Sample Essay on Information Technology Strategic Plan

Information Technology Strategic Plan

Strategic management is a wide concept in business. This is because it comprises different areas of marketing, information systems, and business management. Strategy, on the other hand, is a concept that has been employed in various established institutions, which have realized dwindling sales or a reduction in the operational efficiencies. Strategy can be enhanced by incorporating various elements of Information Technology in a business in order to enable it to stay afloat as well as compete favorably with various market competitors. It can be defined as a state of making choices among alternatives, in order to help pick a competing choice that can be valuable to stakeholders (Hoskisson et al, 2008).

The strategy concept is widely used in various sectors especially in businesses that face stiff competition and reduced operational efficiencies as a result of operational deficiencies. It is used to give businesses alternative directions that can be pursued in order to turn around business entities into profit making entities. However, proper execution in the strategic element through a foreseeable plan is important in order to steer a business enterprise towards achieving its goals.

Piedmonts is such an organization that has been in operation for the past decade, but recently has been facing turmoil due to unfavorable operational environment brought about by poor decision making, and lack of operational strategy in the use of Information Systems and other elements.

Piedmont is a fast moving consumer goods enterprise located in the South East of Texas. The company started its operations in the year 2000, with its first outlet opening in the Mayfair Avenue. It deals with a wide range of fast moving goods, including grocery, bakery outlets at various points within the Texas neighborhood and up to 100 stores in various areas in the United States

Piedmonts operate a retail model type of business which composes of a variety of products all priced differently depending on the consumer segments in which its establishments have presence in. The various establishments are overseen by qualified manpower able enough to handle various sales, administrative and financial tasks, but in the recent past, its deemed that the sudden lump in organizational efficiencies and operational income has been attributed to the neglect of proper strategic initiatives, in terms of the use of technology to help the company to compete favorably with its competitors, who have bigger market share mainly because of the innovative strategies in e-business and other technological implementations.

The technological aspects that have continued to result in reduced efficiencies in the logistics and supplier networks, connecting different vendors and manufacturing entities. The e-commerce platform is not also fully developed to facilitate e-commerce due to the poor infrastructure as a result of using vulnerable computing platforms to sustain its usage, as well as lack of an online platform that can help suppliers coordinate their processes in real time with other company officials mainly in the inventory and distribution segment.

Logistics as a critical element in many businesses with wide networks is not well utilized. The department uses a lot of paperwork in terms of shipping products to various customers who have ordered the products online, hence leading to slow and late deliveries of products to various points resulting in reduced customer loyalty as well as trust and reliability. The supply chain system and the main backbone system driving the inventory also do not work in synchrony.

 

This prevents real time communication and thus makes is difficult to the supply chain staff to order goods in time when the replenishment levels are below average. This greatly hampers the supply chain network of the company since products cannot be moved on time as a result of poor forecasting and lack of an automated system that would trigger an alert when desirable levels in the inventory system have reached (BPMDS, 2014). Due to this, the regions that depend on the central locations cannot be served by enough goods due to the technological lapse connecting two critical entities at Piedmonts.

The other lapse in technology in the company is the use of a vulnerable computing platform, hardware, and an e-commerce site that has no Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. Vulnerability being a security issue that most companies continue to fight in this fast-paced environment, has immensely affected the online e-business strategy that would otherwise have been used by Piedmonts to attract and move its products through the World Wide Web. This is because SSL certificates are critical to ensuring online security especially when a company needs to implement mobile e-commerce, a trend that is growing. Security sensitive customers tend to shy away from the use of the pied-apps, the company mobile app that is used in e-commerce enabled phones to purchase goods and make payments online (BPMDS, 2014). This has disrupted the purchase patterns of most customers who find it had to reach the stores physically hence costing the company in terms of revenues.

These facets of technology, have drastically contributed to the organizational lapse that has is being experienced at Piedmonts. This is because of reduced innovation that would otherwise take advantage in order to put everything in place so as to enhance efficiency.

