Role of information technology in enhancing the productivity of organizations
Communication (Internal and external members)
Control & budget
Emirates Airline is one of the leading airlines in United Arab Emirates, and it is a global airline that operates in 80 countries and 142 cities from its hub in Dubai to other destinations across the globe. The core activities of the airline is the provision of commercial air transportation services both passengers and cargo across its destinations in the world. The Emirates operates the largest fleets of Boeing 777 aircraft and Airbus A380 in the world. Emirates continuous growth has been linked with its vision/mission of striving to go further in all aspects of its operations combined with its organizational behavior and information technology which ensures that all the needs of its stakeholders for instance, employee, customers, shareholders, and the society are met (Emirates, 2014).
Role of information technology in enhancing the productivity of organizations
The persistent productivity gaps in most of the airlines have been linked with low investments in the adoption of the new technology. Information technology encompasses all forms of technology in creating, storing, exchanging, and using information in different forms. Information technology has permeated in almost all sectors of the economy with enhanced levels of diffusion thus contributing to enhanced productivity (Sobhani, 2008).
Information technology is important in the airline because it ensures that all resource inputs are utilized as much as possible in an effective way. For instance, the increasing use of computers and mobile phones in the airline has ensured that information is transmitted in an effective manner to all employees thus enhancing communication in the airline. This information is important in the airline because it allows decision makers who are the managers to make informed decisions in line with the vision/mission of the airline. For instance, Emirates mission it to create customer experience through quality services both passenger services and cargo across different destinations (Vijselaar & Albers, 2004). To achieve this vision, therefore, the information technology has helped employees gain the necessary skills and knowledge through knowledge management, communicate effectively both internally and externally, and also enhance efficiency in all its operations. This has translated into enhanced productivity in the airline thus giving the airline a competitive advantage in the global market (Licht & Moch, 2009).
Information technology in the airline has enhanced organizational productivity through accessible information networks such as the internet and e-business, accessibility to information on team working, reports and paper works are computerized thus increasing the rate at which these reports are made, accessibility to the feedback information, office automation, accessibility to update information, overall customer satisfaction, accomplishing complex duties effectively, minimize excess and useless employees, and minimize parallel, unnecessary, and redundant activities (Vijselaar & Albers, 2004). That said, information technology with its rapidly improving quality, capacity, and cost/performance ratios is playing a key role in enhancing productivity in the airline. Emirates airline has, therefore, invested in the new technology so as to achieve the goals of reengineering including digitalizing the databases, accessing up-to-date information, and minimizing waiting time (Sobhani, 2008).
Employee motivation is one of the most debated topics in management studies over the years. Based on the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which is the mostly used theory of motivation in organizations, the theory argues that in all aspects of human being, there exists a hierarchy of five needs which must be satisfied to ensure that the employee is productive. The physiological needs include shelter and anger, the safety needs which include protection and security, social needs which include friendship and affection, self-esteem needs such as autonomy and self respect, and self-actualization needs which include growth and self-fulfillment. If all these needs are fulfilled, the productivity of the employee is increased thus increasing performance in the organization (Sobhani, 2008).
Emirates launched a prestigious Emirates Aviation college whereby more than 40 young Emirates are trained for four years on airline industry management. All the students in the institute are full time employees of the airline and this is part of the airline strategy to motivate employees to enhance their productivity in the company. An innovative performance management system is also used by the airline alongside medical benefits and staff travels. Self service kiosks are also used by the airline so as to assist the employee’s access all the administrative HR services at their convenience. This has played a key role in enhancing the productivity of the workers in the airline (The Sunday Times, 2006).
Emirates strategy is to take the Emirates experience further and this has being achieved through the use of information technology in all its operations so as to enhance customer satisfaction in all its services both the passenger services and cargo services. Emirates aim is to offer the best possible experience to all its customers by keeping abreast the new technology so as to innovate new ways which would meet their customers demands (The Sunday Times, 2006). The Emirates for instance, has invested heavily in entertainment system to ensure that its in-flight entertainment system meets the highest of standards at 30,000 fleet. Emirates also allows its passengers to use their mobile phones to make calls and also send messages during their flights, and this has motivated most of the passengers to use the airline. In 2013 and 2014, Emirates reported 13 million text messages and one million mobile phone calls made by onboard passengers. This is a great milestone for the airline because since the service was introduced, Emirates has been able to report increasing revenues over the years compared to competitors who have not implemented this technology in their fleet (The Economist, 2006).
