Strategic Alignment of Information Systems and Information Technology Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage

*A Case Study of Lafarge Surma Cement and Berger Paints Bangladesh Ltd.

The Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the

BA (Hons) Business Studies
By

Tamima Shan Chowdhury
ID – 0014OTOT1008

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage

Declaration
I hereby declare that this dissertation solely constitutes my own product; with quotation marks indicating where the language of others is set forth and appropriate references are given where ideas, expressions or writings of another is used. This dissertation does not contain any defamatory material. A full list of the references employed has been included.

Signed: ……………………………. Name: Tamima Shan Chowdhury ID: 0014OTOT1008 Date: ……………………………….

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Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage

Abstract
This dissertation critically evaluates the concept of strategic alignment of IS-IT strategy with business strategy to gain competitive advantage. The strategic application of information systems can convey important competitive advantages. For this reason, it is essential to understand which factors influence the strategic use of information resources and what relationships exist among these factors. This dissertation introduces literature for studying the influence of strategic alignment on the ability of the firm to provide IS-based competitive advantage. It uses three reference theories: contingency theory, strategic management theory, and the resource based view of the firm and other pertinent models to support the literature review. The study demonstrates the linkage between strategic alignment and competitive advantage by comparative analysis of the extent of strategic alignment at Lafarge Surma Cement and Berger Paints. A survey of two hundred employees has been undertaken for the purpose of this research along with focus group discussions with managers at Lafarge and Berger to reveal the extent of strategic alignment that exists in each company. This paper draws attention to specific IS-IT functions and strategies that may need to be implemented for greater integration thus enhanced organisational performance and effectiveness in the organizations of Bangladesh.

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Tamima Shan Chowdhury 4 . Principal of London School of Commerce. My sincere gratitude to all the faculty members of London School of Commerce for their help in various ways and especially Mr. Finally. Irfan Khan. Muktadir Rahman. I would especially like to thank my parents for their continuous support and encouragement. I would like to thank the managers and employees of Berger Paints and Lafarge Surma Cement for their patience and cooperation. This dissertation would not have been possible without their generous cooperation.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Acknowledgement I would like to thank my supervisor Mr. I would like to extend my heartfelt felicitations towards all my friends and my family who has made these educational endeavor a success. for his great insights. perspectives and guidance.

........2..............................................15 1.......................3...................................................15 1.....................................................................................1 Lafarge Surma Cement..............16 1...........................................................................................................11 1..12 1..........3............6 Research Questions..........................12 1..2 Research Background........................................2 Berger Paint.......................................................................................................................2............................................................................................................7 Research Objectives........Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Table of Contents Chapter 1: Introduction 1........13 1.............................................................................2 Strategic Planning of IS-IT...............................................................................2..................................................................................14 1.................................17 1...................8 Limitations of the Study............................................3 Importance of aligning the IS-IT strategy with the Business Strategy to gain Competitive Advantage...........5 Significance of the Study................18 Tamima Shan Chowdhury 5 ........3 Background of MNC’s..................................4 Statement of the Problem.........................................................................................................................................14 1......1 IS-IT Strategy..................................14 1........16 1.............9 Outline of the Dissertation........................1 Introduction.......................................................................................11 1....................

..2 Using Information Systems as a Source of Competitive Advantage.......1 Venkatraman’s Model of Strategic Alignment.27 2........................................20 2...............................23 2...............4 Reich’s Research Model.........................2..............22 2............................................................................................4.............21 2.............27 2....2............2 Evolution of Importance of IS Planning.....................1 Resource-Based View Approach........1 Strategic Information Systems Planning..24 2.....................................2 Information Systems Planning Literature.3 Jang’s Contingency Model of SISP............................................1 Strategic Management Theory: The Business Planning School........26 2..4.............19 2...........................19 2.....25 2.....3 Strategic Alignment arising from IS Planning............................4....................5....3........2 Kings Input-Process-Output-Impact Model...............................5................33 Tamima Shan Chowdhury 6 ...........................................4........................................................2............4.....1...............2......2 Contingency Theory...1 The Contingency Approach..............3 Importance of Existing and Future IS applications as a Contingency..................29 2..2......4......29 2.....................5 Models of IS Planning and Strategic Alignment......................4 Theoretical Underpinnings to the IS Planning and Strategic Alignment..........4................3....................19 2..5....2 IS-IT Alignment from Strategic Management Perspective..........5.................4....................4......................................3.3 Resource-Based View of the Firm...26 2...............................31 2...1 Introduction........22 2.....................................................................33 2...............1 Contingency Variables from Strategic Management Theory...........................4....................................................4.....22 2.......................................................................3 Creating a Distinctive Competency through Strategic IS-IT Alignment...........................................3.....24 2.............................................25 2.....19 2.....................................1 Importance of IS-IT Strategic Alignment..........................Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Chapter 2: Literature Review 2.................2 Contingency Variables of IS Planning................1.................................................

3 Focus Group Discussion (FGD)....................9 Summary……………………………………………………………………………………36 Chapter 3: Research Methodology 3...2 Methodological Approach...................2 Survey..........4 Sources of Data Collection and its Methods.........1 Theoretical Approach...............................................................................................5 Research Sampling........35 2.....................................6 Effectiveness and Criticisms of the Models..1.3 Exploratory Research................4..39 3..........................................................................39 3..35 2.....................38 3..............40 3.........................................................38 3........................34 2............................................38 3.7 Measuring the Impact of Strategic Alignment of IS-IT on Organisational Performance.................................2.....1 Research Population......42 3..........................Qualitative and Quantitative research.................2 Explanatory Research.....5............................5...3.........................................................................................1 Case Study.................................................................3...................................1 Primary Data Collection Method................................................................................................................Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage 2........................................................................................................Deductive and Inductive Reasoning..............................3 Research Strategy.....40 3.43 3.....................42 3................................................8 Challenges of Strategic IS Planning and Alignment……………………………………...........2............................................3.................................................2 Research Approach.1 Purpose of the Research...1 Descriptive Research.....................................................................................1...............44 Tamima Shan Chowdhury 7 ......................................................42 3......................................................................................................1.........43 3.......................42 3.38 3.......................................4.........2 Secondary Data Collection Method.......................................2 Sampling Frame and Sample Size....................................................................................41 3............41 3......................

..............1 Secondary Data Analysis...........................................................................................44 3...........56 4......................................................................47 4........1...3......................................4 IS Plan reflects the business resource constraints and supports the business mission........60 4.............................................3..47 4......3 Focus Group Discussion....................................................................................Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage 3.......................2......................................5...............8 Limitations....................................45 3...3 Sampling Technique.........2....................................................................................3..46 3......................2 Profitability Analysis..............................2.....................63 4......................5...........3 IS-IT acts as a source of Competitive Advantage..................2.......3 Strategic Implications of IS-IT......................................2 Primary Data Analysis.....53 4..........2 IS-IT enables firms to exploit their Distinctive Compatibilities.....46 Chapter 4: Data Analysis and Findings 4................................65 4..................1 Sales Volume Analysis.................................................................................................3.........................1........51 4.....................3..64 4.5..................2 Strategic Information Systems Planning...............................................44 3.....................................................3.......................1 External Business Environment Conditions.........................................................7 Ethical Considerations....................................................6 Validity and Reliability..................................51 4..........................................2 Non-Probability Sampling..............63 4.... goals and strategies relying on IS-IT both internally and externally.....4 Alignment of IS Strategy with Business Strategy..1 Probability Sampling..........................................................................................5 Strategies Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy.................................................................................................................1 Business and IS Planning with the role played by the Top Management and IS-IT managers in the planning process............45 3..66 4................................49 4..................3.........67 Tamima Shan Chowdhury 8 .........

...................4 Implications for Future Research.2 Justification of Research Objectives....................Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Chapter 5: Conclusion 5.........97 Appendix C…………………………………………………………………………………...................................................................................................................................................................76 List of References…………………………………………………………………………............77 Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………………83 Appendix A…………………………………………………………………………………................................................................69 5.....................73 6...................................1 Recommendation............3 Implications for Practitioners.............................................75 6.............................75 6...................2 Limitations of the Study.....................71 Chapter 6: Recommendation 6.......................94 Appendix B………………………………………………………………………………….1 Discussion of the Research Questions...........105 Table of Exhibits Chapter: 1 Tamima Shan Chowdhury 9 ......................

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage

Fig 1.1 Rationales of SISP……………………………………………………………………….13

Chapter: 2
Fig 2.1 Strategic Management Perspective………………………………………………………24 Fig 2.2 Model for the Contingency Perspective………………………………………………....26 Fig 2.3 Model for Resource-Based View………………………………………………………..29 Fig 2.4 Venkatraman’s Model of Strategic Alignment…………………………………………..31 Fig 2.5 Input-Process-Output-Impact Model…………………………………………………….32 Fig 2.6 Teo’s Research Model…………………………………………………………………...32 Fig 2.7 Contingency Model of SISP……………………………………………………………..33 Fig 2.8 Reich’s Research Model………………………………………………………………....34

Chapter: 3
Fig 3.1 Research Approach and its Categories………………………………………………….39 Fig 3.2 Research Strategies……………………………………………………………………...41 Fig 3.3 Sources of Data Collection……………………………………………………………...43 Fig 3.4 Sampling Techniques……………………………………………………………………44

Chapter: 4
Fig 4.1 Comparative Sales Value Representation of Lafarge and Berger……………………….47 Fig 4.2 Comparative PBIT Analysis Representation of Lafarge and Berger……………………49 Fig 4.3 Changes in External IS-IT Environment of Lafarge and Berger………………………...51 Fug 4.4Variations in Industrial factors in Lafarge and Berger…………………………………..52

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Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage

Fig 4.5 Representation of Business and IS Plan in Lafarge and Berger…………………………53 Fig 4.6 Range of Functions supported by IS Planning at Lafarge and Berger…………………..54 This chapter introduces the idea behind the background of this paper and overview of the case studied companies. It also clearly point outs the research problems and the significance of the study as well as outlining the research questions and objectives and the limitations faced in conducting the research. Fig 4.7 Extent to which IS Planning Exploits Company’s Distinctive competencies at Lafarge and Berger……………………………………………………………………………………….55 Fig 4.8 Dependency on IS-IT for Achieving Critical Success and Competitive Advantage at Lafarge and Berger………………………………………………………………………………56 Fig 4.9 Strategic Impact of Existing and Future IS at Lafarge and Berger……………………...57 Fig 4.10 Daily Operation Dependencies on IS Applications and Measurability of its Intangible Benefits at Lafarge and Berger…………………………………………………………………..58 Fig 4.11 Advantages Achieved from IS-IT at Lafarge and Berger………………………………59 Fig 4.12 The IS Strategy reflects the Business Recourse Constraints its Missions, Goals and Strategies…………………………………………………………………………………………60 Fig 4.13 The Business Plan Utilizes the IS Capabilities and refers to the IS Plan at Lafarge and Berger…………………………………………………………………………………………….61 Fig 4.14 Alignment of IS Strategy with Business Strategy and Vice-Versa…………………….62

Chapter: 6
Models for Effective Alignment of Information Systems Strategy with Business Strategy…….74

Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Introduction
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Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage

Intense rivalry across global markets has resulted in a dramatic increase in competitive pressures across corporations worldwide; striving to obtain a competitive edge. With the increasing use and advancements in Information Systems and Information Technology (IS-IT) and the conditions under which they can provide competitive advantage, has become a significant contributing factor to organisations worldwide.

1.2 Research Background
Although organisations today heavily invest on IS-IT infrastructure such practices still tend to be either too slow or maladaptive to adjust to today’s high paced competition. Companies that do not view the IS function strategically and considers it to be just a supportive function; characterize their information processing requirements with much earlier phases of technological innovation and lose out from obtaining synergic benefits; resulting in losing their competitive edge in this dynamic global marketplace (Pearlson, 2008). Thus the main objective should be to integrate IS-IT strategies with business strategies in order to support business objectives and goals; which tend to be a major indicator of flexibility and competitiveness. Strategic application of IS planning can be used to alter market forces as well as overall performance of the company to achieve goal congruence (Laitinen and La¨nsiluoto, 2009).

