Assignment 1 – Strategic Use of IS/IT to Achieve Competitive Advantage -

Assignment 1 – Strategic Use of IS/IT to Achieve Competitive Advantage

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Information Technology Assignment Question

For this assignment, you will have to prepare a paper that critically discusses how organisations apply the strategic use of IS/IT to achieve competitive advantage. Some aspects and issues you may discuss in your paper could include (but are not limited to):

  • Discuss at least one (1) successful and one (1) unsuccessful examples of the use of IS/IT for gaining or enhancing competitive advantages.
  • Highlight some success factors for the successful example.
  • What are some lessons learned (i.e., what went wrong?) for your unsuccessful example
  • Suggest some internal (e.g., organizational, individual, and management factors) and external factors (e.g., market, industry, social, economic, technological and political/policy factors) influencing the success or failure of organisations’ attempts at gaining and enhancing competitive advantages? Are internal factors more important than external factors? Or the other way around?
  • How can competitive advantages gained via IS/IT be sustained?

You should apply relevant knowledge discussed in your unit. You should prepare for this assignment by reviewing the literature and searching the World Wide Web (i.e. via Google). You should show evidence that you have read at least 10 references, which must be published after January 2011, in the literature (including references from academic and professional publications) to prepare this assignment. A variety of references are expected including books, refereed journals, case studies, newspapers, magazines and electronic references.

Information Technology Assignment Answer

Technology is a tool, Information System (IS)/ Information Technology (IT) solution is difficult to self-exist and resolve any complex organisational problem on its own (Ullah & Lai 2013). IS/IT is capable of increasing organisational productivity and profitability with the correct combination of processes, expert knowledge and trained staff who are willing to utilise it appropriately (Ram, Wu & Tagg 2014). This report discusses how organisations implement IS/IT as a strategic initiative for their success to achieve competitive advantage. This report uses a successful and a failed case of ERP implementation to delve on this analysis. Based on the cases, the critical success factors and lessons learned from the failure of IS/IT implementations are determined. Further, the internal and external factors that influence the competitive advantage of an organisation are identified and how IS/IT helps in maintaining the same are detailed. Finally, a conclusion summarises the findings from this research. 

1. IS/IT as a Strategic Initiative

In an organisation, any process change commences as a strategic initiative with the inclusion of its strategic plan (Abdallah & Langley 2014). This arises from the organisational need or a proactive push to leverage potential opportunities. A strategic change brings about process change which is incremental and emergent based on the organisational learning experience. Implementing IS/IT solutions are regarded as one of the measures to assist in organisational process change utilising information repositories which are difficult for the competitors to imitate (Piccoli & Ives 2014). Experts have observed that strategic investments in IS/IT have become instrumental in the long-term survival of organisations (Arvidsson, Holmström & Lyytinen 2014). The success of these project lies with the alignment between IS/IT functionality and the strategic intent and the implementation of strategic change with its use.

2. Example of a Successful IS/IT Implementation

Companies implement IS/IT projects for various reasons ranging from business process reengineering and updating or replacing existing systems to change management. This section details the case of BorgWarner, which was successful in implementing SAP as a common platform. BorgWarner TorqTransfer Systems, Inc. is a leading designer and producer of transfer cases and torque management system for automobiles (Bloomberg 2017b). It is reported to have a compounded annual growth rate of 12% over the last 14 years, attributing to internal growth and acquisitions (Infosys 2015). Acquired companies used different ERP systems which were incompetent with each other making it difficult to integrate. This resulted in issues in operating their plants, managing inventory and overall operating creating a severe impact on Financials. The company faced a major issue in real-time reporting, which impacted its market reach and operations management. The company decided to utilise tools available in the market to achieve operational excellence. Their objective was to be quick not just to market, but in the way of operating also. With the partnership of Infosys, BorgWarner installed SAP in its Seneca facility was installed (Infosys 2015).

According to the Vice President of Operations, the success of this collaboration was due to the dedicated team of Infosys staff who offered 24/7 support, their expertise about the product. They were able to test the system overnight to view results and incorporate changes for the following day. Infosys was able to understand their business requirement and went live in the stipulated deadline.  Through efficient planning, the project was completed in nine months. BorgWarner now has a closing time reduced to about 50 % from three days to one and a half days (Infosys 2015). The SAP implementation has allowed them to book entries on all the days instead of a monthly one-time batch processing. This success has made the management to decide on a corporate-wide SAP implementation.

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