MBA 513 Management Information Systems
April 14, 2010
I am proposing a plan for an Information Technology personnel expansion to Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. versus a specific Information Technology system to be implemented companywide. Acorda has good information technology systems in place throughout the areas that directly impact the field sales organization. However, Acorda does not have enough personnel within its IT department to support all of the areas within the company that are in need. This has been more evident and is especially true since Acorda doubled the outside field sales team from fifty sales representatives to 100 sales representatives. I would like to outline a plan to triple the head count within our IT department from three to ten employees. From my perspective, as an employee of the company, Acorda has a large gap between business personnel and IT personnel.
According to our book, Business Driven Information Systems, “One of the greatest challenges today is effective communication between business personnel and IT personnel.” (Phillips, p. 15) Acorda has great programs and systems in place, but when organizations IT department is understaffed, even the best IT initiatives implemented continuously fall short. Acorda has various departments that depend on specific information to function. Acorda has an information-sharing culture. “Information-sharing culture is employees trusting each other to use information (especially about problems and failures) to improve performance. (Phillips, p. 13) I believe that the culture has remained this way due to the nature of it being such a small biotechnology company. The organization has around two hundred and fifty employees. The book explains that the gap is due to the difference in vocabulary between business personnel and IT personnel. I believe that there are not enough people within IT to communicate eve the basics effectively within an efficient timeframe and this creates a poor performance on their behalf.
My proposal of increasing the IT department staff from three to ten people would help to ease the flow of basic information to all departments within Acorda from sales and marketing to accounting. Currently, if field sales representative experiences an IT related issue with anything, it can take days for someone to within IT to get back to the representative. Creating a dedicated IT helpdesk that is open from nine A.M. to 5 P.M. Eastern Time, would be very helpful. The current system has an individual submit an IT request ticket through the companies VPN, and days later someone will contact the representative at a random time when you may or may not be near your computer. There are many issues surrounding this “request ticket” methodology. Typically, if an individual is requesting for help from IT, it is something important. Field representatives have blackberry’s, laptop computers, printers and numerous programs with the computer to assist us with everything. Some of the computer programs are for expense reporting, field sales reports, call reporting, ordering marketing materials, and physician data. A great example of a need from a field sales representative is when the VPN is down, it does not allow them access to programming to be able to complete anything. If it takes days for someone to assist with this request, that individual in the field has lost days of functioning effectively within their respective territory. It would be much more functional to have a dedicated IT helpdesk to call and get immediate assistance with whatever the need is. I have worked at several other companies, and they have all had dedicated IT helpdesks available with extended hours.
Acorda would benefit immensely with its field sales force by allowing them to be fully restored and functional immediately. In doing this, that representative is much more productive quicker. In...