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Model Answers Exam: Management Information Systems

FHR Suriname with MSM Maastricht intake 10


February 7, 2015
Question 1

(20 marks: 10, 10)

a. At first sight, the Work Centered Analysis Framework does not seem to
consider users as a key element, neither does it seem to address the
information system.
Where can these (users, information system) be found in WCAF? Explain.
Participants are users operating the process, part of the work system.
Customers are the end-users or other stakeholders of the outputs (products and
services) from the system.
The information system is that part of the work system that is relying on IT.
b. Explain how systems thinking tools can be instrumental in operationalizing
the two main views (Architecture, Performance) of the Work Centered Analysis
Framework.
We can lay down structure in a systems thinking model (architecture, design),
using stocks, flows, connectors and converters. The computer can help describe
the dynamic behavior (performance) as a result of the model.
Question 2

(25 marks: 15, 10)

The following questions relate to case study M4: Role of IT in the Car Industry.
The case study was discussed in class.
a. Describe and analyze the role of IT in the Car Industry throughout the last
sixty years, by highlighting and comparing the different roles that IT has
played at General Motors and Chrysler.
IT moved from a support role that was decided upon at local plant, function or
departmental level to a more essential connecting role, integrating: marketing,
sales, development, innovation, suppliers, production, assembly, distribution.
This is taking place not only internally, but also across: to dealers, external
vendors, and other third parties. Additionally IT is enabling outsourcing, and
allowing partners to work in an integrated fashion.
From a role supporting economies of scale, mass production, push strategies
(long lead times) to an integrated role that is also addressing development of
markets, demands, innovation, customization and pull strategies (short lead
times). Speed (time to market) and flexibility (reducing risks) are key here.

At both companies IT played both roles throughout time, first support, later
integrating, enforcing, enabling - more strategic roles, but change was slow in
GM: IT itself was modernized (IT mature) but the large complex organization was
not (processes immature), and as a result of that performance was low. Chrysler
was a better trend follower from the nineteen eighties and onwards (fast
innovation, reliance on third parties) and its new business model (a flat integrated
organization with empowered cross functional platform teams, assembly and
distribution oriented, with strong emphasis on technology and understanding
consumers, links to suppliers and dealers) and its more targeted IT paid off.
b. Based on your analysis, what recommendations would you give for the
present organization of the IT function (in car companies like GM and
Chrysler)?
Technological innovation drives the car (industry), IT is a strategic resource for
any car company. Subsequently the IT function should be under top management
control and the information technology person (e.g. the CIO) hence is to be at
the table.
Question 3

(25 marks: 10, 15)

The following questions relate to case study M10: Explaining ERP Failure: A
Jordanian Case Study.
a. The design - reality gap model is used here post hoc as an analytical tool.
How can it be used as a risk identification and mitigation tool?
Page 22, Discussion of Case recommendations states, literally failure to close
designreality gaps helps us understand why this ERP system failed: the model
thus acts as a post hoc analysis tool focusing largely on identification of risk. But
the designreality gap model could also be used for risk mitigation; suggesting
ways to move forwards from the current situation by closing particular
dimensional gaps and so increasing the likelihood of project success.
Page 26, Implications states, literally: As used here in the main body of the
paper, it is demonstrably a tool that project managers or consultants could use
for post hoc risk identification: most typically as in this case as a means for
understanding why an ERP application wholly or partially failed. Given the
recommendations made in the discussion section we can equally see it being
applied as a "per hoc" tool; one that will identify risks during the process of
implementation. For per hoc application it can not only identify risks but also
using the scoring approaches outlined in Tables 1 and 2 offer some prediction
of likely project outcome. Risk identification has an important value in ERP
project management. However, risk mitigation is arguably more important. The
designreality gap model helps identify risk mitigation actions for challenged
ERP projects through its general prescription that risks can be reduced by

changing organizational reality to more closely match ERP design, or by


changing ERP design to more closely match organizational reality.
b. What practical recommendations would you make for Beta as a result of
the design - reality gap analysis? (Hint: summarize recommendations that
can be derived from the case and add your motivated comments)
The answer should understand and stress the importance of overcoming the
Objective and Values gap and the associated cultural issues. The case shows
that this is hard to overcome. Changing culture may even not be a point here as
it seems that this change may not be relevant given the context. The answer
should include practical recommendations, so just stating that Beta should close
gaps or particular gaps is not enough.
Question 4

(30 marks: 15, 15)

Please be referred to the article Local adaptations of generic application


systems: the case of Veiling Holambra in Brazil. The case was distributed in
class.
a. In terms of the ITPOSMO model: which of the seven dimensions were
emphasized in the article? Does the framework used in the article hence
carry along shortcomings when used to explain an IT projects success or
failure?
The dimension Processes stands out, see figure 1 and table 1. Others that can
be seen are the technology, information and (staffing and) skills. Objectives can
be found and Systems have been mentioned. Values, Management systems and
structures are not mentioned but Culture was stressed. It may indeed be
interesting to visualize them in the articles model, and use dimensions like in
ITPOSMO, so: not only mention and discuss them in the text. That will help
explain success and failure more clearly. From that perspective the table and
diagram used in the text probably have too much of a process orientation only.
b.

Discuss the following statement: Since the major so-called local


adaptation was the on-line access, one should rather speak about the
global adaptation or about the modernization of a backward generic
system, not about the local adaptation.
Answers will vary. Marks are awarded based on argumentation. Indeed the
online access is not just a local adaptation but fits with the type of adaptations
that are made everywhere (also at FloraHolland actually, from where the generic
system was adopted) to get a wider reach (buyers, suppliers and all) and higher
service levels. Hence the word global can be used. One can also argue that
many of the adaptations made do not have to do with the online access and that
they are indeed made to fit with local needs of different local stakeholders.