Topic: “How Strategic Information System helps organisations to achieve an alignment between the strategic goals of the organisation and the current and future IT infrastructure of the organisation”
The following report provides a literature review on how strategic information system helping the organization to maintain the pace between the identified objectives of the organization and the current information technology of the firm. In order to review the literature with practical and real-life examples, the organization Ford Motor has been selected. Form Motor is one of the largest vehicle manufacturers in Australia. Therefore, to understand and analyze the role of Strategic Information System in Ford’s operation and strategic goals, the analysis has been conducted with the help of some of existing papers. In order to conduct the analysis, about 10 peer-reviewed journals have been considered in the discussion.
1. Identification and discussion of the selected company’s structure, products and services under consideration
The organizational structure of Ford Motor is dependent on the varying market dynamics. As put forward by Jiménez-Jiménez and Sanz-Valle (2011), the approach of the personnel results in the formation of a firm’s organizational structure. This approach includes the ways in which the personnel use the resources for performing the business activities. Herein lays the appropriateness of interactions between the departments of the Ford Motors. In case of Ford Motors, industrial conditions operate the organizational structure. According to Hoffman (2012), the Ford personnel undertake the activity of developing effective strategies in terms of dealing with the external market forces, which stalls the productivity. Hence, Barlatt et al. (2012) also opines that in regional areas, the Ford personnel need to exercise control measures for keeping the pace with the marketing dynamics.. The major components of Ford Motor’s organizational structure are corporate hierarchy, regional geographic divisions as well as the global functional groups.
Corporate hierarchy: As put forward by Weiss (2014), Ford has a conventional corporate hierarchy in its organizational structure. For instance, Executive Vice president reports to CEO Mark Fields. The middle managers usually report to the executives VPs and such characteristics of Ford’s organizational structure sustains conventional business management approaches that focuses on the effective top-down control.
Regional Geographic Division- As mentioned by Raza et al. (2011), Ford has large geographic division in its organizational structure. Hence, Wahab, Mukhtar and Sulaiman (2013) argued that global organizations divide their operation into many regions per sub-continent. However, Wang et al. (2013) mentioned that Ford’s organizational structure is categorized into three regional geographic divisions that acquire all markets around the world. Ford’s major regional geographical divisions are such as Americas, Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific with an executive VP heads.
Products and services
As Ford is one of largest and oldest car manufacturing organizations, the firm has long list of vehicles including Shop Cars, Shop Crossover and SUVs, Shop Trucks and Vans, Shop Lincoln, Utes, Fiesta, Fiesta ST, Focus, Focus ST and many more. However, in this context, Hoffman (2012) commented that the value and demand of all these products are not equal in the global markets, which means. For example, in Australian market Fiesta ST is a highly demanded car but in Asia, other vehicles have acquired the position.
2. Operation and functionality: Identifying and discussing
a. The current process-
Ford Motor runs on the principle that globalizes the scales of marketing. As a matter of specification, the principle refers to the fact that almost 166000 people are working in plants and offices around the world (Barlatt et al. 2012). However, Weiss (2014) commented that one significant specialty of Ford’s operation is that it has developed the online selling facility for the customers. Raza et al. (2011) particularly mentioned that in-time delivery performance was recorded 98% in 2015. Moreover, almost 15% of the overall operation is efficient use of supply chain and the cost reduction per market share tender remains around 15% (Hughes-Cromwick 2011).
Ford Motor Company, being world’s largest vehicle manufacturer indulged in joint venture with Penske regarding the incorporation of Six Sigma initiatives on the business activities. As put forward by Liker and Morgan (2011), Penske’s team members are skilled and efficient enough for having tie ups with Ford Motor for carrying out the streamline operations. These tie ups enhanced the logistics of Ford Motors, placing the customers at the centre of services. This is because the main aim is to fulfill the needs, demands and requirements of the customers. Aapplication of rational thinking in the implementation of accountability techniques as well as advanced logistics management technologies enhanced the clarity of Penske in terms of the supply chain network.
- To improve the supply chain network and logistics of Ford
- To hire skilled and efficient suppliers for enhancing performance and accountability in the streamline operations(Wahab, Mukhtar and Sulaiman 2013)
- To provide the organizations with a real time supply chain as well as financial visibility
Process of consolidating logistic operation
As put forward by Hughes-Cromwick (2011), the harsh logistic transitory programs developed by Penske would enable the Ford Motor staffs to establish contact with all the clients regarding the operations. By working with the individual plants as well as corporate management, Penske developed a strong baseline of existing operations and outlined the proposed solution. The logistic programs would develop a Penske Logistic Centre that have added the following significant functions:
Network Design Optimization-The firm implements a more efficient inbound materials strategy through order dispatching centre.
