Lessons From ISIT Strategies

Lessons From IS/IT Strategies

There are useful lessons about e-commerce strategy that we can derive from IS strategy. There has always been a lag between realizing the potential for any technology and developing a strategy to tap the full potential of that technology. It took a long time for most firms to realize the importance of an IS strategy. This tells us that over time, just as some organizations have been able to develop and deploy exceptionally successful IS strategies and others have been less successful, there will be a similar distribution of e-commerce strategies too. We can derive two specific lessons from IS strategy literature. The first is the importance of strategic alignment and the second is that of the evolution of a strategic framework.

Since e-commerce deployment often starts with a web-presence, it often starts off as an IT project. Such activities are limited in scope and devoid of any strategic input. This tends to be an experimentation stage. The second stage is often an exercise in integration. The e-commerce strategy is secondary to the firm's business strategy and displays signs of supporting the corporate strategy. The third phase is one where the e-commerce strategy assumes a transformational role. This is strikingly similar to the "automate-informate-transformate" [4] stages that are archetypal of how the "technoholic" (Vaill, 1989) focus eventually gives way to an organizational or business focus. When the Internet bubble burst on April 14, 2000, the techno-centric focus (based on purely "net-centric" attitudes that encouraged the downplaying of conventional business risks and overstated the revenue potential of Internet commerce) changed to a back-to-basics approach where the importance of business value resurfaced after having been over-shadowed by overestimated profits and flawed business models. We expect the second wave of e-commerce to be based on sensible and technology-enhanced business propositions (Poirier, 2001). Later incarnations of e-commerce may promise radical transformations that will not be evident in the immediate future—ones that will be shaped by tentative and incremental e-commerce moves. The primary lesson is that technology alone is not enough; and that, if processes are not changed in concert with technology introductions, the payoff will be disappointing. While these are broad and generic similarities, the notion of alignment also implies an alignment with organizational strategies. While organizational strategies tend to drive IS and e-commerce strategies, they are also influenced by them. For some time to come, organizations will not be in a clear-cut position to know the exact interplay between organizational and e-commerce strategies. Given the complementary nature of business processes and information technologies that an organization chooses to adopt, most of these "past lessons" may need to be addressed in the context of the Internet-enabled developments. The next section touches upon this issue in order to get a sense of what organizations can do in such a strategic context.

[4]Attributed to Allen and Morton (1991) and Zuboff (1988)

Intelligent Enterprises of the 21st Century
Intelligent Enterprises of the 21st Century
ISBN: 1591401607
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 195

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