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Information Systems: A Professor's Perspective

By Prof. Dr. Alexander Mädche, Academic Director of Mannheim & Tongji EMBA



Ranging from the enrichment of routine working tasks (e.g., enterprise resource planning systems) to the e-enabled integration of entire business eco-systems (e.g., e-supply chains), IS have become a vital backbone of businesses. Thus, the ability to implement and use IS in a way supporting the overall value proposition of a corporation has become a central success determinant for many firms.

The IS course of the Mannheim & Tongji EMBA started at the day after Germany has won the world soccer championship. I had the pleasure to see the game during the flight, also a unique and unforgettable experience. I obviously asked myself how tired the class would be and how I could get the group even more fascinated about IS. It went pretty well, despite a lack of sleep the class engaged nicely and worked hard until the evening.

For the first time in this course a full day design thinking workshop at Bosch in cooperation with SAP took place on July 15th. It was prepared very well by great help of Bosch and SAP (thanks to Elke Simon-Keller!). However, I was not 100% sure if it would really work. Following the design thinking cycle existing Bosch procurement processes and associated information systems were systematically analyzed emphasizing a human-centered perspective based on interviews and observation of Bosch employees. Results were consolidated with methods such as personas and documentation of issues & insights. Sketch-based prototypes of innovative solutions for Bosch procurement were suggested and evaluated with end-users. Overall, the day was a great success and a unique learning experience for all participants.

Finally, on July 16th after some further hardfacts about IS, we started case study work including presentations and discussions. Finally, another highlight was the industry talk by candidate EMBA M&T Lars Rupprecht and CHAN Wai Yeong from Continental Automotive Holding. The topic of the talk was “IT-Business Alignment and the relevance of project management@IT”. It was impressive to see how mature and innovative in parallel Continental is and how they successfully align business and IT on different levels contextualized to the specific types of projects.