STRATEGIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS

STRATEGIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS - A Business Report

Introduction 

In this paper, we have been conducted research on a strategic information system for BlueScope which is an Australian steel manufacturing company. This research has been done with the sole motive of recommending a detailed process of selecting an information system to improve the functioning of BlueScope. The implementation of ERP system will advance the functioning of BlueScope and gives it an opportunity to grow further in its career. This paper will prove very beneficial for the target audiences who are interested in the same field of study. It has been covered the issues and challenges that may face by strategic planners during the implementation of ERP system within BlueScope, evaluation of Information Strategy role in the achievement of competitive advantage, effective approaches of determining the best use of information system, Outsourcing management, and role of ERP implementation system in adding value. The information about all these aspects guides BlueScope management in the implementation of ERP system within its internal environment. Apart from this, the way of putting control over business operations also informed to BlueScope. With the help of such information, BlueScope can successfully take its business to the next level. This becomes possible due to improved business outcomes, and best relation with target customers. The implementation of ERP system secures these benefits in favor of BlueScope and manages its working appropriately. Apart from this, it is also recommended that BlueScope need to go with same strategic information plan and improve its outcomes and relationships with customers.

Company Profile 

BlueScope is a recognized steel producer Australian company. It operated in a large number of countries. Some countries include North America, Asia, New Zealand, and Pacific Islands. The BlueScope headquarters is located in Melbourne, Victoria. From 1915, the steel manufacturing companies are an important part of Australian Economy. The today's scenario is based on expertise in growth markets, innovation, and technology. BlueScope has developed a strong foundation for growth, with a different portfolio of businesses in some of the fastest growing economies of the world, which enables strategic flexibility. It is employing over 16,000 people who are serving a large base of worldwide customers (Bluescope.com, 2017). Furthermore, it can be said that the BlueScope is recognized for its high-quality products and services. Due to the quality products, it has gained the confidence of a lot of customers and developed royalty among them. Apart from this, it is also right to say that BlueScope is a global leader in painted steel and premium coated products. Moreover, the key strength of BlueScope is its engineered steel buildings in key markets. It is committed to providing value from steelmaking in New Zealand and Australia by remaining continuing to deliver value and cost competitive through the cycle (https://www.bluescope.com/about-us/where-we-are/australia). Therefore, it is right to say that BlueScope has enough success potential and can establish itself in 25 more countries through widened its operations. Moreover, the financial strengthening of the company is its core success pillar and supports its value creation for investors.

Issues and Challenges faced by Strategy Information System Planners 

Arvidsson (2014) has been defined that ERP implementation process is full of risks and challenges. In that situation, the strategic information system planners need to conduct a proper evaluation of these issues to avoid any interruption in the implementation process. These issues and challenges are following:
ERP Integrations
The first and foremost challenge faced by strategy information system planners understands the process of ERP Integrations. ERP software system can integrate by using a lot of procedures and methods.  In that situation, it becomes very difficult for information system planner to understand what systems and processes should be integrated and which ones should not. This challenge may further become the foremost risk factor in the implementation process. Apart from this, it also becomes complex for strategic information system planners to decided where integrating systems can gain a competitive advantage and where it will hinder the workflow of BlueScope (Amrollahi, 2014). Therefore, it can be said that the complete knowledge of a system is required to avoid any hindrance and issue in the implementation process.
Setting ERP Software Implementation Goals 
Another problem and challenge that may face by strategy information system planners is a determination of ERP system implementation goals. Generally, it is believed that the absence of goals turns the implementation process in the directionless situation. This can further give birth to a lot of frustration and challenges. Therefore, it is right to say that development of implementation goal is a foremost challenge in front of strategic information system planner. A little mistake in development of goals may turn whole implementation process into failure. 
Flexibility
The third and important challenge is a selection of flexible ERP software. While making a plan for system implementation, the strategy information system planner need to choose an appropriate software. A little mistake in the selection of effective ERP software may turn the whole organization into a situation of loss (Aziz, 2015). Therefore, the knowledge of flexibility of each and available ERP software is necessary to have by system planner. With the help of great knowledge, they can judge flexibility of each option and can choose the right one for the future implementation process.
Technical Issue
How to effectively select a software package is a difficult and complex task for strategy information system planner. But, another set of challenges is regarding the technical part of the chosen project. It is necessary for the system planner to revise a lot of workstations and servers to accommodate the new system effectively. In that situation, the system planners also need to analyze and modernize the speed and bandwidth of existing internet access. All these technical issues raise a lot of confusion in their minds which further affect their performance as well as working outcomes. 
All these challenges and issues may face by the strategic information planners while management of ERP system implementation in an effective manner. So, perfect knowledge and a wide combination of skills are required to avoid these challenges and issues in IT system management process.

