Strategic Information System
Category : Information System Management
2a. Discuss the purpose of having Information Management, Knowledge Management and
Information Systems strategies and show the relationship between them. Also consider the development and enforcement of these strategies.
Information management, knowledge management and the incorporation of varying information systems strategies are very pivotal aspect in any company or firm success. In fact, some information management writers contested on the belief that global business only becomes feasible and viable if supported by technologically driven global infrastructures of information technology. For some strategy theorists, like (1986), suggested that information and communications technologies increase the options for how to organize efficiently and effectively on a global scale. Thus, the incorporation of these essential three strategies in the company would play a big impact in the business and is likely to be a predictor of the company’s success and its future direction.
The purpose of adapting the three strategies is presumable to play a role in the organizational strategy which is defined as the direction and scope of an organization over the long-term: which achieves advantage for the organization through its configuration of resources within a changing environment to meet the needs of markets and to fulfil stakeholder expectations ( 2003). To name a few organization problems, that is relative to information management, arises from poor data quality are characterized to be par below in giving satisfactory customer service such that information would not be readily available when needed resulting to loss in revenues and a potent drop in the number of customer retention, poor decision making since the integration of information is inexistent, hard time in winning or looking for new business prospects, thus, company’s growth is in stagnation, poor understanding of market dynamics and customer needs because of inefficient customer relationship management which are crucial in the aim of fostering customer loyalty, and the information cannot be used to deliver the value which should supposedly be fast and accessible. As (1996) notes organizations must collect, process, use, and communicate information, both external and internal, in order to plan, operate and take decisions. Similarly (1993) suggests that every organization should therefore consider the need for structured information management.
With proper implementation of effective information management strategy, it can reap the benefits of the integration and cohesion of all the information activities that would be made easily accessible to all elements within the business world that enable company’s to effectively make a more efficient business decisions. Further, information management promotes a culture of innovation and knowledge sharing brought about by the availability of valuable information. For example, in Shiseido, where they have superb customer relationship management, because of the integration of the valuable information they have on their databases. This information are being utilized by the research and development to come up with new innovative products that is demanded by the people. Simply stated, without information management, the information that have been accrued would be mere a piece of information and not being used to its maximum value.
“Knowledge is one of those concepts that is extremely meaningful, positive, promising and hard to pin down,” according to prominent knowledge management academics () “Knowledge itself is mutable … and can take on many faces in an organization.” Therefore, managing knowledge is extremely considered crucial to ensuring growth and creating a shareholder’s value. In spite of the vague understanding of what knowledge management by some company’s, successful companies like Honda, IBM, and the like, revealed a deeper understanding as they grasp a holistic approach that is beyond the alterations of infrastructure but more of its ability to touch every aspect of a business, transcending divisions, functions, and hierarchies. As what observed (, knowledge management coexists well with business strategy, with process management, with staying close to your customer and so forth. It can help you do a variety of things you are already doing better. Ultimately, knowledge management work needs to be blended in with these other activities or it’s unlikely to be effective. The maximization of knowledge management permits to successfully be adaptive by the constant reinvention and optimization leading to innovations, to tap in new market venture opportunities for possible expansion, to get into the latest trend to be a step ahead of the competitors and more decisively efficient. Overall, knowledge management sparks a sea change in the sweeping perspective of the company’s business and the challenges it confronts. Furthermore, the embodiment of knowledge management implies the creation of a new corporate mindset which could be a real huge difference in the reverse of fortunes of many. In illustration of not embracing knowledge management by some company from a traditional environment that is assumed to have inept understanding of the essence of knowledge management would resort to cost-cutting actions through firing employees. From a knowledge management approach perspective it is letting go of the potential knowledge that could perhaps boom in the future if only be given ample time and opportunities. Given its fruitful of benefits it brings to the company, knowledge management also have an inclusion of downside risks if not being properly or ineffectively implemented. Among which are the neglecting the potential areas of improvement, miss out opportunities that might be promising, or thrashing of money in the garbage bins on schemes that is ill-conceived. Thus, that is tantamount of the company being left behind by competitors who deploys their knowledge faster and more effectively.
The denigration of knowledge to the level of information management should be looked into and minimize such that information management could not be maximized to its full swing. Information would plainly remained a facts and figures no matter how managed the information is unless it will be utilized not only for plain viewing but utilizing it knowledgeably. For example, reading a company’s annual turnover amounting to $400 million, the use of knowledge understands the significance of that figure.
