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Transforming a Company, Project by Project: The IT Engagement Model

Title Author(s) Type Topic(s) Comments Date
Transforming a Company, Project by Project: The IT Engagement ModelFonstad, Nils O.
Robertson, David C.
Working PaperIT Governance02006-09-15
Abstract: An eternal dilemma for Information Technology (IT) Departments is how to achieve company-wide strategies while simultaneously responding to urgent requests from business units to implement dozens or even hundreds of solutions for local projects. Two streams of research have addressed this challenge. Research on IT governance has taken a top-down approach and specified how management groups allocate decision rights to make company-wide IT-related decisions. Research on project management, with a more bottom-up approach, focuses on how projects can be coordinated and managed to help achieve local goals. Neither approach fully addresses how companies can pursue both company-wide and local objectives. Our studies suggest that successful approaches address two fundamental goals: alignment between IT and the rest of the business and coordination across multiple organizational levels. Our IT engagement model describes these successful approaches. We define our model as the system of governance mechanisms that brings together key stakeholders to ensure that projects achieve both local and company-wide objectives. It consists of three general components: company-wide IT governance, project management, and linking mechanisms. This article focuses on the linking mechanisms because they are crucial, but not well understood. We illustrate the model with two case studies: BT plc and Toyota Motor Marketing Europe (TMME). Both companies have distributed the risks and responsibilities of achieving company-wide objectives across multiple stakeholders and have incrementally achieved company-wide objectives on a project-by-project basis.

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