End-User Computing at BRECI: The Ordeals of a One-Person IS Department

End-User Computing at BRECI: The Ordeals of a One-Person IS Department

Kathleen Moffitt (California State University, Fresno, USA)
Copyright: © 1997 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-87828-937-7.ch015

Abstract

Small business is frequently touted as the fastest growing part of our economy. In the 1990s, a small business can easily use technology to its advantage. This has been made possible by the rapid and significant drop in the cost of hardware and networking, the availability of a wide-range of costeffective software packages, and the escalating computer and information literacy seen in executives and the general workforce. In spite of this, and contrary to what is reported in the general and computer press, the application and understanding of technology is lacking in many small businesses that could benefit greatly from its use. In contrast to the success stories seen in the press, the intention of the case study presented here is to show a less than successful attempt at the introduction and use of information technology in a small business. The business was a multi-state consulting firm with a highly educated workforce, geographically-dispersed projects, and demanding customers. Information technology offered the promise of significantly reduced administrative and communication costs; improved document production, distribution and management; and improved internal communication. The benefits stalled just as they were beginning to be realized, because executive management lacked the necessary understanding and failed to provide the support that was needed to fully realize the benefits. In addition, end-users failed to understand their role in supporting the introduction and implementation of information technology, and thus sealed the fate of the overall implementation. IS staff hiring and transition planning, training, software selection and piracy, ergonomics, managerial support, and end-user involvement are examined in this case. While the details have been disguised to conceal the identity of the company and individuals involved, the case is an accurate depiction of end-user computing at “BRECI” and many other small businesses.

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