Mission Critical: Realizing the Promise of Enterprise Systems
1 Jan 2000
Harvard Business Review Press
Thomas H. Davenport
This is a no-nonsense guide to the benefits and pitfalls of enterprise-wide information systems. How many organizations would doubt the promise of an integrated enterprise system (ES)? Not many, judging by a $15 billion industry. The combination of an ES as a platform for organizational information and Internet technology for gaining access to it adds up to the ideal solution for company-wide data sharing in real time. Not surprisingly, small and large companies worldwide are either considering an ES, in the process of implementing one, or living with the results. Yet, says Tom Davenport, unless managers view ES adoption and implementation as a business decision rather than a technology decision, they may be risking disappointment Mission Critical presents an authoritative and no-nonsense view of the ES opportunities and challenges. Suggesting ESs are not the right choice for every company, the author provides a set of guidelines to help managers evaluate the benefits and risks for their organizations. To be successful, argues Davenport, an organization must make simultaneous changes in its information systems, its business processes, and its business strategy. Such changes are described in detail with extensive examples from real organizations. Bolstering his contention that ESs should be viewed as business vs. technology projects, Davenport spells out the specific business change objectives that should be formulated in advance of ES adoption and monitored throughout its implementation. The first strategic guide to the ES decision, Mission Critical will be indispensable to general managers and information technology specialists at all stages of the implementation process.