has lead to the inclusion of these computing skills. Those of you who are already accomplished users of computers and of the Internet will be expected to assist your study group members.
In addition we will be making use of the electronic mail. I will assume that you check your mail at least once a week. I generally check mine twice a day and usually more often.
You will also have the opportunity to make use of presentation software for group presentations. You are also welcome to use the class presentations as opportunities to introduce new uses of IT.
This course provides a managerial perspective on the effective use of information technology for strategic advantage and operational performance in global organizations through case analyses and class discussions. Topics include: information technology's relationship to business competition and strategy; the business value of information systems; the use of computer systems to achieve strategic advantage, to support managerial decision-making, to process organizational transactions, to achieve operational control, and to augment interpersonal communication; information resource management; and the organizational, social, and ethical issues arising from information technologies.
To provide students with an understanding of current issues in the strategic management of information technology.
On completion of the course, students should be able to:
Students are requested to form teams of four (or five) for two of the assignments. Team should reflect diversity by race, gender, national origin and so on. All team members must be from the same section of the course. Teams should remain constant for the two exercises, except in the case of irretrievable breakdown.
Send your teams to me via electronic mail by Friday 10th September. By now you have all had experience with teams and the things that can go wrong with them. Please try to resolve problems within teams.
As 50% of your grade will come from team work, you may wish to institute some form of peer evaluation within the groups. This should be agreed upon and documented once the group is formed. [This is not obligatory, but is my only answer to occasional but bitter complaints of unevenness among contributions.]
This is the first of two team exercises.
Information technology changes with considerable, often frightening speed. To provide the class with a better understanding of emerging and evolving technologies and the problems of the relentless change, teams of students will present short (15 minute) overviews on a technology of their choice.
There will be one or more reports each class starting with the week of September 27th. They may include up to five minutes of hardware/software demonstration or videotape (segments shown must focus on function rather than vendor).
Each group will provide a two page executive summary to all members of the class. This will include:
Assume that your audience is the Executive Committee of a corporation or other organisation (charity or international body) in which your team is employed (you may wish to identify the organisation). You are scheduled in the "education segment" of the normal twice monthly meeting of the committee. The intended audience will have a limited background in information technology as potential users. The focus should be on "what can this do for us" as opposed to "how it works" or "from whom I buy it".
Assignments will be graded on how effective the team is in helping the Executive Committee envisage the use of the technology to transform their business. The professionalism of the presentations, currency, accuracy, and intelligibility of the material will also be taken into account.
Examples of technologies that you may wish to investigate are: multimedia, cellular telephony, National Information Infrastructure, frame relay and ATM communications, client/server architecture, electronic mail, voice mail, laptop computers, personal digital assistants, voice recognition, handwriting recognition, expert systems, neural networks, fiber optics, teleconferencing, CSCW, executive information systems, geographical information systems, project management software, image processing, vehicle identification/location software, paging and virtual reality.
Your team must write a one-paragraph description of the emerging technology you have chosen and submit it to me via e-mail with the team list. Topics are first come, first served. Duplication will not be possible.
This is the second of two team exercises.
The 'deliverable' is either a video-taped presentation of no more than fifteen minutes (rather more than a talking head) or a live presentation of similar length using:
After the presentation, five minutes will be available for questions and answers.
The project is to create an information-based business.
The delivery platform for your new product or service should be a network such as the Internet, Compuserve, America Online or one of the broadband VoD/ADSL trials. You can re-package existing or propose new products and services. The new product or service must be information based, i.e. it must be more than just an ordering service. Customers, whether individuals or corporations, must obtain the service directly from the network.
Your report should identify the customer group, its unmet needs and wants, the features of the product or service that will provide for those needs and wants. The business plan should provide sufficient financial details to allow a venture capitalist to consider whether to have an initial meeting with your team.
Final projects will be evaluated by members of the class (20%) and the instructor (80%).
Evaluation criteria for the instructor will include:
The class evaluation will take the form of investments. Each student will have $1,000,000 to invest in blocks of $100,000 in other teams, but not their own team. The team which attracts the most investment will automatically be given an A grade.
Be imaginative, challenge assumptions, demolish constraints, be creative, have fun, listen to your friends question your sanity. Tom Peters claims that if it is not crazy it is not a good idea. Here is your opportunity to get rich!
The following may be useful:
Journals of interest include: Internet Research, Internet World and IEEE Multimedia.
This assignment requires some elements of creativity. If you do not believe you are creative, You might find helpful such books as:
This test will be based on case(s). There may be one long case or a few smaller cases, which you will be asked to analyze. It is to be submitted in the week following the last class.
30th and 31st August
4th September 1995 -- Labor Day -- No classes
5th September 1995
Technology Center session: Introduction to the World Wide Web and News
6th and 7th September 1995
Lecture: The information society
11th and 12th September 1995
Case: Singapore TradeNet (A): A Tale of One City (HBS 191-009) Singapore TradeNet (B): The Tale Continues (HBS 193-136)
13th and 14th September 1995
Lecture: Security and hacking
18th and 19th September 1995
Case: Lotus MarketPlace: Households (HBS 9-392-026)
20th and 21st September 1995
Lecture: The Global Information Technology Industry
25th and 26th September 1995
Case: Ira C Magaziner and Mark Patinkin (1989) "Fast Heat; how Korea won the microwave war" Harvard Business Review 67 (1) 83-92. (reprint 89114)
Presentation: Group 1
27th and 28th September 1995
Lecture: Organisational Learning
Presentation: Group 2
2nd and 3rd October 1995
Case: MSAS Cargo International: Global Freight Management, Strategic Information Systems (SMU Cox MIS 92001.1)
4th and 5th October 1995
Presentation: Group 3
Case: Tele Danmark EDB: Building a strategic information architecture (INSEAD 695-003-1)
Monday 9th October 1995 -- Columbus Day -- No classes
10th October 1995
Technology Center session: World Wide Web and News revisited.
