Information and Communication technologies (ICTs) comprise of tools and resources related to information technology, like computers, storage, networking and other physical devices, infrastructure used for communicating, creating, disseminating, storing, securing, managing and exchanging all forms of electronic data and information. ICT includes products that store process, transmit, convert, duplicate, receive electronic information by using electronic textbooks, instructional software, email, chat and distance learning programmes.
Four major technology alignment models are:
- Strategic Alignment Model (SAM): – depicting the concept of strategy alignment linking three domains between IT Strategy, IT infrastructure and processes to support and shape business policies. (Henderson & Venkatraman, 1992)
- MIT 1990s Framework: – examines inter-relationships between business and IT strategy, infrastructure and processes considering impact on customers, suppliers and markets in various cycles which include competitive potential, service level and technology potential. (Mc Donald, 1991)
- Variance models: – highlighting antecedents comprising of corporate culture, IT experience, leadership approach, communication styles and examines outcomes by use of variables. (Henderson & Venkatraman, 1992)
- Process models of alignment: – classic model of rational approach vs. processual model advocating focus on internal and power issues which perceives IT as a resource and instrument for gaining power by the organization.
Figure 1. Strategic Alignment Model (SAM)
Use of ICT in organizations during lockdown based on the four technology alignment models: In view of the current National Lockdown, the use of ICT is envisaged to be highly beneficial for enhancing organizational functioning of various kinds based on technology alignment models such as:
- Banking system based on Strategic Alignment Model (SAM):
- Enhancement of better networking for harmonious functioning:
- It is evident from past experience that ICT has been useful in solving banking issues through application of appropriate Information Technology (IT) strategy and planning.
- Managers who are knowledgeable about IT and system identification processes play a significant role in solving operational issues for networking with different stakeholders of the banking system in their physical absence due to the lockdown.
- Better alignment for covering the socio-cultural dimension:
- Also, communication barriers with customers can be successfully removed and financial issues resolved, if functional integration exists between IT personnel working with the bank and the operational managers.
- In addition, prior to use of IT solutions for resolving problems, managers need to have deeper understanding and knowledge of the banking industry as well as issues related to client satisfaction.
2 Business organizations alignment based on MIT Technology Model:
- Synchronization of Business and IT strategies:
- Business organizations can achieve success even in a strict lockdown situation provided the business strategies and plans get synchronized with their IT strategy and plans to complement each other for better functioning.
- Alignment may be brought about successfully when there is a formal documented plan of business operations and IT operational strategy and plans.
- Commitment of Top managers:
- In order to bring about strategic impact of IT in business, it is important to ensure strong commitment from the top management and proactive operational managers with the IT management for functional integration even amidst a situation wherein, the National economy is virtually stranded.
- Thus, strong IT arrangements and use of network technology is necessary for fast delivery, easy accessibility and sharing of information for bringing about optimal organizational changes and appropriate decision- making amidst such severe environmental turbulence.
- Preparedness for adaptive planning approach:
- In times of environmental uncertainties, organizations must consider adaptive planning approach in view of frequent changes associated with supply, production processes and customer demand.
- Strategically well aligned IT may be utilised as a resource based on needs and pressures of such environment.
- Improving Administration:
- ICTs can help in transmitting documents over the internet which would be less expensive as compared to dispatching packets by courier.
- Interactive software programmes may be used to impart online training program to employees during such period for updating their knowledge.
- Enhancing Customer interaction:
- Advances in information technology offers customers new ways to purchase products by using mobile communication devices and internet websites and help to also get instant support for return of goods if required.
- ‘Big Basket’ is being utilised by customers for online purchase of vegetables, fruits and groceries in such a situation of lockdown and the implementation of ‘Social Distancing’ norms for containment of the pandemic.
3. Healthcare industry -ICT use based on SAM and Process Model:
- Need based productivity:
- The healthcare industry has successfully utilised ICT for manufacture of N-95 masks and Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs), sanitizers etc. for distribution to CoVID warriors in the field.
- Business firms like HLL Lifecare Limited uses technology and computer software to deliver the production needs to the manufacturing department, thereby creating order schedules with vendors, pick-ups and deliveries at the respective healthcare institutions.
- Thus, even in such turbulent times, the application of ICT is helpful for mass scale production of need based products, IEC material for awareness generation.
4. Educational institutions and use of ICT based on variance model:
- Facilitating online learning:
- ICT facilitates online learning even during the lockdown period for school children as well as university students.
- Use of Digital Platform for knowledge updation by relevant Stakeholders:
- Digital platforms are utilised by teachers, students, researchers, healthcare professionals and IT personnel for constant updation of CoVID website.
- UGC with the help of ICT has been able to share several online links for audio and video learning. Students are in constant touch with teachers for online classes conducted through Skype, Zoom, hangouts, Google classroom.
- Opportunity for e-learning as a process in academics:
- enrollment into various online courses like edX, courser, swayam are available on online platforms
- Online degrees are offered by the government as an enabling process for higher education.
- Use of Online educational Apps:
- Online educational Apps like video based micro courses, e-books, simulations, graphics, animations, quizzes, games and e-notes are used for academic learning for students as well as awareness generation for general public in the community.