With the investment in the Information Technology and systems, the world bank has achieved its objectives to such an extent that it has constantly thought of changing and reframing those objectives from time to time. As in CEO own words whenever he gave any “idea” to the IT department personnel to do something he always got more than he had expected in the end. IT was definitely meeting its value proposition throughout the world bank by showing one face to the entire world and at the same time as close to the customers as possible and making quick and at the same time highly informed mission decisions and providing high quality one to one consultancy based upon the client needs by being able to intelligently leverage the relevant past experiences from some other part of the world through collaborations by various means.
The organizations like the world bank that thrive on the knowledge cannot keep on working efficiently for all times to come if they depend solely on there Human resources because when the human being goes, with him would go his experiences also. Hence the greatest value of IT was in the regard that the human experiences were not only saved but also efficiently implemented in the form of best practices throughout the organization with the help of IT.
The emphasis given on IT over the previous five year period was almost the same as any other organization i.e. 10 to 11% but owing to the large size of the world bank this figure amounted to millions of dollars which was then very properly utilized in communication and IT infrastructure alike making it the most awe inspiring in the world. In today’s world no organization can exist without IT. Today majority of the transactions, over 40% in any bank be it Citibank or Bank of America etc occur online.
Investments in the IT systems therefore have become rather mandatory for any organization. Most of the global organizations are also already employing the latest software and hardware systems for better serving there customers. Moreover today’s customers are not satisfied only with offerings but also need a delightful experience at the time they want and the way they want. Therefore in monetary terms world bank did not do anything particularly exemplary.
The IT was not over budgeted as a resource in financial terms but the expectations from it especially at the topmost levels were really very huge. It was perceived as a profit making tool, cost cutting tool, efficiency providing tool , emergency tool, outsourcing tool, strategy implementation tool, decentralizing tool, recruitment tool, customer relationship management tool, change management tool etc and rightly so. Although 10-11% of he over all budget amounted to lot of dollars sufficient to pay for the satellites, video conferencing stations, software and hardware, radios etc. it nevertheless was just 1/10th of the entire set.
Since the world bank was almost omnipresent there was a need to standardize the processes throughout the bank so that there were no unnecessary conflicts and homogenous policies prevailed within the entire system. At the same time the management practices had really to be uniformly the best and time and experience tested so that the best results could come in the shortest possible time through implementing those practices. Also these processes needed to be automated so that there was minimal human involvement and the possibility of any errors was low.
All these demands were greatly met through SAP, People soft and other BI software although with a little initial hesitation from the end users. When the benefits of the implementation were realized the automatically the staff kept on becoming more and more satisfied. At the same time IT was certainly the backbone of the world bank because the entire philosophy of the world bank thrived on it. It was rightly called the “central nervous system” of the bank because without IT was nearly impossible to sustain the uniformity and continuity of knowledge throughout the organization.
The IT strategy at the world bank was indeed focused towards the profitability and growth through better collaborations between all the participants and better control during the implementation of the projects through decentralization and creation of the a common wealth of knowledge. The previous centralized organization structure metamorphosis into a decentralized matrix of networks thus enabling the bank to be as close to the clients as possible and led to the formation of thematic groups thus providing the client countries like Nigeria with the wealth of relevant high quality information within few minutes.
The bank often makes profit in the form of fee charged for some of its services and interests generated on the loans provided to the recipient countres.The IT strategy led to more fulfillment and growth as compared to any other strategy of the World Bank and therefore was given all the emphasis by the top management. Although the investments in IT were huge the real benefits and profits were also far reaching and hidden but atleast the ground work was laid for future developments.
Implementation and adoption of IT in the World Bank was with a vision of developing close knitting between the interest groups so that increased sharing was possible between them and valuable advice could be given and taken between the members