TABLE OF CONTENTS
The company selected for analysis is an ISP (Internet Service Provision) business where I am employed as the operations manager. The organization has adopted a niche focused business strategy, concentrating on hand-picked sectors. This strategy has morphed over the years in response to the environment, an essential characteristic of effective organizations as Miles et al. (1978) argue. To support this strategy, the company must identify, adopt, implement and diffuse Information Technology innovations in order to remain relevant in its market and continue to exist and thrive as Cefiss & Marsili (2005) advocate.
An introduction to the organization, it’s structure, the prevailing attitude toward innovation, the dynamic forces at play with regards to innovation, the types of innovation currently in use and where they have been applied will be discussed in section 1 of this paper. An analysis of the organizations relationship with innovation will be carried out in section 2. This will involve a critical analysis of the organization’s culture, existing technological infrastructure and how both influence innovation. An in-depth appreciation of adopted IT innovations and how these have supported further innovation at the company will be carried out, furthermore, the innovation model proposed to develop an Innovation Process Management Strategy that can remove any obstacles that may hinder the process as discussed by Klein & Knight (2005) will be presented.
Subsequently, in section 3, an investigation will be done into technological innovations that if adopted, will not only be beneficial to the organization but also contribute to developing a framework for future innovation. A technology roadmap that provides the underpinnings required to support the successful adoption of technological innovation as defined by Lee & Park (2005) will be presented in section 4. This will be followed by section 5 which aims to put forward an innovation scenario that envisages the innovative future of the company.
There are established linkages between technological innovation and organizational development through enhanced competitiveness (Sawhney et al., 2006). Hall & Khan (2002) go further to say that innovation dictates the pace of economic growth. Organizational survival and success is often dependent on the organizations stance toward innovation and the supporting framework present to aid innovation.
The aim of this paper is to develop a unique framework for the adoption of innovation practice at RCS-Radio & Satellite Ltd. This framework takes into consideration the company’s current innovation state of affairs, identifies potential innovations to be considered for adoption and develops the roadmap necessary to ensure that the process is properly planned in order to achieve specified objectives, all with a view of formulating a strategy to aid technological innovation by providing strategic support as Lee & Park (2005) assert. This framework will ultimately govern how the organization selects, implements and manages innovation, furthermore, the benefit of leveraging on this framework will be identified and critically assessed with the intention of presenting executive management with a robust strategy with the potential to position the company to capture value for future success and sustainability/longevity as proposed by Sawhney et al. (2006).
SECTION 1: THE ORGANIZATION AND INNOVATION: Identifying Innovative Use of IT Technology in Operations, Products and Services
RCS-Radio & Satellite Communication Ltd is a professional ISP (Internet Service Provision) company with operations in South Sudan. The company was established in East Africa more than a decade ago. The products and services offered include Internet connectivity solutions (Via WiMAX and VSAT networks). RCS has recently transitioned from a growth/establishment stage into a maturity phase and this has occasioned a the niche focused business strategy, a typical adjustment for companies in this phase (Scott & Bruce, 1987).
RCS’ organizational structure is fairly flat, with less layers of management and more active channels involved in decision making as Townsend et al. (1998) hypothesize. This has been observed to empower employees, move focus back to the customer, improve decision making and enhance the collaborative effort between the operational and strategic layers of the company (Kettley 1995).
The company still continues to differentiate itself mainly through high quality service delivery, support and a focused marketing effort. There have been some structural changes in response to these focus areas. Service delivery and business development departments have been created to underpin service delivery and support which are the main pillars of the organization. These changes are expected to provide the company with the necessary framework to ensure market distinction, revitalization and future success. There is a possibility of expanding to other markets to take advantage of opportunities that exist there. This will organically grow the company from a national to regional player.
RCS has achieved market dominance by introducing a radically innovative product in the market. A high performance WiMAX network that created a unique niche for the company has been further exploited through incremental improvements to the original innovation. This is further discussed by Buisson & Silberzahn (2010) as one of the four breakthroughs that can create differentiation and set an organization on its way to crafting a new market space (W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne, 2005).
