Expertise and Innovation: Information Technology Strategies in the Financial Services Sector

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The nature of technical expertise has become increasingly important and problematic in the post-modern era, as structured hierarchies and production methods are revised. Financial services, one of our most important economic sectors, has also been confronting very high degrees of uncertainty that reflect great institutional and market changes. In this fluid and competitive environment technological change - in particular the widening scope of information technology (IT) - has become vitally important.

This study is about the strategic uses of IT in retail financial services. It is based on the Scottish part of the industry, a highly cohesive sector in its own right, but one with universal linkages to UK and global finance. A set of seven case studies forms the empirical base, while the study also focuses on key strategic projects within these case companies. The purpose is to arrive at an understanding of how firms develop a strategic approach to IT.

This hinges on the management of expertise - the ability to integrate detailed technological expertise with wider organizational and marketing goals. The study examines a number of themes around this key issue: the process of formation of IT strategy, sectorial influences on the implementation of computer-based systems, and the occupational and career factors that shape IT expertise.

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Oxford University Press
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