Beyond IT and Productivity How Digitization Transformed the Graphic Industry

Detta är en avhandling från Institutionen för datavetenskap

Sammanfattning: This thesis examines how IT and the digitization of information have transformed processes of the graphic industry. The aim is to show how critical production processes have changed when information in these processes have been digitized. Furthermore it considers if this has influenced changes in productivity while also identifying other significant benefits that have occurred as a result of the digitization. The debate concerning the productivity paradox is one important starting point for the thesis. Previous research on this phenomenon has mainly used different types of statistical databases as empirical sources. In this thesis though, the graphic industry is instead studied from a mainly qualitative and historical process perspective.The empirical study shows that digitization of information flows in the graphic industry began in the 1970s, but the start of the development and use of digitized information happened in the early 1980s. Today almost all types of materials in the industry, for example text and pictures, have developed into a digital form and the information flows are hereby more or less totally digitized. A common demand in the industry is that information produced should be adaptable to the different channels in which it may be presented. The consequences from use of IT and the digitization of information flows are identified in this thesis as different outcomes, effects, and benefits. The outcomes are identified directly from the empirical material, whilst the resulting effects are generated based on theories about IT and business value. The benefits are in turn generated from a summarization of the identified effects.Identified effects caused by IT and digitization of information include integration and merging of processes; vanishing professions; reduced number of operators involved; decreased production time; increased production capacity; increased amount and quality of communication; and increased quality in produced originals. One conclusion drawn from the analysis is that investments and use of IT have positively influenced changes in productivity. The conclusion is based on the appearance of different automational effects, which in turn have had a positive influence on factors that may be a part of a productivity index. In addition to productivity other benefits, based on mainly informational effects, are identified. These benefits include increased capacity to handle and produce information, increased integration of customers in the production processes, increased physical quality in produced products, and options for management improvements in the production processes. The conclusions indicate that it is not always the most obvious benefit, such as productivity, that is of greatest significance when IT is implemented in an industry.