RCS has primarily employed incremental innovation, for example, working with select partners, the company has further optimized and reconfigured its WiMAX network (a pre-existing innovation) and network management systems to develop a unique product that has distinguished it in the market. Mr. Brian Power, the company’s service delivery manager explains;
“By improving on our WiMAX platform by adding innovative enterprise policy control systems, we have been able to penetrate and offer services to a high end, high value niche in our market, this has impacted our business positively”.
Incremental innovations are those which build on already existing innovative technology (Harvard Business School Press 2003). Modular innovation develops a unique product by building on existing and commonly available components (Sawhney et al., 2006) this describes how the company has innovated. This corroborates what Mr. Flippie Odendal the company’s Managing Director went on to say;
“By implementing an Enterprise Bandwidth management tool on top of our infrastructure and modifying it to address specific client needs, the company now is in a position to offer novel network policy control methods that have helped achieve differentiation”.
The appetite for innovation at RCS-Radio & Satellite Communication Ltd continues to grow. Interviews with strategic management have determined that this is a reaction to external and internal environment stimuli and a resolute determination to remain relevant. An appreciation of the 5 competitive forces in its environment as put forward by Porter (2008) has also helped the company carve out a niche for itself by responding strategically to competition.
SECTION 2: ANALYSIS OF THE COMPANY’S INNOVATIVE CAPACITY IN USING, ADOPTING AND GENERATING INNOVATION
A power culture exists at RCS. This is typified by a powerful central figure, in this case managing director, from whom all power and influence emanates (Handy 1999). The MD is a transformational leader, who encourages collaboration, communication, intellectually stimulates his team and is charismatic in the process, attributes of transformational leadership as validated by Bass (1991). The combination of this organizational culture and leadership style has had a positive influence on the working environment, the organization is highly adaptable as a result and innovation is an important pillar on which business differentiation is based. However, there are some drawbacks, as the organization continues to grow, the influence of the central power source struggles to penetrate all facets of the business a common problem with power cultures (Handy, 1999).
2.2 Technological Predisposition and Innovative Readiness at RCS-Radio & Satellite Communication LTD
Based on interviews with the technical coordinator and the company’s business development manager, innovation is indeed an important theme within the organization and employees at every level are not hindered when it comes to innovative ideas that can positively impact the organization. The narrative below was taken from Mr. Kevin, the technical coordinator and reflects on an initiative by a junior technician to automate the employee award voting system;
“Emmy took it upon himself to develop an Intranet and Internet based voting system that has not only simplified the process but provided a secure, administratively light and anonymous way for employees to participate in voting for standout team members. We are thankful to Emmy for taking time to develop this system. A process that we feel is of utmost importance in creating and maintaining strong team bonds essential in achieving business goals, please visit http://rcsvoting.rf.gd for a glimpse of the internet version of the system”.
Further to this, the company’s Business Development manager, Mr. Simpson explains;
“Failure to adapt in our market could mean death. Innovation has gotten us to where we are today, externally, we have introduced innovative products that have differentiated us from the competition and internally we are continuously seeking to improve our own internal systems to improve efficiency and keep us aligned with our business goals. The introduction of innovative products such as Sandvine’s network policy control systems which give us visibility, intelligence and optimization is one example. Our staff are highly involved in identifying and even developing some of these innovations. The onus is upon us as senior management to continue to provide an ecosystem that is conducive to innovation”
It is evident that employees are not discouraged from innovatively expressing themselves at RCS and this is possible through an environment that enables and celebrates innovative ideas. The organization’s structure, strategy and leadership all work to support innovation and employees innovativeness flourishes under these conditions a view supported by Martins & Terblanche (2003).
