RESPOND TO TWO POSTS….SEPARATE EACH POST RESPONSE…AT LEAST 250 WORDS EACH…CITE ALL REFERENCES USED
Smith first performed benchmarking with outside IT experts for a comparative analysis “With similar sized companies in the transportation industry” (Munro, 2013, p.5). I feel that this was a great first step to gaining an unbiased industry expert analysis, in regards to the company’s wellness, structure, finance, and IT systems in place. Smith’s ultimate findings demonstrated that, “WestJet’s IT was right on target in terms of total number employees and budget compared to the industry group” (Munro, 2013, p.5). However, Smith did realize that the employees primarily knew only the WestJet IT way, which she intended on changing. This will also be a great move to “Maintaining an organization-wide infrastructure, and adherence to industry best practices” (Munro, 2013, p.5). While the other designated IT professionals, “Concentrate on specific business areas” (Munro, 2013, p.5). This was done all in relation to the biggest upsetting figure, which was WestJet’s Operation’s and Procedure’s where, “Only about half were at industry standard” (Munro, 2013, p.5). As Smith described the situation at WestJet, “The business felt as though it threw requests for systems over a wall, and sometimes what they wanted came back and sometimes it didn’t” (Munro, 2013, p.5). These findings were crucial to Smith’s next moves because they demonstrated what direction the company was heading in as a whole, and clarified to Cheryl Smith that she needed, “To increase revenue by increasing system functionality, and give the business units the confidence in IT to expand WestJet even further, both regionally and internationally” (Munro, 2013, p.7).
I feel that Smith’s assessment and critique were definitely aligned and essential in WestJet’s growth in the upcoming years because the situation at WestJet to me, seemed like a patch-job to contain and sustain the growth that the company was incurring year-over-year. This can be acceptable for a start-up company, but if WestJet wanted to continue growing and become a major player in the global market, they needed to gain better perspective in determining, “Could what had gotten WestJet to where it was, get it to where it needed to go?” I agree with Cheryl and feel that her changing of the governance model allows the IT department to, “Be more responsive to business needs and enable business units to better exploit IT capabilities” (Munro, 2013, p.7), which would not have gotten WestJet where it needed to go without a change. It was also beneficial in Smith keeping full transparency with her employees during each step of the transition. Similarly, to the words of John Abele, “The key is really balance of information, making sure that all the people in the chain understand the risk and rewards. And they understand all the attributes of how the product can be used or abused to make it work well or not” (Producer, 2005b). This keeps everybody’s minds on a common mission and creates the feel of inclusion with every team member. The new “Business-facing” (Munro, 2013, p.7), model was very, “Essential for IT to deliver the products and services demanded by the business” (Munro, 2013, p.7). “The IT structure in place provided no direct connection to the business side and served more as a barrier than a bridge” (Munro, 2013, p.7). The BU’s in my opinion, were the missing link that was keeping WestJet to reach its full earning, process, and customer satisfaction potential. As mentioned earlier, IT was a barrier and Cheryl Smith overcame it by establishing, “Airline Operations, Marketing and Sales, Finance, People, and- most recently- WestJet Encore” (Munro, 2013, p.7). After all, “To sustain long-term profitability you must respond strategically to competition” (Porter, 2008, p.78), which is exactly why Smith created these BU’s, thus, offering WestJet a constant, competitive advantage for their market share with accountability and focused efforts from personnel to develop strategies that influence and strengthen our organizational grasp on the market, both now and in the future.
Cheryl Smith’s restructuring of the IT department at WestJet demonstrates the impact that changes to information technology infrastructures and information technology governance models can do to an organization. In Cheryl’s case, these changes allowed for her, “To increase revenue by increasing system functionality” (Munro, 2013, p.7), and also gave, “The business units the confidence in IT to expand WestJet even further” (Munro, 2013, p.7). For any organization, the lessons learned from this case study can help demonstrate and prioritize the changes necessary to transform a businesses IT structure to impact financially and also expand the company new heights. In particular, the lesson of creating a “Business-facing Model” (Munro, 2013, p.7), will be very useful in determining if our current model faces the same direction as Smith’s model at WestJet. Currently, my organization is still in the start-up stages and has decided to consolidate some departments within others. An example is how our Marketing and Sales team also has the responsibilities and duties for operations. I feel that my bosses would better serve their roles by delegating responsibilities of either Operation or Marketing and Sales to better serve one or the other. Our current model, like WestJet, has hindered our operational growth by having inadequate governance. It is because of this week’s lessons that I am able to see that now.
Manuel Adrian Barbosa
Books24x7. (Producer). (2005b). John Abele: Ethics: The Balance Of Information. [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Munro, M., & Khan, S. (2013). WestJet Airlines: Information technology governance and corporate strategy (Ivey Publishing Case Study No. 9B13E020). Retrieved from https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/pl/72085969/72085…
Porter, M. E. (2008). The five competitive forces that shape strategy. Harvard Business Review, 86(1), 78–93. Retrieved from https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/pl/72085969/72085…
WestJet Airlines: Information Technology Governance and Corporate Strategy case study
WestJet Airlines recorded a great growth from a regional airline which served a bunch of few cities in western Canada, to a global airline with over eighty destinations and about nine thousand workers by 2011, since its startup in 1996. This growth owed its IT. In a strategic attempt aimed at improving WestJet’s competitiveness through the execution of code sharing and other strategic IT applications, the CEO and the executive team resolved to hire Cheryl Smith; a highly qualified and experienced CIO, to elevate WestJet up to par with fellow airlines (Patel).
The CIO assessed the role that IT played in the whole organization and in corporate decision making and strategy. She also assessed the IT governance and its connection. This assessments where important since Smith wanted to clearly know if IT was used as a spare tool or was leveraged.
She assessed allocation of resources and level of budgeting and found out that WestJet was under spending in comparison to its competitors. IT budgeting and allocation had no specific guidelines leading to unaccounted resource allocation. Most of the employees in IT had and if a wide array of IT skills but had less business ideas (Munro & Khan, 2013).
Before the new CIO, WestJet was lagging behind in competition. The changes proposed by the CIO reviewed this situation. This was through the proposal of a unified system which was necessary as well as changing the IT governance a West Jet. These changes led to the restructuring of the company’s budget in IT.
Understanding the best practices that are used by others to achieve success can be of assistance when you want to succeed. It is impossible to just “copy and paste” this practices but through sharing ideas, new ways to improve can be acquired.
Munro, M., & Khan, S. (2013). WestJet Airlines: Information Technology Governance and Corporate Strategy. Ivey Publishing.
Patel, D. (n.d.). WestJet Airlines: Information Technology Governance and Corporate Strategy A case study.