The Information Technology Enterprise

An enterprise is any organization with a common purpose or mission that shares resources and collaborates to deliver results required to achieve the common purpose or mission (INCOSE 2016).

Imagine a manufacturing enterprise that failed to match the fasteners it used in a product design with the tools it purchased for the assembly stations that assemble the product. The idea of a sub assembly with metric fasteners arriving at the next station on the assembly line that is only equipped with standard-sized wrenches seems laughable. Consider the implications of the marketing department for the company that develops a new product line without considering the assembly line’s capacity to create the product or including the cost of operating the assembly line in the cost of the new product. A manufacturing organization will survive only if it uses its raw materials, people and equipment efficiently and effectively, all of which comes through integrated planning of the end-to-end processes, tools, resources and people used to run an organization (Nahmias and Olsen 2015).

Integration of the planning, procurement and operations of information technology as a critical enabler to organizational success is a concept that has challenged organizations. Historically, the information technology department of an organization was a cost center that provided computing and telecommunications equipment to the organization. When it came to acquiring advanced systems and software, the individual business segments procured and implemented IT projects at their own accord (Blanchard and Fabrycky 2011). Several factors drove the need for organizations to rectify this fragmented approach to information technology.

Data has evolved from a record keeping element to a critical factor for decisive business leadership. Today, information and knowledge are resources used to guide every decision within a successful organization (Jackson 2003; Mitev 1994, 173). As steel is a raw material in a manufacturing plant, data is the raw material transformed into information and knowledge through the people, processes and tools of an organization. As the manufacturing plant must be able to process steel through its system efficiently, a successful information organization must be able to collect, store and process data through its systems (Jackson 2003; Mitev 1994, 173).

The fragmented procurement of systems by individual units resulted in duplicative investments that were often incompatible with systems used by other business units. There have been numerous cases where software systems purchased were incompatible with the organization’s existing computer systems (Ehrler 2005). For example, systems purchased that collect and store enormous amounts of data that the organization’s data center and networks were incapable of supporting.

As the manufacturer must consider the limits of its capacity when planning new products so must an organization integrate its information capabilities into its planning cycle. The need for synchronization of information investments is a critical element of an organizations's ability requires enterprise visibility and understanding to execute its mission within its fiduciary responsibilities.

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