Technology Management in the Information Age

Executive summary

Tesco is one of the leading companies operating on a global scale. Technological change is important for this organization as it helps it to improve performance and relations with customers. Modern organizations like Tesco are frequently nowhere as technically advanced as certain portions of the scientific and engineering world. Lewin’s model was introduced by the company as a core of new technological change. Change management and leveling resistance to change are crucial steps as well as the substantive review supervised by at least one program manager.

Introduction

Current business environment demands new ways of business planning and technology. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the importance of change in a modern organization, the major forces of change and positive and negative outcomes arising when change is being implemented. Also, the paper analyzes technological change that occurs at organizational and individual levels. The theoretical approach, applied to the paper, helps to visualize the importance of change in organization and the singles out possible ways to reduce resistance to change (Baschab et al 2007). At the same time, the essay emphasizes the crucial role of managerial behavior in the change process and managers’ responsibilities in delivering and identifying issues in the change management process.

Company and Industry Background

Tesco is the number one leading food retailer in the United Kingdom. The researcher wants to identify how customer service has led to organizational success, the marketing strategy of Tesco, customer service provision at Tesco and to provide recommendations for Tesco’s future service. Companies today are operating in a different environment, which is different from the one they operated in 20 years ago and will also be in the increase in the future as a result of competition in the service industry and the customer becoming more demanding requiring value for their money. One of the changes is a fiercer and more intense competitive rivalry. Companies have understood that they cannot use price only to maintain and increase their market share in a competitive market and many have focused on customer service in order to develop a competitive advantage. Another change is that customers are more demanding. Today customers expect more than a high-quality product and competitive price they expect a high-quality service (Tesco Home Page 2009).

Literature Review

People, purpose, process, and data are the essential components of any business. The customer is at the center of all its activities. Technology is the number one priority of any enterprise. So customer satisfaction is a must for the survival of any company. Baschab et al (2007) explains how people, purpose, process, and data work together in any business starting with the concept of purpose: The development of new technology systems and new solutions in business is a need for modern economic and political environment. An obvious but fundamental point is that the new technology systems help companies to improve their daily performance and operations. Snyder (2007) and Philip (2007) underline that the Internet is the first genuinely new marketing channel to have emerged in the past 40 years. Newness brings with it a set of characteristics. Buyers view the Internet with a certain amount of suspicion: they will, in the main, be reticent about using it, and, as a result of this suspicion and fear, they will be concerned that they will not receive the goods or services that they have purchased.

Long and Spurlock (2008) state that motivation and positive culture in organization are the main components of successful performance. The Management Systems is new technology system that helps modern organizations to manage customer relations, control sales and content of their web pages. This is true of any new product or service, but, so far as the Internet is concerned, such fears are compounded because consumers will be purchasing goods via a system that they do not fully understand. In fact, consumers are already worried about the security aspects of the Internet. There are scare stories of computer programs that watch for credit card-sized numbers being passed over the Internet and then capture these numbers so that they can be used improperly. Business needs to start to match its strategic vision and sense of direction (built around the business as a whole) with precise analysis — at a detailed level — of the information from which it is composed, whether this information concerns customers, employees, products or processes.

Long and Spurlock (2008) and Laudon and Laudon (2005) underline that a fear arises from the very nature of the Internet. Because of its virtual nature, it is not possible to touch the goods that buyers are purchasing physically, and buyers might be concerned that the goods consumers are buying either are not as good as they look on screen or even do not exist at all. There have already been scams in which an organization sets up with an address that is very similar to a bona fide organization and then seeks payments for goods that it has no intention of supplying. These companies may not last long, but of course they do not have to. They can be disbanded and reformed without the perpetrators having to leave their desks.

Denzin and Lincoln (1995) state that like every opportunity, this brings with it corresponding problems. There is already a lively debate about which goods can be successfully sold over the Internet. One argument is that goods such as clothes cannot be successfully sold in this way because people will want to try them on before buying. However, this is clearly a fallacious argument: there are many thriving mail-order clothes businesses, all of which are succeeding on the basis that customers are, in fact, prepared to buy before they try. There are, of course, some goods that do not need a powerful brand in order to achieve sales. The sales of books, videos and CDs, for example, depend much more on the artist who produced them than the brand qualities of the retailer who is trying to sell them. Anyone can set up — and indeed many already have — websites that sell such goods.

