Presentation on theme: "Approaches to Information Systems Planning"— Presentation transcript:
1 Approaches to Information Systems Planning Experiences in Strategic Information Systems PlanningM.J. EarlPresented by Taleen Serebrakian
2 Topics Introduction to SISP (Strategic Information Systems Planning) 2-Stage Survey MethodologyObjectives and Benefits of SISPStage 1 of Study: Unsuccessful Features, Concerns, Necessary ConditionsStage 2: Five SISP ApproachesSISP Approaches: Summary / Strengths and WeaknessesFactors of Success vs. ApproachesQualitative MeasuresThe Best ApproachOpen Discussion: Personal SISP Experiences / Q&A
3 An Introduction to SISP Defined as ‘the process of deciding the objectives for organizational computing and identifying potential computer applications which the organization should implement’ (Lederer and Sethi, 1988)Top IS concern of chief executivesAn SISP Industry has grown as IT manufacturers and management consultants have developed methodologies and techniques.
4 An Introduction to SISP (Cont.) SISP involves:Aligning Investment in IS with Business GoalsExploiting IT for Competitive AdvantageDirecting Efficient & Effective Management of IS ResourcesDeveloping Technology Policies and ArchitecturesInformation Systems StrategyInformation Management StrategyInformation Technology Strategy
5 Survey Methodology 1988-1989, Two-stage survey Goal: To discover the intents, outcomes and experiences of SISP effortsStage 1:Examined case histories of six companies previously studiedBased on accounts of the IS Director, IS Strategic Planner and internal docsGuided questions to ask in Stage 2Stage 2:Field studies on 21 large, UK companies from various industriesExperiences w/ formal SISP activities ranged from 1-20 yrsIn-depth interviews w/ 3 stakeholders from each co. (total of 63 execs. interviewed) :IS Director or IS Strategic Planner: Suggest what can be achieved technicallyCEO or General Manager: Set direction and policiesSenior Line or User Manager: Contribute application ideas or make system requestsQuestionnaires w/ each question posed in both an open manner (raw responses) and a closed manner (quantitative responses using scores and ranks)Interviews focused on intents, outcomes and experiences w/ SISP
6 Objectives and Benefits of SISP Respondents asked to state their firms’ current objectives of SISPTable 7.1Objectives of SISPRankObjective1Aligning IS with business needs2Seek competitive advantage from IT3Gain top management commitment4Forecast IS resource requirements5Establish technology path and policiesSuggests that companies have more than one objective for SISPAligning IS w/Business Needs = #1 objectiveTable 7.2Benefits of SISPRankBenefit1Aligning IS with business needs2Top management support3Better priority setting4Competitive advantage applications5Top management involvement6User/line management involvementRespondents asked to state benefits of SISPAlso suggests a multidimensional pictureAligning IS with Business Needs = #1 benefit
7 Unsuccessful Features of SISP Respondents asked in what ways SISP has been unsuccessfulTable 7.3Unsuccessful Features of SISPRankUnsuccessful Feature1Resource constraints2Not fully implemented3Lack of top management acceptance4Length of time involved5Poor user-IS relationshipsTop 5 of the 65 features contributing to dissatisfaction aka ‘Concerns’The 65 ‘Concerns’ were examined and two patterns emergedCould be grouped almost equally into three distinct categories:MethodProcessImplementationConcerns could be grouped among the three Stakeholders:IS DirectorsGeneral ManagersUser Managers…
8 Method ConcernsCentered on the SISP technique, procedure, or methodology employed.Firms had used proprietary methods (such as Method 1, Information Engineering), or applied generally available techniques (value chain analysis) or invented their own methods by customizing well-known techniques.Among the stated concerns were lack of strategic thinking, excessive internal focus, too much or too little attention to architecture, excessive time and resource requirements, and ineffective resource allocation mechanisms.General Managers emphasized these concerns, perhaps because they have high expectations but find IS strategy making difficult.
