Draft—6/21/04 - Case BlackBoard - Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve University
Spring 2006
IIME 420—Information Technology and Systems
Wednesdays, 2:15-5:00pm
Peter B. Lewis Building 401
Kalle Lyytinen
email: [email protected]
office: 520 Peter B. Lewis Building
voice: 216-368-5353
web site:
office hours: By appointment
Marv Schwartz
email: [email protected]
office: Starbucks
voice: 440.840.5991
office hours: By appointment
Lev Gonick
email: [email protected]
office: 311 Adelbert
voice: 216.368.1025
office hours: By appointment
The focus of this course is on working issues that are faced by top information technology executives,
learning how to evaluate these issues, present them, and do this as effective members and leaders of
teams. After completing this course students will be prepared to become strong contributors to top
information technology teams.
Information systems and technologies are responsible for the rapid change that affects organizations and
professionals that work in them. In the 21st century it is important to be skilled in acquiring and
understanding information, presenting it effectively and using it to make sense of the environment,
forecast and estimate and make informed decisions. It is also as important to understand what difference
information technologies and their capabilities make for organizations and the work of knowledge
workers. We will address these demands through case studies, discussions, assignments, and projects.
We also explore issues related to the effective use and management of information technology. We will
examine how information technology can be used to support the needs of business with a particular focus
on the role that managers must play in the development and delivery of technology solutions. Technology
is an essential aspect of firms today. As such it requires the attention of management, at the
organizational, project and individual levels. Further, technology affects almost every aspect of managing.
The objectives you should have for this course are to develop:
insight into the role of information technology in the strategy and management of organizations,
fluency with the issues relating to the management of the information function and its resources,
analysis of strategic IT issues and effective presentation to senior IT executives.
By the end of the course, you should expect to be equipped with enough knowledge to be an informed and
active participant in information technology decisions in your organization.
Although learning specific technical skills and how to use computer programs, or instruct computers to do
certain computational functions may be important for some of you, this course is not where you obtain
that learning. Instead, we will focus on the strategic and managerial applications of technology at the
level of systems and capabilities. We do so for three reasons:
Information technology changes so quickly that your skill in using a particular tool may be
obsolete by the time you finish your degree. Thus it is more important to develop a way to
understand the role and potential of the technology than to understand a particular program or
language. This will allow you to stay relevant, no matter how quickly technology changes.
This course is not intended to train IT specialists. If you are or aspire to be a technical specialist,
this course will provide you with an understanding of the needs and concerns of business
managers and will enable you to design and build more effective systems for them.
Personal computers and the Internet are so pervasive that we assume that you already have basic
skills in word processing, spreadsheets, e-mail, instant messaging and web searching. If this is not
the case, please let one of us know. We will help you get up to speed.
The course is based on learning by doing principles. We expect students to work on real world cases and
issues that are critical in understanding and appreciating the role and impact of IT in modern corporations
in terms of how it helps innovate, manage, and organize, and how it needs to be organized, managed and
Why team teaching
The TIIME program is designed around the idea that engineers must become effective managers. As
managers you will often participate in teams that are multi-functional. This is especially likely in projects
and decisions related to the application of technology. By bringing together faculty with backgrounds in
both engineering and management, we hope both to provide multiple perspectives and to demonstrate
how multi-function teams can be employed to produce results that are better than any one perspective
alone can usually provide. By providing academic and experience-based perspectives, we hope to assist
you in applying theory to solve problems. Having multiple teachers can provide other benefits, such as
insuring that the subjective assessments that are an inevitable component of grading are more balanced
and that the multiple learning styles and needs of students are more likely to be addressed individually.
During the first part of the semester we will learn three approaches to understanding, designing, and
adopting information systems. These approaches have all been developed in response to the unique
challenges facing designers of large and complex socio-technical systems. Such systems are often
embedded in other, often political, systems. Their boundaries are fuzzy, without clear delineations of
where the designer’s responsibility begins, or where it ends. They are often designed and refined
incrementally in the context of their use and by the people who use them as much as by their nominal
‘developers.’ So, while your skills and your training as engineers will be relevant, it will often not be
enough. These approaches are intended to help you where those skills leave off.
The first, known as ‘the systems approach,’ is a general way of understanding socio-technical systems. It
represents a default approach that you can use whenever you are called upon to develop an understanding
of a complex system or problem. The systems approach denotes to a systematic structuring and inquiring
of issues and facts that bear upon the situation in which a manager / designer is placed. It moves from the
general to the specific, from the abstract to the concrete, paying particular attention to such features of the
system as its boundaries, its relationship to other systems, and the ways in which information moves and
affects it.