1.2.1 IS-IT Strategy
John Ward and Joe Peppard (2005) stated that the IS-IT strategy comprises of components from both IS and IT. The IS component referring to the demand for organisation's information needs and system requirements to hold up the business strategy as a whole. Primarily, IS strategy identifies and prioritizes the investment requirements to realize the ultimate applications portfolio; the type of the expected benefits that will be derived from these investments along with the adaptation and transformations required to deliver those benefits. It also considers the business resource constraints and system interdependencies for strategic alignment (Luftmann,
2003). In contrast, the IT strategy is concerned with visualization of fulfilling the firm's demand

for information needs and system requirements through technological support. It supports the

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can yield competitive advantage. also determine the approaches required for short-term adaptation to achieve its eventual business goals (cited from Pongatichat and Johnston. proposed Tamima Shan Chowdhury 13 . the resources available to the firm.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage prerequisite IT resources and competencies. properly exploited. 2008). A carefully architected IS planning process is an important mechanism for strategy development. the external business environment.1.software and hardware. SISP focuses on the following rationales at each stage as elucidated herafter: Fig 1. Barney (1996).2. According to Earl (1996). The process must consider the corporate mission and vision.Rationales of SISP (adapted from Pongatichat and Johnston. consequential to portraying IS-IT as a part of the implementation of business strategy (Cassidy. 2010) 1. Strategic Information Systems Planning (SISP) refers to emphasizing on the ‘planning’ phase of strategy development focusing on planned IS-IT investments to shape and support business strategy. along with determining the required IS-IT investments for the next 2-3 years (Ward and Peppard. 2005).. Detailed IS-IT planning determines the best possible way of implementing the developed IS-IT applications and supporting technologies in order to balance the portfolio more effectively. Many companies view IS-IT as a strategic resource that. 2008) 1. since it possesses potential to alter the entity’s strategic direction through information-based competitive strategies (Sharma. (DeLone and McLean. user support and systems development. and unique strengths and weaknesses of the firm (Damiani. 2005). for effective SISP an organisation must identify its current position in relation to the eventual need for IS-IT integration with business planning. 2009). 2008).2 Strategic Planning of IS-IT The IS-IT strategy process should include both strategy development and planning through a process of alignment and competitive impact. along with services for instance IT operations. in order to obtain greater integration with business strategy.2. et al.3 Importance of aligning IS-IT strategy with the Business Strategy to gain Competitive Advantage Declining costs of information systems and technology coupled with vast improvements in capabilities and capacities have helped to transform the IS function from a supportive to an enabling role.

In a 2009 survey of sixty-three MIS managers. 2007). Despite acknowledged importance.  Coordination helps retain management support as organisational priorities shift unexpectedly.3 Background of MNCs 1. Lederer and Mendelow (1986) state three reasons why achieving top management's objectives is more likely if the IS planning process is coordinated with the business planning process:  Integration assures development of the most critical IS applications. This is owing to the fact that alignment impacts IS effectiveness and in turn business performance (Nevo and Chan. objectives.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage the Resource Based theory which emphasizes on several sources of achieving and sustaining competitive advantage including the judicious use of information technology. alignment was ranked as the second most important issue after planning (Pongatichat and Johnston.3. therefore. Identifying those IS management activities that facilitate alignment and determining the impacts of these practices on organisational performance will provide a valuable tool for management (Chan. the IS function must ensure its plans are in alignment with the business mission.  Projects that are the product of coordinated efforts are more likely to be related to organisational needs and. need not be based on complex strategies to positively affect company performance. 2007). 2008). To fulfill this expanded goal of competitive advantage. 2008). Alignment between the IS strategic orientation and the business strategic orientation thus strategic fit.1 Lafarge Surma Cement Tamima Shan Chowdhury 14 . the role of IS-IT in creating competitive advantage has been neglected in both empirical and theoretical studies (Jusoh and Parnell. 1. An important objective for organisations is to identify practices or patterns of practices that support alignment. be of value Past studies reveal that general managers and IS managers agree that alignment is an extremely important issue. and strategies as outlined in the business plan and is given first-order importance.

(Berger. Concrete and Gypsum. and ever since the company has grown rapidly as a leading paint and coating producing company.4 Statement of the Problem Use of information systems is a very new and upcoming issue in most industries of Bangladesh. as it is still a grey area in this region. It started off as a dye and pigment producing company in England by Louis Berger. 2010) 1. One primary reason behind this is the lack of knowledge of the MIS managers in most organisations in Bangladesh. 2010) 1. With 176 years of experience it operates in 78 countries and is named one of the most sustainable companies in the world. Berger Paints Bangladesh Limited (BPBL) was established in Bangladesh and today has emerged as the market leader in the Paint Solutions industry of the country. Companies fail to attain the optimum level of efficiency and benefits that they could from their IS-IT investments.000 share holders today enjoying continuous strong growth rates. from Marine Coatings to Powder Coating and so on. It has specialized in every field of the business. However the concept of integrating IS-IT function with overall business strategies and practices is very much underutilized and ignored. Its well-built distribution network. MNC’s like Lafarge Cement and BPBL among other companies have become heavily IS-IT oriented as they are striving for improved performance and efficiency. Most IT professionals in Bangladesh although being proficient in their technical skills lack the far sightedness of the benefits that could be derived from IS-IT strategic alignment. It has established branches worldwide and underwent mergers and acquisitions with other paint manufacturing companies to establish a global presence. Aggregates.2 Berger Paint Berger is one of the oldest names in the Paint Industry worldwide. Lafarge Surma Cement Ltd. dating back more than 250 years to 1760. owing to their failure to integrate the two factors. and has more than 10. and superior quality products has enabled Berger to reach out to almost every corners of Bangladesh.3. was incorporated in November 1997 as a private Ltd company in Dhaka. The company produces world class clinkers and cement at the company’s plant in Chhatak with the help of sophisticated and stateof-the-art machineries and processes. It is already meeting about 8% of the total market need for cement and 10% of clinker requirement of Bangladesh market. In 1970. (Lafarge. rather they focus on investments Tamima Shan Chowdhury 15 .Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Lafarge group holds world’s top ranking position in Cement. Bangladesh.from Decorative Paints to Industrial Coatings.

despite rapid progress in technology. First. yet. Earl (1996) states that "there is little practical guidance available on competitor and environment analysis from an IS perspective. Why is it important for organisations to align their IS-IT strategy with business strategy? ii.7 Research Objectives i. companies are spending record amounts on new information systems.5 Significance of the Study This study is important for two reasons. Does strategic alignment of IS-IT lead to competitive advantage? 1. many companies have missed strategic opportunities afforded by information technology. Thus the findings of this research will directly benefit Lafarge Group and BPBL. How does strategic alignment influence the contribution of IS to the organisation. many implementations do not meet expectations. To understand the level of strategic alignment between IS-IT plan and business plan in the Cement and Paint Industry of Bangladesh. Tamima Shan Chowdhury 16 . but also the uncertain dynamic external environment has a deterrent role to play.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage made on such projects for enhanced short term performance. The study is also intended to help academics. 1. practitioners’ as well as students who would like to conduct further study on strategic alignment of IS-IT strategy on any given industry. 1.to what extent Lafarge Cement and BPBL has strategically aligned its IS-IT strategy with its business strategy. given the contextual factors of environmental uncertainty and resource constraints to the firm? iii. Second. This is owing to the fact that obtaining a strategic fit not only requires the availability of resources and consensus within the organisation as a whole.6 Research Questions i. Knowledge about the nature of strategic IS-IT alignment is lacking due to empirical research on the alignment problem being very limited. along with IT professionals and MIS managers operating in both the industries. as well as their suppliers and customers.

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage

ii. To evaluate how strategic alignment influences the contribution of IS in Lafarge Cement and BPBL - to determine whether strategic alignment of IS-IT has led to increased usage of IS and thus improved organisational performance. iii. To examine the benefits and challenges of strategic alignment- to determine the contextual factors that act as barriers to strategic alignment; as well evaluate the benefits of strategic alignment in context to Lafarge Cement and BPBL. iv. To analyse how strategic alignment can be a source of competitive advantage- to evaluate whether IS-IT can lead to competitive advantage at Lafarge and Berger according to the resource based view. v. To demonstrate how strategic alignment can create value for firms in Bangladesh- to evaluate whether strategic alignment of IS-IT strategy with business strategy can lead to value creation for firms in Bangladesh proved through case studies done on Lafarge and Berger Paint.

1.8 Limitations of the Study
The research is strictly confined to the Cement and Paint Industry of Bangladesh narrowing the scope of the study. The sample size considered for this research is relatively small comprising of 200 employees and 5 managers in the two companies; and is based on non-probability sampling techniques which may not be a true representation of the whole population. There has been a major time and resource constraint in conducting the study. The availability of secondary data may be limited and questionable along with the reluctance of organisations to disclose confidential data regarding their IS-IT capabilities and investments.

1.9 Outline of the Dissertation

Chapter 2: Literature Review
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Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage

2.1 Introduction
This chapter provides a review of the relevant pertaining theories and concepts related to the study, reflected by the previous works of authors and specifically arranged by subheadings. Although there has been a growing interest in IS planning, few empirical studies exist associating strategic alignment with IS-based competitive advantage. Available theories on which to base research are limited because the body of knowledge surrounding IS-IT strategic alignment is generally prescriptive in nature and empirical models are often incomplete. This chapter presents a review of the information systems planning literature pertinent to this study plus a review of the three reference theories: Strategic Management, Contingency and the Resource-Based View. It also draws literature from popular strategic alignment models such as the one proposed by Venkatraman among others.

2.2 Information Systems Planning Literature
2.2.1 Strategic Information Systems Planning
According to Lederer and Sethi (1991) strategic information systems planning (SISP) has been defined as "the process of identifying a portfolio of computer-based applications to assist an organisation in executing its business plans and realizing its business goals". IS executives have ranked the top two objectives of SISP as the alignment of IS with business needs and the search for opportunities to use information technology to provide competitive advantage. (Cited from
Pearlson, 2008)

2.2.2 Evolution of IS Planning Information systems planning have evolved from bottom-up processes with outputs, essentially operational in nature; designed to support existing business needs (King, 1994). However Cassidy (2005) argued that in many organisations today, strategic information systems planning parallels business planning processes, supports and enables corporate strategy, and significantly

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Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage

contributes to organisational performance. Thus focusing on a two way process both top-down and bottom-up to support IS planning and business planning.

2.3

Strategic

Alignment

arising

from

IS

Planning
The focus on strategic alignment has been a result of certain factors leading to the rising importance of IS-IT strategic planning. According to Sharma, et al. (2009), these driving forces include: Technological drive has lead to each new innovation in technology to create a market opportunity, while the integration of technologies has resulted in efficient processes by one system replacing the job of two or more. Hence Luftmann (2003) advocates that technological change has made it imperative for organisations to carry out strategic alignment in IS-IT planning to keep pace with the technological drive.  Financial implications of capital investments in IS-IT not earning immediate returns and potential losses in revenues, acts as an ample purpose for organisations to align IS-IT in strategic business planning. (Sharma, et al., 2009)  Inter organisational systems directly affect the competitive environment and their overall organisational impact and potential warrants the appearance of IS-IT alignment in the strategic plan of the organisation.  The issue of IS-IT has reasoned above the functional concerns of management thus altering their roles. Therefore Galliers (2009) argues that adaptation is critical in an environment in which inter organisational systems, network organisations and strategic alliances are threatening, thus enabling management to strategize on IS-IT alignment in order to innovate and compete effectively.  According to Mc Farlan (1991) the role of IS-IT acts as a strategic weapon to alter the potential of competitiveness either leading to competitive advantage through strategic alignment or competitive disadvantage through disintegration of IS-IT strategies.

