Role of Information system in organization

 

This paper intends to carry out explorative qualitative research to find out the roles of Information Technology (IT) in the management of human capital in an organization. In doing this, the essay adopts a two-pronged approach where it will first conduct an intensive literature review of the existing research work on the study topic and then it adopts a case study approach on an IT-based multinational company that has its services spread across the globe. The selected study company is Wipro Limited, a Bangalore, India based IT corporation with support centers in over seventy countries worldwide..

Company Profile

Wipro is a global information technology company specializing in a wide range of services in the realms of information technology, healthcare, transportation, engineering, telecommunication and media services, lighting, and consumer care services. The company has its headquarters in Bangalore, India; however, it has distribution centres spread in over seventy countries. Wipro boasts of a relatively long and complex history that dates back to 1945 when it started as a vegetable products entity serving the Maharashtra state market segment. Even so, the company has managed to expand steadily over the years, moving into a range of new consumer products then to hydraulics and now information technology products. Its IT section did not begin until 1980 when it entered into the industry at a time when there were a lot of opportunities. Since then company has not stepped down on its pace in expanding its activities to new market segments as well as expanding its already acquired ones. In this regard the company embarked on a serious drive that culminated into a new brand of computers that hit the market in 1981. The success realized from the sale of these first models of India-made computers propelled the company into the world of IT (Wipro, 2010).

Today the company manufactures a wide range of IT products that offers service solutions to other big companies, employing over 111, 000 employees in all its distribution and manufacturing centres across the globe. Through this wide range of services, Wipro has managed to cut a niche for itself as a global organization committed to partnering with its customers in relatively non-conventional realms such as service solutions for the betterment of human life. Even so, the company’s image is coloured not by the wide range of products it provides but specifically by its IT segment. Precisely, Wipro offers a variety of technological service solutions to its customers who are spread all over in Europe, America, Africa, as well as Asia. As a matter of fact, its customer base has been on a bulging mode since 1980 when it launched its IT segment. Specifically, the company has more than 100, 000 associates spread all over the world in more than seventy countries. The company also has got more than seventy distribution centres that serve over 800 large-scale active clients globally as well as over 150 Global Fortune 500 organizations. The company achieves these high customer figures as a result of high levels of satisfaction, with return customers’ figures standing at 95 percent of all customers (Wipro, 2010).

Today, Wipro has one of the most effective HRM departments in the globe courtesy of its wide range of employee evaluative programs that it utilizes to monitor the staffing needs of its globally spread distribution centres so as to make timely and appropriate reaction. Ideally, the company’s transformational IT services solutions that forms the bulk of its product range are also tested and applied in the management of its more than 111, 000 employees to help mitigate any potential HR challenges as well as improving productivity (Wipro, 2010).

  1. Business description

part of the globe can easily find their way to far destinations courtesy of the gains from modern IT innovations where buyers and sellers can easily communicate, carryout transactions through a variety of money transfer services on offer and easily arrange for quick delivery through a variety of delivery services available online or otherwise (Wang & Noe, 2010). In this regard, it is only fair to assert that organizations need to work on their internal and external communication systems if they are to remain competitive at the global marketplace (Marchand et al., 2001). No doubt, they can only achieve this through investing in modern IT tools on offer in the market – this can take a host of processes which goes beyond the mere launching of expensive IT-powered HRM programs (Wang & Noe, 2010). As a matter of fact, organizations should engage highly qualified and motivated personnel capable of enabling the maximum utilization of modern IT-enabled HRM tools. Again, organizations should formulate practical plans of action with realistic objectives whose achievability can be realized either as short-term goals or even as long-term goals that can easily be measured and reported (Marchand et al., 2001).

 

  1. IT role in general

Staffing forms one of the critical tasks of HRM (Zane, 2002). Through the application of proper staffing practices companies can fill positions with the right persons (Davenport, Long & Beers, 1998). However, when poorly coordinated staffing can be expensive and unyielding. In this regard, organizations need to keep databases of academic and job-specific qualifications for potential employees’ so that when there is a recruitment drive a lot of time is not wasted in trying to search who is qualified for which position and who is not (Baloh & Trkman, 2003). Apparently, this is an area that is gaining substantial popularity among large organizations. According to the Global 500 Web Site Recruiting (2000), 79% of companies in the Global 500 Group were noted to employ IT tools (internet) in their recruiting drives. The trend has been noted to be on a rapid growth as more organizations continue to embrace modern IT innovations. Perhaps the benefits of cost cutting, time management, diversity, and efficiency are responsible for this change (Baloh & Trkman, 2003, p.299).

