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 Assignment 3 (Due: before December 12, 2008, 13:00hrs)

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PostSubject: Assignment 3 (Due: before December 12, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:03 pm

Discuss the purpose of IS planning and identify its major challenges? (at least 2000 words)
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PostSubject: Assignment 3   Thu Dec 11, 2008 2:24 pm

The question was: Discuss the purpose of IS planning and identify its major challenges.

We have heard constantly about information systems plan but are we brave enough to say that we know the purpose of its conception? Humph. I think not. Even though we have already developed an information systems plan back in the first semester, we have not yet fully grasped the purpose of doing so. I could also say that we are sailing blind if we stay like this, navigating through a stormy sea without any knowledge of where we are going and why we are going there. Therefore, it is only necessary that we know exactly why an information systems plan is conceived- in simple terms, its purpose.

Information systems planning has become a major turning point in an organizationís life and, in many ways, holds the key to the organizationís success or failure. So why does information systems planning play such a critical role in the business operation? To be honest, I also had a difficult time looking for the answers to this question. The ones I found were very broad and generalized and it is hard to pinpoint the exact idea behind them. scratch Fortunately though, I found some ideas on the Internet that I think lay down the purpose of information systems planning. study

First of all, an information systems plan is like a strategic plan in management. Therefore, it is where objectives, priorities, and authorization for information systems projects need to be formalized. It serves the purpose of identifying specific projects slated for the future, priorities for each project and for resources, general procedures, and constraints for each application area. Information systems planning organizes the companyís prospects for the future concerning their information systems. IS planning is the point where the companyís core business operation is merged with technology to produce better output and boost performance. However, this view of IS planning is an already fading notion as this is no longer true nowadays.

Back then, IS planning is treated only as a back-room operation that supports an organizationís everyday tasks. But in modern corporations, IS planning is a very integral and critical part of the organization because it serves a very important purpose. The IS plan is no longer constrained within the companyís technology-oriented operations but it now also encompasses decision making, knowledge support, as well as management. So you see, IS planning is no longer a so-called ďsupportĒ but it is now the central part of an organization. The modern view of IS planning is that it is not only a means of reducing cost but it is a means of adding value. The information systems plan must cater to the strategic demands of organizations, for example, serving the business, pursuing opportunities, and as well as meeting their data processing needs.

Another purpose of the IS plan could be strategic or competitive advantage. Since large-scale and small-scale corporations alike are constantly competing with each other, they would only want to have a certain advantage over the others. In most cases, the IS plan holds the key to that advantage. Assuming that in a company that has an under-developed or no IS plan at all, it is projected to complete a certain transaction in four working days. Now, in a company with a well-developed IS plan it takes only one or two days to complete the same transaction. Naturally, clients would prefer the company with the shorter processing time than the one that takes longer. Coupled with this, the company with the well-developed IS plan has faster turnover than the under-developed one. This means more business and profit in a shorter time span. In the business world, this is considered as a significant gain over the others.

According to Gorman, a quality information systems plan must exhibit five distinct characteristics before it could serve its purpose in the organization. These are: (1) timely, (2) usable, (3) maintainable, (4) quality, and (5) reproducible. A timely IS plan means that it can be conceived in a significantly shorter time than actually doing the work that needs to be done. There is no point in creating an IS plan if the problem to be addressed is long over. The second quality, usable, means that an IS plan can exist in sections that can be distributed to project managers so that each section can be started. In my understanding, this means that the IS plan must be modularized or broken down into more manageable pieces so that more work can be done in a span of time. An IS plan must also be maintainable, which means that the IS plan is able to accommodate any changes or modifications conveniently. I think this is a very important quality that an IS plan must possess because it is not practical to remodel and rework the whole system just to accommodate a few modifications. Such an approach would probably cost the company millions and thus it is not a cost-effective development of the IS plan. An IS plan must also be of good quality. No IS plan is perfect in the first try, however, it should still be of adequate efficiency and still be useable in the organization. The last quality that Gorman listed is reproducible. Reproducible means that the output of the IS plan should still be the same no matter who the user of the system will be. In short, it should be consistent. It is only after these characteristics of the IS plan are secured will the IS plan actually be able to serve its purpose in the company.

In any case, an information systems plan not only serves as a support to a company but it also serves as a guide or an outline of the companyís projected activities and more specifically, for their information environment. To ensure the success of the organization, the IS plan must work closely with the organizationís business plan. It should have the same goals and objectives as the business plan because success cannot be achieved if efforts are not united towards a common goal.

Now that we have learned about the purpose of the Information systems plan, can we say that itís going to be a smooth journey towards its fulfillment? If your answer is yes, then think again Exclamation. Sure, developing an Information systems plan for a company sounds easy enough. But there is definitely no clear path towards achieving a well-developed information systems plan.

Developing an IS plan pose the biggest and most serious challenge to IT or IS managers all over the world. It requires knowledge and skills that will make sure that the organizationís vision, mission, and goals will be reflected in the plan. Managers need to see to it that the IS plan they develop will be of good use to the company and bring the companyís business forward. Many IT or IS managers make mistakes along the way and these mistakes often lead to inefficiency and cost the company millions. While expenses cannot be avoided when developing an IS plan, additional and unnecessary expenses can be minimized, if not totally eliminated.

The first major challenge in developing an IS plan is management. There are several aspects of management that pose a challenge to IT/IS managers. The first one is integration. This involves managing the enterpriseís resources and connecting the different organizational levels. It is a challenge to properly manage the enterpriseís resources. This requires a lot of decision-making skills. IT/IS managers need to know how to allocate the companyís resources properly so that there will be minimal or no loss at all. The companyís resources include everything from the workers to the management to the hardware or equipment and etc. When developing an IS plan, all of these resources need to be considered because it is only if they are used properly will the IS plan work harmoniously in the company. IT/IS managers has to know how to weigh certain decisions regarding resource management so that it will not result in excessive or disproportionate resource allocation. The second aspect of management that also poses a challenge to managers is connecting the different organizational levels. Organizations are not flat or one-dimensional. All organizations are hierarchical, from the executives to the ordinary workers. You can envision it as a pyramid of increasing order. The challenge here now is how to interconnect the top-most level with the lower levels and the lower levels to the top-most levels. Each level must be involved in the IS plan in one way or another and it depends on the plan how much these levels are involved in it. No level must be left out because every one of them comprises the whole the organization. It is a challenge to be able to interconnect these different organizational levels so that they can work together as a firm and stable structure to keep the business going. Connecting the organizational levels is also costly since it requires a lot of resources. This is related to managing the companyís resources.

Another aspect of management that poses a challenge to IT/IS managers is sustaining the competitive advantage. Like I mentioned earlier, to gain competitive advantage is one of the purposes of the IS plan. It may be a bit easier to see to that for a definite period of time but it is definitely challenging to keep up the advantage for the whole life of the company. IT/IS managers need to make sure that the IS plan is able to evolve or is flexible to ensure long-term profits.

The things I mentioned above are the challenges in management of the IS plan. However, there are also challenges present during the actual implementation of the plan in the company. To have full implementation of the system, I found four areas that need to be conceptualized. The first one is the challenge of making sure that the budget allocation is enough to sustain innovations and future plans. Of course, an IS plan must evolve with the company and should be able to accommodate changes or modifications. But, the major concern here is that, is the budget enough to ensure that the IS plan can evolve? This is a challenge to IT/IS managers since allocating budget for the IS plan requires that one knows what possible modifications or innovations could happen and how much of the companyís financial resources should be allocated for them. Another area that is a challenge to be faced is the increasing demand if IT experts are needed to perform their duties and responsibilities. I think that this means that if more IT experts will be needed, then they would require additional orientation and training. There is also the matter of finding IT experts that can be trusted because the system might contain vital information about the company. The next challenge is getting the assurance from the top management of their support towards sustainability. Naturally, since the top-level executives are the ones with the highest authority over the company, then it is only right that IT/IS managers get their support to sustain the IS. This is also a challenging task for the IS team because getting the full support of the top management is not very easy. They have to be convinced that the IS will be of benefit to them and bring them more gains than what will be lost during the ISís implementation. The last challenge under implementation is going beyond what is expected whenever there is room for improvement. As I mentioned earlier, no IS plan or system is perfect the first time. Some may call this imperfection but to me, this is an opportunity to improve the IS. Thus, whenever this opportunity comes into play, IT/IS managers also face the challenge of exceeding the expectations of the management in the IS. In my point of view, this is an even greater challenge than building one from scratch because there is already an established image of the system. This image allows the users or the management to explore more and expect higher than the already existing IS because they already know what the system looks like and how it functions. It is only natural for them to expect more, not less, if the system is going to be improved. Therefore, the IT/IS managers need to go beyond what is expected.

Okay, so now we know the purpose of the IS plan and the major challenges behind them. Iím going to say this again- no information system plan is perfect the first try. It is our task to improve them and make sure that the IS plan is working towards the same goal as the organizationís business plan. To overcome the challenges that we may face, we have to be equipped with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills. If we can overcome them, then we can come up with a well-developed IS plan that will serve its purpose in the company for a long time. cheers cheers cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: before December 12, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Thu Dec 11, 2008 2:33 pm

In doing strategies or strategic planning, each individual or part of a company that does the planning is really up into a purpose. And what are those purposes in it. ďPlanning is everything. Plans are nothingĒ, that is according to Field Marshal Helmuth Graf von Moltke. For my understanding about the quote, for me it means that we can really plan for anything. We can directly create or have our planning for ourselves. But in the end, after we have decided the planning, in the end, we canít really have the activities to do the plan. Like for example here in USEP. Every professional professors and teachers here do have their conference and meeting about the strategic planning for the school, but once it was been designed or talked properly, at the end of the discussion and after the technical paper was made, there are still no implementation for it. The words and discussions are being taken for granted. Meaning, the planning was still useless since it was not been implemented properly.

So what are the purposes of strategic planning? For example, in our own self, we do have dreams and visions in life. Before us able to conquer those dreams and visions, we must first start by step by step process on it. We must have first decided on what our goals to achieve the dream. We must first plan. In strategic planning, especially in businesses and industry, the main purpose of it is to set the overall goals for the business and to develop a plan to achieve them. It involves stepping back from the day-to-day operations and asking where the business is headed and what its priorities should be. For global speaking, there are lots of purposes why strategic planning must be done. First, the purpose of strategic planning is to reduce risks. Planning increases the likelihood of project success by providing insights into the projectís risks. Some projects are so risky that the business may choose not to start once they have learned about the risks. Other projects may contain features whose risks can be contained by early attention. The discussions that occur while estimating raise questions that expose potential dark corners of a project. Next, is to reduce uncertainty. Throughout a project, the team is generating new capabilities about what is inside the business or the company. They are also generating new knowledgeóabout it, the technologies in use, and themselves as a team. It is critical that this new knowledge be acknowledged and factored into an iterative planning process that is designed to help a team refine their vision. Next, is supporting in the decision making. Plans help the business to make decisions. How does an organization decide whether a particular project is worth doing if it does not have estimates of the value and the cost of the project? Beyond decisions about whether or not to start a project, estimates help them make sure that they are working on the most valuable projects possible. Strategic planning also helps in conveying information. A plan conveys expectations and describes one possibility of what may come to pass over the course of a project. A plan does not guarantee an exact set of features on an exact date at a specified cost. A plan does, however, communicate and establish a set of baseline expectations. Far too often a plan is reduced to a single date, and all of the assumptions and expectations that led to that date are forgotten. In relation with planning supports in decision making, it also acquires establishing trusts. Frequent reliable delivery of promised features builds trust between the developers and the customers. Reliable estimates enable reliable delivery. A customer needs estimates to make important prioritization and tradeoff decisions. Estimates also help a customer decide how much of a feature to develop. Customers are reluctant to make these types of tradeoff decisions early in a project unless the developersí estimates have proved trustworthy. The other purpose of strategic planning is to improve the chances of reaching desirable possible outcomes, to create the future, not to predict it. In this statement, the business can acquire benefits from it. First, the business or industry is prepared for contingencies that could prevent it from attaining its goals. Since planning is on creating future, and not to predict it, there are consequences listed on the strategic plan. The SWOT analysis may be or should be the basis on preparing the strategic plan. Identifying the strength, weaknesses, opportunities and strength for the future basis of the industry or the businesses. Next, is to prepare a framework for the organizationís orderly growth and progress. Since strategic planning is a short term basis, the organization must identify the framework for there success and progression. The framework also identifies the past standing of the organization so that they can mold a good strategic plan for the next years. Lastly, have a strategy for the allocation of resources in a manner that will allow the organization to meet its goals. Planning is not always about budgeting, planning for the future, and always thinking about what should be done. It is also about how and what are the resources to be used for it. Planning may be implemented along with the resources available or resources that might be available. In planning also, the people around the business must identify what are future technological gadgets to be used aligned in meeting its goals. Other inputs, strategic planning identifies where the organization wants to be at some point in the future and how it is going to get there. The "strategic" part of this planning process is the continual attention to current changes in the organization and its external environment, and how this affects the future of the organization. This form of planning includes: Taking a wide look around at what's going on outside the organization and how it might effect the organization (an environmental scan), taking a hard look at what's going on inside the organization, including its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (a SWOT analysis), establishing statements of mission, vision and values, establishing goals to accomplish over the next (usually) three years or so, as a result of what's going on inside and outside the organization, identifying how those goals will be reached (strategies, objectives, responsibilities and timelines) Strategic planning determines the overall direction and goals of the organization. Consequently, strategic planning influences numerous aspects of the organization, including what: Products and services will be provided by the business and how those products and services will be designed, organizational design and roles are needed by the organization, performance goals are established for positions throughout the business, board committees should be developed (in the case of corporations), resources are needed to reach those goals, and consequently, how much money is needed to procure those resources -- ultimately, the goals determine the content of various budgets.

There are also challenges in Information Strategic Planning. Here are some as I found in the net that tells the challenges in strategic planning in developing countries. First is data. Finding data is a real challenge because there is available statistics is far below those available in developing countries. Most companies try to keep any financial information and consider them secrets. It is not possible to know the demand in last year of a certain product or service. People are not used to market research and they donít want to talk to the marketing people. Next are employees. Most employees and managers are not aware about the value of strategic planning and they may consider it waste of time and something that is applicable in developed countries. Followed by owner. Many owners of successful companies believe they donít need to do strategic planning and they do not know that their success will go one day when there are more competitors or there are changes in the market. Then the managerís selection. Most companyís managers in developing countries are experts in the technical process of the organization but they are not well educated in management and thus they want to focus on what they know and neglect what they do not know. Accordingly, strategic management does not fall in their area of interest. Then the qualitative analysis. Strategic planning needs a lot of forecasting and qualitative analysis besides the quantitative analysis. Many technical managers are used to neither the qualitative analysis nor the forecasting. The phrase ďI am the managerĒ. The strategy shows a guide for decisions, so, an employee may, sometimes, tell the senior manager that his decision is against the company strategy. Thus the manager avoid having a strategy to keep his freedom to decide whatever he likes. ďAnalysisĒ versus ďIntuitionĒ. Most people do not think that a manager should do analysis or have done for him they think that some people are talented to take the right decision without doing many calculations or having subordinates make a study for them. The common challenge is the Implementation. To get every manager follow the same strategy is not an easy task. The Investors. Having a clear strategic plan and clear goals for the future (other than increasing sales of the current products) does not affect the stock price because most of the investors do not care about those issues. And lastly, the security. Most managers feel that everything is a secret and obviously they think that no one else should know the strategy and thus no one else should make a study for our strategic planÖ.and there is no strategy. Maintaining the strategic plan is also a challenge in any sectors of any businesses. Strategic planning, the what and the why of planning, is often overlooked by organizations who concentrate on tactical planning, the how of planning. The resultant business plan is overwhelmed by tactical initiatives and pet projects. Alignment with a strategy to attain the organizationís goals is achieved by accident. Strategic planning is often seen as unnecessary or at times, not even contemplated in an environment benign to the organization, e.g. high levels of market growth or monopoly situations. In my experience, a strategic plan based on basic critical thinking is a precursor to developing a competitive advantage where often none has previously been seen. Flexibility is also a challenge of a business. Not all businesses do have a strategic plan. Like small scale businesses. And mostly strategic plan is a short term planning only. That is because of changing environment. Since we all know that strategic plan canít be implemented because there is a change, so itís a challenge to an IT professional who does the research to make his/her research or plan to be useful. The other challenge is the uncertainty. Strategic planning helps a business evaluate market opportunities. To do this effectively, the process includes collecting and analyzing information about the business environment, understanding internal strengths, and developing a set of 'key assumptions'. Optimal strategies are designed based on all of these factors. As the environment changes, so should our plans. One way to assess whether it is time to conduct a new strategic planning process is to check your list of 'key assumptions' on an annual basis to see if anything has changed. The other one is the cost. Big industries and businesses donít have the problem of cost in regards of improvement in their business. But in small scale business, cost is a great factor. With all the activities that make up running a business, setting priorities in the context of a plan is important. Without a plan, the limited resources of a growing business will tend to be scattered in many directions, netting results that take longer and cost more. The other challenge also is the organization dynamics. An effective planning process will help to get people talking, and ensure that the business owner/CEO benefits from the ideas of his/her team. A good process is designed to build confidence, support and commitment among all involved. Even if only a limited group is included in the process, the completion of a strategic plan provides a great opportunity to communicate the company's direction and core values to employees. The use of an outside facilitator can greatly enhance the effectiveness of a planning process and keep the process on track. There is often a strong tendency of those participating to focus the discussions on today's problems. An outside facilitator can help to broaden thinking and make sure that new ideas and directions are generated.

