Avoiding the 10 Common Pitfalls in Office Automation Implementation

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This article was downloaded by: [Carnegie Mellon University]On: 19 October 2014, At: 02:33Publisher: Taylor & FrancisInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UKJournal of Information Systems ManagementPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/uism19Avoiding the 10 Common Pitfalls in Office AutomationImplementationPhilip N. JamesPublished online: 30 May 2007.To cite this article: Philip N. James (1984) Avoiding the 10 Common Pitfalls in Office Automation Implementation, Journal ofInformation Systems Management, 1:3, 3-12, DOI: 10.1080/07399019408963039To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07399019408963039PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLETaylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content) containedin the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of theContent. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, andare not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon andshould be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable forany losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoeveror howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use ofthe Content.This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematicreproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in anyform to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/loi/uism19http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/07399019408963039http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07399019408963039http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionsAvoiding the 1 0 Common Pitfalls in Office Automa tion Implemen ta tion Philip N. James Office automation (OA) can be a major contributor to an organization's success, or it can be a major drain with few benefits. Because of its experience in introducing new technologies to the organization, MIS management can help guide the implementation of office technologies. This article describes 10 common pitfalls in implementing OA and explains how to avoid them in order to help organizations reap its substantial benefits. The road to successful office automation (OA) is paved with stumbling blocks. User impatience to acquire OA, the difficulty of its cost justifica- tion, the lack of understanding among senior executives, the proliferation of incompatible OA systems, unsuccessful pilot projects, successful pilots that never spread-these are some of the challenges confronting those responsible for managing the implementation of OA in their or- ganizations. MIS managers can, however, gain control over this complex process and avoid the pitfalls. 1. Failing to Plan OA will cause more organizational change than Philip N. James is director of strategy planning for the Northrop Corporation Information Resource Management Department, Hawthorne CA. any prior use of the computer. Planning for the introduction of office technology, its manage- ment, and the training of its users.is therefore essential. S o m e organizations try to formulate a comprehensive strategic plan that provides for the systematic testing and introduction of office technologies over several years. Given the cur- rent state of the art, such an approach is probil- bly unnecessary and may even be counterpro- ductive. Office technologies are evolving so rapidly that organizations must maintain flexibil- ity to take advantage of new developments. A comprehensive, detailed plan in this area rarely provides sufficient flexibility. What planning, then, should take place? The answer depends on many factors. The most important determinants are the character- Downloaded by [Carnegie Mellon University] at 02:33 19 October 2014 istics of the organization. A "mom and pop" store would naturally require very different so- lutions than a major corporation, and govern- ments and universities would also differ. Some key' planning questions follow. How much risk can the organization man- age? The greater the organization's "risk to tol- erance," the more likely it is that it can pioneer new technologies. Although new technologies can provide significant competitive advantages, vendors likely to offer these technologies are equally likely to be out of business when help is needed. This strategy therefore risks the costs associated with converting to alternative equipment. . If its risk tolerance is low, the organization should stay with vendors that have good track records and prognoses and with systems that have been effective with many users. Such a low-risk strategy significantly limits the organiza- tion's options in a dynamic field, but those that are available can be used effectively, as many major corporations have demonstrated. How large and complex is the organiza- tion? The options of a multinational corpora- tion that desires a worldwide integrated elec- tronic office are severely limited. Those organizations that are willing to allow different units to adopt different approaches will have more options; however, they must then consid- er such complex problems as providing gate- ways for the transfer of documents, messages, and other communications among several sys- tems. Allowing local independence without gateways limits the potential benefits of OA for the corporation, because a principal value of OA is improved companywide communica- tions. The smaller and more coherent the organ- ization, the more options it can review. At the low end is the mom and pop store, which can probably meet its needs with a single personal computer. Such needs may even include online relationships with its suppliers and/or custom- ers. Those who work in small units of large corporations often pursue independent efforts, because they do not expect significant interac- tion with the rest of the organization. Experi- ence has shown that such people come to real- ize the value of interconnection as they become familiar with what their equipment can do for them. This is