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2009) • Enhanced Information Usage.O’Leary (2007) highlights that with efficient processes and focus on customer oriented systems like CRM. 2008) • Value Additions and Cost Reductions. This enables organisations to differentiate them from competitors through better products and services thus creating value. organisations can effectively attract and retain customer groups by increasing customer satisfaction with the use of IS-IT. (Cassidy. (Pongatichat and Johnston.1 Importance of IS-IT Strategic Alignment According to Earl (1996) the success factors in SISP demonstrate the importance of IS-IT strategic alignment: • Internal and External Focus. customers and even competitors through effective integration which ensures generating synergic benefits in return.Strategizing on new and existing IS-IT enables an organisation to convert its business opportunity into reality as the pressures of the market-place drive technological business innovations. Pearlson (2008) points out that in order to achieve enhanced organisational effectiveness and performance firms must align there IS-IT strategy with the business strategy to obtain the benefits of strategic planning.IS-IT alignment enables organisations to share the benefit with their suppliers. (Galliers. Plus information on external market research can be merged and divided in a number of ways to exploit the appropriate market segment and product mix. (Galliers. 2009) • Sharing the Benefits. 2005) • Increased Customer Satisfaction.Business expansion arising from strategizing on IS-IT leads to not only reduced marginal costs but also makes the process more efficient and valuable.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage 2. 2008) • Business Driven Innovation. (Pongatichat and Johnston.Aligning IS-IT strategy with business strategy not only improves internal management of the organisation but also looks into the broader stakeholder concerns and business relationships and similarities with the external business world.3.Information gained from IS-IT helps develop the business through product and market analysis. Tamima Shan Chowdhury 20 .

and Guthrie (2008). researchers have provided anecdotal evidence of the use of Tamima Shan Chowdhury 21 . resource commitments and should be a participative process involving all key managers (Ireland. (2006) further argues that strategic management theory has long held environmental uncertainty to be an important contextual factor. has established that size (the contingency variable) does not significantly affect planning style rather the IS-IT planning being congruencial with strategic business planning is the key to sustainability. Important contingency variables from strategic management theory can help advance the definition and development of IS theories. and creating and exploiting unique firm capabilities (Grant. Based upon these strategies. (2006) argues that strategic management theory has long viewed competitive advantage as being dependent upon a proper match between an organisation's internal capabilities and external environmental uncertainty.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage 2. in the past it was popularly assumed that planning practices for large companies were significantly different than those for small companies. Linn. For example. 2005). strategies.1 Contingency Variables from Strategic Management Theory Venkatraman (1999) proposes that strategic planning research is an appropriate benchmark for development of IS-IT strategies. research models and approaches.4. Thus strategic decision in IS-IT planning should be based on accurate assessments of the external environment as the organisation must position itself to adapt to external forces Porter (1995) outlined five competitive forces and three generic strategies for combating these forces. Strategic management theory describes the business planning process as a complex activity requiring periodic examination of mission statements. identification of internal strengths and weaknesses with external threats and opportunities. Linn et al. 2008).4.4 Theoretical Underpinnings to IS Planning and Strategic Alignment 2. 2.1. However Abernethy.1 Strategic Management Theory: The Business Planning School Strategic management theory provides three conditions essential to business success: development and implementation of business goals.

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage IS to lower costs. differentiate products or services. Tamima Shan Chowdhury 22 . Sebatian (2008) advocates that business planning requires periodic examination of mission statements and strategies. create switching costs to retain suppliers and customers.1. 2008) According to Tillema (2005). 2008).2 IS-IT alignment from Strategic Management Perspective Prior Strategic management research provides the following relationships: Competitive advantage is dependent upon an organisation's internal IS/IT capabilities recognizing and adjusting to threats and opportunities posed by external environmental uncertainty (Linn. Such IS opportunities include searching out inter-organisational opportunities for competitive advantage. 2006). Business planning should be based upon strategic decision making which includes an accurate assessment of the external environment (Jusoh and Parnell. seeking IS-based opportunities in value chain activities and using IS to leverage unique organisational strengths. exploiting IS opportunities for competitive advantage has been the subject of empirical research and has been performed in a contextual environment using contingency variables from strategic management theory.4. Strategies that differentiate products or services. and impose barriers to market entry. 2. exploit unique firm capabilities and impose barriers to market entry can create competitive advantage and add value to the firm (Ireland. and should be a participative process involving all key managers. create switching costs to retain suppliers and customers. 2008). (Jusoh and Parnell.

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Figure 2. Damiani et al.2. It is necessary in IS research to conceptually identify critical contingency variables and to descriptively establish their roles." In contrast.4. 2008) 2.1: Strategic Management Perspective (adapted from Ireland. Tillema (2005) however argues that the purpose of the contingency Tamima Shan Chowdhury 23 . contingency theory offers an alternative to universal management principles. (2008). states that any research model of IS planning should adopt a contingency perspective because it is not possible to generalize conclusions from simple relationships and apply them to universal situations. states that "a contingency theory is required in order to prescribe which methodologies are effective in what situations. By emphasizing the importance of the situational influences on the management of the organisation and its outcomes.2 Contingency Theory Chenhall (2007) proposes that contingency theory identifies alternative courses of action and presents factors for consideration in deriving an optimal model of behavior. 2. Earl (1996).4.1 The Contingency Approach Galliers (2009) confirms that the contingency approach involves identification and grouping of important contextual variables in order to identify the most effective approaches.

information resources are more likely to support corporate objectives and opportunities since the strategic use of IS-IT are increased. External environmental conditions can affect the strategic deployment of IS-IT and the organisation's decision to use it strategically (Linn. Lederer and Sethi (1996) compiled a list of 71 prescriptions for improving the SISP process. 2. Second. First. Tamima Shan Chowdhury 24 . et al. there is research regarding information systems planning.4. Knowledge of where the company operates in the model can provide important information to management about the role of IS.4. there is research regarding the strategic use of information resources. which plots the strategic importance of existing and future information systems.2. 2006).. 2. Certain management practices and environmental conditions are facilitators or inhibitors to the successful implementation of the IS plan. Nonetheless Damiani (2008) argues that by aligning the IS plan with the business plan. objectives.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage approach is to study the fit between prescriptive variables within an organisational context in order to illustrate that performance is contingent upon that context. Reich(2002) found that linkage between business objectives and information technology objectives was achieved when there was a high level of mutual understanding between IS and business executives about each others' mission.2.3 Importance of Existing and Future IS Applications as a Contingency Galliers (2009) proposed that strategic IS planning could be measured by a model. This understanding was contingent upon the level of shared knowledge and the frequency of communications between IS and business executives. Pearlson (2008) notes two streams of research concerning contingency variables which influences the alignment of IS and business strategies. and plans. In contrast. .2 Contingency Variable of IS Planning Prescriptive studies have used contingency variables to explore the practices associated with strategic IS planning. Both streams are relevant to this study. Premkumar and King (1994) found that the quality of SISP was dependent upon the quality of the informational inputs and resources available.

through its internal processes. Resource-based theory states that success will be dependent upon a firm's of a competitive edge. et al. organisational competencies are vulnerable to erosion.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Figure 2. Jusoh and Parnell (2008) argue that although management practices and capabilities are important. Thus Barney (1998) Tamima Shan Chowdhury 25 .3 Resource-Based View of the Firm The resource-based view of the firm posits that the firm. creates an asset that can enable creation and sustainability capabilities) can provide competitive advantage. major contribution of the theory is that it explains differences in a firm's long term profitability that cannot be ascribed to industry conditions.2: Model for the Contingency (Galliers. 2009) Perspective 2. Identification of traits for providing strategic advantages unavailable to other firms is the core of resource-based theory. imitation and substitution and are always context dependent. its capacity to innovate.. The purpose of the resource-based view is to extend understanding of a firm's success in achieving and sustaining competitive advantage by treating the resources and capabilities of a firm as the central consideration in strategy formulation and the primary sources of profitability (Sharma.4. 2009). (Sharma.4. 2009) 2.3.1 The Resource-Based View Approach According to Peteraf (1993). 1998). Idiosyncratic core competencies (also distinctive competencies or unique firm power to acquire and utilize resources. and the ability of management to deploy the resources effectively (Barney.

3. literature relating the resource-based view to the use of strategic IS-IT to provide competitive advantage focuses on IS managerial skills. 2007). as a the source of sustained competitive advantage.2 Using Information Systems as a Source of Competitive Advantage Two assertions from the field of strategic management underlie the resource based view and are important to the inclusion of IS planning and alignment as a source of competitive advantage. as opposed to technical skills. and are not likely to be perfectly imitated (Bharadwaj. especially in an uncertain environment. Value can be achieved through the matching of internal IS-IT resources to overall business strategy and the matching of business strategy to the external environment (Linn et al. et al. 2006). Bharadwaj (2007) further advocates that while focusing internally on the firm and its resources. First.. Jusoh and Parnell (2008) in turn advocates the use of IS to leverage the core resources of the firm as it has recently Tamima Shan Chowdhury 26 . Inimitable and Non-substitutable. resource heterogeneity states that each firm possesses a unique set of IS-IT resources (including processes and strategies) that differentiate it from other firms in its ability to compete.g. 2007).Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage suggested that for a resource to be a source of competitive advantage it should serve the following criterion: Valuable. Rare. Sharma et al.. 2. Peteraf (1994) notes that a priori determination of what resources will yield a competitive advantage. IS can also leverage socially complex resources and capabilities that have evolved slowly over time. Thus. e. Successful managerial attributes create invisible IS-IT assets strategically via causal ambiguity. is difficult thus alignment with the business plan is of outmost necessity . are distinctive to the firm. (1995).3 Creating a Distinctive Competency through Strategic IS-IT Planning and Alignment It is imperative that the firm strategically identifies and nurtures those IS-IT functions that can lead to distinctive competencies. analysis of the external environment is critical as external changes and uncertainty can alter the "significance of resources to the firm".3. (2009) proposes that the resource-based view is sufficiently broad to encompass the strategic use of ISIT to leverage core firm resources to create a sustainable competitive advantage. 2. Second. According to Mata. the property of resource immobility implies that certain differences in IS-IT planning and alignment may be sustainable over time (Bharadwaj.4. the ambiguity surrounding complex causal connections that cannot easily be imitated.4.

through the strategic alignment process. it is a unique resource that requires identification. This asset consists of IS management practices which can. enable the use of information resources for competitive advantage. the resource-based view theory is portrayed by a model that identifies the relationships necessary to create a distinctive IS competency and competitive IS-based strategic asset. 2003) Tamima Shan Chowdhury 27 .Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage emerged as an important vehicle for competitive advantage. This ability signifies the strategic use of IS for sustainability of competitive advantage and is compatible with the resource-based view of the firm. While the asset is intangible. acknowledgment. (Luftmann. In this dissertation. and nurturing by top management.

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Figure 2. Venkatraman (1996) stated that the barrier in grasping the worth from IS-IT investment is the organisational management itself.1 Venkatraman’s Model of Strategic Alignment When defining the Model of Strategic Alignment.3: Model for Resource Based View (Luftmann. Primarily it is often due to the lack of alignment between the business and the IS-IT strategy of the investing firm. 2003) 2. Venkatraman described four prominent factors towards methodical alignment in the strategic model which are detailed below: ➢ Strategy Execution This perspective is merely a reflection of the classical strategic management theory where the business strategy is the result of both the choice for organisational design and the IS-IT Tamima Shan Chowdhury 28 .5. 2. arising from the lacking in administrative process that fails to guarantee continuous alignment between the business planning and the IS-IT functions (Cited from Abernethy and Guthrie.5 Models of IS Planning and Strategic Alignment This section presents five models of IS planning and strategic alignment that are relevant to this study. 2008).

