Information networks as enterprise glue”: information mobilization and deployment

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Part 1 – Case Study

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Information networks as enterprise glue : information mobilization and deployment

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The core of the case for this module involves your careful assessment of the sources of strategic enterprise information.  But before you’re ready to tackle it, you need to get somewhat up to speed on the underlying issues and dynamics.  The following two articles are highly suggested as briefing material:

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Nobel, C. (2010) How IT Shapes Top-Down and Bottom-Up Decision Making.  Working Knowledge: Harvard Business School.  November 1.  Retrieved November 25, 2010, from 
http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6504.html?wknews=110110

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Hayles, R.A., (2007) Planning and Executing IT Strategy. IT Professional Magazine. Sep/Oct. 9(5):12-20.    

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Now, one of the hottest trends in current enterprise information systems is what’s often referred to as big data — that is, giant databases of stuff gathered from customers (e.g., all the information about your supermarket purchases automatically entered each time you swipe your Von’s or Safeway card through the checkout to get al those cool discounts), websurfing, suppliers, internal monitoring, etc.  Big Data was first enabled through the enormous increases in the availability of low-cost data storage (down to $30 per terabyte at Fry’s Electronics, as of today’s paper), but it took the development of good data analytic tools to really spark the trend.  Here are two interesting summaries of issues involved in Big Data at the moment:

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LaValle, S., Lesser, E., Shockley, R., Hopkins, M. and Kruschwitz, N. (2010) Big Data, Analytics and the Path From Insights to Value. MIT Sloan Management Review. December. Retrieved September 16, 2011, from 
http://sloanreview.mit.edu/the-magazine/2011-winter/52205/big-data-analytics-and-the-path-from-insights-to-value/
  [The ptional Readings contains a link to the full report, if you’re interested.]

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Webster, J. (2011) Understanding Big Data Analytics. SeaRchStorage.com.  Retrieved September 16, 2011, from
http://searchstorage.techtarget.com/feature/Understanding-Big-Data-analytics

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There’s a lot more out there in the optional and supplemental readings as well as the wide wonderful world of the Internet to give you a feel for whether or not this all makes any sense; the more widely you can spread your own information gathering net, the more effective your analysis is likely to be.

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So the question for discussion basically is to what degree ought organizational decision making be driven by evidence derived from analysis of trends in Big Data? Are such data reliable?  How much power might the analyst have over the results?  What other kinds of information, if any, might be used for decision making?  Big Data’s not going away — in fact, Huge Data may be just around the corner — so how can we best harness this new horse to the enterprise so that it doesn’t run away with everything? 

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Your task is pretty simple: write an effective short paper on the topic:

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To what degree should organizations depend on the analysis of large databases and other IT resources to formulate basic strategy?

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This could even be fun!

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Case Assignment Expectations:

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Your paper should be short (5-6 pages, not including cover sheet and references) and to the point. It is to be structured as a point/counterpoint argument, in the following manner. You are expected to:

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Begin this paper by stating your position on this question clearly and concisely — take one or the other position (either for or against formality), but not both!

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Citing appropriate sources, present the reasons why you take this position. Be sure to make the most effective case you can.

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Then present the best evidence you can, again citing appropriate sources, against your position — that is, establish what counterarguments can be made in response to your original position.

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Finally, review your original position in light of the counterarguments, showing how they are inadequate to rebut your original statement.

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By the end of your paper, you should be able to unequivocally re-affirm your original position.

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The following features of your paper will be assessed in particular:

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Your ability to see what the module is all about and to structure your paper accordingly.
 In this case, there isn’t a single right or wrong, yes-or-no answer – either perspective can be justified. Your task is to construct a logical, well-reasoned, and persuasive argument for your conclusions. Be sure that you take a defined position on the question, and construct your paper to support that position with suitable arguments and evidence.

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Your focus on the question as presented, and your ability to use the language of the module convincingly
. Here, this means your ability to differentiate between what constitutes the technical system of an organization and what constitutes its social system , to define possible changes that could be made to either system and their probably consequences, and to explain how a socio-technical perspective involving joint consideration of both systems together may be better than dealing with either system by itself.

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Your ability to consolidate ideas from reading materials and your understanding of the materials
. Select your illustrative cases to prove your point; don’t just dump a bunch of illustrations onto the page just to fill space. Use information from as many sources as you can, as long as it’s of good quality. At the least, you are expected to show evidence of having read and understood the required readings.

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Your informed commentary and analysis
 — simply repeating what your sources say does not constitute an adequate paper.

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Some in-text references to your readings
, with citations in proper academic format. For assistance with proper paper formats, reference lists, and citation procedures, please consult the TUI Course Guidelines and/or the Purdue University manual listed in the Background Material.

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Click here for more on this paper…….

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Part 2 – Case Study

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Information networks as enterprise glue : information mobilization and deployment

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One of the biggest problems with keeping information systems running is that they are constantly developing major and minor operating problems.  Sometimes we can fix these ourselves by reading the manuals or maybe just kicking the machine.  On the other hand, learning to ask for help effectively is one of the big Survival Skills in the new internet Age.  Fortunately, one of the best things that the internet has spawned is a widespread community of help and support sites, many volunteer-staffed and free to users, where a remarkably high level of quality support is available.

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As your project assignment for this final module, you’ll have a chance to sample this network and maybe even get something fixed.  You must have some technical question or questions about your information system, tools, practices, or features – something not working, something that you’ve never been quite able to figure out, or just a question about how something might be done.  It could be serious or it could be small in scope – but if you don’t have something bugging you about your system, you obviously aren’t using it much.

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So your first step is to figure out what your problem is.

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Then you need to look for help.  Gizmo’s has put together a list of the best free technical support sites; it’s available at
http://www.techsupportalert.com/best_free_tech_support_sites.htm
.  Look over this list and pick one that you think could be helpful in addressing your problem, whatever it might be.  Or you might find another site entirely – you’re not required to use only the ones on this list.  You may need to log onto some of the sites and get a sense of what questions are being asked and how they’re being dealt with in order to make your selection.

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The next step is simple – ask your question, and see what sort of answers you get.  It might take a few iterations, or you might get an answer immediately.  Try not to make your question too simple-minded; you’ll get more out of the exercise if it’s a bit challenging, after all.  See if things get solved to your satisfaction.

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Finally, you need to prepare a short report describing your problem, where you went for help, how effective the interaction was, and your overall assessment of the whole exercise.

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Please conclude with a few sentences summarizing your sense of the Internet as a problem-solving, as opposed to a problem-generating, system, along with the usual attention to what you’ve learned and how you may be able to apply that understanding.

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This could be fun, as well as helpful and illuminating!

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SLP Assignment Expectations

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LENGTH: 2-3 pages typed and double-spaced

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The following items will be assessed in particular:

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The degree to which you have carried out the assignment completely, or clarified why you could not and investigated alternatives

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Your ability to describe your experiences clearly and draw conclusions from them, not just narrate events

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Your ability to focus on the overall purposes of the assignment, not just its specific steps

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Your use of some in-text references to what you have read, where appropriate; please cite all sources properly

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