Television channels have also being launched in the airline thus making their passengers stay abreast of the global news. The passengers have access to high speed connectivity in its entire cabin and it is also affordable to all passengers. Passengers are able to browse the internet on their personal devices at affordable price. Today, a quarter of Emirates aircraft is fitted with Wi-Fi and the management is focusing on ensuring that all its aircrafts are fitted with Wi-Fi. This new technology is important to the company because it will create a new experience for their customers to continue using their services (The Sunday Times, 2006).
Again, to make sure that the transactions are effective, emirates has modernized its digital experience so as to make sure that all its transactions are smooth and effective. A good example is the newly launched technology system known as Inspire Me. This is a tool that helps all its passengers to find ideal destinations online by suggesting options such as activities, climate, and location. The passengers are also able to book for their flights online thus easing the transactions process (The Sunday Times, 2006).
Communication (Internal and external members)
Although Emirates communication process is hierarchical implying that decisions are made by the top management and passed to the subordinate staff, the management ensures that all employees are engaged whereby in each team, they make decisions which are viewed by the top management thus creating job satisfaction from the teams. If employees are engaged, they always feel passionate about their role in the company and this contributes to enhanced organizational productivity (Emirates Airlines, 2006).
Internal members in the airline use different modes of technology to communicate to each other so as to ensure that the communication process is fast, easy, and effective. For instance, staff in the airline communicates online using services such as email, website, ecommerce, and e-business to communicate important business operations. Mails are sent to various groups entailing their respective roles and goals which are to be realized in a certain period of time. The emails are sent to the group supervisors and it is later send to each team member to ensure that they are conversant with what they are supposed to do. They also use mobile phones to communicate. For instance, the managers can communicate with the supervisors in each group and provide the expectation of the group without having to travel to each group to give orders. This has played a key role in ensuring that all the team members understand their roles and their expectation in line with the company vision/mission strategy (Emirates Airlines, 2006).
Emirates employees are termed as information workers because of the massive use of the new technology in all its processes and this has resulted into increase in output per team. In every department in the airline, there is a computer which has being used in different activities for instance, transaction processing, writing reports, employment shares, productivity variety, and organizational structure. All these information is transmitted to the managers through emails for viewing and also approval by the management. Almost all the workers in the airline have access to a computer, and this has played a key role in enhancing communication and productivity in the airline (Emirates Airlines, 2006).
The Emirates also uses the new technology to communicate with external members including suppliers through phone calls and emails too. The network era has provided electronic linkages between the airline and suppliers and can access inputs which are converted into services in an effective manner. The airline is electronically connected trading partner with its stakeholders such as customers in the sense that the customers are able to access the services offered by the airline online and can also make their bookings online thus reducing operational costs in the airline. The management is able to make IT-based strategies such as online advertising on its new services thus enhancing efficiency and competitive advantage in the airline (Emirates, 2014).
Emirates organizational structure and control is aligned with the airline strategy to enhance customer experience by doing more so as to achieve a competitive advantage in the global market. For instance, the position of the authority rests upon the company shareholders and managers who make strategic decisions concerning the operations of the airline. Emirates decision making channel is hierarchical coming from the top management, which is from top managers to supervisors. Emirates organizational structure has, therefore, being linked with the strategic competitiveness which has been reported by the airline over the years (Emirates Airlines, 2006).
Surprisingly, Emirates Airline does not have a board of directors like other companies across the globe. The top management argues that the airline is a flexible family organization whereby it runs like a family and this family culture has allowed the airline to get great structural flexibility. The Emirates is organized around the strengths of all employees other than being constrained in a rigid organizational structure whereby decisions only come from the top (from the board of directors) (Emirates, 2014).
Emirates information technology systems have enhanced efficiency and effectiveness in the company. For instance, the internal employees make use of information systems such as computers and mobile phones and such metrics are cost effective and they also enhance productivity in the company. The Emirates has also being able to achieve its organizational objective related to the external environment thus resulting into a competitive advantage in the company (Emirates, 2014). For instance, Emirates has introduced the traceability system in all its aircrafts so as to enhance the safety of all its airlines. The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a traceability technology that uses radio waves so as to identify aircrafts automatically. It has a wireless microchip which is normally attached on the aircraft. Emirates has, therefore, implemented this new technology in all its aircrafts so as to captures all the processes along the fleets. The new technology has helped the airline to enhance its efficiency despite the fact that the new technology has being mimicked by other competitors in the industry (Rotab, 2000).