organizational learning, which is addressed later. If a company can effectively manage equipment redeployment, it may find that it is better to start such people with the lim- ited equipment they want, then replace it when the need for interconnection is clear. How entrepreneurial i s the organiaa- tion? This is related io the question of risk to]- erance but may further limit the options in a company that can otherwise tolerate risk. Con- versely, it may open options to a company that probably should not pursue them. The entre- preneurial environment can substantially influ- ence the choice of options in any company. If the decision maker cannot afford to fail, he or she will look at the safest options and forego some potential benefits. What technology should be introduced where? A requirements analysis is the starting place for most OA initiatives. Some OA advis- ers feel, however, that the preceding three questions must be answered before the require- ments study can begin. This allows the real op- tions available to be held in mind as the require- ments are developed. In some cases, an organizationwide "go for broke" approach to OA is reasonable. A requirements study documents the company's mode of doing business and quanti- fies the flow of information among its units. Its principal objective is to find high-payoff applica- tions of office technology and to assess their prospects for success. Often someone has suffi- cient knowledge of the company to simplify or eliminate a comprehensive requirements study and to direct the focus to two or three obvious areas. If document creation is the issue, word processing may suffice. If heavy travel is the is- sue, teleconferencing may suffice. If "telephone tag" is the issue, voice mail may suffice. If a vendor performs the requirements study, how- ever, it is likely to find.a problem that its system will solve. An important step is to find a reasonably localized application. Here, localized means lo- cal with respect to organizational variables (a Downloaded by [Carnegie Mellon University] at 02:33 19 October 2014 10 Common Pitfalls in OA Implementation , EXHIBIT 1 Pilot Project Planning Questions Why is the pilot project being conducted, and what results are expected? How will the pilot change the nature of the work in the target. organizatkn? What benefits will people realize? What should they not expect? What problems might occur? How will they be handled? What should people do if they encounter anything unexpected? What records should the participants keep? How should they share their experiences with each other and with the pilot project management? What training will be provided? What feedback is desired on the effectiveness of the training? What support will be provided during the pilot? A "help line"? Consulting? Individual assistance? A user group? What is the time frame of the pilot? When the.pilot is over, how will it be evaluated? What role will the participants have in the evaluation? How will the results of the pilot be disseminated? What role will the participants have in disseminating the pilot results to other departments? worldwide marketing organization can be local in this sense). Pilot projects that span organiza- tional boundaries are less likely to succeed than those that operate within a single manager's sphere of influence. How should the technology be intro- duced? Most OA advisers favor a pilot project or prototype approach, although in some cases .an organizationwide "go for broke" approach is reasonable. Pitfall 5 addresses the question of where a pilot project should be introduced. How should the pilot project or prototype be supported? The word supported is used here instead of conducted because support is the key to a project's success. The organization conducting the pilot, whether in MIS, OA, or records management, must understand the technology being introduced well enough to an- ticipate the kinds of problems likely to occur. The pilot should be well planned, and the plan- ning should take place in full partnership with the using organization. Elements of the plan should address the questions listed in Exhibit 1. The scope of planning outlined in this section-plus a bit more in order to "size the opportunity"--can improve chances for success in introducing office technology. 2. Waiting to Plan It is important to understand the needs of po- tential users and to project how the technology will evolve. It is equally important to implement the technology and to learn from its use. As mentioned, OA will cause more organ- izational change than any prior use of the com- puter, and the OA field is dynamic. Detailed long-range planning is not possible in this envi- ronment. It should be possible to establish a strategic direction rather than a detailed plitn. Some examples of strategic objectives appear in Exhibit 2. Planning at too detailed a level can result in missed opportunities in the dynamic OA field. Peters and Waterman stress the need for action and experimentation.1 In their opinion, it is not possible to anticipate all of the key impli- cations of an idea without trying it. Many com- panies suffer from "paralysis by analysis"; siic- cessful companies experiment and learn from , the results whether favorable or not. Planning at too detailed a level can result in missed opportunities in this dynamic field. Planning to take advantage of a particular mix of features companywide, for example, may cause the company to overlook a successor technology that does the real job better. As mentioned, a formal requirements analysis is Downloaded by [Carnegie Mellon University] at 02:33 19 October 2014 EXHIBIT 2 Sample Strategic Objectives Priorities are in the following order: Implement an electronic mail system that is compatible with the market leaders in data and word processing terminals Add data or word processing terminals until 60 percent of the executives, managers, professionals, and secretaries are within 100 feet of one that is convenient to use . . . Select equipment only from stable, reliable vendors; for