In our own self as well, we do have a strategic planning that was been planned accordingly. Now, it is our choice on how to implement it, how to maintain it and how to make it flexible in change without putting us into much cost. lol!


Resources:

http://www.managementhelp.org/fp_progs/sp_mod/str_plan.htm
www.courtinfo.ca.gov/programs/community/planning/documents/budgetpl.doc+purpose+of+strategic+planning&hl=tl&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=ph&client=firefox-a" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://72.14.235.132/search?q=cache:w_ovefNQ6JEJ:www.courtinfo.ca.gov/programs/community/planning/documents/budgetpl.doc+purpose+of+strategic+planning&hl=tl&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=ph&client=firefox-a
www.informit.com/content/images/0131479415/samplechapter/0131479415_ch01.pdf+purpose+of+IS+planning&hl=tl&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=ph&client=firefox-a" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://72.14.235.132/search?q=cache:ojFf1bsDO1QJ:www.informit.com/content/images/0131479415/samplechapter/0131479415_ch01.pdf+purpose+of+IS+planning&hl=tl&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=ph&client=firefox-a
http://sameh.wordpress.com/2006/06/07/challenges-for-strategic-planning-in-developing-countries
http://jobfunctions.bnet.com/abstract.aspx?docid=385599

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Robert Marvin E. Lee

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PostSubject: Assignment 3   Thu Dec 11, 2008 4:18 pm

Discuss the purpose of IS planning and identify its major challenges?

To start with this answer, to be truth is that I donít really know the purpose of IS planning. And yet with research and scans of paper Iíve read many articles and books regarding to this question. Iím confused with several questions in my mind and wonder how this plan works and process because of so many resources Iíve read. Though several unanswered question had left behind my mind and this lead me to clarity to answer this given question. The methodology I would use in answering this question is handed on the process of what I had understood regarding with this question. To know first the meaning of IS planning to uncover the significance and clarification of what lies behind IS and its process as well as the participation with the company, though its only part of my method in answering this but the key to this problem is the reflection that I will share later on.

First of all what is an IS? According to wikipedia.org ďThe term information system (IS) sometimes refers to a system of persons, data records and activities that process the data and information in an organization, and it includes the organization's manual and automated processes.Ē As you could grasp from the wikipedia it stated that is involves systems of persons, data records and activities you could notice how IS influence the company from of its work. And when the IS process the plan for the company it generate not only the upper system of the company but involves from head to foot of the company that would play a major role in the plan and every angle should be observe. Iím not yet started with the answer for this question but Iím on the process of giving clarification of what is IS planning is all about. As you can notice how IS draw its part in the company on the important role it plays in controlling the system and flow of the information to utilize it for maximization profit and success for the company.

Information System is a set of people,procedures, and resources that collects, transforms, and disseminates information in an organization. A system that accepts data resources as inputs and processes them into information products as outputs. Information system planning plays a fundamental role in the business. It support the business process and operations. It also supports the decision making by its employees and managers. Lastly it support the company strategies for competitive advantage. Thus, Strategic information systems can help provide and service that give a business a comparative advantage over its competitors.

Yesterday was a great history and future will be a big mystery, what had happened in the past is now a part for the present to plan that lies ahead. IS (Information System) team usually looking all problems on critical angle because one single system problem might cause a domino effect to other sub-system. Planning the future must involve everything under the sun and the sun itself though you can predict what would happened, but it must also anticipate what are the hindrances that the road you are taking. As what had happened in our past technology presentation on our subject Future Technology, which we didn't anticipated the possibilities of problem. That we need to canceled the presentation and retreat for the next year to come for presentation of our dioramas in our past technology. Though itís so sad, that this event had happened and itís really disappointing that we need to wait another time for our presentation because we had already set our time in the range of time frame but hopefully with great heart our beloved professor had given us a chance. In line with the reflection I'd share to discussion of the question that is focusing the purpose of IS planning, is to have a timely characteristic that would plan ahead of time and planning need not to be long enough, so in the process time it would have much more time to work out of what the plan is aiming. Time is gold and they say once it tick it wouldn't tick the time again. Next is useable, Information System plays a big role in corporate or in company because it holds the company state whether it incline or decline though it is only a tool for the company to use the IS that holds the company to be stable and IS plays a big role from input to output product of the company and its system. Company might have a big system and a multiple sub-system in each division, different fields assigns different system and task. To control the flow within the system is really a big and a complex task to an IS because it wouldn't be timely if this thing would crash down like a domino so useable characteristic plays a part in this discussion. Useable in a sense that the system is centralized to all the project or system, it would eliminate some of the problem in the company. And if it is useable and centralized it would be easy to implement the project on the other sub-system of the company because it is easy to maintain and that would be the third characteristic that I would like to introduce. Maintainable this would cater many different strength of the company one's it is centralized it would be easy maintain and maintainable must be done quick and fast so if errors or problem occur it would easily debug so it is very important to have oneness in the company. And what is the sense of making an IS plan if the plan is not maintainable it is like making trash to a paper bin. The fourth part that I would identify the major challenge in dealing with ISP is the Quality. We as IT professional we should criticized the quality of the plan as one of the factors that can help to produce a better IS planning. So much more, the fact that this would lays the companies attributes on systems flows and success. It also implies every strategical way that could be a basis for the quality of the company. With this quality factor the decision and every plan for the entire system would surely have a greater chance in dealing and resolving problems in the company. Lastly, to complete the cycle of this challenges that IS planning should have would be the Reproducible. Through with this characteristic, the people involve in IS planning were getting to a point of having the same and one yet very essential plan.

In summary, successful management of information system planning and major challenges of business managers and professional. Thus, the information system function a major functional area of business that is as important to business success as the function of operations management and marketing. An important contributer to operational efficiency employee productivity and customer service and satisfaction. Finally a major source of information and support needed to promote effective decision making by the company managers and executives.

Reference:

Aventureworks.com, December 2008, Information System Planning, ďhttp://www.aventureworks.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12Ē

Michael M. Gorman ,December 2008, Information System Plan article, September 1, 1999 , www.tdan.com, ďhttp://www.tdan.com/view-articles/5262Ē

Alan R. Simon, Nov. 2008, Business Plan, July 1995, ďHow to be a successful computer Consultant Third Edition Ė p.100Ē

James A. O'Brien, Nov. 2006, IS Planning, 2005 , "Introduction of Information System 12th Edition"

afro


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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: before December 12, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:41 pm

Discuss the purpose of IS planning and identify its major challenges?

Throughout the previous questions given, one can pick out S/IS plan or Strategic Information System plan as a common factor. One might think that having it discussed either briefly or deeply, ranging from one to two thousand words that contain ideas about strategic information system planning, that some might be already fed up or burned up and having no other fresh idea to start the topic again. Honestly, I thought of the same idea too when I read the question for this thread. I actually thought of recycling some of my essays but I kinda recoiled at the idea because it would not be very nice to be not original and fresh especially when I put all of my essays on my blog. It just would not feel right to me and to my readers especially to my professor. Hahaha.. lol!

But then again, the information society and the web surprised me - again. As I was searching for related topics to help me answer the enigma given above, I found and read quite many yet unique hits about strategic information systems planning. It proved that in the world of Information Technology, and in cyber space, one could not over exploit a topic. New discoveries, different explanations and many sites are there to guide a lost lamb like myself to have a fresh idea and new perspective on a certain issue. I found out that I was not that familiar with information systems planning; as I originally thought (I am kinda embarrassed right now for thinking that I knew a lot when I actually do not. haha). A lot of related or extra stuff worth learning are still there waiting to be read.

From what I have accumulated on my readings, my current definition of strategic information systems planning is that is it the continuous review of computer technology, applications and management structure to ensure that the current and anticipated information and process needs of the organization are met in a way that provides an acceptable return on investment, is sensitive to the dynamic politics and culture of the organization and is aware of the sociological environment within which the organization exists.

Strategic information system plan requires: An understanding of the nature of the organization, its goals and objectives, where it is going, its culture, and how it Ďthinksí; an understanding of information technology, what is available, how IT is changing, what the potential uses are; an understanding of information needs, what information flows through the organization; what decisions are made as a result; how information supports business processes; an understanding of people, what their roles are in the organisation, what their objectives and motives are, how they implement business processes; and an understanding of the environment, what influences the organization - legislation, markets, technology, media.

Planning involves thinking ahead and designing future action. But there are many approaches to this. IS planning tends to think in rational analytical ways: thinking ahead, rational analysis, draughtsmanship, design and logic. Information systems planners may take a classical approach to planning: uses structured planning techniques, formal and rational, hierarchical command and control.
According also to Gorman, there are certain characteristics of an information systems plan that are desirable to produce the optimal performance. These are: 1. Timely, 2. Usable, 3. Maintainable, 4. Quality, and 5. Reproducible. The ISP must be timely. An ISP that is created long after it is needed is useless. In almost all cases, it makes no sense to take longer to plan work than to perform the work planned. The ISP must be useable. It must be so for all the projects as well as for each project. The ISP should exist in sections that once adopted can be parceled out to project managers and immediately started. The ISP must be maintainable. New business opportunities, new computers, business mergers, etc. all affect the ISP. The ISP must support quick changes to the estimates, technologies employed, and possibly even to the fundamental project sequences. While the ISP must be a quality product, no ISP is ever perfect on the first try. As the ISP is executed, the metrics employed to derive the individual project estimates become refined as a consequence of new hardware technologies, code generators, techniques, or faster working staff. The ISP must be reproducible. That is, when its development activities are performed by any other staff, the ISP produced should essentially be the same. The ISP should not significantly vary by staff assigned. Once these changes are accomplished, the new ISP should be just a few computer program executions away.

But what good does it do? What is the behind its creation? Why do companies exert effort and give out funds to do this study? Even though an information system costs a thousand or even millions of pesos and even through most chief information officers can specify exactly how much money is being spent for hardware, software, and staff, CIOs cannot however state with any degree of certainty why one system is being done this year versus next, why it is being done ahead of another, or finally, why it is being done at all. Why oh why indeed?

Well, let us just discuss the purpose for executing information systems planning to enlighten the enigmas just raised.

The main purpose and goal of implementing a strategic information system plan (for me) is to deliver business benefits to an organization. It translates strategic and organizational goals into systems development initiatives. Strategic Information Systems Planning involves understanding what the business goals are and identifying how information systems can support those goals by delivering benefits. Business/IS alignment is a key concept, but perhaps we should talk about integration. The information systems plan project determines the sequence for implementing specific information systems. The goal of the strategy is to deliver the most valuable business information at the earliest time possible in the most cost-effective manner. lol!

The end product of the information systems project is an information systems plan (ISP). Once deployed, the information systems department can implement the plan with confidence that they are doing the correct information systems project at the right time and in the right sequence. The focus of the ISP is not one information system but the entire suite of information systems for the enterprise.
Information System should be an integrated resource within the organization which contributes to the organizationís core competencies which may result in sustainable competitive advantage. Many enterprises do not have model-based information systems development environments that allow system designers to see the benefits of rearranging an information systems development schedule.
The planning of information systems cannot be considered as a one-off or occasional event. It is a continuous sustained process, as we plan and re-plan and respond to changes in the business environment. The prime objective of doing a strategic information system plan is alignment: to ensure that the information system provision matches the business needs in what it does (context), how it does it (process) and when it does it (timing).

Another objective of information systems planning is to discover new technology, strategies and ideas that would help the company, if ever they are qualified to be implemented. Information Systems seeks to provide for operational efficiency, better services and co-ordination between partners. It also plays the role as a business driver whom wields the sense of innovation and change in the enterprise. It is also considered as a business support for it aims and does reduce uncertainty and increase efficiency in business operations and company relations.

Another role of information systems planning is a commodity service provider which calls information technology for its efficiency and seen as an expense to control. Sometimes, SISP takes the role of strategic partner that fuels business growth. Information Technology enables organizational architecture, supports business processes, influences organizational structure and substituteís organizational structure
Other purposes or importance of information systems planning is future analysis to predict changes over expected life of portfolio, forecasting horizon and planning horizon. Through strategic information system plan it may determine the companyís position in the marketplace; produce greater productivity through greater efficiency; and provide new products and opportunities. lol!

It involves identifying information needs and process needs, reflecting on the context and culture, examining current IT architecture for match and mismatch, identifying approaches for shifting IT architecture to meet information needs, modifying information needs in the light of IT shift.
Strategic information system plan requires technical and managerial understanding; planning the details and thinking holistically; rational, analytical know-how and political sensitivity to reach its purpose to be beneficial to the company.

lol! It has a good amount of advantages to its account. Strategic Information System Plan has several advantages like identifying most desirable applications in which to invest, help an organisation use its information system to carry out existing business strategy, help it define new business strategy. Failure to do some planning may result in: missed opportunities, duplicated systems, incompatible systems, and wasted resources.

There are several obstacles for strategic management. And they are: security, qualitative analysis, employees, owners, implementation, managerís selection, investors, ďAnalysisĒ versus ďIntuitionĒ, ďI am the managerĒ and data.

Let us now talk about each obstacle and let us start with security. Most managers feel that everything is a secret and obviously they think that no one else should know the strategy and thus no one else should make a study for our strategic plan and there is no strategy. Two other obstacles seem closely related to the fist one and they are: managerís selection and ďI am the managerĒ. In managerís selection, most companyís managers in developing countries are experts in the technical process of the organization but they are not well educated in management and thus they want to focus on what they know and neglect what they do not know. Accordingly, strategic management does not fall in their area of interest. While on ďI am managerĒ: the strategy shows a guide for decisions, so, an employee may, sometimes, tell the senior manager that his decision is against the company strategy. Thus the manager avoids having a strategy to keep his freedom to decide whatever he likes. From these three closely related challenges; one can notice that the challenges come from the managers who are not technically knowledgeable leading to indecision fueled by ignorance.

Other human related challenges present in executing strategic information systems planning are the employees, owners and investors. Most employees and managers are not aware about the value of strategic planning and they may consider it waste of time and something that is applicable. Many owners of successful companies believe they donít need to do strategic planning and they do not know that their success will go one day when there are more competitors or there are changes in the market. Investors however looks at the company having a clear strategic plan and clear goals for the future (other than increasing sales of the current products) does not affect the stock price because most of the investors do not care about those issues. lol!

The remaining challenges are not directly human based issues but also contain the same level of risks in ISP and these are; data, qualitative analysis, implementation and, ďAnalysisĒ versus ďIntuitionĒ. Finding data is a real challenge because there is available statistics is far below those available in developing countries. Most companies try to keep any financial information and consider them secrets. It is not possible to know the demand in last year of a certain product or service. People are not used to market research and they donít want to talk to the marketing people. In qualitative analysis, strategic planning needs a lot of forecasting and qualitative analysis besides the quantitative analysis. Many technical managers are not used to neither the qualitative analysis nor the forecasting. Analysis versus intuition however as a blend of human related reasons as well as environment based risks. In this idea, most people do not think that a manager should do analysis or have done for him they think that some people are talented to take the right decision without doing many calculations or having subordinates make a study for them.

Once these obstacles are passed on can almost guarantee for a successful strategic information system plan. In light of course that the study is done with enough time, money and with the cooperation of the company and its employees.



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Karren D. Adarna

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PostSubject: assignment_3   Thu Dec 11, 2008 6:07 pm

Maybe we can start this by knowing what Information System plan really is. Why is it important? What is its role in the world of business? Letís get started right away. Information Systems Planning is a continuous planning activity that ensures Information and Communication Technology implementation in an organization is aligned with business strategies, improves organizational process effectiveness, creates business opportunities and contributes to organizational competitiveness. Information system plan is created to help the business satisfy or meet its goal. Every businesses of todayís modern world, information technology plays a vital part. In fact, without it, it would be so impossible for the company to work. This is also true in business planning where plans, strategies and goals for the company are made. It makes use of information system planning. Today, enterprise database is deployed on distributed, heterogeneous hardware and systems software environments. The hardware platforms are both multiple-vendor and multi-tiered, with different architectures. In short, most businesses have embraced some form of downsizing, decentralization, and distributed processing. The business systems can be implemented through a network of databases across different computing platforms. To make database a success, each must be carefully defined, deployed along with high-quality processing systems, and effectively utilized through high-level natural languages. To have database success is to be organized. And with an organized enterprise, the past can be researched, the present can be mastered, and plans for the future can be set into place. A good and well-designed information system plan must satisfy the following: Increased cost of information systems, Ability to develop systems across organizational boundaries , Ensure that critical success factors/problem areas are addressed (back to Information Engineering) , Attempt to control data redundancy and maintenance costs and Application backlogs necessitate identifying important systems early.

Why planning is important in an organization or in every individual? According to Encyclopedia of Artificial Intelligence, planning is a systematic process of envisioning a desired future, and translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives and a sequence of steps to achieve them. In contrast to long-term planning (which begins with the current status and lays down a path to meet estimated future needs), strategic planning begins with the desired-end and works backward to the current status. "Planning is the generation of an action sequence of action program for an agent, such as a robot, that can change its environment. The purpose of a plan is to achieve one or more explicit goals. The essential inputs for planning are an initial world state, a repertoire of actions for changing that world, and a set of goals. The form of the plan is commonly just a linear sequence or acyclic directed graph of actions, although the full range of programming control structures are potentially relevant. For planning to be effective, the environment in which the plan will be executed must be largely predictable, but need not be completely deterministic. However, planning will be ineffective for chaotic domains, and an agent can only react to events." When we use the term planning we are referring to the fact of, whether or not the architecture is capable of planning. Some systems have actual planning subsystems, in which case it is fairly obvious that the system can plan. Others are completely reactive and lack any planning capabilities. Finally, there are that that fall in between, we have used our discretion and the author's claims in determining whether such systems are capable of planning.

