Competitive information management strategies for entropic organisations : research and analysis of information management strategies for use in permanently chaotic business and disruptive environments.
Madonsela, Arthur A.
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Disruptive technologies. Revolutionary products. Innovative services. Unpredictable change. Ever-shifting markets. Today's complex, entropic and volatile business environment poses a daunting challenge for organisations like the South African Post Office: how to create - and sustain - strategic advantage and customer value in the midst of such entropy (chaos). Most organisations respond to this challenge with more entropy-inducing mechanisms - endlessly elaborate rules, laborious processes and convoluted business, functional and technical systems to guide their strategic planning and decision-making. But this bogs organisations down, hindering business growth instead of spurring it; and ultimately restricting the organisation's ability to navigate shifting market terrain. The last few years have seen the Post Office grappling with such issues. In search of a muchneeded turnaround it has found itself engaging in, amongst others, initiatives such as the socalled strategic management partnerships than have left it worse off than it was in the first place. From an Information Management (lM) point of view, ill conceived Information Technology (IT) strategies were pursued which instead of bringing measurable value and benefits have turned out to be nothing more than mere exercises in "fire fighting". All the above issues have, if nothing else, highlighted the difficulty of doing business in the new economy, an economy that is fundamentally characterised by unpredictability, volatile markets, and disruptive technologies. Whilst this may, on the surface, point to limited value of using traditional business methods and strategies, this is in fact not so. Others may argue that the traditional business model is fast losing sustainability; this could not be further from the truth. As will be evidently demonstrated in this report, "brick" and "click" business models can be successfully implemented side by side in a complimentary manner, resulting in better competitiveness for the Post Office. Indeed, there has to be shifts in speed of thinking and planning, but the fundamentals of business remain to a large extent the same. This research looks at the Post Office's IT function in detail and provides specific competitive Information Management Strategies (lMS's) the aims of which are to enable the Post Office to effect a human-centered - instead of an IT-centered - approach to using technology in helping the organisation to navigate entropic environments and to realise its larger strategic turnaround goals and objectives. However, as is mostly the case, the proof of the proverbial pudding is still in the tasting as strategy is both hard thinking and doing.