The EDP department is made of two persons, the CIO and another employee who is in charge of the management of remote connections with shops. From the hierarchical point of view, the CIO is just one level under the CEO, but they do not take part in any strategic meetings. With reference to strategic decisions, the CIO's opinion is requested only when an "IT-related" feasibility judgment is needed; therefore, their role seems to be much closer to a consultant figure than a manager. Even though the CIO is not directly involved in the strategic planning process, their tasks are not limited to the ones concerning the development and implementation of customized software applications. They also deal with the fulfillment of the information requirements of both employees and top managers. Such a situation, which is due to a peculiar attitude of the company owners, is also related to a lack of autonomy in the research and gathering of information by LSB staff. Likewise, due to the decision by the property that no external partners are needed, the CIO has to personally carry out the technical assistance on any hardware component. Finally, they are in charge of the download of the files containing the orders gathered by the sales agents by remotely accessing the agents' laptops.
LSB is characterized by employees with diversified IT skills. A meaningful part of LSB staff prefer not to deal with IT tools, and every time they need any information or report, they would ask the CIO to provide the required data. Obviously, this often means a work overload for the CIO.
The founder and President, even if not dealing with any specific activity, still holds a fundamental role because he still keeps a global sight about the firm, and has the last word about the most important decisions. His age (he is about 80 years old) and cultural background (he used to work for the design department) do not allow him to be aware of the ICT opportunities.
The eldest son supervises the marketing and sales departments and represents LSB at the trade fairs. The second son is the director of the design department, where the shoes are created, designed and coded. The last-born son mainly deals with the production department and with choices regarding the purchasing of raw materials.
This paragraph describes LSB five most "critical" processes, i.e., the processes that have a relevant influence on the business performance. Figure 7 provides a synthetic representation of the processes. The corresponding detailed DFD is represented in Figure 10.
Figure 7: LSB Business Processes
Collection Encoding: coding of new collection components and data entry
Internal Production Progress: production progress in the inner plant
External Production Planning and Control: production planning and progress regarding the external workshops
Information flows between LSB and commercial agents: information transmission/ receiving to/from sale agents and shops
Evaluation of manufacturing costs
The description of each process is carried out through data flow diagrams (DFD). In this case study, we refer to the formalization of information flows suggested by Francalanci, Schreiber and Tanca (1994) as shown in the legend below (Figure 8). In particular, according to this formalization, the term "Interface" indicates any organizational role which receives a specific information flow after a processing phase, addresses it to another organizational role.
Figure 8: Legend of DFD Representation
In order to better understand how LSB works, it can be useful to aggregate the Collection Encoding and the Evaluation of manufacturing costs processes in the Collection Preparing Phase (as shown in Figure 7). Figure 9 shows the details of the information flows of such phase.
Figure 9: DFD Describing the Activities and the Related Information Flows of the Collection Preparing Phase
Figure 10: DFD Describing the Activities and the Related Information Flows of all the Strategic Processes in LSB