An Information systems strategy is defined as an “business plan with interrelated components working together to collect, process, store and disseminate information to support decision making, coordination, control, analysis and visualization in an organization.” It can also be defined as a system that enables companies to change or alter their strategies and their structures as pertains to their business operations. A Information System Strategy (ISS) is used to fasten and streamline the time of reaction towards environmental changes and to help the business in getting a competitive advantage. Some of the key features of a Information System Strategy are decision support systems, enterprise resource planning solutions, database systems and real time information systems. Internal factors are defined as factors within the technological context and organizational context of an organisation. Organizational context refers to descriptive measures regarding the organization, such as firm size and scope, managerial structure and internal resources. External factors however refer to the factors within the environmental context that describe the arena in which a firm conducts its business, its industry, competitors and dealings with government. There are a number of external and internal factors which are taken into account when one is producing an Information Systems strategy for an organisation which include the following. External factors:
For many firms, pressure to keep up with the competition, providing a means to enhance survival and/or growth, managing change, promoting services to customers and staying competitive and/or enhancing innovation abilities have forced them to adopt information systems strategies. It will be best for one to look at the IS/IT factors that would boost the competitive advantage before implementing a system, while others suggested that the main driving forces to move toward IT tools adoption in organisations are internal factors. The process of producing an IS strategy within organisations also depends on the characteristics of the marketed IS/IT products which consist of a cluster of factors including type, process compatibility, user friendliness and popularity of implemented IS/IT, quality of software available in market, security and the costs of the products. For example Pastel accounting package is popular software in the Accounting industry which comes with an affordable price for all organizational scales. These also include the external expertise, services availability and support offered. Many technological factors such as the programs that are going to rely on technology so as to enable the organization to comply with its policies and execute its information management processes should be taken into account. The right application of technology can provide the organisational systems with a great degree of control over information while having a minimal impact on daily activities of staff. For instance they are vendor solutions that have some pre-packaged workflows that fit certain organizations, but however the principles, policies and procedures that form the current information management processes should be the primary driver of one’s vendor selection process. For example Bakers Inn had manual point of sales systems where there was 100% use of paper work on data capturing and processing transactions, an external vendor had a Handheld point of sale which needed a slight twist to suit the principles, policies and procedures of Bakers Inn, therefore the vendor system proved to be a successful implementation. Government interference is a factor to be considered since their initiatives and policies could directly and/or indirectly stimulate the development of IS infrastructure and information provision to energize faster technology diffusion. Nevertheless governmental interference in most cases is generally not advantageous but yet inevitable. For example through ZIMRA the Government of...
References: 7. Ward, John, Griffiths, Pat and Whitmore, Paul, Strategic Planning for Information Systems,
John Wiley & Sons, 1990.
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