Three old ages ago. Diana Sullivan. was recruited by Lenox from a major rival to work as its Chief Information Officer. Sullivan. a 20-year veteran information systems executive. cognize traveling into this occupation that computing machines had ne’er been one of Lenox’s strengths. James Bennett. Lenox’s Chief Executive Officer told Sullivan that they merely necessitate a tool that would assist their agents supply fast and dependable information needed to shut a sale.

After old ages of difficult work. Sullivan thought she had done her occupation good by presenting Lifexpress on clip and on budget. Lifexpress is a sophisticated computer-aided system that enabled Lenox’s 10. 000-plus agents to make everything from set uping a prospect’s fiscal profile. to choosing the most appropriate merchandises from the company’s countless policies and bring forthing all the paperwork needed to shut a sale.

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Lifexpress. nevertheless. wasn’t hiking gross revenues productiveness every bit much as direction had expected. Two of Lenox’s rivals had launched similar systems and are already running in front of them. Sullivan’s Boss. Chief Financial Officer Clay Fontana seems to be faulting Sullivan for the job. Bennett appeared to match with Fontana. They believe that since Lifexpress is Sullivan’s “system” so she should be accountable non merely for its creative activity and execution but for recognizing the concern ends that goes with it every bit good. Yet Sullivan believes that had already taken what the necessary stairss to convey the company up to rush.


How can information engineering undertakings help Lenox accomplish its concern ends? OBJECTIVES1. To depict the company’s attitude towards information technology2. To find how Lenox can accomplish extremist public presentation betterments through the usage of information engineering


“Decisions on investings in IT are both critical and combative. With a thorough apprehension of a company’s strategic context. directors can place concern and IT maxims that can assist find the IT substructure capabilities necessary to accomplish their concern ends. ”Management by Maxims

The model is made up of four constituents.

1. Sing Strategic Context. “To clarify substructure demands. companies besides need to understand the current schemes and strategic purposes of each concern unit. the synergisms between units and the firm’s experiences and beliefs in the value of leveraging those synergisms. ”2. Jointing Business Maxims. Business Maxims gaining control the kernel of a firm’s future way. It is grouped into six classs: cost focal point ; value distinction as perceived by clients ; flexibleness and legerity ; growing ; human resources ; and direction orientation. It is hence of import for directors to prioritise the comparative importance of axioms to guarantee that the most of import messages are understood. Business Maxims organize a base from which concern and IT executives can work together to place IT maxims.

3. Identifying IT Maxims. “IT Maxims describe how a house needs to link. portion. and construction information and deploy IT across the firm” . It is grouped into five classs: outlooks for IT investings in the house ; informations entree and usage ; hardware and package resources ; communications capablenesss and services ; and architecture criterions attack.

4. Clarifying a Firm’s View of IT Infrastructure. IT Infrastructure has four positions: none. public-service corporation. dependant and enabling. Firms take on one position. There is no 1 best position but instead one is more appropriate for a peculiar house. harmonizing to its strategic context and concern and IT Maxims. A firm’s position of substructure should alter together with it’s strategic context and concern axioms.

a. None View. It is when a house decides to make without IT economies among its concerns. It does non put in IT infrastructures at the “firmwide” degree.

B. Utility View. IT substructure is viewed as a manner to cut down costs through economic systems of graduated table and sharing.

c. Dependent View. IT substructure is viewed as a response to specific schemes.

d. Enabling View. IT substructure is viewed as a nucleus competency that provides competitory advantage. Firms with this position are industry leaders in footings of substructure investing degrees and supply extended substructure services in a extremely centralised manner.


Lenox Insurance Company admits that computing machines were ne’er their strength and with the manner they are traveling. it will ne’er be. Bringing in new engineerings. updating cardinal applications and the reorganizing and streamlining of the information services organisation should ne’er be seen as a remedy all to the jobs blighting the organisation. An information services inspection and repair is non a feel-good pill. New engineerings should be met with fresh attitudes and thoughts. Information Services is merely one of Lenox’s many jobs. In fact. it is non one of its biggest jobs when Lifexpress became operational. It is that its top people. its Chief Fiscal Officer and Chief Executive Officer have no thought about the constructs of merchandise scheme and increased productiveness.

The manner the Chief Executive Officer and the CFO understand increased productiveness is how Lifexpress translates into increased gross revenues. Lifexpress’ consequence on Lenox’s productiveness is that it cut the processing of all the necessary paperwork from four hebdomads lower limit to a affair of hours. If that’s non an increased in productiveness. I do non cognize what is. Lifexpress should be assessed on its ain virtues and non on comparings to competitor systems. Lifexpress was received positively by Lenox’s technologically challenged agents. This could merely intend that the agents will acquire the bent of utilizing the Lifexpress system given clip. It is merely that Lenox’s agents have a steeper larning curve – holding a disability of technological incompetency. Ease of usage is comparative – Lenox insurance company should take the steeper larning curve into consideration.

The completion of the Lifexpress undertaking in itself was a success and recognition should be given to Sullivan. The undertaking was made operational on clip and in budget. It is difficult to reason with these facts. It is given that Lenox Insurance Company has more merchandise offerings than its competition so Lenox’s Lifexpress undertaking should be expected to be more complicated and hence will take more clip to cover all of its services.

The Lenox Insurance instance resonates with the fable of the mustard seed. As it is now. the proverbial mustard seed. the Lifexpress system can non be brought into fruition with Lenox Insurance Company’s initial technological daze. But it should non lose hope. Lenox Insurance Company can still cultivate its chap to be fertile. given clip.

Using the direction by Maxim Framework. Lenox does hold a clear strategic context – better productiveness and assist the gross revenues force near on more new policies utilizing information services. But it did non hold a clear articulation of its concern IT maxims. For one. Lenox confuses the end of increased gross revenues with Lifexpress’ consequence of increased productiveness.

Get downing from a technological disability relation to competition. Lenox’s investing in Lifexpress was a large spring plenty. It is clip for them to acquire back to the pulling board and reevaluate their concern schemes that need to be saved from the quicksand of confusion. The clear articulation of an in agreement place in a signifier that executives understand and act on is sorely missing in Lenox. Because of this. answerability is muddled and could take as it is to Lenox’s instance to endless and pointless finger indicating. To this terminal. Sullivan is partially to fault. she should hold discussed her function in clear item with Lenox’s top executives. She could hold been spared of all the accusals being thrown at her.


Once and for all. Lenox’s top people should sit down and reevaluate their schemes utilizing the 4-point Management by Maxim model. They should hold on classs of action and put to death them consequently.


Byron Reimus. “The IT system that couldn’t deliver. ” Harvard Business Review ( May-June 1997 )

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