In addition to providing opportunities for improvement and innovation, ICT places constraints on process design initiatives. These constraints come in many forms, some of which are described here. An analyst needs to keep these constraints in mind when developing recommendations for the strategic alignment of ICT. The major constraints that ICT places on process design are the following:
- Existing IT. Technology that is currently being used, whether or not appropriately, can constrain the ability to improve or innovate a process. If the technology has already been acquired, it can impede process change. For example, a company purchases an ERP system for $5 million and then finds that the staff will not redesign the processes needed to use the ERP the way it was intended. The company then abandons the installation or, worse yet, uses it inappropriately, causing a $5 million direct hit to the bottom line. Existing technology can also inhibit process change initiatives if the investment in existing technology is already large and the organization is not willing to reinvest in new technology that will bring about an improved competitive position.
- Cost of redesign and availability of commercial applications. Commercial software is available for many applications, some of which can be modified to meet an organization's needs. However, the costs to modify the applications are often great. The company in the previous example might invest $5 million to purchase an ERP solution ...