Integration vs Alignment

Topics: Strategic management, Management, Organization Pages: 6 (1846 words) Published: May 25, 2012



Written and Submitted by:
David Dada Gunkat 1120397


1.0 Information Systems – Business Alignment
The business sector is a highly dynamic sector; new technology, mergers, acquisitions and regulatory changes are just few activities that make the business sector a constantly changing environment. The key factor to a functioning company is the deployment of an efficient information technology system, supporting; business strategies, goals, and needs of the organisation. Society for information management ranked IS – business alignment as number one concern on the annual survey on top management concerns for three consecutive years. Cumps, Viaene and Dedene IT Pro (2006) suggest IS - Business alignment focuses on the fit between business and IS/IT strategies. The journal goes ahead to point out the temptation for CIO’s to go for the most superior technology available. Knowing organisations gain competitive edge by such investments, but for how long? The competitive advantage disappears as soon as a new platform is available, what was once a strategic advantage will quickly become a problem for the company. From this the first research question is developed. How can we effectively Align IS – business to gain competitive advantage? 2.0 Information systems – Business Integration

Alignment and integration are two different topics, although both require two separate entities to work together integration is a more complex activity. Alignment is important towards integration; integration goes beyond alignment and is achieved when individual components of an organisation’s start working as an interconnected single unit. Lear Corp. integrated a car seat manufacturing company took the production of car seats to a whole new level reducing time of production and increased the number of car seats produced, this was made possible through integration of company business model and information systems integrating the company’s enterprise system and also with that of the company’s customers; Chevrolet and General motors’ among others. From this the second research question is developed. Is IS – business Alignment enough? 2.1 Gaining Competitive Advantage

Gilbert university of … notes the challenge of aligning IT with business requirements is not new. Together with the rise of information systems in organizations, the need for alignment of its use with business processes and strategy grew. As a response to this challenge, methodologies of IT planning and system development were developed; business Systems Planning , Information Systems Study and Information Engineering . Henderson and Venkatraman developed a model refered to as SAM strategic alignment model that has been developed and improved on to allow information system and business alignment. The dimension of strategic fit differentiates between external focus, directed towards the business environment, and internal focus, directed towards administrative structures. The other dimension of functional integration separates business and IT. Altogether, the model defines four domains that have been harmonized in order to achieve alignment. Henderson and Venkatraman pay extensive attention to the different approaches of achieving this alignment. In the model this can be visualized by starting the process of alignment from any one of the four domains Samantha suggests that timing is everything in deploying the right Information system for the organisation making reference to the maturity level noting the three stages Infant, mature and ripe, also Samantha notes an alignment framework based on organization's maturity time-scale and capital allocation methodologies provides a premise on how business and IT can be aligned strategically over time. The SEI sponsored Capability Maturity Model has addressed the staged improvement of the functions so that a strategic...
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