Challenges of Information Technology In Business

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this paper is to concentrate on the challenges of Information Technology in business. Effective information technology service prerequisite is the key to success of organisations.

This study will be carried out by providing a thorough analysis of IT within an organization that has an aim of making profit and grow their business. It will also define importance of IT and Business challenges with in an organization.

Our main focus of this research will also be to elaborate on the challenges of IT services to business and the findings from this paper are IT challenges and how organization can succeed and grow with in these challenges and how the organization alignment of IT and Business together produce great benefits.

Technology can be a very valuable tool for business owners trying to streamline their businesses and increase productivity and to make lives easier. Effectively use of IT can be a great benefit for on business however the use of IT in an improper manner may mean more inefficient systems and lost of customers. When it comes to managing technology needs, there are a number of challenges facing business owners today (Ray Ramon, 2007).

The challenges includes lack of education about technology options; an incapability to prioritize which technologies are most important and a given time; how to go about integrating technology into a business and how to protect it (Ramon Ray, 2007).

Challenges of IT

There are primary challenges that are facing Information Technology says Thomas et.al, 2006. To list the challenges he mentioned Globalization, Excess Workload, Talent, Change, On-time Performance and Quality, Cultural Differences, Outsourcing and Off Shoring, Project Management which is the Quality of Fact, Meeting Customer Expectation the Quality of Perception, and Planning.

Globalization: Virtually every company today must compete globally and the markets are opening up all around the globe. The benefits of a global economy as it provide a wider customer base and the potential for greater profits is when an organization deals with the reality of increased competition (Thomas C, 2006).

Excess Workload: Customers are becoming more demanding as the competition growth increases (Thomas C, 2006). The increase in expectations is coupled with the reality of lower IT budgets which is providing more service for less money (Rocky Mountain, 2006).

Talent has been referred as both a challenge and an opportunity (Thomas C, 2006). Demand for IT professionals is growing annually and the organization has been encouraged to balance gender ration when giving opportunities (Rocky Mountain, 2006).

Change has been said that the only constant is change said Thomas. IT will be faced with the challenge of finding that perfect balance between keeping up with change and not changing for its own sake. Change is predictable; and change is good; but the change must be consistent with corporate objectives (Rocky Mountain, 2006).

On-time Performance and Quality is one major challenge in most companies delivering less than 50% of their IT projects on time and within specified budget. A main reason might be the alleged need to establish both the budget and the deadline well before the scope of the project is fully understood and due to that many projects are actually set-up to fail from the extremely beginning. That affects delivering a quality product as the goal of the project and quality has been compromised for the sake of expediency and profit (Edward,2002).

Outsourcing and Off Shoring seems to be predictable however but it”„¢s actually becoming a necessity and it is a business fact of life in growing global economy. Outsourcing will definitely become a wider advantage and a challenge in the mere future (Thomas, 2003).

Project Management is one of the challenges in IT, including security and risk. Collaboration will become more prevalent and important e.g. instead of each discipline delivering separate designs for their particular scope of the project, there is actually seeing a greater degree of those disciplines working together on the same technological model of the building design (Rocky Mountain, 2006). Communication, in this case, and creating successful collaboration partnerships is the key to success.

Challenges in Business

Meeting Customer Expectation will be the main business challenge. Introducing E-business can systematically reduce transaction costs and can eliminate many of the costs that have long assumed to be more or less fixed in meeting customer centricity (Hartman, Sifonis, and Kador, 2000). Becoming customer centric in order to develop an effective e-business strategy; a company must make the shift from being product-centric to becoming customer-centric. By placing customer needs at the centre of every decision and tactic, the entire e-business strategy will become more effective and profitable for the company, by fostering an atmosphere of customer loyalty and long-term relationships (Saunders, A., Allen, L, 2002).