9 Implementation Concerns Even where SISP was judged to have been successful, the resultant strategies or plans were not always followed up or fully implemented.Even though clear directions might be set and commitments made to develop new applications, projects often were not initiated and development did not proceed.Interviews revealed that typically resources were not made available, management was hesitant, technological constraints arose, or organizational resistance emerged.In the case where plans were implemented, other concerns arose, including technical quality, time and cost involved, or lack of benefits realized.IS Directors emphasized these concerns, perhaps because they are charged with delivery or because they hoped SISP would provide hitherto strategic direction of their function.
10 Process ConcernsIncluded lack of line management participation, poor IS-user relationships, inadequate user awareness and education, and low management ownership of the philosophy and practice of SISP.Line Managers were the most vocal about the management and enactment of SISP methods and procedures and whether they fit the organizational context.
11 Necessary Conditions for Successful SISP Analysis of the reported concerns suggests that Method, Process and Implementation are all necessary conditions for successful SISPMethodProcessSISPImplementation
12 Necessary Conditions for Successful SISP Respondents volunteered success factors based on their organization’s experience and they conveyed a multiple perspective.No single factor is likely to lead to universal success in SISP.SISP is more probable when organizations realize that method, process, and implementation are all necessary issue sets to be managed.Table 7.5Success Factors in SISPRankSuccess Factor1Top management involvement2Top management support3Business strategy available4Study business before technology5Good IS managementProcess FactorsMethod FactorsImplementation Factors
13 Strategic Planning Activities and Behavior Cannot assume that SISP requires selection and use of just one methods or one special planning exercise.As discovered in the interviews, companies engage in a variety of strategic planning activities and behavior. This became apparent when respondents were asked the open- ended question,‘Please summarize the approach you have adopted in developing your IS strategy (or identifying which IT applications to develop in the long run)’.Replies recounted a rich history of initiatives, events, crises, techniques, organizational changes, successes, and failures all interwoven in a context of how IS resources had been managed.
14 Shift in FocusPrompted by the list of concerns and narrative histories of planning-related events, the focus of the study shifted and the object of analysis became the SISP approach.Approach viewed as the interaction of method, process, and implementation, as well as the variety of activities and behaviors upon which the respondents had reflected.Features of SISP were compared across the 21 companies and five distinct approaches were identified.
15 …an approach is identified What is an Approach?Is not a technique per se, nor is it an explicit study or formal, codified routine so often implied in past studies of SISP.Can’t be captured by one event, single procedure, or a specific technique.May comprise a mix of procedures, techniques, user-IS interactions, special analyses, and random discoveries.Combines formal activities and informal behavior.Sometimes IS planning is a special endeavor and sometimes it is a part of business planning at large.When members of an organization describe how decisions on IS strategy are initiated and made, a coherent picture is gradually painted where the underpinning philosophy, emphasis, and influences stand out. ..…an approach is identified
16 Five SISP Approaches Identified Business-LedMethod-DrivenAdministrativeTechnologicalOrganizational
17 Business-Led Approach Underpinning Assumption: Current business direction is the only basis upon which IS plans can be built and, therefore, business planning should drive SISP.Business plans/strategies are analyzed to identify where information systems are most required. Usually an annual endeavor. Responsibility of the IS Director or IS Strategic Planner. Plan is later presented to the board for questioning, approval, priority-setting.General Managers view this approach as simple, common sense.IS Execs see this form of SISP as their most critical task.Business strategies are not clear or detailed enough to specify IS needs, so interpretation and further analysis become necessary. Documents have to be studied, working papers written, tentative proposals on IS implications of business plans put forward. Trial and Error basis.
18 Business-Led Approach: Pros and Cons Advantages:IS function receives greater legitimacy because Information Systems are seen as a strategic resourceImportant strategic thrusts that require IT support can be identifiedIf business strategy is clearly/fully presented, IS strategy can be well-alignedDisadvantages:Emphasis on top-level input reduces contribution of users and visibility of local requirementsUsers complain of inadequate involvementTop management delegates SISP to specialists and as a result, may be unsure of the recommendations and hesitant to commit resources. This impairs implementation
19 Method-Driven Approach Underpinning Assumption: SISP is enhanced by, or depends on, use of a formal technique or method.IS Director may believe that management will not think about IS needs and opportunities without the use of a formal method or the intervention of consultants.Typically search for the best method (or at least better than the last method adopted.Because formal methods are usually sponsored by IS department, they may fail to win the support or involvement of the business at large. So a second or third method may be attempted while the IS department tries to verify the business strategy and encourage the participation of a wider set of stakeholders.Vendor or consultant plays significant role and consultants often become the drivers of the SISP and have substantial influence on the recommendations. Strategies are labeled ‘xyx’ strategy, where ‘xyz’ is the consulting firm (these strategies are rarely owned by the business).
