Information Systems (IS) strategy determines information technology infrastructure and the development of application and service quality. Information Management (IM) strategy, on the other hand, determines policies, legality, quality of information, and security and ethical issues.
Strategy can be explained as organised measures that are taken to achieve a set goal in an organisation. A strategy will usually be driven by a certain goal and the navigation to reaching that goal. Therefore, in developing strategies for IS and IM, management needs to identify the goal and the process to reach that goal.
Strategies for Information Systems and Information Management are usually found in large organisations, and are just as important in smaller organisations. These are commonly driven by Chief Information Officers or the Head of IT Strategy.
When developing strategies for Information Systems & Management, organisations need to identify:
- The extent to which information plays a role, in the running of their organisations;
- What resources will need to be employed in the development of their strategy;
- The extent to which management is committed to the development of the strategy; and
- How the organisation will gain strategic advantage over its peers, from the developed strategy.
Organisations are constantly evaluating their strategic models on how they meet the demands from its stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers, employees and business partners. A network-based strategy will make use of business ecosystems and network economics, which renders IS-IM strategy relevant. A consumer-centric IS-IM strategy can bring together common customers, while building loyalty.
Information assets make up a critical factor in the success of an organisation, and it is these knowledge assets that contribute to an organisation’s competitive advantage. An exploitation and protection of information assets can be achieved through a functional IS-IM strategy, in order for an organisation to gain a competitive edge.
What is the IS-IM strategy dependent on?
The alignment of the IS and IM strategy is dependent on successful integration of people, data processes and technology. Technology generally exists to support people. The alignment may, at times, contend with inherent organisation-specific challenges, such as barriers characterised by change management, which are common across organisations. Employees need to reach a level of alertness which knows the level of generality that makes information useful and informs decision-making processes.
When the IS strategy is aligned with the IM strategy, an organisation will be more innovative and, as a result, improve on its products and services. An effective strategy will ensure effective management of an organisation’s information, and reduced inefficiencies. Effective strategy allows monitoring, prompt response and effective decision-making.