Discussion: Software Applications

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Discussion: Software Applications

Discussion: Software Applications

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Some IT management skills are general enough in nature to make them easier to transfer and imitate. Although it clearly is important for IS executives to manage internally oriented resources such as IS infrastructure, systems development, and running cost‐effective IS operations, these skills can be acquired in many different forms. They are basic IT management skills possessed by virtually all good IS managers. Other skills, however, are unique to a firm and require considerable time and resources to develop. For example, it takes time to learn how the firm oper- ates and to understand its critical processes and socially complex working relationships. However, the message sug- gested by the RBV is that IS executives must look beyond their own IS shop and concentrate on cultivating resources

10 The resource‐based view was originally proposed by management researchers, most prominently Jay Barney, “Firm Resources and Sustained Compet- itive Advantage,” Journal of Management 17, no. 1 (1991), 99–120 and “Is the Resource‐Based ‘View’ a Useful Perspective for Strategic Management Research? Yes,” Academy of Management Review 26, no. 1 (2001), 41–56; M. Wade and J. Hulland, “Review: The Resource‐Based View and Information Systems Research: Review, Extension and Suggestions for Future Research,” MIS Quarterly 28, no. 1 (2004), 107–42. This article reviewed the resource‐ based view’s application in the MIS literature and derived a framework to better understand its application to IS resources. 11 http://www.minonline.com/best_of_web/Best‐of‐the‐Web‐CommunitySocial‐Networking_10185.html (accessed January 1, 2012).

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46 Strategic Use of Information Resources

that help the firm understand changing business environments and allow it to work well with all its external stake- holders. Even when considering internally oriented information resources, there are differences in the extent to which these resources add value. Many argue that IS personnel are willing to move, especially when offered higher salaries by firms needing these skills. Yet, some technical skills, such as knowledge of a firm’s use of technology to support business processes, and technology integration skills are not easily exported to, or imported from, another firm. Further, hardware and many software applications can be purchased or outsourced, making them highly imita- ble and transferrable. Because it is unlikely that two firms have exactly the same strategic alternatives, resources at one firm might have only moderate substitutability in the other firm.

Zara and RBV Figure 2.9 indicates the extent to which the attributes of each information resource may add value to Zara, the company discussed earlier in the chapter. Zara’s advantage did not come from the specific hardware or software technologies it employed. Its management spent five to ten times less on technology than its rivals. In contrast,

FIGURE 2.9 Information resources at Zara, by attribute. Source: Based on M. Wade and J. Hulland, “The Resource‐Based View and Information Systems Research: Review, Extension and Suggestions for Future Research,” MIS Quarterly 28, no. 1 (2004), 107–42.

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