Strategic analysis of a business information systems (BIS) initiative

The Task

Choose a company and a BIS initiative it undertook in the past. The company can be of any sector, size or country, and the BIS initiative (i.e. application) can embrace either Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), e-Customer Relationship Management (e-CRM), e-Supply Chain Management (e-SCM), e-Commerce or any combination. Although you can explain some technologies and services received by the company, the initiatives have to be about transactional systems (e-CRM, e-SCM, e-CRM and e-Commerce). Similarly, although you can comment about business intelligence systems, the initiatives must be transactional. The understanding of what a transactional system is will be crystal clear once we get immersed in the module. You are required to explain the strategy of the company and/or the strategic imperatives in its industry and how the BIS initiative addressed some or all the key strategic aspects to remain competitive and be successful in the market.

The student will have to research the company, its strategic needs/strategic success factors in the industry, the application(s) that the company adopted (including the brands, if the applications were bought), information systems suppliers, and from there to link business strategies and BIS applications. It is expected that the student will reference relevant sources of information, such as web links of customer success stories and customer testimonials (in the websites of the IS suppliers), website information of the company adopter, its annual reports, industry/government reports, reports of analysts, brochures and videos of the applications, website information of the suppliers of IS, news and blogs.

It is also core in the assignment the systemic use of diverse theoretical frameworks for the strategic analysis of the company/industry including the PESTEL framework, the 5-forces of competitive position, the value chain framework, the generic strategies, the resource-based view of business strategy, etc., including any international component. The students will also have to use theories related to the type of application(s) they are writing about, i.e. ERP, e-SCM, e-CRM and/or e-Commerce as well as theories related to the interaction between organizations and IS. As BIS cut across different functional areas, relevant theories from other modules are also welcome but just as a minor complement to the ones previously mentioned. The references in the assignment have to be from English language sources.

Students are expected not only to link theory and the information of the company/BIS initiative but also to be critical, for example emphasising factors that were (or were not) taken into account for the (partial) (un)success of the initiative, lessons learned, recommended BIS roadmap for the company, etc. Although the assignment requires the use of very numerous theoretical references in the main body of the text and in the list of references, the student does not have to occupy much space explaining them. The crucial point is to include them at relevant places of the text, explain them very briefly (if necessary) and apply them correctly to make sense and interpret the factual information of the cases.

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