Information systems at a call centre

Brooke, Carole (2002) Information systems at a call centre. International Journal of Information Management, 22 (5). pp. 389-401. ISSN 0268-4012

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0268-4012(02)00029-4

Abstract

This paper presents the latest empirical material to emerge from a recently completed research project using the organisational scenario tool (OST). The project was part of a large-scale activity conducted over a 3-year period and was funded by the EPSRC under their Software Engineering for Business Process Change programme. The project has been looking at legacy systems and evaluating their potential for change. The methods adopted here are based on scenario generation and include an iterative process that attempts to ‘future proof’ organisational options for change.

The empirical research presented in this paper took place within a large UK-based company that is structured around a call centre operation (referred to hereafter as CallCentre). The research focused on a particular job management function of the business (referred to as Works). Major problems were being encountered with the flow of work through the business process chain. CallCentre made it clear that the technology involved was inadequate to support the complexity and size of the tasks being performed. However, one of the main conclusions of this paper is that what appeared on the surface to be an information systems problem turned out to be much more to do with a need for change in work organisation and organisational attitude. Although at one level this challenged management expectations, it also had positive outcomes for the business. The OST demonstrated its effectiveness in highlighting the assumptions underpinning different technological and organisational choices at CallCentre and was able to assist the organisation in its decision-making process. At the same time the framework provided a valuable archive ensuring that the organisation could revisit these decisions at a later date with the benefit of hindsight.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This paper presents the latest empirical material to emerge from a recently completed research project using the organisational scenario tool (OST). The project was part of a large-scale activity conducted over a 3-year period and was funded by the EPSRC under their Software Engineering for Business Process Change programme. The project has been looking at legacy systems and evaluating their potential for change. The methods adopted here are based on scenario generation and include an iterative process that attempts to ‘future proof’ organisational options for change. The empirical research presented in this paper took place within a large UK-based company that is structured around a call centre operation (referred to hereafter as CallCentre). The research focused on a particular job management function of the business (referred to as Works). Major problems were being encountered with the flow of work through the business process chain. CallCentre made it clear that the technology involved was inadequate to support the complexity and size of the tasks being performed. However, one of the main conclusions of this paper is that what appeared on the surface to be an information systems problem turned out to be much more to do with a need for change in work organisation and organisational attitude. Although at one level this challenged management expectations, it also had positive outcomes for the business. The OST demonstrated its effectiveness in highlighting the assumptions underpinning different technological and organisational choices at CallCentre and was able to assist the organisation in its decision-making process. At the same time the framework provided a valuable archive ensuring that the organisation could revisit these decisions at a later date with the benefit of hindsight.
Keywords:Information systems
Subjects:G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G500 Information Systems
N Business and Administrative studies > N200 Management studies
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Business School
ID Code:534
Deposited By: Bev Jones
Deposited On:22 Jun 2007
Last Modified:18 Jul 2011 16:12

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