Assignment: Profitability Hurdle

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Assignment: Profitability Hurdle

Assignment: Profitability Hurdle

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he goal of this book is to provide the foundation to help the general business manager become a knowledge- able participant in IS decisions because any IS decision in which the manager doesn’t participate can greatly affect the organization’s ability to succeed in the future. This introduction outlines the fundamental reasons for taking the initiative to participate in IS decisions. Moreover, because effective participation requires a unique set of manage- rial skills, this introduction identifies the most important ones. These skills are helpful for making both IS decisions and all business decisions. We describe how managers should participate in the decision‐making process. Finally, this introduction presents relevant models for understanding the nature of business and information systems. These models provide a framework for the discussions that follow in subsequent chapters.

The Case for Participating in Decisions about Information Systems In today’s business environment, maintaining a back‐office view of technology is certain to cost market share and could ultimately lead to the failure of the organization. Managers who claim ignorance of IS can damage their reputation. Technology has become entwined with all the classic functions of business—operations, marketing, accounting, finance—to such an extent that understanding its role is necessary for making intelligent and effec- tive decisions about any of them. Furthermore, a general understanding of key IS concepts is possible without the extensive technological knowledge required just a few years ago. Most managers today have personal technology

2 Robert Hof, “How Amazon Cleared the Profitability Hurdle” (February 4, 2002), http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/stories/2002-02-03/how-amazon- cleared-the-profitability-hurdle (accessed on October 29, 2015). 3 For more information on the latest services by these two companies, see http://aws.amazon.com/ec2 and http://www.google.com/enterprise/cloud/.

3The Case for Participating in Decisions about Information Systems

such as a smart phone or tablet that is more functional than many corporate‐supported personal computers provided by enterprises just a few years ago. In fact, the proliferation of personal technologies makes everyone a “pseudo‐ expert.” Each individual must manage applications on smart phones, make decisions about applications to purchase, and procure technical support when the systems fail. Finally, with the robust number of consumer applications available on the Web, many decisions historically made by the IS group are increasingly being made by individuals outside that group, sometimes to the detriment of corporate objectives

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