Carrier and Premium Freight Management-The firm needs to manage all carriers and logistics organizations while minimizing the premium freight cost
Information Technology System Integration: This phase helps to achieve real-time visibility of supply chain shipments, orders and other schedules.
Financial Management: This phase helps to enhances freight bill payment, claim processing and resolution throughout the supply chain.
There are risks and uncertainties in terms of supply chain; raw materials could negatively influence the availability in sufficient quantities to meet the organizational needs. The major issue that organization faces in its operation is supply chain relationship. The firm needs to share its own best practice with the suppliers to remain in track to save millions gallons of water and cut emission.
c. Specific issues that system will fix
The above-mentioned analysis indicates that the major issue that Ford Motor currently faces is supply chain base and its relationship with the suppliers (Liker and Morgan 2011). The new system could help to strengthen Ford Motor’s commitment to make manufacturing more environmentally friendly, which does not stop at its own factories gate. Rather, with the help of the new system, the organization can ask its suppliers to keep pace with its new effort to minimize carbon emission, conserve water and energy and control the waste.
d. Criteria will be used to enhance the proposed system meeting the requirement
While applying the new system, there are some particular areas that need to be considered. The organization must consider the strong collaboration with the suppliers. Moreover, the suppliers with whom the organizations deal with should have the understanding about the green initiatives in the supply chain.
3. Discussing what constitutes an Information Systems (IS) Strategy and explaining why such strategy is required as part of the overall organizational strategy-300
As put forward by (Arvidsson, Holmström and Lyytinen (2014), the Information System Strategy remains as the integral element of business. However, Bélanger and Crossler (2011) mentioned that Information System are those system where information service resource are implemented to strategic business opportunities. According to Majchrzak and Malhotra (2013), the elements that constitutes Information System (IS) strategy is customers, products and services, Business process and Communication Technology.
Every service revolves arounds the customers, who are an asset for the company. There are internal and external factors, which governs the information systems. These information systems are used by the companies like Ford Motors for levying the marketing information to the customers. The customers visiting the websites can be asked for their feedbacks on the purchased products and services. On the other hand, the employees can be trained on the effective and judicious use of the information systems in order to enhance the productivity (Gholami et al. 2013).
Products and services: Products and services are the main ways through which the brans attract the customers. According to Yoo (2013), an Information System could generate products and services relying on the industry, it is stood for. In automotive sector, the vehicles are produced on the basis of market demands and customer requirements. Effective use of the imformation systems enhance the knowledge of the personnel regarding the innovative designs, which can be applied in the automobiles.
Business Processes: According to Dao, Langella and Carbo (2011), business activity consists of different elements and process. These techniques and process might include communication with the customers, understanding their requirements, manufacturing products in accordance to the requirement. This practice can provide post sales services. Hence, Buhl et al. (2012) is of the view that the processes associated with business sometimes lack structure and formality.
Communication Technology: As commented by Bélanger and Crossler (2011), the communication technology as well as the computers are the fundamental elements of Information System Strategy. The communication technology is required to provide effective business process as well as customer delighting products and services. It is certain that Technology enhances the internal communication through emails, chats and other modes of technological communication.
4. Discussing why the organisation may experience difficulties in developing an Information Systems Strategy
Even though Information System Strategy provides some significant benefits to the organizations but during the implementation of IS, the organizations have to deal with several challenges and these challenges can often be observed in each step of the implementation of IS.
Management challenges: Once the plan of IS is developed, it needs to persuade top management to approve the recommended systems development. Yoo (2013) claims that senior management could find it difficult to understand the purpose and they might not build trust on IS’ capability to implement it properly. Another challenge that management of the organization might face today is alignment of its Information System Strategy and the business Strategy. The managers of the organizations also find it difficult to recognize the IS gap between where firm currently is and where it wishes to be in the future.
Technical challenges: Hence, the technical challenges are the issues that are related to hardware and software elements of the information technologies. Another significant barrier that organizations might face is telecommunication issue.
Solution to the difficulties
When the senior management lacks the understanding about the implementation of Information System, the executives of the organizations should examine its responsibility to implement the plan before confirming the time and budget necessary to develop information system in the organization.
As put forward by Dao, Langella and Carbo (2011), the organization should develop a robust relationship between the top management as well as the staff with the importance of successful implementation of Information System (IS) to resolve the problems of weak management role.