Evaluation of Information Strategy role in achievement of Competitive Advantage 

Cassidy (2016) has been propounded that the use of information strategy brings a lot of competitive advantage for the organizations. In a similar manner, BlueScope can raise a lot of growth opportunities through implementation of ERP system within its internal environment. The ERP system will utilize the available human and raw material sources in an effective manner to produce best outcomes. The use of information technology will help the BlueScope in getting a competitive advantage through make improvement in following:
Cost leadership: BlueScope can utilize the ERP software to fundamentally shift the cost of doing operations or minimize the costs of customers, suppliers, and business processes. This becomes possible due to vibrant use of fully integrated automatic resources, e-procurement systems, and business models. The use of these tools automatically reduces its operating costs, and it can gain competitive advantage through establishing leadership in product costs.  
Differentiation: On the other hand, it is right to say that BlueScope can use the information system to integrate differentiated features into products and services. The increment in differentiated features further reduces the number of competitors and gives birth to differentiation advantages (Galliers, 2014). Therefore, it can be said that differentiation will prove an additional tool of getting a competitive advantage in the available market. The differentiation can promote by BlueScope through using social networks and online live chatting systems to serve better and understand customers. On the other hand, the use of ERP system also creates informational diaries which further become the source of competitive advantage.
Innovation: Furthermore, it is also believed that organizations can use the information system to create innovative products and services to capture a niche market. In a similar manner, BlueScope can use the information system to develop innovative products and services. Apart from this, it can also work on new initiatives of developing pure online operations and businesses.
Growth containing acquisitions and mergers: Apart from this, the use of information technology also brings competitive advantage through promoting business expansion. The information technology will give BlueScope an option of expansion in its international and domestic operations to integrate and diversify other products and services (Govindarajulu, 2014). The wide coverage of available markets will help the company in establishing a competitive advantage over competitors.
Strategic Alliance: Moreover, it can also say that BlueScope can gain competitive advantage through improvement in the level of a strategic alliance. BlueScope can utilize the information system to enhance and develop relations with partners through applications like formulating inter-organizational information system and virtual organizations.
All these benefits integrate the BlueScope with advance functioning and working structure. Therefore, it is right to say that information system have much potential of gaining the competitive advantage over competitors. In a similar manner, BlueScope can develop competitive advantage through promoting the use of ERP system software in its working structure.

Beneficial Approaches to development of innovative uses of Strategic Information System 

BlueScope can use a large number of approaches to facilitate innovative uses of the strategic information system. Hoferer (2017) has been defined the information system as a socio-technical system which is a combination of both technical and behavioral approaches. Although they are the combination of hard physical technology, devices, and machines, they required substantial intellectual, organizational, and substantial social investments to make them work properly. In order to get innovative uses of strategic information systems, the organization needs to use the combination of below-mentioned approaches:
                                     