Even in business, planning plays a major role for its success. A business plan is a document that summarizes the operational and financial objectives of a business and contains the detailed plans and budgets showing how the objectives are to be realized. This of course involves decision making and planning and the information plan exist to help the business plan attain and achieve its goal.


Business Information Systems accomplish the computerized transformations of database objects from within the context of business functions. Different business functions may cause the execution of the same business information system. If, in any of the business functions that employ a business information system, the database object value state transformation is not accomplished, the entire set of database object transformations are rolled back so that the database object returns to its prior state. For a long time relationship between information system functions and corporate strategy was not of much interest to Top Management of firms. Information Systems were thought to be synonymous with corporate data processing and treated as some back-room operation in support of day-to-day mundane tasks .In the 80ís and 90ís, however, there has been a growing realization of the need to make information systems of strategic importance to an organization. Consequently, information systems planning are a critical issue. They had realized the importance of information system plan how big it can help in fulfilling the companyís goal.

Planning for information systems, as for any other system, begins with the identification of needs. In order to be effective, development of any type of computer-based system should be a response to need--whether at the transaction processing level or at the more complex information and support systems levels. Such planning for information systems is much like strategic planning in management. Objectives, priorities, and authorization for information systems projects need to be formalized. The systems development plan should identify specific projects slated for the future, priorities for each project and for resources, general procedures, and constraints for each application area. The plan must be specific enough to enable understanding of each application and to know where it stands in the order of development.

What then is the main purpose of information system planning? Information System Planning is the analysis of a corporationís information and processes using business information models together with the evaluation of risk, current needs and requirements. The result is an action plan showing the desired course of events necessary to align information use and needs with the strategic direction of the company. This is consistent with the earlier distinction between the older data processing views and the modern strategic importance view of Information Systems. ISP thus is used to identify the best targets for purchasing and installing new management information systems and help an organization maximize the return on its information technology investment. ISP made the goals and objective of the company become more attainable and more possible to acquire by using new strategies, programs, and devices. However, Information Systems Planning is not an easy task because such a process is deeply embedded in business processes. These systems need to cater to the strategic demands of organizations, i.e., serving the business goals and creating competitive advantage as well as meeting their data processing and MIS needs. The key point here is that organizations have to plan for information systems not merely as tools for cutting costs but as means to adding value.

That is why there are also challenges and disputes faced in making Information System plan. The task of information systems planning is difficult and often time organizations do not know how to do it. Information systems planning is a major change for organizations, from planning for information systems based on usersí demands to those based on business strategy. Also, information systems planning change the planning characteristics in major ways. For example, the time horizon for planning changes from 1 year to 3 years or more and development plans are driven by current and future business needs rather than incremental user needs. Increase in the time horizon is a factor which results in poor response from the top management to the strategic information systems planning process as it is difficult to hold their attention for such a long period. This is the major challenge in making information system plans, when you receive a poor response from the top management. Of course, IS professionals still depends on the management. After all, information system planning is just a part of the total business strategy and it will encounter challenges at times like this. Other questions associated with strategic information systems
planning are related to the scope of the planning study, the focus of the planning exercise Ė corporate organization vs. strategic business unit, number of studies and their sequence, choosing a strategic information systems planning methodology or developing one if none is suitable, targets of planning process and deliverables. Because of the complexity of the strategic information systems planning process and uniqueness of each organization, there is no one best way to tackle it.

There are also challenges in information system planning in data, employee, owner, qualitative analysis, implementation, investor and security. In data, finding data is a real challenge because there is available statistics is far below those available in developing countries. Most companies try to keep any financial information and consider them secrets. It is not possible to know the demand in last year of a certain product or service. People are not used to market research and they donít want to talk to the marketing people. Most employees are also a challenge because most employees and managers are not aware about the value of strategic planning and they may consider it waste of time and something that is applicable in developed countries. Owners could also be a challenge in IS planning because many owners of successful companies believe they donít need to do strategic planning and they do not know that their success will go one day when there are more competitors or there are changes in the market. Strategic planning needs a lot of forecasting and qualitative analysis besides the quantitative analysis. Many technical managers are used to neither the qualitative analysis nor the forecasting that is why qualitative analysis is a problem too. Implementation is challenge too to get every manager follow the same strategy is not an easy task. Next is Investor: Having a clear strategic plan and clear goals for the future (other than increasing sales of the current products) does not affect the stock price because most of the investors do not care about those issues. And finally, security. Most managers feel that everything is a secret and obviously they think that no one else should know the
strategy and thus no one else should make a study for our strategic planÖ.and there is no strategy

Another challenge in making information system plan is the possibility of encountering failures in system. But this is minor compared to the problem if the management will not give its full support to your plan. Natural disasters that are unavoidable could also be a challenge. Earthquakes and strokes. Terrorist attacks and deforestation. Bridge failures and floods. Disasters take many forms. They can devastate one person or one million. They can occur in the blink of an eye or over hundreds of years. They can involve manmade objects or natural forces. But no matter what their scale, ubiquitous computing networks that combine sensors and actuators with computing and communication technology hold the promise of preventing or at least mitigating the impact of disasters, improving the speed and quality of our response, and guiding recovery efforts. One of the grand challenges facing us as we move forward is to weave this ubiquitous safety net into our environment. These are all inevitable and is possible to happen that is why every IS professional must as well prepare for these challenges.

Information system planning is very essential and it plays a vital role for the success of an organization. Its main purpose is to decide the objectives of computing for an organization and then identify the applications that the organization should computerize. Information Systems Planning is a continuous planning activity that ensures Information and Communication Technology implementation in an organization is aligned with business strategies, improves organizational process effectiveness, creates business opportunities and contributes to organizational competitiveness.

However, there are many challenges in making and implementing information system planning. It is not as easy as we thought it is. There are some factors that could hinder the IS plan. One of these factors is when IS professionals receives poor support from the main management. Also, there are also challenges in information system planning in data, employee, owner, qualitative analysis, implementation, investor and security. Finally, natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods that could affect the systems when happened could be a problem.

source:

http://www.tdan.com/view-articles/5262
http://sameh.wordpress.com/2006/06/07/challenges-for-strategic-planning-in-developing-countries/









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CherryannMontejo

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: before December 12, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Thu Dec 11, 2008 6:32 pm

Discuss the purpose of information system planning and what it is major challenges.

There is a fundamental, certain reality that needs to be clearly taken into consideration in information system planning. These are its purpose and major challenges prior the information system plan. This evolution is a reality that must be recognized and addressed directly and responsibly. Although many of us, no doubt, already know what is behind information system planning, that is not a realistic option. Nor it is a responsible one for future generations. The purpose of IS planning are many and diverse, but there focus is one at the same time, namely, to make the business grow.

Does a business need to plan an information system strategically? What are their grounds in making these things possible? I am a little bit confused thinking of a better idea that could possibly considerable and significant. As always, I look for better answers and found out that the simple purposes why a company needs information systems planning is to implement a universal system of data transfer and data access and to develop automated reports to assist in managing the workforce development programs, to compile, analyze and coordinate the collection of data relevant to the needs of the business. In its simplest terms, the main intention why a business does information system planning is in order to improve service to their clients.

The reason why organization does IS planning, these includes the constant competition of measures and countermeasures, the tendency to keep weakness out of mind or perhaps the ordinary failures of design or execution. Planning method is designed for taking an occasional fresh look at the future challenges and possible strategies, for rethinking matters such as impressive strategy and higher-level defense planning. The essence of Information system planning is to deal with future uncertainty by generating capabilities usable for different purposes and circumstances.

Strategic planning for information system is essential to organizational success, especially in times of increasingly rapid change. The reason why a business needs to plan an information system is simply because the impact of information system as well as information technology contributes a lot in the performance of the business and to the success of the organization. The purpose is to promote capabilities-based planning for diverse contingencies, both large and small and emphasize the need for hedge capabilities permitting future challenges. While we are hopeful that technological changes will play important roles in helping us to adapt to this coming reality, we also need to acknowledge and address the fact that information system plan constitute a major part in the development of the business scheme.


An information system planning has begun to make more efficient use of its resources to serve its growing demand. However, to meet the growing demand for many resources, a company or an organization must carry out a plan to realign its capital resources and to acquire support service more efficiently. At the same time, an organization needs to improve its process for allocating resources.

Information system planning is somehow a necessity for the same reason that every now and then technology changes. IS planning has become a part of a companyís over-all plan because it assist the business in the improvement of the companyís information technology. Information systems are a primary part of organizations, and when they change, the organization also changes. Since technology is always changing, a need for a new and updated information system is a must. Thus, in support with this fast change an information system needs redesigning. Change is a part of the process and must be carefully managed. The term completion, when talking about a new system, refers to the entire process of organizational change surrounding the introduction of a new system.

That is why in an ideal world, a comprehensive information system planning would solve all the problems that information system manager face and the organization itself. That is mainly the reason why we elaborated more clearly the purpose of information system because Information system planning sometimes involves the whole organization. Unfortunately, the world continues to change at such a rate that plans must be continually updated. Without information system plan a business plan will not be completed for the reason that IS plan itself were critical success factor. That is why many companies particularly those large ones has developed a complete and inclusive technology planning procedure to boost technology project launch and approval. That is also the main reason why a continuous and ongoing information system planning is really a must.

Businesses does information system plan for the reason that it enhances productivity of the business itself. By observation, information systems often do seem to greatly increase productivity. It helps the business in creating better and efficient output that could possibly satisfies the need of the clients. It plays in the success or failure of mergers and also acquisitions. Manager throughout the information system planning have strongly embrace linking performance with resource and operations management responsibilities. Evaluating the direct impact of information system planning on the business processing and accuracy may be difficult to achieve. IS plan is effective in providing employees the knowledge they need to accurately and consistently business process. In applying that knowledge, a number of factors may get involved, making it difficult to isolate the effects of IS plan in the business from other factors that might influence those same results. This remains a critical issue and a great challenge for all organizations.



Challenges, what are the most frequent challenges we always come upon during the IS planning. I did not attempt to list every challenge, just the primary ones. There are lots of challenges but I just want to focus on one major challenge that always occurs when an organization develops an information system, it is planning for change in a changing world. Change is a continuing presence in all forceful and successful businesses. The challenge lies in knowing what, where, and how to change Ė and what, where, and how not to Ė and proactively planning to make the business in the future even better than they are today.

A common challenge of information system planning is that they fail to spend enough time in the early stages of their planning processes providing the community with information about the changes and challenges that lies ahead and the consequences of failing to plan for them. This challenges still remains as a constant challenge because during the IS plan, developers mostly fail to put into action what is the real nature of the plan. Many of these instances are common since people tend to forgot to elaborate what are the possible consequences when the plan fails.

Because of such reason, during IS planning an accurate prediction of the course of events sometimes not even possible. That is, hesitation is not only everywhere and large, but also impossible to get rid of it by merely working hard to do so. So what do we do about this burden of uncertainty? In a phrase, we should get on with business Ė learning to plan in a way that includes the expectation of surprises and the need for adaptations.

Information system planning a long time ago was possible only because all design and development was centralized and during those times was acceptable preliminary part because budgets were ever increasing, schedules always falling and information was not yet part of the corporationsí critical edge. Well, today is different, really different. Budgets are decreasing, and slipped schedules are being cited as preventing business alternatives. Budgets are one of the major challenges in IS planning. In the business world even outside world, constant change always happens and so high budget demands and poor funds. This two causes the IS plan to fail, not always but sometimes.

Businesses face significant challenges addressing information security program requirements and establishing a comprehensive and integrated security program. Information security is critical to the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data, and to protect assets required to support the business. Lack of management oversight contributes to inefficient practices and weaknesses in electronic information and physical security. These factors can also be a major challenge during the IS plan.

Since information technology has become commonplace in organizations, the potential for wasting time and money on unwise choices has not diminished, but rather has increased. Since every program and every task can benefit from computers and related technology, need for new and improve system continual arise within the organization. If systems are designed and implemented without some kind of plan, an organization risks having systems that are incompatible, cannot share data, require different hardware, or otherwise less than best possible. In other words, a technology investment Ė whether a purchase of technology or the development of a new system Ė may be cost effective in relation to its original justification, but be wasteful when in the context of all the other programs of the organization. Thus, managersí responsibility to make decisions about individual systems has been complicated by the need to ensure long-range compatibility and connectivity. Making sound decisions now requires looking at the technology of the organization as a whole, rather than program by program or task by task. An IS planning provides conceptual models for making decisions where wide and long-range compatibility is required.

Developing and sustaining a knowledgeable workforce is a significant challenge for most businesses and information system planning is just one initiative to address this critical issue. We recognize that we must have a properly trained workforce to analyze the complex details of information system and all information that needs extensive study.


Planning for a better future, for both current and future generations, is one of the most important and long-lasting functions of local businesses. It is very important, therefore, that it be undertaken for the right reasons and with the right attitudes. We live in a rapidly changing world in which the failure of the information system planning team to plan for and adapt to changing conditions can adversely affect our economy, our environment, and our social well-being Ė both within and beyond the organization. So, when we make changes on our information system plans, it is important that we do so with a great sense of responsibility to ourselves and to future generations Ė not just to fulfill legal obligations under state law or not just because our current plans may be ďout of date.Ē


Planning without context is merely wishful thinking. Effective planning needs to take place with a conscious awareness not only of current conditions, but also of the changes and challenges that lie ahead. While we face serious, even frightening, challenges in the years ahead, we must face them with a spirit of optimism and determination to confront and address them effectively.


An important factor of a successful information system plan is the awareness of how important and relatively extraordinary they are. Given the major changes and challenges we will be facing in the coming years and decades, and the urgent need for us to begin addressing them as soon as possible, this next round of information systems plan may be the most important in our lifetimes. As a result, it is critical that they be done responsibly and well, because the opportunity to do them again may not occur for another decade.

To top it all, businesses develops information system plan to build a high performing organization. Since most businesses spent lots of funds on its information technology they established support and is making steps in developing an integrated business that produces satisfying and pleasing outcomes. To preserve or maintain financial and benefits payment information and produce reliable performance and workload data, the organization must sustain its commitment.


During these times, a few words that will still remain even if it is expounded in 2000 words is that every organizations in a business world either in a competition or not still needs information system plan for this can help in the pursue of the main reason why they land a business Ė high revenue.



hiphip huri..

cheers cheers



references:

http://www.clarionmag.com/cmag/v3/informationsystemsplanning.pdf
http://www.answers.com/topic/management-information-system
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George Dan Gil Duran

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: before December 12, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:47 pm

Discuss the purpose of Information System planning and identify its major challenges? In 2000 wordsÖagain! ^_^

Again in the previous assignment an information system plan (ISP) is also a formal statement but as of a set of the systems goal, in other words it is a plan that determines the sequence for implementing specific information systems. The goal of the strategy is to have more beneficiary features to the user or to a company. Once deployed, the information systems department can implement the plan with confidence that they are doing the correct information systems project at the right time and in the right sequence. The focus of the ISP is not one information system but the entire suite of information systems for the enterprise. Once developed, each identified information system is seen in context with all other information systems within the enterprise[2].

In order to put the planning for strategic information systems in perspective, the evolution of information systems according to the three-era model of John Ward, et al. (1990) is pertinent.
According to this model there are three distinct, albeit overlapping, eras of information systems, dating back to the 60ís.

ē 60s - Data Processing (DP)
o Standalone computers, remote from users, cost reduction function.
ē 70s &80s - Management Information Systems (MIS)
o Distributed process, interconnected, regulated by management service, supporting the business, user driven.
ē 80s &90s Strategic Information Systems (SIS)
o Networked, integrated systems, available and supportive to users, relate to business strategy, enable the business - business driven.

For a long time relationship between information system functions and corporate strategy was not of much interest to Top Management of firms. Information Systems were thought to be synonymous with corporate data processing and treated as some back-room operation in support of day-to-day mundane tasks. In the 80ís and 90ís, however, there has been a growing realization of the need to make information systems of strategic importance to an organization. Consequently, strategic information systems planning (SISP) is a critical issue. In many industry surveys, improved SISP is often mentioned as the most serious challenge facing IS managers (Pavri and Ang, 1995, Beath and Orlikowski, 1994; Martin, 1993; Porter and Miller,
1985).

Planning for information systems, as for any other system, begins with the identification of needs. In order to be effective, development of any type of computer-based system should be a response to need--whether at the transaction processing level or at the more complex information and support systems levels. Such planning for information systems is much like strategic planning in management. Objectives, priorities, and authorization for information systems projects need to be formalized. The systems development plan should identify specific projects slated for the future, priorities for each project and for resources, general procedures, and constraints for each application area. The plan must be specific enough to enable understanding of each application and to know where it stands in the order of development. Also the plan should be flexible so that priorities can be adjusted if necessary. King (King, 1995) in his recent article has argued that strategic capability architecture - a flexible and continuously improving infrastructure of organizational capabilities Ė is the primary basis for a company's sustainable competitive advantage. He has emphasized the need for continuously updating and improving the strategic capabilities architecture.

