Posted by Winnie Melda on December 18th, 2017
The case of Hefty hardware is about a retail firm that is struggling to make sense of the increasing need of having information technology in the business and the value that information technology is currently delivering. The main challenge being faced by the firm is how to ensure effective collaboration in the business in all levels. Some of the key issues being encountered in the firm are pressure on the business to be flexible and ensure products and services are delivered to clients quickly. The IT is required to delivery cheap and reliable operations and also creates a new business value. It is also expected that IT communication should be in business language. The issues affecting the company include communication issues and lack of collaboration. This paper will discuss the effectiveness of the partnership between IT and business in the firm and also develop a plan that can be used so as to deliver the savvy store program in a successful manner. This is an analysis that will be based on the case study of the Hefty hardware.
IT and the business
When focusing on the partnership between IT and business, there tend to be no effectiveness between the partnerships. There is no relationship between the IT and business. Some of the factors that are needed to form a good relationship include credibility, competence, interpersonal interaction and trust. These are factors that are not in place in the two divisions of the business and IT. The business division has the feeling that IT does not have competence when it is dealing with the needs of the business because the IT division does not have the knowledge of the goals, processes, and business concerns of Hefty Hardware. Lack of credibility occurs as the business has the perception that IT is not credible and it cannot be trusted in delivering the business operations successfully. Interpersonal interaction has failed between the two divisions because during meetings, the business members tend to feel confused and lost when they listen to the IT describing the technology details (Smith & McKeen 2012). The lack of relationship between the IT and business has become the main problem for the firm in dealing with business operations and building the future growth of Hefty Hardware.
A core problem that the company is facing is a lack of communication between business and IT division. Lack of communication can be, as a result, of poor understanding of one another on both technical and functional language. According to the case study, it is evident that the IT division does not usually explain what they are doing so as to support business function and also enable them work together in meeting the goals of the company. When members are in a meeting, the IT group usually talks to the business group in technical language that is hard for them to understand.
Lack of communication and understanding is a key issue of concern for the company and this is seen all over the organization. Because of poor communication, it results to the partnership between the business and IT division not to be effective. Communication normally involves sharing of information between individuals and groups so as to reach a common goal and keep the company efficient and productive (Rossouw & Nieuwenhuizen 2008). To ensure effective partnership, communication must be emphasized and all members of the organization should be effective communicators.
It is clear that the management structure of the company is the cause of a lot of shortcomings for the company. It is right to bring technical experts in business meetings; however, the manager should be able to maintain a clear direction regarding the discussion and explain to the information technology team the importance of explaining their terms so as to avoid disconnect.
The shortcomings of the IT and business divisions is that there is no interdepartmental communication. Because of the lack of interdepartmental communication, it has resulted to lack of trust in the firm. There is no trust among the divisions in delivering new projects. When the departments cannot trust each other to deliver accurate information, this usually results to figure pointing and even conflicts may arise (Smith & McKeen 2012). An organization that is engaged in conflict usually end up being unproductive because there is no collaboration among members.
Lack of collaboration is observed between the IT people and the business division as they cannot convey their specific requirement to the IT department. Communication is critical in partnership; however, Hefty Hardware is an example of an organization where departments do not have knowledge about the functions of the other department. Glen the COO of the company states that the IT does not know some of the basic business functions such as how the warehouse operates.
Addressing the shortcomings of IT and Business
From the evaluation of Hefty Hardware, it is evident that the root cause of the disconnect between the IT and the business arises from the top of the organization. The business environment is usually characterized by a very fierce competition. The increase in completion has been contributed by the introduction of IT in organization. Technology helps in improving the lot of business aspects. Ensuring good relationship between the IT and business is important because using technology helps in maximizing the business productivity as it usually creates a foundation for realizing true business success (Smith & McKeen 2012). For organizations to be successful in a competitive environment, they should be unified so that to increase the value for clients.
So as to establish a culture that is needed to ensure there is effective business and IT relationship, the company should consider team building. The company can ensure collaboration through investing in developing team building activities for the different levels of employees. Team building will encourage collaboration as this is an activity that will create a synergy for the company and ensure that members with trouble with connecting with others are able to interact positively (Smith & McKeen 2012). Another important way of encouraging productivity and the effectiveness of the divisions are through in-house training. Training is important as it plays a role in keeping the workforce motivated, happy, and productive (Cesare et al. 2006). In-house training is important for Hefty hardware as this will increase the understanding of IT and business and also help in developing their soft skills. In-house training will help in ensuring that the business members have some basic knowledge regarding IT processes, activities, terms, and capabilities.
In order to avoid interdepartmental frustration, the company should consider the trust factor. Good relationships between the IT and business members are a leading cause of project success. Relationship issues can result to the failure of the organization. Negative relationships usually result to people avoiding one another or working against each other. However, when there is mutual trust (Nelson 2009). Research indicates that the quality of It and business relationship is normally central in delivering IT value. Ensuring mutual trust is important mostly during business problem solving because it makes a difference in how much value the technology is perceived to deliver. Ensuring the training and developing trust will contribute positively to the organization in ensuring that there is collaboration between the two groups.
From the analysis of the case on Hefty hardware, communication is considered as a major problem being faced between the two divisions. In order to improve communication in hefty, it is necessary to develop a communication plan. This will help in improving how divisions communicate with each other, and how communication is done in the chain of command (Rossouw & Nieuwenhuizen 2008). The success of the project is usually dependent on the set of crucial communication techniques and skills. Communication in the company should be considered as a continuous exercise as long as the business and IT divisions are working together so that to remove any communication barriers so that to ensure there is ongoing communication among the members.
