It is vital for the information systems strategy to specifically adapt to the nature of the business it is intended to support. There are no universal formulae for success, as each organisation has its own unique aims and resources.
As a result, the first step will be to identify the key aspects of the business, the set of operations, decision-making processes and planning activities which are of vital importance. These and only these should attract the greatest efforts in IT applications, both from the perspective of tools and management resources, investment and even innovation, as they lie at the core of the company’s competitive edge.
“This initial stage in defining the information systems strategy is particularly sensitive to honesty”
This initial stage in defining the Information Systems strategy is particularly sensitive to honesty; not all operations and departments are vital. They are undoubtedly all necessary, but they do not all represent the key to success, and it will therefore inevitably often be the case that those business processes which require the greatest reinforcement are precisely those which correspond to the core business. Or even the business plan for a given period, since the key elements will vary between periods of growth and consolidation.
An appropriate information systems strategy must allow for intelligent distribution of the resources to be assigned to each of these activities in the value chain.
There are differing intensities in the use of economic resources dedicated to IT depending on the nature of the company’s dealings. In Spain, the average information systems budget is around 2.1% of overall turnover, although banks and financial institutions may spend as much as 8.4%. And so there will be companies whose operations require support from expensive and powerful IT, while others should be dedicating greater resources to other functions, such as research or the recruitment of more effective human capital. An information systems strategy must apply IT with an emphasis on those aspects where the company excels, and where its deployment constitutes a corporate tool which adds value.
In short, it is vital to perform an accurate situational analysis in order to answer the relevant questions. How significant is the use of information systems in running the business? Which activities require a greater investment of resources in order to stand out from the competition? Which IT characteristics should be better supporting those USPs?