INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY STRATEGIC PLAN
Theadvancement in technology has ensured increased opportunities fororganizations. Most organizations have adopted the modern technologyto manage their business processes. The increased adoption oftechnology is as a result of the associated benefits companies arelikely to reap. Information technology enables business organizationsto use computing devices, storage, networking, internet, and otherphysical devices, infrastructure, and processes to create, process,store, manipulate, and transfer any data in the electronic form(Manzoor A., 2012). This perspective considers information as avaluable resource that businesses can utilize effectively inmaximizing their production activities. It is an essential partner inmanagement in the modern day business. It can be applied to companiesin any industry or any department of an organization. Small andmedium-sized enterprises are now taking the opportunity of adoptinginformation technology in improving their performance and revenue. ITcan be applied in storage, marketing, information, and communication.This paper discusses how Company X can utilize information technologyin improving their sales and brand.
CompanyX is a privately owned company that manufactures refrigerators andhousehold appliances. It was established in the year 1982 inOklahoma, USA. The company has made progress in its operations andrevenue. The revenue increased from $1.2 million in 2005 to $5million in the fiscal year ending 2015. The company’s managementfeels that it can double its annual revenue if it increases the useof information technology in their management processes. The sales ofthe newly developed refrigerator, X Cool, can be maximized throughthe use of advanced technology. X Cool is a small-sized refrigeratorthat is portable and utilizes small amounts of electricity. Thisinnovation can benefit the company when the company increases itsawareness through information technology. Apart from the product, ITis an essential tool in optimizing the daily management processes.
Thecompany has little use of information technology compared to itscompetitors. The company relies on the normal distribution channelsto collect money from retailers and consumers. It does not have othermethods of processing payments in the absence of these channels.Furthermore, the complexity of transactions of the company isincreased day by day due to the reception the innovation received inthe market. The company is using traditional filing system to storemost of its data. There had been complaints for the last one yearthat unauthorized individuals were accessing the files aftercolluding with security personnel in charge. The outcome of theunauthorized access of the files was associated with loss of somevaluable information and manipulation of some data. There are somefew computers in the company, but due to the reduced knowledge of theemployees, they are not adequately utilized in the management ofdata.
Thecompany has a low online presence. It does not use the e-commercetechnology. Company X proposed to use social sites such as Facebookand Twitter to market its products but received rejections fromvarious departments. The management feels believe that social mediaand e-commerce are lucrative strategies it can use to reach morepotential customers than ever. Company X uses both email and letterswhen communicating with its employees and suppliers. Some employeesusually don’t read the internal memos of the company. Since CompanyX lacks a network to enable employees access internet while at work,there is a good number which does not read the work emails on time.
Thereare lots of changes that Company X wishes to make in regards to IT inorder to realize an improved revenue and market share.
IT specialists and their role
Chief information officer (CIO)
TheCIO is responsible for ensuring the credibility of IT in businessoperations. Cloud technology, social media marketing, and increasedonline presence among others cannot be of benefit to Company X if theCIO is not performing well. Chief information officers act as aninterface between the elements of information technology and theoperations of various departments of the company (Parsons & Oja,2012). They ensure the consistency between IT and the strategic planof a company. CIOs play a significant role during the transitionCompany X is planning to make. They ensure a smooth transition intothe application of the modern technology.
CIOsare responsible for the overall function of IT in the company. Theyanalyze the company’s information and then use it to recommendaspects of information technology, develop a plan, and then implementthe plan to enhance the daily operations of the company. Chiefinformation officers perform the implementation while ensuring thatall managers and workers of the company have technical skillsrequired use IT in the duties. Therefore, they determine the type oftraining needed to make sure the IT is feasible. It is theirresponsibility to evaluate how every department uses informationtechnology to determine their progress and future needs. CIOsoptimize IT to meet the needs of each business unit. They identifyissues in the business operations and develop solutions to them.
Systemanalysts play the role of identifying the needs of Company X and thencoming up with new or improved computer system to address the needs.They have to collect the information from various departments anddetermine the specific details of information system that should bebuilt (Parsons & Oja, 2012). They must have adequate knowledge ofthe processes of Company X and the ability to document themappropriately. Various stakeholders who affect or are affected by thesystem are identified. After the identification of needs of thecompany, system analysts start the process of translating the needsinto an information system design. They then document the detailsthat describe the new system. System analysts do not develop theactual information system. Instead, they hand off the document toprogrammers who create the system.