2.3 Strengths and Weaknesses of the Company’s Culture and the Effect on Cultural and Innovation Readiness
|A Highly adaptable culture, the absence of bureaucracy facilitates this. Decisions can quickly be made as a result (Handy, 1999). As a consequence of this flexibility, power cultures are typically risk inclined.||Decision making is left to the central power source or a few influential individuals, as such decisions made may be impulsive, ill-informed and/or damaging to the organization as explained in tutor2u (2010) Models of Organizational Culture-Handy. Available at https://www.tutor2u.net/business/reference/models-of-organisational-culture-handy (Accesed 28/02/2017)|
|A Proud and resilient culture, creating a sense of belonging and intent/purpose as suggested by Handy (1999).||Continuity is a major challenge because leadership, power and influence is concentrated around one or a few individuals, sustained success is reliant on the abilities of the people at the center of power cultures.|
RCS-Radio & Satellite Communication Ltd can be considered to be innovation ready, however, the suggested change management approach further explained below can be employed to make the process even more robust and sustainable.
The challenge at RCS is ensuring that there is sustained success. A carefully implemented succession plan can ensure that authentic leadership is developed in key management positions therefore diluting the power centric nature of the power culture at the company. This process will also abet the penetration of leadership influence throughout the organization as it grows. Budding leaders will be able to step into vacated leadership positions filling the gaps before the absence of leadership begins to be felt, furthermore the quality of decisions will be much improved as a result of a wider leadership pool. A systematic effort must be put in place to identify and develop future leaders (Henderson, 2007), this process should align with the organizations strategic plan and vision (Rothwell, 2011), RCS’ growth strategy will benefit from a properly implemented succession plan.
The utilization of Kotter’s change model to implement the succession plan above is expected to bear fruit, this model advocates the creation of a guiding coalition, the development of a vision and strategy, communication of the change vision, establishing a sense of urgency, empowering broad-based action, consolidation of gains to produce more wins, generation of short term wins and the embedding new approaches in corporate culture (Kotter, 1995). With the development of leadership and dilution of the power centric culture at the company, innovation will continue to be enabled, the supporting environment is expected to be more robust and sustainable as well.
A five-phase innovation process will be applied. The five stages are;
In addition to this, modifying innovation methods to suite unique organizational requirements as advised by Hansen & Birkinshaw (2007) is also of importance because organizations have varied requirements. By strengthening the innovation value chain through the identification and strengthening of the weakest links (Hansen & Birkinshaw, 2007), innovation practice can be made more robust and sustainable. A hybrid model that combines the innovation value chain technique, a phased innovation process and innovation adoption/implementation best practices as described by Klein & Knight (2005) will be utilized.
RCS relies on select employees with technological expertise in key positions to achieve business objectives. It is therefore imperative that these team members are dedicated to any proposed innovation undertaking (Klein & Knight, 2005). A framework that elicits buy in from these employees is critical to the process of introducing, adopting and implementing explorative or exploitative innovation at the company. Transformational leadership will provide critical support to the process. This leadership nurtures healthy relationships within teams, this solicits commitment and purpose (Jogulu, 2010), bolstering the innovation process.
This structure will foster information sharing, collaboration, best practice and good management and must be integrated/congruent with the design and objectives of the organization as suggested by Du Preez et al. (2014). Good management in-conjunction with the identification and commissioning of an innovation leader is anticipated to result in benefits such as improved psychological safety for the staff involved (Edmondson, 1999) and an improved implementation climate (Klein & Knight, 2005), factors that are critical to the successful adoption and implementation of technology based innovation.
The hybrid framework described above is highly dependent on stakeholder support. The process can be stymied if human centric factors like networking for information sharing and collaboration/team dynamics (cross functionality) are overlooked or non-existent (Du Preez et al., 2014). Both intra-organizational and inter-organizational innovations as described by Armbruster et al. (2008) will require stakeholder support in order for an organization to successfully generate, adopt and implement innovation, creating an environment conducive to innovation. An influential group comprised of an innovation leader heading a guiding coalition will navigate the process, furthermore, regular high-quality training of employees in the use of the innovation will improve support for the innovation and support diffusion as emphasized by Klein & Knight (2005).
The core challenges of each phase have been analyzed below.