example, those who: Have been in business profitably for at least five years Have captured at least 10 percent of the market for the technology in question Select equipment only from innovative vendors; for example, those who: Have a good track record for introducing innovative approaches Had sales of less than $25 million last year, but forecast more than $100 million next year Have an excellent financing portfolio Install only those systems that: Have been well received in a pilot implementation, well planned and evaluated, and for which a written specification is available Have commitments to training and support, including support from user organizations, that meet defined standards Meet defined standards as appropriate for documentation and document, image, and audio exchange only one way of discovering what "the real job" proliferation of a successful pilot-often fails to is. occur because the people it could help d o not Perhaps the most important reason for avoiding excessive planning is organizational learning. Organizations absorb change slowly, and the introduction of too much technology too quickly will cause stress. Making the organi- zation "office technology literate" takes time, and it does not begin until some technology is introduced. Growth in understanding based on experience is essential in moving toward the of- fice of the future. 3. Assuming OA is a Technical Issue In the implementation of officetechnology, po- litical issues are paramount. Although the OA world has seen technical failures, the most dra- matic failures have taken place because the or- ganization was not ready to accept the technol- ogy. This lack of readiness can stem from unrealistic expectations, inadequate training, and a weak support infrastructure. Some of these problems can be minimized by proper im- plementation of a pilot project plan, as de- scribed under Pitfall 1. ~ v e n if all the proper guidelines are fol- lowed, implementation-or, more important, want it. The reasons for this are many and rare- ly articulated; any that are explicitly stated are likely to be misleading. Sometimes office tech- nology renders a department unnecessary. Clearly, that department will use any means to keep the technology' out. Sometimes an indi- vidual is important because everyone has to go to him or her to get certain information. When the information is available instantly to every- one, this person is no longer important and will therefore fight automation even if it clearly sim- plifies the job and makes it more interesting. OA is not one of senior management's "hot buttons. " Exhibit 3 presents a brief taxonomy of the political issues that must be understood and ad- dressed in o r d e r t o introduce office technology-or indeed nearly any- kind of or- ganizational change. Systems that cross organizational lines have been difficult to introduce in the data pro- cessing world. Office technology must 'cross many organizational lines if it is to be fully effec- Downloaded by [Carnegie Mellon University] at 02:33 19 October 2014 10 Common Pitfalls in OA Implementation EXHIBIT 3 Taxonomy of Political Issues Securing top management support for OA: OA not a hot button OA seen as junior staff responsibility *. No real appreciation of potential benefits and organizational evolution problems Ensures support of business plan Brings strategic organizational/operational issues to the surface Supports information resource management Resolves corporationwide compatibilityldivisidnal autonomy conflict Orders backlog priorities Defuses fatal politics Enables entrepreneurial decisions Integrating the office disciplines (see Exhibit 6) Ergonomics-the humanlmachine interface and the working environment I Power within and among organizations: Power based on differential access to information Power based on ownership or control of information Power based on ownership of the means of processing information Power migration upward in the organization Power migration toward the organization's centers of technical expertise Attitudes about human resources: People are assets; the company should invest in them People are expenses; the company should control them The tools the company provides enhance the value of the people asset The tools the company provides control the people expense The tools enable new ways to do work never before possible These new ways to do work require new approaches to career planning and management by individuals, with effective support by the company Productivity: Turning out more work in one department may create more work for others and reduce productivity of the organization as a whole Productivity and effectiveness of managers and professionals and of the organization as a whole Attitudes about human resources affect attitudes about productivity: -Definitions/measurement of productivity -Productivity rewards and consequences Conversion of textldata to machine-readable form Organizational "culture": Entrepreneurial or bureaucratic? Aggressive or conservative? At the frontiers of technology or well behind the leaders? Centralized or decentralized? Coherent business area or a diverse conglomerate? Is the industry stable or volatile? Will managers work at the keyboard, or is that beneath them? Planned or reactive? Long- or short-term perspective? tive for a corporation. When some organiza- For all of these reasons, the key eIement tions embrace and others resist OA, major po- in introducing OA is not the technology but the litical fights can result. Often only top politics. The most important skill needed is the management can resolve them. management of organizational change. Downloaded by [Carnegie Mellon University] at 02:33 19 October 2014 JOURNAL OF INKIRMATION SYSTCWS NANRCCMCM 4. Failing to Sell OA to Senior Executives Without the understanding and support of se- nior management, the organization is not likely to realize the major benefits of OA. Worse, powerful opponents may be able to shoot the program down. OA is not one of senior management's "hot buttons." Because the problems it can solve are not usually visible in a corporation, es- pecially at the top, senior executives often fail to see its strategic significance. Further, they are frequently unaware of the significant organiza- tional dislocations that proliferation of OA is likely to cause. Bringing OA's strategic potential to the at- tention of senior management is a major re- sponsibility. Their understanding and personal involvement are necessary. The leading-edge users of OA tend to be quicker on their feet than their competitors. The involvement of informed senior manage- ment doubtless encourages the use of these new technologies because the executives recog- nize the 'competitive edge the tools provide. This kind of understanding must be brought to those who lead our corporations. 