The foundation of a successful business

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Developing an IS/IT Strategy for an SME - Pros and Cons of using B.CCD as a strategy development methodology

Business strategy is the foundation of a successful business1. The current economic decline has had shuttering consequences; it's inevitable that it will affect the various industries that the SMEs are part in the near future. The potential returns in IS/IT is not been realized because of previous attempts on improving the strategy, but failing at doing so. Success in IS/IT is concerned with maximising the return of money invested, and processing and using information within to gain competitive advantage against competitors.2 Emerging of IT has changed Business scope immensely, today's and also future Business processes are united with IT, compare to previous business model which the It were based on back offices3a.

On many occasions companies make the mistake of focusing their efforts only on members of staff who have direct contact with customers. This strategy in most occasions has failed in a long run.3

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Strategy is an important mile stone for the business to take strategic action. Strategy involves three interrelated process, first of strategic thinking, strategic planning, and opportunistic decision making. We should not confuse the two terms like strategy and planning. Strategy is dissimilar to planning, strategy is an integrated set of actions aimed at increasing the long term well being and strength of the enterprise relative to the company4.

The importance of a system has been outlined by Jason Jennings in an informal approach, with the following quote;

"You can't improve a process until you have a system. And any business without systems where everybody is free to do their own thing is little more than an insane asylum run by the inmate."5

However by applying BCCD, or any other development strategy to impose a computerized system into the business, the notion is to save company money, time and consequently to improve profits.

According to the academic staff in university of Hertfordshire, The BCCD strategy has been introduced by an individual who had resided in The University of Hertfordshire.

Therefore it's arguable that it's legitimate to use such a method, which has no national or international recognition in academic or industrial setting. However this investigation will look into ways of developing an IS/IT strategy for a particular business, and analysing the advantages and disadvantages and whether it's ideal to use BCCD as a tool to complete this task.

Business Critical Computing Decisions (BCCD) is intend to deliver integrated business and IS/IT strategies, especially for small to medium enterprises.

It investigates the business process in various ways. It analyses business' current information flow within the business. And looks into ways to increase productivity, save time and reduce costs. Structural approaches are identified such as setting goals, aims and objectives. Critical success factors are distinguished, and necessary processes are outlined, as well as prioritising the projects to support important and insignificant processes. In addition, BCCD uses academic knowledge and practical techniques to construct ultimate IS/IT strategy.

BCCD has set of steps that it follows, and it's comprised of 7 steps. These steps include from setting aims and objectives to organising workshop, working out business direction, categorising the priorities in business processes, identifying the projects to be improved, construct IS/IT strategy, and finally reassessing the completed tasks.

BCCD Strategy development focuses on broad aspects of implementing a computerized system into a given business, and in addition to that, it scrutinizes the general surroundings from political environment to various political, social and economical aspects.

The following section will look into the pros and cons of BCCD.

Pros of BCCD

Identifying the IS/IT flow within the company in depth

Identifying organisational needs and requirements

Minimise the long term costs

Competitive advantage

Cons of BCCD

Expensive procedure to install

Reluctance and inability of the employees to adjust to new system

System breakdown on initial stages from beginning

Talk about other IS IT strategy techniques

Compare

Conclude

IS/IT Strategy must align with business strategy.6

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There are 7 steps taken in order to form the BCCD strategy.

  • Step 1: Aims & Objectives
  • Step 2: Organise the workshop
  • Step 3: working out the business direction
  • Step 4: categorize the priorities in business processes
  • Step 5: identify the projects to be improved
  • Step 6: Construct the IS/IT Strategy
  • Step 7: Workshop aftermath activities: reassess the progress

There are also disadvantages on installing an IS/IT system in a SME.

Cons of an IS/IT strategy for an SME

Expensive procedure to install

Staff within the work environment found it hard to adapt to the new system.

System initially could fail

Power of Scarcity

The Business should use its scarcity power to be successful and survive in the business world (Ref: The undercover economist)

"A company can't be productive if it tries to focus on too many things simultaneously. The attempt defies the definition of "focus"."

(Less is more, by Jason Jennings)

50%) you are required to write (and additionally submit online via the Study Net module website) a short essay of between 800 and 1,000 words entitled:

'Developing an IS/IT strategy for an SME - the pros and cons of using B.CCD as a strategy development methodology.

  • Identification and selection of sources: quality and breadth of research, balancing opposing sources (5 marks)
  • Use of sources : describing them objectively and fairly, using them in supporting your argument (15 marks)
  • A sustained, well-reasoned argument based on the information derived from your sources, together with your personal opinions (15 marks)
  • A personal conclusion, drawing together and supported by the strands of your argument (5 marks)
  • Structure of your answer and quality of written English (5 marks)
  • Bibliography and references (5 marks)

References:

  1. Thinkin Managers (http://www.thinkingmanagers.com/business-management/business-strategy.php)
  2. First paragraph, section 2, Strategic planning for information Systems Third edition, Ward and Peppard (2002).
  3. Thinking Managers (http://www.thinkingmanagers.com/management/development-strategy.php)
  4. a Emerging IT / Business Models (http://misrc.umn.edu/seminars/slides/2003/02072003_Seminar_Slides.pdf)
  5. second and third paragraph, section 2, Strategic planning for information Systems Third edition, Ward and Peppard (2002).
  6. (Paragraph 3, the book 'less is more', authored by Jason Jennings, page 128)
  7. (Amanda Jefferies, SISPM Lecturer)