(Damiani. Ward and Peppard (2005) points out that. influences business strategy and accentuates business governance (Abernethy and Guthrie. The IS-IT manager here acts like a catalyst identifying the trends and changes in the IS-IT environment and suggest potential investments or strategies to the management to counter threats. Here the top management acts as the strategy formulator and IS-IT management as the strategic implementer. and build stronger relationships with both their internal and external customers. ➢ Service Level This perspective is entirely in a different class and completely focuses on the organisations IS-IT needs rather than the firms’ business strategy. While Ward and Peppard (2005) proposes that the IS manager should play the role of a technology designer whose aim is to efficiently and resourcefully design and implement the required IS-IT infrastructure that is insync with the external component of IS-IT environment. here top management should strategically comprehend the future of the firm in terms of changes in IS-IT competencies and marketplace innovations. Damiani (2008) argues that this theory is mostly considered important (although not adequate) and ensures the efficient use of IS-IT to meet the dynamic demands of the new generation of customers. 2008). 2008) ➢ Technology Potential This perspective like the above also focuses on business driven strategy. In order to succeed. although an in-depth integration with IS-IT strategy and interrelated IS-IT infrastructure is chosen to support the business strategy and its inter-related processes. 2008). attain distinctive competencies. ➢ Competitive Potential This perspective takes into account the new technological innovations that will have an impact on the development of products and services. and in accordance alter the business strategies and patterns in order to succeed. This in turn enhances business scope.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage infrastructure. Here top managements’ sole responsibility is to provide a vision that is incorporated with the choices relating to the IS-IT strategy that is in best interest to sustain the business strategy (Damiani. Contrasting the previous two strategies this perspective does not emphasize only on core business strategy but rather shapes or alters the strategy according to the emerging IS-IT capabilities. the top management must ensure that resources are allocated efficiently in both within the organisation and also in the Tamima Shan Chowdhury 29 .

2 King's Input-Process-Output-Impact Model This model illustrates the influence of organisational theory on information systems theory.4: Venkatraman’s Model of Strategic Alignment (Cited from Abernethy and Guthrie. IS goals.5. Goals and resources are inputs to the system which creates an information system plan consisting of an IS mission. The IS-IT manager has a limited role to play here. 2008) 2. the manager is in charge of carrying out business leadership with the provided guidelines from the top management and brings about success in both the international and domestic environment of ISIT infrastructure. 2008) Fig 2. The planning process is designed to Tamima Shan Chowdhury 30 .Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage external IS-IT environment. (Abernethy and Guthrie. and resource requirements.

5: Input-Process-Output-Impact Model (DeLone and McLean. 2010) 2.fit and integration reflect that higher levels of strategic alignment of the business and IS orientations. Thus. While Galliers (2009) advocates that levels of SISP activity are indicative of efforts to attain alignment. 2010) King's (1991) model of input-process-output-impact is clearly present in more recent research models of both Teo (2001) (shown in Figures 2. and strategic fit are synonymous with alignment. All include contextual variables and some measure of alignment.5. however.6: Teo’s Research Model (DeLone and McLean. leads to higher levels of business performance. the final dependent variable. Figure 2. extent of business planning and IS planning integration.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage influence business performance. Linkage.4) and Chan (2007).3 Jang’s Contingency Model of SISP Tamima Shan Chowdhury 31 . 2010) Figure 2. introduce an antecedent variable. Chan (2007). the goal of IS planning to influence business performance was established fairly early in the development of information systems theory. All three have some measure of business performance as the dependent variable. (DeLone and McLean.

A positive history of implementation ultimately leads to improved linkage and vice-versa as proposed by Luftmann (2003). 2010) Tamima Shan Chowdhury 32 . The maturity of the IS function. However Nevo and Chan (2007). Figure 2. and the IS executive's access to top management are important contingency variables in more recent information systems theory research. 2007) 2.4 Reich’s Research Model Reich's (2002) research model emphasizes the importance of communications and shared beliefs in producing linkage which is synonymous with strategic fit and strategic alignment. Shared beliefs about the strategic value of information technology and high levels of communication between the business and IS executives also lead to higher levels of linkage between the IS plan and the business plan.5. a contingency variable in Jang's model. Jang argues that the presence and level of a contingency variable influences the level of IS strategic planning activity. (DeLone and McLean.7: Contingency Model of SISP (Nevo and Chan. proposes that maturity of the IS function. status of the IS executive.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Jang's (1999) model is concerned with contingency variables that influence the level of strategic IS planning activity. Antecedent variables such as size of the firm and volatility of the business environment have been studied in past research in organisation theory and strategic management theory. is represented by the history of implementation of previous IS plans.

measures the importance of IS to the firm but does not relate it to how IS executives and other members of top management participating in IS planning.6 Effectiveness and Criticisms of the Models The models of Jang and Teo recognize the influence of the external business environment on alignment. in turn. Tamima Shan Chowdhury 33 . 2010). Chan investigates planning relationships from both the business and IS perspectives. affects business performance (DeLone and McLean. while those of Reich and Chan are only concerned with internal influences. What is unclear from any of the models is the relationship between the importance of the IS function to the firm and the participation of top management in IS planning. Teo. 2010) 2. but does not consider the importance of IS to the firm.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Figure 2. Chan's model shows both a direct relationship between strategic fit (alignment) and business performance (impact) and an indirect relationship as strategic fit affects IS effectiveness which. Neither Reich nor Jang measure the relationship between alignment and organisational impact (Nevo and Chan. 2007). in organisational characteristics. However Venkatraman’s model takes all these considerations into account and thus is considered as a preferred model in theory and practice.8: Reich’s Research Model (DeLone and McLean.

pretax profits and sales growth. 2007) However Abernethy and Guthrie (2008). a barrier to evaluation of IS planning has been the absence of a direct measure of the impact on the firm's financial performance. we can often only test whether the systems engender individual satisfaction or usage. and internal rate-of-return and cost benefit ratio. (Chenhall. Some of these barriers as pointed out by many authors are elucidated below: Tamima Shan Chowdhury 34 . argues that despite top management's overwhelming desire to use IS-IT in a strategic sense. Strategic management empirical research of Venkatraman (1994) employs a business performance construct to evaluate various contents and process issues of ISIT alignment. 2008) 2.7 Measuring of the IS-IT Impact on of Strategic Alignment Performance Organisational Measurement of effective IS-IT alignment impacts on overall organisational performance provides a valuable dependent variable for validating the importance of IS-IT practices. The lack of measures to quantify the impact of enterprise performance is a serious and practical theoretical problem. as well as the reluctance of employees to adapt to this change. IS management practices are also intended to improve the bottom line processes. profitability. 2008).8 Challenges of Strategic IS-IT Planning and Alignment Galliers (2009) points out that despite the growing concern towards strategic IS-IT planning and alignment there are various challenges faced by organisations today. (Pongatichat and Johnston. as the benefits of strategic alignment in many cases is intangible and unquantifiable. These constructs have usually relied upon some set of financial or operational procedures.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage 2. Strategic management theories rely heavily on performance measures because they are the time test of any strategy (Sebatian. which inhibits the implementation of this process. Measures of impact on organisational performance employed in prior field research have included improvement in the firm's return-on-investment.

Contingency theory is important to IS planning research because it is performed within an organisational and environmental context that can affect the process outcomes. it is context-dependent. ➢ Damiani (2008) points put that one of the significant barriers to strategic alignment is lack of awareness of the impact of IS-IT on organisational performance by top management. also acts as a barrier.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage ➢ Data processing capabilities and technical orientation of employees and management tend to be inadequate and low in many manufacturing and tertiary level organisations thus hindering effective implementation of IS integration. Empirical studies have analysed the use of IS to create competitive advantage. Tamima Shan Chowdhury 35 . thus. Pearlson (2007) however argues that this is consequential to the lack of user distrust. IS planning and alignment has received extensive attention in this era of technological advancements. (Cassidy. 2005) ➢ O’Leary (2007) proposes that implementation failure of IS integration resulting from malfunction of operating software from a technical specification end to meet the requirements of desired performance. In many organisations top management does not view IS as a business resource to be utilized strategically for long-term benefit. 2009) 2. ➢ Time and financial constraints also acts as strong impediments in the strategic IS-IT planning and alignment process. Galliers (2009) argues that top managers tend to be short-term action oriented rather than focusing on long-term IS-IT planning. ➢ The absence of a structured business strategy to guide the IS strategy thus failure to translate business objectives into IS-IT action plans consequently hindering the alignment process. Pearlson (2008) further argues that lack of a two way top-down and bottom-up analysis to identify critical business processes that the IS-IT strategy must support.9 Summary This chapter has presented a review of pertinent literature on information systems planning and strategic alignment with business strategies to attain a cohesive strategic fit with the reference to theories and models used for the dissertation. user adaptability and low technical skills resulting in failure to deliver the desired requirements of the end users. (Galliers. All three reference theories and models are appropriate for the study of strategic alignment and the use of IS-IT to provide competitive advantage.

Tamima Shan Chowdhury 36 . The resource-based view complements both of these theories by describing strategic alignment as an asset creating process that produces strategic impact under the right conditions.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Strategic management theory provides an important source of research on environmental uncertainty and competitive practices impact on the strategic alignment of IS-IT with business strategy. Among the various models demonstrated in this chapter strategic alignment model proposed by Venkatraman (1999) is considered to be the best as it covers a wide-range of components as mentioned earlier.

2009) 3... as it focuses on assessing situations to build and clarify relationships between variables (Rubin et al. Lewis.the purpose of the research. 2007).1. the types of research approaches and strategies. This sort of research follows a rather structured approach. Descriptive research follows a structured design and is manifested by specific existing theories. the sampling process. the limitations and the ethical issues faced by the researcher while carrying out the data analysis. 2009).1 Descriptive Research The core focus of this approach is to gain a thorough and fully expressive idea about the concerned subject matter. It also emphasizes on the reliability and validity of data. discovering the justification behind a certain occurrence.3 Exploratory Research An exploratory research is conducted with the endeavor to stimulate better understanding of the phenomenon by seeking new insights. & Thornhill.1. 2007) Tamima Shan Chowdhury 37 . 3. 3.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Chapter 3: Research Methodology This chapter focuses on the following research methodologies. 3.1 Purpose of the Research Firstly it is essential to reflect upon the underlying purpose of the research. sources of data collection and its methods. researches and studies that have been formulated previously.1. Thus is a more informal and flexible procedure which is adaptable to varieties of information. hypotheses.2 Explanatory Research Explanatory research seeks to develop causal relationships between variables. explanatory and exploratory (Saunders. (Chambliss & Schutt. The primal aim of a study is eminent amongst the three classifications of research purpose: descriptive. (Saunders et al.

2 Research Approach According to Bryman & Bell (2007).Qualitative and Quantitative Research The qualitative research methodology is exploratory and unstructured in nature. if the hypotheses or propositions are true. In deductive reasoning.2. then the rationally consequential conclusion will also be accurate (Mick et al.Deductive and Inductive Reasoning Deductive reasoning envelops deducing a conclusion from known hypotheses and propositions derived from true facts.1 Research Approach and its Categories (Bryman & Bell 2007) 3. However inductive reasoning was also used as the primary data analysis was purely based on the perceptions and information obtained from the employees and managers at Lafarge and Berger. from which the research questions were deduced and the primary data requisites determined thus deductive in nature. 2009).2. 3. In contrast.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage The research purpose of this study is both explanatory as well as exploratory. Fig 3. 3. This research uses a blend of both deductive and inductive reasoning.2 Methodological Approach. the inductive reasoning refers to inferring a judgment regarding a collection or category of objects through the information obtained from the collected sample.1 Theoretical Approach. The research tries to elucidate the present condition of strategic alignment of IS-IT strategy in Bangladesh through demonstrating the perception of two MNCs regarding the phenomenon thus is explanatory in nature. Bryman & Bell (2007) proposes that this approach develops broader conclusions and theories based on precise observations and procedures that identify the propositions or hypothesis required. And exploratory in nature. as it attempts to investigate the extent to which strategic alignment can lead to competitive advantage. the research approach used to conduct the study has two fundamental trajectories: theoretical and methodological. It was supported by the literature review. which is not dependent on quantitative evaluation and is derived from small sample to provide better Tamima Shan Chowdhury 38 .

