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    Alcan: IT Changes

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    The case that you will use for this and the following two modules is another case that is coincidentally also Canadian in origin but in a very different business environment—the aluminum business (spelled here "aluminium" in the British fashion—you may use whichever spelling you choose.) It describes the analysis of the company's IT systems and management performed by a new vice president of corporate information technologies, in all its complexity and magnificent variety. Throughout this case, issues of hardware, software, and management are intertwined, just as they are in real corporate life. One of your tasks will be to disentangle some of these issues for separate consideration in light of what you know and need to know. As we noted in our course overview, it's taken for granted that hardware, software, and management (sometimes referred to as "wetware") are all involved in a complex sociotechnical dance in which changes in any one element inevitably call forth changes in the others—preferably planned, but often unplanned, and not infrequently unanticipated. Thus, while your focus in this module will be primarily on hardware and networking, you'll inevitably find yourself thinking about other dimensions of the problems as well. That's all to the good, but try to keep a focus on the primary issues in each of these three modules. There's plenty of time to concentrate on issues of integration as the course wraps up.

    Case Assignment
    Please read the Alcan case; it is in two parts:
    Dube, L., Bernier, C. and Roy, V. (2009) Taking on the Challenge of IT Management in a Global Business Context: The Alcan Case - Part A. International Journal of Case Studies in Management. 7(2):May. HEC020.
    Dube, L., Bernier, C. and Roy, V. (2009) Taking on the Challenge of IT Management in a Global Business Context: The Alcan Case - Part B. International Journal of Case Studies in Management. 7(2):May. HEC021.
    Use information from the course background readings as well as any good quality resource you can find. Please cite all sources and provide a reference list (use APA format) at the end of your paper.following will be assessed:
    - What are the pros and cons of the current Alcan technology infrastructure?
    - What are the pros and cons of the new Alcan technology infrastructure proposed by Robert Ouelette?
    - Please suggest additional improvements of infrastructure for this case and justify your suggestions.

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    Solution Preview

    In accordance with BrainMass rules this is not a hand in ready paper but only background help.

    Step 1
    The pros of the current Alcan technology architecture are that every business group is independent with its own strategic IT plan. The infrastructure choices are based on its specific needs, and its requirements of IT applications and services. There is freedom for every group to have its own IT organization that has objectives that are aligned with the group's needs and orientation. Every group experiences autonomy.
    The cons of the current technology architecture at Alcan are that there were 900 people working in IT. In other words there was duplication of effort. Further, 80% of the company's annual IT budget was spent on outside services from consulting firms and outsourcing firms. Since there was decentralized purchasing, the costs of IT services were very high. For example, the corporate IT function was made up of 136 persons spread over 12 different sites. This made it difficult to realize economies of scale in purchasing. The IT resources were disparate, having no ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution explains the differences between the current and the new IT architecture at Alcan. The sources used are also included in the solution.