Theyuse their knowledge in programming design a system according to thespecification given by the system analysts. They spend their time inwriting computer codes using a given programming language. Accordingto Parsons & Oja (2012), programmers should understand thecomplex processes associated with the creation of computer system.They have to interpret the document from the system analystaccordingly to avoid any mistake that may cause system failure orincompatibility.
Thethree types of computer engineers required in a company adopting ITare a hardware engineer, software engineer, system engineer, andnetwork engineer. Hardware engineers are responsible for designingand installing hardware components. Software engineers will help thecompany in adopting mobile apps. They develop mobile and computerapplications based on the needs of every department of the company.The apps should enable the management to perform various tasks suchas communicating with the employees. The network engineer will designa communication system using the organizational needs, and networkingknowledge (Parsons & Oja, 2012).
CompanyX will shift to the management of information using computer systemfrom the filling system. The database system will be used in managingthe company’s information. Database administrators will beresponsible for managing the databases of Company X. They willanalyze the requirements of the company and then develop an optimizeddatabase system. They will be responsible for transferring data fromthe fill-dependent system to the adopted system. Databaseadministrators will be responsible for giving the company advice onthe platforms of cloud computing to take.
Technical support officers
Technicalsupport officers are responsible for monitoring and maintainingcomputer system and networks of the company. This way, the Company Xcan achieve a smooth running of computer and network systems andensure users benefit from them. They install and configure computerhardware, operating systems and application based on thespecifications by system analysts and CIO. After the installation,technical support officers monitor and ensure that computer systemsand networks are functioning with high efficiency (Parsons & Oja,2012). They help the organization’s staff in setting up systems orresolving problems. Technical support officers troubleshoot systemsand networks to identify faults that may lower their efficiency orusability. Another role is the maintenance of the hardware andsoftware. They update outdated software and applications. Thehardware may need repairs or replacements. Technical support officersidentify physical damages of the hardware and repairs or replace theparts appropriately. They respond to faults reported by system andnetwork users. They also contribute to testing and evaluation of newtechnology that the company wants to adopt to check itscompatibility.
CompanyX’s strength is in its products. It develops products that addressspecific gaps in the market. The X Cool refrigerator is small in sizeand thus, requires small space. The size makes its movement easier.The electricity consumption is also low. Although the product is highquality, it is affordable to low-income and middle-income families.Company X boasts itself of the talented and innovative employees. Thecompany utilizes both experienced professionals and fresh graduatesfrom local universities to come up with various innovations. It has astrong relationship with suppliers. Therefore, the organization has aconstant flow of raw materials to facilitate its productionactivities.
Lackof online presence is one of the main weaknesses of the company. Inthe modern society, people have increased the use of the internet andsocial media. These people may not miss accessing the internet in asingle day. Organizations are using the opportunity to reach newpotential customers in their home countries as well as across theborders. This is not present in Company X. The leadership is noteffective enough to convince a good number of individuals to acceptthe changes. Also, the firm is trying to imitate what large companiesin the industry are going in the management processes. The factorsthat affect the company and its competitors are significantlydifferent. Therefore, the methods of addressing such factors shouldnot be the same. Another weakness is that the company is dependent onthe US market only. In fact, its main market is urban areas. Therural areas contribute approximately 20% of the company’s sales. Inthis regard, this SWOT analysis shows that Company X’s weaknessesare linked with its leadership, value chain, business development,and marketing strategies.
Informationtechnology presents opportunities that the company can utilize in itsmanagement processes to increase its market share and sales(Hawryszkiewycz, 2012). There are various elements of informationtechnology Company X can adopt at a low cost on a long-term basis.Another opportunity is expansion into other states of the US. Theexpansion may take a gradual approach until the firm becomes able toventure into the global market. Leadership improvement can help theorganization addresses the challenges associated with organizationalculture and resistance to change.
Themain threat the operations of Company X is the stiff competition itfaces in the market. Market leaders such as Samsung Electronics arereally performing both in the domestic and foreign market. Anotherthreat is the substitute products. The market is flooded withvarieties of refrigerators, most of which are of high quality. Thismay reduce the sales of the company. Since the company’s market issolely American, any slowdown of the US economy may negatively affectits operations.