                                                                                                              (Krishna, 2017)
Technical Approach
The first and foremost approach is technical. This approach is mainly focused on math and normative models to study information systems and make its use better than others. Apart from this, it is also right to say that technical approach utilized the formal capabilities and physical technology in a widened concept. This will help the organization in the utilization of chosen information technology source in an effective manner (Li, 2014). Moreover, it is believed that technology is dynamic in nature. It is continuously changing with the changes in demand and lifecycle of individuals. Therefore, the technical approach facilitates effective use of available information technology through demonstrating control over operations research, computer, and management science.
Behavioral Approach
Other important approaches that can use by BlueScope and other companies are behavioral or socio-technical. According to this approach, the performance of a system is optimized when both the organization and selected technology mutually adjust to one another until a satisfactory fit is obtained. This approach is a combination of three important elements. These elements are psychology, economics, and sociology. The behavioral approach helps the company in utilizing the attractive use of strategic information system to gain competitive advantage (Lee, 2015). The behavioral approach performed this through promoting the use of psychology, economics, and 
sociology.
On the basis of the study of both approaches, it can be said that technical approach will prove most beneficial than the behavioral approach. The BlueScope can widely use this approach to utilize ERP software and other IT technology in the desired manner. Perfect use of available information system technologies will further support achievement of predetermined goals as well as competitive advantage over competitors. Therefore, it is recommended to BlueScope to go with a technical approach. With the help of this approach, it can facilitate innovative uses of strategic information system in best context.  

Management of Strategic option-End-user computing 

The chosen strategic option is end-user computing. With the help of end-user computing, the BlueScope director can easily maintain the implementation process of ERP system within its internal environment. Generally, it can be said that the end user computing is considered as a term that is a combination of a lot of technologies (Osman, 2015). The BlueScope direction can use the End-user computing technology to deploy, manage and secure its ERP software, applications, and data that workers require performing their obligations in an effective manner. The selected strategic option is quite easy to use and implement in the desired direction. If the direction promotes the use of end-user computing in its operations, he or she can easily enhance the productivity, customer satisfaction, enhance employee, and reduce the overall costs of business. But there is one thing that needs to take care of the BlueScope director. The thing is known as detailed assessment. Peppard (2016) has been defined that the use of end-user computing requires a detailed assessment, along with the complete team to support and engineer its execution and design. Therefore, the below-mentioned are some initiatives with which the director would able to manage the end user computing installation in its business processes: 
Move apps into data center
The first and foremost way to manage end-user computing is a transfer of apps into the data center. This will allow the director to deliver apps to any device. With the help of this initiative, the BlueScope director can also measure and guarantee the performance of its employees.
Understand team obligations
Another initiative that the director needs to take for better end-user computing management is knowledge of team roles and responsibilities. A lot of information technology firms have 10 people doing 10% of the work that is required to manage virtual desktop infrastructure (Pierce, 2015). It may be possible that they divide the whole work and keep a record of roles and responsibilities accordingly. In a similar manner, while using the end user computing BlueScope director have full knowledge of team obligations and responsibilities to avoid any misunderstanding. Moreover, it can be said that the use of end-user computing requires following ownership from 
BlueScope director:
  • Support specialist
  • Engineering lead
  • Application installation and packaging lead
  • Service Manager and Enterprise Architect
Run a test pilot
Another important initiative needed for better management is the use of test pilot method. With the help of testing, it can allow the directors to see how metrics will influence their server performance, end-user experience, security systems, storage capacity, and monitoring management (Ram, 2014). 
Therefore, it can be said that the end-user computing will prove a best strategic option for BlueScope directors to gain a competitive advantage over its competitors and plan suitable expansion. Moreover, best management is key to the success of end-user computing. So, the BlueScope directors can follow the suggested initiatives to enforce better control and management of operations.