The second approach we will learn is known as ‘the principles approach.’ This is a more specialized
approach that is particularly suitable in aligning an organization’s use of technology to its strategy. The
principles approach was designed to make the best possible use of a scarce resource—senior management
time. It can be used at other levels but is especially important in developing general directions for an
The third approach is ‘the soft systems method.’ The soft systems methodology was designed to assist in
designing complex systems where it is necessary to have a rich understanding of the context and the
dynamics of the environment in which they will be used. It is most useful in environments where the
conditions are shifting rapidly and widespread engagement is critical.
During the second part of the semester we will look at some business cases to examine such matters as IT
strategy, technology-enabled change in industries, making technology investment decisions, and using
information effectively. This will also give you some idea of how business cases are typically presented,
which will help in completing the semester project.
The third part of the course will comprise looking at living cases, real projects that are currently
underway. Students gain first-hand experience working for several top information technology executives
from nationally prominent corporations who lead 2 hour 45 minute classes working with student teams to
develop recommendations on current issues.
About two weeks before their sessions, guests will assign small assignments to student team leaders to be
completed by their teams and presented to the guest executive during class. At the same time all other
reading materials related to the case will also be available. These assignments are designed to give
students a sense of what it would be like to work as a member of that guest’s staff and to only get a sense
of the multitude of issues which emerge in relation to use and management of IT in modern corporations
Finally, a couple of class sessions will be devoted to group presentations of cases that you will develop
around projects that are currently ongoing. More details about this requirement are discussed below under
Developing Cases.
To help reduce their costs we will make materials to support the class available on BlackBoard.
Performance in the course is assessed using five components:
Classroom contributions
Group class assignments
Peer review of case
Developing case
Grading Policies
You are encouraged to meet with us at anytime to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your course
work. You may appeal a grade in writing within seven days of receiving it. Document your reasons by
referring to grading standards. Stating that you feel you “deserve” a higher grade because you worked
hard or have a vague impression of what is appropriate is not sufficient grounds for an appeal. Please be
sure to include the graded material. We will consider your appeal and make a decision within a week.
Class time will not be used to discuss appeals.
Cheating or plagiarism will, at a minimum, result in a grade of ‘F’ for this course. Ignorance will not be
permitted as an excuse. If you are not sure whether or not something you plan to submit would be
considered either cheating or plagiarism, please do not hesitate to ask one of us.
Classroom Contributions
Much of your learning will occur as you prepare for and participate in class discussions. Most people in
business are evaluated as much on what they say as on what they write. The classroom gives you the
opportunity to hone your discussion and debating skills. We encourage you to work with others to get
ready for each session.
Your contribution will not be evaluated on what you know, but rather on what you contribute to the class.
Effective participation in a discussion has much more to do with quality than quantity. In other words,
using airtime without contributing to the advancement of the discussion is not rewarded. Nor is mere
repetition. A great contribution is usually sensitive to the context that has developed up to that point. It
often takes the analysis to a new level. If you are unfamiliar with this approach to education, a good way
to start is by getting involved early in a case discussion, when things are wide open and fairly fluid.
Criteria for credit include attendance, punctuality, level of preparation, and professionalism. We
encourage you to engage in critical thinking, to challenge without showing disrespect and to regularly put
your ideas forward for consideration.
Additional materials for reading will be assigned in conjunction with each of the living cases sessions
(February 8th to April 12th). It is important to look for relationships between the ideas discussed there and
the material being presented by the participants who are presenting the case material. They will, in
general, not have read the text so helping them to understand these ideas could bring real value to them
and make their visit a more memorable bi-directional exchange.
During the semester there will be three brief writing assignments which students are expected to do at
home. They are voluntary and not evaluated, but they prepare for working on assigned cases during later
parts of the course. Students can show their cases for feedback to instructors but they are not evaluated.
The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster—due on Januaruy 25st.
Using the Temperature/O-Ring Failure data provided on the course web site, use Excel or some similar
business graphics package to create a graph that allows you to think about and present that data
meaningfully. This homework may be done in small groups.
Making a business case for IT investment—due on February 15 th.
Read the Consumer Products International HR-Intranet & Virtual University Business Case. Assume that
you are the executive who has to make a funding recommendation for the project to the capital budgeting
committee (source of capital funds for all projects). Write a brief memorandum addressed to the project
sponsors (Christopher Martin and James Cameron). Convey to them any questions, insights, or
recommendations you have for their proposal.
IT from a Senior Management Perspective—due on April 5th.
