Management and Business

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John Ottersbach
Info I-303 Organizational Informatics
June 17, 2009
Project # 4

This is the project report from evaluating the AgCredit mini-case (Textbook pages 131-134) 1. Synopsis
This case focuses on an agriculture credit and loan company whose core competency is based around its customer knowledge. The organization’s IT structure and function does not suit the business well. The current setup is not enterprise architecture and staff issues are rampant. There has been a lot of preparatory work done in analyzing the situation and a new team was formed to chart a course of action to transform IT. With much of the information gathering completed, the team now must convince the business leadership of the changes and be brought on board. Communicating the goals and future plans to involve the business will be vital for the company’s IT to become effective. 2. Key Issues

1. The company’s executives are very busy with day to day operations and new initiatives. IT competence has slipped over time and the structure was never aligned with organizational vision. 2. Although some backend tinkering has made company wide information accessible in some cases, the current systems are not compatible and interaction between them is poor. 3. IT does not have credibility within the lines of business. This is a know shortcoming and will be addressed in the reorganization of IT. 4. Business processes are not understood by IT staff and often the business itself lacks a thorough gasp on their processes. The interconnections of the processes are unclear to both sides of the organization also. 5. The divisions do not understand their role within the organization and they must figure out how they should support the enterprise. Aligning their individual goals with strategic drivers will need to be done. There are four business divisions within AgCredit. 6. The company’s strategic drivers are continuous growth, expanse of customer relationships, ability to spend more time with the customers, ability to cross-sell services, and provide a consistent experience to the customer. 7. A CIO position was created to align IT and the business and to guide the IT transformation. The new CIO has run a successful campaign with e-business and comes to the position with fresh eyes, but a lack of formal technical experience. He is comfortable utilizing contractors and taking in multiple points of view. 8. No IT governance or architecture is currently in place. Rather a divisional structure has existed and enterprise vision is shallow. IT decisions are made to fulfill short-term needs and initiatives. IT function is viewed as a support service for the business. 9. Some of the IT staffing issues are: low morale, high job ambiguity, unqualified staff filling positions, technical skills lacking in some areas, no senior IT manager positions, and many unfilled job roles. Part of retooling the IT architecture must be to sort out these staffing needs. 10. An application-centric attitude rules the company. This has led to four separate databases, one per division, and huge data untidiness and redundancy. 11. An SOA approach has been suggested based on organizational needs, to transform IT. Those needs include integrating technologies and platforms without replacement. Vendor choices will have to be narrowed and an approval process put in place backed with execution metrics and processes. 12. The next steps will be consolidating the customer data and strengthening its foundation. A single set of customer information is the expectation and this will also help build trust and credibility toward IT, within the organization. 3. Case Evaluation Strategy that was used

This report looks at a “horizontal” slice of many interrelated issues (refer to Section 5 – later in the report – for further explanation of these issues). Mixing the details of the case with the general issues into a relevant and cogent analysis...
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