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Strategic Planning for Information Systems

Third Edition


John Ward and Joe Peppard

The Evolving Role of IS/IT in Organizations : A Strategic Perspective

IT has become inextricably intertwined with business (Rockart, 1988) Depends on the effective applications of IT Support existing business operations. Source for competitive advantage

Most organization (all sectors) dependent on their IS With e-Commerce, use of technology is accepted (indeed expected) way of conducting business

IS & IT needs to be managed strategically Less strategic approach legacy system

Helpful to understand how the role of technology-based IS has evolved in organizations.

Learning from experience the success and failures of the past is one of the most important aspects of strategic management.

Forces Affecting the Pace & Effectiveness of Progress in Using IT/IS & in Delivering Business Benefits:1. 2. 3. 4. The capabilities of the technology; The economics of deploying the technology; The applications that are feasible; The skills & abilities available in-house or external sources to develop the applications; 5. The skills & abilities within the organization to use the applications; 6. The pressures on the particular organization or its industry to improve performance.

IS and IT
IT/ICT refers specifically to technology, essentially hardware, software and telecommunications networks. Tangible (e.g. servers, PCs, routers, cables), and Intangible (e.g. software) IT/ICT facilitates the acquisition, processing, storing, delivery and sharing of information & other digital content. IS the means by which people & organizations, utilizing technology, gather, process, store, use & disseminate information (UK Academy of ISs) Some IS are totally automated by IT.


Application refers to the use of IT to address a business activity or process. Two types of applications: General uses of IT HW & SW to carry out particular tasks such as word processing, electronic mail or preparing presentation materials. Use of technology to perform specific business activities or processes such as general accounting, production scheduling or order processing. Pre-packaged, pre-written SW programs or be developed inhouse or outsourced. e.g. ERP packages In order to create a system that effectively supports users, it is first necessary to conceptualize that which is to be supported (the IS), since the way it is described will dictate what would be necessary to serve or support it (the IT).

More terms
E-commerce refers to the conduct of commerce or business electronically essentially using Internet technologies. M-commerce refers to the use of mobile devices for the conduct of business transactions while t-commerce refers to a similar use of television. E-business refers to the automation of an organizations internal business processes using Internet and browser technologies. This is how Internet should be viewed: Internet is an enabling technology a powerful set of tools that can be used, wisely or unwisely, in almost any industry and as part of almost any strategy; not the business strategy. Pervasive, interactive, a new medium the market space.

Why Organizations Fail to Realize Benefits from Investments in IT?

Investments made only in technology; Not understanding or analyzing the nature of activities that the technology is to support strategically or operationally in the organization;

Early Views and Models of IS/IT in Organization

Early 1950s: use of computers in business Mid to late 1960s: computers usage became more significant with the development of multi-purpose mainframe computers Batch processing of tasks and activities in organizations became possible through
Increase in processing speed Cheaper memory Useful of magnetic disc and tape storage Better programming language

1970s: Minicomputers used for a variety of business applications But IS/IT still viewed as a centralized, integrated concept derived from mainframe Gibson and Nolan (1974) modeled evolution of IS/IT in an organization, based on Anthonys (1965) hierarchical application portfolio model.

Application Portfolio Model

Described by R. N. Anthony (1965) Structure of information system in an organization is based on a stratification of management activity into different levels:
Strategic planning Management control Operational control

Typical Planning, Control and Operational Systems

Nolan And Gibsons 6-stage Model For Evolution of IS/IT

Considered 6 aspects of IS/IT management
The rate of IS/IT expenditure; The technological configuration; The applications portfolio; The Data Processing (DP) or IT organization; DP/IT planning and control approaches; User-awareness characteristics.

Stages of Evolution
Computer (DP) Management
Initiation Contagion Control

Information Systems Management

Integration Data management Maturity

Transition from DP to MIS Change in how IS/IT resources were managed Change in how the role of IS/IT is evaluated Strategy for management of IS/IT

Nolans Stages of Growth Model

A formative influence on much information systems planning was Nolans stages of growth model (Nolan, 1979) in which businesses were described as being within one of six stages of data processing growth as follows:

Initiation Contagion Control Integration Data Management Maturity

Nolans Stages of Growth Model

Computer-based IT had recently been introduced, often in the accounting and finance areas; initial applications were replacement of rule-based labor-intensive computational activities such as payroll, accounts and ledger; analysis and design activities were not formalized and were left to the initiative of a programming unit; project planning and scheduling were undeveloped.

Users became aware of possibilities, and began agitating for applications, which proliferated in an uncoordinated manner; the data processing departments profile increased, it maintained control of the apparently arcane procedures necessary for implementing software, but its promise of new systems exceeded its capacity to produce them.

