The perils of technology implementation: politics, resistance, and breakdowns

Thursday 19 March, 2 – 4pm

• Will Venters and Mark Thompson talk about customer relationships management and politics and technology buy-in.

London School of Economics (Room: 32.L. G.24)
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Will Venters presents:

The  breakdown of process in Customer Relationships Management Infrastructure: Examining coupling between customer and advisor

Most large telecommunications companies with millions of customers have developed highly complex customer relationship infrastructures (centred around customer relationship management software) to manage their customer interaction. Such infrastructures have been built to efficiently process vast numbers of transactional encounters. Yet with any complex infrastructure of this scale problems are bound to occur, which are often disproportionate in their cost and effect on the reputation of the business. Understanding such breakdown is therefore important.  This talk will use a case study of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) breakdown which unfolded over 100 days to explore how processes are coupled within complex CRM infrastructure. Extending our understanding of coupling, and of infrastructure breakdown, the talk aims to contribute understanding on the customer and advisors’ role within CRM infrastructure, and to provide practical lessons for those developing such infrastructure.

Dr Will Venters is an Assistant Professor in Information Systems and Digital Innovation within the Department of Management at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). His research interests include Cloud Computing, Digital Platforms, and Agile innovation approaches. He has a first-class degree in computer science and a PhD in information systems. His research work has been published in major refereed journals including MIS Quarterly, Journal of Information Technology, the Journal of Management Studies, and the Information Systems Journal. He speaks regularly at practitioner conferences on various digital business issues, particularly around Digital Ecosystems, Digital Innovation and Cloud Computing; has briefed European government policy makers and various company executives; and undertakes wide ranging consultancy in IT strategy and Digital transformation. He co-authored the Palgrave book “Moving to the Cloud Corporation” and is the author of a blog on digital technology and is an associate editor of the Journal Information Technology and People.

Mark Thompson presents:

Affective Politics and Technology Buy-In: A Framework of Social, Political and Fantasmatic Logics

We propose a socially-informed explanation of technology framing, by examining technology ‘buy-in’: actors’ relative susceptibility to such framing. We draw on the field of critical social theory to introduce the ‘Logics’, a new framework to the IS discipline, that reveals a performative relationship between collective framing, power, and affect. The Logics enable us to study buy-in, by revealing the differing degrees of affective self-identification that underpin and colour social practices, showing their inherently political nature. We exemplify the affective, as well as social, politics of buy-in with an account of Unity 3D, a market-leading game engine which underwent a major repositioning from ‘fringe’ to ‘mainstream’ markets. We discuss four poles of affective positioning with which to conceptualize technology buy-in. We conclude by highlighting the consequent need for greater political and ethical awareness about the framing of IS, proposing a framework for conceptualizing actors’ orientations towards, and thus possible buy-in, or resistance, to technology framing.

Mark is Professor in the DIgital Economy at the London-based Initiative for the Digital Economy, Exeter (INDEX). Mark is acknowledged in the public domain as one of the architects of Digital service redesign within the UK public sector. He chairs several of the large annual conferences on Digital, including the National Digital Conference, Digital Leaders Conference, and is a recognised thought leader on digital matters for Computer Weekly and other publications. Blending the roles of academic, practitioner, and policy commentator, Mark is also 40% shareholder and Strategy Director at the £110m Methods Group, specialising in the application of cloud-based and emerging technologies to the public sector, where he has led three successful start-ups, including a data science business.
Mark has published peer-reviewed articles in a broad range of academic journals including Information and Organization, Academy of Management Review, Organization Science, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Government Information Quarterly, Public Administration, Human Relations, Journal of International Development, Journal of the Association of Information Systems, etc., and has been a reviewer for a broad range of journals. Mark’s co-authored book, Digitizing Government, appeared in December 2014, and Manifesto for Better Public Services launched at the Institute for Government in April 2018. He tweets at @markthompson1.
 Mark delivers executive education on digital to a broad range of audiences.  These have included Indian, UK, Canadian, Italian, Malaysian, and Israeli Governments, Roche, Pfizer, global banks, insurance companies, and Chinese conglomerates, to name a few; he developed and is currently delivering Amazon Web Services (AWS)’ flagship Global Government Education Programme. More broadly, he has designed and delivered a range of courses on information systems, technology, and digital at PhD, MBA, Masters, and Undergraduate level.

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