IT executives have the greatest management challenges and opportunities in modern organizations


Faculty member, Bahria University, Karachi

Apr 07 - 13, 2003



After 1970, companies had taken faster step of doing business because of the advancement in calculation and computing devices and EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) in particular. After some time they got some more advancement and were acquainted with information systems.

Because of such information systems and their proper activation, companies were still facing problems to reach the customer with their idea and product. But after the advent of the Internet, companies were very happy and they were of the opinion that they got everything by having an existence on the web, it was an ill-luck would have it that they again got bit problem in getting desired and expected response from the customers. After long research with cyber consultants, they found that just being on the net is not enough but need to be very effective in marketing philosophy for the full response from the customers.

In this way companies overcame the technique to add traditional marketing business activities with modern business functions. This led companies undoubtedly towards the success of getting customer's positive response.

Moreover, human being's change and innovative behaviors brought some more ideas that could change business models and that gave birth to e-commerce and mobile commerce activities.

Despite of tremendous accomplishments of Internet and economic industries to dates, it has been observed that world's business activities depend on full integration of the globe. Customers know the product but want to reach it with in no time. In this way, companies look for such kind of solution that can satiate the need of the customers on the spur of the movement, that's why companies joined the party of major business trends which include greater pervasiveness of computers continuing convergence of computing and communication, greater automation of work, more value residing in information, new form of organization and management, faster pace of business, accelerating global competition and gradual acceptance of global standards.

Therefore, some exciting developments happened towards the realization of complete integration. Over the past few years' new software companies have emerged offering an entirely new set of tools that support "business in an instant". These companies are helping to build what is called the real-time enterprise. The real-time enterprise occurs when all of the company's departments, channels and partners are connected electronically for the purpose of supply and demand chains. This allows a real-time exchange of such information as changes in customer demand, inventory, profitability and competitive situations. This is all because of advancement in computing technologies which was the answer to focus on SDK chains and to find ways to be proficient in planning and maintaining those miraculous advantages.



IT executives have the greatest management challenges and opportunities in modern organizations. Everything is coming their way. The cost of operating organizations are going up at an alarming rate. Labor, management, physical plant, raw materials, energy and transportation all cost more. The only exception to their phenomena is modern integrated information systems.

IT managers can help to take effective initiative to equip their companies with the following SDK chains to be chained with the progressive and fast paced changing technological world.


ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)

SCM (Supply Chain Management)


CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

Marketing (Traditional and Internet Marketing)


BI (Business Intelligence)

KM (Knowledge Management)


IT commentators have voted SDK chains that they are real factors which are moving companies to the right direction.

SDK chains also brought many opportunities to be connected with the customers all over the world. In this connection an evolution of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) was the right answer. During the operations of ERP systems, an other need of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) was created to more properly manage the customers database and after this success the problem of reaching customers was still there and this diverted information executive's attention towards the distribution of products which resulted in the development of an SCM (Supply Chain Management) to get the customers with the product from any corner of the world.



ERPs are software packages composed of several modules, such as human resource, sales, finance and production, providing cross organization integration of data through imbedded business processes. These software packages can be customized to answer the specific needs of each organization.

Actually, these systems are computer-based systems designed to process an organizational transactions and facilitate integrated and real-time planning production and customer response. ERP was evolved from the term MRP II (Manufacturing Resource Planning) that was an extension of MRP (Material Requirement Planning)

MRP was mainly focused on distribution management activities and MRP II was further extended to cover areas like engineering, finance, human resources and project management but ERP was evolved to cover more business enterprise activities of modern era.

There are many ERP solution providers but SAP, Oracle, BAAN, PeopleSoft, J.D Edward are the most popular vendors in this list. SAP has always taken a lead in such solution because of its complete and vast business enterprise solution. Oracle is coming very fast at second number by providing more flexibility in their vast compatibility solution.