Budget overruns, implementation failures, and senior management disenchantment, led to stronger financial control, project planning, and a greater attempt to meld management of IT with understanding of business processes, resulting in introduction of management information systems terminology

Technological progress produced database driven solutions for business processes, which could now be brought together from their disparate and often uncoordinated applications; management information systems were becoming more generic information systems, and decentralized; end user computing began its development and facilities such as information centers were formed for user support.

Data administration
Recognition of the information resource becomes widespread; the orientation of systems becomes one of data use; information management becomes a means of assuring data quality through information repositories, and user responsibility and ownership of information.

The information resources are managed with the strategic planning framework of the enterprise, and there is representation on the senior management group, perhaps under a designated chief officer.

View from a More Distant Perspective

The six stages of the model divide into 2 larger eras, separated by a transition point between stages 3 and 4 Transition from computer (DP) management to information (systems) management Major changes occur in who managed what for whom, and how

Transition between Computer and Information Management

Rationale of the Transition

Delivery Reorientation Reorganization

Rationale of the Transition: Delivery

Improving the ability to deliver and support the systems and technology. Achieving top management credibility as a valuable function is a prime objective.

Improving delivery performance, not necessarily providing users with what they really need.

Rationale of the Transition: Reorientation

Establishing good relationships with the main business functions, supporting business demands through the provision of a variety of services as computing capability spreads through business.
Extended outside the DP department to provide a valued service to all business function management. Different areas will benefit differently without regard to business importance.

Rationale of the Transition: Reorganization

The high level of awareness created both locally in the business area and centrally in senior management creates the need for a reorganization of responsibilities designed to achieve integration of the IS investment with business strategy and across business functions.
Becomes the best way of satisfying each of the differing business needs through a coalition of responsibilities for managing information and systems.

2 Eras from 1960 to early 1980

DP era MIS era

Differences b/w DP and MIS

DP Lessons
need to understand the process of developing complete information systems, not just the programs to process data. more thorough requirements and data analysis to improve systems linkages and a more engineered approach to designing systems components more appropriate justification of investments by assessing the economics of efficiency gains and converting these to return on investment

less creative, more structured approaches to programming, testing and documentation to reduce the problems of future amendments, more discipline was introduced with change control procedures and sign off on specifications and tests

DP Lessons
extended project management which recognized the need for coordination of both user and DP functions and the particular need to establish user management in a decisive role in the systems development the user had to live with the consequences the need for planning the interrelated set of systems required by the organizations, better planning produced overall improvements in systems relevance and productivity

MIS Lessons
justification of IS investments is not entirely a matter of return on investment / financial analysis

databases require large restructuring projects and heavy user involvement in data definition data integration had been weak based on the project by project DP approach

MIS Lessons
the IS resource needs to move from a production to a service orientation to enable users to obtain their own information from the data resource the information centre concept need for organizational policies, not just DP methodologies

personal computers and office systems enable better MIS to be developed, provided that users and IS people both focus on the information needs rather than the technology

Three Era Model

Objectives of the three eras: Data Processing (DP) Era
To improve operational efficiency by automating information-based processes

Management Information Systems (MIS) Era

To increase management effectiveness by satisfying their information requirements for decision making

Strategic Information Systems (SIS) Era

To improve competitiveness by changing the nature or conduct of business IS/IT as a source of competitive advantage

Trend in the Evolution of Business IS/IT

Main Types of Strategic System

Share information via technology-based systems with customers/consumers and/or suppliers and change the nature of the relationship
Linking to Customers and Suppliers

Produce more effective integration of the use of information in the organizations value-adding processes
Improved Integration of Internal Processes

Enable the organization to develop, produce, market and deliver new or enhanced products or services based on information
Information-based Products and Services

Provide executive management with information to support the development and implementation of strategy.
Executive Information Systems

Other Classification: Notowidigdo, 1984

Internal systems that have direct benefit for the company External systems that have direct benefit for the companys customers

Venkatraman, 1991: 3 Types of Revolutionary Use of IT

Business process redesign
Using IS/IT to realign business activities and their relationships to achieve performance breakthroughs.

Business network redesign

Changing the way information is used by the organization and its trading partners, thereby changing how the industry overall carries out the value-adding processes

Business scope redefinition

Extending the market or product set based on information or changing the role of the organization in the industry.

The Different View of SIS

Success Factors in SIS

External, not internal, focus
Looking at customers, competitors, suppliers, other industries

Adding value, not cost reduction

Doing it better not cheaper

Sharing the benefits

Buy in, commitment to success, a switching cost

Understanding customer
What they do with the product How they obtain value from it What problems they may encounter

Success Factors in SIS

Business-driven innovation, not technologydriven
The new or existing technology provides or enables a business opportunity or idea to be converted into reality Major failures in using IT are often based on much better technology and bad business vision.

