University of Baltimore
Merrick School of Business

INSS 641 - Information Resources Management - Fall 1995

Saturdays 12:00 - 2:30 PM - BC 309

Professor Al Bento

Office: BC 473
V-mail: 837-5272, E-Mail:

Office hours:
Mondays 5:30 - 7:30 PM and Saturdays 2:30 - 3:00 PM


Over the past 20 years, information technology (computers, telecommunications and office automation) and the management of information technology have changed dramatically. In many industries, obtaining competitive advantages became directly related to the deployment of information technology to design, create and provide the main products or services. Often information technology became an integral part of the product or service.

The role of managing the information systems function changed from (passive) support to the overall operations of the organizations, to (active) contribution to the overall organizational strategy. In this course we take the internal view of managing the information resources, that is, how the IS function can contribute to organizational strategy and competitiveness. The course provides you with learning experiences regarding this approach. The readings, cases, project and reports are instruments to enable each student to have the ability to:

  1. describe the elements of the information resources environment (global, industry, organization, management and social impacts).
  2. describe the various tasks involving the management of information resources.
  3. apply basic managerial skills (decision making, interpersonal relations, etc.) to the management of information resources in a controlled and/or simulated environment.
  4. describe alternative organizational arrangements of information resources management and their implications, including quality management initiatives, project management techniques, human resources management.
  5. describe the operational and strategic impact of information technology on organizations and society, including strategic planning of information resources, information architecture.
  6. understand basic concepts of management control and their applications to information resources, for example budgeting, performance measurement, etc.
  7. understand basic concepts of operations management and their applications to information resources, for example software maintenance, scheduling, etc.


To assure fast and timely communications between me and you, and you and other group members, E-Mail will be used extensively in this course. I will post last minute notices, reading assignments, etc, in your E-Mail accounts. I will check my E-Mail at least twice a day (including weekends) and respond to whatever questions and problems you may have. You should check your E-Mail at least once a week Thursdays, for last minute class news. I will not distribute Xerox copies of assignments in class, they will be posted in your E-Mail account and the Web. Most of your assignments are also to be turned-in by e-mail.


(on the World Wide Web)

Class handouts will be available on the Web at the following address of the course syllabus:

The course syllabus is linked to the class materials. You can see and print the class materials at the Lab and from your office or home (an Internet provider costs between $10-30 per month), using an Web browser (Netscape recommended).

Note: To print properly this syllabus set top and bottom margins to 1" in your browser.


Field Study 34%
Case analyses (11) 33%
Final exam 33%

Field study

The field study is to be done in groups of 2-3 students in one of the following topics:

Each group will select an organization or firm to serve as a host for the field study. The field study should be done during September - November, and should be finished no later than the end of November. It should take no more than 5 hours a week to be completed. Scheduling activities and meetings should be done by the group members with the contact person of the organization serving as host to the field study.

The field study deliverables are: (a) a final written report to be sent to the host organization, copy to me, and (b) an oral presentation using multimedia audio/visuals of 20 minutes, in class, both on December 16. The final report and presentation should answer the following questions:

  1. Who was the host organization? Including brief description of their business, IS organization, mission and strategy, and who was your contact person.
  2. What was the problem/issue you studied? Including brief description, why it was an issue/problem, what topic it is related to, and what departments, functions were involved.
  3. What was the field study objective? Including what you were supposed to accomplish, learn, etc, when the field study was over.
  4. How was the study done? Including brief description of how you went about obtaining information related to the problem/issue; if you did interviews, analyzed data, etc.
  5. What results did you obtain? (exclude any confidential information from your copy to me and the presentation). Including your findings, data, recommendations.
  6. What have you learned? Including problem/issue understanding, data collection methods, human interactions, results obtained, etc.
The final report should have no more than 10 pages of text, although it may have as many tables and attachment pages as necessary. It should be done using an wordprocessor, with 1 inch margins, using Helvetic or Arial type font 12.

Case analyses

The case analyses are to be done individually. For each of the cases a fifty-minute discussion will take place in class, and a report (up to 2 pages) is due on the following week via e-mail in my e-mail mailbox.

Your reports should have three sections, clearly identified with a header, answering the following questions: (a) what is the problem, (b) what are the alternatives and (c) what is your recommendation to solve the problem. Your ability to discuss the case solution will be worth 30% of the grade. The other 70% will come from your ability to apply the conceptual materials of your reading assignments to solve the case, as documented on the written report.

The enclosed Cases list shows the abstract of the cases by topic of discussion, date of discussion, and date reports are due.

