The railroads sector in the developing countries like the other services sectors (i.e. electricity, post, and telegraphs, health, and transport) are still administered by the government in many counties. Organizations providing these services have a large geographical spread, an assured market, and an administered price regime. The organizations function under the twin pressures. One being to function as an entity with commercial goals thereby being financially self-sufficient; a compulsion imposed on the organizations as a result of the financial squeeze faced by the governments that support these organizations through budgetary grants. The second pressure being to support a large public service obligation; a constraint imposed by a large population with low income levels. Information Technology Management in such organizations evolves in a scenario marked by such conflicting pressures. The chapter takes a look at the evolution of the information technology applications in Railroads of select countries. A particular focus is given to the Indian Railways in an attempt to cull out the issues of Information Systems for the same. Further specific reference is the Konkan Railways enterprise systems which led to some learning for development and implementation of large information systems in the railroads. The learning could be of substantial value in developing a sound theoretical framework for information technology management practices in the services sector in the developing countries.
Information System Issues: A Brief Review
Globally, irrespective of the industry, the organizations are in competition with one another to gain a foothold in the industry – the battle being played this time is using ‘Information Technology’. Information technology has been the harbinger of many changes. They have varied from modification in the operations, changes in the processes, alteration in the value chains to repositioning of the firm in different market segments. The pace of changes in the organizations in the Northern hemisphere has been in tandem with the progress in the field of information technology. In fact, there has been a positive synergy between the two.