Describe any three basic strategies that an organisation can employ to obtain competitive advantage and illustrate the role of Information Technology in each case.

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Basic strategies that an organisation can employ to obtain competitive advantage and the role of information technology in each case.
Strategies refer to long term objectives and goals and the ways by which these will be achieved. These include:
1. Information strategy
The proliferation of computers in commercial applications has put commercial organisations on a competitive advantage.

A strategy for information systems can be justified based on the following reasons:
i) Information technology is critical to the success of many organisations as it involves the collection of timely and accurate information for decision-making.

ii) Information technology can be used as a commercial strategy in the battle for competitive advantage. It can be used to improve productivity and performance through such facilities as the computer aided design (CAD) and computer integrated manufacturing.
iii) Information technology for information strategies is required in the economic context and can produce dramatic changes in individual businesses and whole industries especially where there are other major forces for change.
iv) It involves many stakeholders namely consumers and not just management within the organisation‘s consumers test IT based products through tele-shopping thus a strategically placed business will obviously provide a competitive advantage.

Information strategies can cover 3 areas:
i) Information system strategy – This refers to the long term directional plan which is business led, demand oriented and concerned to exploit information technology to support business strategies or create new strategic options.
ii) Information technology strategy – this is a product of information systems strategy that deal with technologies. It provides a framework for the analysis and design of technological infrastructure of an organisation.
iii) Information management strategy: – this refers to the basic approach an organisation has to the management of information systems such as planning, organising controlling of system development methodologies.

2. Product strategies.
This refers to strategies employed by businesses to ensure that their products remain the market leaders in terms of quality and productivity. Product strategies are used to ensure that the producer of a particular product provides the best required satisfaction in his products so that consumers are convinced that the products they are consuming are superior than others produced by other producers.

Information technology can be used by the producer who is pursuing a product strategy, to improve productivity, performance and quality. This can be achieved through such techniques as: –
• Computer Aided design (CAD) which is used to design better products and make them appear more superior.
• Computer integrated manufacturing which can be used to automate the manufacturing system

3. Market strategy
These are strategies used by business organisations to ensure that they remain or attain the status of market leaders within their markets. Marketing is the management process that identifies, anticipates, and supplies customer requirements efficiently and profitably.

The key to achieving organisational goals consists of being more effective than competitors in integrating marketing activities towards determining and satisfying the needs and wants of target markets.

Information technology can be used as a market strategic weapon to develop new businesses. For example, the creation of an electronic market place where subscribers can trade via terminals. Information technology has provided such facilities as the internet where buyers can access seller‘s web and place orders via the internet. Also, other technologies such as Electronic Data interchange (EDI) and Electronic commerce (e- commerce) are all market strategies.

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