Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Until recently, investments in information analysis and decision support languished as companies undertook higher priority IT projects with more direct and immediate impact on their bottom lines. Today, the success of how some companies use information for competitive advantage and operational effectiveness (e.g., Wal-Mart, Dell) is causing business leaders to look more carefully at how well their firms are leveraging information. Furthermore, web technology makes it both technically and financially feasible to deliver literally millions of pages of text to desktops as needed. The technologies available to manage different types of information are also improving rapidly and converging. Software, while still imperfect, is therefore opening the door to a host of new possibilities for information management and delivery. These factors are placing new pressures on IT to focus more thoughtfully on the information component of their function. This paper explores how IT's role in information delivery is changing and evolving in organizations. It first surveys the rapidly expanding world of information and technology and why information delivery became so important so rapidly. Then, it discusses the value proposition of information in organizations. Next it describes the important components of an effective information delivery function in IT. Finally, it looks at how information delivery will likely evolve over the next five to ten years and what this will mean for IT and organizations. The paper concludes that information delivery in IT is an idea whose time has finally come. For the first time, senior business executives are ready to hear about the value of information. However, the challenges for IT are huge. Not only does effective information delivery require new technologies, it also means that IT must develop new internal non-technical and analytic capabilities and makes its work much more visible in the organization.