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Thursday, 21 June 2012 12:52

 

Strategic information system

 

            The concept of Strategic Information Systems or "SIS" was first introduced into the field of information systems in 1982-83 by Dr. Charles Wiseman, President of a newly formed consultancy called "Competitive Applications," (cf. NY State records for consultancies formed in 1982) who gave a series of public lectures on SIS in NYC sponsored by the Datamation Institute, a subsidiary of Datamation Magazine.

            In 1985 Wiseman published an article on this subject (co-authored by Prof. Ian MacMillan) in the Journal of Business Strategy (Journal of Business Strategy, fall, 1984)

            In 1985 he published the first book on SIS called "Strategy and Computers: Information Systems as Competitive Weapons" (Dow-Jones Irwin, 1985; translated into French by Bertrand Kaulek and into Italian by Professor Fabio Corno of Bocconi University). In 1988 an expanded version of this book called "Strategic Information Systems" was published by Richard D. Irwin. This book was translated into Japanese by Professor Shinroki Tsuji and published by Diamond Publishing. Over 50,000 copies have been sold.

            The following quotations from the Preface of the first book ("Strategy and Computers: Information Systems as Competitive Weapons") establishes the basic idea behind the notion of SIS:

            "I began collecting instances of information systems used for strategic purposes five years ago, dubbing them "strategic information systems" (Internal Memo, American Can Company (Headquarters), Greenwich, CT, 1980). But from the start I was puzzled by their occurrence. At least theoretically I was unprepared to admit the existence of a new variety of computer application. The conventional view at the time recognized only management information systems, and management support systems, the former used to satisfy the information needs and the latter to automate basic business processes of decision makers. (Cf. articles by Richard Nolan, Jack Rockart, Michael Scott Morton, et al. at that time)...But as my file of cases grew, I realized that the conventional perspective on information systems was incomplete, unable to account for SIS. The examples belied the theory,and the theory in general blinded believers from seeing SIS. Indeed, some conventional information systems planning methodologies, which act like theories in guiding the systematic search for computer application opportunities, exclude certain SIS possibilities from what might be found. (ibid.)"

            "This growing awareness of the inadequacy of the dominant dogma of the day led me to investigate the conceptual foundations, so to speak, of information systems. At first, I believed that the conventional gospel could be enlarged to accommodate SIS. But as my research progressed, I abandoned this position and concluded that to explain SIS and facilitate their discovery, one needed to view uses of computer (information) technology from a radically different perspective."

            "I call this the strategic perspective on information systems (technology). The chapters to follow present my conception of it. Written for top executives and line managers, they show how computers (information technology) can be used to support or shape competitive strategy."

            Most of the second book, Strategic Information Systems, was exposed from 1985 to 1988 to MBA students at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business and to a large number of practitioners seeking to apply SIS concepts to disparate industry settings. Since that time the concept has stimulated journals on the subject, dissertations, and extensive critical research. (References: search Google Scholar, Clusty, et al. using the terms: Strategic Information Systems, SIS, Charles Wiseman, et al.)

 
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