Write a brief (two to three page double space) paper summarizing a senior manager’s view of information
technology. You can focus on a specific topic within IT or summarize their general views about IT and
how it affects their area. You can base this paper on a personal interview with a senior manager.
Case Development
One effective way to learn about complex systems is by teaching others about one. Case development
represents such an opportunity. Working in groups, students will prepare a case. The case will be
presented as the basis for discussion in the last two weeks of the semester.
Cases will be about an information technology based project that is ongoing currently or an information
technology situation that was faced recently. The cases identify a situation that the project faces, describe
how key players are approaching it, and help students identify and understand the decisions that must be
made or the design considerations that must be addressed to successfully resolve the situation. The case
does not need to have a “conclusion” or a particular lesson. Rather, it should be organized to stimulate
consideration and discussion of important technology management issues.
Currently we are proposing the following cases to be analyzed
1. Mediavision courseware
2. One Cleveland wireless cloud services
3. Medical Case 1
4. Medical case 2
5. Electronic Document Management with Disabled children
6. Mobile IP services within campus environment
7. Gaming solutions for autistic children (together with CIA)
Additional cases are available on reques and students can propose their own projects if they have an
access to an important IT related issue in an organization.
Milestones (by the date shown, the activity described should be completed)
January 25:
February 8:
March 1:
March 15:
March 29:
April 5:
Groups formed
Topic emailed to faculty
One page description of case submitted to faculty
Spring Break
Case is peer-reviewed
Case is posted on blackboard for all students-+
April 19 and 26:
Case presentations in class
Situations around which you can develop cases will be provided during the first class.
Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
Any student requiring special consideration in classroom arrangements or equipment, please make an
appointment to come and speak with me.
Instructor Biographies
Kalle Lyytinen
Kalle Lyytinen received his PhD from University of Jyvaskyla, Finland in 1986. He started to use e-mail
in 1982 and has been on Internet since 1983. He is currently Iris S. Wolstein professor Case Western
Reserve University in Information Systems. He serves currently on the editorial boards of several
academic journals including, Journal of AIS (Editor-in-Chief), JSIS, Information Technology & People,
Information & Organization, Requirements Engineering Journal, and Information Systems Journal. He
has published over 150 scientific articles and conference papers and edited or written ten books on topics
related to system design, method engineering, implementation, software risk assessment, computer
supported cooperative work, standardization, and ubiquitous computing. A research team lead by him
developed during 1991-1998 one of the leading CASE tool environments in the world (MetaEdit+, see
http://www.metacase.com/) which has been used in generating code to over 300 million Nokia Mobile
Phones. During 1999-2000 he served as a research professor for Telia-Sonera Corporation
(Finland/Sweden), which is regarded as one of the leading wireless operators in the world where he
studied new service models for broadband wireless services. He is a well-known and renowned expert in
wireless services and standardization who has been nationally interviewed on the evolution of wireless
services. He was currently recently engaged in a project supported by NSF that focused on the
institutional forces involved the development of global electronic commerce, studies of pervasive
computing applications involving clinical applications and logistics and used of 3D modeling
technologies in Architecture, Engineering and Construction industries.
Lev Gonick
Lev Gonick has been teaching, working, and living on the Net since 1987. Today, Lev Gonick is Vice
President for Information Technology Services and Chief Information Officer at Case Western Reserve
University in Cleveland, Ohio. Case is one of the nation's leading independent research universities, with
programs that are marked by distinction in health sciences, law, management, engineering, social work,
and arts and sciences. Case’s technology infrastructure and reputation for innovation and cutting-edge
applications is recognized across the country and
around the world. Case’s switched gigabit network is among the fastest enterprise networks in the world.
Case is also a leader in the deployment of wireless services. Gonick is also President of the Board of
OneCleveland, a metropolitan-wide strategy to extend high speed network connectivity to the non-profit
sector in Northeast Ohio. Gonick also serves on multiple national and local boards.
Previously, Lev Gonick served as Chief Information Technology Officer for Cal State Monterey Bay
(CSUMB). CSUMB is the 21st campus of the 365,000-student body California State University system.
CSUMB is the Cal State's "Bullets to Books to Bytes" campus being built on former Fort Ord as the Cal
State's first 21st century campus.
From 1996 through 1999 Lev Gonick was University Dean for Instructional Technology and Academic
Computing at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona California. Under his leadership, Cal
Poly Pomona became a national leader in charting the future of Higher Education in the Digital Age.
