In the Information Age it becomes imperative for Business's to keep themselves abreast with Information Technology. Business and IT strategies have become more relevant than ever before and hence, all the evaluation frameworks that verify fundamental rethinking and redesigning of critical and contemporary industry best practices should be properly aligned. The role of IT as a strategic resource calls for technology-centric overhauling of the established and accepted organizational processes. At the top level it is very difficult for organizations to survive which don't incorporate IT as an integral pillar of their Information System.
Because of IT's relevance to all business domains it has become an excellent way to foster strategic vision. Recently, to do away with redundancy in the distribution process, Walmart developed an enterprise wide software that connected all retail locations, distribution warehouses and other major suppliers, which was then used to lay the framework of its infamous Supply Chain system.
By implementing a SCM domain problem with IT, Walmart avoided repetitive steps associated with supply chain solutions.
IT can also prove vital in identifying and analyzing the organizations niche target demography breaking both geographical and organizational barriers. For improving the shopping experience Amazon created a IoT device which allows users to add items making the whole grocery experience seamless.
Banks are exploring the IT's customer experience improving capabilities to the fullest. If we look at JP Morgan Chase, their deep investment in the technology domain has made them the biggest private investment and consumer bank in the cross-Atlantic. They have made consumer banking immensely convenient with cheques being deposited and large money transfers being made from handheld devices in real time. They have a standing team of 1500 full time and contract developers and technical analysts based on offices around the world.
System Analysts all across are using Computer Aided Systems Engineering (CASE) tools to define critical process structures within an organization. These tools can be used to draw detailed process models and make edits to process prototypes while giving complete performance measuring capabilities in terms of cost, quality, duration and deadlines.
The radical evolution of process modeling that the industry is going through is evident in Xerox where they moved to a systematic generation of computer program code for designing structure. This results in an astounding $20 million USD decrease in cost.
Companies which were the early adopters of integrated IT have become big players in the market right now. Looking at Hewlett Packard, they maintained inventory information in paper based files till 1970s. In coming years when they shifted to electronic inventory management systems and employees could view that information any time and use that data for collaboration. The even cut down on paper costs and due to the presence of precise figures and in-depth details, sales processes skyrocketed.
Impressed by the results, it gave its representatives portables computing devices which further enabled efficient communication and collaboration. Thanks to this strategic IT initiative, time spent in personally meeting and traveling decreased by 46%.
One of the biggest disruptions that IT bought about in organizations were Knowledge Management Systems backed by sophisticated Data Warehouses and OLAP Cubes. These paved a way for Data mining and Business Intelligence techniques which are the backbone of every organization in the world. These departmental cubes are filled with customized view of data which can be easily used by the particular business function to then achieve its strategic business objectives. Reporting has been transformed and given rise to Data Science- Statically analyzing data in order to identify patters and trends which are other wise invisible to the human eye.
Information Management is one of the biggest domains when we talk about IT as an organizational strategic enabler. Information is directly associated with strategy definition. Efficient modeling and storage of information makes it a vital resource because it adds value at the moment they integrate several areas and functions.
Information Management enables decision makers in all strata of the organization by providing them with actionable insights. The challenge now becomes the efficient use of resources available because there are so many, while always focusing on the common objectives of the organization i.e being in line with the overall strategy. There are several such challenges that “managers” face during the young stages of an MIS. Inaccurate information leads them to make faulty decisions, which makes it imperative for managers to always rely on a secure source of information to help them define strategies that bring advantages or opportunities to obtain those advantages over their competitors.
To make it possible for decision makers to formulate strategies or identify potential opportunities and or / dangers to the organization, a they require information with different characteristics and densities. This information becomes a strategic resource once it is integrated with products, services and operations.
