This study case focuses on AgCredit. AgCredit is an agricultural and loan company. The company’s central competency gets built around knowledge of their customer. It is worth noting that, the company’s Information Technology (IT) infrastructure in place does not suit the business in the best way they would have wanted. The current IT setup is not enterprise architecture. Due to this reason, staff issues are rampant. The management needs to have done a lot of work in analyzing the situation. A new team was formed to see how they can transform the IT infrastructure. The team comes in and gathers all the information they would need to analyze the situation. The team has completed gathering the information. The team must now convince the management of the system will incorporate the changes in the system. The team must comprehensively communicate the goals and plans to come inside in the business. The only way that they are going actually to revive the IT infrastructure.<*** class="wp-block-image">
Key issues and problems
The company’s top management is busy with daily running and new initiatives of the enterprise. The IT department competence has declined over time, and the infrastructure no longer aligns with the vision of the organization. However, some backend system has enabled access to the company’s information. But the system is not compatible causing weak interaction. IT lacks credibility within the business line. The shortcoming is a highlight that will need a quick address and recovery on the reorganization of IT infrastructure.
The problem in the IT infrastructure has caused another problem in that; the IT staffs have no understanding of business process. The business itself also lacks comprehensive understanding of its processes. The linkage of processes is unclear to many people in the company. The four business divisions do not understand their role either. Theirs needs to be how they are going to support the enterprise. One of the supports they need to offer is aligning their individual goals with strategic drivers.
The company has four distinct drivers. Continuous growth, better customer relations, personalized customer service. Ability to cross-sell services, and provision of consistent experience to customers (Cooks, 2015). The management has created a CIO position. The CIO major role is to align IT and the business and lead and guide the overhaul of IT. The CIO has had a successful campaign run with e-commerce. He takes over the CIO role with fresh ideas. However, he has inadequate formal technical experience. But he is comfortable utilizing the contractors and making multiple points of view.
The division if IT has neither governance nor architecture in place. What has rather been in existence is a divisional structure thereby giving IT a shallow vision. The decisions made at IT fulfill short-term needs and initiatives. For this reasons, IT is viewed as a support service that the company can otherwise outsource. The current situation at IT has caused some common problems associated with motivation; low morale, high job ambiguity, unqualified staff in the positions, inadequate technical skills in some areas, and having no senior IT manager position. Part of immediate IT reorganization must address and sort out these staff needs.
There is a problem of application-centric running within the company. The problem has led to the company having databases for each department. The challenge with this is data untidiness and redundancy. The management has suggested an SOA approach to transforming IT. The approach has recommended due to the needs that the company needs to address. The needs are integrating technologies and platforms without replacement of the current ones. The choice of vendor will be narrowed and approved through a process backed by execution techniques and processes
The final steps will be to consolidate the customers’ data while strengthening its foundation. Each client will have his data stored in a single set. It will lead to IT department build trust and gain credibility from the organization.
Give ideas of organizational structure to the IT department that you feel will support a transformation of AgCredit into a process-centric organization?
An important thing at the moment to the organizational structure will be recognition of business ownership. Knowing the company will make the staff join hand in the succession of the IT projects. A steering will be needed to be in place and be part of the approval process of even future projects while making sure that an enterprise view to the projects is taken. The multidivisional committee tasked with project oversight should ensure that all projects fit within the SOA framework. The CIO will also be in the boardroom and have a direct access to the senior management. The CIO will be requirement will need to hire a top management that will be able to convey the departmental issues and show the IT staff way forward.
There will be required to have an installation of account managers for each LOB and be reporting to the IT administrator. In the IT division, entire IT staff reassessment will be required to have the right people in the right jobs. The reassessment of the IT staff will have the task of aligning the IT function with the enterprise vision. In the reassessment of IT personnel, the management should recruit internally and outsource the rest of the team (Dale, 2013).
The process should begin by examining by determining the link between plans and vision of the company. The committee should outline effects of the project on each division and how it will meet needs of the department and that it fits within the SOA. The end user should fully know the benefits of the project. The project should have modules and meet standards will help the architecture.
How should Manley make the case for SOA to ensure that the executive team at AgCredit buys in?
To convince the executive team, Manley needs to present primary strengths of SOA and show how it will achieve company’s goals. Manley should highlight such importance as; the infrastructure will give opportunities to the departments by gaining financially. Merging the process will bring the business as a whole and increase communication (Wu, 2013).
What new internal IT capabilities will have to be developed create an IT department to support AgCredit future business architecture?
The IT capabilities that we need most are management tools, information management tools, information delivery options, development cycles, and customer service attitude towards the divisions. But roles should be clarified in setting up the scheme. Management tools are the process of aligning business, and funding methods. Others are measurement techniques and focus, and monitoring methods. Information management tools are collection activities, processing modules. Development cycles should be in line with SOA standards. Customer service attitude will need to change.
What aspects of IT governance do you think would be significant in supporting this transformation?
Some guiding principles will need to be written down while IT works alongside the business. Having account managers in the LOB and forming a multidiscipline steering committee that will have decision-making power. The committee will work closely with CIO. The governance will guide the process and keep critical issues in focus. Stakeholders will also be needed to come in the court (McKeen & Smith, 2014)
Cooks, T. (2014). Customer Service. Bloomberg Business Week , pp. 64-71.
Dale, M. (2013). Enterprise Architecture Implementation Governance: Managing Meaning and Action. Journal of Enterprise Architecture.
McKeen, J. D., & Smith, H. A. (2014). IT Strategies: Issues and Practices. New Jersey: Pearson College Division.
Wu, J. C.-Z. (2013). The Complex Adaptive architecture Method. Journal of Enterprise Architecture , 19-25.
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