Information Technology IT Strategic Planning Commerce Essay

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Perisher Blue resort was opened in March 1995. It combines the resources and facilities of Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Mount Blue Cow, Guthega, The Station and the Skitube alpine railway. Perisher Blue has the highest terrain, the greatest number of lifts and the most reliable snow in the whole of Australia. This milestone evaluates Perisher Blue's resort with the objective of assisting it craft an IT Strategic Plan. In the endeavor to identify the best possible strategic plan, the paper will first evaluate literature on this subject and then proceed to do a SWOT Analyses on the case study.

Literature Review:

In most organizations, information technology (IT) plays a significant role as a support service that facilitates the obtaining of business benefits. According to Mason (1991, p.231) "the concept of using information technology (IT) to change the basis of competition has intuitive appeal, and there are numerous examples of information systems that have proved valuable to the organizations which developed them". Moreover, Peppard and Ward (2004, p.168) argue that "information technology has become inextricably intertwined with business". This crucial role has prompted organizations to strategies cautiously how to maximize return on Investment (ROI) benefits from their IT Infrastructure. In order to accomplish this, the IT strategies have had to be integrated into the overall business goals. As Porter (2001, p.72) demonstrates in his research, companies must focus on the IT needs that are correlated to their particular strategies. Bozarth (2006, p.1224) supports this theory stating in his research that a firm's information system should be aligned with the overall business strategy. This is reinforced by a common acceptance of the notion that, the number one reason of companies failure is because of misalignment between IS/IT and business strategies (Presley, 2006). For that reason, connecting the IT strategy to the overall organization strategy necessitates a systematic schedule which may also be referred to as a strategic information system planning (SISP).

There are numerous descriptions of SISP. For example, Newkirk, Lederer and Johnson (2008, p. 199) describe it thus "SISP is the process of identifying a portfolio of computer-based applications whose object is to assist the organization in accomplishing its business goals". Further, Lederer and Sethi (1996, p.35) confirm that description by stating that SISP is the process of identifying a portfolio of computer-based applications intended to assist an organization in executing its day to day business operations, business plans and realizing its business goals. As well, the effect of SISP on business is exhibited in a number of factors. Lederer and Sethi (1988, p.450) pointedly state "Effective SISP has the wherewithal necessary to aid an organizations in application of information systems to attain business objectives". While, Burch (2001,p.22) states that devoid of a suitable SISP, systems projects are routinely developed tit by bit, resulting in incompatible, redundant and inflexible information systems.

In Perisher's Blue case, the major reason for crafting an IT strategic plan is to enable a broader access to an extensive variety of both active and passive leisure activities. Papazoglou and Ribbers (2006, p49) hypotheses that the basic purpose of an IS strategy is to make certain that technological growth of an enterprise is aligned as best as is possible to the information needs of the enterprise. As such, the utilization of IT by Perisher Blue or the need to develop the IT infrastructure that supports an expansive clientele base is out of the need to attain the foregoing object.

Besides, acquisition of SISP ought not to be solely primed on IS/IT because such an approach may possibly fail to realize ROI for the company unless they are managed responsibly to fulfil the intended goals (Dorgan & Dowdy). Carr (2003, p42) in supporting this notion argues that "when the resource becomes vital to competition but inconsequential to strategy, the risks it creates become more important than the advantages it provide".

Motjolopane and Brown (2004, p155) support this view suggesting that success at implementation phase of IT projects solely doesn't ensure alignment of the business goals to the IT strategy. Besides the constructive effects of SISP on business is noticeable in numerous ways. According to Rawani and Gupta (2001, p152) "SISP aid organizations in applying IS in creative ways that create barriers against new market entrants, basically altering the competition, generate novel products, built-in switching cost". In addition the communication between the management and IS department will appreciably get better because of SISP (Cassidy, 2006). Correct implementation of SISP results in numerous gains to any business, as would be in Perisher Blue's case. In conclusion it is worth noting that IT is the engine that thrusts economic success in businesses globally. A correct alignment of the IT strategy to the business goals by use of SISP is a sure way of getting a step head of the competition while comfortably attaining the organizational intents.

SWOT Analysis:

Strengths:

Opportunities:

Sits on an expansive 12 km² piece of property, making it a bigger facility in comparison to its rivals; proffering a comparative edge over other players in the industry.

Perisher Blue can create an IT infrastructure that implements a novel IT system with the capacity to enhance its business.

Fifteen years experience in the Industry, gives it a definite head start. It has the wherewithal to handle any aspect of the business.

