Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Three categories of IT Systems

TOOL KIT: Mastering the Three Worlds of Information Technology.
By: McAfee, Andrew,
Harvard Business Review,
November 2006, Vol. 84, Issue 11

There are three categories of IT, each of which provides different organizational capabilities–and demands very different kinds of management interventions

The Three Categories of IT

Function IT (FIT)
Network IT (NIT)
Enterprise IT (EIT)

EIT's primary capabilities include the following:

• Redesigning business processes. EIT gives managers confidence that employees will execute processes correctly.

• Standardizing work flows. Once companies identify a complementary business process, they can implement it widely and reliably along with the EIT.

• Monitoring activities and events efficiently. EITs can allow managers to get an accurate and up-to-date picture of what's happening throughout the enterprise, often in something close to real time.

Andrew McAfee (amcafee@hbs.edu) is an associate professor at Harvard Business School in Boston. Visit his blog at blog.hbs.edu/faculty/amcafee.

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