5. With reference to studies on Information Systems failures:
a. Analyzing the typical problems that could be expected to increase within Information System projects
As put forward by Gholami et al. (2013), the organizations with hierarchical structure always have issues with the management; there is always a lack of top management commitment to the strategy information. Specially, when the organization is running the operation in the global environment, the organizations often observe a lack of support in creation and implementation of the system. On the other side, Buhl et al. (2012) commented that the engagement of telecommunication into Information System gradually increases the complexity of the system in today’s technologically developed environment. The issues that are currently stemming from this complexity can usually be categorized into two different areas staffing issues as well as the equipment issues. When it comes to the identification of equipment issues, Majchrzak and Malhotra (2013) mentioned that the proliferation of different varieties of equipment as well as their proprietary protocols could make it difficult to generate and monitor a strong network effectively.
b. Illustrating the answer with respect to literature and relevant examples
It is observed that the equipments could come from local telephonic organizations, satellite suppliers and local area network organizations. One of the significant example of equipment problem in Information System was Federal Express, which was forced to stop its Zapmail electronic document transmission services after being plagued with telecommunication equipment barriers (Dao, Langella and Carbo 2011). The organization eventually installed satellite transmission facilities at customer site and installed rewritten transmission software.
c. Suggesting remedies to the problem identified
Firstly, the organizations need to increase the involvement of the management as a whole to the implementation of Information System in the organization. The organization needs to provide adequate information system to share knowledge to facilitate knowledge sharing among the departments; thereby, each stuff should have the opportunity to share views to reduce the miss-communication among the departments. Moreover, the business managers should negotiate with the system administrators to describe what should be relevant to their work. The managers should collaborate closely by appointing a representative in top management. The management could focus on finding a solution that align business requirements with IT priorities.
References and Bibliography
Arvidsson, V., Holmström, J. and Lyytinen, K., 2014. Information systems use as strategy practice: A multi-dimensional view of strategic information system implementation and use. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 23(1), pp.45-61.
Barlatt, A.Y., Cohn, A., Gusikhin, O., Fradkin, Y., Davidson, R. and Batey, J., 2012. Ford motor company implements integrated planning and scheduling in a complex automotive manufacturing environment. Interfaces, 42(5), pp.478-491.
Bélanger, F. and Crossler, R.E., 2011. Privacy in the digital age: a review of information privacy research in information systems. MIS quarterly, 35(4), pp.1017-1042.
Buhl, H.U., Fridgen, G., König, W., Röglinger, M. and Wagner, C., 2012. Where’s the competitive advantage in strategic information systems research? Making the case for boundary-spanning research based on the German business and information systems engineering tradition. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 21(2), pp.172-178.
Dao, V., Langella, I. and Carbo, J., 2011. From green to sustainability: Information Technology and an integrated sustainability framework. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 20(1), pp.63-79.
Gholami, R., Sulaiman, A.B., Ramayah, T. and Molla, A., 2013. Senior managers’ perception on green information systems (IS) adoption and environmental performance: Results from a field survey. Information & Management, 50(7), pp.431-438.
Hoffman, B.G., 2012. American icon: Alan Mulally and the fight to save Ford Motor Company. Three Rivers Press.
Hughes-Cromwick, E., 2011. Ford motor company's global electrification strategy. Business Economics, 46(3), pp.167-170.
Jiménez-Jiménez, D. and Sanz-Valle, R., 2011. Innovation, organizational learning, and performance. Journal of business research, 64(4), pp.408-417.
Liker, J.K. and Morgan, J., 2011. Lean product development as a system: a case study of body and stamping development at Ford. Engineering Management Journal, 23(1), pp.16-28.
Majchrzak, A. and Malhotra, A., 2013. Towards an information systems perspective and research agenda on crowdsourcing for innovation. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 22(4), pp.257-268.
Raza, M., Kirkham, T., Harrison, R. and Reul, Q., 2011. Knowledge-based flexible and integrated PLM system at Ford. Journal of Information and Systems management, 1(1), pp.8-16.
Wahab, A.N.A., Mukhtar, M. and Sulaiman, R., 2013. A conceptual model of lean manufacturing dimensions. Procedia Technology, 11, pp.1292-1298.
Wang, Q., Syed, F.U., Kuang, M.L., Kozarekar, S.S. and McGee, R.A., Ford Global Technologies, Llc, 2013. Transient operation energy management strategy for a hybrid electric vehicle powertrain. U.S. Patent 8,473,133.
Weiss, R., 2014. Corporate Security at Ford Motor Company: From the Great War to the Cold War. Corporate security in the 21st century: Theory and practice in international perspective, pp.17-38.
Yoo, Y., 2013. The tables have turned: How can the information systems field contribute to technology and innovation management research?. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 14(5), p.227.