20 Method-Driven Approach: Pros and Cons Advantages:Provides a methodology: Formal technique(s)Plugs strategy gapsRaises strategy profile: Shows the need for business strategiesDisadvantages:Limited user involvement: Users may view this method as unreal and high level because it excludes the managers who matter (themselves)Too influenced by method: Introduction of a formal method rarely provides a remedy because it is unlikely to be a strong enough business strategy.Implementation unlikely: General Managers see this as ‘business strategy making in disguise’ and become resistant of the option suggested by the application of this method. As a result, IS strategic plans may lose their credibility and never be fully initiated. Recommendations may be forgotten.
21 Administrative Approach Underpinning Assumption: wider management planning and control procedures are expected to achieve aims of SISP through formal procedures for allocating US resource. Emphasis is on resource planning.IS development proposals submitted by business units to committees who examine project viability, common system possibilities, resource consequences.Hierarchical approval procedure, all decisions made by planning investment or steering committees.Produces a one-year or multi-year development portfolio of approved projects and no application is developed until it’s on the plan.Parallel of the company’s normal financial planning.
22 Administrative Approach: Pros and Cons Advantages:Procedure is visible, all users and units have opportunity to submit proposalsEmphasis on viability, project approval, resource planning produces application development portfolios that are eventually implemented.IS managed in congruence with other activities, permitting complementary resources to be allocated in parallel.Disadvantages:Viewed as not strategic, bottom-up instead of top-downIdeas for radical change not ID’d, Strategic thinking absent, bus-as-usual dominatesEnterprise-level applications remain in backgroundConflict, drama, game playing as a result of resource allocation procedureEmphasis on resource planning leads to resource-constrained outcome (budget cuts being applied to US budget damages business as a whole)
23 Technological Approach Underpinning Assumption: Information Systems-oriented model of the business is a necessary outcome of SISP and therefore, analytical modeling methods are appropriate. Emphasis on deriving architectures or blueprints for IT and IS, often Information engineering is used.Formal method applied based on mapping activities, processes and data flows of the business.End product is a business model (or series of models).Architectures for data, computing, communications and applications might be produced and computer-aided software engineering might be used as a tool.Proprietary technology-oriented method might be used or adapted in-house.IS Directors and General Managers tend to emphasize objectives of rigorous analysis and building a robust infrastructure.
24 Technological Approach: Pros and Cons Advantages:Factoring down the approach into smaller exercises may produce benefits, such as a database definition or an IT architecture for a particular functionFocus on building better IT infrastructuresDisadvantages:Demanding in terms of effort and resource requirementsHigh-profile activitiesTakes too long to implement, stakeholders complainTechnical dependencies displace business priorities (complex analysis)Little top management support and user rebellion
25 Organizational Approach Underpinning Assumption: SISP is not special/neat endeavor but is based on IS decisions being made through continuous integration between the IS function and the organization.Emphasis on process, especially management understanding and approval.IT applications identified and selected by employing methods as required to fit particular purpose: value analysis, workshops, business investigation projects, vendor visits etc.Organizational learning important:IS development concentrates on only one or two themes growing in scope over several years: organization begins to appreciate the potential benefitsSpecial studies are important: project teams and task forces assigned to tackle business problem from which IS initiatives will later emergeFocus on implementations: themes broken down into identifiable and frequent deliverablesThese three learning characteristics can be seen collectively as a preference for incremental strategy making
26 Organizational Approach The approach is Organizational because:Collective learning across the organization is evident.Organizational devices or instruments (teams, task forces, workshops, etc.) are used to tackle business problems or pursue initiatives.The IS function works in close partnership with the rest of the organization, especially through having IS managers on management teams or placing IS executives on task forces.Devolution of some IS capability is common, not only to divisions, but also to functions, factories, and departments.In some companies SISP is neither special nor abnormal. It is part of the normal business planning of the organization.IS strategies often emerge from ongoing organizational activities, such as trial and error changes to business practices, continuous and incremental enhancement of existing applications, and occasional system initiatives and experiments within the business.