SISP is the analysis of a corporationís information and processes using business information models together with the evaluation of risk, current needs and requirements. The result is an action plan showing the desired course of events necessary to align information use and needs with the strategic direction of the company. The same article emphasizes the need to note that SISP is a management function and not a technical one. This is consistent with the earlier distinction between the older data processing views and the modern strategic importance view of Information Systems. SISP thus is used to identify the best targets for purchasing and installing new management information systems and help an organization maximize the return on its information technology investment. A portfolio of computer-based applications is identified that will assist an organization in executing its business plans and realize its business goals. There is a growing realization that the application of information technology (IT) to a firmís strategic activities has been one of the most common and effective ways to improve business performance.

Some characteristics of strategic IS planning are:
ē Main task: strategic/competitive advantage, linkage to business strategy.
ē Key objective: pursuing opportunities, integrating IS and business strategies
ē Direction from: executives/senior management and users, coalition of users/management and information systems.
ē Main approach: entrepreneurial (user innovation), multiple (bottom-up development, top down analysis, etc.) at the same time.

What are the major problems and challenges in making an IS plan?

According to the survey in the article that I have read[1] , the most severe problem identified by IS managers is the failure to secure top management commitment for carrying out the final plan. The second most severe problem identified is the requirement for substantial further analysis after the completion of the IS plan. Both these problems are related to the output of the planning process. There are a lot of problems that are related to the resources required to carry out the strategic information systems planning:

ē success of the plan depends on the team leader
ē difficulty in finding the team leader meeting the criteria specified in the study
o Since it is difficult to find a team leader who meets the criteria specified in SISP methodologies, it is proposed that detailed guidelines on how to perform a SISP study by way of an automated tool will help. Such a tool will make the task more structured and less leader-critical.
ē methodology lacking computer support
ē planning exercise taking long time

Also the difficulty in obtaining top management commitment for implementing the outputs, the requirement of substantial further analysis and difficulty in finding a good team leader. Although strategic information systems planning are a major concern, most organizations find it difficult to undertake it. Besides the lack of experience with SISP, absence of a comprehensive, structured, easy to use methodology may also be a main reason for it. Further, as pointed out by Barlow (1990)[1] also, the overall success of integrated business/technology architecture depends upon the organizational structure, the level of IT experience within the company and the availability of information resources. Since these factors differ between firms, there may not be a single best way to view IT planning.

How are going to handle this challenges and problems?

ē Study Internal Business Environment. This is a prerequisite to determining the business IS needs. The internal business environment is comprised of mission of the organization, its objectives, strategies and plans, business activities, the organizational environment, core competencies, its critical success factors and the internal value chain.
ē Study external business environment. This helps an organization focus attention on the forces and pressure groups it encounters. These external forces exert a very strong influence on the business strategy of an organization. Factors to be considered here are the industry that the organization is in and that industryís critical success factors, competitive position of the organization in the industry, relationship with major buyers and suppliers.
ē Study internal IS/IT environment. This is mainly comprised of the current and planned applications portfolio that supports the business. Other aspects to be considered here are the present IS organization, skills and attitudes of people in the organization, IT environment and the IS/IT budgets.

ISPs were "all the rage" five to ten years ago. Many died on the vine because the time to "grow" an ISP exceeded the "growing season" many times over! ISPs thus fell "out of favor," not because the need was invalid but because the approach/method for developing it was grossly unacceptable.
The need for ISPs has not diminished. It has in fact increased due to the decentralization and distribution of planning and control for data and processing. No longer are one or a few persons in control. Rather, many hundreds of groups have access to data and the means to create sophisticated information systems in cost effective manners. The result regrettably is that the cumulative cost of thousands of small systems with discordant semantics far exceeds the cost of their former centralized ones.
The avalanche of PCs and client/servers computing environments cannot be turned back to an environment of a few well placed and centralized mainframes. Nonetheless, it is imperative that there be centralized planning and control over the accomplishment of all these information systems so that resources can be conserved, and data and process semantics standardized. Once managed and optimized, the decentralization and individual empowerment efforts can have their benefits accumulate beneficially rather than be a source of endless conflicts and semantic clashes.

The words that are written here are based on some documents and articles Iíve read and downloaded from the internet. I just stating and copying and sharing some important knowledge and information that can guide us to better understand the true nature of Information System Planning and how to face the challenges and be prepared for the risks.

---------------------------------------------------------------
[1] Strategic Information Systems Planning: A Review.pdf
[2]Whitemarsh - Information Systems Plan Book.pdf
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Adlaon,Kristine Mae

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PostSubject: my assignment   Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:49 pm

Question # 3: discuss the purpose of IS planning and identify its major challenges? For at least 2000 words.

Another battle of 2000 words or more, to complete a discussion about IS planning and its major challenges (sighed!!!). Well, I just hope this wouldnít give anybody a headache to read for it would probably be 60 percent sensible and 40 percent nonsensical ďhomilyĒ, but it would then up to the readerís discretion whether to read and understand it carefully or to laugh about it (I hope it would be the first one).

In my own point of view, a company or an enterprise has of course their individual own unique business plan or Information systems plan. When one does an IS planning, for me it would generally be strategic in a way that it has been carefully planned, critically thought, and deeply justified. Having a plan for the progress or for any reason at all of a certain enterprise would surely and must be confidential for the company itself. As we are or rather be said the business industry, belongs to the world where competition is rapidly growing it is of great significance that information available for the company should be kept secret and confidential. Well, these are just all my perceptions the way I see things the industry evolves and honestly I donít have any articles, books, or references to support this idea perhaps, answering the task given above needs a concrete, supported answer.

To begin this discussion, I would like to first identify the keywords and partially give some meanings of it:

What is purpose?

Well according to a dictionary purpose would mean:

ē The reason for existence: the reason for which something exists or for which it has been done or made
ē Desired effect: the goal or intended outcome of something
ē Determination: the desire or the resolve necessary to accomplish a goal


As has been defined above purpose would mean the reason for which something exists or for which it has been done or made. So what is the reason why Information system planning exists? I am neither a business enthusiast nor a business-minded person to accurately and precisely answer this question but as an individual I could say that the main reason why businesses are created or established is to gain profit, to have lots and lots of money. They say when you do strategic information systems planning for the business; your concern is not just to gain money but also for the development of the workforce; employees and employer. So for this reason at all, I could say that the reason why IS planning exists is because the corporate aims for something good for the business, development for the workforce and for some other reason at all concerning the goals and aims of the company or enterprise.

I have read an article stating the importance and the outcome of information systems existence. It is an excerpt from the inspector office of the general (US Department of Homeland Security). This agency of the United States plays an important role in the restoration and security of the said country established year 2003. Their Information Systems concerns are the following areas: Grant management, financial management, information technology management and security management. Above all of those areas I would like to further elaborate the area of the Information technology Management.

Information Technology Management

Integrating the information technology (IT) systems, networks, and capabilities of the various legacy agencies to form a single infrastructure for effective communications and information exchange remains one of Department of Homeland Securityís biggest challenges. There are multiple aspects to achieving such an IT infrastructure. For example, creating an adequate capability for relocating mission critical information systems to an alternate disaster recovery site in the event of extended service disruptions or emergency is one concern. Implementing a department-wide program that ensures effective information security controls and addresses IT risks and vulnerabilities is just as key. Further, improved IT planning, requirements identification, and analysis will be essential not only to acquire and implement the systems and other technologies needed to streamline operations within individual DHS component organizations, but also to support effective homeland security information sharing with state and local governments, the private sector, and the public. Without sound department-wide planning, coordination, and direction, the potential for integrating advanced data mining functionality and capabilities to address homeland security issues also will remain untapped.

ē Department Ė wide IT infrastructure

Creating an adequate disaster recovery capability for DHSís information systems is a major concern. DHSís IT infrastructure remains a collection of legacy networks, systems, and data centers. Several elements of this IT infrastructure do not have the ability to relocate to an alternate site that can be used if their primary facility suffers an extended outage or becomes inaccessible. This inability to restore the functionality of DHSís critical IT systems following a service disruption or disaster could negatively affect accomplishment of a number of essential DHS missions, including passenger screening, grants processing, and controlling the flow of goods across U.S. borders.

ē Security of IT Infrastructure

The security of IT infrastructure is a major management challenge. As required by the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), the CIO must develop and implement a department-wide information security program that ensures the effectiveness of security controls over information resources, including its intelligence systems, and addresses the risks and vulnerabilities facing DHSís IT systems.

ē DHS Component IT Management

IT management at the subcomponent-level remains a major challenge, as demonstrated by the audits and subsequent reports on the IT programs and initiatives of selected DHS directorates and organizations. We repeatedly identified problems with outdated or stove-piped systems, at times supporting inefficient business processes. Planning to modernize IT was unfocused, often with inadequate requirements identification, analysis, and testing to support acquisition and deployment of the systems and other technologies needed to improve operations. Insufficient training and guidance to support IT users were typical.

The statements mentioned above are some examples how information systems planning has been playing an important role in running a department or an enterprise as well as by organizing the different task of the different divisions of their Information Technology management.
By just merely seeing and trying to study the above situation on how Information System has been a necessity to the organization it is of no doubt in saying that without an IS plan everything will be ruined up and I could see that it would be a mess.

After discussing the main purpose of Information systems planning let me now identify the major challenges that this Information systems analyst are facing , this would be based on the book that we are using in our System Analysis and design subject.

Systems Analysis and Design is, first and foremost, a practical field grounded in time tested and rapidly evolving knowledge and techniques. Analyst must certainly know about computers and computer programs. They possess skills and develop expertise in programming. But they must also bring to the job a fundamental curiosity to explore how things are done and the determination to make them work better.
Developing information systems is not just about writing programs. Information systems are developed to solve problems for organizations and a systems analyst is often thought of as a problem solver rather than a programmer. So, what kinds of problems does an analyst typically solve?

ē Customers want to order products anytime of the day or night. So, the problem is how to process those orders round the clock without adding to the selling cost.
ē Production needs to plan very carefully the amount of each type of product to produce each week. So, the problem is how to estimate the dozens of parameters that affect production and then allow planners to explore different scenarios before committing to a specific plan.
ē Suppliers want to minimize their inventory holding cost by shipping parts used in the manufacturing process in smaller daily batches. So, the problem is how to order in smaller lots and accept daily shipments to take advantage of supplier discounts.

ē Marketing wants to anticipate customer needs better by tracking purchasing patterns and buyer trends. So, the problem is how to collect and analyze information on customer behavior that marketing can put to use.

ē Management continually wants to know the current financial picture of the company including profit and loss, cash flow, and stock market forecasts. So, the problem is how to collect, analyze, and present all of the financial information management wants.

ē Employees demand more flexibility in their benefits programs, and management wants to build loyalty and morale. So, the problem is how to process transaction for flexible health plans, wellness programs, employee investment options, retirement accounts, and other benefit programs offered to employees.
Information system developersí work on problems like the ones mentioned above. Some of these problems are large and strategically important. Some are much smaller, affecting fewer people, but important in their own way. All programming for the information system that solves the business problem is important, but solving each of these problems involves more than just programming.

So, what are the major challenges that involve in developing or planning Information systems:

ē Researching and understanding the problem.

The analyst must first understand the problem and learn everything possible it Ė who is involve, what business problems come into play, and what other systems would be affected by solving the problem.

ē Verifying the benefits of solving the problem.

The analyst needs to confirm for management that the benefits of solving the problem outweigh the costs. Sometimes, it would costs a fortune to solve the problem, so it might not be worth solving at all.

ē Defining the requirements for solving the problem.

If solving the problem is feasible, the analyst defines in detail what is required to solve it Ė what specific objectives must be satisfied, what are the data needed to be stored and used, what processing must be done to the data, and outputs must be produced. What needs to be done must be defined first.


ē Developing a set of possible solutions or alternatives.

After detailed requirements are defined, the analyst develops a set of possible solutions. Each possible solution (an alternative) needs to be thought through carefully. Usually an information system alternative is defined as a set of choices about physical components that make up an information system.

ē Deciding which solution is best and to make recommendation.

Many different alternatives must be considered, and the challenge is to select the best that is, the solution with the fewest risks and most benefits. Alternatives for solving the problem must be cost-effective, but they also must be consistent with the corporate strategic plan. Does the alternative contribute to the basic goals and objectives of the organization? Will it integrate seamlessly with other planned systems? Does it use technology that fits the strategic direction that management has defined? Will end users be receptive to it? Analyst must consider many factors and make tough decisions.

ē Defining the details of the chosen solution.

After the systems analyst has determined, in consultation with management, which alternative to recommend and management has approved the recommendation, the design details must be worked out. Here the analyst is concerned with creating a blueprint (design specifications) for how the new system will work. Systems design specifications cover databases, user interfaces, networks, operating procedures, conversion plans, and of course program modules.

ē Implementing the solution.

After the design specifications are complete, the actual construction of the system can begin, including the programming and the testing.

An information system can costs a lot of money to build and install Ė perhaps, a millions Ė so detailed
Plans must be drawn up. It is not unusual for dozens of programmers to work on programs to get a system up and running and those programmers need to know exactly what the system is to accomplish Ė thus detailed specifications are required, that would be another challenge for planning the information system.





References:
[1] Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia
[2] Microsoft Encarta Dictionary
[3] Parvi, F., and Ang, J., " A Study of the Strategic Planning Practices in Singapore," Information
& Management, Vol. 28, Number 1, January, 1995, pp 33-47.
[4] http://viu.eng.rpi.edu/publications/strpaper.pdf
[5] http://www.realfoundations.net/srv/rf_srv_sisp.htm
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harleylovitos

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: before December 12, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:34 pm

Discuss the purpose of IS planning and identify its major challenges? (at least 2000 words)


Information System sometimes refers to a system of persons, data records and activities that process the data and information in an organization, and it includes the organization's manual and automated processes. Computer-based information systems are the field of study for information technology, elements of which are sometimes called an "information system" as well, a usage some consider to be incorrect.
Information System Planning is important in a business industry; through this information system planning they can achieve their business goals with the help of the information system planning. In my own opinion information system planning is one of the key factors in a successful business. With the help of the information system planning or the information system itself a business will be in the right way in achieving their business goals. Thatís why information system planning is extremely important in a business, it helps to the task of the employee to be more fast and accurate through the make use of the computers. I could say that having a very good information system in a business brings the business in more competitive and much functional. A information system helps your business requirements in achieving them and when making an information system for your business you must first make a information system vision that relates also in your business goals. The information system planning helps your current business and also your future business needs.

When making an information system you must look first the current information system of the company and indentify the weakness and strength of the current information system. After indentifying the weaknesses and strengths of the current information system of the company you will now get the needs of the business needs and you can now cite your purposes in making the information system plan. As I read some articles about information system planning, I come up some purposes of an information system planning.

Purposes of having an Information System Planning:
1. Identify the current and future Information System needs of the business.
2. Enhance business competitive position through technology.
3. Match the business strategy.
4. To make the business processes and financial much easy to work.

When seeing the purposes of the information system planning for the business we could be attracted of the purposes of making an information system. When our business has an information system planning it can help our present business and future needs of our business.

Identify the current and future information system needs of the business. For this purpose of the information system we can identify what are the problems and what are lacking in out information system. In this purpose the weaknesses and the strength of the current information system will indentify. After they are identified we can improve the strengths of the current information system of the business and we can also solve the problems and what lacks of the IS of the business. This purpose of information system planning is extremely helpful for the business. Planning can provide you a right decision in your business.

The second purpose of having an information system planning is to enhance the business competitive position through technology. In this part the information system planning helps the business to be more competitive trough the use of the technology. With the technology that the business is using, the employee of the company will make their assign task more easy and fast to process. Technology refer to material objects of use to humanity, such as machines, hardware or utensils, but can also encompass broader themes, including systems, methods of organization, and techniques. After the definition about technology we are now aware that technology has an important role in the field of the business and through the technology also the business will become more aggressive.

The third purpose of the information system planning is to match the business strategy of the company. This purpose is very significant since an information system is the one who will help the business strategy or business goals achieve. When making an information system plan, the information system plan must be align to the business requirements so that they will work together properly. Matching the information system plan to the goal and requirements of the business will make fewer problems in implementing the new information system that is being plan.

The last purpose of having an information system plan is to make the business processes and financial much easy to work. In this purpose it helps the employee of the company to do their task easier with the help of the information system and also through the use of computers also. If the business has an information system planning it can help the processes of the transaction of the business much faster and gives accurate output. The goal of making an information system plan is to help the business and to know if the information system is fit to the business requirements.

All of this purposes that I come up are very important in making an information system plan. Building something that has no purpose it is useless. We do our jobs for a purpose, we study for how many years for a certain purpose, we love somebody for a purpose, and we plan the information system for good purposes. Thatís the important of having a purposes in what you do. Everything you do must have a purpose so that you will know if you do well and you reach your purpose. Every purpose of the information system plan is very important in the business; think about your business that has no information system. Your business will only last for a month thatís for sure.

Challenge means call something into question: to call something into question by demanding an explanation, justification, or proof. Having this definition we can now understand the questions which what are the major challenges of the information system planning. The challenges of the information system planning are the one who give more strength to them to work much harder to achieve their goals. Having a challenge in your work it pumps up you to do your job extra harder and do your job together with heart. As well the information system planning is also the same, the major challenges that occur in planning pumps up the Information System Professional to their job well to reach the expected output of the business and that is to help the business.

Major challenges of the information system planning are the Accuracy, Usability, and Time. All of these challenges that the information system planning is taken gives pressure to the Information System Professional on how the IS Professional do the information system that gives the business accuracy, usability and time of the information system. The challenges that the information system planning can help the information system professional to know whether he/she task is accurate enough to the business or the information system planning itself is accurate, is the information system planning is usable to the business, and if the information system planning gives fast transaction of the business so that less time will be wasted in waiting. Before we discuss the challenges of the IS planning I will first leave a question for you to answer after discussing the challenges of the information system planning. What could be the role of the challenges of the information system planning?