(2007). The data obtained from individual perceptions is also qualitatively evaluated to establish a corelationship between strategic alignment and competitive advantage in firms. results derived from this approach are numerical and tends to be primarily deductive as focus is on testing theories (Bryman and Bell. as theories are established based on inference of both individual behavior and social processes (Bryman and Bell. On the contrary. advocates that the selection of research strategy depends on the degree of present knowledge. 2007) Tamima Shan Chowdhury 39 . & Thornhill.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage understanding regarding the phenomenon.3 Research Strategy Research strategies encompass an arrangement on how to respond to the research questions along with presenting widespread comprehensive information with reference to the source.2 Research Strategies (Saunders. Consequently. existing data. research questions and objectives. 2007). The various popular research strategies are shown in the exhibit hereafter: Archival Ethnography Experiment Action Survey Case Study RESEARCH Research STRATEGIES Experiment Exhibit 3. the quantitative research methodology mostly applies statistical analysis to quantify the data collected using techniques such as surveys. structured interviews. The qualitative approach has been used in this research to collect data from the employees and managers of Berger Paint and Lafarge Surma Cement. 2008). 3. Saunders et al. etc (Curwin. the time-frame along with the researcher’s idealistic fundamentals. Lewis. It tends to be principally inductive. 2007). through surveys and discussions and further analysed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the research problem. experiments.

3.. Focus Group Discussions with 5 managers from the two companies was also carried out to gather knowledge about the extent of strategic alignment and its importance in the two companies. 2006). interviews etc and are suitable when large amounts of data are cited . 2005). 3. brought together to get and deliver knowledge regarding the concerned topic. 3.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage In this research case studies were done on Berger Paint and Lafarge Surma Cement to gain a comprehensive evaluation of the research problem and to support primary data analysis. In this approach the respondents response is taken for granted and thus may be false or biased (Jankowicz. 2007). and Tight.3. Establishing a close relationship between the researcher and the respondent enables obtaining accurate information easily through constructive and formal methods (Saunders et al.1 Case Study Case study approach is used to study one or more comparable conditions to the researcher’s topic. Tamima Shan Chowdhury 40 .2 Survey The survey method is often used to complement descriptive and explanatory researches. 3. deriving a deeper conceptualization of the concerned phenomenon (Blaxter. Malhotra et al. This research also carried out surveys in the form of likert-scale close ended questionnaire to gather data from 100 employees in each of the given organisations to evaluate the level of strategic alignment that exists in their company.3.3 Focus Group Discussion (FGD) According to Kotler (2007) focus group discussions is a meeting of two to ten individuals. (2009) identifies the key advantage of a FGD by stating that group members learn from each other and discloses new and creative ideas that the researcher may not have considered. Hughes. This refers to face-to-face data collection from human respondents through techniques such as questionnaires.

and is already in existence. books and journals from Business Source Premier Databases such as Emerald. The primary data for this research was collected from two companies Berger Paint and Lafarge Surma Cement with the aid of focus group discussions (FGD) and surveys.4.1 Research Population Tamima Shan Chowdhury 41 .3 Sources of Data Collection (Kotler. The secondary data used in this study was collected from: annual reports and webpage’s of the two companies. other internet sites.1 Primary Data Collection Method: Kotler (2007) defines primary data as data. journals and websites. which is principally obtained for the research being initiated and can be collected through interviews. 3. collected for some prior cause. 2007) 3.4. This is a more complex and time consuming process as the data available is freshly collected. Researchers have a tendency to initiate their study using secondary data as it presents the low cost advantage and is also readily available.5. This enabled the researcher to obtain in-depth information and knowledge regarding the topic through open discussions and a variety of answers from respondents.5 Research Sampling 3.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage 3. Surveys were carried out through questionnaires (refer to Appendix A). Fig 3. for the 200 combined employees of Berger Paint and Lafarge Surma Cement. Two FGD’s were also arranged with five top management executives at the two concerned organisations.4 Sources of Data Collection and its Methods: 3.2 Secondary Data Collection Method: Kotler (2007) refers to secondary data as data that are readily available in books. observations. along with newspapers and publications. surveys or questionnaires.

which can be collected via sampling techniques.3.1 Probability Sampling Tamima Shan Chowdhury 42 . Furthermore data from the 5 chosen executives were obtained through FGD’s organized at Lafarges’ Head Office in Gulshan and Bergers’ Head Office in Uttara.4 Sampling Techniques (Saunders. (Saunders et al. encompassing 100 employees and 2 executives chosen from Berger Pain. Thus a small sample representing the total population will be used to carry out the research.3 Sampling Technique Sampling techniques enables a researcher to collect data only from as subset rather than the entire population through various methods that reduces the amount of data to be collected.5. and 100 employees and 3 executives from Lafarge Cement.5. Data was collected from the sampling frame through emailed questionnaires.5. 2007). 3. Since the population is very large it is beyond the scope of the study to obtain data from the entire population.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Research population entails the entire group of people who are related to the concerned research to obtain information and reach conclusions. & Thornhill. sent to a total of 428 employees obtained from both the companies databases out of which 261 responded and 200 were chosen. The two types of sampling techniques and their sub-categories as proposed by Saunders et al. Lewis.. 2007) 3.2 Sampling Frame and Sample Size According to Saunders (2007) a sampling frame is a complete directory of all the components of the entire population from which the illustration is drawn. The entire sampling frame of this research comprise of a sample size of 205 individuals. (2007) are shown below: Exhibit 3. The research population of this study involves each and every employee within Berger and Lafarge. 3.

3. in evaluating the extent of competitive advantage gained from IS-IT alignment. The selection of the 5 managers was purely based on self-selection and judgmental sampling. 2005).5. This technique poses its advantage by notably decreasing the odds of selecting a non-representative sample. With regards to validity the test has measured the required norms and traits it was intended to measure. The entire population of employees was divided into 4 groups in each organisation according to the different organisational levels. Tamima Shan Chowdhury 43 . The major drawback of this technique is that it restricts the scope of findings. The researcher used a combination of probability and non-probability sampling methods to choose 200 employees and 5 executives from the two companies. 2005). since it can’t be generalised to characterize the entire population (Monette et al. Validity conversely implies the accomplishment and extent to which the study correctly examines the desired theories and models that the researcher is attempting to measure. knowledge. Therefore.(Monette. to ensure that the likelihood of inclusion of each element is known.3.operational. This was carried out using Stratified Random sampling and Judgmental sampling techniques. in which the likelihood of inclusion of each element is unknown.6 Validity & Reliability According to Yin (2009) reliability refers to the likelihood the research would generate the same result consistently along with measuring the extent to which it is free of error or biasness. it would deliver similar results of “strategic alignment of IS-IT strategy leading to competitive advantage’” which will prove that the research is reliable. 3.2 Non-Probability Sampling Non-probability sampling entails opting for a sample using non. this study has been conducted in the manner that if some other researcher attempts to derive answers to a similar research. Then from each group 25 employees were selected based on the judgment and convenience of the researcher.bias selection procedures.random and biased procedures. management and strategic level.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Probability sampling entails opting for a sample using random non.

8 Limitations  The sample size was fairly undersized when compared to the mass population of employees.  This research was only carried out by one individual.  Time and financial constraints acted as impediments in conducting the research. In this research both the companies were assured that the findings will be used only for educational purposes and not for any other means. as asserted by Lancaster (2008) as the two most vital ethical research considerations. iii. In this study the researcher took into account the following ethical considerations: i.  The validity and reliability of the research is ambiguous and may be regarded bias owing to the use of non-probability sampling techniques. The researcher ensured maintaining confidentiality and privacy of the valuable information disclosed to the researcher. The researcher also deliberately reported all information with great caution and vigilance in order to maintain reliability and validity of the results through elimination of biases. ii. 3. which was crucial for obtaining accurate results. which narrows the capacity of the research.7 Ethical Considerations Ethical considerations in research refer to matters of ‘right and wrong’ in conducting the research.  It was difficult to find acceptable academic literature and previous research concerning the topic.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage 3. Tamima Shan Chowdhury 44 . The investigator obtained information through voluntary participation and ensured the privacy of the employees and confirmed that anonymity will be maintained with individual answers not being disclosed. thus accuracy of data obtained may be hampered. iv.

Analysis of secondary data. Chapter 4: Data Analysis and Findings 4.1 Sales Volume Analysis Fig 4. This helped in achieving higher levels of productivity and lower marginal costs resulting in ever increasing sales volumes over the next three years.1: Comparative Sales Volume Representation of Lafarge Cement and Berger Paint (adapted from: Annual Reports. 2010) The sales volume figure’s of Lafarge Cement reflect that there has been tremendous enhancement in their sales depicted by a very sharp positively sloped curve with an increasing gradient from 2006-2009. 4.(Refer to Appendix C).1.1 Secondary Data Analysis A detailed evaluation of Lafarge Cement and Berger’s sales volumes and profit figures for the past four years has been analysed to determine the effectiveness of IS-IT alignment in both of these organisations. confirmed by focus group discussion revealed that Lafarge had extensively invested on IS-IT infrastructure in 2006 implementing an ERP system known as ‘JD Edwards’ which helped in integrating their business processes and enabled them to perfectly align there IS-IT functions with their business plans.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage This chapter provides a detailed representation of the research findings in the forms of secondary data and primary data analysis of both the companies and also provides a summary of the findings. This phenomenal increase in sales volume owing to the implementation of ERP systems which manifested strategic alignment is congruencial to Davenport (2000) theory. which proposes that if ERP systems are implemented effectively they have the ability to provide a variety of benefits and opportunities at Tamima Shan Chowdhury 45 .

organisational as well as strategic levels. This has been achieved by Lafarge by the amalgamation of their disintegrated systems working in isolation previously and increasing both information systems and overall organisational efficiency. Tamima Shan Chowdhury 46 . These noteworthy profit figures have surpassed Berger Paint’s profits in the latter consecutive years.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage the technological. (Lafarge IS-IT Plan Report. 2010) From the PBIT Analysis it is evident that there has been a sharp rise in profitability in Lafarge from substantial losses in 2006 and 2007 to significant levels of profit in 2008 and 2009. (Refer to Appendix B) (Berger IT Departmental Report.Annual Reports. This is a clear representation of the absence of a robust IS-IT infrastructure as supported by both secondary sources and focus group discussion. The lack of an integrated ERP system from 2006. operational. over the period of 2006-09 reflected by a low and constant gradient.2: Comparative PBIT Analysis Representation of Lafarge and Berger (adapted from. 2010) In contrast.2 Profitability Analysis. 2010) 4. However secondary data analysis has also revealed that Berger has implemented an ERP solution named “SAP” in middle of 2009 which is a 5 year project aimed at improving its future organisational efficiency. the graph of Berger Paints depicts a rather slow increase in sales volumes. Fig 4.to mid 2009 has resulted in more or less stagnant sales volumes as the organisational wide efficiency levels were low owing to isolated IS functions which is also advocated by Davenport (2000).1.

