— BUS303: Strategic Information Technology —
introduced you to the subject of Management Information Systems (MIS).
The focus of that initial course was on the nuts and bolts of
information systems: how they work, how you create them, how to secure
them, and so on. This course is developed to help you understand how
information technology can be used as part of an organization's overall
In this course you will focus on the allocation and use of technology
resources across an entire firm as part of the larger organizational
strategy. Because firms do not have an unlimited supply of capital, they
must decide when and where to deploy new information technology. Firms
must not only focus on when to deploy IT, but also if
they should deploy IT at all! This brings up the bigger question about
technology: Can the use of IT bring a sustainable competitive advantage
to an organization? There are those who say, "No”; and others who say,
"Of course!” You will explore the differing opinions out there on this
topic in Unit 1.
In Unit 2 you will delve into how IT might manage business processes and
take a look at Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, Business
Process Management (BPM) systems, and business process reengineering.
You will then move on to how technology can inform decision making in
unit 3 by studying business intelligence, data warehousing, and data
mining. Unit 4 introduces you to the world of e-commerce and examines
such important topics as intellectual property and online marketing. In Unit 5 you will explore major trends in technology today like cloud
computing, Web 2.0, and mobile technologies. Units 1 through 5 lay the
groundwork for understanding how IT can be used in business strategy,
which you will put to practical use in Unit 6 where you will focus on
how to actually write a strategy.
Organizations have been using information technology for the past
50-plus years. Billions of dollars have been spent on computer
hardware, software, network communications, and all the other
requirements of having world-class technology. But to what end? Has the
money spent on technology allowed businesses to become more profitable?
Or more specifically: has the implementation of information technology
led to a sustainable competitive advantage?
This unit will start by answering the question: What is
information technology? For that matter, what exactly is technology?
For our purposes here, technology is considered any electronic or
digital tool used by people to make a process easier or more efficient.
You can also think of technology as the science of creating or using
technical objects in order to reach industrial goals, which certainly
applies to how businesses use technology to achieve productivity. We
tend to think of technology mostly in terms of electronic innovation.
Information technology is defined as those digital or electronic tools
that are designed to make the process of managing or distribution of
You will then study the history of IT and how it fits into
business strategy today. Specifically, you will review concepts from
other courses, such as the value chain and Porter's Five Forces of
Competitive Advantage. You will look at how IT fits into these topics
and other key concepts related to strategy.
This unit will end with a focus on the relationship between IT and
competitive advantage, which will set the foundation for the rest of the
course. Is it possible for IT to bring competitive advantage? Many
argue that YES, it can! As a student of information systems, it is
highly important that you can articulate both Carr's article AND the
rebuttals to it. The articles below present different cases for how IT
can bring a competitive advantage. See if you can find a common thread
in these articles.
To obtain a competitive advantage with information technology
requires more than just simply using the technology. As we have seen in
the previous section, it is about the innovative use of technology
integrated into your business processes that bring about competitive
advantage. In this unit, you will dig deeper into the concepts of
business processes and explore the use of ERP Systems, Business Process
Management, and Business Process Reengineering in an organization.
Data is everywhere, but how can an organization leverage it for
competitive advantage? The field of business intelligence studies how
organizations can get the right information into the hands of the right
decision makers. This unit begins by giving you an overview of how
decisions are made and how information technology plays a role. You will
then review different ways that information technology is used to help
organizations make effective decisions: business intelligence, data
warehousing, and data mining.
Today's businesses must know how to compete online - it is as simple
as that. In this unit you will learn what electronic commerce, or
e-commerce, is and what steps a business must take in order to implement
it. You will also be introduced to the concept of intellectual property
and to the Pew Internet Project, both of which are important as part of
your overall understanding of online business. Finally, the unit wraps
up with topics related to marketing your business using online tools.
Understanding this unit will be key to implementing information systems
No course in the strategic use of information technology in business
would be complete if it did not cover technology trends. These trends
are impacting how businesses use technology, and how companies choose to
utilize technological tools will have a profound impact on the future
of the organization. In this unit, we will focus on understanding such
technologies as Cloud Computing, Web 2.0, and mobile processing.
One of the overall goals of this course is that you would learn how
to think strategically in relation to the use of information technology.
As you learned in an earlier unit, making good use of social media
technologies are a key part of many organizations' technology (and
marketing) strategies. In this unit, you will focus on how to develop a
strategy for using social media in your organization.
Please take a few moments to provide some feedback about this course at the link below. Consider completing the survey whether you have completed the course, you are nearly at that point, or you have just come to study one unit or a few units of this course.
Link: Optional Course Evaluation Survey (HTML)
Your feedback will focus our efforts to continually improve our course design, content, technology, and general ease-of-use. Additionally, your input will be considered alongside our consulting professors' evaluation of the course during its next round of peer review. As always, please report urgent course experience concerns to email@example.com and/or our Discourse forums.