The ski resort market is projected to stay buoyant with forecasts of 2.0%, 3.0% and 4.6% growth percentage rates over the next 25years

It is set on the most suitable background that includes the most elevated terrain that is endowed with reliable snow in the country. It also has built the highest number of lifts.

Perisher Blue can add value to its entertainment packages by product diversification and pricing strategies that appeal to a wider swathe of the targeted market segment.

It is recognised for producing an award winning Ski Slope Master plan for its Ski resort. This is a confirmation of its continuous strive to better its services, hallmarks of an effective R & D unit.

It is a one stop shop with a variety of services. All customers needs are taken care of, from transport to accommodation, thus affording its clientele the convenience choice and total relaxation

Perisher Blue has a training facility for its customers, a rarity in the industry.

Weaknesses:

Threats:

Maintaining Standards in a resort that covers an area of 12km2 is no easy task.

Competition with the existing players in the industry is cut-throat.

High employee costs are incurred in hiring of staff to man the expansive resort.

Probability of new Entrants coming into the market

High overhead operational costs.

Persistent fear of Climate change- without or un predictable snowfalls, would directly affect the business.

Coordination seems to be poor between the different sites of the resort.

Recommendation:

This paper is makes the following recommendations based on the intent to enhance performance and haul profits.

Drastically increase the R&D budget. This will enable the company to continue discovering areas in which it can expand its business.

Maintain affable relations with other competing firms in the industry. This will put it in a vanguard position that will enable it to keep an eye and remain abreast of what the rivals are up to., besides exchanging experiences.

Implement RFID technology at the entrances to the resort facilities. This will ensure control of the access to the sites. RFID technology embedded onto the tickets will make certain that customers with valid tickets are the ones permitted to access the resort.. Build a network of well trained agencies all over the world to sale and promote it products and services.

Invest in a robust website, where customers can blog and exchange idea, mingle before and after visiting the resort.

Market segmentation-identify a market niche for its services and develop products targeted at the specific segment.

Product diversification-add value to its packages and offer them that the lowest possible prices.

Pricing Strategy- Marketing wars are won by adopting the suitable pricing mechanism for your targeted market segment.

Bibliography:

Bozarth, C 2006,'ERP implementation efforts at three firm Integrating lessons from the SISP and IT-enabled change literature ', International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol.26, no.11, p. 1223-1239.

Burch, T. A. 2001, 'Information technology: Core competencies, and sustained competitive advantage', Information Resources Management Journal, vol.14, no.2, pp.20-36.

Carr, N. G 2003, 'It doesn't matter', Harvard Business Review, vol.81, no.5, pp.41-49.

Cassidy, A, 2006, A practical guide to information systems strategic planning, Taylor and Francis Group, USA.

Dorgan, S. J. & Dowdy, J. J. 2004, 'When IT lifts productivity', McKinsey Quarterly, vol.4, pp.13-15.

Lederer, A L, Sethi V 1996 , 'Key prescriptions for strategic information systems planning', Journal of Management Information Systems, vol.13, no.1, pp. 35-62.

Lederer, A L, Sethi V 1988, The implementation of Strategic Information System Planning Methodologies, pp445-461.

Mason, J 1991 'Creating Better Governance of Offshore Services', Information Systems Management, Vol. 26, pp210-242

Motjolopane, I, Brown, I. 2004, 'Strategic Business-IT Alignment, and Factors of Influence: A Case Study in a Public Tertiary Education Institution ', Proceedings of SAICSIT, pp.147-156.

Newkirk, H E, Lederer, A L & Johnson, A M. 2008, 'Rapid business and IT change: drivers for strategic information systems planning?', European Journal of Information Systems, no.17, pp. 198-218.

Rawani, A M,Gupta, M P. 2001, 'Flexible Framework for Strategic Information Systems Planning: A Case Study from Banking Sector ', Global Journal of Flexible Systems Management, vol.27, no.4, pp.150-165.

Papazoglou, M & Ribbers, P 2006, E-business: organisational and technical foundations, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, England.

Peppard, J, Ward, J 2004, Beyond strategic information systems: towards an IS capability', Journal of Strategic Information Systems, no.13, pp. 167-194.

Porter, M.E. (2001) 'Strategy and the Internet', Harvard Business Review, March, Vol. 79, Issue 3, pp62-79.

Presley, A. 2006, 'ERP investment analysis using the strategic alignment model', Management Research News, vol.29, no.5, pp.273-284

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