Textbook of Business Strategy
Textbook of Business Strategy
What does alignment mean? The book Winning the 3‐Legged Race defines alignment as the situation in which a company’s current and emerging business strategy is enabled and supported yet unconstrained by technology. The authors suggest that although alignment is good, there are higher states, namely synchronization and convergence, toward which companies should strive. With synchronization, technology not only enables current business strategy but also anticipates and shapes future business strategy. Convergence goes one step further by exhibiting a state in which business strategy and technology strategy are intertwined and the leadership team members operate almost interchangeably. Although we appreciate the distinction and agree that firms should strive for synchronization and convergence, alignment in this text means any of these states, and it pertains to the balance between organizational strategy, IS strategy, and business strategy.3
A word of explanation is needed here. Studying IS alone does not provide general managers with the appropriate perspective. This chapter and subsequent chapters address questions of IS strategy squarely within the context of business strategy. Although this is not a textbook of business strategy, a foundation for IS discussions is built on some basic business strategy frameworks and organizational theories presented in this and the next chapter. To be effective, managers need a solid sense of how IS are used and managed within the organization. Studying details of technologies is also outside the scope of this text. Details of the technologies are relevant, of course, and it is important that any organization maintain a sufficient knowledge base to plan for and adequately align with business priorities. However, because technologies change so rapidly, keeping a textbook current is impossible. Instead, this text takes the perspective that understanding what questions to ask and having a framework for interpreting the answers are skills more fundamental to the general manager than understanding any particular technology. That understanding must be constantly refreshed using the most current articles and information from experts. This text provides readers with an appreciation of the need to ask questions, a framework from which to derive the ques- tions to ask, and a foundation sufficient to understand the answers received. The remaining chapters build on the foundation provided in the Information Systems Strategy Triangle.
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