DATE: August 21, 1995 TO: Dean John Rau FROM: Task Force on Science, Engineering, and Technology RE: Final Report of the Task Force on Science, Engineering, and Technology
The Task Force on Science, Engineering, and Technology was charged to:
Specifically, the Task Force was asked to answer the following three questions:
(1) Are there unmet needs for business undergraduates with higher levels of science, engineering, and technology?
Category Answer: (A) Business combined with Yes, there is a large unmet need, particularly higher levels of computer among small MIS units and small consulting firms technology that do not have an internal training program. (B) Business combined with Essentially, there is no sizable unmet need. There higher levels of is actually a small unmet need, but the numbers are industrial engineering quite small and Bloomington's base in terms of employers who are currently recruiting for the less technical end of this spectrum (i.e. operations management majors) is literally zero. (C) Business combined with Essentially ,there is no sizable unmet need. higher levels of science Because the market is highly fragmented across science disciplines, employers who want business combined with physics tell us that they currently recruit physics majors and supplement their business knowledge. To fill such a need, they would not hire majors in biology, physiology, etc. (D) Business combined with Essentially, there is no sizable unmet need. higher levels of other Because the market is highly fragmented across engineering other engineering disciplines, employers who want business combined with civil engineering tell us that they currently recruit civil engineers and supplement their business knowledge. To fill such a need, they would not hire mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, etc.
The main source of information for the answers listed above was a Symposium on Business and Technical Training held on April 7th. Despite rather short notice, the Symposium attracted 17 business people from 13 different corporations (for a complete list of the attendees see the appendix). The main source of companies to invite was firms that currently recruit at I.U. for technical positions. This accounts for the heavy tilt of the Symposium towards consulting, accounting, and M.I.S.
The Symposium found that there are multiple segments of the market for business combined with computer technology. Segment I is what we call the "More Technology" companies. It consists of small MIS units and small consulting firms that do not have an internal training program. These firms want new hires to be productive immediately without further training. Specifically, they want a new CIS track with greater depth of knowledge of "core computer technologies":
Also, they want an attitude that it's O.K. to be a programmer and "get your hands dirty" programming.
Segment II is what we call the "Balanced" companies. It consists of the Big 6 accounting firms and large consulting firms. They have year-long, internal training programs and/or on-the-job training to teach new hires any specific language, software package, or analytic technique that they use. They want new hires to be balanced between "soft skills" (i.e. individual communication, group communication, presentation skills, etc.) vs. technical knowledge of hardware, software, etc. Basically they are satisfied with the existing CIS graduates.
COMPANIES ATTENDING THE SYMPOSIUM BY MARKET SEGMENT Segment I -- "More Technology" Segment II -- "Balanced" Companies Companies Eli Lily (MIS) Ernst & Young Amoco (Systems) Deloitte & Touche Kraft Foods Coopers & Lybrand Worthington Steel (MIS) Price Waterhouse Summit Group (small consulting firm) Arthur Andersen CSC Consulting Crowe, Chizek EDS Corp
The bottom line: Based on companies that currently recruit for technical positions at I.U. and a realistic assessment of companies that we may attract in the future, the demand by "More Technology" companies for more technically trained CIS graduates is the largest and most significant unmet need that the Task Force identified.
(2) If yes, where are the companies recruiting to meet these needs?
The Balanced companies recruit our existing CIS students and are basically satisfied with the training that our CIS majors are getting. The More Technology companies are much more diverse in their recruiting strategies. They will screen students from a variety of majors (in addition to CIS), from a variety of programs (such as the Computer Science Department), and from other business schools that have more technical computer training (such as Purdue, Notre Dame, NIU, Florida A&M, Illinois). They are not satisfied with the training of our CIS majors.