The identification of change drivers and stakeholders (and their requirements) is important to establish before embarking on this phase (Frankenberger et al., 2013).
|Quality idea Generation||Creating an environment of competition between ideas as suggested by Flynn et al. (2003). This can produce better quality output.|
|Developing and maintain an innovative culture||Executive management’s sanctioning and support of the practice can assist in nurturing innovation (Flynn et al., 2003). Collaboration and open communication channels are also of importance to this cognitive process as Sahin (2006) defines it.|
Figure 3: Idea Generation Phase Challenges and Solutions
This is an evaluation phase where potential ideas for implementation are screened and discussed for enrichment. This stage is more feeling centered (Sahin, 2006).
|Stakeholder support||The development of a communication plan that will assist in reducing uncertainty and elicit confidence in the innovation (Sahin, 2006).|
Figure 4: Persuasion and Advocacy Phase Challenges and Solutions
During this phase the innovation is tested against a business model to ensure that it is commercially viable (Frankenberger et al., 2013), based on the results a final decision is made to adopt the innovation.
|Passive or active rejection||Gathering of well-defined requirements, information sharing and cross functionality of teams to ensure that the perspectives of all stakeholders are taken into consideration (Sahin, 2006).|
Figure 5: Experimentation and Decision Phase Challenges and Solutions
This phase is characterized by the introduction of the innovation. The idea is further refined during this phase to address a specific need.
|Availability of resources||Proper planning and allocation of financial resources, human resource (availability of key personnel) and material resource (computer hardware, office space etc.) to support the new product as argued by Luoma, Paasi, & Nordlund (2010).|
Figure 6: Commercialization Phase Challenges and Solutions
This phase endeavors to ensure that there is organization wide acceptance of the innovation.
|Acceptance of the innovation||Upskill staff so that their use of the innovation is consistent, it is expected that commitment and credence will be established (Klein & Knight, 2005)|
|Executive management support||The guiding coalition and its leader will play a critical role here to ensure that executive management continues to offer support during the process.|
|Uncertainty||Change drivers will be required to offer assistance and training (Sahin, 2006). This will ensure that the innovation is implanted in the organization.|
Figure 7: Diffusion and Implementation Phase Challenges and Solutions
CallKey Networks, an East African ISP was successful in the adoption, implementation and diffusion of the SolidTECH ERP, effectively reducing transaction costs and improving efficiency using a similar strategy, validating Kramer et al. (2007) who argue that the adoption of ICT innovation in Africa has a positive effect on African economies.
The table below highlights the strategies for managing the innovation process and its challenges.
|PHASE OF THE PROCESS||STRATEGY|
The following innovative technologies have been identified as being suitable to the company’s innovation intentions.
The first phase of rolling out an ERP system is in progress. Phase 2 is planned so as to take full advantage of this innovative solution’s main benefit which is to increase operational efficiency and provide good quality and timely information to aid in decision making (Laudon & Laudon, 2013). An innovative technical feature that aids in process improvement, collaboration and the standardization of business processes is the ability of the ERP software to provide service support staff access to field engineers schedules, this assists in the management of client expectations. The visibility this solution provides between, finance, operations, stores and contracts teams allows for seamless teamwork and enhanced decision making a key benefit of ERP use as proposed by Otieno (2010). This corroborates the views of Mr. Flippie Odendal the company’s MD who during an interview explained that;
“One of our biggest challenges was to achieve interdepartmental harmony. Departments were working autonomously and this was affecting our efficiency and service delivery”.
A novel and disruptive product that connects cloud networks across standard and/or existing interfaces creating new business opportunities for internet service providers as explained by Adrian Reodique (2016) Huawei Rolls outs Opticloud datacenter platform. Avilable at https://www.mis-asia.com/tech/industries/huawei-rolls-out-opticloud-data-centre-interconnect-platform/(Accessed 27/03/2017). This is an un-complex and highly flexible solution that can enable RCS to take advantage of cloud based services and offer both private and enterprise customers solutions based on this architecture that is considered to be the next frontier in the industry (Marston et al., 2011). This innovation is highly disruptive because it does not require substantial interconnection bandwidth or major changes to existing systems.
A solution designed to address the specific challenges ISP’s face, this ERP software manages the complete customer lifecycle from lead administration through to customer management and everything in between (billing, trouble ticketing, CRM, reporting, auditing etc.)