 

However, the use of technological strategy will likely enable the company to overcome the limitations in the various segments of its operations. This will be an immense contributing factor towards improved operations. These strategies can be put in place when there are competent IS professionals to oversee various implementations. These strategies can be effective in the event that competent are placed to oversee various changes within the company to sustain the organizational operations.

IT Project Manager:

The project manager would be in charge of overseeing the various units being implemented while at the same time assist the stakeholder in making sound decisions concerning critical infrastructures to be put in place. He/She will be in charge of buying the project related requirements especially the hardware and software. He/She will also help in costing in various aspects especially in drafting financial proposals in terms of recruiting staff, purchase of specific equipment and to ensure that the project commissioning and progress occur as expected.

Information Systems Analyst:

The IS Analyst will be responsible for business the process re-engineering, especially in problem-solving by finding solutions to the current problems facing the company. He/She will be in charge of redesigning the enterprise systems, to ensure that it is collaborative enough to make it integrate easily with the various platforms, so as to prevent the technological lapse.

He/She will work together with the in-house team of programmers, app developers and IS security professionals so as to ensure that there are no security flaws that may make the new system vulnerable to threats.

Computer programmers/app developers:

They are tasked with Information Systems development, comprising of designing and developing systems that can integrate with Piedmonts operations. They will work together with the information systems analyst to help design prototypes before actual implementation. On the other side, they will also coordinate programming activities with the IS security professionals so as to ensure that the systems have followed proper large scale programming paradigms.

The app developers will be engaged in developing portable computer applications that will be easily integrated with the social media, while, on the other hand, facilitate mobile commerce. They will work together with the IS security analysts to ensure that the apps are secure over the internet.

Information Security Analyst:

The IS Analyst will be tasked with the major responsibility of ensuring that programmed systems are not vulnerable to attacks, threats and virus. He/She will also play a part in quality assurance in regard to security within the developed systems. He/She will also be tasked with ensuring that the company-wide enterprise network is secure and can withstand instruction attempts.

SAP Implementers:

He/She will be charged with ensuring that the enterprise system is installed and coordinates the various organizational units. He/She will also work together with other professionals to ensure that any information system is implemented, ensuring that external systems from the manufactures are synchronously working in real-time with organizational systems. He/She will be tasked with ensuring that programs are well coordinated so as to deliver on the objective. He/She will be in charge of commissioning and post training duties.

Hardware/Software engineers:

They will be charged with acquiring related hardware and software for the new computing platform. They will work in liaison with the software engineers to ensure that purchased software meet relevant hardware specifications.

The above personnel’s will be involved in the roles to ensure that a solution is in place to improve efficiency and reliability of the buying and distribution processes.

The strategy to be used will have positive impact based on certain market attributes that are based on the SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis refers to a way of analyzing certain internal and external attributes of a company so as to assist a company formulate strategies to navigate it in the market based on the attributes (Mellen & Evans, 2013). This will enable Piedmonts to compete effectively in the market in order to increase its revenue and market share. This is because the company has numerous opportunities as well as weaknesses that may be addressed in order to return it to productivity. The SWOT analysis will help to analyze various attributes in the company’s operations.

Strengths

Vivid brand name: The Company has an already established brand name within the Texas community, and as such the company is very able to return to profitability.

Trained workforce: The Company has a team of professionals who are trained in various areas. This can be used as a competitive tool, especially in sensitive areas in sales and marketing and customer service. On the other hand, its workforce can deliver on every aspect compared to its competitors, hence this is a major advantage in Piedmonts operations.

Weaknesses

Poor technological infrastructure: The Company suffers a lot of setback due to inefficient computing system. This, therefore, interferes with the ordering, tracking and delivery process of goods hence interfering with customer loyalty.

Weak leadership structure: The Company faces many issues relating to incompetency especially the inability to provide innovative direction as pertain to the use of information systems. This is due to inadequate regional structures to oversee this aspect.

Opportunities

The Piedmonts has immense opportunities in place, especially when the above issues are looked into.