5. Picking the Wrong Client for a Pilot In most organizations, many people are knowl- edgeable about office technology and are de- manding support. Managers with OA imple- mentation responsibilities should become well acquainted w'ith these individuals. Often they can be organized into an OA steering commit- tee whose enthusiastic support of these technoI- ogies can be helpful. Too often OA managers pay more atten- tion to the results of a requirements study than to the political realities of their organizations. The departments of managers who enthusiasti- cally seek automation are often better candi- dates for pilot projects than those for whom the benefits seem most obvious. But even here some caution is in order. There are many ways for a .project to fail and few for it to succeed. Failure can result from any of the following: Lack of commitment by the department manager Lack of interest, active resistance, fear, or in- sufficient skills on the part of department members despite the manager's enthusiasm Use of a technology inappropriate for the job Use of a brand of technology different from the one that excited the department manager without a comparative demonstration Inadequate preparation of the department for the technology in terms of understanding, describing the changes they will experience, and training Spanning several departments that support the project differently Unforeseen events, such as a key person's vacation or personal emergency at a critical point in the project Inadequate evaluation methodologies Excessive expectations Selection of pilot projects from among an enthusiastic group of departments should be based on several factors, such as the following: Probability of success Willingness of the manager to provide re- sources to ensure success Willingness of the manager to work construc- tively with the implementation team in prob- lem solving Whether the manager is an opinion leader in the organization Ease of cost-justifying the project "Transportability" of a successful pilot to a significant number of other departments Enthusiasm of those in the department who will actually use the technology Adequate resources (i.e., money, people, fa- cilities) Enthusiastic managers are an OA manag- er's best friends, and collectively they constitute a valuable resource. It is important to know these managers and their operations well. Some may be good candidates for word pro- cessing, others for electronic mail or voice mail, still others for teleconferencing or telecommut- ing. The technology should match the need and also the organizational style. For example, Downloaded by [Carnegie Mellon University] at 02:33 19 October 2014 10 Common Pitfalls in OA lmplementation it will not pay to undertake a telecommuting pi- lot project even if all other conditions seem right if the manager is not secure managing a remote work force. Finally, the key objective of a successful pilot is proliferation. If the technology works, is cost-effective, and improves productivity, those benefits ought to be realized wherever in the or- ganization the technology is appropriate. If more than one department meets the criteria established for pilot selection, the department should be chosen whose manager will be most effective in assisting during the proliferation phase. Enthusiastic presentations by this man- ager to his or her peers and to senior manage- ment will be far more persuasive than any pre- sentation an OA manager could make. In the final analysis, one ought to choose the easiest path possible when implementing OA. The only way to know which path is easi- est is to know one's organization well- especially the OA enthusiasts. 6. Automating the Production People The major opportunities OA presents for im- proved profitability lie in its provision of "power tools" to enhance the effectiveness of profes- sionals and managers, especially at the execu- tive levels. Effectiveness, not productivity, is the key issue with these principals. Although it has many dimensions and is difficult to define, ef- fectiveness is readily recognizable. It is relatively easy to justify word process- ing on the basis that fewer people accomplish more work, and these benefits can be quanti- fied. Further, by analogy with factory and farm automation, one can make an excellent case for capital investment in the routine jobs of the off ice. As word processing moves to a shared en- vironment and becomes used by people at higher levels, the benefits become harder to quantify, and justification becomes more diffi- cult. Consideration of the organization's pattern of investment in people, not the numbers of em~lovees (see Exhibit 4). shows that a much higher-order of cost-effedtiveness can be real- ized if the key people-executives, managers, professionals-can work more effectively through the use of power tools. Further support for this conclusion comes from other consider- ations. Conventional wisdom states that those at the management level will make effective use of time saved through automation, and that the impact on organizational effectiveness of a bet- ter decision by an executive will be much great- er than any saving that could result from further automation of clerical labor. The difficulty of this approach in terms of traditional cost/benefit analysis is the lack of ef- EXHIBIT 4 Human Resource Investments L Number of employees Investment in employees Legend: n Non~ffice staff Professionals .:.... ...... Secretaries and clerical staff Executive and managers Downloaded by [Carnegie Mellon University] at 02:33 19 October 2014 JOURIWt OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS MANKENCRT fective methods for quantifying the output of principals and therefore for measuring produc- tivity improvements. Further, as stated, many believe that effectiveness, not productivity, is the issue. Improved methods for evaluating the effectiveness that automation brings to senior people must remain high on the agenda for OA professionals. 