We found VMs play a critical role
in ensuring the inherent tensions between scale, responsiveness, and innovation are played out constructively
in each business and region. The selection and training of VMs, as well as
ongoing support, is critical. For example, Intel actively grooms IT managers
who can appreciate both the global
and local perspectives. Intel selects
high-potential local individuals, exposes them to various “extracurricular
activities” such as IT cost reduction
initiatives, and sends them on yearlong postings in other roles. Intel also
rotates some of its best people in other parts of the world through management stints in Asia to encourage a balanced global-local view so that more
informed trade-offs can be made.
The VMs’ role in constantly medi-
ating between local demands and cor-
porate policy can be wearing. In some
MNCs, VMs who thrived did so by de-
veloping and drawing upon an infor-
mal network that comprised contacts
in the business, corporate IT, and other
VMs. The ability to quickly access the
right people in the network appeared to
enhance their ability to find solutions
to global-local problems. Underwood
Financials’ various forums helped to
develop such networks, as did Intel’s
approach to rotating its managers.
table 3. Discussion questions for the design of structural elements in global It.
IT Shared Services
What is the desired level of scale to be derived from IT shared services?
Is your product or service global or commoditized? Is there significant
value added from local variations?
What are the factors that contribute to scale in your industry (for example,
common customers, processes, resource, or information)?
What are the common IT applications and infrastructure services that
can be bundled to be offered through shared services?
how are cost shared across the firm (for example, chargeback by service,
overhead absorption depending on size, and so on)?
Do you need to coordinate I T enabled innovation?
Are your company’s market offerings and competitive advantage driven
by innovation in process, product, and/or technology?
What are the strategic I T capabilities that can contribute to the future
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IT Value Managers
What I T capabilities can benefit from regional or global pooling of expertise
for continuous innovation?
What is the desired level of IT responsiveness to local needs?
Who are the key user groups (for example, business units, business
functions, fast-growing geographical markets) that I T must serve?
how different are the IT needs of these user groups?
What is the right balance of implementing enterprisewide IT initiatives
and meeting local IT needs?
Siew Kien Sia ( email@example.com) is an associate
professor and director of the Information Management
research Center at nanyang Technological university,
Christina Soh ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is an associate dean
and professor at nanyang Technological university,
Peter Weill ( email@example.com) is chair of the Center
for Information systems research and senior research
scientist at MIT sloan school of Management,