Organization Analysis

Technology is important for Tesco as Tesco is centered on people: customers and employees. As a result of its core purpose, its strategy, and its key values, Tesco gives the following account about its customers, its staff, and its business: One of the key characteristics of the goods and services that are capable of being traded successfully on the Internet, therefore, is that they are recognized and understood by the consumer. This means either that they must have a strong brand (so that the consumer knows what to expect) or that the goods must be of such a nature that the consumer knows what they will receive. While the population that can be addressed by conventional physical sales and marketing is constrained by geography, that of the Internet is constrained by the number of people who both have access to it and make active use of it (these not necessarily being the same thing). We said earlier that the Internet was a virtual medium without a physical manifestation, and that this means that the constraints imposed by geography can be broken. At the end of the sales process, the consumer has to receive his goods. Goods that are large relative to their price, furniture for example, are unlikely to sell well, simply because the shipping charges constrain the population to which they can be offered. Goods and services that have no physical manifestation, for example dealing in stocks and bonds, are ideally suited. The fulfillment of the purchase of a stock or bond requires simply a certificate to be sent in the post or, at best, no physical manifestation whatsoever (Daft, 2003).

Tesco followed a Lewin’s 3-stage model based on such components as unfreezing, change refreezing. When the number of sites is growing faster than the number of people on the Internet, the probability of a random visit declines. When the number of people is growing faster than the number of sites, the probability of a random visit to site increases. At the moment, the rate of increase in new sites is higher than the rate of increase in the number of people joining the Internet, which means that the probability of someone making a random visit to website is falling — and that number was probably already so small as to be close to negligible. The issue facing all traders on the Internet is that passing trade is close to zero. There are not thousands or millions of people out there who will simply come across business site, take a look inside and buy something. Anyone placing a site on the Internet with this delusion will almost certainly fail. Advertising in this way will undoubtedly increase the number of visits that site achieves. Instead of being buried in a list, site will be displayed prominently at the top with whatever words or graphics business organizations choose to show. However, there are three disadvantages to this. Second, people may use a different search engine, or even a ‘meta-search’ engine, which is capable of exploring more than one search engine at a time. These will strip out advertisements and show their own instead, thereby reducing advertisement’s effectiveness. Third, some users deliberately ignore these advertisements, preferring to rely on the content of the sites they visit to dictate what links they follow (Laudon and Laudon 2005).

Dicks et al (2005) payment security is an issue, but it is one which can be resolved: in the short term, pre-paid accounts can be set up, credit card details can be given over the telephone, customers can be invoiced. Even the security aspects of the payment system can be fixed. Indeed, many of the major banking organizations are frantically working to get their payment system accepted as the norm. Methods exist to solve the problem, although they are, as yet, not being widely or consistently applied. Fears about the security of payments are, therefore, something which, in our view, can be resolved and dealt with (Denzin and Lincoln 1996).

It is one of the key — but comparatively under-exploited — aspects of the Internet that it provides business organizations with an opportunity to lower costs as a precursor to reducing prices. As such, the Internet enables business organizations to pursue a low-price strategy while maintaining business profitability. There are industries in which this is already proving possible: indeed, in some sectors we are starting to see wholesale migration from physically-based methods of doing business to virtual methods (Philip, 2007). One of the best examples is the brokerage industry for stocks and shares. The reasons for such a rapid increase are obvious: the target market of the affluent young (often men) fits well with the demographics of the Internet; regular surfers on the Internet are highly likely also to hold stocks and shares. Once a trade is initiated on the Internet, the remaining physical costs of the business are extremely small and the potential to reduce costs is accordingly very high. Finally, the speed with which the transaction can be completed is far quicker than that using the traditional methods of telephone or letter. The key factor that differentiates the Internet from other forms of marketing is its interactivity: consumers are not passive recipients of a broadcast marketing message — they can interact with it. Buyers can choose which areas of the message to explore (Daft 2003). Sites can be laid out so that consumers can be led down a particular set of pathways depending on their particular interests. Information and information technology are making redundant these three ways in which business organizations simplify environment in order to manage it. Just because business organizations can be overwhelmed by detail does not mean that computers are. Where business organizations simplify, they can make complex, and this constitutes a major business opportunity. To exploit it, business organizations need to reverse the three ways of thinking business organizations described above (How to Choose the Right CMS 2009). This may sound like a self-evident truth, but business has in fact generally shown a marked reluctance to do anything of the kind. Information management — insofar as it has existed at all — has been the responsibility of IT specialists (who have approached the subject from a purely technical perspective) or accountants (who have focused only on financial data). Neither of these attitudes will get business organizations very far in the virtual economy: business now needs to manage information from a much more strategic perspective. “There are new systems emerging constantly and many of these systems are beginning to show promise” (Snyder, 2007, p. 54).

