This week’s case studies on Google and Volkswagen both brought up interesting points about the challenges that are inherent to technology and information system initiatives. Volkswagen’s attempt to create a new prioritization process was met with some backlash, as various departments felt neglected and underfunded. Employees’ misguided frustration prompted them to view IT as an obstacle that prevented them from doing their jobs rather than a necessary tool that benefitted the company. This attitude presented a problem for Uwe Matulovic, the CIO of Volkswagen America, who needed the employees to understand and appreciate the system, including its shortcomings, in order for it to be successfully implemented.
In Google’s case, the company had diversified its business model and introduced a plethora of products beyond web searching. Despite continuous success in these various ventures, Google must carefully consider its next steps and decide whether to expand into new territories or to re-focus on its core competencies of superior search solutions and targeted advertising.
Both scenarios stress the importance of continued support for IT within an organization. Volkswagen would not be in its current situation if an effective IT infrastructure had been introduced, integrated, and developed over time. Instead, the company is attempting to fix an inadequate system well after the fact. Google, on the other hand, is constantly updating its technology and infrastructure in order to support its numerous businesses. A sustained focus on technology is critical to the company’s success.