ERP information systems are real business solutions in today's age, moreover, many companies still hesitate to adopt such information systems because of less expertise in the areas of managing such huge, complex and sensitive operationalization of high level ERP activities.




SCM is an elimination and removal of barrier between trading partners in order to facilitate the synchronization of information between them. SCM is not only just moving freight in but its about looking at much bigger picture, making the most of your core competencies and outsourcing those that are not with you. SCM is a service that increases efficiency, reduce cost, reduce cycle times, add value for customers and create competitive advantage. SCM software has the group of software applications, some of the SCM steps have different softwares for specific steps because of different tasks in different activities like planning for the demand of product and service, setting a price for proper delivery and finding a source for logistics.

For example SCP (Supply Chain Planning) software uses fancy math algorithms to help you improve the flow and efficiency of the supply chain and reduce inventory and SCE (Supply Chain Execution) software is intended to automate the different steps of the supply chain. But supply chain collaboration was the proper answer for the companies to share logistic resources and be efficient in coordinating to better serve the KINGS of products (Customers).

For example WalMart and Proctor & Gamble built software that hooked P&G up to WalMart's distribution centers. When P&Gís products run low at the distribution center, the system sends an automatic alert to P&G to ship more products.

In some cases, the system goes all the way to the individual Wal-Mart store. It lets P&G monitor the shelves through real-time satellite link-ups that send messages to the factory whenever a P&G item swoops past a scanner at the register.

ERP and CRM stagnated for integration only but SCM continued to grow. ERP and SCM's collaboration planning enticed enterprises to join this race of integration and supply chain science.



CRM is customer centric strategy that empowers enterprises to achieve significant economic results in today's dynamic economy.

CRM enables companies to gather and access information about customer's buying histories, preferences, complaints and other data so that they can better anticipate what customers will want. This helps to build customer loyalty.

Time has gone when sellers had a power and had no time to consider the customer's preferences and care for buyer's readiness stages. Power has been shifted from sellers to buyers because of the exclusive innovation of Internet technologies, now buyer has many options and alternatives for different products and companies has rushed to chase them and try to know their preferences and likeability and applying different marketing philosophies. Time compression situation has driven companies to find most proper ways to contact customers and maintain the database efficiently for the purpose of building loyalty because one happy customer can tell five people about the experience and service with the particular product while an unhappy one will tell nine, so companies are to pay special attention to properly manage customer relationship.

By incorporating today's e-business technologies, an enterprise can harness the power of all its resources to effectively manage every aspect of the customer relationship. There is only one choice left for modern companies that is to enhance the customer focused processes that must be supported by customer's interaction throughout all channels.

CRM projects are often designed to integrate call centers, help desks, sales data, information about customer preferences and buying patterns and all methods of customer communications.

CRM solution leaders like Epiphany, Interact commerce, Nortel Networks, Onyx, Oracle, Peoplesoft, SAP, Siebel Systems play important role in providing proper solution according to their specific needs of business activities.

As CRM is just to maintain and enhance the database of customers, it doesn't fulfill the need of companies because the emerging problem is to get the product into the home of the customer and that is only possible when you have proper management of logistics and distribution, this was the only factor which led companies to master in SCM activities.


Marketing is playing very important role in today's fast-communicated technological era. Marketing Managers say that marketing is not only getting product into customer's hands but to retain customers for longer time. Marketing is the study of buyer's needs and preferences and to get customer's conviction towards company's products.

As modern organizations have been geared towards Internet, marketing has adopted various shapes to entice the customers to their product features.

When we talk about marketing, we probably talk about all marketing methods like Electronic marketing, Web marketing and Internet marketing and when business or commerce is mentioned, we talk about Electronic commerce, Electronic business and Internet business and when advertising stuff comes then we can talk about Advertising on the net and Internet commerce etc.

From the marketing perspective, Internet marketing is one of the paramount activity to focus on.

An electronic marketing is an inter-organizational information system activity that provides facilities for buyers and sellers to exchange information about pricing and product offerings. This activity is effective in assisting the buyer in a commodity market where products are essentially identical across all sellers.