Johnson-Cramer et al (2007) the major way to developing modern baseness with the help of technology to site is to persuade other sites to carry links to site. However, once business organizations have agreed on links with the half dozen sites that are obviously complementary and non-competing. The answer — and this practice is growing rapidly — is to incentivize other sites to carry links. Thus, for example, Amazon books will pay other sites a proportion of the profit on a book that is sold through a link to the other site. If, for example, business organizations have a site offering book reviews, and at the bottom of each review business organizations include a button that says. To achieve footfall successfully requires that business organizations adopt a comprehensive strategy for the Internet. Simply creating a website, however much or little money spend on it, does not mean that people will visit it. Without an approach that exploits the singular opportunities of the Internet to increase footfall, creating a website aimed at increasing sales is a strategy that is doomed to failure (Snyder, 2007).

Danziger and Andersen (2002) the technological nature of the new change model means that business organizations can use different methods for achieving sales — methods that cannot be applied effectively in a physical environment. Ironically, however, most websites fail to take advantage of these methods. The new change model has been constructed by computer experts, not by business organizations, but its future, whether the computer geeks like it or not, is going to depend on the speed with which an effective model emerges that allows commercial organizations to sell their goods and services. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and unless the business organizations can find a way of making it pay, then the Internet is doomed to grind to a halt. One issue that we have touched on throughout this book is price. Although not necessarily playing to the Internet’s strengths, price nevertheless remains an extremely powerful method of encouraging (or discouraging) consumers to buy. Exploiting the potential complexity of business does not, therefore, have to stop with modern management (Snyder, 2007).

On the other hand, Dennings (2001) deals with the issue of managing the customer experience. They state that the solution is to create a branded customer experience going beyond customer loyalty into customer advocacy. The aim is not only to get the loyalty of the customer, but to make advocates of all the customers. As an example they explain that Tesco has been successful in the quest of creating a branded customer experience: So far Tesco has been quite successful in tackling the challenges of customer service. Tesco is very ambitious, and its intention is to keep expanding into new markets. Tesco is aware of the opportunities that lie ahead, and it is obvious that Tesco will stick to its management tool in order to move on into new markets (Snyder, 2007).

Danziger and Andersen (2002) point out that in order to survive in highly competitive world, organizations have to improve their flexibility and be ready to meet change from external environment. Changes in Tesco are often facilitated by such factors as uncertain economic conditions, globalization and fierce competition, the level of government intervention, political interests, scarcity of natural resources, and rapid developments in technology. As well as increasing demand for high-quality goods, services and customer satisfaction, flexibility in organizational structure determines the changing nature of workforce and conflict within the organization. Therefore, in today’s fast-changing business environment, change turns to be an unavoidable part of social and organizational life. Hence, organizational change can appear in different shapes, sizes and forms; it can be reflected in various change programs such as total quality management, business process re-engineering, performance management, lean production is being enforced in organizations all over the world (Snyder, 2007). Moreover, each organization has to find its own approach to how to implement change, reduce resistance and achieve higher productivity. As restructuring process in an organization can bring to a variety of issues related to resistance to change and culture breakup or, the opposite, to a high standard performance, it is important to have a detailed management plan, create an appropriate organizational environment to deliver change, follow carefully the steps of change models and focus on human resources (Kauffman 2009).

