Understanding Information Systems And Digital Workplace Technologies Business Essay

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The digital workplace is increasingly becoming more important for organizations, as new and improved information systems and technologies revolutionize the way in which business work and are able to undertake the functions. The use and implementation of these systems however is based on interplay between the various technological, formal and social dimensions between the technologies and the users of the systems which continues to influence the uptake of these systems. This essay examines the way in which the different social issues such as resistance to change. Power and politics in the organization are critical for the success of the new systems. However, the implementation of new technologies is also influenced by the ability of the organization to understand its requirements, and the way in which new technologies such as Social Media can be used to develop new systems and ways of ensuring that the organization can develop and sustain a competitive advantage. Increasingly, information systems are not only important for developing the strategy of the organization, but also central to the way in which online services are provided to the customer. This essay uses the Semiotic Ladder Model suggested by Stamper to understand and conceptualize these issues. One of the main conclusions of this work is that the digital workplace is becoming central to the way in which the organization can use information systems to gain a competitive advantage, and contentious innovations are needed to ensure that this advantage can be sustained over a long period.


Digital Workplace

The digital workplace can be defined as an setup arrangement which uses information systems and technologies to manage its internal and external activities (Cooke and Greenwood, 2008 , Bouchet, 2009). The importance of the organization to manage its information through the use of local systems and intranets allows the organization to manage the information in a robust manner, where the requirements of the organization can be fulfilled through the use of information systems (Allen, 2003 , Chang and Wang, 2007 , Avgerou, 2001). The digital workplace however is not just about the use of technologies, but also depends on the ability of the organization to respond to the challenges which they face due to new technologies which are a combination of human and social perspectives (Walsham, 1993). One of the main challenges which organizations face is the adaptation of the employees to the new systems. This adaptation is influenced by the ability of the organization to change according to the changes in the power structures of the organization and its context (Baptista, 2009), and the way in which the different employees are affected by the uptake of new technologies within the organization (Bouchet, 2009 , Yoo et al., 2010).

Technical Dimensions

One of the main issues which have been identified in the literature is the technical dimensions of new system implementation in the organization. The technical dimensions are the physical world such as the IT platform within which the organization is able to maintain and implement the new systems. However, the technical systems are also based on the interplay between the social and cultural aspects of the organization, as the choice of the most appropriate technologies is also often based on the culture and the politics of the executives within the organization (Baptista, 2009), and is often not just associated with the choice of technology (Cordella and Iannacci, 2010 , Yoo et al., 2010 , Mayer, 2011). Ron Stamper in his semiotics ladder model places this as the physical world, where the technologies and standards are set. However, even at this level, the analysis of the use of technologies by the organization is difficult to asses without the culture of the organizations taken into consideration. The culture of the organization defines the digital enterprise as the social factors directly influence the uptake of technologies. An example of this is the way in which some organizations go for systems such as Windows based environment, and while others choose Open platforms based on Linux. Although some may define this as a purely technical choice, however the culture and perspectives of the organizational actors are central to the choice of technical systems and standards (McAfee, 2006) which are chosen by any given organization (Davenport, 2008 , Briggs et al., 2010).

Informal Dimension

On an informal level, the organizations need to be able to define their needs and requirements in a way where the new system can develop and enhance the working of the organization, especially with the use of technologies such as the intranet (Martini et al., 2009 , Newell et al., 2001). These could be based on better intranet system (Clarke and Preece, 2005), which is able to not only have a clear level of responsibilities but can also be defined and used by employees (Martini et al., 2009), and can ensure that the organization and it employees have a clear understanding of their requirements during the change process (Avgerou, 2001 , Badham, 1995). One of factor which is of importance in the informal dimension is the effects of organizational change on the system, and the way in which the new systems are used and understood. One of the main issue for most of the organization using new systems is the continued resistance to change that they face because the employees are not used to the new working arrangements being forced on them (Newell et al., 2001). However, one of the main issue for the organizations is that they need to ensure that the employees are able to use the systems for the improvements in their effectiveness, and can innovate new ways of delivering the services to the customers (Avgerou, 2001 , Broadbent et al., 1999). However, where the organizational change can bring in new difficulties for the organization, it can often lead to resistance to change from the employees, and also ensure that the change can be implemented and can bring a positive impact on the needs of the customers (Dennis et al., 2003 , Naranjo-Gil and Hartmann, 2007).

