What is meant by Strategic Information System? Explain briefly where such a system is used and the important components of such a system.

Strategic Information System Definition

Strategic Information Systems are special types of information system which support the change of goal, operation, products, services or environmental relationships of organization. Due to strategic information systems, a competitive edge over the other organizations is gained. Computers play an important role in implementing strategic information system. Some places where the system is used are health care, distribution of products, researching of transport operations, e Governance system for policy management.

Important components of strategic information system are:-

(a) Domain resources like survey forms publicity leaflets, order-forms, service forms etc.

(b) Technological resources like computers, fax machines, telephones, presentation equipment's and related software.

(c) Human resource like managers, trained personal, brokers etc.

Strategic Information System Planning

Strategic information system planning, or SISP, is predicated on two core arguments. the primary is that, at a minimum, a firm’s information systems investments should be aligned with the general business strategy, and in some cases may even become an emerging source of competitive advantage. While nobody disagrees with this, operations management researchers are just beginning to study how this alignment takes place and what the measurable benefits are. a problem under examination is how a manufacturer’s business strategy, characterized as either “market focused” or “operations focused,” affects its ability to garner efficiency versus customer service benefits from its ERP investments.

The second core argument behind SISP is that companies can best achieve IS-based alignment or competitive advantage by following a proactive, formal and comprehensive process that has the event of broad organizational information requirements. this is often in contrast to a “reactive” strategy, during which the IS group sits back and responds to other areas of the business only a requirement arises. Such a process is particularly relevant to ERP investments, given their costs and long-term impact. Seegars, Grover and Teng (1) have identified six dimensions that outline a superb SISP process (notice that a lot of of those would apply to the strategic planning process in other areas as well):

1. Comprehensiveness

Comprehensiveness is “the extent to which a corporation attempts to be exhaustive or inclusive in making and integrating strategic decisions”.

2. Formalization

Formalization is “the existence of structures, techniques, written procedures, and policies that guide the design process”.

3. Focus

Focus is “the balance between creativity and control orientations inherent within the strategic planning system”. An innovative orientation emphasizes innovative solutions to affect opportunities and threats. An integrative orientation emphasizes control, as implemented through budgets, resource allocation, and asset management.

4. Top-down flow

SISP should be initiated by top managers, with the help of support staff.

5. Broad participation

Even though the design flow is top-down, participation must involve multiple functional areas and, as necessary, key stakeholders at lower levels of the organization.

6. High consistency

SISP should be characterized by frequent meetings and reassessments of the general strategy.

The recommendations found within the SISP literature are echoed within the operations management literature. it's been suggested that firms should institutionalize a proper top-down planning process for linking information systems strategy to business needs as they move toward evolution in their management orientation, planning, organization, and control aspects of the IT function.

A Strategic data system offers competitive advantage to a corporation within the following ways:

1) Creating barriers to competitor’s entry: during this strategy, a corporation uses information systems to supply products or services that are difficult to duplicate or that are wont to serve highly specialized markets. This prevents the entry of competitors as they find the value for adopting an identical strategy very high. 

 2) Generating databases to enhance marketing: An data system also provides companies a foothold over their competition by generating databases to enhance their sales and marketing strategies. Such systems treat existing information as a resource. for instance , a corporation may use its databases to watch the acquisition made by its customers, to spot different segments of the market, etc.

3) ‘Locking in’ customers and suppliers: differently of gaining competitive advantage is by locking in customers and suppliers. during this concept, information systems are wont to provide such advantages to a customer or a supplier, that it becomes difficult for them to modify over to a competitor. for instance , a corporation may develop its data system and provides many benefits to its customers, like reliable order filling, reduced transaction costs, increased management support and faster delivery service. 

4) Lowering the prices of the products: strategic information systems can also help organizations lower their internal costs, allowing them to deliver products and services at a lower cost than their competitors can provide. Thus such information systems can contribute to the survival and growth of the organization. for instance , airlines use information systems strategically to lower costs in order that they'll counter competitor’s discount fares.

5) Leveraging technology within the value chain: This approach pinpoints specific activities within the business where competitive strategies are often best applied and where information systems are likely to possess a greater strategic impact. This model advocates that information technology can best be wont to gain competitive advantages by identifying specific, critical leverage points.

The Seven Phases of the System-Development Life Cycle

The system-development life cycle enables users to rework a newly-developed project into an operational one.

