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Information Systems Planning. Chapter 4 Information Systems Management In Practice 7E McNurlin & Sprague. PowerPoints prepared by Michael Matthew Visiting Lecturer, GACC, Macquarie University – Sydney Australia. Chapter 4.

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Information systems planning l.jpg

Information Systems Planning

Chapter 4

Information Systems Management In Practice 7E

McNurlin & Sprague

PowerPoints prepared by Michael Matthew

Visiting Lecturer, GACC, Macquarie University – Sydney Australia


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Chapter 4

  • Systems planning, especially strategic systems planning, is becoming more difficult and more important at the same time. Technology is changing so fast that it is seems futile to plan for it, yet the dependence on this technology makes planning its effective use a matter of organizational life and death

  • This lecture / chapter contrasts the traditional view of planning with the sense-and-respond approach of strategy-making, presenting seven IS planning techniques

  • Case examples include Microsoft, Skandia Future Centers, Shell Oil, an automobile manufacturer, Cisco Systems, and ElectricPower Research Institute


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Today’s Lecture

  • Introduction

    • Types of planning

    • Why is planning so difficult?

  • The Changing World of Planning

    • Traditional Strategy-Making

    • Today’s Sense-and-Respond Approach


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Today’s Lecture cont.

  • Seven Planning Techniques

    • Stages of Growth

    • Critical Success Factors

    • Competitive Forces Model

      • Five Forces Analysis of the Internet

    • Value Chain Analysis

    • E-Business Value Matrix

    • Linkage Analysis Planning

    • Scenario Planning


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Introduction

  • IS management is becoming more difficult and more important at the same time:

    • Technology changing so fast: “Why bother?” Vs. Most organizations’ survival is dependant on technology

    • How to resolve this apparent paradox?

  • Good News = variety of approaches, tools and mechanisms available

  • Bad News = no ‘best’ way to go about it


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Introductioncont.

  • It is important to establish the appropriate mindset for planning:

    • Some managers believe = “determining what decisions to make in the future”

    • Better view = developing a view of the future that guides decision making today

    • Subtle difference = ‘strategy making’

      • Strategy = stating the direction in which you want to go and how you intend to get there

    • The result of strategy-making is a plan


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Why Planning Is So Difficult

Types of Planning:

  • Planning is usually defined in three forms, which correspond to the three planning ‘horizons’. (Figure 4-1)

    • Strategic = 3-5 years

    • Tactical = 1-2 years

    • Operational 6 months – 1 year



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Introductioncont.

  • Why Planning Is So Difficult?:

    • Business Goals and Systems Plans Need to Align

      • Strategic systems plans need to align with business goals and support those objectives

      • Some believe = “too sensitive” = PROBLEMS

      • Fortunately = trend for CIOs to be part of senior management

    • Technologies Are Rapidly Changing

      • How can you plan when information technologies are changing so rapidly

        • Continuous planning?

        • Old days of planning at ‘start of year’ = gone

        • Advanced technology groups


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Introductioncont.

  • Why Planning Is So Difficultcont.:

    • Companies Need Portfolios Rather Than Projects

      • Evaluation on more than their individual merit

        • How they fit into other projects and how they balance the portfolio of projects

    • Infrastructure Development is Difficult to Fund

      • Despite everyone “knowing infrastructure development is crucial”, it is extremely difficult to get funding just to develop or improve infrastructure

      • Often done under the auspices of a large application project

        • Challenge = develop improved applications and improve infrastructure over time

    • Responsibility Needs to be Joint

      • Business planning, not just a technology issue

    • Other planning issues

      • Top-down Vs. bottom-up; radical change Vs. continuous

      • Planning culture


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The Changing World of Planning

  • Internet etc. = ‘introduced’ speed into the business environment and transformed how people think about time, how much time they have to plan, react to competitors etc.

  • Traditional Strategy-Making:

    • Business executives created a strategic business plan = where the business wanted to go

    • IS executives created an IS strategic plan = how IT would support the business plan

    • IT implementation plan created = describe exactly how the IS strategic plan would be implemented

  • Assumptions:

    • The future can be predicted

    • Time is available to do these 3 parts

    • IS supports and follows the business

    • Top management knows best (broadest view of firm)

    • Company = like an ‘Army’



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The Changing World of Planning cont.