The type of training that these two segments of the market demand can be located along the Business / Computer Technology Spectrum (see diagram below). The spectrum is the percentage of technical knowledge about hardware, software, networks, etc. in the curriculum. At the low end of the spectrum (on the left) is our current "Balanced" CIS major which serves the "Balanced" segment. At the high end of the spectrum (on the right) is the highly technical curriculum of the computer science department. The middle of the spectrum represents an intermediate design for a new "More Technology" CIS track designed to appeal to the "More Technology" segment.
Business / Computer Technology Spectrum
% Tech. Know: 20%-50% 50%-70% 70%-100% "Balanced" "More Tech." Computer Computer BUSINESS CIS Major CIS Track Sci. Dept. Technology
The bottom line: The Task Force believes that a new "More Technology" CIS track would meet the recruiting needs of the "More Technology" segment.
( 3) What do the alternative programs look like?
Benchmark programs in the Business / Computer Technology area typically offer additional elective courses in more technical areas. Three benchmark programs are discussed below and details on these three programs are included in the appendix.
The bottom line: The Task Force believes that two or three additional elective courses can be added to our current IS curriculum in order to form the nucleus of a new "More Technology" CIS track.
Bonus Finding: The Fundamental Importance of the "Business Process" Perspective.
"Business Process" is an alternative perspective on business. Instead of viewing the firm as a functional organization or as an organization chart, the business process perspective is to view the flow of work from initial inputs to the ultimate outputs. For example, an Order Fulfillment business process starts from order placement and goes to final shipment of the product (or final delivery of the service). A New Product Development business process starts from the initial concept for a new product and goes to the final design of the prototype and typically involves engineering, marketing, and production. Indeed it is usually the case that business processes cut across functional and organizational boundaries of the firm.
Business process is one the most important new ideas to come along in the 1990's. Although it has antecedents that go back to Michael's Porter's concept of a "Value Chain" and to the industrial engineering concept of "systems engineering," its fundamental importance in recent years comes from its widespread use in restructuring corporations. In many cases, massive gains in productivity have been accomplished by tearing down functional and organizational walls and reorganizing work flow based on the business process perspective. Many steps in the work flow and many trips up and down the organization ladder have been collapsed into a few steps (or even into one step). The result is massive gains in speed, quality, customer satisfaction, and cost of production. Several firms at the Symposium (Arthur Andersen, Coopers & Lybrand, Price Waterhouse) emphasized the fundamental and practical importance of the business process perspective to their work in redesigning information systems.
The Task Force decided that the Dean's Advisory Council (DAC) would be a very useful forum to test the robustness of the business process concept. After we explained the meaning of business process, the question we asked the DAC was: "Is business process a fad that will largely go away in a few years or is it an important, permanent concept that should be taught somewhere in the curriculum?" As compiled from separate break-out sessions, the final "vote" on this question was:
The bottom line: There is widespread agreement that business process is an important, permanent concept that should be taught somewhere in the curriculum.
Program recommendations and implementation
The Task Force's program recommendations come directly from the findings discussed above. The Task Force, through a back-and-forth process of persuasive communications, has identified people who are interested in implementing each of our recommendations. Implementation of each recommendation is discussed in further detail below.
(1) Recommendation: Add a "More Technology" track to the CIS major.
(2) Recommendation: All undergraduate business students should be exposed to the concept of
(3) Recommendation: Students in DS/OM and A&IS should get greater depth of exposure to the
concept of business process
(4) Recommendation: The MBA program should consider whether curriculum innovations
analogous to recommendations (1), (2), and (3) are appropriate for the MBA program.
Members of the Task Force on Science, Engineering, and Technology
Craig Holden -- Chair, Finance
Tom Lyon -- Vice Chair, Business Economics
Frank Acito -- Marketing
Dick Garrett -- Operations Management
Tom Hustad -- Marketing
Bob Jacobs -- Operations Management
Vince Mabert -- Operations Management
Randy Powell -- Business Placement Office
Ash Soni -- Decision and Information Systems
M.A. Venkataramanan -- Decision and Information Systems
Joe Waldman -- Undergraduate Program Office
Bill Perkins -- Decision and Information Systems
Appendix Table of Contents