Understand business-IT linkage

This analysis will focus on an organization that acquired a company in hopes of improving IT Support. The FairIsaac Corporation is a recognized leader for developing software products and PC services that enable businesses to automate and improve decision-making within their organization. The opportunity for FairIsaac to expand globally and acquire more products came along from the acquisition with London Bridge Software PLC. This managerial decision-making was expected to create a way to grow globally in the technology sector while continuing to provide quality support to clients.

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From acquiring London Bridge, FairIsaac Corporation assembled a research personnel team to evaluate immediate cost cutting strategies as well as reduce overlap. This research analysis project will be divided into two sections. The first section will relate the importance of FairIsaac Corporation technical support, give evidence to support the significant problems, state primary and secondary data sources, and discuss FairIsaac population of interest. The second section will identify dependent and independent variable, state the hypothesis, discuss theory that support the hypothesis, and describe methodology used.

Importance of Problem

Both information technology (IT) and business leaser are continually looking for management practices to help them align their IT and business strategies. Alignment seems to grow in importance as companies strive to link IT and business in light of dynamic business strategies and continuously evolving technologies. Importance aside, what is not clear is how to achieve and sustain harmony among business and IT, how to assess the maturity of alignment, and what the impact of misalignment might be on the firm. The Strategic Alignment Maturity (SAM) assessment (Luftman, 2000) is used as a framework to demonstrate the evolution of an international specialty chemicals manufacturer’s IT-business alignment practices to enable the achievement of their corporate goals.

Implementation of the company’s business strategy required alignment with their IT strategies. For an organization to successfully align its IT strategies with its business strategies, specific management practices and strategic IT choices should be considered that help facilitate integration. There are as follows: 1. Set goals and establish the team 2. Understand business-IT linkage  3. Analyze prioritize gaps 4. Specify the actions 5. Choose and evaluate success criteria 6. Sustain alignment

SAM assessment questionnaire is a tool for an analysis; the SAM assessment team used the results of the questionnaire to converge on an over all assessment level of the maturity for the firm. (Orlikowski, 1996) FairIsaac use the IT-business alignment assessment process to understand the current IT-business alignment and to use this information as a roadmap to implement improvements in important part of having success in business.

Evidence to Support Problem Since 1970 to 2000 the Information technology services market has experienced many changes. The market consisted of hardware suppliers, systems houses supplying and developing software and Information technology consultancies which is an example of the types of services provided by information technology. Today companies are attempting to gain leverage in providing IT services through a series of mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures across vertical markets. Smaller players in the market are finding themselves sufferers from takeovers by their larger rivals.

Fair Isaac and Company offers statistics- based predictive tools for the consumer credit industry. In 2004 Fair Isaac and Company acquired London Bridge Software. The CEO of Fair Isaac and Company said in the statement regarding the sale, “We’ve achieved our goal of placing our Phoenix System clients, and the experienced employees who support them in the hands of an acknowledged leader in the core systems and broader financial technology industry”(Currie, 2000).

Merger and acquisition activity is typically influenced by economic trends. To meet their clients’ requirements, the traditional hardware suppliers like IBM, HP, DEC, Siemens, ICL, Unisys and AT&T have all widened their portfolios, often through mergers, acquisitions, strategic alliances and joint ventures (Currie, 2000). Information technology companies like Fair Isaac and Company are trying to widen their IT platforms and are seeking product and service pioneers who can help them expand their customer base and increase distribution.

However, it has been said that for large corporations to have a strategic position in the Information technology market it must restructure, re-engineer, and re-shape their businesses to compete more effectively. The economic recession and increased global competition has led many companies to seek cost cutting measures (Currie, 2000). In doing so, Fair Isaac and Company has reduced their technical call center staff from seven to three with a hiring freeze in place.

Growing at a compound annual growth rate of 20.1 percent the global Information technology market is slowing down drastically. There was a slow down in the supply side of the Information technology labor market because many companies postponed major projects while they worked on Y2K issues. The Information technology services market in North America and Western Europe gained strength towards the late 1990s. It has been led to believe that Western Europe’s Information technology services market was stronger in the nineties than North America due to differences in the economic conditions and growth cycles. Unfortunately, the growth rate for Western Europe declined by 10 percent in 2001(Carrie, 2000).

Primary and Secondary Data The tools being implemented to obtain primary data sources is using a fairly new method called competence management. FairIsaac feels that in order to get a handle on employee costs (currently its biggest expense) it must do a better job at improving the competence of its existing staff. Competence management is important because its central aim is to generate competencies that provide the organization with the right mix of talent to meet existing and future needs (Hustad & Munkvold, 2005). Competence management constitutes an important element in knowledge management (KM), which focuses on systematic, innovative methods and tools for managing an organization (Hustad & Munkvold, 2005).

The term knowledge management itself refers to a broad range of information systems supporting the creation, transfer, and application of individual and organizational knowledge (Hustad & Munkvold, 2005). It is here that interviewers will conduct informal surveys with a sample support staff across all global boundaries within the FairIsaac organization. The interview questions will seek primary data such as the implementation of on-site training and accessibility to the tools necessary to troubleshoot problems effectively and efficiently. Significance of the company’s knowledge management strategy and hands-on approach to knowledge sharing will be recorded for the purposes of the overall competence management system.

Secondary knowledge data will primarily come via the documenting of the analysis from the company’s internal systems, which includes the intranet, strategy reports, projects documents, production information, implementation plans, and internal presentation materials and models (Hustad & Munkvold, 2005). FairIsaac has internally created several high-level analytics and metrics to get a firm gauge on corporate initiatives. Sensitive information is analyzed and dissected for the purposes of disseminating goals that were both missed and obtained. The three-step process of analysis, planning and implementing will serve as information needed to put a new plan into action to address the problem set forth.