The Development of Strategic Information Systems Theory

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The Development of Strategic Information Systems Theory During the last 15 years, an area has developed within the Information Systems discipline which is generally referred to as 'strategic information systems'. It concerns itself with systems whose importance to the organisation extend beyond merely assisting it to perform its existing functions efficiently, or even just effectively. A strategic information system is instrumental in the organisation's achievement of its competitive or other strategic objectives. This paper presents a critical summary of the literature, and is accompanied by an extensive reference list. It begins by tracing the development of contemporary theory about strategic uses of corporations' internal information systems, primarily from Porter's theories relating to competitive strategy. This leads to discussion of systems which transcend the boundaries of particular organisations and are associated with cooperation between them. The process whereby strategic information systems are created or identified is then examined. A number of weaknesses in the existing body of theory are identified, and suggestions made as to directions in which knowledge is or may be progressing. Introduction The topic of 'strategic information systems' is concerned with systems which contribute significantly to the achievement of an organisation's overall objectives. The body of knowledge is of recent origin and highly dynamic, and the area has an aura of excitement about it. It is risky to attempt a historical exposition of such a recently emerged topic. On the other hand, the line of development which the conventional wisdom has followed is itself interesting and instructive. This paper is prepared as an in... ... middle of paper ... ... the search for competitive advantages, these frameworks are market-oriented, and are not suitable to explain SIS developed in other non-market-oriented industries, such as government. Another deficiency of these frameworks is the concentration on competitive advantage to the exclusion of other perspectives. As a result of industry-wide adoption of SIS, the questions of sustainability of competitive advantage and of competitive necessity arise. This in turn leads to cooperative arrangements, including alliances, and at a more abstract level, collaboration. IT has become a significant factor in the operation and planning of information-based enterprises. Strategic information systems theory has done much to enable the description, explanation and prediction of behaviour. There remain significant weaknesses which need to be addressed. Bibliography:

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