If companies are to flourish in the information environment, after the management of information and knowledge, these two would in turn be integrated in the information system in which they would operate. The presence of an effective information system is very decisive such that the effectiveness of information and knowledge management is somewhat dependent on the functioning of the information system. The information system is like the central processing unit of a computer wherein all the functioning of the hardware and software are dependent. Due to information system technicalities, it is imperative to have an information systems strategy that should be thoroughly and carefully be planned such that it can work and precisely fit in to the corporate strategy as well. (1999), describe IS strategy development as the process of identifying a portfolio of computer-based applications to be implemented, which is both highly aligned with corporate strategy and has the ability to create an advantage over competitors’. Moreover, an information systems strategy brings together the business aims of the company, an understanding of the information needed to support those aims, and the implementation of computer systems to provide that information. It is a plan for the development of systems towards some future vision of the role of information systems in the organization (1989). Information system strategy as defined necessitates the provision of computer systems to support information management bearing the intellectual holding of that information (pertaining to knowledge management) that is in accordance to the corporate strategy or the aims of a company.
2b. Describe an IS planning framework of your choice and show the usefulness of different IS planning tools within it. Please provide necessary illustrations where possible.
Prior to the formulation of an information systems framework, IT professionals should set an IS planning framework that evokes all the necessary elements, such as the internal and external environment should be considered in which the business and the IS operates and linked together, is needed to be able to come up with an IS strategy that would surely work and be coherent in the alignment of the corporate strategy. IS planning, as the first step in the formulation of an IS strategy, is critical thus, a careful, detailed, meticulous and thorough work on it is apparently needed such that the effectiveness of the whole IS strategy is somewhat dependent of the IS planning. Using the framework for IS planning ( 1998), it encompasses four phases namely, the conceptual business level, detailed business analysis, conceptual IS plan and vision and the determination of the gap between current and the future. In phase one of the planning framework, this requires the preliminary drafting of the purpose, process and the scope of the IS strategy wherein it necessitates to look into the high levels of business direction. Phase two, after having had examine the business direction, IS planner should come to terms of these directions through in-depth analysis of the essence of the information needs, business processes and the needful business requirements. With the documented details regarding the business direction and needs to be that has yet to be fulfilled by the company, an IS planner can now conceptualize and envision an IS plan that would be appropriate for the company. It is from these phase that the pre-requisites and considerations should carefully be closely looked rather than overlooked into so that IS planner would not miss out something in the process of synthesizing the bits of the ingredients in successfully formulating an effective IS strategy that works. Having have come to terms in the synthesis, the need to ascertain the IS direction is imperative. Ascertain of the IS direction proves to be invaluable and should not set sail to mislead or head the company to the wrong direction since it dictates the future direction of an IS strategy. The envisage of the an IS plan should be mindful and supportive of the company’s mission, strategic objectives and strategies, computing and information architecture, policies and responsibilities and the like. In the last phase, an IS planner can now draft a detail IS recommendation that determines the gap of the current and future assessment of the company before the drafting of the final recommendations.
The four phases of the IS planning framework enables an IS planner to draft a well-documented IS strategic plan such that it was able to examine and explore the aspects that is vital for the company and its consideration is primarily needed to ensure everything would be in the right track. Further, it leads to the formulation of an IS strategy plan that sees the direction, especially the future direction of the company, that would be evident such that the company would have a guide to where it’s heading. Most importantly, not only it can provide a sense of direction for the company, the proposed direction is supported by all the stakeholders and not alone from the chosen few.
Fundamentally, the success of the IS planning would not be made possible without the assistance of the planning tools inclusion. In this paper 5 tools would be discussed as to how they are of help in IS planning. The IS portfolio management is defined as ensuring that the right projects are done and that projects are done right ( 2003). Moreover, the use of critical success factors (CSFs) is useful as it is able to aid in the alignment of the new systems with the strategic objectives. Similarly, the key performance indicators (KPIs) are helpful in providing follow-up for the targets being set by the CSF. As defines KPIs, it is the lead indicators that define measures of how well the IT process is performing in enabling the goal to be reached. Among the other tools that are of equal use to the IS planning are the value chain analysis, Political-Legal, Economic, Socio-cultural and Technological (PEST), Boston Consulting Matrix, the famous Porter’s 5 forces. But the most comprehensive tool that can aid in the IS planning is from Ward and Griffiths strategic framework (see, figure 1 of this paper) since it covers the very broad spectrum of the business which includes the PEST analysis, both internal and external environment aspects and the all important stakeholders. In conclusion, all the tools are useful in the IS planning in their own different ways and are valued important to the success of the formulation of the right IS planning.
Figure 1: Strategic Framework