AgCredit IST 7100

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Case synopsis

The named AgreCredit in the case study is a Midwest Agricultural company dealing with loans and credits, and it concentrates in agribusiness.  The business has experienced some growth over the few years, and that has made it compete with the other big banks. Although the company in question has profound customer knowledge, customers and the processes were taxed to the hilt because of the absence of a better technological system as quoted by its CEO, Jim Finney (McKeen & Smith, 2012). The CEO promised to acquire a better technology aimed at overcoming the impending issues in AgCredit.  The company’s COO, Mr. Steve Steward, moans that the information technology (IT) is a mess and any time he assigns responsibilities to the staffs they simply escape from the same by giving some excuse. What is clear is that the firm’s IT system is entirely broken.

Critical Issues at AgCredit

The firm has already lost a lot of money due to the hardships emanating from its current framework.  It is prepared within the basement, but the four unique organizational dividers associated with the firm poses impartial IT strategies as well as the programs that are not appropriate together with additional business strategies. Many times the promises of regarding freelancing had been wrong.  Within the organization, there is a lack of IT supervisors and a great specialized understanding in many areas. There are also other accusations prevalent in the organization and the areas being accused include tasks assignment, customer services, terrible information, and supervisory recruiting. The organization wants to solve those problems and to do so they offered a hired specialist and then forecasted an answer called focused support structures (SOA).  The organization believes that doing an analysis using the SOA can be the best approach to solving the current problems.

Discussion Questions

  1. An organizational structure for the IT department that you feel would support the transformation of AgCredit into a process-centric organization.

The company lacks the IT governance as well as the structures that can assist in transforming it to become a process-centric organization.  Instead, there is a divisional framework that has been around, but it makes a process-centric concept unachievable.  The firm creates the IT choices that can only satisfy short-term endeavors and requirements.  The proper organizational structure based on the IT governance that is process-oriented can be useful in achieving the goal of becoming a process-centric organization (Lutchen, 2011).  That organizational structure should be aimed at reducing the IT staffing problems such as job ambiguity, bare work functions, unqualified personnel filling job vacancies, and the unspecialized abilities.  The company needs to retool the present IT structures so as to straighten the mentioned staffing requirements.  That structure should have a clear hierarchy with clearly defined roles and specialized IT personnel filling up the positions.  There should only be one directory for all the departments so as to eradicate the present large information untidiness and redundancy.

  1. Outline the project selection process for AgCredit to ensure alignment with the enterprise business vision.

The company needs to conduct a comprehensive research into the area of the projects that are likely to support the vision and objectives of the company.  The company can leverage artificial intelligence for project portfolio management because it helps in the selection, ordering and the estimation of both time and money.  The firm should make a floor program connected to the targets with the business via the use of clear technological innovation benefits.  The focus, of course, should be on the IT innovative projects because IT projects have the potential of bringing great improvements to an organization if properly executed.   All the heads of departments should unify their efforts in finding the projects that support their vision and then leveraging artificial intelligence to project selection and ordering, and estimation process. The prioritized projects should be aligned with the SOA architecture and incorporate the users in the projects as they are the direct beneficiaries of the project outcome.

  1. How is should “make the case” for SOA to ensure that the executive team at AgCredit buys-in?

According to Ren and Lyytinen (2008), SOA is an architectural style that has the objective of achieving loose coupling among the interacting software agents.  A service can also be defined as a unit of work that can be done by the service provider so as to achieve the anticipated end results for the service consumers.  The software agents play the roles of the consumers and provider on behalf of the owners (He, 2003). One of the major issues prevalent with SOA execution is the creation effective decision structures determining the providers, creating the SOA roadmap, insufficient financing, controlling, and inadequate constant governance procedures. The firm needs to deal with those issues so as to make the executives have a buy-in of the same. The firm will require a thorough SOA governance construction that is useful by an iterative method. Above all, Manley should make sure that the SOA supports the goals of all the departments for it to be acceptable to the executives.

Hojaji and Shiraz (2012) highlight five key points that are useful in the development of the SOA architecture, and they include problem identification, defining objectives, design and development; demonstration; and evaluation. In the problem identification, the actual domain is specified, the worthiness of the answer justified, and the primary needs of the SOA are determined as the governance components are also suggested. The demonstration involves the showcasing of the created construction to show the way the construction works.  In the evaluation phase, the framework is examined by identifying the capabilities and evaluating the suitability of the SOA governance elements.

  1. What are new internal IT capabilities will have to get developed to create an IT department to support AgCredit’s future business architecture?

The created SOA architecture in the previous phase requires the support of all the firm’s aspects such as the IT. Below is a list of the major internal capabilities that are in requirement to support the process-centric organization in AgCredit:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Enterprise Resource Planning
  • Information delivery options
  • Information management mechanisms including funding methods, monitoring methods, business alignment processes and measurement mechanisms.
  • Effective management tools
  • Efficient information delivery mechanisms including the collection activities, maintenance procedures, and organization processes.

Creating those capabilities will require the firm to classify the roles and responsibilities. Similarly, the above-listed capabilities should be constructed in such a way that they align with the SOA architectural standards and guidelines. However, the conformance to the SOA guidelines and standards will require the acquisition and installation of special hardware and software that have the capability of breaking down the functionality and ensuring compliance (Ahuja, Yang, & Shankar, 2010).

  1. What aspects of IT governance would be important in supporting the transformation?

The primary goal of IT governance is to assure that the organizational investments in the area of IT generate the business value as well as mitigate the risks related to IT (Ali & Green, 2009).  That can have achievement through the creation of an organizational structure that has well-defined roles for business processes, information responsibility, infrastructure and applications (Peterson, 2004). The company should reassess all the IT personnel for the purpose of guaranteeing that the right individuals are assigned the correct job functions. The firm should also set up the accounts supervisors for all the lines of business, and these should be accountable to the IT administration. The empty jobs should be advertised and the actual functions insourced to save on the costs and utilize the internal potential. The freelancing the IT features not primary expertise may also take place. The firm should also create a guiding panel containing the representatives from all the lines of business.

References

Ahuja, V., Yang, J., & Shankar, R. (2010). Benchmarking Framework to Measure Extent of ICT Adoption for Building Project Management. Journal of Construction Engineering &        Management, 136 (5), 538-545.

Ali, S., & Green, P. (2009). IT governance mechanisms in public sector organisations: An Australian context. Handbook of Research on Information Management and the Global Landscape, 458-478.

He, H. (2003). What is service-oriented architecture. Publicação eletrônica em, 30, 50.

Hojaji,F., & Shirazi, M. (2012). A Design Science Approach To Develop A New Comprehensive SOA, Governance Framework. International Journal of Managing Information Technology, 4(3), 33-53.

Lutchen, M. D. (2011). Managing IT as a business: a survival guide for CEOs. John Wiley & Sons.

Peterson, R. (2004). Crafting information technology governance. Information Systems Management, 21(4), 7-22.

Ren, M., & Lyytinen, K. J. (2008). Building enterprise architecture agility and sustenance with SOA. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 22(1), 4.

Smith, H. A., & McKeen, J. D. (2012). Creating a Process-Driven Organization at AgCredit.        Ontario: Queen’s School of Business.

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