INTS-602: Information Technology Strategy Report a Broken Link

Building on Phase One courses, this course explores different types of information systems and the process of developing an effective information strategy for the management of an organization. The course uses a very recently revised, comprehensive textbook and a number of readings and cases to study how organizations are creating innovative information management systems and incorporating them into their business strategies. As with all master level courses, this course is not about black and white questions and answers. Instead, it deals with gray areas. Through readings and discussions, you will gain insight into and understanding of the issues associated with managing and exploiting information and information systems. By the end of the course, you will be able to more effectively participate in decision making regarding IT-related issues. A description of this course can be found at the following Web site: http://www.mba.athabascau.ca/Titan/aucimwebsite.nsf /AllDoc/7D5EEA9D40D2E70A87256B60006C11ED?OpenDocument

Required Readings


Lesson 1


Value models are key ingredients in the formulation of knowledge, irrespective of the discipline. Models are a representation of reality. A model is akin to a theory but not as detailed. Models condense the clutter of many real-life situations to a few salient facts or principles. Section 1.3 of the text (pp. 19-25) introduces Porter’s important Value Chain Model and describes how the various operations in a business add to the value of the business’ products or services. Porter’s value chain suggests how IT can support the processes of value creation throughout the enterprise. In reality though, the Value Chain Model does not provide a good fit for all types of organizations, particularly job shops in which the product represents large 'chunks' of unique work (e.g., a consulting firm), or business networks where the main economic activity involves connecting various groups through networks (e.g., Amazon.com). The Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) paper explores these ideas in detail.

Lesson 2


Lesson 3


Lesson 4


Lesson 5


Lesson 6


This is an overview of Weill and Ross's 2004 book, IT Governance: How Top Performers Manage IT Decision Rights for Superior Performance.The authors report on their study of 250 multi-business organizations, concluding that "effective IT governance is the single most important predictor of the value an organization generates from IT" (pp. 3-4). In the required reading, Weill and Ross (2005) outline the five different archetypes for organizing IT decision-making and the principle domains in which IT decisions are required. They demonstrate the IT governance pattern of typical organizations and, importantly, discuss those of superior performing firms.  

Lesson 7


"In recent years, IT project failures have received a great deal of attention in the press as well in as the boardroom. In an attempt to avoid disasters, many organizations are now learning from the past by conducting retrospective studies such as project post-mortems or post-implementation reviews. While each individual retrospective tells a unique story and contributes to organizational learning, even more insight can be gained by examining multiple retrospectives across a variety of organizations over time. This research aggregates the knowledge gained from 99 retrospective studies conducted in 74 organizations over the past seven years. It uses the findings to reveal the most common mistakes and suggest best practices for more effective project management." (Nelson, 2007)

The field of Project Management (PM), like most other fields, has seen rapid advances in the integration and application of technology to its practice. This advancement has been spurred by the increasing complexity of projects. As a result, certain aspects of Traditional Project Management (TPM) have become less effective and outdated.  Specifically, the use of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence techniques in data analysis and decision making, will no doubt drive this fundamental change in how project are managed. In their article, Ong & Uddin (2020) seek to explore and discover the current state of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the project management (PM) industry. In addition, they identify the trends to predict what the future landscape may look like for PM with the increasing advancement of Data Science and AI, and how these emergent digital techniques may impact industry standards.

Supplementary Readings


Lesson 1 Supp. Rdgs.


Lesson 2 Supp. Rdgs.


Staying Ahead in Cyber-Security. In an era where digitization has become very pervasive, it is critical for organizations to bolster their defenses to ensure information systems and all digital resources are well protected. Meanwhile, threats are occurring on all sides. In this episode of the McKinsey podcast, the leading authors provide insights on how to deal with this critical issue.

Lesson 3 Supp. Rdgs.


Lesson 4 Supp. Rdgs.


Lesson 5 Supp. Rdgs.


Lesson 6 Supp. Rdgs.


The Many Paths to Strategic Alignment. Henderson and Venkatraman (1993), in this older but still very relevant article, argue that there are many paths to achieving strategic alignment. Organizations can begin with formulating an organizational strategy and align with IT. They can also build their organizational strategy based on IT. This article provides relevant insight into these different paths and how they can be best supported and measured. Failing to follow these insightful lessons may lead to the failure of strategic digital transformation initiatives as shown in Moased’s paper above.

IT and the Board  Another dimension of development is considered by Nolan and McFarlan (2005), who recognize that boards of directors should be actively involved in IT governance to oversee planning and what results from it. The authors provide an annual calendar with suggestions for boards, ranging from reviewing security practices to scanning the environment to see what others are doing in the IT arena.

 Beyond Valuation. "This article examines the techniques that firms use to minimize the risk and uncertainty associated with IT investments; examining how projects can be organized and managed to maximize potential while minimizing risk. The article explains contemporary IT project management and considers the ways that concepts like options thinking, added value, option value, and embedded real options apply to project management. The article examines several case studies such as Starbucks Corp., analyzing their options pricing models (OPMs) in order to determine the firm's options value and real value." (Fichman, Keil, & Tiwana, 2005).

The article below provides executives with frameworks to guide their transformations and assess their digital endeavors over time. The authors describe six dimensions of digital transformation to assist digitization projects in the organizations and enable benchmarking one’s company with others within and across sectors or industries. The article sums up and brings to life the knowledge shared in the previous references.

The videos below offer brief overviews of IT Governance along with some useful pieces of advice in the context of framing IT Strategy to ensure better alignment between technology investments and business goals and objectives. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U5f17vO1Y0 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuLoRSKhcX4 

Lesson 7 Supp. Rdgs.


Few studies have examined the influence of national culture on individuals’ perceptions of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and they have come up with contradictory findings (Kaba and Osei-Bryson, 2013). While some researchers have suggested a relationship between culture and individuals’ interactions with, and perceptions of ICT innovations, other research found no such link (Kaba and Osei-Bryson, 2013). The Keda’s case study highlighted the impact of national culture on ERP adoption and utilization success. In this case, it was demonstrated that cultural and social factors may also play a role in successfully implementing an ERP in the organization. Beides, Kaba (2019)’s paper proposed a framework to assess the readiness of an information technology project before launch.

One of the predominant risks in software development or information technology projects is an “escalation of commitment.” The case of the Canadian Government‘s phoenix payroll payment system implementation is an illustration of this phenomenon. Keil and his colleagues’ works offer further details on this phenomenon. 

Lesson 8 Supp. Rdgs.


Similar to trends observed across other disciplines, making information systems "green" and energy efficient is an important agenda item for many organizations today. This article presents a framework that can be customized by IT executives to assess their own organization's green IT maturity.