The firs challenge of the information system planning is the accuracy of the information system to the business. We first define what accuracy is and we will relate it to the information system plan. Accuracy is ability to avoid errors: the ability to be precise and avoid errors. From the definition of Encarta dictionaries regarding the accuracy will now relate it to the information system planning. When planning about the information system of the business we must consider the business requirements and goal so that when we now implement the information system to the business it will not make conflicts and it will avoid errors. In other words our information system planning must be accurate to the business and must be error free. Accuracy is a big factor and challenge of the information system since it tackles about how precise the information system handles the data of the company. Having this challenge in IS Planning gives extra care in management of the data and the information system professional must retrieve the data in detail so when accessing the data it will be more precise or accurate. The information that you provide someone with in order to make very important decisions must be exactly accurate. If one piece of data is wrong it could mean the difference between life and death, literally. For example, if a doctor receives fake information about a patientís allergies he may give that patient medicine that could eventually kill them. Accuracy in giving information is very important or the information system must give accurate information.

Another major challenge of the information system is the usability of the information system in the business. Information system planning you must consider what could be the possible usage of this information system to the business and if this could help the company. Usability of the information system has key role in the business since you implement an information system plan to be use to the business and improve the performance of the transactions happening in the company. If the business uses software to access the business information it must be easy to manipulate so that the end-users can get information easily. The information needs to be with no trouble accessible from the hardware where it is stored. Also, if the information is generated into a report form of some kind, the report must be made so that it can be interpreted naturally in order to make exact decisions. The information provided should have value to the decisions at hand. Usability of the information system must be handling in a trouble-free. For example, you have bought a latest cellular phone and then you donít know how to operate it, so how could you use it. Thatís why this challenge also important in information system planning and it has a role about the usage of the information system.

The last challenge of information system planning is the time factor. As time progresses everything is built bigger and faster and people seem to be always operating at a faster pace, therefore information needs to be received at a faster rate. If a person or business does not get the information in time to make a prompt decision they could lose out on many opportunities. This concept all started when the phone was introduced and people could be connected to each other in an instant, instead of waiting a week for a letter in the mail. Now as the internet has evolved, people and businesses can send documents and other information to one another in matter of seconds, causing decision-making times to decrease dramatically. We make information system to improve the performance of our business transactions and so that it can access information in the faster way. As people remain to progressively become more frantically fast paced the challenge of information getting to them will need also to become faster.

These three aspects of Information Systems must be used in combination with one another. Information may be received rapidly and easy to employ, but if it is imprecise it is valueless. Just the same if the information is either too slow or unintelligible it is ineffective as well. The major challenge of these three issues is combining them as one in an efficient effectual way.

Purposes of having an information system plan and the challenges of the information system plan are the key factors of having a functional information system. All of the purposes of information system planning discuss earlier, each and every one of them are significant. The challenges if IS planning can motivate to the IS professional to work much harder to prove that they conquer the challenges. In conclusion, the purposes and challenges of Information System Planning has a different role in building a functional information system.
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PostSubject: Assignment 3: Discuss the purpose of IS planning and identify its major challenges? (at least 2000 words)   Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:28 am

In todayís turbulent and increasingly complex economy businesses need tools for handling information flows efficiently and effectively. Organizations use information for various functions such as planning, controlling, organizing, and decision-making. Information, therefore, is unquestionably a critical resource in the operations of all organizations. The effectiveness of using information technology is a core competency of today's organizations.

Information Systems planning is an ongoing activity which must be repeated frequently to ensure that information systems continue to be developed according to the IS plan, and to update the process with any changes that are occurring due to management decision or other external business factors. The information systems plan is the plan by which databases and information systems of the enterprise are accomplished in a timely manner. Organization strategic information system planning or ISP is the guide for organizational information systems development. The purpose of information systems plan (ISP) is to satisfy managerial information requirements. It is to provide convenience in accessing information within an organization and to assure the security of managing and supervising the crucial information and decision-making with regard to information systems of the organization.

Strategic information systems planning have been developed to aid in recognizing appropriate portfolio of computer based application and relevant information processing activities to support organizationsí information needs. Strategic ISP is not a single solution or method for IS planning but an umbrella term for host of methods and techniques that are more or less based on different paradigms of world, organizations, and humans. Improved strategic information systems planning is and has been one of the most critical issues facing information systems executives for over three decades already

ISP has huge potential to make contribution to businesses and other organizations. With the advent of new technologies, such as Internet, the challenge of aligning IS with business is perhaps more significant and more difficult than ever. On the one hand, effective SISP can help organizations use information systems to reach business goals. On the other hand, SISP can also enable organizations to use information systems to significantly impact their strategies.

Todayís business environment is increasingly characterized by fierce competition, dynamic and fast changing markets and global distribution of work. These changes in competitive environment have led companies to ever more concentrating on few core processes and developing their own core competencies. Every year, $300-700 million dollar corporations spend about 5% of their gross income on information systems and their supports. A significant part of those funds support enterprise database, a philosophy of database system applications that enable corporations to research the past, control the present, and plan for the future.

There are many instances where IT, through proper planning has been used by companies as a strategic weapon to help them stay ahead in todayís highly competitive environment. Strategic Information Systems Planning is a systematic methodology that provides structural guide. It is a process of identifying a portfolio of computer-based applications that will assist an organization in executing its business plan and realizing its business goals. Although difficult, strategic IS planning gives information managers the opportunity to identify broad initiatives, specific applications and critical technologies to help their organizations carry out their current business strategies more successfully. It also offers a means to identify opportunities for using information systems to create new business strategies. Although many organizations conduct some form of IS planning, recent studies confirmed that despite the increasing number of frameworks and methodologies for ISP, severe problems do exist in the execution of an ISP. IS planning methodologies may produce satisfactory plans but organizations often lack the management commitment and control mechanisms to ensure that they follow the plans.

The most important criterion for a successful implementation of IT in business is that the effects and implications of IT are in line with corporate business strategies. This framework ties business planning with IT planning. Within each quadrant are some simple tools for the purpose. Business strategies are first developed by assessing external opportunities against companyís internal strengths and weaknesses. They serve as the basis where IT may possibly be used. Formulating IT strategies then involves evaluating companyís information requirement alongside technology opportunities. The usage of IT is strategically aligned with its business operations to help the firm achieve its goal and objectives.

An information systems planning or ISP is based on two core arguments. The first is that, at a minimum, a firmís information systems investments should be aligned with the overall business strategy and in some cases may even become an emerging source of competitive advantage. The second core argument behind ISP is that companies can best achieve IS-based alignment or competitive advantage by following a proactive, formal and comprehensive process that includes the development of broad organizational information requirements.

A quality ISP must exhibit five distinct characteristics before it is useful. The ISP must be timely. An ISP that is created long after it is needed is useless. In almost all cases, it makes no sense to take longer to plan work than to perform the work planned. The ISP must be useable. It must be so for all the projects as well as for each project. The ISP should exist in sections that once adopted can be parceled out to project managers and immediately started. The ISP must be maintainable. New business opportunities, new computers, business mergers, etc. all affect the ISP. The ISP must support quick changes to the estimates; technologies employed, and possibly even to the fundamental project sequences. Once these changes are accomplished, the new ISP should be just a few computer program executions away. While the ISP must be a quality product, no ISP is ever perfect on the first try. As the ISP is executed, the metrics employed to derive the individual project estimates become refined as a consequence of new hardware technologies, code generators, techniques, or faster working staff. As these changes occur, their effects should be installable into the data that supports ISP computation. In short, the ISP is a living document. It should be updated with every technology event, and certainly no less often than quarterly. The ISP must be reproducible. That is, when its development activities are performed by any other staff, the ISP produced should essentially be the same. The ISP should not significantly vary by staff assigned.
Whenever a proposal for the development of an ISP is created it must be assessed against these five characteristics. If any fail or not addressed in an optimum way, the entire set of funds for the development of an ISP is risked.
The effective management of information services in the modern firm is a challenging task, to say the least. Most enterprises today are highly dependent on their ability to manage information technology. In many firms, the quality of the firmís products or services depends on the strategic choices the firm has made with respect to its information services. The three key elements of an IT strategy are: the choice of what IT-related products or services are required for the business, the determination of which of these products and services will require firm-specific capabilities, and the choice of governance and ownership for both firm specific and generic capabilities. These decisions intertwine and cannot be made in isolation or even in sequence.

Strategic Information Systems Planning (SISP) and aligning IT with business has been in a key focus of IS managers for decades already. Constant changes in business environment and developments in technologies are hardly making the effort any easier. Characteristic for available strategic information system methods is their focus on a single organization. The need for ISPs has not diminished. It has in fact increased due to the decentralization and distribution of planning and control for data and processing. No longer are one or a few persons in control. Rather, many hundreds of groups have access to data and the means to create sophisticated information systems in cost effective manners. The result regrettably is that the cumulative cost of thousands of small systems with discordant semantics far exceeds the cost of their former centralized ones. Nonetheless, it is imperative that there be centralized planning and control over the accomplishment of all these information systems so that resources can be conserved, and data and process semantics standardized. Once managed and optimized, the decentralization and individual empowerment efforts can have their benefits accumulate beneficially rather than be a source of endless conflicts and semantic clashes.

ISP is the planning of information systems for an organization. It is the job of IS to deliver business benefits to an organization. SISP involves understanding what the business goals are and identifying how IS can support those goals by delivering benefits. This involves the alignment of IS with the business. Business or information system (IS) alignment is a key concept, but perhaps we should talk about integration. IS should be an integrated resource within the organization which contributes to the organizationís core competencies which may result in sustainable competitive advantage. The planning of IS cannot be considered as a one-off or occasional event. It is a continuous sustained process, as we plan and re-plan and respond to changes in the business environment.
Information System Planning. The continuous review of computer technology, applications and management structure to ensure that the current and anticipated information and process needs of the organization are met in a way that provides an acceptable return on investment, is sensitive to the dynamic politics and culture of the organization and is aware of the sociological environment within which the organization exists.

In the process of developing an information system plan (ISP) as well as its implementation, there are various major challenges that are encountered and must be resolved. One of which that is hard to deal with is the constant change in business environment and developments in technologies. The ISP must be aligned with everything that is important to its development. It should be updated; cope with the changes made and considerations should be broadened with regard to modifications. The resources and budget of time and money to be able to build up and create the desired information system plan is one of the challenges and difficulties in constructing an information system plan (ISP). Lack of budget and misuse of resources could greatly affect the progress of formulating an information system plan (ISP). In undertaking the course of action in developing an information system plan (ISP), it is of very significant factor to consider the finances that will be involve and the budget that should be set, the management and usage of the resources and supplies. Another challenge would be how it should be manage. Critical analysis and approach in the information system plan should be made to administer it thoroughly. One needs to be skilled and well-knowledgeable in order to manage well an information system (IS). The manager should know how to handle risk and deal with any adjustments that be made in the system. He/she must ensure that the plans are followed and monitor the control mechanism of the information system. The IS manager practice management commitment to the goals. One should develop a keen appreciation for the challenges of setting an information services strategy while delivering high quality information services.

It should be kept in mind that what cases do is bring a small chunk of the real world into the academic setting, where we can examine it, determine what problems exist, discuss optional approaches to dealing with the problems, and decide upon a course of action. The ideas and references that were the basis of these are opinions and were based on case studies and researches of different organizations and practitioners in the field of Information Technology (IT). Further amplification of topics and ideas on the major challenges involving information systems planning may be determined and identified through detailed and systematic studying on the said subject matter. And the purpose and function of information system plan (ISP) may be expanded and lengthened with regard to what, when and how it is greatly used and utilized.

http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~nkm/sisp/WHATIS.html
http://www.lilleyinfosys.co.uk/is-strategy.html
http://www.tdan.com/view-articles/5262
www.wiscorp.com/EnterpriseDatabase_-_InformationSystemsPlanning_-_book_-_sam.pdf -
state.tn.us/finance/oir/prd/ispprocess.pdf



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ashbury franklin alcordo

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: before December 12, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:07 pm

For a long time relationship between information system functions and corporate strategy was not of much interest to Top Management of firms. Information Systems were thought to be synonymous with corporate data processing and treated as some back-room operation in support of day-to-day mundane tasks (Rockart, 1979). In the 80ís and 90ís, however, there has been a growing realization of the need to make information systems of strategic importance to an organization. Consequently, strategic information systems planning (SISP) is a critical issue. In many industry surveys, improved SISP is often mentioned as the most serious challenge facing IS managers (Pavri and Ang, 1995, Beath and Orlikowski, 1994; Martin, 1993; Porter and Miller,1985).

Planning for information systems, as for any other system, begins with the identification of needs. In order to be effective, development of any type of computer-based system should be a response to need--whether at the transaction processing level or at the more complex information and support systems levels. Such planning for information systems is much like strategic planning in management. Objectives, priorities, and authorization for information systems projects need to be formalized. The systems development plan should identify specific projects slated for the future, priorities for each project and for resources, general procedures, and constraints for each application area. The plan must be specific enough to enable understanding of each application and to know where it stands in the order of development. Also the plan should be flexible so that priorities can be
adjusted if necessary. King (King, 1995) in his recent article has argued that a strategic capabilityarchitecture - a flexible and continuously improving infrastructure of organizational capabilities Ė is the primary basis for a company's sustainable competitive advantage. He has emphasized the need for continuously updating and improving the strategic capabilities architecture.

SISP is the analysis of a corporationís information and processes using business information models together with the evaluation of risk, current needs and requirements. The result is an action plan showing the desired course of events necessary to align information use and needs with the strategic direction of the company (Battaglia, 1991). The same article emphasizes the need to note that SISP is a management function and not a technical one. This is consistent with the earlier distinction between the older data processing views and the modern strategic importance view of Information Systems. SISP thus is used to identify the best targets for purchasing and installing new anagement information systems and help an organization maximize the return on its
information technology investment. A portfolio of computer-based applications is identified that will assist an organization in executing its business plans and realize its business goals. There is a growing realization that the application of information technology (IT) to a firmís strategic activities has been one of the most common and effective ways to improve business performance.

The task of strategic information systems planning is difficult and often time organizations do not know how to do it. Strategic information systems planning is a major change for organizations, from planning for information systems based on usersí demands to those based on business strategy. Also, a strategic information system planning changes the planning characteristics in major ways. For example, the time horizon for planning changes from 1 year to 3 years or more and development plans are driven by current and future business needs rather than incremental user needs. Increase in the time horizon is a factor which results in poor response from the top management to the strategic information systems planning process as it is difficult to hold their attention for such a long period. Other questions associated with strategic information systems planning are related to the scope of the planning study, the focus of the planning exercise Ė corporate organization vs. strategic business unit, number of studies and their sequence, choosing a strategic information systems planning methodology or developing one if none is suitable, targets of planning process and deliverables. Because of the complexity of the strategic information systems planning process and uniqueness of each organization, there is no one best way to tackle it. Vitale, et al. (1986) classify SISP methodologies into two categories: impact and alignment. Impact methodologies help create and justify new uses of IT, while the methodologies in the ďalignmentĒ category align IS objectives with organizational goals.

Lederer and Sethi (1988) surveyed 80 organizations to examine the problems faced by information systems managers when they attempt to implement one of three alignment methodologies, BSP, SSP or IE. Barlow (1990) has also examined the SISP methodologies and has provided some insights into their structure and implementation problems. Bergeron et al. (1991) examined the issue of application of two Ďimpactí methodologies, Porterís Value Chain Analysis and Wisemanís Strategic Thrust Methodology. These studies and the insights developed by us form the basis of this section which provides a critique of the existing methodologies.

The detailed list of problems in implementing SISP methodologies has been classified by
Lederer and Sethi as resource, planning process, or output related problem associated with the three methodologies. According to this survey, the most severe problem identified by IS managers is the failure to secure top management commitment for carrying out the final plan. The second most severe problem identified is the requirement for substantial further analysis after the completion of the IS plan. Both these problems are related to the output of the planning process. Besides these top two, six of the next top eight problems are related to the resources required to carry out the strategic information systems planning (success of the plan depends on the team leader, difficulty in finding the team leader meeting the criteria specified in the study, methodology lacking computer
support, planning exercise taking long time, etc.). Among the top ten problems encountered while implementing one of these methodologies (or, even while implementing an in-house methodology), three are common: difficulty in obtaining top management commitment for implementing the outputs, the requirement of substantial further analysis and difficulty in finding a good team leader.

The results of this survey suggest that IS planners are not particularly satisfied with their methodologies. If the objective of the SISP exercise is to align IS objectives with business goals, then detailed, lengthy and complex SISP may be of limited value. Where the objective is to use IT to impact a business strategy, these methodologies may not generate useful ideas for that purpose. Bergeron et al. (1990), however, point out that the value chain analysis and Wisemanís strategic methodologies do help in achieving that purpose. Barlow (1990) suggests that the large number of methodologies that have been developed can often Ďadd confusion rather than clarity to the (IS) planning process.í

Salient points which emerge from this and the preceding sections are:

ē Although strategic information systems planning is a major concern, most organizations find it difficult to undertake it. Besides their lack of experience with SISP, absence of a comprehensive, structured, easy to use methodology may also be a main reason for it. It is possible that the advances in Information Technology and their applicability in organizations has outpaced all formal methodologies evolved in the 70s and 80s or evolved in 90s as marginally modified versions of the earlier methodologies, which were largely dominated by IBMís Business Systems Planning.

