Does IT Matter?

This chapter centers around the idea of the strategic value that information systems can bring to an organization. Pay attention to the arguments around the idea of competitive advantage. After you read, reflect upon the arguments presented about the impact that information technology has on competitive advantage.

Using Information Systems for Competitive Advantage

Now that we have an understanding of competitive advantage and some of the ways that IT may be used to help organizations gain it, we will turn our attention to some specific examples. A strategic information system is an information system that is designed specifically to implement an organizational strategy meant to provide a competitive advantage. These sorts of systems began popping up in the 1980s, as noted in a paper by Charles Wiseman entitled "Creating Competitive Weapons From Information Systems".

Specifically, a strategic information system is one that attempts to do one or more of the following:

  • deliver a product or a service at a lower cost;
  • deliver a product or service that is differentiated;
  • help an organization focus on a specific market segment;
  • enable innovation.
Following are some examples of information systems that fall into this category.