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Many improvements in the information technology have recently occurred changing the entire manner in which organizations conduct their businesses. With the help of sophisticated communication devices such as the Internet, coupled with the implementation on of the latest models such as trading hubs and distributed networks, companies stand a chance to slash their total expenditure.
Unfortunately, many organizations are unable to receive optimum utilization of this technology because of the implementation of poor strategies for adopting information technology. The use of effective information strategy should reshape the culture and strategies in an organization.
Peters, Heng, and Vet (2002, p.21) define information strategy as “a unified blueprint utilized by an organization for capturing, processing, delivering, integrating, and presenting of organization’s information in a timely, fast, clean, and consistent manner.” In this regard, any information flowing within an organization should be fast, consistent and devoid of any errors.
The new and fast business models have thoroughly sidelined convectional methodologies used by organization in their activities. In any organization, adopting an information strategy is critical in ensuring that the organization withstands stiff competition from other companies. This paper provides a critical literature review on adopting an information strategy by selecting five articles focusing on the issue.
The essence of adopting an information strategy
Creating an effective communication strategy is of immense essence in any organization. In the recent decades, many organizations have recognized the significant potential of effective information strategies to support various organizational activities, aiding them to gain a unique competitive advantage (Peters, Heng & Vet, 2002, p.19).
This has increased the essence of adopting information strategy by many organizations all over the globe. Adopting information strategy increases efficiency in a company by ensuring the delivery of all the necessary information in a timely manner with no interruptions. In addition, information strategy aids in keeping healthy relationships between the company and its customers.
Through information strategies, multinational companies are able to perform their activities in any part of the globe by utilizing standardized procedures. As Peters, Heng and Vet (2002, p.22) reckon, “an organization develops through a path of evolution in order to survive…this path…through a process of continuous change”. Every organization has to be innovative to survive.
Peters, Heng and Vet discuss the strategy of information system within Leasehold Company from 1963 all the way to 1986. They discover the evolution pattern and factors affecting information system strategy. This provides a better insight on adoption of information strategy in various organizations. As the study conducted reveals, there was no application of IS planning.
Instead, organizational evolution concepts provided a significant contribution in the process of analyzing the whole development of IS a strategy at this company. As the author posits, identifying IS strategy and utilizing it to serve diverse objectives is of paramount importance (Peters, Heng, & Vet 2002, p.23).
Another importance of adopting information strategy is an improvement of customer relations in an organization.
Utilizing media to communicate with customers has many benefits. Chung-Hoon & Young-Gul (2003, p.653) reckon, “enabled by advanced and sophisticated technologies, companies can now collect unprecedented amount and depth of data on their customers and turn it into valuable information for strategic purposes of the business.” Collecting and analyzing customer’s information is paramount.
People need to do it by building a CIS that will enhancive management of customer relationship. An effective CIS should support all types of customer information.
As Chung-Hoon and Young-Gul (2003, p. 669) point out, an effective CIS should have the capacity of managing the entire customers’ life cycle, transforming one-time buyers into lifetime core customers. Attracting and retaining customers are of exceptional essence in any organization, as it increases sales leading to more revenues.
Factors affecting the adoption of information strategy
The current world is changing at a tremendous rate towards effective and faster communication and sophisticated technology that has availed wide options for organizations (Michael 2003, p.27). However, inasmuch as information strategy provides many benefits, people need to consider certain factors before its adoption by an organization.
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The article written by Peter, Heng, and Vet provides an extensive description of this by analyzing a case study involving the evolution of Information system (IS) strategy in a Dutch company named Leasehold that involves itself in global leasing. The article emphasizes on the potential of utilizing information systems in improving the efficiency of various activities in an organization.
Thus, it enables them to remain competitive in their field. However, the cost of information systems (IS) is a significant hindrance to the adoption of this technology by many organizations.
Companies that want to automate their operations, gain strategic advantages, and enhance decision-making have to spend large sums of money approximately millions of dollars. A recent study by Akmanligil and Prashant examine the strategies for global development of information systems, and the main factors affecting their selections.
According to this article, cost is one among the key factors influencing the selection of information systems. Akmanligil and Prashant (2004, p. 45) astutely reckon that, “despite the fact that faster and cheaper communication devices and computers are often introduced to the market on a daily base, the software costs of building information systems (IS) is much higher than that of hardware at a ratio of 80: 20”.
Consequently, organizations have to carry out a thorough study of the financial implications of the information strategy they are planning to adopt. Failure to accomplish this will lead to a financial whammy, thus, slowing down operations in the organization.
The challenge of globalization is another factor that affects the adoption of information systems. As Akmanligil and Prashant (2004, p.46) posit, globalization has a great impact on how activities of a multinational company are coordinated on a worldwide basis.