Prior to the implementation of the ERP system by Lafarge. This is also evidential of the effectiveness of strategic alignment at Lafarge through the implementation of its ERP solutions. its more or less consistent levels of profitability is reflective of its misalignment of IS-IT strategy with business strategy.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage although Berger seemed to have been maintaining a consistent level of profit over the past years when Lafarge was incurring substantial losses. however it’s recent ERP implementation in 2009 with an investment of BDT 8.25 million is expected to increase potential for enhanced profitability in the near future. (Berger IT Departmental Report. 2010) Tamima Shan Chowdhury 47 . This notion is also supported by the drawbacks of not implementing ERP systems as an enabler of strategic alignment as suggested by Grant (2008). there were no IS-IT applications or strategies to complement the business strategy. The goals being pursued at business unit levels were not aligned through IS planning which sufficed the difficulty in articulation of its overall business strategies. 2010) Following the same notion of sales volumes in Berger. (Refer to Appendix C) (Lafarge IS-IT Plan Report. The analysis of secondary data has depicted the reduction in losses of Lafarge from 2006-07 as the huge expenditure incurred in ERP implementation of an investment of approximately BDT 10 million. This resulted in incongruity between the objectives being practiced at the global corporate as well as enterprise and business-unit levels of the organisation.

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage 4. that the internal IS-IT plan should be developed according to the changes in the external IS-IT environment. The 20 likert-scale questions have been amalgamated to derive twelve broader statements and graphs. which refers. This result can be related to the technology potential component proposed by Venkatraman (1996). portraying that the Paint Industry in comparison to the Cement Industry is less vulnerable to external technological changes.3: Changes in External IS-IT Environment of Lafarge and Berger Tamima Shan Chowdhury 48 . Fig 4.1 External Business Environment Conditions Changes in IS-IT Environment in the Given Industries and its Impact on IS Planning From the exhibit below it is evident that majority of the employees at Lafarge advocated that there are dynamic changes in the IS-IT environment in the Cement Industry which immensely impacts strategic IS-IT planning in Lafarge. 4.2. However respondents’ at Berger seem to have a more neutral and disagreeable view towards this approach.2 Primary Data Analysis Comparative analysis of the responses to the questionnaire gathered from 100 employees of Lafarge and Berger respectively. for effective strategic alignment and cohesive fit.

Chan (2009). In contrast.2 Strategic Information Systems Planning Structured Business and IS Plan with Participative Top Management In response to the above question most of the employees in Lafarge confidently agreed that Lafarge has a structured high quality Business and IS Plan with a very participative top management playing a vital role in formulating these plans. 4. it is reflective that in the Cement Industry.the diversity in customer buying habits is moderate. moderate levels of competition. immense product lines and a very dynamic and heterogeneous industry.4: Variations in Industrial factors in Lafarge (Left) and Berger (Right) Based on the respondents’ views.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Variations in Industrial Factors and its Impact on IS Planning Fig 4. and Damiani (2008) proposing that strategic planning should be used as a benchmark for IS-IT planning and development. All these variations in industrial contextual factors impact heavily both Lafarge and Berger’s ISIT planning and alignment as prescribed by many authors. This in sync with the conceptual models of Strategic Management and Contingency Theory advocated by Ireland (2008).2. among many scholars who propose that internal IS-IT capabilities should be dependent upon external environmental changes and volatility to achieve a strategic fit and greater levels of inter-organisational integration and performance. Lafarge’s formal strategic planning process is congruencial to the Planning School theories of many Strategic Management scholars. Reich (2002) further Tamima Shan Chowdhury 49 . diversity in product lines are not that strong and the industry is comparatively less dynamic and heterogeneous. nature of competition is extremely high. However an amiable contrast can be observed in the response of the employees at Berger proposing that both their Business and IS plan is not formulated in a structured manner with a negligent management participation. the Paint Industry reflects an immense diversity in customer buying habits.

which advocates that IS-IT plan should support all internal business processes as well as accentuate business governance by establishing stronger stakeholder relationships. Fig 4. On the contrary response of Berger’s employees reveal that although IS planning creates a strong company-wide infrastructure and creates information links with its customers and suppliers it does not help in decision making. since their employees very confidently agrees that it provides extensive support in decision making.5: Representation of Business and IS Plan in Lafarge and Berger Range of Functions Supported by IS Planning Fig 4. This notion is supported by Venkatraman’s (1996) alignment model concepts of ‘technology potential’ and ‘competitive potential’. (Refer to Tamima Shan Chowdhury 50 .6 Range of functions supported by IS Planning at Lafarge (left) and Berger (right) The graph reveals that IS planning at Lafarge is extremely robust. creates an integrated company-wide infrastructure and also supports information exchanges with its customers and suppliers. IS Planning Exploits Company’s Distinctive Competencies The graph is indicative of the fact that at Lafarge the IS Plan strongly emphasizes on exploiting their distinctive competencies of quality and consistency in their products and services.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage emphasized on the importance of high levels of communication and participation between the top management and IS executives for higher levels of linkage between the IS plan and the business plan.

8: Dependency on IS-IT for achieving Critical Success and Competitive Advantage at Lafarge and Berger The graph above portrays that Lafarge is heavily dependent upon IS-IT to gain successful sustainability as well as achieve competitive advantage. Fig 4. whereas responses of Berger’s employees show a sharp contrast and reveal opposite results. (Refer to Appendix B) Proponents of Strategic IS Planning and Alignment such as Johnston (2008) conforms to the fact that an effective IS-IT plan will indeed enhance organisational productivity and performance by exploiting its distinctive resources such as human resources and quality of products and services and lead to synergic benefits of value additions. However according to the RBV proposed by Barney (1999).2. the strategic use of IS-IT can be used leverage core firm resources. On the contrary absence of strategic IS planning and alignment prohibits Berger from exploiting and nurturing its distinctive competencies using IS-IT.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Appendix C). to attain critical success through sustainable competitive advantage.7: Extent to which IS Planning Exploits Company’s Distinctive Competencies at Lafarge and Berger 4.3 Strategic Implications of IS-IT Dependency on IS-IT for Achieving Critical Success and Competitive Advantage Fig 4. Bharadwaj (2007) substantiates Barney’s theory by arguing that each firms IS-IT resources and strategies are Tamima Shan Chowdhury 51 .

Tamima Shan Chowdhury 52 .Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage heterogeneous. unique and immobile owing to their differences in IS-IT planning and alignment providing the firm with a competitive edge.

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Strategic Impact of Existing and Future IS The graphical representations deduce that employees at Lafarge strongly comprehend the strategic impact of both existing and future IS-IT applications in their organisation.10: Daily Operational Dependency on IS Applications and Measurability of its Intangible Benefits at Lafarge (left) and Berger (right) The pie diagrams depict that both Lafarge and Berger are strongly dependent upon IS applications with respect to their daily operations as they have incorporated company-wide integrated IS. The diagrams also reveal that despite the level of dependency. with Lafarge being more heavily accentuated towards IS-IT for its operations.9: Strategic Impact of Existing and Future IS at Lafarge and Berger Daily Operational Dependency on IS Applications and Non-measurability of Its Intangible Benefits Fig 4. while it also mirrors that at Berger this strategic impact is mostly not fully understood by their employee base. the intangible benefits obtained from IS-IT applications cannot always be measured. Fig 4. This result is in line with the theory suggested by Tamima Shan Chowdhury 53 . Although advocates of the Contingency Model such as McKenney (1991) and more recently Sharma (2009) proposes that positive employee attitudes and management practices towards strategic importance of existing and future IS-IT acts as contingent variable in the strategic alignment process. however Abernethy and Guthrie (2008) argued that it is in fact the resistance from employees to adhere to this change which hinders this process in organisations.

However in terms of providing lower costs and product differentiation a variation is observed in the perceptions of the employees in the two companies. value additions and increased customer satisfaction among others.11: Advantages Achieved from IS-IT at Lafarge (left) and Berger (right) Tamima Shan Chowdhury 54 . theories proposed by scholars like Earl (1996) and Ward and Peppard (2005) validate the fact that the success factors and advantages of IS-IT alignment lies in cost reductions. Despite the contradictory results. acts as a hindrance to strategic alignment. due to the presence of intangible unquantifiable benefits such as enhanced communication. Fig 4.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Johnston (2009). proposing that the lack of a direct measure of IS-IT impacts on the firm's financial performance. with Lafarge’s employees strongly agreeing to the notion and the opposite being true for Berger. Advantages Achieved from IS-IT The graphs below reveal that majority of the employees at both Lafarge and Berger conform to the fact that IS-IT helps them to achieve certain advantages such as greater power over their customers and suppliers by imposing higher switching costs and attracting customers of rival firms to buy their products.

goals and strategies. strongly emphasizes on the importance of the IS planning process considering the resources available to the firm. objectives and strategies as outlined in the business plan. its Mission. This concept is further developed by Nevo and Chan (2007). Goals and Strategies at Lafarge and Berger The majority of the respondents at Lafarge gave a strong positive feedback regarding there IS strategy reflecting their business mission. proposing that first-order importance should be given to the IS strategy and its plans being configured according to the business resource constraints.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage 4.2. to fulfill the visionary goal of competitive advantage. On the other hand responses from Berger’s employees. goals and strategies. its Mission.4 Alignment of IS Strategy with Business Strategy The IS Strategy reflects the Business Resource Constraints. Tamima Shan Chowdhury 55 . strongly discloses that their IS strategy does not reflect their business mission.12: The IS Strategy reflects the Business Resource Constraints. Luftmann (2003). its overall mission. Goals and Strategies Fig 4. the corporate mission and vision along with its unique strengths and weaknesses.

while responses from Berger strongly contradict the notion.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage The Business Plan Utilizes the IS Capabilities and Refers to the IS Plan The representations below show a sharp contrast between the responses obtained from Lafarge and Berger. Lafarge’s representation reveal that the IS capabilities are utilized and the IS plan is referred to while formulating the business plan. this is also in-sync with the conceptual model of the strategic management perspective which strongly advocates the utilization of internal IS-IT capabilities to gain competitive advantage. Fig: 4. However Lafarge’s response can be related to the ‘competitive potential’ of Venkatraman’s alignment model proposing that core business strategy should shaped or altered according to the emerging IS-IT capabilities of the organisation.13 The Business Plan Utilizes the IS Capabilities and Refers to the IS Plan at Lafarge and Berger Tamima Shan Chowdhury 56 .

4. The analysis of this discussion is elucidated below with further information on Berger and Lafarge attached in Appendix B and C respectively. The importance of strategic alignment for enhanced organisational performance and achieving organisational objectives has been strongly emphasized by early scholars like Lederer and Mendelow (1986). since a significant proportion of their employees have conformed to the fact that the IS plan is aligned with the business plan and viceversa. While more recent authors like Abernethy and Guthrie (2008) propose that IS-IT planning being congruencial with strategic business planning is the key to sustainability.1 Business Planning and IS Planning with the role played by top management and IS/IT managers in the planning process Discussion with the managers of Lafarge advocated that there is presence of a formal strategic planning process with regards to its business strategy as well as IS-IT strategy.3. the Company does a formal strategic plan that is coordinated to the region Tamima Shan Chowdhury 57 . 4. However Berger’s analysis reveals that most of their employees perceive there is absence of both two-way strategic alignment between IS-IT strategy and business strategy. The managers stated that every year.3 representatives from Lafarge and 2 from Berger were asked open ended questions by the researcher (questions attached in Appendix A).3 Focus Group Discussion The members of the focus group.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Alignment of IS Strategy with Business Strategy and Vice-versa Fig 4.14: Alignment of IS Strategy with Business Strategy and Vice-versa at Lafarge (left) and Berger (right) Analysis of the most critical question has disclosed that there is noteworthy strategic alignment between IS-IT strategy and business strategy at Lafarge.

