Systèmes d'Information et Management


This article presents and discusses globalization and IT infrastructure development and use in the European fertilizer division of Norsk Hydro. The main element of the infrastructure discussed is a new SAP based solution for this division. However, this solution is not an isolated artefact. Its important aspects are emerging, as it is becoming an integrated part of a larger infrastructure. An SAP installation in a global organization becomes a large and complex infrastructure. Just as much as this infrastructure is designed and controlled by managers and IT personnel, it becomes an actor shaping its environment as well as its own future. Like any actor, the technology builds alliances with others. However, the alliances might change over time. In the case reported here, SAP first got allied with top management, playing the role as a powerful change agent. Later on, however, SAP got allied with local managers and users, helping them bring the change process under their influence and into the speed they preferred. Currently, SAP is changing its role as it gets installed and integrated into a larger corporate infrastructure. As such, it becomes everybody's enemy by resisting all organizational change. (1) More precisely the article addresses the emergence of an IT infrastructure in which SAP R/3 installations are important elements. Just for convenience, we denote this an SAP infrastructure. (2) An earlier version of this article was presented at and published in the proceedings from ICIS '98 in Helsinki.