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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 secondTo take a decision, one needs to be dissatisfied with the current situation, needs to see a solution how things can be different, and needs to have a licence to change the situation. I use a sign of multiplying between these three to signify that if any of them is missing, the decision cannot happen. Implementing an IS/ICT is always a change and not primarily a technical change. It is a change of culture. There are many sources of resistance against any change. Here, I emphasise three that are the most significant in IS/ICT implementation. Many people feel that they are losing their authority when the computer is taking over their job.

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 secondsThis is coming from them previously being able to control access the data they own. And now it is happening automatically, and nobody ask them anymore. Interestingly, many people perceive a new computerised system as additional work. And frequently, this is true in the short run. For instance, in a consultancy company, the guy in charge of approving travel expenses was doing things on paper, and then they switched to a computerised system. He had to learn what goes where. Details of people who travel needed to be recorded when they travelled for the first time, and so on. If the IS/ICT solution is good, the permanent data will not need to be recorded again and again.

Skip to 1 minute and 49 secondsBut during the introductory period, the new IS/ICT can cause a workload increase.

Skip to 1 minute and 57 secondsSometimes there is also professional jealousy. If I was making an ethos about what it is only I am able to do, and now a computer does it, I am losing my professional position. Similarly, jealousy may appear if a person in the higher position is not getting something the person in the lower position does get. For instance, a railway company was introducing a new IS/ICT, and this involved installing a computer in each of the many hundreds of very small stations. These were so small that often there was only a director and the warehouse person. The warehouses needed the computers, but the directors felt that they should get one, as they are more important.

Skip to 2 minutes and 52 secondsHow would you resolve the situation? We can draw parallels between changing from a manual system to a computerised one and changing from a small grocery store to a supermarket. We can consider this as a metaphor through an example. Suppose you have a small grocery store, and you know that Mrs. Jones comes in every day around 20

Skip to 3 minutes and 17 secondspast 3:00, and that she always buys a loaf of bread. As she's an important regular customer,

Skip to 3 minutes and 26 secondsif you only have three loaves left at 2:10, you will probably put one aside to save it for Mrs. Jones. However, if you transform your grocery shop into a supermarket, you will no longer be able to do this. And as matter of fact, you're probably not even know of Mrs. Jones. A sophisticated ERP system, for example, brings about a similar change.

From Grocery to Supermarket

One of the significant signs of ‘growing up’ in the world of business is when your small company reaches the size that you need to get an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. This means switching from various IS bits and pieces that you maintain as you go, getting help with it as you can, probably having an ‘IT guy’ who can usually figure things out, to a centralised IS that does everything but it also determines, often to a great extent, what you can do and how.

The big difference between a small private grocery store and a supermarket is not primarily the size, even though the size may sometimes be the very reason to change the modus operandi. The two work in very different ways. If you have a grocery store, you know everything and everyone personally. You don’t only know your employees and your regular customers, but also each of your suppliers. You have special deals in place, you do them favours and the return favours, and so on. You also know your finances by heart. You may choose to pay your electricity bill a few days late to take advantage of a special deal that is only available for a day or two and so on. You know when you need to fix the shelves and you use your summer vacation to repaint your store, etc.

When you get a supermarket, none of these approaches work anymore. Everything is standardised, you don’t meet most of your suppliers and they are automatically getting paid, your employees are just another data entry and they may come and go faster than you can meet each of them, you have no idea who your customers are, you can only see the balance sheets. Of course, much of how the grocery store works can be dealt with as exception in a supermarket, only it is usually not worth doing this.

Your ERP system is set up to do things automatically and this has great advantages. However, you may occasionally want to do include some of those untidy routines when something big is at stake. For instance, I have seen the ERP implementation in a national railway company, where they had an interrupter for the automatic payment of the electricity bills. It was in the range of million dollars a month and they were often facing cash flow problems. However, as they were the single largest electricity customer in that country, the supplier was willing to forgive minor delays in payment…

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This video is from the free online course:

Understanding Information and Technology Today

University of Strathclyde

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