11th and 12th October 1995
Presentation: Group 4
Case: Exxon Chemical (IMD 393-028-1)
16th and 17th October 1995
Presentation: Groups 5 and 6
Lecture: Changing the Mindset
18th and 19th October 1995
Presentation Group 7
Case: Otis Elevator (HBS 191-213)
23rd and 24th October 1995
Presentation: Group 8
Case: KPMG Peat Marwick: The Shadow Partner (HBS 9-492-002)
25th and 26th October 1995
Presentation: Group 9.
Case: Pacific Bell: Centrex Reengineering (HBS 9-195-098)
30th October 1995
Guest lecture: K Hugh Macdonald
31st October 1995
Lecture: Colonel Edward R Guthrie (US Department of the Army) "Transformation in the Army"
1st and 2nd November 1995
Case: Raymond Caron, Sirkka Jarvenpaa and Donna B Stoddard (1994) "Business Reengineering at CIGNA Corporation: experiences and lessons learned from the first five years" MIS Quarterly 18 (3) 233-250.
6th and 7th November 1995
Lecture: From OLTP to Strategic Alignment Process
8th and 9th November 1995
Case: Seven-Eleven Japan Co. Ltd (on World Wide Web)
13 and 14th November 1995
Case: Duncan G Copeland and James L McKenney "Airline Reservation Systems; lessons from history" MIS Quarterly 12 (3) 350-370. and Max D Hopper (1990) "Rattling SABRE; new ways to compete on information" Harvard Business Review 68 (3) 118-125. (Reprint ?)
15th and 16th November 1995
Case: Soumitra Dutta and Yves Doz "Linking Information Technology to Business Strategy at Banco Comercial Português" Journal of Strategic Information Systems 4 (1) 89-110.
20th and 21st November 1995
Case: Eastman Kodak Co: Managing Information Systems through Strategic Alliances (HBS 9-192-030)
Richard L Huber (1993) "How Continental Bank Outsources its 'Crown Jewels' " Harvard Business Review 71 (1) 121-29. (Reprint 93102)
F Warren McFarlan and Richard L Nolan (1995) "How to Manage an IT outsourcing Alliance" Sloan Management Review 36(2) pp 9-26. (Reprint 3621)
Mary C Lacity, Leslie P Willcocks and David F Feeny (1995) "Maximize Flexibility and Control" Harvard Business Review 73(3) 84-93. (Reprint 95306)
John Cross (1995) "British Petroleum's Competitive Approach" Harvard Business Review 73 (3) 94-102. (Reprint 95302)
22nd November 1995
Guest lecture: to be announced
23rd November 1995 -- Thanksgiving recess -- no classes
27th and 28th November 1995
Case: Back Bay Restaurant Group Inc (Georgetown University School of Business)
29th and 30th November 1995
4th and 5th December 1995
6th and 7th December 1995
There is no required text. Instead there is a packet of readings and cases, plus a reading list. The packet is available on the ground floor of Old North at the GSB copy room (contents of the packet are listed in the appendix).
The following journals contain material on the subject (in order of increasing technical content):
The following magazines by consulting practices can also be useful:
The following magazines will also be useful:
Peter G W Keen (1995) "Every Manager's Guide to Information Technology; a glossary of key terms and concepts for today's business leader" Second Edition. Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA.
James I Cash, Robert G Eccles, Nitin Nohria and Richard L Nolan (1994) "Building the Information-Age Organization: Structure, Control and Information Technologies" Richard Irwin, Homewood, IL.
James I Cash, F Warren McFarlan and James L McKenney (1992) "Corporate Information Systems Management; issues facing senior managers" (3rd edition) Richard Irwin, Homewood, IL.
Michael J Earl (1989) "Management Strategies for Information Technology" Prentice-Hall, Hemel Hempstead.
Seev Neumann (1994) "Strategic Information Systems; competition through information technologies" Macmillan, New York.
Thomas Allen and Michael Scott Morton (eds.) (1994) "Information Technology and the Corporation of the 1990s; research studies" Oxford University Press, New York.
Claudio Ciborra (1993) "Teams, Markets and Systems; business innovations and information technology" Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
National Research Council (1994) "Information Technology in the Service Society; a twenty-first century lever" National Academy Press, Washington DC. (ISBN 0-309-04876-1)
Michael S Scott Morton (1991) "The Corporation of the 1990s: information technology and organizational transformation" Oxford University Press, New York.
Shoshana Zuboff (1988) "In the Age of the Smart Machine" Basic Books, New York.
C Gordon Bell (1991) "High-Tech Ventures; the guide for entrepreneurial success" Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA.
Thomas H Davenport (1993) "Process Innovation" Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA.
Peter G W Keen (1991) "Shaping the Future; business design through information technology" Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA.
Mary Lacity and Rudi Hirschheim (1993) "Information Systems Outsourcing" John Wiley & Son, Chichester. [New version due in autumn 1995.]
James L McKenney (1995) "Waves of Change; business evolution through information technology" Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA.
Richard L Nolan and David C Croson (1995) "Creative Destruction; a six-stage process for transforming the organisation" Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA.
Paul Strassmann (1990) "The Business Value of Computers: an executive's guide" The Information Economics Press, New Canaan, CN.
Paul Strassmann (1995) "The Politics of Information Management" Information Economics Press, New Canaan, CN. (forthcoming)
James P Womack, Daniel T Jones and Daniel Roos (1990) "The Machine That Changed the World" MIT Press, Boston.
This document can be found at