MediaVision, Cal Poly Pomona’s internationally acclaimed digital education content development and
delivery system has been recognized with awards from both the technology and education communities
Lev received his PhD in International Political Economy from York University in Ontario, Canada. He is
married to Barbara Weltman-Gonick. They have two children and live in Beachwood, Ohio
Marv Schwartz
Dr. Schwartz is the Chief Product Officer of Take2Tablets, Inc., a company he co-founded to
improve patient education and adherence, and an Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering
and Computer Science at Case. He has over 30 years of experience in startup, growth and ongoing management of high tech companies. He has served as President and CEO of
Noteworthy Medical Systems, Chief Technology Officer of In-Flight Phone Corporation, and
President of Chi Corporation.
At Take2Tablets he and co-founder Abbott Fleur have created a training and assessment
platform for Tablet PCs that can be used without training by most people with a 6th grade
education and no computer experience. He founded and managed Noteworthy through a
successful startup, where he created the concept and led the development of its electronic
medical record. He was responsible for several projects at Chi including FMS-8, the first
database management system for Univac 1100 Series mainframes, the FTD floral network,
terminal emulators on personal computers, interconnecting the greater London police network to
the mainframe computers (their counterpart to our 911 service), and the next generation agent
workstations and network gateways for Lufthansa.
While he was its president, Chi grew from a start-up to a Weatherhead 100 company—
recognition as one of the fastest growing companies in the area—and was the leader in PC-tomainframe communications for its target mainframe markets.
He has a Ph.D. in Computing and Information Sciences from Case Western Reserve University
where he was a member of the Visiting Committee for the Case School of Engineering, is the
past chair and a member of the Corporate Advisory Board for The Institute for Management and
Engineering, and serves as a judge in the TiME Business Launch Competition.
He holds a commercial, multiengine pilot’s license with an instrument rating and enjoys bowling.
He coaches softball and basketball in Solon, OH for young adults with mental disabilities.
January 18
1st hour
The case method & the systems approach
Joseph O'Connor & Ian McDermott, What is a system?
J. Scott Armstrong, The systems approach
Richard J. Boland, Fordley car park
Prepare case:
Discussion questions:
 How could this meeting have been made more productive?
 What are the systems that were discussed during the meeting?
 What systems should be considered?
 What would you recommend?
2nd hour
The principles approach and information strategy
Thomas H. Davenport, Information Strategy
The soft systems approach
1st hour
Prepare case:
*Checkland & Howell, The information system which won the war
Discussion questions:
 What characteristics of this system made it successful?
 What about the way the systems were developed contributed?
 When is the soft systems methodology most likely to be worth using?
January 25
2nd hour
Collecting and presenting information—The Shuttle Case
Prepare case:
Temperature concern on SRM joints
Challenger disaster Internet resources
For this case we will use the internet to develop perspectives on an historical incident, its causes
and organizational impacts. The class web site contains documents and links to material to serve
as the basis for our discussion.
Discussion questions:
 What is wrong with the materials that Thiokol engineers faxed to NASA?
 How could they be improved?
 What could Morton Thiokol managers have done to convince NASA not to launch?
February 1
1st hour
Prepare cases:
Making the Business Case for an Information System
Consumer Products International
Biogenetical San Jose ITSA Replacement
Discussion questions:
 What is the primary basis for the argument in each of the two cases?
 What is the potential strategic impact of each system?
 How essential are the investments?
 How would you compare the quality of the two presentations?
 How would you compare the quality of analysis in the two cases?
2nd hour
Large Systems Implementation
Prepare case:
IT and coordination at Metso corporation
Discussion questions:
 How did development and evolution of IT use and development of the products and markets in
Metso interact ?
 What are the risks involved in implementing integrated corporate systems and what aspects of
control and coordination do they address?
 How much is IT affecting the future of services and business models that Metso will undertake in
During the weeks from February 8th through April 12th we will have guests in to participate in
discussions of an information technology facing their organization. The discussion cases and their
topic are shown in the attached table.
April 19
Case presentations
April 26
Case Presentations
Wrap-up—A free-wheeling discussion of themes, ideas and lessons learned
EMC case and email management
Steve Sadler, District Manager/Lev Gonick, Case
The Case Gigabit Ethernet network from design to execution - Cisco
with Case
Joe Aulizia, Cisco Operations Director, Joe
Aulizia <[email protected]>
Legal aspect of IT management
Michael Diamant
Kahn Kleinman
Legal aspects of It management
Michael Diamant
Kahn Kleiman
Governing global projects and outsourcing
Gary Paney
CEO Boundless Flight,
Medical IT applications
Fast product development in a digital world
[email protected]
Ceo, Findawayworld
John Crowther, (secretary
Strategic change and e-voting platforms
[email protected])
Digital rights management
Steve Potash
CEO , Overdrive