Figure 9: Diagrammatic representation of SolidTECH ERP
Alignment with business objectives is of importance when considering an ERP solution for implementation (Huang, 2012), growth is core to RCS’ strategy and this solution will help in achieving this objective. Mr. Neil Das, the implementation team leader reveals that;
“The product selected (SolidTECH) is novel in many ways, among them is its ability to automate all back-end administrative functions that are unique to ISP’s such as us, providing a link between our network policy and finance systems is one such example”.
This innovation can position an ISP to take genuine advantage of cloud based technology without incurring the substantial capital expenditure that has been traditionally associated with such projects. Currently many services are cloud based (Office 365, Gmail and Dropbox are examples) this has placed a strain on available bandwidth forcing ISP’s to incur large bandwidth related costs in order to remain competitive. This Data Center interconnection (DCI) solution addresses this challenge by provisioning a DCI oriented bearer network, with large bandwidth and low latency that supports fast service availability and on-demand fine-tuning allowing customers to run business critical applications in a secure environment. By providing direct connectivity between data centers and ICT resources, the adoption of cloud based services is supported. This can put early adopters of the technology in an advantageous position, as discussed by Purohit, Jaiswal, & Pandey, (2012).
Figure 10: Datacenter Interconnection diagrammatically Represented Huawei (2017)
The automation of manual processes will improve efficiency, service delivery and customer service, additionally, the standardization of processes and information sharing will improve interdepartmental collaboration, reporting and productivity (Otieno, 2010), optimized reporting will enhance the decision-making process. This innovation is well aligned with the organizations growth strategy and this congruence is important if objectives are to be met.
The implementation of this disruptive innovation can aid the organization in creating an uncontested market space or blue ocean (W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne, 2005). New cloud based services will be made available to customers more expeditiously than currently available. Being the first to adopt this technology in the region will place the organization in an advantageous position, follow up adopters of the innovation will not be able to realize many of the initial benefits.
Coolink, an ISP in Nigeria has implemented this solution. The challenge being addressed through the deployment of SolidTECH ERP was the reduction of manual financial processes. It was not difficult to motivate a supportive rationale and commit resources as expounded by Swanson & Ramiller (2004) because the issues the ERP would address were negatively impacting profitability. An implementation strategy that was closely aligned with an all-inclusive communication strategy and training made certain that the adoption, implementation and assimilation of this solution was a success. These are important aspects to consider during the implementation of ICT based innovations (Klein & Knight, 2005).
A few Asian ISP’s have adopted this solution. The challenge they were addressing is the constant demand for cloud based services versus the bandwidth limitations/ high costs associated with supporting the requirement. The adoption strategy employed by Digital Ocean Singapore is concurrent with the findings of Swanson & Ramiller (2004) who advocate that first the innovation must be clearly understood in relation to the challenge it is addressing and then the organization can position itself to take advantage of the innovation (adoption), commit financial resources and implement. The company put in place an assimilation strategy that paid close attention to feedback from users and customers ensuring that the innovation’s features were tweaked to address these needs.
The budgets presented below identify the main cost areas for the ERP and Datacenter Interconnect implementation projects. The scale of the implementations will be far reaching, with almost all organizational departments affected directly or indirectly. Furthermore, there will be a direct impact on external actors, the organizations customers and suppliers for instance will be directly affected during and after the implementation. An assimilation framework that also considers the role of internal and external stakeholders as proposed by Bajwa et al. (2004) and others will also be valuable to the process. The ERP project is expected to be fully implemented within 169 days and the Datacenter innovation in 155 days.
|Month 1||Month 2||Month 3||Total|
|Huawei Consulting Fees||$7,500||$7,500||$7,500||$22,500|
|DCI Equipment purchase||$30,000||$0||$0||$30,000|
|Total Other Expenses||$71,000||$30,500||$24,000||$125,500|
Figure 11: Datacenter implementation budget
To support the implementation of these innovations and aid in the development of a roadmap, a 5-step strategy will be applied as recommended by Donovan (2012).
