Respond to two of your colleagues in one or more of the following ways:
Please be specific, and use citations and references as appropriate and necessary.
4 days ago
RE: Discussion – Week 4
What aspects of WestJet IT did Smith assess, and why do you think they are important?
WestJet CEO, Saretsky, was concerned with whether its IT was sufficient enough to get them to an even higher level of business success. He, along with IT themselves, were unsure of what they had and whether or not their skills/capabilities were up-to-par with industry standards. To assess these concerns, Smith focused on benchmarking, operational procedures, organization structure, and planning/budgeting (Munro & Khan, 2013). Benchmarking was important because it was a way to measure the organization’s performance against its competitors in the codeshare environment and against the entire airline industry. WestJetâ€s operations and procedures were a deterrent only in that they were organization specific. Meaning that they were developed with the needs of only WestJet in mind and how those needs could be met internally. The structure of the organization was a determinant because IT needed to be restructured to fit the needs of the entire organization with respect to departmental needs. Each of these factors play a role in the planning and budgeting of the IT department. In order to meet and exceed industry standards, the operations and procedures of IT needed to be changed so that the individuals in the department would be well versed in all areas and would also be able to perform and complete projects when needed. Thus the reorganization allows for department-specific budgets and planning annually (Munro & Khan, 2013).
Summarize and critique Smithâ€s assessment
Smithâ€s method of restructuring WestJet for optimal performance was suitable for the organization. The CEO and upper-level management were unaware of specific issues or of what could be done to ensure future growth with regard to IT. I believe that her strategy of gaining the executives trust, and placing her office within the same area as IT played a significant role in helping her to convince them that a change was needed. It was imperative that they understood that IT played a significant part in business strategy. It is noted by Tallon & Pinsonneault (2011), that the alignment of business strategy and IT â€œ…affects profits, productivity, sales growth, and reputationâ€¦.â€ Her strategic planning process outlined the issues, and the steps to resolving them in a clear and concise manner. It also allowed for better communication between IT and other departments, improved coordination of efforts, and better decision making (Belanger, et al., 2019).
Offer evidence/arguments that major changes in IT at WestJet were essential and that Smithâ€s governance model would enable WestJet to achieve its strategic goal.
The changes that Smith wanted to implement at WestJet were essential to its goal of industry sustainability and advancement. As the case study presented, the IT at WestJet had a â€œheroâ€ culture that only afforded them the opportunity to be seen outside of their â€œbubbleâ€ when issues arose. With this old strategy, the other departments would never know who they would encounter with each complaint. Which would also leave them in the dark about the plan of action and the timeframe with which an issue would be resolved. This was due to there being no structured organization within IT. With Smithâ€s strategy of IT governance, there would be a specific team of IT professionals that would only handle the needs of a specific department. The goals of that department are specific to their needs, however they are in line with the goals of the organization. When issues occur, the IT assigned to that department will assess accordingly and provide feedback to the IT department CIO, which keeps all departments in alignment with the organization’s strategy and goals.
Summarize the lessons you learned based on the experiences at WestJet. How might these lessons help your organization evaluate its information technology capabilities and best serve its business strategy and needs?
My organization currently uses a strategy similar to that used in the WestJet case study. Based on the study, I have learned that it benefits the organization to leverage all capabilities in order to achieve the organization’s goals. A department does not serve the organization or itself well if it is only confined to itself.
Belanger, F., Van Slyke, C., & Crossler, R. (2019). Information systems for business: An
experiential approach, 3e. Burlington, VT. Prospect Press.
Munro, M., & Khan, S. (2013). WestJet Airlines: Information technology governance and
corporate strategy (Ivey Publishing Case Study No. 9B13E020).
Tallon, P. P., & Pinsonneault, A. (2011). Competing perspectives on the link between strategic
information technology alignment and organizational agility: Insights from a mediation
model. MIS Quarterly. 35 (2), 463-486.