ē Further, as pointed out by Barlow (1990) also, the overall success of an integrated business/technology architecture depends upon the organizational structure, the level of IT experience within the company and the availability of information resources. Since these factors differ between firms, there may not be a single best way to view IT planning.

ē A comprehensive methodology for SISP will need to incorporate both the Ďimpactí and the Ďaligní views. Method/1 incorporates Value Chain Analysis. IE supports Critical Success Factors Analysis. Even BSP is now incorporating CSFs.

ē Since it is difficult to find a team leader who meets the criteria specified in SISP methodologies, it is proposed that detailed guidelines on how to perform a SISP study by way of an automated tool will help. Such a tool will make the task more structured and less leader-critical. Some such tools for strategic business planning have been developed by the Search Technology, Inc. and are reported in Rouse and Howard (1993).

The statements above are taken from the [1]ďStrategic Information Systems Planning: A ReviewĒ by Somendra Pant and Cheng.

I planned not to write on my own composition regarding the discussion as for me, I find this article as informative, fitting to the idea of IS planning, its purpose and problems. This explains more clearly what and how important the Information Systems Planning is to an organization and company. And I also suggest that you read the article. There are illustrations which show its function, scope and alignment to organizational goals. There are many things that you may learn in the articles.

[1] ://viu.eng.rpi.edu/publications/strpaper.pdf
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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: before December 12, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:28 pm

Discuss the purpose of IS planning and identify its major challenges?

ďWhen planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people.Ē A Chinese proverbs quote. Which enlighten my mind to plan ahead before doing things.

Information System planning was develop in the late 1970 and the most important objectives were to improve the communications between computer users and Management Information Systems division, in order to increase the top management support in computing and identifying the new and expense of computer applications. In 1980 there were two new objectives that were materialized. They are: first the identification of strategic Information Systems applications Ė is to identify those who gave the organization a competitive advantage and second is the development of organization-wide information architecture. This is how the information systems planning begun. Information System plan is a statement and plan in which how the management and business foresees its information system in the future. Information System Plans must contain the following: first activities planner believes will help achieve goals, second the program for monitoring real-world progress, third the means for implementing charges in the plan. In order for a business or management to attain the goals and objectives of a business the business planning should have; first define the organizationís goals and objectives Ė the management will create the objectives and goals of the company, second determine resources needed to attain objectives Ė the things needed in order to accomplish the objectives, third create policies to govern the acquisition, use, and distribution of resources and lastly provide for any changes in objectives Ė if the objectives are not achievable it must be changed. The characteristics of quality information system include the following: timely, usable, maintainable, quality and reproducible. So soon after the Information Systems Planning was introduced the strategic planning evolved.

The Strategic Information System Planning is a process for developing a strategy and plans of an organization or business in order to aligning the information systems plan with the business plan strategy of an organization. This should be aligning in order to make the business plan and information systems plan will go parallel. Strategic planning is not a quick fix or a magic mirror that can view the future of the company. But it is a plan that must be accompanied by a commitment and actions in order to achieve the result. Strategic planning is commonly defined as follows :
ē a defined, long-term, future-oriented process of assessment, goal setting, and strategy building that maps a common sense approach to anticipating a future that is both desirable and achievable.
ē a careful consideration of an organizationís capabilities and environment that leads to priority-based resource allocation and other decisions.
ē a disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that guide and shape what an organization is, what it does, and why it does it.
ē an essential tool that permits an organization to be adaptable to ever changing, increasingly complex environments.
ē a long-range approach that requires regular reviews and updates to check progress and reassess the validity of the plan.
ē a participatory process that considers the needs and expectations of customers and stakeholders (including policy-makers) in defining missions, goals, and performance measures.
ē a structure for inspired, yet practical decision-making and follow-through.
ē the first step in an overall Strategic Management Cycle for the organization.

What is strategy? Strategy is a series of a goal-directed decisions and actions that match the organizationís skills and resources with the opportunities and threats in the environment. Strategic Information System Planning helps organization to use Information System in innovative ways to build wall against new competitor, change the source of competition, and generate a new products, a new feature, built- in switching cost. It promotes innovation and creativity. It is also a process of identifying a case of computer based applications in order to assist an organization in executing its current business plans and realizing its current business goals.

As I surf the net I have seen and read a lot of Strategic Information Planning and Information planning. The purpose of the companies, school and even the government was: first to help people define the institution or company will go over the next 5,6 or even 20 plus years Ė if the institution or the company still exist, second enable to create a directional document to guide while not limiting future opportunities Ė this like a research paper that the company takes as guide for the companies direction in the future, third to enable the company to align strategic objectives with the financial resources and human resource of the company, school or even businesses Ė in order for them to determine how much cost will it take to achieve the goals and objective of the company, how many human resource needed to attain the strategic plan. But to sum up all of the purpose written above it is all about to improve the chances of reaching desirable possible outcomes and to create the future not to predict it.

The major challenges of Information System planning (Fahmi, 2006) are 1. Data: is usually refers to a collection of information usually collected as the result of observation or experiment, or processes within a computer system. In finding data is a real challenge since there is available statistics are far below those available in developing countries. Most companies try to keep any financial information and consider them secrets in order for the other companies to see what the weaknesses of their company are. It is not possible to know the demand in last year of a certain product or service. People are not used to market research and they donít want to talk to the marketing people. 2. Employees: a person that was hired by the employer to do a certain job. But most employees and managers are not aware about the value of strategic planning and they may consider it waste of time and something that is applicable in developed countries. Because in their mind is only to gain money. 3. Owners: a person or a group of person who owns a company. Many owners of successful companies believe they donít need to do strategic planning and they do not know that their success will go one day when there are more competitors or there are changes in the market. 4. Managersí selection: Most companyís managers in developing countries are experts in the technical process of the organization but they are not well educated in management and therefore they want to focus on what they know and forget what they do not know. Since many companies are own by a family therefore the next manager will be the son or other related person in the family. Accordingly, strategic management does not fall in their area of interest since the manager wants to achieve what they should achieve. 5. Qualitative Analysis: Strategic planning needs a lot of forecasting and qualitative analysis besides the quantitative analysis. Many technical managers are not used to neither the qualitative analysis nor the forecasting. Since technical managers are not interested on that qualitative analysis. 6. ďI am the managerĒ: The strategy shows a guide for decisions, so, an employee may, sometimes, tell the senior manager that his decision is against the company strategy. Thus the managers avoid having a strategy to keep his freedom to decide whatever he likes. 7. ďAnalysisĒ versus ďIntuitionĒ: Analysis usually refers as the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts to gain a better understanding of it. And Intuition is the ability to sense and recognize immediately without reasoning. Mainly people do not think that a manager should do analysis or have done for him or her they think that some people are talented to take the right decision without doing many calculations or having subordinates make a study for them. Usually the company hires a researcher in order for them to know what will be the future of the company through the study. 8. Implementation: To get every manager follow the same strategy is not an easy task. 9. Investors: Having a clear strategic plan and clear goals for the future other than increasing sales of the current products in the market, does not affect the stock price because most of the investors do not care about those issues, they care about the share. 10. Security: Most managers feel that everything is a secret and they donít want other people to view their strategic plan. And obviously they think that no one else should know the strategy because other might copy their strategy. Therefore no one else should make a study for our strategic planÖ.and there is no strategy. Who faces these major challenges? As what I have read in an article the person who are responsible to face this major challenges in the Information System planning is the Information Systems managers. Therefore, these challenges must be faced positively by the Information Systems manager and by the people in the business in order for the company to abide in there Information Systems Planning.

ďTo accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.Ē By Anatole France Ė a (French Writer, member of the French Academy and Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921, 1844-1924). As a student this quote really touches my mind and heart. The quote wants to imply that in every thing that we want to achieve we should not only acting, dreaming and planning but we should believe in our self in order to achieve our dreams and plans in our life.

Reference:

www.wikipedia.org
http://sameh.wordpress.com/2006/06/07/challenges-for-strategic-planning-in-developing-countries/








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Michelangelo Macaraeg

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: before December 12, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:02 pm

The effectiveness of using information technology is a core competency of today's many business organizations. And implementing information technology in a business organization commonly takes the form of information systems. An existing information systems functioning properly inside an organization gives it a competitive edge and various advantages.

Successfully implementing information systems in a business organization can be achieved through ISP or information systems planning. It is already apparent that the purpose of conducting information systems planning in the organization is aimed to produce a proper information system that could function well and generate benefits to the organization. The information systems plan project determines the sequence for implementing specific information systems. The goal of the strategy is to deliver the most valuable business information at the earliest time possible in the most cost-effective manner. In that way, the business organization will garner the most benefits that an information system could bring and offer.

Although information systems planning could promise so much benefits, the information systems planning project has been found to be failing in many organizations most of the time. As the Aventure Works, Incorporated put in numbers, only 11% of Information Technology projects are delivered on time, in budget, and return the expected, promised and hoped for business benefits. They also estimated that more than half of all the information technology projects are bound to fail. In the process of developing an Information systems plan, great efforts and much time are invoked thus if the information systems plan is a failure, there will be a huge waste of business organization resources, most specially time. Over the development of the information system itself, the process in which the software and hardware are already developed and purchased takes place before evaluation and testing of the information itself, thus if the information system fails to meet the demands and expectations of the user or of the business organization itself, it would be a huge waste in resources, now involving money.
Many of information systems plan project fails not due to the developers and analysts themselves but due to the business organization itself. As the information systems plan project is intended to take place over in many years, it is clear that the business organization that uses that information system plan is bound to change in many things. Requirement specification in the information systems plan will be different from the time it was taken from the business organization; hence when the information system is delivered, it is now incongruent to the needs and demands of the business organization also in the form of requirements. As the blame falls on the developers, many are fired due to these cases which can be found iniquitous. There is also an instance where the information systems planning are undergoing that the developer, more specifically the system analysts, needs to do a critical job. That is to interview certain individuals in the company in order to derive what is needed and claimed to be necessary to be entered in the information system, later to be produced as the requirements specification. This part is critical since one of the necessary requirements for an information system to function properly is user satisfaction and the IS to interact as it should be according to what the users want. Many failures are found in this part since the individuals that were interviewed does not view the information systems as the analysts view it thus creating misconceptions on how and what the information system should be. An event like that would create a significant flaw in the information systems planning thus its failure will be inevitable. An information system that is developed from an imprecise ground is bound to collapse and produce undesirable results.
In business practices, a successful and developing business company can not accept and risk investing in a project that projects very low possibility of success and completion. Numbers reveal that information systems planning are very risky and has very low success ratio. There are also many clear evidence as to why these numbers are very low since many business organizations has tried to develop their own information systems plan only to fail in the end. Some have been developed yet failed in the performance while some were not developed at all and halted at the middle of its development. Since information systems plan project takes over a long period of time, it is apparent that many pressures are being put in the middle of the development stage and many distortions are created due to the changes in the organization. Many organizations now believe and invest in long term solutions such as the information system implementation yet the company itself is under pressure from daily problems and challenges that they fail to notice and hold the importance of the long term solutions. Also the information systems delivers its service and benefits in an indistinct form primarily since its functions serve as only a tool to the business organizationís improvement. Information systems use information as the primary tool for the business organization to gain competitive edge in its operations and transactions. Information that is necessary and significant in order to cut costs, achieve optimal performance and operate competitively with other organizations. Today, many business organizations employ the use of information technology through implementing information systems in their organization. It also means that the business organization has also gained advantages or maintained par with other business competitors. Without information system, it could be said that the organization is still running under a traditional and old processes. It could also mean that the business organization has slow its growth or halted its improvement for todayís time is the peak of information technology, and without it, you would be left behind.
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PostSubject: ans ass# 3   Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:15 am

Discuss the purpose of IS planning and identify its major challenges?

Since all of us know what IS means already, maybe some of us still needs to be enlightened of
what is planning and its purpose. To start with, I will define planning and give its purpose.

Estimating and planning are critical to the success of any software development
project of any size or consequence. Plans guide our investment decisions: We
might initiate a specific project if we estimate it to take six months and 1 million
but would reject the same project if we thought it would take two years and
4 million. Plans help us know who needs to be available to work on a project
during a given period. Plans help us know if a project is on track to deliver the
functionality that users need and expect. Without plans we open our projects to
any number of problems.

Yet planning is difficult, and plans are often wrong. Teams often respond to
this by going to one of two extremes: They either do no planning at all, or they
put so much effort into their plans that they become convinced that the plans
must be right. The team that does no planning cannot answer the most basic
questions, such as ďWhen will you be done?Ē and ďCan we schedule the product
release for June?Ē The team that over plans deludes themselves into thinking that
any plan can be ďright.Ē Their plan may be more thorough, but that does not
necessarily mean it will be more accurate or useful.
That estimating and planning are difficult is not news. Weíve known it for a
long time. In 1981, Barry Boehm drew the first version of what Steve McConnell


Why Do It?

If estimating and planning are difficult, and if itís impossible to get an accurate
estimate until so late in a project, why do it at all? Clearly, there is the obvious
reason that the organizations in which we work often demand that we provide
estimates. Plans and schedules may be needed for a variety of legitimate reasons,
such as planning marketing campaigns, scheduling product release activities,
training internal users, and so on. These are important needs, and the difficulty
of estimating a project does not excuse us from providing a plan or schedule that
the organization can use for these purposes. However, beyond these perfunctory
needs, there is a much more fundamental reason to take on the hard work of estimating
and planning.

Estimating and planning are not just about determining an appropriate
deadline or schedule. Planningóespecially an ongoing iterative approach to
planningóis a quest for value. Planning is an attempt to find an optimal solution
to the overall product development question: What should we build? To answer
this question, the team considers features, resources, and schedule. The
question cannot be answered all at once. It must be answered iteratively and incrementally.
At the start of a project we may decide that a product should contain
a specific set of features and be released on August 31. But in June we may
decide that a slightly later date with slightly more features will be better. Or we
may decide that slightly sooner with slightly fewer features will be better.

A good planning process supports this by
Āü Reducing risk
Āü Reducing uncertainty
Āü Supporting better decision making
Āü Establishing trust
Āü Conveying information

Reducing Risk

Planning increases the likelihood of project success by providing insights into
the projectís risks. Some projects are so risky that we may choose not to start
once weíve learned about the risks. Other projects may contain features whose
risks can be contained by early attention.
The discussions that occur while estimating raise questions that expose potential
dark corners of a project. Suppose you are asked to estimate how long it
will take to integrate the new project with an existing mainframe legacy system
that you know nothing about. This will expose the integration features as a potential
risk. The project team can opt to eliminate the risk right then by spending
time learning about the legacy system. Or the risk can be noted and the
estimate for the work either made larger or expressed as a range to account for
the greater uncertainty and risk.

Reducing Uncertainty

Throughout a project, the team is generating new capabilities in the product.
They are also generating new knowledgeóabout the product, the technologies
in use, and themselves as a team. It is critical that this new knowledge be acknowledged
and factored into an iterative planning process that is designed to
help a team refine their vision of the product. The most critical risk facing most
projects is the risk of developing the wrong product. Yet this risk is entirely ignored
on most projects. An agile approach to planning can dramatically reduce
(and ideally eliminate) this risk.

The often-cited CHAOS studies (Standish 2001) define a successful project
as on time, on budget, and with all features as initially specified. This is a dangerous
definition because it fails to acknowledge that a feature that looked good
when the project was started may not be worth its development cost once the
team begins on the project. If I were to define a failed project, one of my criteria
would certainly be ďa project on which no one came up with any better ideas
than what was on the initial list of requirements.Ē We want to encourage
projects on which investment, schedule, and feature decisions are periodically
reassessed. A project that delivers all features on the initial plan is not necessarily
a success. The productís users and customer would probably not be satisfied if
wonderful new feature ideas had been rejected in favor of mediocre ones simply
because the mediocre features were in the initial plan.

Supporting Better Decision Making

Estimates and plans help us make decisions. How does an organization decide
whether a particular project is worth doing if it does not have estimates of the
value and the cost of the project? Beyond decisions about whether or not to start
a project, estimates help us make sure we are working on the most valuable
projects possible. Suppose an organization is considering two projects; one is estimated
to make §1 million, and the second is estimated to make §2 million.
First, the organization needs schedule and cost estimates to determine whether
these projects are worth pursuing. Will the projects take so long that they miss a
market window? Will the projects cost more than theyíll make? Second, the
organization needs estimates and a plan so that it can decide which to pursue.
The organization may be able to pursue one project, both projects, or neither if
the costs are too high.

Organizations need estimates in order to make decisions beyond whether or
not to start a project. Sometimes the staffing profile of a project can be more important
than its schedule. For example, a project may not be worth starting if it
will involve the time of the organizationís chief architect, who is already fully
committed on another project. However, if a plan can be developed that shows
how to complete the new project without the involvement of this architect, the
project may be worth starting.

Many of the decisions made while planning a project are tradeoff decisions.
For example, on every project we make tradeoff decisions between development
time and cost. Often the cheapest way to develop a system would be to hire one
good programmer and allow her ten or twenty years to write the system, allowing
her years of detouring to perhaps master the domain, become an expert in
database administration, and so on. Obviously, though, we can rarely wait twenty
years for a system, and so we engage teams. A team of thirty may spend a year
(thirty person-years) developing what a lone programmer could have done in
twenty. The development cost goes up, but the value of having the application
nineteen years earlier justifies the increased cost.
We are constantly making similar tradeoff decisions between functionality
and effort, cost, and time. Is a particular feature worth delaying the release?
Should we hire one more developer so that a particular feature can be included
in the upcoming release? Should we release in June or hold off until August and
have more features? Should we buy this development tool? To make these decisions
we need estimates of both the costs and benefits.