  • Today, due to the Internet and other technological advances, these assumptions no longer hold true:

    • The future cannot be predicted

      • Who predicted Internet, Amazon, eBay etc.?

    • Time is not available for the sequence

    • IS does not JUST support the business anymore

      • Figure 2-8

    • Top management may not know best

      • Inside out Vs. outside in approach (Figure 4-3)

    • An organization is not like an army

      • Industrial era metaphor no longer always applies


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Today’s Sense-and-Response Approach

  • If yesterday’s assumptions no longer hold true, what is taking the ‘old’ approach’s place?:

    • Let Strategies Unfold Rather Than Plan Them:

      • In times of fast paced change (like today!) this is risky

      • When predictions are ‘risky’, the way to move into the future is step by step using a sense-and-respond approach

        • Sense a new opportunity and immediately respond via testing it via an experiment

        • Myriad of small experiments (Figure 4-6)

    • Formulate strategy closest to the action:

      • Close contact with the market

      • Employees who interact daily with customers, suppliers and partners

      • Employees who are closest to the future should become prime strategists. In the ‘Internet Age’ = younger employees



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MICROSOFT

Case example: Sense and Respond Strategy-Making

  • Abandoned proprietary network despite big $ when it did not capture enough customers

  • Moved on to buying Internet Companies as well as aligning with Sun to promote Java

  • Over time = moved into a variety of technologies:

    • Web, Cable news, Digital movies, Cable modems, Handheld OS, Video server, Music, Multiplayer gaming

  • Not all came from ‘top management’ e.g. first server came from a ‘rebel’ project

  • Getting its fingers into every pie that might become important

    • Missed some – paid $$$ later


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SKANDIA FUTURE CENTERS

Case example: Formulate Strategy Closest to the Action

  • Incubator for testing ideas on IT, social relationships, and networking for Skandia, the large Swedish insurance company

  • Different generations (3G: 25+, 35+, 45+) collaborate on ‘on-the-edge’ projects

    • In order to talk = focus on questions (= dialog) rather than answers (= debate)

    • Presented as ‘plays’ (Vs. Report)

  • “Garden” = some of the projects are growing; others = not

  • Combining senior wisdom with young people’s entrepreneurship leads to a real powerhouse


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Today’s Sense-and-Response Approach cont.

If yesterday’s assumptions no longer hold true, what is taking the ‘old’ approach’s place? cont.:

  • Guide Strategy-Making with a ‘Strategic Envelope’:

    • Having a myriad of potential corporate strategies being tested in parallel could lead to anarchy without a central guiding mechanism

    • Top management set the parameters for the experiments (= a ‘strategic envelope’), and then continually manage that context

    • Need to meet often to discuss:

      • Shifts in the marketplace

      • How well each of the experiments is proceeding

      • Gaining ‘followership’ or showing waning interest?


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SHELL OIL

Case example: Guide Strategy-Making with a ‘Strategic Envelope’

  • New GM believed change would only occur if he went directly to his ‘front lines’ (gas station employees). Set aside 50% of his time

  • Goal = not to drive strategy from ‘Corporate’ (tried and failed dismally) but to interact directly with the grass roots and support their initiatives

  • Technique = use of action labs (6 to 8 people):

    • Week long retailing ‘boot camp’, peer challenges, ‘hot seats’, 60 day plan implementations, report back etc.

    • Projects spawned many more projects

  • Guidance and nurturing came from the top, so that there was not complete chaos


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Today’s Sense-and-Response Approach cont.

If yesterday’s assumptions no longer hold true, what is taking the ‘old’ approach’s place? cont.:

  • Be at the Table :

    • IS executives have not always been involved in business strategising

    • This situation is untenable in today’s ‘Internet-driven’ world.

    • Note: first = need to make department credible

  • Test the Future

    • Need to test potential futures before the business is ready for them (thinking ahead of the business)

    • Provide funding for experiments

    • Have an emerging technologies group


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Today’s Sense-and-Response Approach cont.

If yesterday’s assumptions no longer hold true, what is taking the ‘old’ approach’s place? cont.:

  • Put the Infrastructure in Place:

    • Moving quickly in Internet commerce means having the right IT infrastructure in place.

