Integrated IS Infrastructure: The 2IM Model

The integration of information systems (IS) across the entire enterprise has become one of the most important technology management challenges in complex organizations. Many companies have placed the development and implementation of a highly integrated IS infrastructure among the top concerns of their overall IT management practice.

This webpage reports on my empirical investigation of the influence of a combination of three LMT skills (Leadership, Management, and Technical), strategic information systems planning (SISP), and implementation of IT projects on the successful deployment of integrated IS infrastructure.

I propose a causal model (see Figure 1) relating a combination of three LMT skills, SISP, and implementation of IT projects to technology integration, data integration, and applications functionality.

Figure 1: IS Infrastructure Model (or 2IM)



With the 2IM model technology integration, data integration, and applications functionality are three aspects of IS infrastructure. The 2IM model examines the antecedents of an integrated IS infrastructure. The three antecedents examined are LMT skills, strategic information systems planning (SISP), and implementation of IT projects (see 2IM factors).


LMT Skills
A successful implementation of an integrated IS infrastructure requires LMT skills (IT Leadership, IT Management, and IT Technical skills). IT is an important component of an organization success (Luftman, 2004). The success of the deployment of IS resources is a prerequisite of the success of the technology as a source of corporate competitive advantage. IT can bring an added value to an organization if the tension between innovation and control is well handled. This innovation and control is carried out at three different levels: technical, managerial and leadership.

Whereas the IT management activities focus on the how of implementation and looks at the overall organizational impact of IT, the technical IT activities focus on the practicalities of applications. The management of IT resolves around the following three categories: strategic, tactical and operational. By disregarding the conflicts related to the control of priorities, resources and budgets, IT management activities involves project management, change management, resources allocation, human resources management, technology acquisition and maintenance, operations, and other components guided by the desire for effective and efficient application of resources.

Leadership of IT focuses on organizational direction and design. Besides the specific skills and knowledge required for an effective leadership, prior research (Mendonca, 2004) identified five components of IT Leadership: (a) strategic value and use of IT, (b) IT as Integration enabler, (c) impact on organization structure, (d) impact on processes, and (e) impact on work and workers.

The strategic use of IT refers to the ability of business and IT leaders to understand the value of IT and use it to uncover values opportunities and pursue them. This is necessary because of the high potential value of IT which is coupled with the high cost of investment and the rapid pace of change both in business environment and in the IT field itself. IT should be used strategically because of the observed rapid technological changes (35 to 50% per year). Some models offering a descriptive analysis of how to use strategically IT are (a) the competitive forces model of Michael Porter, (b) the strategic thrusts model of Charles Wiseman, and (c) the IT business value model.

Strategic information systems planning (SISP)

Strategic information systems planning (SISP) includes the extent that the planning activity takes a long-range, broad, and strategic view of the organization’s IT resources. The research on project planning is subdivided into operational and strategic perspectives. Some scholars examined the planning process and the implementation of particular projects. They defined project planning as a process specifying project timelines, milestones, equipment, workforce, and budget. Various indicators like aborted or failed projects, budget overruns, missed deadlines, and poor return on investment reflect low IT performance and effectiveness. Some other studies on project planning focused on strategic aspects and the identification of projects that match with corporate objectives. These scholars advised corporate executives to implement both effective strategic and project management practices to manage organizations.

The 2IM model focuses onoperational and strategic perspectives by examining (a) the planning process and the implementation of particular projects, (b) strategic aspects of project planning and the identification of projects that match with corporate objectives. The 2IM model supposes the analysis and selection of a project from several capital expenditures alternatives (or capital budgeting of IT investments) is previously conducted.

Implementation of IT projects

Implementing IT projects remains a challenge for corporate managers. The main forms of failure of IT projects include (a) underdelivery of value, (b) significant budget, (c) timeline overruns, and (d) sudden terminations. IT projects are unsuccessful for many reasons, but the primary explanations of these failures related to the lack of commitment from the management, organizational problems, lack of strategic vision and execution capabilities, implementation problems, and lack of projects planning.

Outcomes of the 2IM Model

According to Byrd, Lewis, and Bradley (2006), technology integration, data integration, and applications functionality are three aspects of IS infrastructure. An IS infrastructure is a set of shared, tangible IS resources that provide a unique technological foundation for present and future IS applications. These resources include platform and network technologies, shared data, and core IS applications. Platform and network technologies refer to the computer hardware, systems software, and communications facilities in the organization.

Technology integration is one of the challenges of global organizations in managing the various heterogeneous platforms and networks across and within their functional departments. With governmental restrictions and multiple infrastructures across countries, standard compliance, interoperability, and interconnectivity among technological platforms and communications networks are some issues that technical leadership must handle.

Data integration is the free retrieval and flow of data between authorized personnel in an organization or between organizations, regardless of location. A major problem is todays organizations in assembling coordinated, organization-wide responses to competitive confrontations is the lack of data integration and commonly defined data elements and codes in the IS infrastructure. Applications functionality relates to the ability to easily add, modify, and remove IS applications and modules or easily gain access to IS applications with little or no widespread effect on the applications collectively. Implementation of IT projects

Implementing IT projects remains a challenge for corporate managers. The main forms of failure of IT projects include (a) underdelivery of value, (b) significant budget, (c) timeline overruns, and (d) sudden terminations. IT projects are unsuccessful for many reasons, but the primary explanations of these failures related to the lack of commitment from the management, organizational problems, lack of strategic vision and execution capabilities, implementation problems, and lack of projects planning.

Outcomes of the 2IM Model

According to Byrd, Lewis, and Bradley (2006), technology integration, data integration, and applications functionality are three aspects of IS infrastructure. An IS infrastructure is a set of shared, tangible IS resources that provide a unique technological foundation for present and future IS applications. These resources include platform and network technologies, shared data, and core IS applications. Platform and network technologies refer to the computer hardware, systems software, and communications facilities in the organization.

Technology integration is one of the challenges of global organizations in managing the various heterogeneous platforms and networks across and within their functional departments. With governmental restrictions and multiple infrastructures across countries, standard compliance, interoperability, and interconnectivity among technological platforms and communications networks are some issues that technical leadership must handle.

Data integration is the free retrieval and flow of data between authorized personnel in an organization or between organizations, regardless of location. A major problem is todays organizations in assembling coordinated, organization-wide responses to competitive confrontations is the lack of data integration and commonly defined data elements and codes in the IS infrastructure. Applications functionality relates to the ability to easily add, modify, and remove IS applications and modules or easily gain access to IS applications with little or no widespread effect on the applications collectively.

Successful Implementations

The goIDM model is the first step of the design and implementation of a low level of IS infrastructure. This model has been successfully implemented in various complex organizations.


Some Useful References:

Byrd, T. A., Lewis, B. R., & Bradley, R. V. (2006, Fall). Is infrastructure: The influence of senior IT leadership and strategic information systems planning. The Journal of Computer Information Systems, 47(1), 101.

Luftman, J. N. (2004). Managing the Information Technology Resource: Leadership in the Information Age. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Mendonca, J. (2004). Organizational impact of information technology: A leadership course for IT. Proceedings of the CITC5, USA, 04, 244-247.