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Corbel, P. ; Denis, J.P. et Taha, R. « Systèmes d’information, innovation et création de valeur : premiers enseignements du programme MINE France », Cahiers du CIGREF n°2, septembre 2005, p.71-90
The link between information systems, innovation and value creation (henceforth IS - I - VC) is at the crossroads of several "classic" issues in information systems management: how to evaluate the impact of IS investments on company performance? How to transform "technical" investments into changes in the organization's practices? How can we manage projects involving the implementation of new IS-related technologies? We find here the themes of IS evaluation and ICT use which are the subject of in-depth work - notably within the framework of CIGREF. The aims of the MINE France program, of which this working paper presents the very first results, is not, however, to tackle those different issues individually.
This program is based on a conviction: the importance of going beyond a very techno-deterministic vision of IS investment to articulate the question of value creation associated with IS with the theme of innovation. This theme covers not only IS innovation, but also the innovation made possible (and necessary) by IS. Under these conditions, it is the effectiveness of this linkage, and not IS investment taken in isolation, that is likely to create value, i.e. generate future cash flows in financial terms.
The paper first gives a detailed account of the concrete organization of the MINE France program. The aim of the project is identify a limited number of generic configurations of articulations between the three main dimensions IS - I - VC from the analysis of the practices of the participating companies . These practices are apprehended through interviews and case studies with a double concern of theoretical and empirical robustness.
The next two sections of the article present the first advances of the program. The objective is not to add new recipes, which are as quickly written and read as they are forgotten. A significant part of the research work has therefore consisted in trying to pose the "problem" of the IS - I - VC articulation as correctly as possible in the light of the literature review and the first empirical investigations (second part). We will thus see that an IS investment is first and foremost an intangible investment. Far from being trivial, this observation has important implications that have been rightly identified and analyzed by B. de Montmorillon (2001) and that should be taken into account. The most important is undoubtedly that an intangible investment can only create a potential for improving performance, and therefore for creating value, and that its realization requires other means than those of a traditional investment.
Finally, the third part presents the first comparative results from the case studies that have been completed or are underway. Although the design of the IS - I - VC "configurations" will require much more detailed investigations, the first elements of comparison can nevertheless be provided and avenues outlined.
The cahier de recherche du Cigref n°2 can be downladed from the association website.