Take-Home Final Exam

The take-home final exam consists of 20 questions regarding applications of information resource management concepts to the cases discussed in class. You should answer each question in no more than one page. The exam is due by 8 PM, December 16, in my e-mail mailbox.


Kerr, James M. The IRM Imperative, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1991 (recommended)

* No textbook is required. Required readings and cases are shown in the class outline. Harvard cases and notes are on sale in the Bookstore, articles are on reserve in the Library.

Select the text version of the outline here, if you are not using Netscape 1.1 and above.

Day Topic Readings Case/other
09/09 IRM concept and overview 1, 2
Niederman,F,Brancheau,J.C. and Wetherbe,J.C."Information Systems Management Issues for the 1990s,"MISQ,(15)4,1991, .475-500
group formation
09/16 IS/IT environment Boynton, A.C., Victor, B. and Pine, B.J. "New Competitive Strategies: Challenges to Organization and Information Technology," IBM Systems Journal, (32)1,1993, 40-52 E-mail review: Bento, R. "Many Happy Returns," UB, 1995
09/23 IT Planning 11
Hwang, "Selecting an IT Strategic Planning Methodology," JITM,(3)1, 1992, pp.39-42
Lithonia Lighting
09/30 budgeting for IS/IT Houch, A Practical Guide to..., Lexington Books, 1979, chapter. 7
Datamation IS Budgets Surveys: (35)7, 1988, pp.18-22;(40)8 ,1993, pp 30-34
J.B. Ivey & Co.
10/07 project management 9-613-020
Space Constructors, Inc.
Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month, 1985.
ATM, Inc
10/14 project management in IS 6,8
Arthur, L.J., Software Evolution, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1988, ch. 1.
Shadow Partner
10/21 performance measurement Weill, P."The Relationship Between Investment in IT and Firm Performance," ISR, (3)4, 1992,
DeLone,W and McLean, E. R. "Information Systems Success: The Quest for the Dependent Variable," ISR, (3) 1,1992, 60 -95
Concordia Casting
10/28 quality management Garvin D A, March A "Note on Quality: The Views of Deming, Juran, and Crosby" HBSP, Note #
9-687-011, 1987
9-192-071, 072
Rank Xerox A,B
11/04 quality in IS/IT "Management Initiatives for Continuous Quality Improvement Programs," I/S Analyzer, (29) 2, February 1991,1-14.
Swanson, K. et all, "The Application Software Factory:.." MISQ, (15)4, 1991, 566-579.
Beth -Israel Hospital
11/11 Information Architecture 3,7
Zackman, J. "A Framework for Information Systems Architecture," IBM Systems Journal, (26)3, 1987.
"Managing Information: The IT Architecture," HBSP, Note # 9-193-059, 1993
OOPS on Big Iron
11/18 IA & technology trends 10
Sinha, A "Client-Server Computing," Communications of ACM, (35)7, 1992, 77-97
Future of Distributed Systems at Aetna
11/25 Thanksgiving === no classes ===  
12/02 Human resources Computer World, "Salary & Job Satisfaction Survey 1993-1994," September 1993.
Couger & Colter, Maintenance Programming, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1985, chapters 1, 4.
Du Pont Fibers IS
12/09 IS Organization Cash JI Jr, Simon J, Davenport TH "Managing Information Technology: Organization and Leadership," HBSP, Note # 9-189-133 9-188-037
Manufacturers Hanover Corp. (A)
12/16 Field project presentation 20 minutes per group, printed report due
Take-home Final due

Note: Numbers in bold in the reading list refer to chapter(s) in the recommended textbook, e.g. 1,2 in the reading list for September 9, means Chapter 1 and 2 of Kerr's book.


1. The course starts from a global perspective: explicitly discusses Keidel's model for a triangular balance among centralization, decentralization and teamwork in the management of global business operations. This is then connected with the competitive challenge, transformation of organizations, and the role of information technology in mass customization (Pine's model).

2. The course moves forward to provide an in-depth overview of planning, budgeting and project management as tools for collaboration and communication between the various stakeholders in the acquisition, deployment and management of information technology and systems. At this point in time the students, working in teams, are supposed to be engaged in a real life field study and experience first -hand the need for teamwork and communications.

3. The course concentrates next in performance measurement, quality initiatives, and the firms' Information architecture as vehicles to manage and introduce change and innovation in organizations. This study is also a basis for building an understanding of the need for lifelong learning by exposing the students to the evolution, from the 70's to the 90's, of these three concepts, and their implications for business careers and organizations.