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Information Systems by Efrem G. Mallach

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345
Chapter 10
Planning and Selecting
Information Systems
CHAPTER OUTLINE
e Information Systems Steering Committee
Setting Priorities
Make or Buy?
Selecting Soware
Aer the Contract Is Signed
WHY THIS CHAPTER MATTERS
Every information system begins when someone thinks “We need a new information sys-
tem to do ________.” (Fill in the blank with your favorite idea.)
Such ideas arise from several drivers:
Dissatisfaction with a current information system or business process
Seeing or hearing about what other organizations, perhaps competitors, have done
A merger or acquisition that changes the way an organization works
Recognizing that new technology makes new things possible
Sometimes more than one driver is present. Dissatisfaction can arise from what a competi-
tor does. A merger may create the critical mass to justify a new, but expensive, technology.
A soware salesperson can explain what is possible with new technology and show how
other companies use it, thus creating dissatisfaction.
346 Information Systems: What Every Business Student Needs to Know
Once an idea arises, proceeding is a business decision. Technical factors dene what
is possible but cannot determine what is desirable. For that reason, organizations cannot
leave these decisions to their professional Information Systems sta. Businesspeople, such
as yourself in a few years, must make them. is chapter will show you how theyre made
and give you some tools to make them yourself.
CHAPTER TAKE-AWAYS
As you read this chapter, focus on these key concepts to use on the job:
1. Users must be involved in information systems planning to get the systems they need.
2. e organizations existing infrastructure both enables and constrains this planning.
3. ere are systematic ways to approach information systems planning.
THE INFORMATION SYSTEMS STEERING COMMITTEE
is section describes larger organizations. Small ones have less formal structure or no structure
at all. Still, everything a steering committee does is important. Even the smallest company should
think about the tasks of the steering committee and make sure someone handles each of them.
Organizations that recognize the crucial role of information systems (IS) in their suc-
cess generally establish an IS steering committee to oversee those systems on behalf of top
management. is committee is headed by the chief information ocer (CIO) or a senior
IS manager. It includes members from all parts of the organization, usually managers or
senior professionals who can speak for their colleagues. Figure 10.1 shows a steering com-
mittee, with example members in heavy borders.
e purpose of an IS steering committee is to make sure that information systems
investments are planned for the benet of the entire organization. It decides what systems
to develop. It reviews plans for major systems, and appoints subcommittees to carry out
more detailed reviews as it sees the need. It sets policies for information system use, such
as security policies, and approves major technology budget requests. By its commitment
toeective use of information technology, it sets a visible example for others in the orga-
nization. Many steering committees conduct most of their work online, with occasional
face-to-face “get-acquainted” meetings.
CEO
CIO
Sales and
marketing
Mktg.
manager
Corp. ctrlr. Mgr., QA
Mgr., prod.
design
Other mgrs.
Finance and
admin.
Production R&D etc.
FIGURE 10.1 Organization chart of IS steering committee.

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