Moreover, Internet marketing is the persuasion of someone who is on the net and you want him to visit your company's home page, you have to make that page so attractive which may mesmerize the visitor to come back for your product offer. And once you get visitors to your site, it is very important to maintain supply activity and interactivity to keep them coming back.

It is experienced that a website which takes lot of time to open because of some heavy java scripts and graphics that can result in low response. This should be handled in a way that provides simple but covering all required information which visitor wants to know.

The companies which just depended on technological aspects of website are experienced to get low response because couple of marketing philosophical points are some time missed, so traditional and modern marketing can work when both the situations are done in convincing the respondents.

For the successful Internet marketing both technical and marketing professionals can formulate a better website for the customers. We don't really favor our customer by designing a web site but he does favor to us when he visits our site.





In today's Internet age the right decision at the right time play a very important role in moving organization to the right track of the success. BI is such a marvelous technique, which enables organization to reach into the vast supply of information available in the new economic world, which rapidly turns into real knowledge for decisions and actions. It also helps to implement industry leading measurement technologies. It provides a framework for understanding key performance metrics and optimizing our operations that is beneficial at the same time for our business partners and our valuable customers.

Through BI capabilities, company can offer industry's integrated, content rich; fully web-based strategic management suite and many others that are enabling companies to communicate goals throughout virtual and interenterprise teams which can monitor performance of key success factors using external and internal benchmarks.

BI also helps in formulating ways to analyze and optimize performance based situations on a unified business model. It offers all the functionality of integrating all the information throughout your organization.

Employees and analyst organize all such activities in proper format and add knowledge management ideas to equip organizations to make the life smooth and efficient.


Information specialists comment that knowledge is that thing which is recorded in an individual brain and stored in organizational processes, products, facilities, systems and documents. But KM is also known as the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience and association.

But today's information superhighway has left so many challenges and opportunities for business that focuses on knowledge as an effective tool to run any business through that experience and vision.

KM is the systematic process of finding, selecting, organizing and presenting information in a way that improves an employee's comprehension in a specific area of interest. IT managers are pursuing a challenging career in the field of KM to get full acquaintance with such activities which may focus the organization to acquire, store and utilize knowledge for the things like, problem solving, dynamic learning, strategic planning and decision making. Many companies failed to keep the pace of right track of this target because of less insight in understanding KM, they could not minimize the wastage of company's resources, could not budgeted time for system efficiency, could not focus on employee's expertise with modern operationalization of the information systems. But KM brings the solution to address all these problems.

KM helps us to understand about what is being done in the company, when to make changes? So all is the proper utilization of professional management followed by professional cognizance of consultants.

That's why very rightly uttered by Charlie Bixter (2001) that KM is the process of managing the leadership, organization, technology and learning aspects of internal and external intellectual assets through retention and collaborative sharing of knowledge for the purpose of improving performance and inspiring innovation throughout an enterprise.



KM as a prevention will enable the formalizing and integrating of experience, knowledge and expertise with in an enterprise. Information executives are emphasized to be an adept in understanding such management practice to take the companies to definite success.

In this whole study, I have found that forthcoming innovation will only be about networked world and the security issue will always be there but information executives will find better ways to work on SDK Chains, which will be an ultimate solution towards business arena. I take this opportunity to remind my readers that it was Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) in 1970's, Management Information Systems (MIS) in 1980's, Internet Computer Technologies (ICT) in 1990, Electronic Commerce (EC) and Electronic Business (EBiz) in 1996 to 2000 and now Mobile Commerce (MCommerce), wireless technologies like Wireless application protocol (WAP) and UMTS services.

We can of course prognosticate a very funny and interesting technology to come in the second half of the first decade of 21st century.

I am so excited what will be that form of business chains and what will be shape of that technology and computers in particular may be in such a small size which can easily have a place to come in my eye and then the moment I will blink, the business transaction will happen.