Incremental development
Doing one thing and building on and extending the success by a further development

Success Factors in SIS

Using the information gained from the systems to develop the business
Product and market analyses plus external market research information can be merged and then recut in any number of ways to identifying more appropriate marketing segmentation and product mix.

The Relationship b/w the Business, SIS, MIS and DP

The Management Implications

We must manage IS/IT and its various applications in accord with the type of contribution it is making- improving efficiency, effectiveness and/or competitiveness through business change We should treat IS/IT like other part of the business => develop strategies for information systems and technology that are derived from and integrated with other components of the strategy of the business.

The Relationship b/w Business, IS and IT Strategies

IS Application Portfolio
Applications which are critical to sustaining future business strategy Applications on which the organisation currently depends for success

High Potential
Applications which may be of important in achieving future success Applications which are valuable but not critical for success

Key Operational


Developed from Ward Fig., 1.8 which is sourced from McFarlan

IS Application Portfolio Evolutionary Stages

Stage 5

Stage 4

Stage 3 Stage 2 Stage 1

Key Operational
Source: Ward et al page 39


What is an IS/IT Strategy

IS/IT strategy is composed 2 parts: an IS component and an IT component The IS strategy defines the organizations requirement or demand for information and systems to support the overall strategy of the business. IT strategy is concerned with outlining the vision of how the organizations demand for information and systems will be supported by technology.
It addresses the provision of IT capabilities and resources and services

The Strategic Alignment Model: Henderson and Venkateaman, 1993

Business Strategy

Organizational Infrastructure and Processes

IT Strategy

IS Infrastructure and Processes

Increasing Organizational Maturity with Respect to IS planning : Earl, 1993

Stage 1 Main task IS/IT application mapping Stage 2 Defining business needs Stage 3 Detailed IS planning Stage 4 Strategic/ competitive advantage Stage 5 Linkage to business strategy

Key objective

Management Understanding

Agreeing priorities

Balancing the portfolio

Pursuing opportunities

Integrating IS and business strategies

Coalition of users/manage ment and IT Multiple method at same time Organization led

Direction from

IT led

Senior management initiative Top-Down analysis Method driven

User and IT together

Executive/ senior management and users Entrepreneurial (user innovation) Business led

Main approach Summary description

Bottom-up development Technology led

Balanced topdown and bottom-up Administrative

Strategic Alignment Maturity (SAM): Luftman, 2000

Optimized Process Level 5

Improved/ Managed Process

Level 4

Established Focused Process

Level 3

Committed Process

Level 2

Initial/AdHoc Process

Level 1

Strategic Alignment Maturity (SAM): Luftman, 2000

6 IT-business alignment criteria:
Communication Maturity: Ensuring ongoing knowledge sharing across organization Competency/Value Measurement Maturity: Demonstrating the value of IT in terms of contribution to the business Governance Maturity: Ensuring that the appropriate business and IT participants formally discuss and review

Partnership Maturity: How each organization perceives the contribution of the other; the trust that develops among the participants and the sharing of risks and rewards Scope and Architecture Maturity: the extent to which IT is able to:
Go beyond the back office and into the front office of the organization Assume a role supporting a flexible infrastructure that is transparent to all business partners and customers Evaluate and apply emerging technologies effectively Enable or drive business processes and strategies as a true standard Provide solutions customizable to customer needs

Strategic Alignment Maturity (SAM): Luftman, 2000

Strategic Alignment Maturity (SAM): Luftman, 2000

Skills Maturity: Going beyond the traditional considerations such ad training, salary, performance feedback, and career opportunities are factors that enhance the organizations culture and social environment as a component of organization effectiveness.

Strategic Alignment Maturity Criteria

Communications Understanding of business by IT Understanding of IT by business Inter/Intra organizational learning/education Protocol rigidity Knowledge sharing Liaisons effecitveness Competency/value measurements IT metrics Business metrics Balanced metrics Service level agreements Benchmarking Formal assessments/ reviews Continuous improvement Governance Business strategic planning IT strategic planning Organization structure Budgetary control IT investment management Steering committee(s) Prioritization process

IT Business Alignment Maturity Criteria

Partnership Business perception of IT value Role of IT in strategic business planning Shared goals, risk, rewards/penalties IT program management Relationship/trust/style Business sponsor/ champion

Scope & Architecture Traditional, enabler/driver, external Standards articulation Architectural integration: - Functional organization - Enterprise - Inter-enterprise Architectural transparency, agility, flexibility Manage emerging technology