Immense e-commerce/mobile commerce selling advantages: The Company in the previous year’s sold more goods through the internet than compared to the stores. However, there was a sharp decline in sales due to the vulnerability in the company’s website and the pied-apps.

Available grocery buying clients: There are immense opportunities in the grocery unit of the business. This is because the company trades in organic products that are certified and mostly preferred by the communities living in Texas. The company can capitalize on this to create a full unit dealing with the grocery business.

 

Threats:

The organization operates in a challenging environment. This is due to the advancement of the competitors during the time that the company experienced organizational lapses.

High regulatory requirements: The Company faces challenges especially within its grocery units. Grocery business needs constant inspections to ascertain the quality and safeness of most organic products being sold by various businesses, and thus the regulatory requirements and stiffer making it hard for the company to fully subsidize its products to sustain the unit.

These are the market variables that may influence the operations of the company either from the internal or external front. The company has immense opportunities despite the competing forces, which can be addressed strategically to sustain Piedmonts operations as well as increase its revenues.

Piedmont has not delivered in recent times, which has seen the company realize a reduction in its income. This has been attributed to a complete lapse in its Information Systems in delivering goods to various customers. Its majority of customers have not received the desired service, due to lapse in the logistics and supply chain network leading to late deliveries and inconsistency in driving sales through the pied-app, the company’s mobile application.

However, in order for the company to revamp its operations, major goals should be realized in the strategic use of Information Technology in its operations. Goals are objectives that need to be achieved, and it identifies the need and certain expectations in the change of business processes (Bider, 2014). There is the need for Piedmonts to created goals that it intends to achieve since this will be a guiding factor in the company operations to enable it reaches its objectives. The company needs to change its information systems to assist it achieve the desirable outcomes.

Major goals of the Information Technology strategic plan

  • The company intends to capitalize on the modern and efficient use of Information Systems in order to reduce delivery lapses within its supply chain network, as well as facilitate real-time coordination to help it forecast its inventory levels in order to ensure that goods are available in various company stores.
  • The company intends to strategically use Information Systems to drive its online business through the internet platform, and at the same time adopt innovative use of mobile devices such as mobile e-commerce through the use of friendly and secure mobile applications.
  • The company intends to develop computing platforms such as external intranets that can be used to facilitate real-time communication between suppliers and the company to reduce lapses in the ordering and stocking processes.
  • The company intends to hire competent staff in the IT department to ensure that the information systems are working and coordinating various company business processes as required, in order to reduce coordination lapses within the organizational structure.
  • The company intends to use Information Systems in data mining in order ascertain customer attributes so as to consolidate its presence on the social media platforms as well as make sales on the social network platforms.
  • The company will drastically benefit if the above goals are pursued and met. This is because they are the factors contributing to the organization lapse. The company will benefit in various dimensions by implementing the IS strategic plan in its operations.

The organization will restore its glory in the use of modern e-commerce platform that will drive sales. The organization will gain trust, credibility and achieve customer loyalty since this strategic plan will reduce distribution lapses in order to enhance efficiency in terms of on-time product deliveries that have been ordered through the internet.

Information Technology will enhance coordination and service delivery in the mobile buyers through mobile commerce, due to a competent in-house team that will be tasked with spearheading the apps development as well as ascertaining its effectiveness and security.

The organization will be able to turn around and to maximize its revenues. However, the strategic plan will have to be followed so as to enhance service delivery. On the other side, it will help the company to achieve the laid out IT goals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

BPMDS (Conference), In Bider, I., EMMSAD (Conference), & CAiSE (Conference). (2014). Enterprise, business-process and information systems modeling: 15th International Conference, BPMDS 2014, 19th International Conference, EMMSAD 2014, Held at CAiSE 2014, Thessaloniki, Greece, June 16-17, 2014. Proceedings.

Hoskisson, R. E., Hitt, M. A., & Ireland, R. D. (2008). Competing for advantage. Princeton, N.J: Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.

Mellen, C. M., & Evans, F. C. (2013). Valuation for m & a: Building value in private companies. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.