    • The most critical IT decisions are infrastructure.

    • Recommended that IT ‘experiments’ include those that test ‘painful’ infrastructure issues such as how to:

      • Create and maintain common, consistent data definitions

      • Create and instil mobile commercial standards among handheld devices

      • Implement e-commerce security and privacy measures

      • Determine operational platforms (ERP, Supply Chain Management …)


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Seven Planning Techniques

  • Stages of Growth

  • Critical Success Factors

  • Competitive Forces Model

  • Value Chain Analysis

  • E-business Value Matrix

  • Linkage Analysis Planning

  • Scenario Planning


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1. Stages of Growth

  • Stage One: Early Successes: Increased interest and experimentation

  • Stage Two: Contagion: Interest grows rapidly; learning period for the field

  • Stage Three: Control: Efforts begun toward standardization

  • Stage Four: Integration: Pattern is repeated

  • Example (Figure 4-5):

    • DP Era 1960 – early ’80s

    • Micro era early ’80s – late ’90s

    • Network era late’90s – 2010?


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1. Stages of Growth cont.

  • The eras overlap each other slightly at points of “technology discontinuity”

    • Proponents of he proven old dominant design struggle with proponents of the new and unproven designs

      • ‘Inevitably’ the new (proven) win out

  • Importance of the theory is understanding where a technology or company resides on the organizational learning curve

    • e.g. too much control at the learning and experimentation stage can kill of new uses of technology

  • Management principles differ from stage to stage

  • Different technologies are in different stages at any point in time


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2. Critical Success Factors

  • Popular planning approach that can be used to help companies identify information systems they need to develop / improve

  • For each executive, CSFs are the few key areas of the job where things must go right for the organization to flourish

  • Suggested fewer than 10 per executive

  • Time dependent (must be re-examined)

  • Four sources:

    • industry the business is in,

    • company itself and situation within industry,

    • environment (consumer trends), and

    • temporal organizational factors (inventory)

  • Monitoring Vs. building CSFs


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2. Critical Success Factorscont.

  • Used to determine factors critical to accomplish corporate objectives and corresponding measures

  • Can be used to identify IS plans that need to be developed


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3. Competitive Forces Model

Companies must contend with five competitive forces which you need to analyse (Figure 4-6):

  • Threat of new entrants

  • Bargaining power of customers and buyers

  • Bargaining power of suppliers

  • Substitute products or services

  • The intensity of rivalry among competitors


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3. Competitive Forces Modelcont.

  • Three strategies for dealing with these competitive forces:

    • Differentiate product and services - make them “better” in the eyes of the consumer

      • Probably the most popular of the 3 strategies

    • Bethe lowest-cost producer - not just a low-cost producer

    • Find a niche - e.g.: geographical market


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Framework Example

Five Forces Analysis of the Internet

  • The Internet tends to dampen the profitability of industries and reduce firms’ ability to create sustainable operational advantages because:

    • It increases the bargaining power of buyers

    • Decreases barriers to entry

    • Increases the bargaining power of suppliers

    • Increases the threat of substitute products and services, and

    • Intensifies rivalry among competitors

  • Recommend = focus on your strategic position in an industry and how you will maintain profitability

    • Not growth, market share or revenue


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4. Value Chain Analysis

  • Five primary activities that form the sequence of the value chain:

    • Inbound logistics: receiving and handling inputs

    • Operations: converting inputs to the product/service

    • Outbound logistics: collect, store, and distribute the product/service to buyers

    • Marketing and sales: the means/incentives for buyers to buy the product/service

    • Service: enhancements/maintenance of the value of the product/service


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4. Value Chain Analysiscont.

  • Four supporting activities that underlie the entire value chain:

    • Organizational infrastructure

    • Human resources management

    • Technology development

    • Procurement

  • Figure 4-7

  • Virtual Value Chains?

    • Marketspaces where information substitutes for physical

      • Can also use Porter’s Value chain analysis


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AN AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURERCase Example – Virtual Value Chain

  • The rental car subsidiary turned to auctioning off clean used cars to dealers to sell, via marketspace

  • Dealers can view the cars (and their stats) to be auctioned from a screen in their dealership, and then place bids during the online auction, held once or twice a month

  • The auction saves them time and effort, and the cars are guaranteed


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5. E-Business Value Matrix

  • It can be difficult for executives to prioritise projects, therefore a ‘portfolio’ management approach is valuable.