- An understanding of the solution in relation to the problem at hand. The deliverable from this stage is a strategic and project plan. The business strategy will provide a roadmap to competitive advantage. Goals are derived from the process.
- A review of the solutions capabilities will be done, manual processes identified in the case of the ERP implementation and operating procedures developed for both innovations.
- For the ERP, data conversion and clean-up will be done at this stage, also re-engineering of business processes to fit the ERP (Nah et al., 2001) is a requirement. In the case of the DCI solution the possibility of integrating existing systems with the innovation to offer even more value will be investigated.
- Training and testing is done during this phase. All affected stakeholders are trained on system use. Their utilization of the system will help in testing it adequately. This process is also helpful in assimilating the use of the innovation throughout the organization and beyond.
- The Commissioning and evaluation phase will see the innovation launched and its performance closely monitored over a predefined period.
The steps above will be executed within a change management model framework such as Kotter’s 8 step model, Kotter (1995), to ensure that most importantly there is executive management support, a sense of urgency and empowered stakeholders.
SECTION 4: INNOVATION STRATEGY: LINKING PEOPLE, OPERATIONS, PRODUCTS/SERVICES and IT WITH GROWTH AND A COMPETITIVE EDGE
4.1 Technology Roadmap for the Implementation of the Selected Innovative Technology Solutions at RCS-Radio & Satellite Communication Ltd.
A technology roadmap is defined as a “Visual tool that will provide the organization with a view of where it is currently positioned in relation to where it would like to be in the short or long-term” Lee & Park (2005:568). It finds relationships between technological resources, the dynamic environment and company goals so as to support strategic planning (Phaal, 2004). This living document will be continuously enhanced at RCS to hone the visual representation of the process and aid in laying the foundations for the adoption and use of innovation in the long term.
The organizations previous innovation adoption disposition was not aggressive, however, with market changes and unique factors presented by being in a stage of maturity, this stance has had to be re-considered.
Phase two of the implementation will involve the deployment of Human Resource, Operations and Admin modules to complete the ERP implementation exercise and position the organization to wholly benefit from the implementation of this innovation. Some of the objectives anticipated to be achieved with the adoption, implementation and assimilation of this innovation are the reduction of risk and uncertainty through process improvement (Information Technology Services, 2012), enhanced collaboration, enriched decision making and improved service delivery.
The Opticloud data center interconnect technological innovation will be implemented in parallel with phase 2 of the ERP. This innovation can create an un-contested market space for RCS as suggested by W. Chan Kim – Renée Mauborgne (2005). The entire process will be supported closely by the transition management framework proposed by Kotter (1995).
- All requirements have been correctly gathered and documented, based on this process the innovative technologies were selected.
- Existing billing processes have been altered to fit the ERP finance module requirements. This is in line with business process re-engineering and minimum customization guidelines as proposed by Nah, Lau, & Jinghua (2001).
- Exportation and conversion of legacy data has been completed and imported into the ERP.
- The network management systems currently in use are fully compatible with the Opticloud Datacenter Interconnect solution.
- The training and go live phases of the ERP project will be iterative until the implementation of the ERP is complete.
4.3 Constructs and Their Illustration of Innovation Aims and Potential Adoption of More Dynamic Innovation Exploitation Methods
This technology roadmap stipulates the functional steps in the development of the route to successfully adopting, implementing and diffusing the IT innovations selected. This is illustrated by the clear articulation of the steps involved as well as their dependencies, intended outcomes and benefits to the organization. Each step in the process will be subjected to the S.M.A.R.T technique, (Doran, 1981) and aspects such as milestones will be added as part of the continuous development of the document. This will make each step time-bound, clearly defined, measurable, attainable and realistic with the intention of developing a technology roadmap that will drive innovation now and in the future (Rinne, 2004).
Technology roadmaps are highly dynamic and inherently flexible (Lee & Park, 2005). The organization will primarily use this technique for mapping and exploiting innovative technologies, the method can be complimented by tools such as the Program Evaluation Review Technique (P.E.R.T) as discussed by Lenfle & Loch (2010) and the Earned Value management technique (Bower & Finegan, 2009) to effectively organize, coordinate, plan and track tasks. A risk management plan will also be developed to identify and mitigate any risks/uncertainties as argued by Marle & Vidal (2011).
