Information and the Modern Corporation

Information and the Modern Corporation

JAMES W. CORTADA
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 176
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5hhbn6
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  • Book Info
    Information and the Modern Corporation
    Book Description:

    While we have been preoccupied with the latest i-gadget from Apple and with Google's ongoing expansion, we may have missed something: the fundamental transformation of whole firms and industries into giant information-processing machines. Today, more than eighty percent of workers collect and analyze information (often in digital form) in the course of doing their jobs. This book offers a guide to the role of information in modern business, mapping the use of information within work processes and tracing flows of information across supply-chain management, product development, customer relations, and sales. The emphasis is on information itself, not on information technology. Information, overshadowed for a while by the glamour and novelty of IT, is the fundamental component of the modern corporation. In Information and the Modern Corporation, longtime IBM manager and consultant James Cortada clarifies the differences among data, facts, information, and knowledge and describes how the art of analytics has all but eliminated decision making based on gut feeling, replacing it with fact-based decisions. He describes the working style of "road warriors," whose offices are anywhere their laptops and cell phones are and whose deep knowledge of a given topic becomes their medium of exchange. Information is the core of the modern enterprise, and the use of information defines the activities of a firm. This essential guide shows managers and employees better ways to leverage information--by design and not by accident.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-29882-7
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. SERIES FOREWORD
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Bruce Tidor

    The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series presents short, accessible books on need-to-know subjects in a variety of fields. Written by leading thinkers, Essential Knowledge volumes deliver concise, expert overviews of topics ranging from the cultural and historical to the scientific and technical. In our information age, opinion, rationalization, and superficial descriptions are readily available. Much harder to come by are the principled understanding and foundational knowledge needed to inform our opinions and decisions. This series of beautifully produced, pocket-sized, soft-cover books provides in-depth, authoritative material on topics of current interest in a form accessible to nonexperts. Instead of condensed versions...

  4. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  5. 1 WORKING THE DIGITAL WAY
    (pp. 1-20)

    The way people work in large and small enterprises has evolved in response to the availability of more and different information over the past 20 years, and as a result of the increased number of information technologies that individuals can use to collect, analyze, control, and use data. Today people use more information to make decisions and to take action than ever before. That way of working represents astyleof going about our work that can be described as digital and information-intensive. That style affects the activities and the thinking of managers, their staffs, and even their smart machines....

  6. 2 KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT—MORE CORPORATE GLUE
    (pp. 21-32)

    If the modern corporation is largely a creator and a user of information, then facts and knowledge are among its most important assets, along with inventory and cash. If everyone in a company collects, stores, and uses information, then everyone in the company is, by definition, a manager of those assets. In reality, information is protected fiercely, while other facts are exposed like a hundred-dollar bill left on a desk or on the front seat of an automobile in full view. At one extreme, corporations guard some data with strident copyright practices and patent-management practices, locked rooms, and passwords; at...

  7. 3 THE INFORMED SUPPLY CHAIN
    (pp. 33-54)

    The largest collections of activities (processes) in most corporations involve supply chains. No other group of activities requires as much information and coordination. No process for managing personnel and no process for accounting or financial tracking, for example, collects and uses data in such large quantities. A manufacturer of automobiles, a chain of retail dry-goods stores, a bank, and an insurance company all have supply chains with which to manage the flow of goods, supplies, activities, and expenses efficiently within the enterprise. The coordination of work and assets has been a subject of considerable managerial and academic attention for more...

  8. 4 NEW PRODUCTS AND MARKETING IN A DIGITIZED WORLD
    (pp. 55-78)

    Providing structure and imposing process-management practices upon the work of the enterprise are not limited to the operation of supply chains. Product development, marketing, and customer relations have also been profoundly changed over the past 20 years, thanks to the availability of information far beyond what management had in earlier times. For example, not so long ago products were just objects to be produced and packed with limited documentation for manufacturing workers and customers. Training for employees was largely tacit, and only informal. Only brief instructions (information) were given to customers on how to assemble and use a product. All...

  9. 5 “DIGITAL PLUMBING” IN THE MODERN ORGANIZATION
    (pp. 79-98)

    All enterprises, regardless of size, have a great deal of computing and communications hardware and software installed. Their employees do, too. There is an inaccurate view which holds that the clutter of technologies is just that—a disorganized hodgepodge of gadgets, desk drawers full of old cell phones and calculators whose batteries died a long time ago, and storerooms full of ancient PCs that someone intends to recycle someday. To be sure, there are multiple generations of equipment and software in use, and there are systems that do not make it easy to move data from one piece of equipment...

  10. 6 THE STRUCTURE OF THE MODERN ORGANIZATION
    (pp. 99-126)

    This chapter is about how the resources of the modern organization are organized. The word “organization” is used here because many of the trends described here are occurring in universities and in government agencies, not just in business enterprises. These trends are evident all over the world, even in places one would think have yet to embrace the Information Age. All major surveys of modern societies, governments, and businesses have essentially concluded that more than 90 percent of the world is embracing the Information Age in some form. The current worldwide movement of more than a billion people out of...

  11. 7 THE FUTURE OF INFORMATION IN THE MODERN ENTERPRISE
    (pp. 127-150)

    The historic trend over the past 100 years has been for management to increase its dependence on multiple forms of data and information. The development of the computer and subsequently its marriage to communications from data processing to the more complex notions of information technology (IT) and most recently to information and communications technologies (ICT), followed by the availability of the Internet, made it possible to expand the collection, the storage, and the use of data and information. That historic process is continuing to evolve into systems of information that are creating new forms of insight and leading to increased...

  12. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
    (pp. 151-152)
  13. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 153-156)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 157-160)