Discuss the importance of strategic planning for information systems (IS). What do you think is most important, disaster recovery and business continuity, or looking forward to new technology and business trends?
Strategic planning is vital to the success of a business. The plan helps the business achieve its long-term goals and objectives. The strategic planning for information system (IS) on the other hand looks at the IS from a strategic point of view and how well they’re being used, what the organization wants to achieve with it and how they can improvise to get to the point (Greenley, 1986). It follows the similar route with first taking a step back and analyzing the current state of IS followed by defining the future state while also developing a mission statement and organizational vision as part of it (McFarlan, 1984). The third step in the flow is to determine the strategies against the identified objectives. Finally, it’s time to implement the ideas while also evaluating the change it got.
Let’s look at an example of a traditional magazine printing press to understand the importance of strategic planning for IS. The company is failing down rapidly from its best years since a couple of years. If the fortune doesn’t change within a year or two, the business is in a state to close all its operation and declare itself bankrupt. The board met for strategic planning for IS. As part of that, it was discovered that the equipment used and other IS management system were all outdated lagging years behind from advanced technologies as used by the market rivals. The press now tried following the latest trend by going digital with its data server, firewall, and other updated equipment. With an online subscription system and some free content to drag people to the website, the company got an opportunity to go above and beyond its geographic restrictions. Short, medium and long-term objectives are set as per the business management belief would lead to the success. The implementation task is then divided among several units as per their competencies. The press then went with implementing the process while continuously monitoring the progress and result.
The business can thus gain competitive advantage, improve the performance and productivity of business functionality, enable new ways of organizing the business process and managing them along with providing an opportunity to develop a new business process like in the example above (Brumec & Vrcek, 2002).
If ever presented with a choice between disaster recovery and business continuity, or looking forward to new technology and business trends that is a very difficult choice to make for any business. Often they must focus on both of those. However, if I’ve to choose one among the two, I would certainly go with disaster recovery and business continuity. That is because if the business faces a disaster and have no way to recover the system or continue the business what’s the point of thinking about the future technologies of the business. Consider that a bank with transaction system that is digital, imagine what would happen if the system is down for an hour, what if for a day, what if a month? It’s a catastrophe for sure and the business may even die for that. In such situation, if the bank has a backup system, let’s say a mirror system which will automatically replace the system which is down then the system can still function as it should and fixes can be done in the original one. Mission critical system can thus have multiple of such disaster identified and plans formulated for it. In such an event, thinking about new technology and business trend provide no assistance. The business data is also crucial for analysis and future references, losing them would be a big loss for any business so with proper disaster recovery system and business continuity they can first bring the system back online and then ensure that all the functions are working fully as necessary.
Brumec, J., & Vrcek, N. (2002). Strategic Planning of Information Systems (SPIS) - A Survey of Methodology. Journal Of Computing And Information Technology , 10 (3), 225.
Greenley, G. (1986). Does strategic planning improve company performance?. Long Range Planning , 19 (2), 101-109.
McFarlan, F. (1984). Information Technology Changes the Way You Compete. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/1984/05/information-technology-changes-the-way-you-compete
Generally in business we have a specific goal, and we plan for achieving a goal is strategy. In past the strategy is popular in military only. But In this modern age strategy is not only popular for military application only, modern management has used in relation to business operation. Every company must define medium and long term goal. For this reason business manager must design in organization plan. In which they include strategy to follow. One the company have established its plan and strategy all functional area of the organization must develop their plans (Bahan, 2009). Which must be in support your organization strategy. Today information technology and information system plays a significant role in business performance. The IT/IS department should analyze and interprete your organization’s plan and strategy to be able to design a strategic plan align with objectives and goals. It establishes with organization plan this evaluate existing system and technology and it infrastructure in order to identify the need for technology solution and provide recommendations to the companies in order to improve its execution and helps new sustainable competitive advantages. Strategic planning provides a theoretical framework so that manager and executives of organization can be able to outline the action to be taken to direct the companies towards the future their vision (Abazar & Manteghi, 2011).
Disaster is uncertain and unplanned outages include failure caused by database correction, component failure, and human error. On the other type of incident that may cause data availability is unnatural or man - made disaster such as flood, fire, and earthquake. Disaster recovery is coordinated process of restoring system data and infrastructure required to support on opening business operation in the event of a disaster (Lewis, 1999). Restoring previous copy of data and applying logs to that copy to bring it to a know point of consistency, generally implies use of backup technology is disaster recovery.