Establishing Trust

Frequent reliable delivery of promised features builds trust between the developers
of a product and the customers of that product. Reliable estimates enable reliable
delivery. A customer needs estimates to make important prioritization and
tradeoff decisions. Estimates also help a customer decide how much of a feature
to develop. Rather than investing twenty days and getting everything, perhaps
investing ten days of effort will yield 80% of the benefit. Customers are reluctant
to make these types of tradeoff decisions early in a project unless the developersí
estimates have proved trustworthy.
Reliable estimates benefit developers by allowing them to work at a sustainable
pace. This leads to higher-quality code and fewer bugs. These, in turn, lead
back to more reliable estimates because less time is spent on highly unpredictable
work such as bug fixing.

Conveying Information

A plan conveys expectations and describes one possibility of what may come to
pass over the course of a project. A plan does not guarantee an exact set of features
on an exact date at a specified cost. A plan does, however, communicate
and establish a set of baseline expectations. Far too often a plan is reduced to a
single date, and all of the assumptions and expectations that led to that date are
forgotten.
Suppose you ask me when a project will be done. I tell you seven months but
provide no explanation of how I arrived at that duration. You should be skeptical
of my estimate. Without additional information you have no way of determining
whether Iíve thought about the question sufficiently or whether my estimate is
realistic.
Suppose, instead, that I provide you a plan that estimates completion in
seven to nine months, shows what work will be completed in the first one or two
months, documents key assumptions, and establishes an approach for how weíll
collaboratively measure progress. In this case you can look at my plan and draw
conclusions about the confidence you should have in it.

What Makes a Good Plan?

A good plan is one that stakeholders find sufficiently reliable that they can use it
as the basis for making decisions. Early in a project, this may mean that the plan
says that the product can be released in the third quarter, rather than the second,
and that it will contain approximately a described set of features. Later in
the project, to remain useful for decision making, this plan will need to be more
precise.
Suppose you are estimating and planning a new release of the companyís
flagship product. You determine that the new version will be ready for release in
six months. You create a plan that describes a set of features that are certain to
be in the new version and another set of features that may or may not be included,
depending on how well things progress.
Others in the company can use this plan to make decisions. They can prepare
marketing materials, schedule an advertising campaign, allocate resources
to assist with upgrading key customers, and so on. This plan is usefulóas long
as it is somewhat predictive of what actually happens on the project. If development
takes twelve months instead of the planned six, this was not a good plan.
However, if the project takes seven months instead of six, the plan was probably
still useful. Yes, the plan was incorrect, and yes, it may have led to some
slightly mistimed decisions. But a seven-month delivery of an estimated sixmonth
project is generally not the end of the world and is certainly within the
PMIís margin of error for a budgetary estimate. The plan, although inaccurate,
was even more likely useful if we consider that it should have been updated regularly
throughout the course of the project. In that case, the one-month late delivery
should not have been a last-minute surprise to anyone.


Major challenges

Management and employee co-operation, availability of resources, the ability to change
oneís mindset, are some of the common hindrances that need to worked out with sheer
conviction and determination.

Management and employee cooperation is of course a hindrance in IS planning. Since plans
cannot be implemented without the cooperation of employees and good management.

Availability of resources is also a major problem while planning. If your resources were
limited you have to make a plan that would suit the budget or the facilities available, thus
making IS planning more complicated.

Those were the major problems that could encounter while planning. I hope readers could
get my point why I defined planning thoroughly. Since little knowledge is dangerous, I prefer
to give broader one so you could widen your perspective about the topic.

ENTRIES AFTER THIS POST ARE CONSIDERED LATE .... minus .01%/day from yoou final grade
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mariechelle alcoriza

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: before December 12, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Sun Dec 14, 2008 10:26 am

ďEverything has its own purposeĒ. This quote though very simple but it has lots of meaning. My parents would always tell me about that quote. Whenever I open my problems to them (that is a rare thing for me to do, if I can still manage it, I wonít bother telling my problems to them because I donít want them to worry about me), they would tell me, that there are things or people we encounter everyday that their purpose might be hurting us, giving us pain and challenges or brings happiness to us. But it all ends in giving us lessons or teaches us lessons, lessons that we can ponder in our lives and be able to apply those lessons for our own personal development. Hehehe, everything I wrote above was kind of a serious thing ah! Mariechelle bares it all!

Letís start the roll balling! (isnít it letís start the ball rolling?) Anyway, ok, here it goes, letís begin! Planning is the word! (again?). Well, I have actually read a quote that reminds me of the relationship of planning and success. According to Robin Sieger, a British business executive, Planning is as natural to the process of success as its absence is to the process of failure. Deep, isnít it? For me, this is somehow similar to what I have realized, plans without actions are nothing . How can we reach our goals in life if all we have are plans? We should work hard for it!

Purpose. One thing we might have actually asked to ourselves. What is our purpose in this ever-changing, fast-pace world. I even asked myself but as of this time, I find it hard to answer it. Nonetheless, letís get back to business. What is the purpose of an information system plan? Based on my readings, the main purpose of the information system before is primarily incorporating technology with the business to create a better production and can lessen the burden of the organizationís employees in working on their manual business operation. That was before! Right now, it somewhat the opposite! Some of the experts say, that information system plays a vital role in an organizationís success. Based on an article, it says there that, consequently, strategic information systems planning (SISP) is a critical issue. In many industry surveys, improved SISP is often mentioned as the most serious challenge facing IS managers (Pavri and Ang, 1995, Beath and Orlikowski, 1994; Martin, 1993; Porter and Miller,1985). Strategic Information Systems Planning in the present era is not an easy task because such a process is deeply embedded in business processes. These systems need to cater to the strategic demands of organizations, i.e., serving the business goals and creating competitive advantage as well as meeting their data processing and MIS needs. The key point here is that organizations have to plan for information systems not merely as tools for cutting costs but as means to adding value. [1]

For me, the purpose of a strategic information system plan is to provide direction on where the company is going in terms of the companyís management of the information system (its future needs based on the current information system) and; I may somehow relate it with strategic planning. In strategic planning, it identifies where the organization wants to be at some point in the future and how it is going to get there. It primarily focuses on developing strategies on how to achieve the vision, mission, goals and objectives of an organization. Then, the next would be, gaining competitive advantage. Of course, business is business, they compete with each other. The word MONEY comes into place and time is of the essence. I may somehow relate it with the companyís who are working and creating microprocessors in our computers; example: Business A, created a microprocessor known as quad-core, this means that it has faster processing time knowing that it has 4 processors working, compared to Business B who created a dual core microprocessor. In this analogy, relating in real-life situation, the customers would choose to go into a company with the faster processing time than the other. And with these, an organization with a good and well-developed information system plan can gain competitive advantage.

Laying down some of the purpose of an information system plan, we now come to the challenges awaiting the team who will be working in the so-called ďinformation system planĒ. As what I have written above, some experts would say that strategic information systems planning is a serious challenge in information systems planning. But what are those challenges? Iíll try to give some of them, here it goes:
ē Top management support
ē Project team involving IS specialists, users, and managers
ē Select a planning methodology such as Information Engineering, Business Process Re-engineering, etc. to guide planning and development
On the first challenge, is the most critical one, the lack of top management support to the team. Why I said that it is the most critical one? I may say that the support from the higher management is the root of the success of the said plan. If there is support, this means that the organization is open to answer the questions of the requirement analysts (part of the planning team). As what I have remembered, in our Systems Analysis and Design I, a reporter introduced to us the steps on systems planning. The first step is the requirements analysis: who are involved in the system, who are the users of the system, what are the problems in the existing system, or what are the business problems that occur and ahm(thinking), what are the other systems that might be affected when implementing or solving the said problem. And with top management support, the analysts can get the all the requirements or data needed, the processes involved, the userís demand (or probably the employees). in contrast, without the top management support, the planning team will be frustrated, as what I have said it is the root of the success, now, without the support, the analysts, can not get the desired requirements, therefore, there would be a big possibility of wrong analysis of the problem, wrong set of solutions, in short the output would probably be, a wrong system. Then when the wrong system is implemented, the userís of the system will also be affected, maybe confused and even frustrated that will result in poor job performance because of these instances, there is a very big possibility that the company will go down that will again result to unemployment, the familyís of the employees will now be affected and would result to another problem which is hunger.
Assuming, that the above challenge is addressed, everything is laid down by the organization, and the planning process is on a good start. The team is enthusiastic, more focused and gives their 100% commitment on the said project. But a good start doesnít mean a good ending. Of course there would be an instance (or normally,ahahah) that we feel tired or we find it difficult to finish the project. Here,the next challenge would be, Project team involving IS specialists, users, and managers. There is a need of a good leader. A good leader, provides direction to the team, the leader is responsible to keep his team in good shape, healthy mind, healthy relationship with others, whenever there are clashes between the team members, it would be up to the team leader to talk things over and resolve the issues. In addition, the leader should keep his team in high spirit even if things are not going as planned. Of course, another challenge, would be, the experiences and expertise of each of the member of the team. As we all know, this is a tough job, it needs a lot of experience and expertise. It is also possible that the advances in Information Technology would be another challenge. Up to date or out dated. As we know technology changes, itís fast that in order for us not to be left behind, we must cope up to these advancements.
Another challenge is selecting a planning methodology such as Information Engineering, Business Process Re-engineering, etc. to guide planning and development. Again, as what I have remembered, during our Systems Analysis and Design I reporting, the reporter said, that after the requirements had already been defined, the team would now develop a set or group of possible solutions then, the next step would be deciding on what solution would be the best to solve the problem. The said solution would bring out more benefits to the company, it must be consistent and it would help on reaching the VMGO of the company or in other words, it is aligned with the business plan. Now after, the organization approved the solution, it is now the time to start doing the system. In selecting a methodology
Based on my readings also, another challenge to the project team is to produce quality information system plan. A good quality of an information system plan has the following characteristics: Timely. The ISP must be timely. An ISP that is created long after it is needed is useless. In almost all cases, it makes no sense to take longer to plan work than to perform the work planned. Another characteristic is, it is Useable. The ISP must be useable. It must be so for all the projects as well as for each project. The ISP should exist in sections that once adopted can be parceled out to project managers and immediately started. Maintainable. The ISP should be maintainable. New business opportunities, new computers, business mergers, etc. all affect the ISP. The ISP must support quick changes to the estimates; technologies employed, and possibly even to the fundamental project sequences. Once these changes are accomplished, the new ISP should be just a few computer program executions away. Quality. While the ISP must be a quality product, no ISP is ever perfect on the first try. As the ISP is executed, the metrics employed to derive the individual project estimates become refined as a consequence of new hardware technologies, code generators, techniques, or faster working staff. As these changes occur, their effects should be installable into the data that supports ISP computation. In short, the ISP is a living document. It should be updated with every technology event, and certainly no less often than quarterly. Reproducible. The ISP must be reproducible. That is, when its development activities are performed by any other staff, the ISP produced should essentially be the same. The ISP should not significantly vary by staff assigned.


Another challenge would be how is the Information System plan specific enough to enable understanding of each application and to know where it stands in the order of development. Also the plan should be flexible so that priorities can be adjusted if necessary.

To close this, information systems plan should work with the business plan in an organization. They should work hand in hand for the development and the success of the organization.

Let me share to you a simple text message that I received as I am making this write-up.
Here it goes: ďEverything that God allows to come our way is with a purpose. He uses even the greatest error and the deepest hurt to mold us into a person of worth and value.Ē
We know that all of us do have our reasons for existing in this world. It is up to us to find out what are those reasons. In finding those, weíll encounter challenges. In every challenge, thereís a lesson to ponder and letís just bear in mind, that God wonít allow those challenges to come in our way if we canít overcome it or if we canít do it. Sometimes we must be hurt in order to grow; we must fail in order to know; we must lose in order to gain because some lessons in life are best learned through pain. Weíll not give up if things are not going in our way, not everything is meant to be, but everything is worth a try.

God Bless Everyone!

Ciao!
lol!
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SherylCaguimbaga



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PostSubject: Assignment 3   Sun Dec 14, 2008 11:32 am

Before I tell you my perception on the purpose of information systems planning (ISP) and its major challenges, I would like to share with you a short story that had happened to me last Thursday Ė December 11, 2008. While waiting for a bus, a woman moved toward me. She asked for my name and we had a little talk. Then she gave me a journal that entitled ďSUCCESS, how can you achieve it?Ē While traveling, I was also reading the journal. It was really an awakening and it gave me the encouragement to continue in spite of this crucial environment.

Let me link the story to the question concerning the success of the organizations. Why organizations need to plan for their information system (IS) and why they continue developing it? Moreover, why do they have to invest a large amount in IS and information technology (IT)? If I were to identify the goal of those organizations taken as a whole, of course, as we all know, they really wanted to succeed (who does not?) Even us individuals want the same thing. So to answer the question, first, we need to know what is meant by IS and planning.

From the previous assignment, I had discussed the term information system and information systems plan (ISP) and was able to compare it with business planning, their relationship and the frequently experienced causes of frustration in IS professionals and users while working on an IS plan. This time, I need to restate the meaning of IS. Here we have the IS resources: including people, hardware and software. So for what are the resources? People Ė they are working on the data. Hardware Ė tools (e.g. computers) used by persons working in an organization in processing the data. Then we have software Ė computer programs or databases that are used to store or process data. All of them are working on the organizationís data and information. As what has been stated in Wikipedia Ė the term refers to a system of persons, data records and activities that process the data and information in an organization, and it includes organizationís manual and automated processes. Next, we have planning. Planning involves thinking ahead and designing future action. It provides us a scheme of our action.

After defining the two terms, let me now discuss about IS planning. It is the planning of IS for an organization. Assessing the information needs of an organization and defining the systems, databases and technologies that best satisfy those needs. It contains the goals, objectives and priorities of the organization and the strategies of improving the organizationís IS. What are the expected changes three or five years from now? What are the developments that the organization should have? Any improvement in the IS, it is expected that it would cater the needs in achieving the organizationís goals and as what I have learned from the previous assignment, it should be in accordance with business plan.

In developing an IS plan, there are several factors should take into consideration. Each of which should not be taken for granted and should be well analyzed and planned. First we have the IS resources such as the people, hardware and software. The people or the users should be able to understand and use the implemented system. It is one clear opportunity and it would benefit many users if user interface design were improved. To build better interfaces, more user involvement is needed in the interface design process. Designers should follow the interface guidelines that exist. User training will also help, especially if it addresses problem solving strategies that will help build self-efficacy. Even small changes in the interface can make a big impact on user satisfaction. Specific hardware and software products should always be evaluated. Does an organization need to change its hardware and/or the software they are using? Do they need an additional of it? What are the suitable hardware and software that would best cater the needs of the organization? How much are they needed? These are some of the questions that an IS professional must have in mind.

How could I able come up with those questions? Of course, after reading many articles about information system and information systems plan, I have now my ideas and there is no reason for me not to be able to construct those. Next is the financial statement of the organization. How much an organization needs? What are the alternatives that would help the organization supplement the insufficiency? Then we have the IS professionals. They should have the skills and the personality of a real IS professional and worthy to be called as IS professional. They should have patience, perseverance, and the knowledge, of course. For what they are called IS professional?

Why need IS plan? What is the purpose of IS planning? Organizations need to plan for their IS to make sure that it both complements and assists in the achievement of their business goals and that the use of scarce resources are maximized within a business. Other reason is to maximize the benefits of changing technology and to take account of the different viewpoints of business professionals and IT professionals. IS planning is never an easy task. That is why there are methods that IS professionals try to follow and standards they try to reach out in order to have a good outcome and that it should serve the company and the users the way it was expected.

It should support and control the technical system in which it should be maintained to avoid failures and degradation. The people that are involved should be committed by actively participating. It must be constructed and documented carefully. It should also consider the life span of the IS and not just the acquisition costs. It should support the organizationís goal, strategies, and a sense of balance between centralized and decentralized decision.

We should always look out for the desirable characteristics of an IS plan including the shortcomings of the organization and the solutions to those problems which should be for a long term and the proposals in order to have quality in the product. It should be well planned because together with business plan, they both have a significant impact and both working for the success of the organization.

While working on an IS plan, sometimes inevitable problems could occur and could lead IS professionals to frustration. Even in our everyday life, we always face problems and challenges. But that is not a problem because it is just a matter of positive thinking and character.

In todayís competitive world, there is a need to attain a higher level of competence in order to be more profitable. We have to face the reality that the presence of information technology infrastructures in business can at times have a dehumanizing effect on people. As the old saying goes, ďLife is a constant changeĒ. Information is always evolving same as technology. This is one of the reasons why organizations need to have an IS plan and continue developing it, innovating and make large investments in information technology and in information systems in order not to be left behind and to cater the best services to their customers.. Another thing is for them to become globally competitive. The level of intensity gave business firms a motivation to work a lot harder and have a healthy competition among the organizations.

After having the purpose of IS plan, let me now identify its major challenges. What are those? While searching on the net, I fortunately found the article that discussed about ISP and its major challenges. After reading the article, I decided to have those and include here. Taken from the site: http://www.science.gmu.edu/~ahughes/MIS411f05Ch11Deborah.ppt

The following are the major challenges that were presented by Deborah Muckle:

ē Difficulty Foreseeing and Accessing Opportunities
ē Difficulty Assuring Consistency w/Organizational Plans & Objectives
ē Difficulty Building Systems
ē Difficulty Maintaining Information System Performance
ē Difficulty Collaborating with IT Professionals

What can I say about the major challenges that were stated above? To start with, let me have the first one. A system needs to be evaluated sequentially to identify what are the portions of it that need improvement. Therefore, it has to be flexible and extendible for easy alteration, and it should be for long-term use.

