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Why have an IS/IT Strategy?

Effectiveness

As suggested on p11 Ward J & Peppard J (2002), simplicity was key to the popularity of the 'six-stage' model and I think it's a fair assumption is to say that any IS/IT model must be simple enough that it's understood in order to be implemented effectively.

It's interesting to reflect on how this looks within an organisation, with individuals being like a swarm intelligence where 'worker' agents (people in this case) are driven by economic gain and strive to achieve this with little effort. Very few having an overview of everything but collectively they all work towards a similar goal without necessarily knowing what that goal is.

Personally, I think a self-development model such as that described by Beenis W (1967), is much more effective at least in the large company I work as it's often difficult to make an individuals gain a financially driven motivation with promotion being much harder in a larger company. To prevent employees becoming 'stale', self development activities are encouraged that benefit both the state of mind of the individual and the company.

Flexibility

With a well designed solution, it's fair to say that it gives larger companies much more flexibility in terms of scale, distribution of tasks and planning of tasks - the overall strategy acts across the organisation. This gets more cost effective as you scale up.

Larger Picture

In the larger picture, obviously being more effective and flexible than your competitors is an immediate advantage, so it pays to make sure that your strategy is continuously improved - like MIS so that an order of years isn't waited to potentially catch up to the competitors.

My Experience

My placement experience has given me an interesting perspective on the use of IT and IS strategy in the industry, where they're making a movement from a hardware based solution to a software one putting more reliance on their IT strategy. Being a large global company, management and strategy must be coordinated in different areas, time zones and languages in order to be effective.

To do so, custom IT solutions have been implemented to create such a structure with often less than ideal results as it doesn't benefit from having a large community or specialists in order to train and maintain such a system.

On the other hand, having a tailored system does mean that a nice blend between Data Processing (DP) and Management Information System (MIS) could be reached with a strict high level DP system with MIS for individual projects and management. It's worth noting that this does cause issue with inter-project compatibility at times and seems to lead to single projects becoming split when multiple similar end goals (customers/solutions) are defined, despite similarities.

Recognition

I think it's fair to say it's not a case of "why would you?" but more of a case "why wouldn't you?" when it comes to having an IT strategy for modern companies with any reasonable number of people, regardless of whether the business overall will produce a technology based solution.

For myself, I couldn't see how any business, especially in my case for the software industry - would function without an effective use of an IS/IT strategy.

References

Ward, J & Peppard, J (2002) Strategic Planning for Information Systems (Third Edition), John Wiley & Sons

Beenis, W (1967) The Coming Death of Bureaucracy, Think Magazine (Vol. 32 No. 6)