7. Focusing on Features Current technology will satisfy 80 to 90 percent of most people's needs. Choosing a vendor with good future prospects is more important than choosing a system with clever features. Vendors use features to distinguish their products. For copy machines, facsimile trans- mission devices, telephone switches, and per- sonal computers, for example, all the advertis- ing stresses features. Indeed, features are the new capabilities vendors add that advance the state of the art. In most technologies, however, a certain set of features becomes a virtual necessity, and most vendors provide them. This set grows continuously as the state of the art evolves. As features are marketed and found useful, ven- dors adopt them. It is interesting to note how dependent business has become on features that were unavailable just a few short years ago. The "necessary feature" lists grow because enough people find features useful. Features reach the "necessary" list when they begin to influence customer brand loyalties. People do have special needs, however, and there are useful features that are not on the necessary lists. When these two coincide, the customer may insist on a particular 'piece of equipment. Sometimes choosing it is the right decision. More often, however, other consider- ations dominate. Some of these have been dis- cussed under Pitfall 1. Others include infre- quency of the need, an overriding requirement for the device to participate in an electronic mail system, or generation of the need in order to justify acquiring the device, either by the user or by the vendor. The point is that special needs should be understood and addressed, not simply satisfied; in being addressed, the strategic objectives must be kept in mind. 8. Insisting on Hard-Dollar Savings Although a cost/benefit analysis is important, most of the benefits of OA will come in ways that are hard to estimate and to demonstrate. As noted in Pitfall 6, the work of executives, managers, and professionals rarely can be mea- sured in ways that allow assessment of produc- tivity changes, nor are there good quantitative measures for the overall, continuing effective- ness of these principals. Studies have been made, however, that demonstrate significant improvements in pro- ductivity, if that is the corporate objective. For example, Boot-Allen made a study2 of a gov- ernment office that produced several large doc- uments similar in format (though not in con- tent) each year. Professionals and clerks worked together to produce these documents; about 33 person-weeks of effort were required. By introducing automation, nearly 6 person- weeks of professional time per document were saved; the amount of clerical work remained the same. Where the office or department produces a "product" on a regular basis, this kind of detailed work analysis can quantify sav- ings opportunities and measure their attain- ment. Because the cost of such an analysis is significant, however, it may be better to make an entrepreneurial decision based on such a study rather than to actually go through the analysis. Similar studies have shown savings attrib- utable to the introduction of electronic mail. For large corporations, some of these studies show savings of more than $500,000 per month. Again, however, the level of detail necessary for an effective study may make its cost exceed the savings. In neither of these cases was any study ef- fort reported that treated effectiveness. Did pro- ducing seven documents per year instead of six increase the organization's total effectiveness, or was the use of the added document down- stream enough to offset the improvement in this department? Was the total volume of mail necessary, or could more have been saved by finding ways to reduce the volume? These are the kinds of questions that make any reasonable quantitative estimate of cost-effectiveness subject to challenge. Atten- tion to this issue is necessary to ensure that a reasonable business case can be stated, and Downloaded by [Carnegie Mellon University] at 02:33 19 October 2014 10 Common Piffalls in OA Implementation that the case really relates to the use of the technology to support a business objective. The requirement for a business case is also neces- sary to identify frivolous requests, to help set priorities, and to encourage new analytical ap- proaches to cost/benefit analysis in this area. Expecting hard results from today's analytical state of the art, however, may be expecting too much. 9. Equating OA with Word Processing OA's major benefits derive from improved com- munications throughout an organization. Word processing's major benefits derive from a faster rate of document production. Because word processing introduced the computer into the of- fice for applications other than well-structured tasks (e.g., order entry, bookkeeping), how- ever, word processing and OA are often equated. OA is many technologies, most of them communications related, as noted in Exhibit 5. These communications technologies help over- come such time-wasters as mail delay and tele- phone tag. EXHIBIT 5 Office Technologies Word processing Electronic filing and retrieval-companywide Electronic mail Telegraph Teletype Facsimile (fax) transmission Computer-based message switching Electronic document distribution Voice mail Personal computing Personal computers Information