Organizations nowadays can’t imagine without a computer but not long away organizations start computerized their office. Now we discuss how a CEO computerized his office and what is the circumstance.
How a CEO computerized his office
Tom Brown, chief executive officer of The Fortune Corporation (TFC), knew it was time to do something about computers in the office. He was proud of his company’s innovative introduction of mainframe computers; the electronic data processing (EDP) division was in place, and management information systems (MIS) were functioning smoothly.
But managers were bringing in their own microcomputers to supplement EDP services. Unfortunately, this equipment was often incompatible with other office equipment and did not tie into the MIS operation.
Brown wanted to establish a corporate policy and integrated systems approach to office automation. He asked Ted Stone, vice president for information service, to hire an outside consultant to like into the situation.
Jay Ferr, the consultant discovered that some TFC personnel were using word processing, others were using word processing, others were using voice telecoms, and still, others were using time-sharing plans to get their information services. Ferr suggested that to achieve coordination, staff relationships would need to be restructured, and user support would need to be acquired for office automation (OA) corporate plan.
Brown figured that even though the new technology would ultimately improve productivity, short-run productivity would go down. He divided to facilitate the change by establishing an OA task force to concentrate on the people and technology aspects of automation. The takes force began by testing several of its options in pilot projects.
In the initial pilot tests, some managers resisted personal computers because they thought using keyboards was menial and typists work. TFC’s human resources department, therefore, organized workshops for managers and secretaries to examine how their roles would change with the new office automation.
Mangers were trained on how to use their own electronic calendars, address directories, and mail and message exchanges, and how to network with other managers. Secretaries, who were being relieved of many clerical duties, were free to take on greater creative and administrative responsibilities. Supervisors also taught their personnel how to take full advantage of the new technology to increase productivity.
Next, Brown set up an executive conference on information flow and services. He explained to top management the vision he wanted to be communicated throughout the organization: an integrated information system, in which every business area of the organization-accounting, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and sales-is directly connected electronically. In this future state, information is not the preserve of one division or a few specialists.
On Ferr’s advice, TFC established a headquarters’ information resource center. Its mission was to
(1) keep management informed about what data and information were available;
(2) ensure the consistent and correct use and interpretation throughout the organization; and
(3) act as a useful resource for accessing, processing, and managing information.
Some of the EDP people felt threatened by the spread of OA. The believed OA eroded their power, and they could not grasp the big picture. Stone promoted intergroup team-building with the word and data processing people.
The team building reoriented EDP personnel to share information power and to cooperate with others. TFC knew these computer professionals had much to contribute to the changes if they could only broaden their perspectives.
TFC also changed reward structures and roles. For example, high-performing managers received the privilege of having in their homes a company personal computer, which was electronically connected to their offices.
New positions, such as office information system specialists and administrative secretaries, were designated. These changes altered career paths and created new opportunities. TFC also created the post of the information resource manager, which highlighted the importance of information processing to the business.
As the information system became integrated, TFC allowed more decentralized management control. Entrepreneurial groupings were created to capitalize on business opportunities. These groups often had only an electronic connection to the parent corporation.
As employees became more skilled and comfortable with the new technology, they became more productive and creative in their use. For the first time, TFC showed the potential to become a successful global corporation.
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