IMBOK domains - Business operations


The process of organising and managing, such that the potential and intended benefits of an investment of time, money and effort are actually realised. With new systems in place, with business processes and business information improved, and with staff finally ready and able to work with new processes, then the business can get to work.

By "business operations" here we mean the business producing its goods and services, delivering value to customers and others, performing to the expected level, and earning revenue as well as delivering happiness to customers. We are now beyond the scope of the direct involvement of information technology and information systems staff, but we are still very much concerned with the benefits of new information systems, as seen through improved business performance. The way that information systems have impacted on business systems has changed markedly over the years. Today, just in case we thought we had solved and optimised the problem of systems delivery, Internet shopping is decimating the high streets of many cities.


Related research: IT capability no longer guarantees business performance?

Chae, H.-C., Koh, C.E. & Prybutok, V.R. (2014) Information technology capability and firm performance: contradictory findings and their possible causes. MIS Quarterly, 38 (1), pp.305-326.

Ho-Chang Chae and colleagues have blown a huge hole in the presumption that IT capability guarantees improved firm performance. Contradicting previous research, and reviewing data from over 15 years, they find that the financial performance of a large number of businesses does not relate to IT capability. This result has to be seen in light of the emergence of web-based systems, and enterprise-wide systems, many of which obviate the need for internal IT systems development. 2001 seems to be the year when this change in the relationship between performance and IT capability became evident. In their concluding remarks they note that "the standardization and homogenization of IT systems, fuelled by the constantly declining cost of computing, have significantly lowered the barrier of entry to those competitors who couldn't afford advanced IT systems in the past."

Related research: A more optimistic worked example based on enterprise-wide systems

Seddon, P.B., Calvert, C. & Yang, S. (2010)

A multi-project model of key factors affecting organizational benefits from Enterprise Systems. MIS Quarterly, 34 (2), pp.305-A11. This paper looks specifically at enterprise systems, which are an increasingly attractive option at all levels of business. It develops and tests a multi-project model of factors affecting organisational benefits from enterprise systems. It seems to find that the fit of the enterprise system and the commitment of the organisation to undertaking change are both critical in delivering the expected benefits. Secondary factors include integration, process optimisation, improved access to information, and on-going business improvement projects further enhance benefits on a longer term timeframe, taking a senior management viewpoint.

Related research: Does information management contribute to business performance?

Mithas, S., Ramasubbu, N. & Sambamurthy, V. (2011) How information management capability influences firm performance. MIS Quarterly, 35 (1), pp.237-256.

Using a very large archival data set, and seeking to move from ideas about information technology to information management in organisations, Sunil Mithas and colleagues looked at the ways that information management competencies in organisations affect other functional capabilities. They found that three very important areas are specifically enhanced by good information management: customer management, process management and performance management; these in turn improve organisation performance in four classically important areas: customer service, financial results, human resource effectiveness and overall organisational performance. This paper provides a useful history of previous work and sets out fundamentals that could be the foundations of further work, for example looking at the effects of Sarbanes-Oxley and other international compliance procedures, and practitioner-based initiatives such as COBIT.