IMPACT ON COMPANY STRATEGY
Today, information can no longer be treated as a source of competitive advantage, but a competitive necessity. No automatic profits come from investments in information technologies since management has the responsibility for exploitation of the information technology potential. During the last two decades, companies have learned how to manage financial, human and material resources. The changes of the management of these resources depend on the access, processing and means of information. A receipt of data asset administration is difficult to be given, nor is alluring in light of the fact that the methodology ought to be organized and adaptable and directors are the individuals who ought to have it. The managers should be all around educated of the benefits of the fitting data and data innovation. The most imperative inquiries for them are: What data is required so the organization can satisfy the set vital points? Which abilities or items will be leeway over contenders? What is the present technique with the end goal to beat contenders? Furthermore, what data is expected to frame it?
Organizations that are improvising and learning throughout their work cycle and information is a cohesively integrated part of their activity will be successful. For this integration to be seamless, there has to be a very strong framework of activities and workflows that have to be established which concerns itself with information storage, processing, insights and how to keep these activities aligned with the overall strategy of the organization.
A very important aspect of an organizations IT domain is Information Resource Management (IRM).
The IRM Wheel
It characterizes the manner by which the organization will achieve its business when utilizing diverse data assets with the end goal to make its fleeting methodologies. This administration is one of a kind notwithstanding for organizations with indistinguishable items as well as administrations. Information Resource Management incorporates the administration of a wide range of information, numbers, messages, pictures and sounds accessible in making the best possible procedure at a specific minute. This is the reason directors are in charge of the arrangements of the proper data concerning the business and basic leadership.
There are three (3) classes of information resources:
Business Resources: Enterprises, Business Functions, Positions (Jobs), Human/Machine Resources, Skills, Business Objectives, Projects, and Information Requirements.
System Resources: Systems, Sub-Systems (business processes), Administrative Procedures (manual procedures and office automation related), Computer Procedures, Programs, Operational Steps, Modules, and Subroutines.
Data Resources: Data Elements, Storage Records, Files (computer and manual), Views, Objects, Inputs, Outputs, Panels, Maps, Call Parameters, and Data Bases.
The idea of RM is pretty similar to Materials Resource Planning (MRP) as utilized in assembling. Both are concerned with the proficient and practical utilization of assets. . The classification and control of resources are the main objectives. Resources are classified to prove their uniqueness so that redundancy is not introduced and to promote sharing. Control is required to collect, inventory and retrieve resources as required by the business.
While MRP is worried about overseeing items and the parts required to deliver them, IRM is worried about overseeing data and the assets required to create it.
Information impacts on all aspects of the organization: marketing, distribution, production, operations management, management economics, finance, public policy, industry dynamics, office automation, human resource management as shown on the Figure above. The wheel is spinning round and in its center is Information Resorce Management. Information and communication technologies provide continuous information flow, which the organization should use in forming its corporate strategy and accomplishing its management activities in decision making. Of great importance for organizations is their flexible management style.
Most of the strategies aim to increase production, to increase sales or to increase profit and these can be achieved by current use of information. For example, a number of the applications of information technologies lead to a great decrease in costs since mediators are eliminated. So distribution costs no longer exist, personnel costs are diminished exclusively and also the deadlines of delivery are lessened to a great extent. As a consequence of this, the prices of the products/ services are decreased substantially which means that people are encouraged to buy more. This eventually increases sales and profit of the company and of course the quantity of production needed should be greater. When production is higher the costs per product or service is less and the profit is higher.
The assimilation of information is a challenge for every manager because the participation of information in company management leads to a higher effectiveness and better results in forming the competitive strategy. Managers should pay attention to six basic problems concerning information and its use in organization:
Information impacts different companies in different ways. This is the reason why management approaches and instruments and their use should be chosen appropriately.
Coordination and control of information should be established
Education of the organization in using information in forming short run strategies
Decisions about building or buying of appropriate information technologies should be precisely made and information about them should be collected
Different approaches in using information in different moments according to the needs of the company
Effectiveness of the company and balance between management and information technology management.
To summarize the above text, Information Technology is a tool which can be used by organizations to improve any functional domain and facilitate the path towards strategic goals.In order to sustain in the level of competitive capitalism today, its use is imperative.
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