Strategic Information Management in Corporate Strategy

The purpose of this document is to critically examine the role of information management in corporate strategy by utilizing a scenario of a store that has multiple sites and locations to deliver products in a fast and efficient manner. The corporate IT strategy is to improve IT communications throughout the organization. There are three projects under consideration to assist the organization in communications. One project is to use wireless networks to access data faster. Another project involves using a collaborative system that allows for synchronous and asynchronous communications. The third project involves using a customer resource management system; however, this project requires replacing previous systems and a lot of lead-time to deliver the system for operations. This document is intended for anybody looking to gain a basic knowledge or understanding of strategic information management.

The retail clothing company Kucera Clothiers, with over 100,000 employees in 3500 locations, is looking to improve its corporate IT strategy. The company’s desired corporate strategy is to improve communications between the corporate headquarters, satellite offices, and distribution centers while enhancing access to corporate records and customer accounts, both in the office and during travel. This will result in shorter times for purchase orders to be sent to distribution centers and for products to reach customers. The company has narrowed down the options to three projects that will best suit their needs. The first option involves providing wireless network connectivity with associated devices to provide access to all necessary data and services at all locations. The second option involves providing a collaboration system accessible on the Intranet or over the Internet, using both synchronous and asynchronous forms of communication. However, this system requires deploying new software and employee training. The third option involves implementing a customer resource management system throughout the organization, replacing previous systems, and requiring a substantial lead-time for implementation and employee training.

When considering the corporate strategy alongside the proposed projects, it becomes evident that the use of a collaboration system best aligns with the company’s goals and is also the most cost-effective solution. Synchronous and asynchronous forms of communication can be viewed as active or passive communication methods. This aligns directly with the corporate strategy, as employees at physical locations or on the road can actively engage in communication or post messages for others to view in the collaboration system. This can significantly enhance communication between sites and corporate offices. For instance, a traveling salesman can quickly communicate a customer’s needs through the collaboration system, initiating an efficient order process that involves the sales manager, accounting, and the distribution center, all before the salesman returns from the trip. This example illustrates the value of the collaboration system and its direct relevance to the corporate strategy. Moreover, as the system can be accessed via the Internet or Intranet, communication and information access are possible from anywhere in the world. The online collaboration system aligns well with the corporate strategy, meeting both company and customer needs.

Comparing the collaboration system proposal to the wireless network and the customer resource management system proposals, it is evident that the conditions for success are more favorable for the collaboration system. The collaboration system can be accessed via the company’s Intranet or the Internet using a network-based or web-based interface. When employees travel, they can communicate synchronously or asynchronously. The system can be deployed swiftly through software installation and web-based training, ensuring efficient global employee training. The only drawback is that delaying the realization of this solution could result in revenue loss and decreased customer satisfaction. In contrast, the wireless network proposal presents multiple drawbacks. The costs associated with wireless networking equipment, computers, PDAs, and their distribution, installation, and training are prohibitively high. The time required for purchasing, inventorying, testing, and installing this equipment is also impractical, resulting in potential revenue and customer losses. Furthermore, this proposal does not align with the corporate strategy due to limited wireless access points. The customer resource management (CRM) system appears promising in aligning with the corporate strategy, providing efficient data access, but it has significant drawbacks. Replacing current systems and the time and resources needed for implementation and training make this option unsuitable for an established company like Kucera Clothiers.

In conclusion, applying strategic information management to the role of information management in corporate strategy requires a thorough evaluation of available options to determine the most suitable solution based on company goals and strategies. Factors such as time, cost, resources, legacy support, training methods, communication, and return on investment have been considered in selecting the ideal solution. Applying strategic information management techniques has determined that the collaboration system best suits the company’s current and future goals while aligning with the desired corporate strategy.

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