Disaster recovery planning ensures your data remains safe and easily accessible no matter what kind of natural disaster may strike (Schwab, 2013). A solid disaster recovery planning means you won’t lose all the data that makes up the foundation of your business.
Business continuity is an integrated and enterprise wide process that includes all activities (internally and externally of IT) that a business must perform to mitigate the impact of planned and unplanned downtown. The main goal of a business continuity solution is ensure the information availability required to connect vital business operations (Wilson, Disaster Recovery Journal ).
Business continuity means keeping the business running under ant types of extreme circumstances. Weather you lose access to your system, you building or your city challenges are still have clients that need you (Dushie, 2014). The perfect business continuity plan means you can keep working, helping, your clients and doing business when you are faced with a dramatic challenges.
Abazar, Z., & Manteghi, N. (2011). A proposed model for strategic planning in educational organizations. Proc. Social Behav. Sci., 28: 205-210. DOI: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.11.039 .
Bahan, C. (2009). The disaster recovery plan. Sans Institute .
Dushie, D. (2014). Business Continuity Planning: An Empirical Study of Factors. Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development ISSN 2222-1700 (Paper) ISSN 2222-2855 .
Lewis, S. (1999). Disaster recovery planning. Internal Auditor .
Schwab, J. (2013). Planning for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction. Federal Emergency Management.
Wilson, B. (Disaster Recovery Journal ). 2003. Business Continuity Planning: A Necessity In The New E-Commerce Era .
Strategic planning can be understood as the process or road map developed to increase the growth of the organization by allocating the resources to its optimal level. (Shuman, 1982) Information system on the other hand is like the nervous system that provides supports and connection to every organ in the body. (Wallace, 2015) Thus we can see that strategic planning for IS can be termed as developing a grand design for the proper flow of communication and information in an organization helping in the growth of the firm. The strategic planning for IS has a long term objective for the growth and success of the business. It includes setting of vision, principles and policies, project portfolio management, disaster recovery and business continuity, and technology and business trend. “One of the key elements of strategic planning for information systems (IS) is the integration of information systems planning (ISP) with business planning (BP). This integration enables IS to support business strategies more effectively. (Thompson S H & King, , 1997)Thus the importance of strategic planning of IS cannot be stressed enough as it is a integral part of the business success.
Good managers give more time on planning than actual execution as planning solves half the difficulty which give a stronger boost towards business success. Disaster recovery and business continuity. Disaster risk reduction and preparedness are words that we hear a lot. When it comes to business the data stored from the past years is an asset of a company. Sales records, customer records, various important product designs, prototypes, product formulas etc. are as valuable as gold to the company. If these are lost in any disaster, it could even lead to the liquidation of the company or worse. Thus pre planning for disaster recovery is very important. Disaster recovery does not only mean bringing the network back online (Wallace, 2015) it also needs to work on the business continuity part. ‘What next?’ would be the question to answer after a disaster recovery. This can depend on the type of business. For example a retail business may think it is more important to open the access to ecommerce, a restaurant may want to open its shutters with a smaller menu, a tours and travels may want to open a hotline for ticket booking etc.
In the major earthquake that shook Kathmandu in 2015 I had a lot of official guests from South East Asia attending a program here. I had to go to the airport to check on their flight and could not find any form of communication with Thai Air or Malaysian Air. I was amazed to see a single contact person of Etihad Airlines sitting in a chair while there was not business continuity plan of any other airlines. New technology and business trends New technology is very important to keep track of. Technology has changed the way we live. Transportation, communication, research, schooling, business, marketing and the list goes on and on. These new technology makes life easier or business better. For example business these days are shifting to ecommerce. With technological advancement in mobile and internet, everyone has their own space in a virtual world. It is vital for the success of business to meet these customers in the virtual world.
Similarly it is not the reality that affects a business but rather the perception of the customers. It is very important to understand which direction the trend is blowing. Customers may be impractical and so must the business treat it as what it is. For example mobiles these days have developed assistants or in the process of making artificial intelligence for customer support. Every mobile company has started to develop this and even customers take note of this on their check list before purchasing a mobile. Comparing business recovery and continuity versus new technology and trend, both are equally important and one cannot exist without the other. But taking the weight of the two for business sustainability, I believe business recovery and continuity would be more important as without this the business would seize to exist.
Shuman, J. N. (1982). Strategic Planning and Information Systems. American Society for Information Science. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science; , 23.
Thompson S H, T., & King, , W. (1997). Integration between business planning and information systems planning: An evolutionary-contingency perspective. Journal of Management Information Systems: JMIS; Armonk, 185-214.