4.4 Key Focus Areas for the Strengthening or Creation of Innovation at Rcs-Radio & Satellite Communication Ltd and logic behind their Selection
In order to create and take advantage of future innovation opportunities, the company will require to hasten the diffusion process. Difficulties during diffusion can be overcome through the introduction of some rigidity and/or standardization to a technique that can be quite flexible. Flexibility makes adoption sluggish, this effect can be countered by customizing roadmaps to have a balance between malleability and control (Lee & Park 2005). The use of S.M.A.R.T goals applied in parallel is expected to enhance the chances of adoption and implementation, furthermore, the support of the transition management framework suggested here will develop a sense of urgency and solicit executive management support. Stakeholder participation will be enhanced in this way, critical inputs elicited and resources made available, key factors and required actions needed in order for the organization to meet its objectives (International Energy Agency, 2014).
These innovative solutions were selected for implementation because of the intrinsic benefits that can be realized from their successful adoption, implementation and diffusion. The advantages include but are not limited to, better-quality interaction between the company, suppliers and customers, process improvement which has a positive impact on competitive ability, enhanced decision making as a result of an improved collaborative effort, timely reporting and differentiation as a result of the introduction of a radical innovation. It is on this basis that these innovative solutions were selected for road mapping so as to ensure that stakeholders can visually conceptualize the current situation and the intended future outcome (Lee & Park, 2005).
SECTION 5: INNOVATIVE SCENARIOS: Creating Future Cases of IT Innovation Deployment at RCS-Radio & Satellite Communication Ltd
The highly dynamic environment that is the Internet Service Provision domain warrants that the company is proactive in adopting novel IT technologies so as to survive, remain competitive and flourish (Gumusluoglu, 2016). With this in mind, the open innovation method has been employed by the company based on the foundations developed in this paper to address social issues in its environment. Chesbrough & Appleyard (2007) define open innovation as innovative practice based on creativity and cooperation embarked on by a wider group of innovators external to the organization.
RCS has made use of these distributed or decentralized labor networks or “crowds” to solicit novel ideas from a wider innovative community to develop an innovative urban security system that addresses the challenge of citizen safety, the firm’s culture and strategy are accommodative to this technique, it is important to establish this congruence as Lichtenthaler (2011) recommends. By aggregating diverse ideas through crowd collaborative communities the company has successfully implemented an IP based CCTV system around the city of Juba. By bringing together companies such as Google (for their mapping and analytics expertise), Sony (for the camera hardware), Bosch Security (as the main integrator), RCS (providing the internet backbone connectivity and cloud based services) and a host of individual external innovators, a solution has been developed that offers video surveillance of high risk areas within the city. The system’s novelty lies in sensors embedded in the camera’s with the ability to raise alerts to the police when pre-determined security related activity criteria is met.
The organization is presented with an opportunity to deliver maximum impact on its immediate environmental and social system through this Corporate Social Responsibility initiative. This has been achieved through a focused, energized and coordinated effort that has created shared value (Kasturi & Chase, 2008). Through the use of open innovation, the company has positioned itself well for the development and adoption of future innovations. Diversity in ideas, skills and technology has been advantageous in the development of this innovation, Boudreau and Lakhani (2016) advocate that this is a core benefit of crowd collaborative communities and this can be drawn upon to exploit future opportunities. Another opportunity lies in the management of critical knowledge outside the confines of the organization, this can be of value to the organization when there is a requirement take this knowledge to market (Lichtenthaler, 2011).
This project will have linkages with the implemented ERP and Datacenter innovations. As such, the roadmap developed in section 4 will be expanded and enhanced to reflect the open innovation partners and their solutions.
Two core risks will need to be allayed if the use of this innovation technique is to have a lasting effect. These are, the protection of intellectual property and sufficient control of the entire process. These factors can be mitigated by delimiting private assets from assets that are in the public domain (Boudreau and Lakhani, 2016) and incentivizing phases of the project to ensure that timelines and quality control is maintained.
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