27 Organizational Approach: Pros and Cons Advantages:SISP becomes normalEmphasis on implementationPromotes IS-user partnershipDisadvantages:Theme generation: worrying about how the next theme will be createdSoft methodology: Because approach is fuzzy or soft, not always confident that it can be transplanted to another part of the businessArchitecture becomes difficult: Incrementalism of this approach leads to creation of inferior infrastructures
28 Five Approaches Summarized Business-LedMethod-DrivenAdministrativeTechnologicalOrganizationalUnderpinning AssumptionBusiness plans and needs should drive IS plansIS strategies will be enhanced by use of a formal SISP methodSISP should follow /conform with the firm’s management planning & control proceduresSISP is an exercise in business and information modelingSISP is a continuous decision-making activity shared by the business and ISEmphasis of ApproachBusiness leads IS and not vice versaSelection of the best methodIdentification and allocation of IS resources to meet agreed needsProduction of models and blueprintsOrganizational learning about business problems / opportunities & IT contributionMajor Influence of OutcomesIS plannersPractitioners of the methodResource planning and steering committeesModeling method employedPermanent and ad hoc teams of key managers, including ISSloganBusiness drives ISStrategy needs methodFollow the rulesIS needs blueprintsThemes with teams
29 Five Approaches: Strengths & Weaknesses Business-LedMethod-DrivenAdministrativeTechnologicalOrganizationalStrengthsSimpleBusiness firstRaises IS statusProvides a methodologyPlugs strategy gapsRaises strategy profileSystem viabilitySystem synergiesEncourages user inputRigorFocus on infrastructureFavors integrated toolsBecomes normalEmphasis on implementationPromotes IS-user partnershipWeaknessesAd hoc methodLacks management commitmentDepends on quality of business strategyUser involvementToo influenced by methodImplementation unlikelyNon-strategicBureaucraticResource-constrainedLacks management supportOnly partial implementationComplexityGeneration of new themesSoft methodologyArchitecture becomes difficult
30 5 Approaches vs. 3 Conditions for Success MethodProcessBusiness-Led ApproachMethod-Driven ApproachSISPAdministrative ApproachTechnological ApproachImplementationOrganizational ApproachBusiness-LedMethod-DrivenAdministrativeTechnologicalOrganizationalMethodLowHighMediumProcessImplementation
31 Qualitative Measure 1: Success Table Mean Success Scores by Approach (5 = high; 1 = low) Mean score across all companies: 3.73Business-LedMethod-DrivenAdministrativeTechnologicalOrganizationalTotal Mean(3 Stakeholders)3.253.833.604.003.94Lacks formal methodologies; earned lowest scoreMost intensive approach in terms of technique earned highest score, perhaps because it represents what respondents thought an IS planning methodology should look like.
32 Qualitative Measure 2: Concerns Table SISP Concerns per Firm (5 = high dissatisfaction; 1 = low dissatisfaction)Business-LedMethod-DrivenAdministrativeTechnologicalOrganizationalMethod2.752.502.801.751.33Process0.753.001.602.16Implementation1.001.83Total6.256.506.007.255.32Least concerns total
33 Qualitative Measure 3: Competitive Advantage Table Competitive Advantage PropensityCompetitive Advantage Application FrequencyBusiness-Led4.0 applications per firmMethod-Driven1.5 applications per firmAdministrative3.6 applications per firmTechnological2.5 applications per firmOrganizational4.8 applications per firmMost themes pursued were perceived to have produced a competitive advantage
34 Multidimensional Picture Table Multidimensional Ranking of SISP approaches (1 = top; 5 = bottom)Business-LedMethod-DrivenAdministrativeTechnologicalOrganizationalSuccess Score Ranking53412Least Concerns RankingCompetitive Advantage Potential RankingSum of Ranks91110Overall RankingOrganizational Approach is substantially superior, hence the best SISP approachBased on quantitative and qualitative evidenceLeast formal and least structured