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Transforming an Industry Through Information Technology

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129769D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Apr-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 8 page(s) / 33K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

WALTER M. CARLSON: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

A history project has been initiated by the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration to explore where, how, and why information technology has transformed an entire industry. Two industries have been covered: airlines end barking. Other studies are under way. Key findings have integrated two reaming processes: how to change the organization's structure, and how to team the new technology. A model of the process for reaching a dominant design has been established. A team of computer professionals with experience in the 1950s and beyond is helping to carry out the historical research. The findings show how strategies and structures interrelate to include the impact of systems on strategies and structures. This project emphasizes how innovative management uses technology.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1992 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Transforming an Industry Through Information Technology

WALTER M. CARLSON

A history project has been initiated by the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration to explore where, how, and why information technology has transformed an entire industry. Two industries have been covered: airlines end barking. Other studies are under way. Key findings have integrated two reaming processes: how to change the organization's structure, and how to team the new technology. A model of the process for reaching a dominant design has been established. A team of computer professionals with experience in the 1950s and beyond is helping to carry out the historical research. The findings show how strategies and structures interrelate to include the impact of systems on strategies and structures. This project emphasizes how innovative management uses technology.

Historical studies of industries and the factors affecting their structure and vitality are a long- standing tradition. Since World War II, there have been many studies of the interrelationships of technologies and industries that use them. Business schools' case studies have made extensive contributions to understanding these relationships, including the increasingly widespread use of computers. The usefulness of these case studies indicates that they will continue to be widely pursued.

There also is a rapidly developing literature on the origin of electronic computers and their applications. This literature covers the roles of individuals and R&D organizations, the development of hardware and software products, and the evolution of problem-solving methodologies.

During the past four years, work has begun on another view of the past 45 years, covering a broad subject not yet fully examined. The project addresses the question, "Where, how, and why has modern information technology altered the structure of an entire industry?" This article describes the project and some lessons learned in carrying out its work.

The Harvard Business School sponsored and funded this project and its research. To date, transformations in two industries, airlines and banking, have been investigated. Research on the retail industry and credit cards is under way; the insurance industry is a candidate for study, and additional nominees are being evaluated. Reports will be published in book form by Harvard, for general distribution, on developing an information technology infrastructure and thereby transforming an industry. Annals articles and reports have been submitted. The methodology used and relevant results for certain industries are being reported in other journals such as MIS Quarterly.

The scope of the work embraces organizational learning, technical learning, and an examination of each industry's competition and pol...