How Strategic Information System add business value to Information technology 

It is right to say that strategic information system plays an important role in adding business value to BlueScope and various other business firms. Its efficiency can understand by studying a lot of examples of successful business firms. Stojmenovic (2014) said that the strategic information system uses the information technology in such a context that it will benefit other business firms. The first and foremost way by which strategic information system add business value is the creation of barriers to competitor's entry. The strategic information system promotes the use of information technology to provide services and products that are difficult and complicated to produce and serve by any other competitor. This further prevents the entry of competitors as they find the cost of adopting the same strategy very high. On the other hand, the second and foremost contribution of strategic information system towards business value addition is an improvement in marketing. It is right to say that the use of information system will provide BlueScope an edge over its competitors through generating databases to make a significant improvement in its marketing and sales strategies. The use of information technology helps the company to treat its existing information as a resource. For example, Apple uses its databases to evaluate the purchase made by its customers. Apart from this, Apple also uses the information technology to identify different segments of the market.
Moreover, the third and important way through which strategic information system add value is reducing the costs of the ultimate products and services. BlueScope can reduce the ultimate production cost through using the information technology as a vibrant production tool. This further adds business value through created satisfied and improved level of customers. Moreover, the contribution of strategic information system towards business value can measure with the help of a lot of examples. The first and foremost example is of BHP Billiton. It is current chains after Australia's fourth-largest company, rival miner Rio Tinto (Schroeder, 2015). The company has gained success due to its advanced and high technology production system that enforces smooth production in a little context of a timeline. Another example is Amcor. It is a famous packaging company in Australia. The company used information technology to produce the high-quality packaging material for the public. Due to the use of advanced information technology, Amcor able to satisfy the wide packaging needs of its customers. So, it is right to say that strategic information system plays an important role in adding business value to an organization. Moreover, it can also say that the strategic information system guides an organization in utilizing available information technology in the right context to gain stability in business processes. Therefore, it is believed that the improved business value is a gift of strategic information technology to a firm.

Constitutes for Good Internal Control 

Hoferer (2017) defined the internal control as an important key to getting success. Therefore, the development of internal control strategy is important to avoid unnecessary risk and uncertainty in business decisions. The below-mentioned are some constitutes that enforce good internal control in a contemporary and complex 
business world:
Information and Communication: In order to facilitate good internal control, the organizations need to develop open, accurate, and transparent information and communication environment. This will help the organization in maintaining an environment of trust and mutual understanding that further become the reason for the growth in existing markets.
Monitoring: Another important constitute is monitoring. It refers to the process of self-auditing within the internal control system and contains evaluation. This evaluation further answers whether the control environment is satisfactory or not. 
Control Environment: It refers to the composite factor that influences employee awareness of the organizational culture. It is necessary that the employees should have an adequate understanding of internal business environment (Li, 2014). This will help the employee’s in avoiding confusion and general mistakes in their obligations. 
These three constitutes play an important role in enforcing internal control. During planning the element of internal control, it is necessary for the management to put high focus on the development of internal control strategy. This focus and concentration are required to implement a better strategy to enforce effective control over internal functions and operations. In order to develop a better internal control strategy the companies need to take below-mentioned initiatives:
Create a Team and a Plan: The first and foremost task that the companies need to take is the formation of a team. In order to select a better internal control strategy, a firm needs a team and plan to enforce it appropriately. The availability of a team and plan will reduce the complexity of its activities, and they can come with the better internal control strategy.
Conduct Research and Development Activities: The second step is to follow research and development activities. These activities will enforce a better idea through defining the example of different successful organizations. 
Make Selection: The last and important step that the management of companies needs to take is the selection. The research and development activities will enforce a large number of alternatives in front of management (Peppard, 2016). Now, it is the responsibility of organizations to select an option which matches their business area.
Therefore, it can be said that the above-mentioned internal control constitutes and strategy development process will help the companies in getting a better option. With the help of a best internal control strategy, they can easily avoid excessive risks and behaviors or save integrity and honesty of their staff members. 

Conclusion 

After studying all this, it can be concluded that information technology plays an important role in adding value to current business operations. This becomes possible due to the combination of latest features and widened demand. Moreover, it is also concluded that BlueScope has a right option of improving its existing market image and plan expansion. The implementation of ERP software will enforce advancement and accuracy in its working scenario. Apart from this, it is also found out that the End-user computing is a profitable strategic option that will benefit BlueScope directors in an effective manner. End User computing option does not integrate business with latest devices but also fluency in operations. In addition, it is evaluated that internal control serves as a key ingredient in measurement and planning of business success. So, it is recommended that the organizations need to use a right combination of internal control constitutes because they secure working environment in an improved manner.

References 

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