Data Protection and Security is also another critical challenge to business is how to protect data from any number of internal and external threats (Saunders, A., Allen, L, 2002). Hackers want to steal it and disasters like floods, fire, earthquakes and storms can destroy it and dissatisfied employees might want to erase it after selling it to your competition and also it might be accidentally deleted. In order to ensure that organization data is as protected as possibly from hackers and those who shouldn’t have access to it, then install a well thought out backup plan to ensure that data is backed up should it get lost and to ensure that data can be recovered (Saunders, A, Allen,2002).

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IT challenges in business

Addressing operational data errors, rapid growth, and technology change in terms of demands performance; then the increase in profitability and improving operational efficiency as a demands allocation and efficient utilization of resources; and the mission critical decision making and the demands scalability of maximizing data collection of large data sets and data mining (Ramon Ray, 2007).

OBJECTIVE AND SCOPE

The aim of this paper is to demonstrate logical analysis of IT challenges in business and how they fit with together with analysis of business. The objectives is to drive and improve IT business and to provide a point of contact where Business Analysts can gather requirements to meet end users expectation in delivering services to an organization. It is the role of BA services to accurately record information about IT service challenges then address them to the business or senior level management.

The scope of this paper will elaborate on how IT service and BA on the structural model as a level of liaison with the business.

RESEARCH APPROACH

This section outlines the methodology that will be adopted to investigate and achieve the objectives of this study. This includes data collection approach, design of the questionnaire, sampling and measurement detail for analysis of the data collected. We will also outline the methodology that will be adopted to investigate and achieve the objectives of this study. This includes the preliminary research, data collection approach, design of the questionnaire, sampling and measurement detail for analysis of the data collected.

Research Method

The research should be primarily qualitative in nature since the aim was to discover the users”„¢ view and experiences with IT service desk deliverables within the organization, therefore a quantitative research method was used instead to secure higher responses and trustworthiness of the results. The Primary data was collected through conducting self-report questionnaire. Questionnaires were chosen and were given to at least 10 end-users at a in the department however; the disadvantage of using questionnaire is the generally low response rate from the target population. The end-users were interviewed and had their responses recorded thus, fieldwork was carried out instead to seek out their views informally.

Design of Questionnaire

A structured questionnaire was used in the study. The questionnaire seeks information from users in the following four main categories that would enable the author to understand the research topic when used in combination with a theoretical foundation and identify emerging trends:

1. Defining challenges of IT services that the business come across in everyday

2. How ICT cooperate with in an organization

To request higher response rates, most items in the questionnaire were multiple choice questions and a 5 point scale was selected to reduce the likelihood of respondents giving neutral response that will affect the survey results, Foreman & Money, (1995).

Selection of Participants

To manage bias, participants were chosen at random across the department including both managerial and non-managerial end users. We trusted that key consideration on the study and participants were assured of their complete ambiguity so that they can be as honest as possible in their responses and that would hopefully improve the validity of the research results.

DATA ANALYSIS

Data was also collected for objective service improvement over the entire research period. The main source was to assess the challenges that IT encounter in business.

Results and Analysis

Data collected from the questionnaires were analyzed using Microsoft Excel software. Percentages and ranking of average weighted score were used to analyze the data. Rating analysis was first offered in the department based on the challenges of IT that were listed in both quantitative and qualitative performance of a department.

LITERATURE REVIEW

The challenges of IT business alignment

IT business alignment is the subject of significant debate world wide in the boardrooms of enterprises throughout the developed world. Seven factors involved in approaching the discussion are:

Increased analysis of IT investments – they are increasingly seen by enterprises in the same light as other investments and in the same business focused controls and tests are being applied (Christopher Lochead, 2004).

Regulatory compliance – business leaders are turning to IT delivery organizations to assist with compliance. In many cases, they are struggling to respond and IT governance IT execs are adopting best practices and software applications to optimize IT governance to gain control, roll out compliance initiatives and ultimately, align IT back to the business (Christopher Lochead, 2004).

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The shifting focus of IT investment – away from back-office systems, and towards customer, supplier and partner interactions

Commoditization of IT infrastructure – high availability of standard infrastructure means that these commodities now have to be harnessed in a way that optimally supports business goals (Christopher Lochead, 2004).

