CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

An Investigation of the emerging Role of the Information Systems Professional in a Client/Server Environment

Date of Award

1999

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

John A. Scigliano

Committee Member

Marlyn Kemper Littman

Committee Member

Jacques Levin

Abstract

Information technology is continuously playing a more significant role in today's organizations. Technology provide organizations with the edge needed to compete in the global market, and more and more organizations are implementing client/server technology to get that technological edge. However, changes in information technology require roles in the IS organization as well as skills and knowledge of IS professionals to be redefined.

Organizations have been adopting client/server technology for years. Most of the attention have been focused on the technology itself rather than the IS professionals who implement and maintain the systems. Literature on IS skill needs, especially in the area of client/server as viewed by IS professionals, have not been developed. Consequently, not many relevant sources are available. However, various articles emphasize the importance of skills acquisition for successful adoption of client/server technology. Change in the IS professional's role and skills will continue to be top agenda in the IS organization because companies are not slowing down in their adoption of new technology.

This study examined various data obtained from one organization experiencing client/server system implementation. Data included those in company training and hiring, survey results, interviews, and observations and were used to identify the new knowledge and skills that are required of today's IS professionals in the client/server environment. The study reviewed and evaluated methods and techniques used by IS organizations to deal with the lack of required skills and knowledge. It identified the challenges and issues that IS professionals faced during transition. Results revealed that a gap existed between recognized needs and actual methods in satisfying those needs. The case organization adopted well-known strategies from literature to fulfill their skill needs but neglected the human issues. Finally, the study offered a guideline to assist people in making the smoothest transition possible through years of similar changes in their organizations

The purpose of this dissertation was to contribute a related body of knowledge to existing literature on the IS professionals' transition during implementation of client/server. The result of this effort has been a qualitative historical case study examining and documenting the implementation of a client/server in a manufacturing company. The reader should at least, be able to understand the process and commitment that is required to undertake such an endeavor in a relatively small organization. Beyond that, he/she will have a guideline to assist him/her in making a smooth transition through years of such changes in his/her organizational culture, not just the computer system.

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