Within your own organisation, or within an organisation with which you are familiar, have information systems had their greatest impact through cutting costs, or through process co-ordination?
As my company, Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH), is a news organisation, we have journalists who source and develop news stories for a variety of readers in different demographic segments. With the rise of the Internet and sophisticated mobile devices, distribution platforms such as online web sites (Internet) and mobile devices (iPhone applications) are now an established channel to distribute news effectively to our target readers.
Prior to the advent of the Internet, journalists develop their news stories on non-network computer systems with primitive word processing software. While this process worked fine for the newspaper product, the system was not designed for publishing on the the Internet and mobile devices. This obstacle resulted in my company creating a intermediary department that was tasked to transform news stories developed from the traditional system to a format suitable for publishing on the Internet and mobile devices.
It is clear that the intermediary department is a cost centre that can be eliminated through information system technologies. In order to support the challenge of distributing news stories in multiple channels, SPH invested in a information system that is designed to allow journalists to develop their stories through network-connected desktop/laptop computers. This common system will transform stories developed by the journalists into multiple publishing formats that includes online and mobile devices. Importantly, this news story system gives SPH the flexibility of creating new publishing formats in the future such as the recently released iPad.
As a result, this information system allowed SPH to transform from a make-to-order (i.e. traditional system) to an assemble-to-order (i.e. information systems) process and eliminated the need to have an intermediary department as mentioned above. As a result of this removal, SPH now enjoys co-ordination improvements as news stories are instantly published across multiple channels without any intermediate process. However, it is clear that the cost savings from represents the largest incentive for SPH to proceed in developing this information system.
Thank you and I look forward to your comments above.