Harnessing Information Power

Harnessing Information Power

Bob Tricker
Copyright Date: 1993
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Harnessing Information Power
    Book Description:

    Information technology offers the potential for quite different ways of organization and management control, yet the technology is often way ahead of managers ability to imagine the strategic consequences and appreciate the organizational and societal implications. This book intends to close that gap; written for business school students and managers, it explores and critically evaluates information needs and the potential of information systems.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-150-7
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VI)
  3. Preface
    (pp. VII-IX)
    Bob Tricker
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    Information has always played a fundamental role in the lives of people and societies. The Pharaoh needed information about his pyramid project; Roman emperors about the state of their empire; medieval traders about the outcome of their ventures. There is nothing new in people's need for information. Moreover, information has always been a source of power. Priests of old jealously guarded their secrets; battle commanders paid well for military intelligence. Information has always been fundamental to strategic decisions: there is nothing new in the power of information.

    What is new in modern organizations and societies is the potential to obtain...

  5. 1 Effective Information Management
    (pp. 5-16)

    Information has become as important to organizations in the late twentieth century as money, people and machines were to the late nineteenth century enterprise. Information is now a crucial resource. The effective management of information ranks alongside the management of people, operations, markets and finances in achieving organizational success.

    In this chapter we consider the significance of information throughout organizations, review the characteristics of information necessary at each level and see how information systems have evolved to respond to these needs.

    The conventional hierarchy of decisions—strategic, managerial and operational — provides a useful framework for thinking about information needed...

  6. 2 Information System Strategies
    (pp. 17-32)

    In the last chapter we saw how information systems now impact on every aspect of an organization's work, from the operations level, through the managerial to the strategic. At the operations level, in many sectors of industry and the public sector, information systems have fundamentally changed the way products are made, services are provided and user needs are met. At the managerial level, information systems have facilitated new organizational structures and alternative approaches to planning and control, with the potential to relocate decision-making authority and responsibility, while at the strategic apex in some industry sectors information systems have become of...

  7. 3 The Reality of Management Information
    (pp. 33-42)

    We have already seen the strategic potential of information systems. But, of course, the major contribution of information systems to an organization still lies at the operational and managerial levels. In Chapters 4 and 5 we will be looking at management information and its implications for organizational structure and management control. To do that, however, implies that we understand management information.

    Information is apparently a simple idea, but in practice it can prove to be quite elusive. What exactly is information? This chapter sets out to answer that question. Without a clear understanding of the nature of information it is...

  8. 4 Management Information and Organization
    (pp. 43-54)

    Despite the strategic significance of information systems, which has excited the interest of so many commentators in recent years (Zuboff 1988; Scott-Morton 1991), the dominant impact of these systems has been felt within organizations, where they are providing information more quickly, accurately and appropriately for management decisions and changing the way enterprises are run. In this chapter we look at the way information systems can be used to alter the locus of decision-making power and, indeed, to enable alternative organizational structures and new ways of managing to be developed.

    In the nineteenth century, when messages from remote parts of the...

  9. 5 Management Information and Control
    (pp. 55-72)

    The principal purpose of executive information systems, and an additional output of most transaction-based operating-level information systems, is the provision of management information. Much of this information is for management planning and control. Traditional management control systems, such as standard costing, budgetary planning and control and profit responsibility in strategic business units, divisions or subsidiary companies, are based primarily on the classic financial models of management accountancy. However, information can now be harnessed to offer new approaches to management control: non-monetary performance measures, multiple measures for performance evaluation, and cost data rooted in the reality of what drives costs and...

  10. 6 Systems Concepts
    (pp. 73-80)

    We have now seen the way that the harnessing of information can be strategically significant for an entity to survive and prosper in its competitive external environment, and managerially important for the organization to plan and control its activities effectively. Effective information systems are fundamental to the modern organization. In the second half of this book we will be exploring the implications of developing, managing and controlling such information systems.

    However, before we do there is one more important concept to consider. We have used the word ʹsystemʹ throughout our discussion this far without giving any thought to the implications...

  11. 7 Developing Information Systems
    (pp. 81-90)

    We now come to the practical matters of developing and managing information systems and data management and information control. Together they are the focus of the next four chapters. In this chapter we look at the way the ideas and experiences of information systems have evolved over the years, which will lead us to the current state of play in professional systems analysis and design and the many methodologies and tools that are now available to assist in the process.

    As we have already seen, applications in the early days of computing were transaction-oriented, well-bounded and justified by cost reduction...

  12. 8 Managing Information Systems
    (pp. 91-102)

    Computer-based systems have now been around for over three decades and in that time managementʹs approach to handling information and controlling expenditure on systems has changed significantly. As a starting point for understanding the effective management of information in the modern enterprise, we trace some of changes that have occurred. We look at the stage theory of information systems growth and develop a framework with three distinct levels of information system management.

    Initially the application of computers in business tended to replace existing manual record keeping, taking over clerical tasks in well-bounded systems such as payroll, inventory records, billing and...

  13. 9 Data Management
    (pp. 103-114)

    We saw in Chapter 1 how information involves a process; it is a function of the data available, the user and the userʹs organizational decision-making situation. We also saw how decisions can be viewed from the strategic apex, through the tactical or managerial level, down to the operational level, and how the type of information varies down that hierarchy.

    In this chapter we consider the management of the organizational data from which that information is derived. We look at various aspects of data management and the structuring of databases. We also see the growing significance of electronic data interchange between...

  14. 10 Controlling Information Systems
    (pp. 115-128)

    In this chapter we consider what is involved in controlling information and information systems effectively, including the possibility of charging out information services to other parts of the organization and the need to plan for catastrophe.

    Given the importance of information systems to organizational performance, strategically, managerially and operationally, and the scale of resources now committed to information systems, effective management control is clearly vital throughout the IS domain. In considering management responsibilities for controlling information and information systems we can use the general framework of control introduced in Chapter 5. For this we need to determine appropriate measures of...

  15. 11 Societal Issues
    (pp. 129-138)

    ʹInformation is powerʹ proclaims the cliché. The reality is that information is a potential source of power. Information is also essential to the exercise of power. It always has been, but today we face a new question: what is the right balance of power between individuals, enterprises and states, in a world in which information technologies enable power to be more widely spread or more closely held? That is the key issue in this chapter. Here we consider the power of information and the implications of harnessing it for the good of the individual, the enterprise and the state.


  16. 12 Frontiers in Information Management and Information Systems
    (pp. 139-152)

    In a seminal work Boisot (1987) suggested that:

    The move from an agrarian to an industrial society required people to rethink the meaning of wealth. It was no longer thought to be embedded exclusively in land but, in the age of the merchant, in gold and silver, and then later, with the appearance of the industrial entrepreneur, in capital. Thus the conditions required for the production and sharing of wealth underwent a profound transformation in the course of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Today a similar shift is taking place with the appearance of information as the new embodiment...

  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 153-160)
  18. Index
    (pp. 161-166)