The system used to mange activities of an organization across one or many borders is referred to as a global information system (GIS). It is extremely critical in managing business activities in multinational corporations (Akmanligil & Prashant 2004, p. 46).
The planning of the methods utilized before implementing information strategy is another factor affecting the adoption of information technology. Utilizing a skilled planning method is of paramount essence. This is because of the fact that comprehensive planning methods provide clear steps for planning a new information strategy (Salmale & Ton 2002, p. 446).
Planning the Information Strategy is critical for an organization that aims at maximizing its utilization of resources. The main objectives of the planning stage for information strategy include establishing an effective information strategy, which relies on complete evaluation of business strategies (Mua & Goy 2002, p.14).
Establishing technical strategy for the most efficient use of new or advanced information technology, as well as establishing developmental plans of unique user-oriented sisters that will meet information priorities and needs of an organization are other objectives.
They also include the definition of a unique information architecture that will enable future developments of remarkable systems for data sharing. Upon meeting these objectives, the organization will achieve its full potential.
As Salmale and Ton (2002, p.446) reckon, Formal information strategy planning structure makes it easier for management in an organization to integrate information systems (IS) or information technology (IT) projects with various events and plans in other subsystem and vice versa. In addition, utilizing various strategies for discussing new ideas prior to adoption of information strategy is significant.
For instance, utilizing brainstorming session will aid the organization to come up with new ideas for adopting and using information strategy. In their studies, Salmale and Ton (2002, p. 454) recommend utilization of four cycles method in making long lasting decisions about organizations’ ICT infrastructure. The first cycle is agreeing on stakeholders, as well as planning objectives.
The second cycle involves aligning business objectives as well as information objectives. The third cycle concerns itself with analyzing all resources and infrastructure of the organization, while the last cycle involves authorizing actions. The advantage of this method is the periodical updating of the plans for information strategy organization and ICT infrastructure, thus, eliminating hiccups.
Challenges faced in adopting information strategy
Many organizations face diverse challenges while implementing information strategy. These challenges come in different forms and require thorough scrutiny in eliminating them. As Salmale and Ton (2002, p.442) reckon, “with the advent of new technologies such as Internet, the challenge of aligning information strategy with business is more significant and difficult than ever before”.
In essence, organizations should employ professionalism in dealing with these challenges in order to avoid losses.
The basic tasks worth performing before adopting any information strategy include developing and implementing strategic visions, governing all the projects, allocating all the resources required, ensuring effective management commitment, and planning the entire infrastructure (Thomas & Dent-Micallef 1997, p. 386).
In addition, information flow is another challenge. Ineffective communication has diverse and detrimental effects on the organization. As Chung-Hoon and Young-Gul (2003, p. 662) posit, more customers are lost through lack of follow up. Because of the complexity of the information in large organizations, information flow encounters a barrier, thus, decreasing efficiency in the organization.
In this regard, companies should strive to ensure efficient flow of information between various departments. Chung-Hoon and Young-Gul (2003, p. 667) propose a unique framework of dynamic customer management consisting of three stages: customer acquisition stage, customer retention stage, and customer expansion stage.
Using this framework, organization will stand a chance to keep all the information concerning it customers. In addition, this information will be easily available to salespeople, making it easy for the organization to follow its customers.
Based on the diverse expositions discussed in the paper, adopting information strategy in an organization is paramount especially in the current world characterized by globalization and stiff competition. Moreover, efficient methods and strategies for embedding information technology in an organization into exiting processes are paramount.
Organizations should identify them to achieve their goals and objectives. The organization responsibilities, as well as roles, require redefinition to match with information strategy that an organization is adopting.
Encouraging development and research activities on adoption and maintenance of unique information technology in organizations is also paramount. It is imperative for all systems, projects, and organizational practices, to correspond with values of information strategy in an organization.
Akmanligil, M., & Prashant, P., 2004. Strategies for global information systems Development. Information & Management, 42(1), pp. 45-59.
Chung-Hoon, P., & Young-Gul, K., 2003. A Framework of dynamic CRM: Linking Marketing with information strategy. Business Process Management Journal, 9(5), pp. 652-671.
Michael, T., 2003. IT as a Booster of Economy. Oxford: Oxford UP. Print.
Mua, M., & Goy, N., 2002. Factors Affecting IT. New York: Word Press. Print.
Peters, S., Heng, M., & Vet, R., 2002. Formation of the information systems strategy in A global financial services company. Information and Organization, 12(1), pp. 19- 38.
Salmale, H., & Ton, A., 2002. Dynamic and emergent information systems strategy formulation and implementation. International journal of Information Management, 22(1), pp. 441-460.
Thomas, P., & Dent-Micallef, A., 1997. Information Technology as Competitive Advantage: The Role of Human Business and Technology Resources. Strategic Management Journal, 18(5), pp. 375-405.