An important point, that appropriate managerial behavior is one of the key factors of change process. Certainly, it is manager’s responsibility to be able to introduce and manage change, also to ensure the organizational objectives of change are met. During change, manager has to be aware of close relations between organizational culture, staff motivation and high-performance standards. In order to gain commitment to change and eliminate employee resistance, management has to create healthy climate and involve employees in decision-making process by developing open communication culture. Moreover, management may ‘influence people’s attitudes, the behavior of individuals and groups, and thereby levels of performance and effectiveness (Snyder, 2007, Jackson 2009).

Recommendations

The case of Tesco shows that technological changes help organizations to improve their businesses and develop positive relations with customers. Therefore, effective technology management (based on a human factor) plays an important part in organizational change, as change processes may be perceived by employees as job insecurity and lead to staff morale and motivation issues and consequently to low productivity. As employee’s needs are structured into a hierarchy, he or she would progress up the hierarchy only when the lower level of need has been satisfied. Furthermore, referring to the theory such needs as sense of achievement, social recognition and responsibility can be a source of motivation at workplace, and be a driving force of change. Organizational culture is developed over a long period of time and has ‘pervasive influence’ over behavior and actions of employees. Also, culture may be a powerful component in improving organizational performance and reducing complexities and resistance to change. Finally, computer systems rely on a variety of technologies for computing, communicating and transforming information. For example, the chart often combines technical reports and a large body of seemingly chaotic written material. Different employees, employing different IT techniques, contribute to the chart; this information may be used not only in planning for production facilities, but may also be retrieved for studying employees and groups categorized by similar problems. The interpretations by IT professionals of the materials assembled in a chart reflect a complex set of professional and social relationships and attributions about the distribution of IT skills

Conclusion

The case of Tesco shows that the importance to manage technology to change is explained by faster and effective implementation of new technology and cost savings. There are many challenges in introducing any technology into modern business environments. For the most part, the employees involved in all of these various steps have only recently begun to use PC for word processing and electronic mail. Introducing a technology that uses the Unix operating system, advanced workstations, and complex, high-functionality software is a main challenge. Managers in IT organizations facing a revitalization challenge must devote considerable effort at the front end of their transformation to the creation of resources. Bank managers attempting to revitalize their organizations also need to seek new external resources as they launch their transformation process. They often do this by increasing their debt burden or placing additional stock in the market, often on unfavorable terms because of their strained performance condition.

Bibliography

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  2. Danziger, J. N., Andersen, K. V. 2002, The Impacts of Information Technology on Public Administration: An Analysis of Empirical Research from the “Golden Age” of Transformation. International Journal of Public Administration, 25 (5), 591.
  3. Dennings, P.I. 2001, The Invisible Future: The Seamless Integration Of Technology Into Everyday Life. McGraw-Hill Companies; 1st edition.
  4. Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S. 1995, Handbook of Qualitative Research, Thousand Oaks CA: Sage.
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  6. Daft, R. L. 2003, Organizational Theory and Design. 9th Edition. South-Western College Pub; 8 edition.
  7. Jackson Elizabeth. Online Interview. 2009. Tesco’s Solicitor.
  8. Johnson-Cramer, M.E. Parise, S., Cross, R.L. 2007, Managing Change through Networks and Values. CALIFORNIA MANAGEMENT REVIEW 49 (3), pp. 85-110.
  9. Laudon, K. C. & Laudon, J. P. 2005, Management Information Systems: Managing the Digital Firm, 9th Edition.
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  11. Long,, S., Spurlock,, D.G. 2008, Motivation and Stakeholder Acceptance in Technology-driven Change Management: Implications for the Engineering Manager. Engineering Management Journal. 20 (2), pp. 30-36.
  12. Kauffman Jon. Online Interview. 2009. IT Director.
  13. Philip, G. 2007, Information Systems Management. Prentice Hall; 7 edition.
  14. Snyder, L. 2007, Fluency with Information Technology: Skills, Concepts, and Capabilities (3rd Edition). Addison Wesley; 3 edition.
  15. Tesco Home Page. 2009.

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