Cassidy (2005) further accentuates the significance of IS planning as an important mechanism for strategy development. Managers view the IS-IT strategic plan as a bottom-up approach from IS-IT plan to business plan rather than a combination of topdown and bottom-up process. the only level of involvement is during the implementation phase carried out through budget approval by the executive level. Managers stated that departmental strategies are developed every five years without any integration between the departmental strategies. Ireland (2008) supporting the Planning School of Strategic Management.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage and the Lafarge group strategic plan. On the basis of the corporate strategic plan. the top management and the IT department draws up a three year rolling IS-IT strategic plan which is revised and developed annually to maintain consistency with the corporate strategy and overall Lafarge group level business and IS-IT strategy followed worldwide. In contrast discussion with the managers at Berger revealed their disappointment towards the absence of a meticulously developed overall strategic plan. Discussion revealed that Lafarge follows participative management with full involvement of the executive level for strategic planning in detailing and defining the IS-IT strategy. They stated that their quality control systems ensures enhancing the quality. The managers further stated that the three year IS-IT plan is drawn up after consultation with all heads of department and the final plan is vetted by the top team. This reflects the absence of an integrated IS-IT strategic plan resulting in failure to identify the IS-IT needs and requirements to fulfill the overall business goals. 4. designed to shape and support business strategy. In addition she further states that effective business and IS planning requires participative management with strategic consensus to interact and form shared knowledge and understandings of both IS and business objectives. Discussion further exposed that at Berger top level management does not play a crucial role in the business and ISIT strategy development phase. timeliness.3.2 IS-IT enables firms to exploit their Distinctive Capabilities Managers at Lafarge proposed that IS-IT is considered as a business enabler to enhance their understanding of the market and customers by exploiting their distinctive competencies to improve customer satisfaction and increase market share. and availability of materials and also helps in Tamima Shan Chowdhury 58 . highlights the importance of a structured and formal business planning essential to organisational sustainability and success.

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage complex maintenance planning. This lowered their inventory levels. thus helped Berger to achieve greater customer satisfaction and lesser sales losses. they are using ‘Warehouse Dispatch System’ that is fully integrated with the sales depots. However they added that their demand planning module (implemented in the first quarter 2009). They also confirmed that Tamima Shan Chowdhury 59 . (1995) and more recent ones like Sharma et al. They added that this year. also has helped them to effectively analyse their market demand and achieve greater accuracy in demand planning from 42% to 74% (during the last quarter of 2009). Managers at Lafarge affirmed that they are using ‘People Soft ERP System’ that integrates sales order processing. At the same time. as well as the potentiality and efficiency of their human resources. They further added that their inventory management and demand planning modules among others helps in optimization of inventory levels of both spares and products thus reducing working capital and ensures continuity in supply. they have taken up three more important projects to further enhance their understanding of their customers and improve their customer services in a spirit of continuous improvement. On the other hand managers at Berger strongly disagreed with this notion proposing that IS-IT is only used as a supportive function rather than an enabler to exploit their distinctive competencies. (2009) advocated that IS-IT can leverage firms’ socially complex resources and capabilities that have evolved slowly over time and are distinctive to the firm hence cannot be imitated. in order to further enhance their customer service levels.3 IS-IT acts as a source of Competitive Advantage Discussion with managers at Lafarge reflected that IS-IT helps them to compete in new ways thus achieve a competitive edge over their existing and potential competitors. products and services.3. The ability of IS-IT to exploit an organisation’s distinctive capabilities and competencies is firmly supported by academic literature proposed by many authors. machineries and systems leading to enhanced organisational performance and productivity. 4. working capital requirements as well as the volume of excess finished goods. accounts receivable with general ledger financials. dispatch. Early scholars such as Mata et al. Johnston (2008) further suggested that IS-IT can be used to exploit firms’ distinctive resources such as quality of raw materials.

IS-IT helps in meticulously measuring the exact demand of every customer and ensures availability of their entire product-range in all their sales outlets countrywide. Berger’s managers consequently agreed that this indeed portrays the contribution of IS-IT to gain competitive advantage since these activities were previously very inefficient before the implementation of their supply chain management system. Prior to the implementation it was humanly impossible to monitor the accurate demand of their thousands of stock keeping units leading to higher inventory carrying and stock out costs as well as greater levels of excess inventory thus resulting in a competitive disadvantage. thus maintaining customer retention and attraction of new customers from rival companies. and the use of less human resources to obtain competitive advantage. efficient business processes. ‘Bonsai’ a business intelligence system enables market segmentation analysis in addition to all forms of sales analysis. They further added that although IS-IT is not a direct source of competitive advantage.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage the transportation module is under implementation. This is achieved through greater data integrity. they are also launching another IT project to develop a customer portal where customers can place on line orders. helps in achieving multi-faceted advantages in management reporting and strategic management by enabling Lafarge to take the right decisions at the right time thus taking them ahead of others. This concept is also advocated by Bharadwaj (2007) emphasizing on the importance of a firm to strategically identify and nurture those IS-IT functions that can lead to distinctive competencies to yield a competitive advantage in an uncertain environment. it facilitates the effective management of the functions that provide them with their competitive edge. accuracy. In addition. All these components mentioned above by their managers. This will enable planning of transportation considering the sales plan and optimize transportation costs. Berger’s management however contradicted this concept by stating that IS-IT itself does not ensure lead over their competition. (2006) suggested that competitive advantage can be achieved through the matching of Tamima Shan Chowdhury 60 . According to the Resource Based View proposed by many scholars like Barney (1999). In congruence Linn et al. make status enquiries and log complaints. materials and innovative marketing activities. as competitive advantage at Berger is achieved through the multi-disciplinary combination of their formula. Finally. IS-IT can be used as a vehicle to leverage firms’ core competencies to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.

Lafarge’s core mission is “to be the undisputed leader in building materials” and discussion with the managers revealed that IS-IT acts as a supportive function to attain this mission.4 IS Plan reflects the business resource constraints and supports the business mission. by focusing on successful managerial attributes that can create IS-IT assets strategically via causal ambiguity that cannot be easily imitated by other firms. They also added that Berger is heavily dependent on IS- Tamima Shan Chowdhury 61 . Apart from providing a robust IS-IT infrastructure in terms of LAN. WAN and voice communication across its head office. 4. achieved through multiplying their resources and doubling their market share and thus cannot be accomplished by IS-IT itself. plant and sales offices. IS-IT capabilities at Lafarge are aimed at achieving the height of performance required to support overall organisational goals and strategies in order to be effective and efficient in operations leading towards achieving its ultimate mission. All departments are working closely with IT in achieving the business objectives for effective internal and external management. goals and strategies relying on IS-IT both internally and externally Lafarge’s managers advocated that IS-IT planning reflects their business resource constraints by taking into account their size and growth.3. with two components – Revenue Expenditure and Capital Expenditure. In contrast FGD with Berger revealed that currently IS-IT does not reflect their business resource constraints as there is no optimum resource planning that is converted into financial terms through an effective IS-IT plan. quarry. Berger’s managers further added that IS-IT strategy does not directly reflect or relate to business mission or goals however supports in maintaining business strategy of market leadership. human resources and other organisational complexities. the IT software cuts across all department through the use of ERP. financial considerations. data warehousing and business intelligence tools such as ‘Bonsai’. Literature concerning the Resource Based View also supports the use of strategic IS-IT to provide competitive advantage. The IS-IT plan finally culminates with an IT Financial Plan based on the constraints mentioned above. Berger’s mission is “to increase turnover by 100% in the next 5 years”.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage internal IS-IT resources to overall business strategy and matching the business strategy with the external environment.

with the group ensuring that harmonious standards and quality of ERP systems and strategic alignment is attained throughout all business units. Sharma (2009) among others stress on the importance of the IS Plan incorporating the resources available to the firm. The ERP systems in place are completely integrated with the organisational operations plus the Lafarge group level quality standards. They focused on the importance of integrating the IS-IT strategy and infrastructure to support the chosen business strategy and interrelated business processes which are in-sync with the external environment.the Strategic Management School such as Abernethy and Guthrie (2008). They all view this objective as a conditional factor leading towards Tamima Shan Chowdhury 62 . Resource Based View approach such as Barney (1999). 4. the corporate mission and vision and adaption with the external business environment.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage IT for internal management. All branches and business units are fully incorporated with ERP systems. however cannot use it to evaluate the external environment due to lack of integration and absence of business and market intelligence system. This important and crucial objective is however not accomplished by Berger as deduced from the discussion with their managers. Contingency Perspective such McFarlan (1991). Theories proposed by Venkatraman (1996). They propose that effective strategic alignment at Berger is both time and financial constrained.3.5 Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy FGD with the managers identified that there is commendable degree of strategic alignment of ISIT strategy with business strategy at Lafarge. The processes are developed by the departments through their policies and the techniques are formulated by the IS-IT functions accordingly. The only degree of alignment is carried out through the Standard Operating Procedure which integrates the IS-IT function with other departmental policies and practices. Johnston (2008) advocated that IS-IT helps in developing the business through product and market analysis that can be merged and divided to exploit appropriate market segments and product mixes for effective external management and enhanced customer satisfaction. Strategic alignment and its importance which is the core focus of this research has been stressed throughout by theorists conforming to. Managers identified this ultimate objective of strategic alignment to be fulfilled by the components mentioned in earlier sections.

Tamima Shan Chowdhury 63 .Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage enhanced organisational effectiveness and performance and achieving a competitive edge through goal congruence and attaining a cohesive strategic fit.

1 Discussion of the Research Questions 5.1. in which cohesive fit and integration reflected by strategic alignment leads to higher levels of business performance. both at the business unit and group level. Chan (2007) and Teo (2008) among others. It is summarized below how strategic alignment can be achieved effectively: ✔ Aligning the external IS-IT environment with the internal IS-IT plan ✔ Considering the impact of the variations in the industrial factors on IS planning ✔ Structured IS plan supported by participative top management ✔ IS plan exploiting firm’s distinctive competencies and supporting its range of functions ✔ Considering the strategic impact of existing and future IS-IT ✔ Effectively utilising the IS capabilities in the business processes Tamima Shan Chowdhury 64 . It includes discussion of the research questions and justification of the research objectives. From the research it was evident that at Lafarge there is a high degree of strategic alignment within the organisation. Alternatively it may be noted that there is negligible amount of strategic alignment at Berger reflected by a minimal increase in sales volume and profitability during the same period. Thus this further justifies the notion suggested by Peteraf (1994) and Sharma (2009) that a major contribution towards the growth of a firm’s long-term profitability is dependent upon its utilisation of IS-IT resources strategically and efficiently.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Chapter 5: Conclusion This chapter presents the concluding remarks for the research. which resulted in higher sales volume and profitability from 2006 to 2009.1 Why is it important for organisations to align their IS-IT strategy with the business strategy? The discussion of the findings and analysis emphasizes on the importance of strategic alignment of IS-IT strategy with business strategy as proposed by scholars such as Venkatraman (1996). 5.