Wallace, P. (2015). Information System in Action. In P. Wallace, Introduction to Information System (pp. 4-9). New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
The strategic planning for Information System provides roadmap to ensure that the policies, principles, projects and investment decisions related to the Information Technology (IT) are aligned to the business strategy and organization’s mission (Wallace, 2015). It aims on using information system strategically for accomplishment of organizational goals and gain competitive advantage. The strategic planning for information system ensures that IS complements and assists in the achievement of the business goals, makes optimum utilization the scarce resources, helps business in exploiting benefits of changing technology and incorporates the opinions of IT professionals in setting long-term plan for the organization (Ward & Griffiths, 1996).
As mentioned by Karimi (2015), strategic planning for information system (SPIS) aims on developing the long-range plan for information systems based on the organizations’ overall strategic plan incorporating both organizational and technical aspects in planning. the basic areas coverted by SPIS are vision, mission, principles and policies, project portfolio management and disaster recovery and business continuity (Wallace, 2015).
Some of the points that explain about the importance of strategic planning of information system as given in UK Essays are:
Identify how information system can be used for enhancing the existing business processes, practices and procedures.
Look for ways to improve strategic position and gain competitive advantage by investing in technology.
Manage and co-ordinate tasks of multiple parties in systematic manner through information and communication technologies to reduce cost and data redundancy.
In my opinion, looking forward to new technology and business trends is more important than disaster recovery and business continuity. It is because if the organization fails to incorporate the recent technological advancement and changes in the business environment, it cannot sustain in the market. The adaptation of the recent technological developments can help the business make necessary plans and preparations to deal with the disaster situation. Recovering the business and ensuring smooth operations of business post disaster is also not possible without looking forward to new technology and business trends.
In today’s dynamic world, the failure to look forward and prepare for anticipated changes may result in the extinction of the business even without the occurrence of any kind of disaster. Adopting new technological development after proper analysis of market trend under the supervision, guidance and monitoring of IT professionals can help to reduce the impact of disasters on the organization and continue the business in long run. Since the disaster recovery and business continuity is also depended on the proper implementation of technology, it is more important.
Karimi, J. (2015, December 23). Strategic Planning for Information Systems: Requirements and Information Engineering Methods. Journal of Management Information Systems, 4 (4), 5-24. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/07421222.1988.11517805
UK Essays. (2013, November). The Importance Of Strategic Planning Information Systems. Retrieved from Information Technology Essay: https://www.ukessays.com/essays/information-technology/the-importance-of-strategic-planning-information-systems-information-technology-essay.php#citethis
Wallace, P. (2015). Introduction to Information Systems (Second ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.
Ward, J., & Griffiths, P. (1996). Strategic Planning for Information Systems (Second ed.). Chichester: Wiley.
For both the researches and practitioners, strategic planning of information systems has lately become an interesting subject, dealing with IS-development and information technologies (IT) implementation in business systems (Brumec, 1997). This is because the information system today is a central to success and strategic competitiveness. Most of the organizations are creating IT strategic plan to provide road-map for them. The system has integrated with the strategy the company established. This alignment of the draft with the system has result the efficiency of the strategy so far.
Some of the major areas that strategic planning of information systems cover are:
Vision, principles, and policies: Today, the use of IT will determine the organizational vision, mission, and culture. The set vision and principles are translated into policies and procedures that reach down into business processes and workplace culture. It would not only limit to the internal process management, but, also used for external process management enable customers, distributors and suppliers to interact with the organization.
Project portfolio management: The strategic plan should also outline the IT related projects to support business goals. The project portfolio management is a process for selecting the projects and manage the portfolio. Competitive strategy distinguishing from rivals, its return on investment and compliance and risk reduction are also important drivers for projects to comply or not.
Disaster recovery and business continuity: All the procedures and documentation the organization puts to prepare for a disaster and recover the technical infrastructure is a disaster recovery.
If I have to choice between disaster recovery and business continuity, or looking forward to new technology and business trends then I would go for disaster recovery and business continuity. This is because it would help in finding the business impact analysis, and identifying the most critical and time-sensitive information systems. It would also explains that who will be in charge, how people will communicate, and how the firm will determine the severity of the disaster (Nollau, 2009).
Brumec, J. (1997). Strategic planning of information systems. Journal of Information and Organizational Sciences, 21 (2), 11-26.
Nollau, B. (2009). Disaster recovery and business continuity. Journal of GXP Compliance, 13 (3), 51.