Information system and digital strategies can play a crucial role in different levels of business operations. The information system strategies refers to different strategies which can respond to the business environment changes by providing information for different activities and ensuring that there is information system for all the activities of the organization (Arvidsson, Holmstr?m & Lyytinen, 2014). The successful implementation of information system can increase the competitive advantage of the firm, improve efficiency, decrease mistake and reduce unnecessary cost to the organization. In the present era, with continuous changes in the internal and the external business environment, business may find difficulties in aligning the business and information system strategies. The present report examines the product, services, and the information system infrastructure of the Coles. It proposes strategy to align its Information Technology infrastructure with its business strategy. Coles is the second largest supermarket in Australia. The company has adopted technologies to increase its efficiencies in operations.
Identification and Discussion of Company’s Structure, Products and Services
Coles, one of the largest Australian public retail organization operates from its head office at Melbourne. The company was acquired by Wesfarmers in 2007, and it is the second largest supermarket of Australia. The company sells retail products to the customers at a low or discount price. As the company sells the products at a low cost, its primary functions are associated with the refrigeration, lighting, and the emission control. The company has been successful in controlling the emission by adopting a range of energy saving initiatives. Currently, from the past few years, the profits of the organization are not as per the expectations. As a result, the company is taking several in strategic actions to increase its competitive advantage.
Coles organization was founded in 2007 when the retail stores were acquired by the Coles GRop. It provides fresh vegetables, food, general merchandize, liquor, fuel, and financial services. The company serves 21 million customers with the help of its online platform and chain of retail stores. It has a team of 102,000 employees and has more than 2400 retail stores spread throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Coles is national supermarket service provider, which has 780 supermarkets spread across the globe. Coles has a rich history in Australia and aims to give different people of Australia reliable products and present a shop where they can trust, deliver high quality and high value products and services to the customers.
In the recent times, it has opened an online supermarket store where the customers can log in at any given time and order food and grocery items, which they require. The food and delivery orders are delivered by the online drivers to the selected locations.
Coles was acquired by Wesfarmers in 2007 and under the leadership, the company transformed its IT infrastructure and adopted new technology. The company has bought several technology changes in its operations. The organization has implemented technical changes by implementing cloud-computing technology in the organization. There are some savings in the use of external cloud environment for test and training activities.
Big data can deliver business efficiencies and increase customer engagement within the organization. The company is using big data to gain consumer insight from the unstructured data. The organization has invested in increasing the reporting capabilities so that the store managers can take sound decisions. The regional store managers and leaders will have drillable reports, dashboards, and iPads through which they can access different types of information.
The technology can be used in agile technology to prioritize the work within a group of stakeholders so that the best product can be provided within a limited scope and timeline, which can provide best outcomes (Reich, & Benbasat, 2013). The IT infrastructure can result in real-time connectivity, which can increase the efficiency and speed of the decision-making process.
Real-time connectivity is also essential in increasing the mobility of the objects within the organization. The company has also implemented a corporate BYOD program in which the employees have to bring their own device to the organization. The company has efficiently maintained thousands of device within the network and maintains the security of the device (Cameron, 2014).
Information Systems Strategy and Need of such Strategy in the overall Organization strategy
Recently, information systems are focusing on the concept of strategizing. It is considered as a part of dynamic and iterative process. Strategizing is the process of making sense of data obtained through both formal and informal system. The concept of information system strategy or digital business strategy reflects a fusion between IT system and business strategy. The Information System strategy can reshape the business models and change the customer interactions and experiences. The IT infrastructure has the capacity to modify the business operations and the supply chain in the Coles. Today, most of the companies have a significant share of digital in the marketing and the supply chain strategy (Peppard, Galliers & Thorogood, 2014).
In the present times, information system has an important role in developing the competitive strategy of the firms (Chen, Mocker, Preston & Teubner, 2010). The Coles can use information systems to identify new product requirement or need and develop a niche market or it can radically change the business processes. The Coles can use the operations to expand their domestic and private business operations. Information systems can be used to establish relations with different business partners.
