Even though the PC dispersed control of processing power out of the IS organization, the Internet is returning control to the department. Do you agree or disagree? Discuss


What changes are taking place in the external business environment?


What changes are occurring in the internal organizational environment?


What are the goals of the new work environment?


Give two or three characteristics of the technology trends in hardware, software, data, and communications.


What is the mission for the IS organization recommended by the authors? How does it differ from earlier perceptions of the purpose and objectives of information systems?


Summarize the four main components of the model of the IS function (Figure 1-6).


List several attributes of procedure-based and knowledge-based information activities. Which do you think are most important? Why?


How did Mead focus on end-user computing in the 1980s?


What was Mead’s 1990 strategy?


Why did Mead choose to implement ERP?


Give an example of a MeadWestvaco governance structure to govern overall IT investments.


What four œbuckets is MeadWestvaco moving toward to define its IT investment portfolio?


What has been the effect of ERP on MeadWestvaco’s decision making?


As of mid-2004, what four steps had McGrane taken to transform EIS into an ITIL-like, process-driven organization? Briefly describe each step.


Describe the three IT governance bodies at MeadWestvaco and what each does.



Discussion Questions

Discussion questions are based on a few topics in the chapter that offer a legitimate basis for a difference of opinion. These questions focus discussion on these issues when the book is used in a seminar or classroom setting.


Even though the PC dispersed control of processing power out of the IS organization, the Internet is returning control to the department. Do you agree or disagree? Discuss.


Do we really need a major change in the way the IS function is structured? Are the necessary changes just minor modifications to accommodate normal growth in computer uses? Discuss.


The procedure“knowledge dichotomy does not add much beyond the clerical“-managerial distinction. Do you agree or disagree? Give reasons for your opinion.


The Internet-based economy is going to end up just like the old economy with the huge conglomerates controlling everything. Do you agree or disagree? Is this situation desirable or not?


Discuss the limits and boundaries of the Internet. How pervasive is it in our lives, as workers and consumers? How it will affect the business landscape in the next 10 years?


Exercises provide an opportunity for the reader to put some of the concepts and ideas into practice on a small scale. In particular, one exercise in each chapter requires a student, or a team of students, to visit a local company and discover how the ideas in the chapter are being implemented in that company.


Show how MeadWestvaco’s 2002 interim organizational structure compares with the model in Figure 1-6 by entering its functions on the figure.


Contact a company in your community and prepare a diagram and narrative to describe the structure of its IS function. Compare it with Figure 1-6 and with MeadWestvaco’s current structure.


Find an article about how companies are melding the Internet with their traditional ways of working. Present those ideas to your peers.


1Cairncross, Frances, The Company of the Future: How the Communications Revolution Is Changing Management, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, 2002.

2Trachtenberg, Jeffrey, œBorders Sets Out to Make the Book Business Businesslike, The Wall Street Journal, May 20, 2002, pp. B1, B6.

3Drucker, Peter F., œThe Coming of the New Organization, Harvard Business Review, January/February 1988.

4Manville, Brook, and Nathaniel Foote, œStrategy as if Knowledge Mattered, Fast Company, 1996.

5Gilder, George, œThe Coming Telecosm, (speech, Aspen Institute, Aspen, CO, July 18, 1996).

6Pink Elephant was one of the organizations involved in the initial ITIL effort and is now a leading ITIL consulting and training firm. It provides a good overview of ITIL on its Web site. For instance, see The ITIL Story, Pink Elephant, Version 3.1, April 2004. Available at www.pinkelephant.com.Accessed June 2004.

7For more discussion of MeadWestvaco’s IT governance structure, see Peter Weill and Jeanne Ross, IT Governance: How Top Performers Manage IT Decision Rights for Superior Results, Harvard Business School Press, 2004, pp. 94“96; and CIO Magazine, œFrom Chaos, Agility, CIO Magazine, June 1, 200