Assignment: Understanding IS Decisions

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Assignment: Understanding IS Decisions

Assignment: Understanding IS Decisions

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Because of the advanced state of technology, many managers are more familiar with the use of platforms and applications, or apps. Platforms are technically any set of technologies upon which other technologies or appli- cations run. Often they are a combination of hardware and operating system software. Microsoft Windows and Apple’s Macintosh with its latest operating system are two examples of platforms. Also common are mobile plat- forms such as the iPhone and Samsung/Android phone. Applications or apps, on the other hand, are self‐contained software programs that fulfill a specific purpose and run on a platform. The term “apps” became popular from the smart phone industry, beginning when Apple offered an online marketplace for customers to download small pro- grams to run on their devices. But more recently, because all platforms have applications that run on them, the term apps has taken on a broader meaning.


The Information Systems Strategy Triangle represents a simple framework for understanding the impact of IS on businesses. It relates business strategy with IS strategy and organizational strategy and implies the balance that must be maintained in business planning. The Information Systems Strategy Triangle suggests the following management principles.

Business Strategy Business strategy drives organizational strategy and IS strategy. The organization and its IS should clearly support defined business goals and objectives.

• Definition: A well‐articulated vision of where a business seeks to go and how it expects to get there

• Example Models: Porter’s generic strategies model; dynamic environment models

Organizational Strategy Organizational strategy must complement business strategy. The way a business is organized either supports the implementation of its business strategy or it gets in the way.

• Definition: The organization’s design, as well as the choices it makes to define, set up, coordinate, and control its work processes

• Example Model: managerial levers

IS Strategy IS strategy must complement business strategy. When IS support business goals, the business appears to be working well. IS strategy can itself affect and is affected by changes in a firm’s business and organizational strategies. Moreover, IS strategy always has consequences—intended or not—on business and organizational strategies.

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29Discussion Questions

• Definition: The plan the organization uses in providing information systems and services

• Models: A basic framework for understanding IS decisions for platform, applications, network and data‐relating architecture (the “what”), and the other resource considerations (“who” and “where”) that represent important planning constraints

Strategic Relationships Organizational strategy and information strategy must complement each other. They must be designed so that they support, rather than hinder, each other. If a decision is made to change one corner of the triangle, it is necessary to evaluate the other two corners to ensure that balance is preserved. Changing business strategy without thinking through the effects on the organization and IS strategies will cause the business to struggle until balance is restored. Likewise, changing IS or the organization alone will cause an imbalance.

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