Information system is also a crucial part of the innovation strategy of an organization. The open innovation is the process in which an organization can engage and collaborate with its partners in the innovation process. Several leading companies such as Google and Microsoft are using information system strategy to foster innovation within the organization. Information system help in group decision-making process as all the stakeholders are connected through a common platform (Cassidy, 2016). It is widely known that groups make better decisions than individuals and the information system assist in it. It is also important in imposing deadlines to task and encouraging or motivating people to work hard.
Amazon is another organization has the most successful e-commerce business model. The company has developed rapid product development and market-response business model. Amazon has been successful to venture into different business areas and handle different types of customers without lowering product quality. The organization learning and knowledge management are also an important part of the IT strategy of an organization. Without effective and continuous learning, it is difficult to adapt to the market changes.
Challenges in the Implementation of Information Systems Strategy
There are several challenges, which are needed to be addressed during the implementation of Information System in Coles. The information system has to identify all the needs and issues in information management. It is essential to persuade the top management, the importance of information system. Once the plan is developed, the top management must approve of the suggested system. The executives should plan the system thoroughly by determining the time and the time and budget required by the system. Another challenge is to align the information strategy with the business strategy (Galliers, & Leidner, 2014). There are several challenges such as internal communication channels, weak management at the top most level and the relation with the senior executives, which can be categorized as managerial challenges in the system implementation.
The human resource issue is a primary challenge to the business organizations. There is a challenge to engage the workforce with the user-education with the new technology. The organizations also find it difficult to recruit appropriate staff members, employ experts who can accomplish the information technology activities. The experts must be able to identify the ways, which can address the user needs and demands. The older employees show lack of interest and unwillingness to learn new technologies (Pearlson, Saunders & Galletta, 2016). Apart from it, technical challenges are critical in the software and hardware aspects of Information Technology infrastructure implementation. There are certain telecommunication issues also which might be perceived as a barrier. In big companies, the migration from old software to new software or upgrading the previous ones is also an issue.
Information System Failures and Recommendations
Currently, a large number of companies fail to implement a successful Information System. The major reason of the failure is that the organization exceeds its budget or time window. Therefore, in order to conduct a successful implementation, the organization should understand the nature of the strategic change required, which can be identified with the help of success or failure model. The failure of the system is marked by the constant frustration of the users with the system. The user resistance also hinders the acceptance of the system by the potential users (Jarzabkowski & Paul Spee, 2009). There is possibility that the users might constantly attack the system marking it as unusable or ineffective with the purpose of the system.
Coles can follow following strategies to align its information system strategies with the goals of the organization. The inadequate management can prevent the alignment of the information system goals with those of the organization. There are some factors, which can assist the management in overcoming the management obstacles (Whittington, 2014). The organization can invest in developing robust relationships between top management and the staff. There should be constant communication, which highlights the importance of Information system implementation and its importance in solving the problems of weak management.
Another challenge is the poor coordination and responsibility sharing between the employees of the organization. The participation of the employees can be enhanced by proper coordination and sharing different responsibilities (Peppard & Ward, 2016). Coles can make a relation between employees and information specialists and increase the participation between the team members. Improving the design of the office infrastructure can also increase the interaction between the employees and the senior managers.
The management should also strengthen the communication between the staff members through organizing social events and informal discussions. It will motivate the staff members to actively participate and contribute to the growth of the organization and the culture.
In the above section, one of the major challenge found was the lack of commitment of senior management towards the strategy implementation. The top management should be given the responsibility to implement suitable business strategies, which can support the organization functions (Almalki, Al-fleit & Zafar, 2017).
The present report highlights the importance of information technology strategy with the business strategy of the organization. The information technology strategy is the process of aligning the information technology infrastructure with the business strategy of the organization. Coles is a retail supermarket and second largest in Australia. It has adopted several technologies to assist its employees and increase their efficiency. However, it is important to align the It infrastructure with thee business strategies of the organization. The report has highlighted different challenges in the alignment of business and IT strategy of the organization. The participation of the management and the motivation of thee human resources are the biggest challenge in the IT strategy implementation. The management should understand the need or the requirement of IT infrastructure implementation. The management should also be able to communicate the need of IT infrastructure to the lower and middle-level employees. The report has presented some recommendations to successfully implement IT strategy in the organization.
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