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Denis, J.P. et Corbel, P. « Synthèse du programme MINE France : vers une (re)conception de la gouvernance des SI ? », Cahiers du CIGREF n°3, October 2006, p.45-68

Summary :

This working paper is the result of a combination of theoretical reflection that deviates somewhat from the references generally used in information systems research and the analysis of four in-depth monographs carried out within the framework of the MINE France program, supplemented by interviews in several other public and private organizations. Starting with an initial question about the link between IS, innovation and value creation, we were gradually led, as our investigations progressed, to several fundamental questions related to the role of the CIO: on what criteria is the evaluation of IS investments based? Are they really geared towards value creation? Can these investments even be evaluated? What role should risk management play in these investments and in the CIO function itself?

Given the diversity and depth of these questions, we are entitled to return to an even more fundamental question: how (i.e., according to what principles and criteria) can we ensure viable governance of information systems?
The aim of this paper is to continue the reflection begun in our previous contribution, focused on the concept of business model, and to deepen our understanding of this fundamental problem that is familiar to all CIOs, especially in large companies. With this aim in mind, a return to the very essence of the enterprise - an organizational form, of course, but also (and above all...) an entrepreneurial act - leads us to an analysis framework specifically developed in the framework of the MINE France program. Applied to the cases of the companies studied, it highlights several essential points that will be detailed in the paper.
Thus, contrary to what was said at the beginning of the millennium under the impetus of the wave of Internet technologies, the vast majority of IS investments appear to have been decided and deployed with a view to contributing to the achievement of a value that is largely considered as a given. Following Joffre and Montmorillon (1), this is a principle that can be described as "cost-efficiency", according to the classic logic of economics. However, what these case studies also show is that, once they have been made, these IS investments also have unanticipated effects and are therefore likely to be used for something other than what was planned at the time of the investment decision. In the extreme, these effects are likely to profoundly modify, or even renew, the very value of the entrepreneurial project. We speak here of efficiency according to a logic of value creation. Since the latter is difficult to anticipate, it leads to a high degree of uncertainty. This observation, which is in line with essential theoretical advances in management research over the last few years, justifies questioning the relevance, and even the necessity, of (re)designing the principles and criteria of IS governance in the company. This will be justified by a desire to go beyond the sole logic of cost-efficiency, which is still favored by the majority of firms - particularly under the pressure of financial markets - so that the conditions of efficiency are also integrated and understood according to a logic of value creation.

 (1) Joffre, P. & de Montmorillon, B. (2001) « Théories institutionnelles et management stratégique » in Martinet, A.C. & Thiétart, R.A. (coord.), Stratégie – Actualité et futurs de la recherche, Vuibert, p.229-248.

Link :

The cahier de recherche du Cigref n°3 can be downloaded on the association website.


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