(2009).3 Does strategic alignment of IS-IT lead to Competitive Advantage? As proposed by the Resource Based View advocated by scholars as early as Barney (1998) and more recently Sharma et al.to enhance information usage. 5. and strategies of the business plan. would most Tamima Shan Chowdhury 65 . goals. By basing the IS plan on the mission. strategic alignment augments corporate governance with broader stakeholder groups such as shareholders. Whereas the lack of effective strategic alignment at Berger was reflected by under-utilisation of its IS-IT capabilities and infrastructure to provide extensive support both for internal and external management. increase employee as well as customer satisfaction along with carrying out business driven technological innovations. it must be noted that firms such as Lafarge that adopt competitive practices which are IS based. This encompasses. strategic alignment of IS-IT can serve as a source of competitive advantage as it is identified with the functions of resource heterogeneity and immobility. given the contextual factors of environmental uncertainty and resource constraints to the firm? According to Pongatichat and Johnston (2008). This is achieved by influencing the contribution of IS. employees. Although causal direction is theorized from alignment to impacting organisational performance. enable benefit sharing with stakeholders. However the opposite was reflected to be true for Berger resulting in failure to maximize capacity utilisation of IS-IT.1. The impact of the dynamic external environment along with the internal resource constraints on strategic alignment.1.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage ✔ The business referring to the IS plan 5. The study reflected that effective strategic IS-IT alignment has increased the contribution of Lafarge’s IS-IT applications by supporting a multi-disciplinary array of functions. Their competitive advantage development indicates practices prescribed in theory such as using electronic data interchange to create links with customers and suppliers. as proposed by proponents of the Contingency Perspective such as Lederer (1996) and Linn (2006) is given considerable attention by Lafarge as discussed earlier in the discussion and analysis.extensive support in decision making. customers and suppliers. company-wide increased information exchange through IS and creating harmonious information partnerships with customers and suppliers. the executives of Lafarge improves the ability of information resources to provide competitive advantage.2 How does strategic alignment influence the contribution of IS to the organisation.

a possibility is that alignment causally affects the use of IS to provide competitive advantage. 5. leading to higher levels or organisational effectiveness and performance of firms’ in the Cement industry.3 To examine the benefits and challenges of strategic alignment The researcher has found that internal resource constraints such as time requirement. 5.4 To analyse how strategic alignment can be a source of Competitive Advantage Tamima Shan Chowdhury 66 . Whilst advantages provided by IS such as lower cost and product differentiation. and influencing buyers to switch to Lafarges product has persuaded the degree of strategic alignment at Lafarge. while at Berger the absence of effectual strategic alignment has lead to under utilisation of its IS-IT capabilities and infrastructure.2 Justification of Research Objectives 5.2. 5. 5.2 To evaluate how strategic alignment influences the contribution of IS in Lafarge and BPBL From the research it is evident that the contribution of IS-IT has been considerable leading to synergic improvements through strategic alignment at Lafarge. hinders lack of both alignment and impact of IS on organisational performance and competitive advantage.2.2. where the internal environment of the firm. human resource adaptability and financial considerations have impeded the process of strategic alignment at Berger.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage likely have higher levels of strategic alignment.1 To understand the level of strategic alignment between IS-IT plan and business plan in the Cement and Paint Industry of Bangladesh Through case studies done on Lafarge and Berger the research reflected that the level of strategic alignment in the Cement industry is significantly stronger than in the Paint industry. It also predicts the positive outcome of strategic alignment for firms such as Berger. Thus.2.

Tamima Shan Chowdhury 67 .5 To demonstrate how strategic alignment can create value for firms in Bangladesh Based on the study of Lafarge whose practices conformed to the strategic management theory of alignment versus Berger that did not.2. competitive IS practices and strategic alignment should lead to higher total returns for firms in Bangladesh that employ them correctly. However at Berger IS-IT functions only acts as a supportive tool to gain competitive advantage.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage According to the analysis done on both Lafarge and Berger it is evidential that strategic alignment has indeed provided Lafarge with a competitive edge. 5. Thus. total returns to investors were significantly higher for the former group as compared to the latter.

will consequently heighten the strategic value of IS resources to create an asset and a unique core competency. and the information intensity of products and services as well as value chain activities will generally be higher.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Chapter 6: Recommendation This chapter provides recommendation for effective strategic alignment of IS-IT strategy with the business strategy. Uncertainty in the external environment affects the importance of IS to the firm. Participation in business planning which results in increased understanding between the IS executive and the CEO. The importance of IS resources to the firm should directly influence key IS planning practices. Where IS is valued as a strategic asset. top management should perceive IS positively. Key IS practices can directly influence the alignment of IS strategy with business strategy. 6.1 Recommendation The detailed research model recommended in Figure 6. Thus linking business planning and IS planning will result in an integrated plan of missions and strategies that more fully utilizes IS resources.1 is supported by the various conceptualizations from the Contingency theory. This can be evidenced by the effective use of information systems to support business strategy and to develop new innovative strategies. Therefore improved utilization of IS resources resulting from a shared knowledge of IS-based opportunities will lead to competitive applications prescribed in Tamima Shan Chowdhury 68 . as existing and future IS applications will include strategic benefits. Alignment of IS strategy with business strategy directly influences the use of IS applications to provide competitive advantage. Distinctive IS management practices will result in the utilization of IS resources for competitive advantage. It also includes limitations of the study and implications for practitioners as well as for further research. Resource Based View approach and Strategic Management perspective. Alignment of the IS plan and the business plan assures a mapping of IS applications to business strategies that support the firm's goals.

Alignment will leverage the firm's investments by using IS to deploy firm assets more efficiently. can create a significant difference in profitability as compared to firms that do not possess such an asset. Fig 6. as the resource-based view notes.1: Model for Effective Alignment of Information Systems Strategy with Business Strategy 6. the process if applied effectively has the potential for creating a unique and intangible asset that. Thus. to create inter organisational efficiencies via electronic data interchange.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage strategic management theory.2 Limitations of the Study Tamima Shan Chowdhury 69 . and to support decision making by employing decision support systems and executive information systems.

They support the notion that strategic alignment is an important method for achievement of its financial goals. Despite assurances of the quality of the list. the measures are subject to each participant's attitudes and beliefs formed by their own unique experiences. this study used a mailing list to carry out its survey that had a low delivery rate. Secondly. the IS function is relegated to the traditional role of support. The findings are also consistent with the expectation that the cooperation and communication of IS and business executives in IS planning can influence alignment. As such. Therefore the data collected from both primary and secondary sources and the application of it on this study’s findings and conclusion may not be sufficient and at times contradictory when compared to the broad range of firms in Bangladesh. From a practitioner perspective. this paper is based on case studies of only two companies operating in two different industries in Bangladesh – Lafarge Surma Cement and Berger Paints. then such cooperation and communication are more likely to prevail. 6. analysis of IS opportunities could be rewarded by future IS based practices that offer a strategic advantage. therefore. This suggests that where information is not as important in an organisation's value chain. Likert scales used for primary data analysis relied on the beliefs and attitudes of the employees.3 Implications for Practitioners These findings are especially relevant for practitioners seeking ways to improve market share and increase profitability. however. the findings suggest that when information is important (as reflected in value chain activities). Firstly. Tamima Shan Chowdhury 70 . Thirdly.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage While the contributions of this study are felt to be important. undeliverable. there are several limitations that require consideration. Thus practitioners interested in improving market share and profitability might consider encouraging and cultivating that cooperation and communication. managers who advocate the establishment of IS-based competitive advantage should expect to take more diligent efforts to convince IS and business executives to cooperate and communicate. For many organisations. For the aggressive organisation. Opportunities exist where there is evidence that such an asset could be produced by adjusting the information component of the value chain. Hence practitioners might consider increasing their efforts to achieve alignment so they can positively impact organisational performance. telephone follow-ups revealed that a significant percentage of the recipients were no longer employed by the company and that the surveys were.

One approach to developing a unique firm asset is to develop IS strategic management practices as distinctive firm competencies. First. e.. The proposed model could easily be modified for further research. If these practices exist. If research reveals low perceptual agreement between top management. Further investigation might also consider the potential effects of environmental uncertainty upon the importance of IS needs to the firm. then it is likely that the role of IS is not well defined within the organisation.g. Successful managerial attributes can create invisible IS-IT unique assets via causal ambiguity.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage 6. The construct alignment of the business plan with the IS plan could be dropped in favor of the construct IS performs strategic planning practices. they should be nurtured. This perhaps could be a reflection that IS managers do not make themselves aware of outside threats and opportunities or incorporate these into the IS plan.4 Implications for Future Research This study can make several contributions to future research. it provides a direction for using the resource based view of the firm in strategic information systems research. they should be developed carefully. independent variable. the ambiguity surrounding complex causal connections that cannot easily be imitated. Finally the data obtained from employees and management could be matched and compared to provide valuable insights. Teo (2008) found external forces to be less influential than internal forces. and if they do not exist. Tamima Shan Chowdhury 71 . An improved measure for environmental uncertainty in future research might increase its importance to the model so that it could serve as an instructive. IS management and employees. Poor communications between top management and the IS executive could lead to less than effective application of important IS resources.

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SD: Strongly Disagree=1 SA ● The following questions concerns the External Business Environment 1. N: Neutral=3. The product or service technologies in your industry changes very quickly and impacts strategic alignment 2. customer buying habits b. The survival of your industry is dependent upon tough price competition and product/service differentiation ● The following questions concerns IS planning 5.Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Appendices Appendix A Questionnaire for Employees Please tick one correct answer of your choice for each of the following questions. IS performs planning practices to: a. create decision support systems for middle and top management b. The company prepares a structured business and IS plan 6. In your industry there is a considerable diversity in the following: a. In your industry the external environment is dynamic and heterogeneous 4. D: Disagree=2. SA: Strongly Agree=5. product lines 3. nature of competition c. create a companywide IS infrastructure appropriate for organizational goals c. A: Agree=4. create information partnerships with suppliers and customers A N D SD Tamima Shan Chowdhury 88 . The CEO participates in IS planning and has frequent meetings with IS management 7.

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage 8. make it more costly for your customers to change suppliers b. With respect to your company’s core products and services IS has been used to provide advantages such as lower costs or product differentiation 13. influence the buyers decision to switch to your product 14. The organization uses IS for its critical success and to gain competitive advantage SA 10. The daily operations of your business are critically dependent on IS ● The following questions concerns Alignment of IS strategy and Business Strategy 15. The IS plan reflects the business resource constraints 17. Do you agree that IS application frequently have intangible benefits that are important but cannot be measured by traditional means 12. With respect to your customers and suppliers IS has been used to: a. The IS plan reflects the business a. The business plan refers to the IS plan A N D SD Tamima Shan Chowdhury 89 . strategies 16. mission b. The IS plan is aligned with the business plan 19. IS planning exploits company’s distinctive competencies ● The following questions concerns Strategic Importance of IS 9. goals c. The business plan utilizes specific IS capabilities and applications 18. Do you agree that existing and future IS have a strategic impact 11.

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage 20. 6. What role does top management play in formulating IS-IT strategy and how frequently do they and IT professionals together participate in business planning? 4. 2. To what extent do you agree that IS enables your organization to exploit its distinctive competencies? 5. To what extent does the company rely on IS-IT both internally and externally? 10. To what extent is your IS-IT strategy aligned with your business strategy? 9. To what extent thus current IS strategy reflects the business missions and goals? 7. To what degree does the IS plan support the business strategy? Thank You for your kind co-operation Tamima Shan Chowdhury 90 . The business plan is aligned with the IS plan Thank You for your kind co-operation Focus Group Questionnaire (for Management) 1. Please explain the way IS-IT can serve as a source of competitive advantage for your organization. Do you feel Information System and Information Technology (IS-IT) enables your firm to compete in new ways? Explain. What is the strategic implication of IS-IT in your organization? 3. Does your IS-IT reflect the business resource constraints? 8.

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Appendix B: Berger Paints Tamima Shan Chowdhury 91 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Continuation of Appendix B .Slides on ERP Implementation at Berger Tamima Shan Chowdhury 92 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Tamima Shan Chowdhury 93 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Tamima Shan Chowdhury 94 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Tamima Shan Chowdhury 95 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Tamima Shan Chowdhury 96 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Tamima Shan Chowdhury 97 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Tamima Shan Chowdhury 98 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Tamima Shan Chowdhury 99 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Appendix C: Lafarge Tamima Shan Chowdhury 100 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Continuation of Appendix C… Tamima Shan Chowdhury 101 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Tamima Shan Chowdhury 102 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Tamima Shan Chowdhury 103 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Tamima Shan Chowdhury 104 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Tamima Shan Chowdhury 105 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Tamima Shan Chowdhury 106 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Tamima Shan Chowdhury 107 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Tamima Shan Chowdhury 108 .

Strategic Alignment of IS-IT Strategy with Business Strategy to Gain Competitive Advantage Tamima Shan Chowdhury 109 .

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