4 days ago
RE: Discussion – Week 4
When Cheryl Smith assessed WestJet’s IT (information technology), she discovered issues in WestJet’s IT department organizational structure, planning, and budgeting, matching the CEO’S concerns (Munro et al. 2013). The three concern areas affect the company’s vice-presidents as a consistency that everything takes longer than promised or expected to affect the profits, sales growth, and hurting the reputation (Munro et al. 2013; Tallon, 2011). From the VP (vice-president) and CEO’s (chief executive officer) perspective, they are wasting valuable limited resources hurting the quality of products or services to clients losing the competitive edge over rivalries (Grigore, 2014).
In her assessment, Cheryl noted that the IT staff was a single unit crossed trained in multiple areas, creating a quick response to emergencies (Munro et al. 2013). While it is nice to have a multi-trained IT, the organization needs IT areas that need to be separated to create efficiency and effectiveness for all sections of the business (Khani et al. 2011). Creating separate IT sections will help the team align with the company, causing cost reductions, an increase in flexibility, and completion of projects on time (Belanger et al. 2019). When it came to planning and budgeting, the IT department had no correct connection to any business units creating competition among all the executives for funding in the IT department (Munro et al. 2013). As a result, IT could not prioritize projects, or when prioritized, it kept changing between projects creating frustration among VP executives (Munro et al. 2013). IT needs to create a strategic business plan to align projects with the business creating a better understanding of how to achieve the restructuring of the department and the goals of the company itself (Belanger et al. 2019). In budgeting, however, the IT managers, CIO (chief information officer), and executives need to come together once a month and come to an understanding of limited resources to the department for that month cutting down on too many projects (Belanger et al. 2019; Munro et al. 2013).
Major changes are crucial for IT, and Smith’s model would enable WestJet to achieve their goal. The changes were essential for IT because currently, executives and the CEO had no idea IT has the competency, skills, alignment, capabilities, or organizational structure (Munro et al. 2013). The competency level is a vital concern for the company because the executives should know if their employees aligned with the company’s values (Belanger et al. 2019). As a result, the company would start to lose sustainability and the competitive advantage over competitors (Khani et al. 2011). Without alignment and the other skills, the company is wasting limited resources and reducing its performance such as, no prioritization or too many projects that fail (Khani et al. 2011; Munro et al. 2013). Smith agreed that she needed to realign IT with the business so IT can be transparent and operational to other business units in the organization (Munro et al. 2013). Currently, she saw IT’s structure needed changing by separating IT up to better match employees’ strengths to concentrate on their expertise and focus on a single business unit (Munro et al. 2013). Similarly, in the book, Information Systems for Business: An Experimental Approach, it talks about how information systems from the company’s architecture of how to use resources efficiently and when they should work together (Belanger et al. 2019).
I learned several lessons base on WestJet that will help me apply to my organization. First, I learned that IT plays an essential role in the efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of the business when aligned with its vision and values (Khani et al. 2011). Now that I have a better understanding, I can see what necessary improvements could improve alignment with business goals. I gained insight into how to assess better the functions (planning, building, operating, maintaining, and governing) of the company, allowing us to pinpoint the weakest areas to reshape those areas (Porter, 2008).
Belanger, F., Van Slyke, C., & Crossler, R. (2019). Information systems for business: An experimental approach, 3E. Burlington, VT: Prospect Press.
Grigore, A.-M. (2014). Book Publishing Business in Romania- An Analysis from the Perspective of Porterâ€s Five Force Model. Review of International Comparative Management/Revista de Management Comparat International, 15(1), 31-47.
Khani, N., Nor, K. & Bahrami, M. (2011). IS/IT capability and Strategic Information System Planning (SISP) success. International Management Reviews, 7(2), 75-83.
Munro, M., & Khan, S. (2013). WestJet Airlines: Information technology governance and corporate strategy (Ivey Publishing Case Study No. 9B13E020).
Porter, M. E. (2008). The five competitive forces that shape strategy. Harvard Business Review, 86(1), 78-93.
Tallon, P. P., & Pinsonneault, A. (2011). Competing perspectives on the link between strategic information technology alignment and organizational agility: Insights from a meditation model. MIS Quarterly, 35(2), 463-486.