centers Nonprocedural languages Decision support Executive information support Public data bases Teleconferencing Telecommuting benefits of OA. The proposal team must meet face to face to get the concepts refined and the plan established. Typically, the proposal is then parceled out by sections to each,member. As each section is drafted, it is sent to the other members for review. A substantial amount of time is lost in transit, and certain sections may need rewriting based on the contents of others; more time is [ost. When the draft is complete, it is usually sent to one location for final prepara- tion, then copies are sent to each team member for final review. Any changes during review are incorporated into the final version, and the pro- posal is submitted. Word processors at each location would accelerate the preparation of text. Without corpmunications, however, the mailing of doc- uments (or diskettes if the devices were com- patible) would still be necessary. Mail delays and telephone tag would still cut into the time . available for the creative work of the proposal; coordination through successive meetings would be accompanied by a large travel bill. Enter communications. Many of the meet- ings could be held through teleconferencing. Many more meetings could be held this way, so that sticky issues that surface could be resolved before they snowballed. The drafts could be ex- changed instantly so the document would re- main up to date during the entire process. A single electronic filing and retrieval location with appropriate configuration management of the various parts of the proposal could make avail- able all versions of the proposal for everyone all the time. Many communications for simple questions and answers could be handled by computer-based message systems or voice mail, thus avoiding time zone incompatibilities. If drawings or other images were involved, fax or slow-scan videoconferencing could be used. Finally, some of the draft review work could be handled by voice annotation and accessed by the author for revision. The net result is compression of the time required to produce the proposal, freeing time for a better job of developing its creative con- tent. Word processing at each location speeds the production process significantly, except when drawings are involved. But most of the effectiveness gains come from other technolo- The development of a typical proposal by gies, primarily communications based, that al- individuals in different locations illustrates why low the document to evolve effectively under word processing provides only a fraction of the the direction of the proposal team. Downloaded by [Carnegie Mellon University] at 02:33 19 October 2014 10. Ignoring Other Office Disciplines Most of the other office support personnel un- derstand the office better than MIS and OA, and they have key contributions to make. Exhibit 6 lists several of the office disci- plines that neid to work together to create the office of the future. Each of these disciplines has a long history of supporting the business ef- fectively. To varying degrees, each is recog- ' nized as necessary and helpful. Most have been around far longer than MIS and other computer-based disciplines. More important, most of them have been at work right in the of- fice, alongside those OA is designed to help. EXHIBIT 6 Office Disciplines Word processing Data processing Micrographics Reproduction Telephone management Records management Filing and retrieval Office management Policy, procedure, and methods management Many of these disciplines have found ways to draw on the power of the computer to do their jobs more effectively. They also have a clear sense of their own mission and of the of- fice they support. Each of these disciplines sees itself as the leader in office support. Rivalries have flourished for decades, and these will con- tinue.'All agree on a few things, however, and one of them is that they do not want the MIS department invading their territory. The fact is, MIS threatens nearly evey- body. Doing things faster and better helps only a few, and most worry about job displacement, disappearing departments, slave-driving con- trols, and other MIS-induced evils. Better progress toward OA could be achieved if all groups-including MIS-could submerge their desire to be the primary drivers of OA and rec- ognize that they share a common interest in a successful result, that each has something nec- essary. to bring to the table, and even more, that those who use the technologies also have good ideas about how they might fit together. Action Plan The following steps constitute an action plan for a successful introduction of OA into the organization : I. Plan strategies carefully and pilot projects thoroughly. 2. Find a need and meet it; do not wait until all needs are known. - 3. Develop an understanding of the political issues related to OA and relate them to the organization. Persuade senior manage- ment to understand them. In particular, understand and use the politics of success for the organization. 4. Take the initiative to "market" the office technologies effectively to the senior man- agement team. 5. Pick the pilot projects with regard for the enthusiasts who can help sell OA. 6. Develop applications that will help princi- pals. Experiment in cooperation with them. 7. Make strategic decisions as technologies are selected to satisfy needs. 8. Work with senior management and with fi- nancial management to develop new, in- novative approaches for making a business case. 9. Develop strategies that encourage "syner- gistic serendipity," or an imaginative mar- riage of office technologies. 10.Build partnerships with colleagues in the other office disciplines and with the office workers who are the target of OA. Reference 1. T.J. Peters and R . H . Waterman, Jr. , h Search of Ex- cellence (New York: Harper & Row. 1982.) 2. I . Cotton, Presentation at International Data Corpora- tion Conference on OA. Boca Raton FL, 1981. Downloaded by [Carnegie Mellon University] at 02:33 19 October 2014