Technology Adoption in a Call Center Enterprise Essay

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Call centers have become a very vital component of business today and employ several million people the world over. Their increasing role and place in operations have made them a target for researchers looking to study operations management. This has been the case in several fields including capacity planning, personnel scheduling, queuing and forecasting. Further, with the advancement of information technology and telecommunications, new challenges have arisen that call centers all over the world have to face and various technologies have complicated the operations of call centers (Aksin, Armony & Mehrotra, 2007). Operation Technology (OT) helps in the creation of physical value as well as in the process of manufacturing. It consists of sensors, software and devices needed for the control and monitoring of equipment in a plant as well as the plant as a whole. On the other hand, Information technology (IT) brings together all the required pieces of technology to help in the processing of information. The last decade saw several companies manage IT and OT as independent entities with different technology protocols, governance models, organizational units, stacks and protocols. Nonetheless, the past few years has seen OT continuously adopt IT- related technologies. For instance, IP (Internet Protocol) is increasing in popularity as an all-inclusive networking protocol while Windows™ is becoming even more popular with several devices adopting it. The convergence of OT and IT is bringing the benefits of their use to the attention of executives as cost and risks are reduced and performance and flexibility improved (ATOS, 2012).

Organizations have the independent will to choose which technology to adopt and so they must not rush to take up technologies just because competitors are using them. Adoption of technologies must be evaluated on their own merit. This calls for strong leadership and will to evaluate significant and relevant factors without bias or prejudice (Septer, 2013).

Issues in a Technical Environment

i. Cyber-security

The security of an organizations infrastructure depends on the soundness and reliability of its critical components. Cyber-security threats seek to take advantage of the rising complexity of the infrastructure systems. Just as reputational and financial risk behaves, cyber-security risk tends to affect an organization's bottom line. It can increase costs tremendously and reduce revenue. An organization can be critically harmed by a cyber attack and its ability to gain new customers and maintain the existing customers can be greatly dented (National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2014).

ii. Systems Issues

The design, development and implementation process of an Information System (IS) is neither easy nor straightforward. Reports indicate that IS projects have an unusually high failure rate. There have been increasing concerns why this is the case. The answer to the concerns is that the nature of Information Systems failures has not yet been adequately understood.

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It is a relatively complex process involving several parts which interact with each other and so creating a particularly cumbersome combination. Furthermore, new problems frequently arise when previous problems weren't nipped in the bud thereby leading to a situation where problems continually get from bad to worse. (Raza & Standing 2008).

The other contributing factors include (Septer, 2013):

i. Processes that are not documented completely from end to end within an organization lead to inefficiencies and delays.

ii. There are several inconsistencies as well defined governance policies and guidelines are lacking.

iii. Knowledge workers in an organization tend to waste lots of man hours searching for relevant information or developing workarounds of the pieces of information needed.

Enterprise Technology Management -- Best Practices

Enterprise systems are typically generic solutions. Their design reflects assumptions about how companies generally operate. The developers tend to systemize them to reflect best practices. The problem arises when the user has no say on what constitutes a best practice during development. It is the vendor who gets to define what the best practices are. Such assumptions can lead to a system that runs against the interests of an organization that uses them (Davenport, 1998).

Anatomy of an Enterprise System (Davenport, 1998)

The configuration of an enterprise system involves making sacrifices and balancing wants and needs and proceeding to operate in a way that the system allows. The following two configuration models can be adopted (Davenport, 1998):

1. Modules

A majority of enterprise systems are modular and so only allow an organization to put the system to use for some of the functions but not all. There are cases where a company really is not in need of a module. A service organization, for instance, isn't likely to need a manufacturing module. In some cases, other modules are rendered useless as the organization already has a working system for the function the module carries out. Generally, the higher the number of selected modules, the greater the benefits of integration, but also the higher the risks, changes and costs involved.

2. Configuration Tables

A configuration table allows a company to customize various aspects of a system to how it operates. An organization can choose, for instance, the mode of inventory accounting -- LIFO or FIFO -- that will be employed and the way it wants to recognize revenue -- by location, distribution channel or product line. Complex ES offering have lots of configuration tables with SAP's R/3, for instance, having 3000. It can take a lot of time to go through all of them. Dell Computer, for instance, spends more than one year on the exercise.….....

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Aksin, Z., Armony, M., & Mehrotra, V. (2007). The Modern Call Center: A Multi Disciplinary Perspective on Operations Management Research. Production and Operations Management, 665-688.

ATOS. (2012). The Convergence of IT and Operations Technology. ATOS.

Davenport, T. (1998, August). Putting the Enterprise into the System. Harvard Business Review.

International Institute for Sustainable Developme. (1992). Business Strategy for Sustainable Development: Leadership and Accountability for the 90s. World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Laskowski, N. (2014, February). Overcoming the big data bottleneck caused by data in transit. Retrieved from Search CIO:

Lech, P. (2014). Enterprise System Implementation from the Functional Consultants' Perspective. The Electronic Journal Information Systems Evaluation, 36-46.

National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2014). Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.

Perkins, D. (2013). Electronic Performance Monitoring in Call Centers: An Ethical Decision Model. Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies, 4-14.

Raza, S., & Standing, C. (2008). Systemic Problems in Information Technology Adoption and Use: A Systems Thinking Perspective. Edith Cowan University Conference Proceedings. Edith Cowan University.

Septer, J. (2013). The Importance of an Enterprise Information Management Strategy. In P. Baan, Enterprise Information Management: When Information Becomes Inspiration (pp. 43-78). Incentro.

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