Business-driven information systems change
Cochran, Justin Daniel
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Organizations are continually faced with the reality that they must change their information systems (IS) to stay competitive in the marketplace. While previous research has focused on the role of IS in contributing to organizational agility by enhancing abilities such as data collection and decision making, less research has examined the case where organizational changes require changes to the IS. This research creates a framework which links the need for organizational change to the need for information systems change. The framework further connects the ability to change the IS, or IS "response ability", to organizational agility. IS "response ability" is affected by two primary constructs: business-driven IS change and the application characteristics relevant to the change. To examine the constructs and relationships between business-driven IS change, application characteristics relevant to change, and IS response ability, a series of exploratory semi-structured interviews were conducted at five organizations. These interviews resulted in evidence which confirmed and extended the model initially developed to guide this study. In addition, the study also resulted in new findings - organizations use IS change anticipation strategies and IS change anticipation tactics to prepare for future IS change needs. The major contributions of this study are elaboration of the relationships between business-driven IS change, application characteristics, and IS response ability. In addition, this study discusses specifically which characteristics of applications have effects on the ability to make IS change. The second major contribution of this study is that organizations choose various anticipation strategies and anticipation tactics in preparation for change. The results of this study have implications for numerous parties. Organizations should see greater evidence for the connection between information systems and agility, perhaps in a way they had previously not considered. IT leadership should recognize a need for greater emphasis on predicting business-driven IS change and, accordingly, the necessity to be more involved with the business side of the organization. Developers should understand the range of options at their disposal for preparing applications for IS change. All parties should recognize that applications can no longer just be programmed to function - they must be programmed for change.