Assignment: Relationship skills

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Assignment: Relationship skills

Assignment: Relationship skills

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An IS infrastructure (a concept that is discussed in detail in Chapter 6) is an IT asset. It includes each of an information resource’s constituent components (i.e., data, technology, people, and processes). The infrastructure provides the foundation for the delivery of a firm’s products or services. Another IT asset is an information repos- itory, which is logically related data captured, organized, and retrieved by the firm. Some information repositories are filled with internally oriented information designed to improve the firm’s efficiency. Other repositories tap the external environment and contain significant knowledge about the industry, the competitors, and the customers. Although most firms have these types of information repositories, not all firms use them effectively.

In the continually expanding Web space, the view of IT assets is broadening to include potential resources that are available to the firm but that are not necessarily owned by it. These additional information resources are often available as a service rather than as a system to be procured and implemented internally. For example, Internet‐ based software (also called software as a service, or SAAS), such as SalesForce.com, offers managers the opportu- nity to find new ways to manage their customer information with an externally based IT resource. Social networking systems such as Facebook and LinkedIn offer managers the opportunity to find expertise or an entire network of individuals ready to participate in the corporate innovation processes using relatively little capital or expense.

The three major categories of IT capabilities are technical skills, IT management skills, and relationship skills. Technical skills are applied to designing, developing, and implementing information systems. IT management skills are critical for managing the IS department and IS projects. They include an understanding of business processes, the ability to oversee the development and maintenance of systems to support these processes effectively, and the ability to plan and work with the business units in undertaking change. Relationship skills can be focused either externally or internally. An externally focused relationship skill includes the ability to respond to the firm’s market and to work with customers and suppliers. The internal relationship between a firm’s IS managers and its business managers is a spanning relationship skill and includes the ability of IS to manage partnerships with the business units. Even though it focuses on relationships in the firm, it requires spanning beyond the IS department. Rela- tionship skills develop over time and require mutual respect and trust. They, like the other information resources, can create a unique advantage for a firm. Figure 2.2 summarizes the different types of information resources and provides examples of each.

 

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