The case that you will use for
this and the following two modules is another Harvard Business School
case, this one 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.
Please read the Alcon 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.
You should use information from the background readings from the
courses that you have taken, particularly those listed as being
particularly relevant to this module, as well as any other good quality
resources you can find through search. Please cite all sources and
provide a reference list (use APA format) at the end of your paper.
Then write a short paper describing the computer and hardware issues
raised by this case. In particular, you should address the following
The pros and cons of the current Alcon technology infrastructure
The pros and cons of the new Alcon technology infrastructure proposed by Robert Ouelette
Additional improvements to the infrastructure that you would propose (if any) for this case; justify your suggestions.
Case Expectations and Grading Criteria:
Your paper will be evaluated on the following criteria (meeting minimum requirements is B performance):
Completion of the case assignment.
Appropriate length of 3-5 pages (since a page is about 300 words, this is approximately 900-1500 words)
Evidence of evaluation and analysis as required
Support for assertions using examples, citations
(use required readings), and elaboration to support assertions. Evidence
that you have read the required background materials
Precision: the questions asked are answered.
Clarity: Your answers are clear and show your good understanding of the topic.
Breadth and Depth: The scope covered in
your paper is directly related to the questions of the assignment and
the learning objectives of the module.
Critical thinking: It is important to read
the "required readings" posted in the background material plus others
you find relevant. Your paper should include important concepts from
these readings and incorporate YOUR reactions and examples that
illustrate your reflective judgment and good understanding of the
Overall: Your paper is well written and the references are properly cited and listed.