Skills Innovation, entrepreneurship Cultural locus of power Management style Change readiness Career crossover training Social, political, trusting interpersonal environment Hiring and retaining

Strategic Alignment Maturity (SAM): Luftman, 2000

Initial/Ad Hoc Process: Business IT not aligned or harmonized
Communications: business/IT lack understanding Competency/value: some technical measurements Governance: no formal process, cost center, reactive priorities Partnership: conflict; IT a cost doing business Scope and architecture: traditional (e.g., accounting, e-mail) Skills: IT takes risk, little reward; technical training

Strategic Alignment Maturity (SAM): Luftman, 2000

Committed Process: The organization has committed to becoming aligned
Communications: limited business/IT understanding Competency/value: functional cost efficiency Governance: tactical at functional level, occasional responsive Partnership: IT emerging as an asset; process enabler Scope and architecture: transaction (e.g., ESS, DSS) Skills: differs across functional organizations

Strategic Alignment Maturity (SAM): Luftman, 2000

Established Focused Processes: SAM established on business objectives
Communications: business/IT lack understanding Competency/value: some technical measurements Governance: no formal process, cost center, reactive priorities Partnership: conflict; IT a cost doing business Scope and architecture: traditional (e.g., accounting, e-mail) Skills: IT takes risk, little reward; technical training

Strategic Alignment Maturity (SAM): Luftman, 2000

Improved/Managed Process: Reinforcing the concept of IT as a Value Center
Communications: bonding, unified Competency/value: cost effective; some partner value; dashboard managed Governance: managed across the organization Partnership: IT enables/drives business strategy Scope and architecture: integrated with partners Skills: shared risk and rewards

Strategic Alignment Maturity (SAM): Luftman, 2000

Optimized Process: Integrated and coadaptive business and IT strategic planning
Communications: informal, pervasive Competency/value: extended to external partners Governance: integrated across the organization and partners Partnership: IT-business co-adaptive Scope and architecture: evolve with partners Skills: education/careers/rewards across the organization

Why have an IS/IT Strategy?

Systems investments are made that do not support business objectives. Loss of control of IS/IT. Systems are not integrated. No means for prioritizing investments. No mechanisms for deciding optimum resource usage. Poor management information. Misunderstandings between users and IT specialists.

Technology strategy is incoherent and constraints options. Inadequate infrastructure investments made. Problems caused by IS/IT investments can become a source of conflict. Localized justification of investments can produce benefits that are counterproductive in the overall business context. Systems, on average, have a shorter than expected business life and require, overall, considerably greater IS/IT spending to redevelop more frequently than should be necessary.

The Context for IS/IT Strategy

Internal context External context

The Context for IS/IT Strategy: Internal Context

Infusion- the degree to which an organization becomes dependent on IS/IT to carry out its core operations and manage the business. Diffusion- the degree to which IT has become dispersed throughout the organization and decisions concerning its use are devolved.

4 Environments of IS/IT Strategy: Low Diffusion/Low Infusion

highly-centralized control of IT resources, and IS is not critical to the business traditional environment typical of companies using IT to improve efficiency on a system-by-system basis.

4 Environments of IS/IT Strategy: Low Diffusion/High Infusion

highly-centralized control, and IS is critical to business operations and control. The business could be seriously disadvantaged if systems fail. High-quality systems are needed with a high degree of integration. The systems have become part of the backbone of the organization.

4 Environments of IS/IT Strategy: High Diffusion/ Low Infusion

Largely-decentralized control, giving business managers the ability to satisfy their local priorities. Any integration of system occurs due to user-user cooperation, not by overall business or IT design

4 Environments of IS/IT Strategy: High Diffusion/ High Infusion

Largely-decentralized control but the business depends on the systems for success, both in avoiding disadvantage and in achieving its overall business objectives.

Environments of IS/IT Strategy

The Context for IS/IT Strategy: External Context

4 th Era: An Organizational IS Capability

Use of standard application packages => can limit an organizations ability to innovate What distinguishes organizations with high performance IT is not technical but the way they manage their IS/IT activities. For an organization to apply IT to enhance competitiveness, it must develop an effective IS capability.

We need to take a strategic view.

IS as value adders rather than costs sinks..

integration between IS and the business

The integration of business strategy, IS and IT needs to be much closer.

The Central Theme of this Lecture

The . . obvious conclusion about the evolution of the management of IS/IT is that it has crept unerringly away from the computer room, through the IS department and is now clearly a process that depends on users and senior management involvement for success
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Adapted from : Strategic Planning for Information Systems Ward et al pg 44