With the inception of the internet as a form of communication the management of human capital has taken a completely new shape (Warhurst & Thompson, 1998). Today many organizations have reverted to outsourcing as an alternative to the traditional methods of managing human capital – organizations also share the same workers as professionals (particularly the high qualified) find it difficult to fully commit themselves to a single employer (Drucker, 2001). This postulation is advised by the notion that organizations engage new employees purposely to tap in their skills in a more cost effective manner – and hence the traditional belief that engaging workers directly makes workplace planning and allocation of tasks easier as HRM experts are spared the hassles of having to spend time and extra resources coordinating workers stationed at far places (Baloh & Trkman, 2003).

The concept of using computers as well as telecommunication equipments to carryout organizational tasks at flexible venues has over the years gained substantial ground among HRM teams (Baloh & Trkman, 2003). Perhaps this is as a result of the contemporary labour market trends where organizations have resolved to methods that enhances maximum productivity (Laudon & Laudon, 2003). Telecommuting entails flexibility on the part of the employees where they can carryout organizational tasks from anywhere including their own homes (Nilles, 1998). This is made possible through highly interactive IT systems that allow for both intra and internet services linking employees and their organizations (Johnstone & Nola, 2001). No doubt telecommuting leads to higher productivity as employees are able to dedicate themselves to work chores for relatively long hours than it would be in conventional workplace engagements (Nilles, 1998). Moreover, cases of employees absenting themselves for no good reasons are greatly reduced as they tend to gain satisfaction when they draw their own schedules (Telework, 2000). In the long run, telecommuting helps to reduce employee turn-over rates as employees are discouraged to look for new opportunities if the current ones are motivating, rewarding, and flexible (Dash, 1999). Consequently, if employee turn-over is very low then the company competitive advantage is likely to increase as talented employees are retained for long periods.

 

  1. Business processes and functions supported by IS

Precisely, IT tools and services can successfully enhance employees’ capabilities to withstand the social and psychological conditions that characterize their immediate at the workplace environment particularly if such environments are against universal individual tastes and preferences (Akers & Jensen, 2010). Given that organizational knowledge and behaviors are mostly learned through observations, imitation and reinforcements such as reward and punishments organizations should plan their HRM departments so that they allow for the smooth transfer of knowledge from one point to another (Alavi & Leidner, 2001). One way of achieving such is through the use of internal information systems established for purposes of storing, organizing, processing, maintenance, as well as sharing of critical organizational information (Turk & Jacklic, 1998).Most software and hardware tools offer information management solutions that makes it possible for critical organizational information to be easily accessed by the employees but also helps to keep such information within the “walls” of an organization (Drucker, 20010). At the long run, organization gains a competitive edge by inducing efficiency on its HRM practices as well as by enhancing the security of information (Marchand et al, 2001).

In enhancement of the roles played by the management of knowledge and information in the overall management of organizational resources Marchand et al (2001) opined that the overall performance of organizations is not only determined by the nature of the IT tools they employ but also how they use such tools in the management of both formal and informal knowledge generated thereof. Chen and Huang (2007) justify this claim by holding that knowledge is the tool that pushes an organization into achieving its objectives. As a matter of fact, Skyrme (1998) holds that organizations that are not ready to embrace modern methods of information management are likely to face stiff competition at the market place from their rivals who have already put in place knowledge management structures. Precisely, Skyrme asserts how organizations manage information and exploit it at the market place greatly determines their overall market positioning. On the other hand, Tokar et al (2007) solidifies this assertion by holding that knowledge (formal or informal) is of no value if it is not shared amongst the employees or even when it is not subjected to the appropriate processing procedures to make it compatible with organizations unique needs .

