Case Study: Progressive Group of Insurance Companies
The purpose of this paper to answer the questions purposed in writing assignment 1. The first question was: In your own words, define the terms "information technology" (IT) and “information systems” (IS) and explain their components and infrastructure. Why is it important for a manager to be involved in IT and what are the critical responsibilities for the manager? The second question is: Case Study (discuss the case and answer questions at end of case): The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies - Managers Leverage Ongoing IT Investments to Achieve Competitive Advantages (p. 23 of text).
Information technology (IT) is a term used to relate to anything or anyone in computing technology and involves the development, installation, and implementation of computer systems and applications. The components and infrastructure of IT consist of computer systems, software, and networks that are used to process, organize and distribute data or information. Whereas the term information system (IS) refers to the interaction between the people, processes, data and technology that an organization uses. The components and infrastructure of IS consist of the hardware, software, data, procedures, and people used to support the decision making, business processes, and competitive strategy of an organization. It is important for a manager to be involved in IT because when the time comes for change, managers can either be your greatest supporter or your biggest hurdle. Managers getting on-board and taking the lead in supporting employee change is crucial. Managers are the first line closest to the people who must adopt the new processes and behaviors associated with a project or initiative. They also have the ultimate responsibility of the impact of the change being a success or failure. Some of the critical responsibilities for manager are communication, support, education, cooperation, and manage opposition. A manager is a key conduit of information about the organization. Employees want to hear about how their work and or their team will be affected by a change from the person they report to. Managers need to demonstrate their support in active and observable ways. If a manager only passively supports or shows resistance to a change, then you can expect the same from their employees. Managers must be on-board first before they can expect support from their employees. The role of manager in education involves providing the information to promote awareness of the need for change. It is also important to have the capability to implement the required skills and behaviors that reinforce the need to participate and support the change. Cooperation involves interacting with the project team. As managers they are in the best position to provide usability results along with employee feedback back to the project team for design inputs. In terms of managing opposition, no one is closer to a resistant employee than his or her manager. They are in the best position to identify the source of that resistance, hone in on which element of the change process is driving resistance and address it accordingly. During the course of reading the Progressive case study I had two distinct revelations. The first of which is I had no idea that this company had been around for so long as I didn’t even know they existed until about 10 years ago. The second revelation was that whoever picked the company name really hit it right on the mark. With all their technological advances in the insurance community they are truly a progressive company. While reviewing the Progressive web site for recent press releases I found that Progressive’s year started out with new IT advances. In January they opened an online learning portal allowing free continuing education for agents. January also introduced a new...