The Relationship between Strategic Information Systems Planning Situational Factors, Process Configuration and Success

By Silvius, A. J. Gilbert; Stoop, Jeroen | Journal of International Technology and Information Management, January 2013 | Go to article overview

The Relationship between Strategic Information Systems Planning Situational Factors, Process Configuration and Success


Silvius, A. J. Gilbert, Stoop, Jeroen, Journal of International Technology and Information Management


INTRODUCTION

In almost all industries, developments like new technologies, mergers and acquisitions, entrepreneurial initiatives, regulatory changes and strategic alliances create a dynamic business environment. A key success factor for a successful company in such a dynamic environment is an effective and efficient information technology (IT) supporting business strategies and processes. Already for more than two decades, the necessity and desirability of aligning business needs and information technology (IT) capabilities is considered to be one of the key issues in IT management (Reich & Benbasat, 1996; Sabherwal & Chan, 2001; Luftman, 2009; Gallagher & Gallagher, 2010). Strategic Information Systems Planning (SISP) is an important activity in the alignment of information technology (IT) systems and services to business requirements (Silvius, 2007). Despite the obvious importance of a proper planning of IT and IS investments in organizations, success of SISP is not evident (Grover & Segars, 2005). Several authors reported different factors influencing SISP success (for example Earl, 1993; Grover & Segars, 2005; Wang & Tai, 2001; Newkirk & Lederer, 2006). Frequently mentioned factors are the situational circumstances of the context or goal of the SISP project (Lederer & Sethi, 1988; Wang & Tai, 2001; Chi et al., 2005; Newkirk & Lederer, 2006) and the process or approach with which the strategic IS plan was developed and the 'fit' of this process with the culture the organization (Earl, 1993; Segars, 1994; Doherty et al., 1999; Grovers & Segars, 2005).

This paper reports a study into the relationship between the organizational context of the SISP project, the configuration of the SISP process and the success of the SISP. The research question was How does the organizational context and the configuration of the SISP process influence the success of the SISP? This question was motivated by the experience of the authors, both experienced consultants in SISP, that even while following the same methodology of SISP, the process will always be tailored to the specific organizational setting of a given SISP project.

The rest of this paper is structured as follows. After an introduction into the background of SISP, we will analyze the situational factors, process configuration variables and criteria for SISP success as found in literature. This analysis will lead us to a detailed conceptual model of the study. After this conceptual model, we will reveal the research method of the study, which we qualified as an explorative study. Next, the data collection strategy and the actual data will be showed, followed by an analysis of the findings. The paper will be concluded by a conclusion and a discussion of the implications of the results.

STRATEGIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS PLANNING

Together with the rise of IS in organizations, the need for a structured planning and control cycle of IT systems and IT investments, arose. Information systems planning (ISP) is the term used for the early methodologies that aimed at implementing a structured planning process for IT investments and projects. These methodologies included Business Systems Planning (IBM Corporation, 1981), Information Systems Study and Information Engineering (Martin, 1982). As these early methodologies were developed in the 1970s and 1980s, at a time when the use of IT in organizations was relatively new, it is not surprising that they were designed for building foundations for the development of large bespoke information systems. The methodologies therefore focused heavily on the analysis and structure of the data of organizations (Silvius, 2007). Table 1 shows an overview of the characteristics of the main ISP methodologies (Silvius, 2007).

From this overview it shows that methodologies of, and approaches to, ISP developed over the years. Several authors (Lederer & Sethi, 1988; Earl, 1993; Segars et al. …

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