Discussion: Aligning IS Strategy
Discussion: Aligning IS Strategy
37How Can Information Resources Be Used Strategically?
Information resources exist in a company alongside other resources. The general manager is responsible for organizing all resources so that business goals are met. Understanding the nature of the resources at hand is a pre- requisite to using them effectively. By aligning IS strategy with business strategy, the general manager maximizes the company’s profit potential. To ensure that information resources being deployed for strategic advantage are used wisely, the general manager must identify what makes the information resource valuable (and the Eras model may provide some direction) and sustainable. Meanwhile, the firm’s competitors are working to do the same. In this competitive environment, how should the information resources be organized and applied to enable the organiza- tion to compete most effectively?
How Can Information Resources Be Used Strategically? The general manager confronts many elements that influence the competitive environment of his or her enterprise. Overlooking a single element can bring about disastrous results for the firm. This slim tolerance for error requires the manager to take multiple views of the strategic landscape. Three such views can help a general manager align IS strategy with business strategy. The first view uses the five competitive forces model by Michael Porter to look at the major influences on a firm’s competitive environment. Information resources should be directed strategically to alter the competitive forces to benefit the firm’s position in the industry. The second view uses Porter’s value chain model to assess the internal operations of the organization and partners in its supply chain. Information resources should be directed at altering the value‐creating or value‐supporting activities of the firm. We extend this view further to consider the value chain of an entire industry to identify opportunities for the organization to gain competitive advantage. The third view specifically focuses on the types of IS resources needed to gain and sustain competitive advantage. These three views provide a general manager with varied perspectives from which to iden- tify strategic opportunities to apply the firm’s information resources.
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