Outsourcing – the right IT outsourcing decisions require an understanding how IT systems serve business needs and in response to the economic downturn and a number of the preceding factors, vendors are enunciating strategies and delivering solutions which purport to enable IT-business alignment (Christopher Lochead, 2004).

Compliance: A business challenge

Defining an effective compliance policy is no easy task however Anne Bonapart of MailFrontier says that with 70% of digital assets connected to e-mail servers, implementing a policy around e-mail identification and remediation is a good place to start.

Business Requirements and customer expectations

The customer may not fully understand all of the project”„¢s requirements at the beginning of the project. According to Paul Williams, 2001 requirements may be vague, incomplete and may not be specific enough to be measurable and the ambiguity often leads to products or services delivered to the customer that may be technically sound but fall short by not improving the business process. Results increased cost does not address the needs, so there will be another initiative and that will lead to another misunderstandings regarding requirements, therefore requirements must be revealed and cleared up as early as possible because the cost of fixing them goes up exponentially as the project progresses ( Paul Williams, 2001).

Clarity in the Scope of the Business Functions

Requirements can be better managed by investing enough time at the beginning of the project to ensure the requirements are understood and documented, in a Business Requirements Document (BRD) and when the customer group has then sign off the BRD. Creating a checklist template to collect customer requirements is also an approach that helps the requirements gathering process and reduces the possibility of things being missed during the interview process (Mohamed Aboshihata, 2005).

Ensuring that the requirements gathering process is separated from the design process and understanding the requirements is not the same as determining how to design a solution to address the requirements however the design process comes after the requirements gathering process says Mohamed Aboshihata, 2005.

Involving a customer representative from all of the affected departments or business functions should exist throughout the project to increase understanding of the project”„¢s goal and ensure any changes to the requirements are in the best interest of the product or service design requirements (Paul Williams, 2001).

In the translation of the customer”„¢s needs into the delivered product or service, vague requirements may not be properly understood. The subsequent design documents may, therefore, be poorly defined and documented. Business Analysts recognize their role as one of defining the business solution boundaries that is to ensure the project scope definition aligns with the proposed solution to support the business needs. This is then translated into the Business Requirements Document. This BRD is approved and signed off by the customer as an agreement on the requirements. Additional challenges are the requirements that have not been well documented due to assumptions being made that the requirement is obvious(Mohamed Aboshihata, 2005).

Organizational issues add another layer of complexity in the BA”„¢s ability to manage requirements (Mohamed Aboshihata, 2005) and changing technology and the complexity of projects are other ongoing challenges.

It is important that the roles of Business Analyst and Project Manager are recognized as separate and distinct however, their ability to work effectively as a team for the sole purpose of ensuring customer satisfaction brings about overall project success. Project Teams work within the framework of a Project Management process, using a methodology for managing projects. This process ultimately defines how the proposed solution will be delivered (Mohamed Aboshihata, 2005).

The deliverables from the Business Requirements Document are further defined in the Project Scope Statement document (Mohamed Aboshihata, 2005) and that is approved by the Sponsor and then used for project planning purposes. For this to all work in harmony, the Business Analyst must be brought onto the project team at the very beginning of the project and remain as an integral part of the team until the project is completed and closed. During the Business Requirement Analysis process the BA will help develop the scope statement by identifying the customer requirements. The requirements may have already been identified in a BRD(Mohamed Aboshihata, 2005). Then the BA must remain with the team, ensuring that the ever-changing needs of customers are heard and managed (Mohamed Aboshihata, 2005).

Conflict between Business Groups

As the BA role can often be referred to as: Systems Analyst, User Support Analyst, Business Systems Specialist, Project Manager, Business Leader, IT Specialist, etc. The BA”„¢s key responsibility is to perform a sequence of analysis techniques in order to obtain customer requirements (Mohamed Aboshihata, 2005).

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For a BA to be effective, the reporting relationships should be clear across various levels within the organization (Mohamed Aboshihata, 2005). For example, the BA may be working with administrative staff, examining their requirements for increased productivity and then later in the day working with senior management, analyzing their need for more detailed reports.

