SystemX Inc. Withdraws Rs. 1 Billion SoftGuide Acquisition Offer The following is an excerpt from a news article in the Daily Update, March 07, 2010 “SystemX Inc., called off its acquisition of SoftGuide Knowledge Consultants, Friday, saying that 1 Billion was too high a price.” (SoftGuide has a considerable market share in Training and Development services and would therefore help SystemX to diversify and expand its range of services to customers.) “Although SystemX officials would not comment further, several observers said that problems discovered at SoftGuide probably lay behind the decision…. The article said that SystemX feared that SoftGuide’s data-processing system was inadequate to handle the new products planned for the SoftGuide sales staff. SystemX officials were also concerned about the 30 percent annual turnover among sales personnel… Tabrez A., SoftGuide CEO, responded that the SoftGuide’s data-processing was quite competent and has absorbed at least one new product a month for two years.” Questions: a. Why should SystemX be so concerned about the capabilities of SoftGuide’s data-processing? b. What competitive advantages to a Training and Consultancy services company may be provided by an information system?
Professor Challenges Basic Assumption about Planning and Control Professor A. Van Cauwenbergh of Antwerp University, in a paper presented at the Tenth Anniversary Conference of the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management, presented four revisions to traditional Management Theory. In summary, the revisions are: (1) The initiative for the renewal and adjustment of the activities of a firm should come from the different levels in the management hierarchy. “Strategy is not a privilege of top management”. (2) Firms, especially big firms, are incoherent systems (goals of the different component systems are not simply subdivisions of an overall goal; there are individual, conflicting goals as well). Some of these differences are manifestations of organizational initiative and vitality. Using information systems and central planning and rule making to suppress all differences is destructive to organizations. (3) The most vital “fluid” of an enterprise is the aggregate of its entrepreneurial values. The most fundamental and motivation and control come through these shared values relative to work, quality, efficiency, etc. Management often neglects these values and assumes that the collection and dissemination of information will provide sufficient motivation and control. (4) Enterprises are open systems; their structure and operating processes are determined by their environment. This means organizations must be designed to continually adjust to the environment. Questions: a. If these revisions are correct, how is planning to be organized? How should the information system support the planning organization? b. Can the information system aid in achieving shared values? c. How might a comprehensive system be used to stifle initiative?
Himadri Barman, Centre for Management Studies, Dibrugarh University, Dibrugarh 786 004, Assam, India
Ten Guidelines for Strategic MIS Planning
Robert V. Head, a consultant on MIS planning, provided ten guidelines to help MIS executives who are on the threshold of experimenting with strategic MIS planning: 1. Make provisions in the systems plan for taking small steps rapidly. “Don’t have a plan with goals extending so far into the future that there is no way of tracking it.” 2. Develop alternative plans when significant contradictory trends are discerned in business objectives or technology. 3. Interface the systems plan with the corporate plan, modifying both appropriately. 4. Document the systems plan in a format intelligible to top management and arrange for personal presentation. 5. Establish a formal mechanism for review and reiteration of the systems plan. 6. Develop a system for tabulating and forecasting...