Social Dimension

The social dimension is perhaps one of the most important factors which can influence the changes in the organizations, which can have a lasting impact on the success of the digital workplace. The changes in the culture of the organization often means that the organization faces difficulties during the change process (McAfee, 2006). However, new ways of commutating in the organization, including the use of social media are increasingly becoming ways through which the communications can be improved. Social media has been used by the managers to ensure that the communication between the customers and the company is both downward and upward, which changes the way in which customer complaints are handled, and the way in which the customers can communicate with the company (Ravenscroft et al., 2012). The importance of social media is also important as it enables the organization to change its structure, and to ensure that the flexibility of the organization to bring in change according to the needs of the organization is put into practice in relation to the needs of the customers. The changing needs of the customers, and the traditional inability of the customer to understand the changing dynamics of the online environment always means that organizations can lead to the long term changes in the efficiency of the organization.

Another concept in the Semiotic Ladder is the Human Information Function. The development of new systems in the modern organization is often based on the beliefs and expectation of the employees. The implementation of the information systems are based on a negotiated process between the different parts of the organization, and therefore it cannot be arbitrarily implemented without the consent of the different stakeholders. Organizations, in order to be successful need to ensure that they are able to understand the needs and culture of the customers in order to ensure that the different customers and their requirements are understood (Akmanligil and Palvia, 2004 , Carayon, 2006 , Clarke and Preece, 2005 , Maenpaa et al., 2009 , Wainwright and Waring, 2004). The ability of the organization to ensure that new systems can be implemented to create a competitive advantage however is not just based on the customer needs but also on the way that it is able to integrate its supply chain. The supply chain includes the logistics and the suppliers of the organization, which all must be able to use systems to integrate their activities. This would ensure that the organization able to develop new and more efficient businesses processes, which can enable the organization to save on its costs, which can then be transferred to their customers. This not only ensures that the competitiveness of the company is maintained through new technologies being used to develop and maintain online systems which can ensure that customers can be attracted at all times (Clarke and Preece, 2005 , Maenpaa et al., 2009 , Wainwright and Waring, 2004).

Future of Workplace Technology

The workplace technologies will continue to become more sophisticated and integrated, allowing new forms of organization and management to appear. One of the main issues for future organizations would be the way in which the organization of future would automate more and more function, ensuring that the errors created by the human actors in the organizations would be reduced, in order to ensure that the efficacy of the organization can be improved (Akmanligil and Palvia, 2004 , Carayon, 2006). The role of social media is increasing the interaction between the customer and the company, leading to improvements in the output of the organization. Another featured direction of the firm would be a more lean organizational structure, where the organization would not be location dependent, but will increasingly be based across geographical locations where best possible service and lowest costs are available. This would ensure that the organization is able to use the online environments for their benefit, in order to attract the customers based on their service quality. Teleporting and working from home through the connected nature of online systems would also be used to ensure that the costs of the organizations can be kept to a minimum. This would not only allow the organization to save the time for its employees, but also ensure that the customers are able to get the best possible service (Diez and McIntosh, 2009 , Gable, 2010).

The main skills which would be needed by employees would be the ability to adapt and change, as the technologies shift and change rapidly. This would be one of the main skills of the employees of the organization as the changing work patterns and routines based on new technologies require to operate the different systems. The changes in the work patterns are also some of the important elements of the organization, and the ability of managers to redesign their organization according to new ways of managing and improving their effectiveness are needed in order to ensure the success of their operations (Kukar-Kinney and Close, 2010 , Newkirk et al., 2003). Other skills such as the ability to deal with technology and social media as part of their daily routines is also needed in order to ensure that the organization is successful in technology management (Olson et al., 2010 , Thong et al., 2000).


A number of conclusions can be drawn from this research. The use of information technologies and systems is only increasing, which increases the importance of the way in which new technologies are managed. Those organizations which want to create and sustain a competitive advantage through the use of new systems need to ensure that they can derive and deliver the different systems according to the needs of their customers, and therefore can deliver on the different new productivity gains. The use of information systems innovative can enable the organization to use the information to create new products and services; however continuous change and adaptation is needed in order to ensure that the organization is always ahead of the competition. The social and cultural factors also need to be taken into account as part of the development of the different systems, as any resistance to change can often mean that the organization in unable to gain the competitive edge which is enabled by the organization.