From an organizational context particularly organizations with large numbers of employees, IT can play a core role in ensuring that critical information and knowledge is quickly and constructively passed through video conferencing, online chatting, electronic messaging, or even through virtual training interfaces (Turk, & Jaklic, 1998). On the other hand, basing on the notion that knowledge only exists within the minds of individuals and its transfer is determined by how best the individual can use it in conversing with others or even carrying out tasks. In this regard, for employees to achieve certain organizational goals they must be able to exhibit a certain level of knowledge (Skyrme, 1998). To achieve this, organizations need to identify worthwhile knowledge codes and establish the most appropriate IT tools for achieving those ends. This may entail identifying a few employees, training them how to handle the IT tools and then using them as imitation and reinforcement models to pass on the skills learnt thereof to the other employees (Davenport, Long & Beers 1998).

 

  1. Role of information system in decision making and hiring

Staffing forms one of the critical tasks of HRM (Zane, 2002). Through the application of proper staffing practices companies can fill positions with the right persons (Davenport, Long & Beers, 1998). However, when poorly coordinated staffing can be expensive and unyielding. In this regard, organizations need to keep databases of academic and job-specific qualifications for potential employees’ so that when there is a recruitment drive a lot of time is not wasted in trying to search who is qualified for which position and who is not (Baloh & Trkman, 2003). Apparently, this is an area that is gaining substantial popularity among large organizations. According to the Global 500 Web Site Recruiting (2000), 79% of companies in the Global 500 Group were noted to employ IT tools (internet) in their recruiting drives. The trend has been noted to be on a rapid growth as more organizations continue to embrace modern IT innovations. Perhaps the benefits of cost cutting, time management, diversity, and efficiency are responsible for this change (Baloh & Trkman, 2003, p.299).

 

Conclusion

With the inception of the internet as a form of communication the management of human capital has taken a completely new shape (Warhurst & Thompson, 1998). Today many organizations have reverted to outsourcing as an alternative to the traditional methods of managing human capital – organizations also share the same workers as professionals (particularly the high qualified) find it difficult to fully commit themselves to a single employer (Drucker, 2001). This postulation is advised by the notion that organizations engage new employees purposely to tap in their skills in a more cost effective manner – and hence the traditional belief that engaging workers directly makes workplace planning and allocation of tasks easier as HRM experts are spared the hassles of having to spend time and extra resources coordinating workers stationed at far places (Baloh & Trkman, 2003).

 

References

Ader, HJ, Mellenbergh, GJ, & Hand, DJ 2008, Advising on research methods: A consultant’s companion,. Johannes van Kessel Publishing, Huizen, The etherlands.

Babbie, E 2004, The Practice of Social Research 10th Ed, Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.

Barney, JB, & Wright, PM 1998, ‘On becoming a strategic partner: The role of human resources in gaining competitive advantage’, Human Resource Management, 37(1), 31-46.

Daniels, SPA. 2007, ‘Knowledge management in organizations’, University Maastricht: Faculty of Economics and Business Administration. Master Thesis, 1179345.

Dash, J 1999, ‘Telecommuting Continues to Rise’,. Computerworld, Marion.

Davenport, TH, Long, DW & Beers MC 1998, ‘Successful knowledge management projects’, Sloan Management Review.

Florjancic, J, Bernik M, & Bernik I 2003, “Human Resource Information System Development, Organization and Management”, Selected Topics, ed.: Florjancic J, Paape B, & Peter L 2003, pp. 181 – 193.

Galagan, PA 1993, ‘Navigating the differences’, Training & Development, Vol. 29-33.

Maxwell, G, & Lyle, G, 2002, ‘Strategic HRM and business performance in the Hilton Group’, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol., 14, no., 5; 251-252.

Maxwell, G, and Watson, S, 2004, ‘Lining up responsibility for HRM and HRD: The case of Hilton International’s UK Hotels. British Journal of Occupational Learning, Vol., 2, No., 1, p. 29-47.

Moore, J E, & Burke, L 2002, ‘How to turn around “turnover culture” in IT, Communications of the ACM (CACM), Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 73-78.

Moore, S 1999, ‘Understanding and managing diversity among groups at work: Key issues for organizational training and development’, Journal of European Industrial Training, 23, 208–217.

Nelson, B 2005, ‘1001 ways to reward employees: Low-cost ideas, proven strategies, best practices, group activities’, New York: Workman Publishing.


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