The System Development Life Cycle, "SDLC" for brief , may be a multistep, iterative process, structured during a methodical way. This process is employed to model or provide a framework for technical and non-technical activities to deliver a top quality system which meets or exceeds a business"s expectations or manage decision-making progression.

Traditionally, the systems-development life cycle consisted of 5 stages. That has now increased to seven phases. Increasing the amount of steps helped systems analysts to define clearer actions to realize specific goals.

Similar to a project life cycle (PLC), the SDLC uses a systems approach to explain a process. it's often used and followed when there's an IT or IS project under development.

The SDLC highlights different stages (phrases or steps) of the event process. The life cycle approach is employed so users can see and understand what activities are involved within a given step. it's also wont to allow them to know that at any time, steps are often repeated or a previous step are often reworked when wanting to modify or improve the system.

Following are the seven phases of the SDLC

1. Planning

This is the primary introduce the systems development process. It identifies whether or not there's the necessity for a replacement system to realize a business"s strategic objectives. this is often a preliminary plan (or a feasibility study) for a company"s business initiative to accumulate the resources to create on an infrastructure to switch or improve a service. the corporate could be trying to satisfy or exceed expectations for his or her employees, customers and stakeholders too. the aim of this step is to seek out out the scope of the matter and determine solutions. Resources, costs, time, benefits and other items should be considered at this stage.

2. Analysis and Requirements

The second phase is where businesses will work on the source of their problem or the necessity for a change. within the event of a drag , possible solutions are submitted and analyzed to spot the simplest fit the last word goal(s) of the project. this is often where teams consider the functional requirements of the project or solution. it's also where system analysis takes place—or analyzing the requirements of the top users to make sure the new system can meet their expectations. analysis is significant in determining what a business"s needs are, also as how they will be met, who are going to be liable for individual pieces of the project, and what kind of timeline should be expected.

There are several tools businesses can use that are specific to the second phase. They include:

CASE (Computer Aided Systems/Software Engineering)
Requirements gathering
Structured analysis
3. Systems Design
The third phase describes, in detail, the required specifications, features and operations which can satisfy the functional requirements of the proposed system which will be in situ . this is often the step for end users to debate and determine their specific business information needs for the proposed system. It"s during this phase that they're going to consider the essential components (hardware and/or software) structure (networking capabilities), processing and procedures for the system to accomplish its objectives.

4. Development

The fourth phase is when the important work begins—in particular, when a programmer, network engineer and/or database developer are brought on to try to to the main work on the project. This work includes employing a flow chart to make sure that the method of the system is correctly organized. the event phase marks the top of the initial section of the method . Additionally, this phase signifies the beginning of production. the event stage is additionally characterized by instillation and alter . that specialize in training are often an enormous benefit during this phase.

5. Integration and Testing

The fifth phase involves systems integration and system testing (of programs and procedures)—normally administered by a top quality Assurance (QA) professional—to determine if the proposed design meets the initial set of business goals. Testing could also be repeated, specifically to see for errors, bugs and interoperability. This testing are going to be performed until the top user finds it acceptable. Another a part of this phase is verification and validation, both of which can help make sure the program"s successful completion.

6. Implementation

The sixth phase is when the bulk of the code for the program is written. Additionally, this phase involves the particular installation of the newly-developed system. This step puts the project into production by moving the info and components from the old system and placing them within the new system via an immediate cutover. While this will be a risky (and complicated) move, the cutover typically happens during off-peak hours, thus minimizing the danger . Both system analysts and end-users should now see the belief of the project that has implemented changes.

7. Operations and Maintenance

The seventh and final phase involves maintenance and regular required updates. This step is when end users can fine-tune the system, if they want , to spice up performance, add new capabilities or meet additional user requirements.

Importance of the SDLC

If a business determines a change is required during any phase of the SDLC, the corporate may need to proceed through all the above life cycle phases again. The life cycle approach of any project may be a time-consuming process. albeit some steps are harder than others, none are to be overlooked. An oversight could prevent the whole system from functioning as planned.

Systems development specialists at Innovative Architects possess extensive experience in managing these sort of projects. If you've got a situation at your organization and you think that a customized software solution could also be what you would like , contact us today. Consultants at Innovative Architects are going to be ready to quickly guide you thru each of those steps, ensuring you'll have your new system online as soon as possible.


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