Strategic Information System Planning is imperative in business planning because firms cannot become competitive in both the short term and the long term periods without them. Tamir, Seev, Moshe, and Chanan (2010, p. 18) writes that in management of a firm, Strategic Information System Planning (SISP) is imperative and is the roadmap to ensuring that Information Technology ‘activities are congruent with those of the rest of the organization and its evolving needs’.
The authors define Strategic Information System Planning as a way of strategic thinking through which an organization establishes the most enviable Information System platform to employ and put into effect long-term Information Technology activities and policies (Tamir et, al. p 18). Therefore, Sabherwal and Chau (2003, p. 12) concurs with Tamir et, al. by referring to SISP as a means through which a firm can assure its Information Technology functions are congruent to the firm’s emerging strategies and needs at the present and the future.
The author writes that it is the increasing popularity of IT in the late 20the century and the need for enterprises to control their IT framework that has made SISP to become a critical tool in management. According to Sabherwal et. al. , in order for SISP to succeed, the firm must align with business planning. Henry, Albert, and Cidambi (2003, pp. 202) in their article writes that SISP has in the recent pat become a tool of concern to almost all Information systems and business executives and the degree to which it is applied in management affects the business considerably.
In his research study, the author focused on the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of the planning phases applied in SISP. He defines SISP as the means through which a firm establishes an assortment of computer-based functions to facilitate the firm accomplish the set goals and objectives. Furthermore he says that SISP is an elaborate and multifaceted cluster of definite interconnected activities or tasks.
In the same regard, Fredrickson and Mitchell (1984, pp. 05) notes that SISP as comprehensive IT mechanism that a firm incorporates into its management strategies and in a precise manner he has referred to SISP as the degree to which a firm endeavors to be inclusive and exhaustive in formulating and incorporating IT-based policies in its strategic decisions. Subsequently, the authors have continued to say that SISP as a form of planning is subject to less or more comprehensiveness and this is normally exemplified in evaluations of vital SISP characteristics that comprises of involvement of both the management and users as well as the application of IS resources and planning.
Doherty, Marples, and Suhaimi (1999, pp. 270) have referred to SISP as the application of the current and continuing activities that facilitates an organization formulate prioritized policies in regard to IS advancement. Therefore, functions are selected for their grouping to set business objectives as well as their ability to produce considerable impact on a firm’s competitive positioning. Subsequently, XXX writes that SISP encompasses looking for applications that will impact highly on the organization and place it in a more competitive market advantage compared to other competitors.
Hence, while incorporating a range of works from other authors, Doherty et. al defines SISP as ‘…. process of identifying a portfolio of computer-based applications…. ’ (1999, p. 263). Henry and Albert (2006, pp. 482) in their article notes that the continuing uncertainty brought about by advancements in Information Technology has made comprehensive planning process to become a vital tool. Besides, he writes that SISP facilitates firms to execute calculated business planning which in his view is a learning process.
The author seems in his work has cited Doherty et. al (1999) and Henry et. l. (2003) and agrees with their definition of SISP. Additionally, he says that SISP can be referred to as the procedures of partly ordered steps geared towards achieving set objectives. Quoting Mentaz, he says that SISP entails a set of particular tasks and phases requiring substantial management coordination. Kunnathur and Zhengzhong (2001, p. 424) while focusing on the success of Information Systems Planning in public institutions in China notes that SISP is a cluster of resource intense functions with the probability of reaping gains from the business planning process.
Thus, it facilitates firms to restructure internal processes and achieve competitive advantage. Finally, Segars and Grover (1998, p. 140) in their work have defined SISP with respect to its key success instruments which include alignment, cooperation, analysis, and improved planning capabilities. They have argued that these factors help to incorporate IT in formulating management strategies. SWOT Analysis SWOT analysis is and continues to be a critical factor in strategic planning process in every business strategic planning as it establishes the ‘strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats’ that it faces.
In particular organizations that are embracing the advancements of Information Technology, such as Australia’s Perisher Blue, have to incorporate SWOT analysis. First, the company has acknowledged in its strategic vision for IT role that for it to considerably increase service delivery, it has to computerize all its systems. This will come in handy at improving accessibility of customers ten-fold. Considering its previous experiences, automation of systems has to be done corresponding to large influx of customers. This forms the basis for the formulation and integration of strategic plan by the company and carrying out of a SWOT analysis.
Its strategic plan is spread over a period of 10-15 years in ensuring a robust business growth. Perisher Blue has to initially assess its internal environment which in other words represents the prevailing strengths and weaknesses. The strengths of Perisher Blue vary according to various aspects and in the context of its reference. First the company is strategically located on the Australian Snow Mountains –a tourist destination of interest- with exclusive possession of Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow, and Guthega. Thus, it is well positioned in the market or else it has a sizeable market share in terms of geography.
The only input required is to develop this market by linking all the four tour sites and coming-up with different packages to cater for a wide range of customers. The latter can be argued to be strength in that there are many types of visitors to the resort ranging from alpine skiers, snowboarders, cross country skiers, snow players, and holiday makers. Although the company in a very lucrative business, it faces a number of weaknesses. First it has failed from the past experience to link up resorts in a manner that there is coherence and uniformity in service delivery.
For the company to overcome this it needs to develop a proper infrastructure in terms of transport –lifts- and communication by computerizing its systems -such that delay-time in clearing visitors is reduced. Centralizing the overall management while still maintaining the autonomy of individual resorts will improve efficiency. The company also fails at the moment in provisioning for other supportive services for instance toilets, mountain restaurants, and proper management of the environment within the resorts.
Conversely, there exists lucrative business opportunities for the company in the future but to exploit them, it has top formulate proper strategic plan and implement it to the maximum. First, the company is in a market position and geographically located to enjoy massive in number of visitors to the resort at all seasons and in particular the winter season. Besides, it is in winter that all types of visitors as previously stated that flocks the resort. To maximize such opportunity will require employment of robust, fast, and accessible IT framework to improve efficiency.
This has to parallel to construction and/or provision of additional facilities or services to the customers that conform top modern technology. Besides, proper marketing and advertising of its packaged products will come in handy at increasing the company’s market base. Majority of these recommendations are intertwined because the implementation of strategy will have a direct impact on the other which is beneficial. To improve the management of the resorts and service delivery, contacting independent managements for every resort as well as outsourcing for provision of some services may be necessary.
For instance, the services may include catering, accommodation, installation and maintenance of a computerized system. The last item in the SWOT analysis for Perisher Blue would entail establishing probable threats that it may face in the future. Such threats may be posed by its competitors, climatic change, advancements in technology, and or management of the entire company. If the company automates or computerizes the system used in service delivery, it then means that it has to keep pace with technological advancements in updating the system regularly.
Besides, this calls hiring trained personnel hence incurring financial costs. Besides, the company becomes pre-disposed to system failures especially in high seasons. Another threat comes about as a result of contracting independent resort managements. The company will not be the overall authority and in case of mismanagement, financial losses will impact heavily. Besides, expansion in terms of services or facilities provisioned means a greater responsibility to the management and thus it may not be capable of rendering quality services anymore.