  • Tool used by Cisco to ensure they are developing a well-rounded portfolio of IT projects.

  • Every IT project is meant to be placed into one of four categories to assess its value to the company (Figure 4-8):

    • New fundamentals: Low-Low=provide a fundamentally new way of working in overhead areas, not business-critical areas

    • Operational excellence: High in criticality to business-Low in newness of idea=medium risk because they may involve reengineering work processes

    • Rational experimentation: Low in criticality to business-High in newness of idea=test new technologies and ideas

    • Breakthrough strategy: High-High=potentially have a huge impact on the company


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CISCO SYSTEMSCase Example – E-Business Value Matrix

  • Cisco’s expense reporting system fits in its new fundamentals category

  • Its executive dashboards are an example of operational excellence projects

  • Multicast streaming video used for company meetings is a rational experiment, and

  • Its development of a virtual supply chain is seen as a breakthrough strategy


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6. Linkage Analysis Planning

  • Examines the links organizations have with one another with the goal of creating a strategy for utilizing electronic channels

  • Methodology includes the following steps:

    • Define power relationships among the various players and stakeholders:

      • Identify who has the power

      • Determine future threats and opportunities for the company


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6. Linkage Analysis Planningcont.

  • Map out your extended enterprise (Figure 4-9) to include suppliers, buyers, and strategic partners

    • The enterprise’s success depends on the relationships among everyone involved

    • Some 70% of the final cost of goods and services is in their information content

  • Plan your electronic channels to deliver the information component of products and services

    • Create, distribute, and present information and knowledge as part of a product or service or as anancillary good


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Electric Power Research Institute

Case example: Linkage Analysis Planning

  • EPRI’s challenge - compress “information float” - elapsed time from availability research findings to the use of those results in industry

  • Answer: EPRINET - a natural language front end for accessing

    • Online information

    • Expert system-based products

    • e-mail facilities, and

    • video conferencing


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7. Scenario Planning

  • Scenarios are stories about the way the world might be in the future

  • The goal of scenario planning is not to predict the future (= hard to do!), but to explore the forces that could cause different futures to take place

  • Then decide on actions to take if those forces begin to materialize


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7. Scenario Planning cont.

  • Long-term planning has traditionally extrapolated from the past and has not factored in low-probability events that could significantly alter trends

    • Straight-line projections have provided little help!

  • Four steps in Scenario Planning:

    • Define a decision problem and time frame to bound the analysis

    • Identify the major known trends that will affect the decision problem

    • Identify just a few driving uncertainties

    • Construct the scenarios


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CASE EXAMPLEScenarios on the Future of IS Management

  • What will IS management look like in 10 years?

  • Four potential futures are presented:

    • The Firewall scenario could occur if companies use traditional forms of management and see their data as proprietary

    • The Worknet Enterprise scenario could occur if companies outsource management of their data and share it extensively with specific partners

    • The Body Electric scenario could occur if new organizational forms flower (such as people owning parts of work cells in which they work) and obtain all their IT from interconnected service providers

    • The ‘Tecknowledgy’ scenario could occur if there is an open information society where any kind of information is available for a price. The main job of IS could be facilitation of knowledge processes across organizations



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Conclusion

  • Based on the successes and failures of past information systems planning efforts, we see two necessary ingredients to a good strategic planning effort:

    • IS plans must look towards the future

      • Future is not likely to be an extrapolation of the past

      • Successful planning needs to support “peering into the future” – most likely in a sense-and-respond fashion

    • IS planning must be intrinsic to business planning


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Conclusion cont.

  • IS plans typically use a combination of planning techniques presented

    • No single technique is best and no single one is the most widely used in business

  • Sense-and-respond is the new strategy-making mode

    • Creating an overall strategic envelope and conducting short experiments within that envelope, moving quickly to broaden an experiment that proves successful


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Conclusion

“Peering into an unknown future”


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PART I Discussion Case

IT Strategy

for

Royal Dutch/Shell Group


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