The BA”„¢s primary role is to elicit, structure, validate and communicate business and user requirements (Mohamed Aboshihata, 2005). Essentially, the BA role bridges the gap between the customer/user community high level requirements and the technical community technical requirements. As a result, customer acceptance of a final product or service is highly dependant on the BA”„¢s ability to translate those needs into a proposed business solution. The BA must remain sensitive to all customer/user needs and not judge these needs. It therefore becomes apparent that a BA must establish rapport and trust with the customer and with the various business units directly impacted by the project (Mohamed Aboshihata, 2005).

IT is now integral to the way that businesses operate. With IT now playing such a critical role, the view of IT as a special case is no longer acceptable (Paul Williams, 2001). Investment in IT must be subject to the same priorities which govern investment in other assets – people, facilities, production lines etc. on which the continued operation of the business depends. As a direct consequence, the IT delivery organization must provide services that are governed according to those same business priorities. This extends to encompass the way that IT service delivery is measured and only then will it be possible for businesspeople to assess the business return on their investment in IT. It is no longer feasible for business decisions to be taken without a clear understanding of the IT implications of those decisions. Business leaders and the IT delivery organization must participate as peers in the business change management process, and adopt a systematic approach to assessing the IT implications of any change. Such collaboration will put the IT delivery organization in a position where it can actually influence business change by highlighting the challenges and opportunities arising from technology change (Paul Williams, 2001).

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

These questions were posed as a support of challenges that IT:

How do businesses act while deciding upon and implementing new IT? Which are the cognitive and cultural obstacles to these processes? How do businesses manage the utilization of IT? Which are the interesting applications, and how do they impact business performance?

IT business challenges related issues has been identifies as to linking business strategy to IT strategy, and IT governance and portfolio management; IT service and process management as well as Security and identity management strategy.

CONCLUSION/ RECOMMENDATIONS

When IT and business work in harmony to achieve common goals, the organization is more likely to realize maximum results to provide guidance on achieving and maintaining IT and business alignment. Although the role of IT services as a business support tool has undergone a significant evolution, the thought processes which shape how challenges of IT in business can be aligned has strengthen the business. In this challenging of IT, new approaches to IT management, technology architecture, software development and integration, and service delivery all present significant opportunities and risks.

IT alignment helps enterprises achieve and sustain long-term success through value delivery to stakeholders, said ITGI trustee Paul Williams. Understanding how IT affects organizations and businesses and how organizations and managers act when engaging in IT investments are important issues. At best, IT is a source that helps individuals and organizations to improve their performance and meet their objectives (Paul Williams, 2001).

Information Communications Technology (ICT) has become prevalent across organizations globally (Van Grembergen, et al, 2004). More specifically, with the turbulent and dynamic nature of today”„¢s business environments, it has become even more critical for organizations to understand the capabilities of existing and emerging technologies. The need for governing principles to establish decision-making authority patterns in an organization has emerged due to the critical dependency on IT. Hence, IT governance has surfaced as an important issue for organizations, (Van Grembergen, et al, 2004).

REFERENCE

Rocky Mountain and Mr. Thomas C. Staab: Association of Information Technology Professionals

Treacy, W.F., Carey, M., 2000, Credit risk rating systems at large U.S. Banks.

Crouhy, M., Galai, D., Mark, R., 2000, A comparative analysis of current credit risk models.

Ramon Ray, 2007: Tech Basics: Biggest IT Challenges for Entrepreneurs Understanding the roadblocks ahead will help you better manage your technology needs.

Edward, 2002, Challenges of IT.

Hartman, Sifonis, and Kador, 2000, Challenges in Business

Saunders, A., Allen, L, 2002, Credit Risk Measurement: New Approaches to Value at Risk and Other Paradigms.

Christopher Lochead, 2002, The challenges of IT business alignment.

Anne Bonapart, 2004. Compliance: A business challenge.

Van Grembergen, et al. (2004), IT Govenance

Mohamed Aboshihata, 2005, Business Analysis in business

Paul Williams, 2001, IT Alignment

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