Evolving Organizational Growth through Information Technology

Evolving Organizational Growth through Information Technology

Ira Yermish (St. Joseph's University, USA)
Copyright: © 1997 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-87828-937-7.ch016

Abstract

The Service Employees International Union, Local 36 Benefits Office, provides service to over 3,500 union members in the Delaware Valley area. In addition to managing the collection of dues and other funds through employers, the Benefits Office administers several insurance programs and funds. From 1979 until 1996, this office has grown in sophistication and service efficiency primarily through the leadership efforts of Joseph M. Courtney, its only Administrator during this period. Starting with an organization with no technical sophistication, Courtney identified critical areas where technology could make a difference in service levels to the Local membership. This case study describes the gradual evolution of the use of information technology, first to support basic transaction processing, and ultimately to support the strategic issues that such an operation faces. Through the careful use of a number of outside vendors and consultants, and through the slow growth of internal talent, Courtney was able to shepherd the operation from a purely manual system to one where every employee has a PC workstation connected to a network of internal servers and external services. Issues that will be raised in this case include questions of internal versus external development of applications, the relationships among various vendors and consultants, and the growth of internal expertise without significant information technology staff. As the case closes, a new Administrator, Michael Ragan, looks at the operation and considers alternatives. He is very much concerned that their primary vendor, Benefit Systems, is no longer responsive to Local 36’s needs.

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