A good communication plan for the company should identify the objectives, messages, tactics, target audience, success measures, and the projected timeline. During the communication, every means possible can be used so that to convey a message to everyone (Nelson 2009). So that to get communication across, there are different aspects that can be used including newsletters, emails, blogs, divisional meetings, departmental meetings, and one-on-one meetings.
Plan for IT and business
To ensure effective collaboration for both the IT and business so as to deliver a successful savvy store program, there is need to address the problem of communication. Effective communication normally plays an essential role in ensuring that activities in the company are completed on time and according to the right standard. Hefty hardware does not have good communication between IT and the business division. It is necessary to establish a well and organized communication plan that will help in improving the collaboration of IT and business (Cesare et al. 2006). By improving communication between the two divisions, it will ensure that everyone understands the goals of the savvy store program and work towards ensuring that the program is delivered successfully. The VP of retail marketing tends to have no confidence in IT in delivering the program and is considering outsourcing work. However, the lack of confidence is, as a result, of misunderstanding. Therefore, an excellent communication plan will be helpful in ensuring that everyone understands others capabilities and purpose; thus, creates confidence in the division delivering the program.
Time management is crucial in business and mostly when teams are involved. The business division thinks that the IT division spends a lot of time in completing a project. In order to make sure that the Savvy store program is delivered successful and on time, there is a need to ensure time management. A positive impact of time management is that it results to the improvement in productivity and motivation (Attaran 2004). Through time management, it will ensure that the IT division and business division work collaboratively through prioritizing projects and setting goal. This is a strategy that allows the IT to meet the needs of the business. To ensure a successful delivery of the Savvy program, it is advisable for a business to consider reevaluating their timeline for releasing the program.
According to the case study, the IT team believes that there are certain tasks that should be completed so that to meet the deadline for the project. Collaboration is important when working as a team as it ensures that the project is completed successfully. The business should define the objective of the program (Cesare et al. 2006). The IT division should be involved in analyzing the current situation through planning a field trip so that to understand the exact operation of the store. Farzad should consider sending the knowledgeable IT representatives on the suggested field trip together with some business representatives so that they can acquire a better understanding regarding the requirements of the stores for the program. Sending the representatives will impact the timeline for releasing the program; however, it is a better decision because it will help in ensuring that the project is more effective and one that meets the business needs.
After planning the field trip the two divisions should plan a meeting where they will discuss the approach for meeting the ultimate goal. It is more likely for the two departments to have different approaches of implementing the program; however, coming together and discussing the different approach will enable the divisions to settle consider the most appropriate way that will be used and move forward. Once the approaches have been agreed upon by the divisions, there must be a written document for the approved plan of what was agreed upon during the meeting and it must be signed (Cesare et al. 2006). This is a helpful strategy as it will help in avoiding conflict and also ensure that everyone is on track and does not divert from the main plan. Effective implementation of this plan can only be implemented if there is effective communication
Effective communication ensures that people listen to each other effectively and also provide value and feedback to everyone in the organization. This will help in clarifying what is being done and what must be done so that everyone involved is aware of what is happening. Communication is important between colleagues. Hefty Hardware can consider using the internet so that to improve its internal communication. When working on a project, staff should always be informed about what is expected and speaking and sharing information about Savvy store program can be made possible through the internet. There is a need to establish a company intranet that will help in effective collaboration between the IT and business.
This is a private web that is accessible to only employees where employees can have access to it and complete tasks at their own time. The intranet is critical as it ensures great collaboration and sharing knowledge (Mukherjee 2005). The intranet will be helpful in the case an employee has difficulty in a certain issue; therefore, other employees who have encountered such an issue in the past could know how to solve the issue. Therefore, they will help in resolving the issue fast instead of delaying the process and miss the deadline. The intranet will help in building strong social network in the organization and it will also ease access to information and cost savings.
The IT and business can work collaboratively if change management is considered well. Change management usually involves preparing and monitoring employee’s mindset so that they can have a positive response to change. Change is usually important; however, management of change is important. It is likely that the IT division may feel that there is a need for a change when working on the project. When any division thinks that there is a need for change, it must be communicated immediately to others to ensure everyone is aware of what it is about. Analysis should be done by both divisions to determine the impact and what should be done. When the two divisions come to an agreement and perceive the change to have a positive impact, then they can continue and implement the change (Mukherjee 2005).
In the case study on Hefty hardware, the relationship between the business and IT appear to be at the weakest point. Departments in organizations should be working together to achieve a common goal. However, both IT and business in the company do not exist and they work separately. Hefty hardware is expecting the IT to have more influence on the business, therefore, in order for that to be achieved collaboration and communication must be improved. In the discussion, we have explained issues that are affecting the effectiveness of the partnership of IT and business and how the problems can be addressed. The paper also provides a plan on how the business and IT can work collaboratively so that to ensure a successful delivery of the Savvy store program. Managers in Hefty should focus more attention on implementing a communication plan that will help in balancing the communication process. The correct balance is needed in IT and Business divisions mostly in communication.
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Lycett, M Fernando, S & Cesare, S (2006). Understanding the relationship between business and IT groups international journal of networking and virtual organizations 3 (4)
Mukherjee, S (2005). Organization & management and business communication New Age international
Nelson, A (2009). How to structure and mature the Business/IT relationship retrieved from http://www.cioupdate.com/reports/article.php/3835966/How-to-Structure-and-Mature-the-BusinessIT-Relationship.htm
Rossouw, D & Nieuwenhuizen, C (2008). Business management Juta and Company Ltd
Smith, A & McKeen, D (2012). Delivering value with IT Pearson Education, Inc
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About the AuthorWinnie Melda
Joined: December 7th, 2017
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