Figure 1: SWOT analysis
Main goals for the strategic plan
Increasing market share
Theuse of information technology provides the company with moreefficient methods of reaching existing and potential customers.Online is a product of developments in IT. Today, consumers areconcentrated in online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, andPinterest among others. Bannister F (2012) argues that IT isresponsible for the growth of market share of large companies. Theadoption of e-commerce gives consumers seamless shopping opportunitythat can help an organization to retain existing customers.
To enhance communication
Effectivecommunication is an essential element of effective decision-making,production processes, innovation, employee management, customerrelations, and growth. Sharing information and ideas during theprocess of making decisions provide the leadership and managementwith a pool of options to address certain issues. The use ofinformation technology increases the company’s access to valuableinformation as well as sharing it as necessary. Mobile apps providethe management of Company X a good opportunity to communicate withindividual or all employees at a cheaper cost (Hawryszkiewycz, 2012).The communication with other companies and suppliers is also madeeasier. IT improves both formal and informal communication withcustomers and other firms.
To reduce production cost
Cloudcomputing can help Company X to achieve this goal. It will providethe company with a cost-effective way of storing, accessing andmanipulating the company data (Pearson & Yee, 2013). It also cutsthe cost of buying cables and other hardware components oftraditional components. The company can also become more efficient bycutting the cost of transactions with other firms and theirproduction costs. Transaction cost with customers is also reducedthrough the use of electronic transfer of money associated withe-commerce. The technologies also improve the efficiency ofdistribution and provide quick access to domestic and global marketsthrough the internet, cell phone communication, etc.
To enhance information security
Informationsecurity is an important aspect of business growth. Maintaining theintegrity of data ensures that its value does not change. Informationtechnology provides the company an opportunity to store its data withminimal or no interference. In order to access data stored in thecloud or computer systems, users must have authentication detailsthat are given to authorized users at an authorized time (Pearson &Yee, 2013).
To increase the annual revenue
Increasingthe market share enables the company to retain existing customerswhile attracting potential ones. This way, Company X will be in aposition to increase its annual sales. The cost reduction through ITwill enable the firm to maximize its income. IT increases theefficiency of various business operations and thus, increasing theoutput of each business unit.
Positive organizational impacts of implementing the strategic plan
Thereare various benefits the company can reap through the implementationof the information technology strategic plan. One is the creation ofcompetitive advantage. The combination of the company’s strengthsand the use of IT can make it easier for the company to attract andretain customers than its competitors. This will be dependent on thecompany’s ability to utilize the technology.
Secondly,the strategic plan will help Company X to improve and streamline itsoperations with the strategic goals. The firm can use informationtechnology to leverage existing, emerging, and innovativetechnologies to enhance its production activities. Analytics areinvaluable tools the company can use in making appropriate choicesand innovations that give the organization the upper hand in themarket (Bytheway, 2014).
Thethird impact of implementing the plan is the improvement of theperformance of individual employees and the entire organization. Theimplementation of the plan will increase the capabilities of theemployees and increase their access to information as well. Withincreased access to data, the decision-making skills of individualsin the company increase. The employees’ ability to tackle variousissues is enhanced. Therefore, their performance increases. As aresult, the overall organizational performance also increases.
Informationtechnology provides companies with various opportunities to improvetheir performance and revenue. For a company to implement ITstrategic plan, there are IT specialists who must be available tofacilitate the process. These specialists perform different roles,but they are directed towards the successful incorporation of IT intothe organization’s strategic plan. IT strategic plan should enablethe company to achieve its organizational goals more efficiency. Thetechnologies will enable the company to realize improvedcommunication, reduce production cost, increase market share, enhanceinformation security, create competitive advantage, and enhance thecompany’s performance.
Bannister F. (2012), Purchasing and Financial Management ofInformation Technology, Routledge
Bytheway, A. (2014). Investing in information: Theinformation management body of knowledge. Springer
Hawryszkiewycz, I. T. (2012). Agile Business System Design:Using Information Technology to create business value. Cork:BookBaby.
Manzoor A. (2012), Information Technology in Business, AmirManzoor
Parsons, J. J., & Oja, D. (2012). Computer concepts.Mason, Ohio: South-Western.
Pearson, S., & Yee, G. (2013). Privacy and security forcloud computing. London: Springer.