For the second one, because of the fast changing environment and the level of competency in the business world, in order not to be left behind and to keep on pace, organizations dreadfully keep on planning and innovating that they forgot that they are not on the track anymore. Others intend to keep on changing their plans. Well, I can say that I have no right to disapprove of what they are doing because I am not an IS professional. I am still a student but I am in the process of becoming so why not practice criticizing others works? It is not only to find faults; it is for the better. I still remember the excerpt from a book that says, ďUse criticisms constructively, never fear it. If it is good criticism, you will learn a valuable lesson. If it is untrue or unkind criticism then just forget all about itĒ. So let me now continue the discussion about the second part. If possible, organizations should be consistent with their organizational plans and objectives. To do that, as what I have always said, profound analysis is greatly needed.

Next is about the difficulty in building systems. Developing an information systems plan is not really an easy task, same as developing systems to be implemented by the organization. A system analyst or a developer should make sure that the system would really suit to the needs of the organization. Moreover, they need to make sure that users would understand and be able to use the designed system.

Let me start the next by saying ďNo one is perfectĒ and things could go wrong. Clouds might obscure the sun for days on end. Why did I say that? Even IS professionals are not perfect so as the ISP and designed systems. Let us say the system works as it was expected but in reality, there can still be problems like less productivity, less flexibility and dissatisfaction of the customers or the users. There might solutions to these problems but still it could lead to another problem that is more expense for the preventive maintenance. So, without a thorough understanding of the problem and the needs of the organization and without knowledge of the best practices for organizing the required data, the implemented IS plan becomes an unwieldy beast that requires constant attention.

For the last stated major challenge, I would like to start by saying, ďNo man is an islandĒ. Sometimes we need somebodyís help for we are not perfect and we canít do everything. That is why IT professionals need to work with business professionals and vice versa. IT professionals know the different types of systems, best approaches and the capabilities while business professionals direct experience with business problems but must appreciate need to build a maintainable system. Therefore, the two should work together as a team for it is essential for system success.

The challenge of developing the right IS plan is one of the most daunting challenges faced by the organizations today. But real success as a person is within the reach of all but then, there never was, and there never will be, an easy way to achievement. We must always pay the price.

After all the discussions about the purpose and major challenges of information systems planning, let me tell you this Ė the success of the organization not solely depends and not just because of the IS plan but we have to take into consideration the human resources or the people working in the organization. Without them, there is no information system. Even if we can say that there are hardware such as computers and software or programs that are used to store, modify and retrieve data, they canít work alone. So for me, we have to give importance to those people who are working for the success of the organization. Since Christmas is fast approaching, I wish that workers would be given incentives.

References:

http://www.science.gmu.edu/~ahughes/MIS411f05Ch11Deborah.ppt
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_systems
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Jonard Laganson

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PostSubject: Assignment 3   Wed Dec 17, 2008 1:04 pm

Everything that is created has its own purpose, like a famous saying that states ďIf God doesnít have a purpose for us, we would not be hereĒ. With this saying we could safely say that everything has its purpose. All is created with purpose or intentions that would somehow give importance to everything that is created. Even though for others, something might not have its purpose but for some it has. We see things differently, that is why defining purpose for something would be greatly affected on how we see things that happens in our life. These are greatly affected by our day to day living or experiences. With regards to Information System Planning, it will not also be created without any purpose that is created along with it. Itís purpose might vary from the most significant to the least significant. Defining these purpose is important for us IT students because we will be dealing with this plan in the future we might become IS professionals one day and the best way to be a good one is the heartily know the purpose of what we are doing.

One significant purpose of IS planning is the creation of an atmosphere which encourage cost effective technology solutions to service the different needs of an organization or business. It is important to protect the assets in an organization. One of the primary ways to safeguard these assets is to maintain a low cost implementation of technology in the organization without compromising its performance and functions. With the vast technologies available today, it would be a benefit for organizations if they know how to effectively use their money in purchasing something that will benefit their Information system needs. With the aid of IS planning, or should I say a ďeffective IS planningĒ, every transaction will ensure a cost effective output or result. Another purpose of IS planning is the effective and efficient use of resources expanded on technologies. As we all know latest technology plays a vital role in an organization or company, that is why effective and efficient use of it would surely result in different forms or improvement or convenience. With the use of technology access to vital information in the company will be of ease. Not only that, safeguarding this information will also be a lot easier. Added to these lists of advantages is the assurance that accurate data will be created not ti mention the data integrity that will accompany along with it. Another purpose of IS planning is to create or established a more realistic technology projects. If right plans will be created and proper works were done in creating the IS plan, it will definitely result in a more realistic technology projects. A lot of people fall into the trap of creating wonderful projects but lacks the most important feature of a technology project, being ďrealisticĒ. We Filipinos have this mentality of creating to many plans in mind that not realistic. We tend to be contented in minding the things that would satisfy our minds rather than finding activities or projects that is more realistic and beneficial for us. To be a more production individual, we must be more realistic in our way of thinking or creating plans. The same goes with IS planning, with the aid of our plans, we can now established a realistic technology project for the development and benefit of the entire organization. Next purpose of IS planning is that projects are evaluated in a more objective basis. The next step that is needed after creating a realistic plan is to know how to evaluate it in an objective basis. Evaluating the progress or result of a certain project is important because it will serve as our guideline in creating or implementing our next or future projects. It will also serve as a guiding tool for us if we have made a right decision of the projects that we have done in the past. It will also measure the effectiveness of previous plans that were created. Many people evaluated things that happen on their own perspective not basing their evaluation on a more objective basis. As a result poor evaluation will be made and wrong decisions will follow. We all know that everything that we are planning to do for example a project would greatly be affected by the evaluation that we made in the previous technology projects that we have done. IS planning will help us in creating the objective basis that we need. It will lighten up the dark mystery that covers the very essence of the term evaluation. With this we will clearly see what is going on with the projects that are implemented in the organization. Another purpose of IS planning is the creation of significant progress in organizational operations and the different accomplishment that results to these significant progress.

An addition to this information, one type of IS planning which is strategic information system planning (SISP) is created to guide the organizational information systems development. The purpose of SISP is to satisfy managerial information requirements. However, there is large gap between the demand side and supply side of management information. To eliminate this gap, the system dynamics approach was used to develop a new method for organizational SISP. This new method is based on an organizational system dynamics model. The model was used to identify organizational information requirements and to design a system architecture for future management. Simultaneously, it can be used to explore the contradictions between information systems and corporate policies. It also provides an evaluation of IS alternatives and a guide for system ordering, the implementation of alternatives.

Here are the benefits or purpose of strategic Information System Planning (SISP):
ē Links objectives of an enterprise with the IS processing resources necessary to support those objective
o In an enterprise or organization there is always what we call objectives or goals. These goals will direct us to the progress or development that we want in our organization. If we want our organization to have its full potentials for development we need to have IS resources which will surely support the objectives that we want to obtain.
ē And vise versa, it ties the corporate objectives to the core competencies and competitive advantages of the corporate IS environment
o Having a Strategic IS plan will also direct our IS management or implementations to our organization objectives. This will make sure that a smooth relationship between our established objectives and IS panning.
ē Positions the IS to provide the most competitive advantage
o Having an IS plan will ensure a good result but it will not always assure us of the most competitive result that we might have. With correct and appropriate IS planning, it will also give us the most competitive advantage which will of good effect to our organization. It will cater our needs or maximum result in every IS transaction or functions that we will be having in the organization.
The purposes and benefits that were mentioned above indicate how IS planning plays a major role in an organizations development or progress. But along with these advantages lies the major challenges that we might encounter.

Here are some of the challenges that might be encountered:

ē Identification of current and future needs
o I would consider this as the first major challenge that IS planning might encounter. When we are creating our plan, especially an IS plan. We need to accurately and objectively define our current as well as future needs. This will ensure that our plan will be functional for a long time. This part is hard because we have to deal with the unpredictable characteristic of a business or company. The needs that we might have now might not be the same needs that we will have tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. We live in a fast changing world or environment. Everything gradually change from time to time. It is not that surprising that new technologies is marketed almost everyday. With regards to our IS planning it must answer the question of how to properly define our needs. These needs will vary in complexity. Some needs are easy to define or figure out and easily catered in our IS plan. But, we could not deny the fact that there are still needs that we might have not figured out yet at the time that we are making our IS plan.

ē The effectiveness of using information technology
o Even though we have all the latest equipments that an organization might have the primary question would be on how we can use these technology effectively. Effective using of available technologies in an organization will help the organization to be more productive in all its operation that will require the use of technology. It will better serve the purpose of purchasing these items. Without the knowledge of effective use of these technologies, it would still be pointless having these technologies in the core or our organization.
o Implementation of different IS Methodologies and Assumptions
o IS planning has different methodologies and Assumptions that any IS professional may follow. The challenge now is the properly implement or use this methodologies and assumptions to the advantage of the organization. These methodologies will serve as the backbone of our plans. It will somehow assure us that what we are doing will lead us to advantages that we are longing for. Again, it is not that easy to use this methodologies, it will surely require a great deal of focus and attention to the ones who are creating the IS plans in an organization. But surely, nothing is that hard if we are just diligent and dedicated with what we are doing.
ē The IS plan must be usable for a long period of time
o It is a challenge to IS planning professionals to create an IS plan that is usable for a long period of time. We are never aware on what will happen in the future while our business transactions are running. New technologies and new principles are possible to be developed. With this fact, having an IS plan that will go along with this changes is not an easy task. The established IS plan must be dynamic to accept all the possible changes or events that might occur in the business environment.
ē Management change
o This is also a major challenge because IS planning professionals must be expect that their might be a change in management that will surely affect the flow or implantation of the IS plan. We all know that different people manage a certain business differently. This is because they see the problems or leaks in the business in different perspectives. One reason to this is that we are unique individuals we see things differently and we react to certain situations differently. Their might be a great chance that what is considered as vital to a current management might not be that vital to the new management that will replace it. Again, the IS plan must be changeable or easy to configure to answer this situations. Complexity in implementing the changes might lead to a lot of problems for the company or business, wasted assets or resources and above all wasted time and efforts.


Just like what I have mentioned in the first part of this article, knowing the purpose of what we are doing is important or vital to us. It is not only applicable to IS planning but can also be applied in our own life. I would like to stress these simple saying ď There is a great difference between doing what you love and loving what you do.Ē The main reason why there are things that we hate to do is the fact that we have not seen the importance or purpose or that job or work. With out any knowledge of the purpose of what we are doing, we could not give the best that we could offer to that work. Why? Because it is pointless in the first place. We love to do the things which we consider as works that has many purpose. This is our human initiative. I guess all will agree that we do a certain work because we know it has a purpose. This might be the reason why we have been task to define the purpose of IS planning, for us to start loving what we might be doing in the future.




Resources:
- State of Tennessee: Information Systems Planning Process (June 2007)
- System Dynamics Modeling Oriented Strategic
Information System Planning National Sun Yat-sen
University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, R.O.C.
Strategic Business Planning, Co.
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jaymar melecio

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PostSubject: assignment3   Wed Dec 17, 2008 4:24 pm

Discuss the purpose of IS planning and identify its major challenges? (at least 2000 words)

Planning is very essential in every organizationís prosperity; it plays a vital role in a circle of business. It doesnít only focuses on the organization rather every human should have a plan for their self. As it was discussed by the Dr. Gamboa planning was originated by the military. As part of their disciplinary movement each military should have a plans for everything on which they should be followed. Through planning they would gain competitive advantage among its competitors.

On my case, I should have a plan in my life to attain my goals. On the business point of view they must foreseen the possible problem that will arise in the future, so that the business will be ready and give any instance of remedy in every problem that they may encounter in the future. There are some instance that the plan may failed to follow it will result to unnecessary activity in the business. Below are further discussions on the purpose of strategic information system planning (SISP) and its challenges.

Planning is critical to the success of any software development project of any size or consequence. Plans guide our investment decisions. Plans help us know who needs to be available to work on a project during a given period. Plans help us know if a project is on track to deliver the functionality that user need and expect. Without plans we open our projects to any number of problems. Yet planning is difficult, and plans are often wrong.

Teams often respond to this by going to one of two extremes: They either do no planning at all, or they put so much effort into their plans that they become convinced that the plans must be right. Their plan may be more thorough, but that does not necessarily mean it will be more accurate or useful. Plans and schedules may be needed for a variety of legitimate reasons, such as planning marketing campaigns, scheduling product release activities, training internal users, and so on. These are important needs, and the difficulty of estimating a project does not excuse us from providing a plan or schedule that the organization can use for these purposes. However, beyond these perfunctory needs, there is a much more fundamental reason to take on the hard work planning. Planning especially an ongoing iterative approach to planningóis a quest for value. Planning is an attempt to find an optimal solution to the overall product development. There are several challenges for strategic Planning these are the following:

1. Data
2. Employee
3. Owners
4. Managersí selection
5. Qualitative Analysis
6. ďI am the managerĒ
7. ďAnalysisĒ versus ďIntuitionĒ
8. Implementation
9. Investors
10. Security

Data: finding data is a real challenge because there is available statistics are far below those available in developing countries. Most companies try to keep any financial information and consider them secrets. It is not possible to know the demand in last year of a certain product or service. People are not used to market research and they donít want to talk to the marketing people. Employees: most employees and managers are not aware about the value of strategic planning and they may consider it waste of time and something that is applicable in developed countries. Owners: Many owners of successful companies believe they donít need to do strategic planning and they do not know that their success will go one day when there are more competitors or there are changes in the market. Managersí selection: Most companyís managers in developing countries are experts in the technical process of the organization but they are not well educated in management and thus they want to focus on what they know and neglect what they do not know. Accordingly, strategic management does not fall in their area of interest. Qualitative Analysis: Strategic planning needs a lot of forecasting and qualitative analysis besides the quantitative analysis. Many technical managers are not used to neither the qualitative analysis nor the forecasting. ďI am the managerĒ: The strategy shows a guide for decisions,so, an employee may, sometimes, tell the senior manager that his decision is against the company strategy. Thus the manager avoid having a strategy to keep his freedom to decide whatever he likes ďAnalysisĒ versus ďIntuitionĒ: Most people do not think that a manager should do analysis or have done for him they think that some people are talented to take the right decision without doing many calculations or having subordinates make a study for them. Implementation: To get every manager follow the same strategy is not an easy task Investors: Having a clear strategic plan and clear goals for the future (other than increasing sales of the current products) does not affect the stock price because most of the investors do not care about those issues. Security: Most managers feel that everything is a secret and obviously they think that no one else should know the strategy and thus no one else should make a study for our strategic planÖ.and there is no strategy


http://sameh.wordpress.com/2006/06/07/challenges-for-strategic-planning-in-developing-countries/
http://www.informit.com/content/images/0131479415/samplechapter/0131479415_ch01.pdf
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Thomas Tangian

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PostSubject: assignment 3   Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:46 pm

INFORMATION SYSTEM PLANNING AND ITS MAJOR CHALLENGES

I.Information System Planning

A. Introduction

ISP = IS + P

where IS stands for Information System
and P is for Planning.

Information system planning is the planning of information systems for the benefit and usage of an organization. It can also be defined as the identification and assessment the information needs of an organization and determining the systems, databases and technologies that best satisfy those needs.
While planning involves thinking ahead and designing future action, in the case of information systems, planning becomes a necessary tool to be able to systematically approach future uncertainties which can arise. The planning of information systems aims to put focus on efforts and resources on long-term, general objectives and at the same time, provide a foundation for existing short-term activities. Developing a plan for information systems provides an effective and organized framework for action.
Planning for the use of information system is an important step in achieving wise and efficient cost management and usage of technologies. For example, $300-700 million dollar corporations spend about 5% of their gross income on information systems and its corresponding supports annually. To compute, that sums up to approximately $15,000,000 to $35,000,000. A significant portion of these funds are used to support enterprise databases, a philosophy of database system applications that enable corporations to research the past, control the present, and plan for the future.
Despite the fact that an information system can have a cost ranging from $1,000,000 to $10,000,000, and despite the fact that most chief information officers (CIOs) can exactly specify how much amount of money is allotted for technological hardware, software, and staff, the CIOs cannot however specify and determine with any degree of certainty why a specific system is being developed for the present year versus the next, why it is being done ahead of another, or finally, why it is being developed at all. In this case, certainty of system development becomes a question.
Most existing enterprises, companies, and organizations do not have model-based information systems development environments that allow system designers to assess and inspect the benefits of rearranging an information systems development schedule. Consequently, the questions which cannot be answered include the following:
What effects will there be on the overall schedule if an information system is purchased versus developed?
At what point does it pay to hire an abnormal quantity of contract staff to advance a schedule?
What is the long term benefit from 4GL versus 3GL?
Is it better to generate 3GL than to generate/use a 4GL?
What are the real costs of distributed software development over centralized development?
The answers to these questions are not only needed now, but moreover, it is important and crucial to be able to generate them quickly, cost effectively, and in a form in which they can be modeled and changed in response to arising needs and unfolding realities.

Rather than choosing to develop centralized, long-ranged planning and management activities that are necessary to address these problems, today's existing business units are utilizing readily available tools to design and build ad hoc stop-gap solutions. These ad hoc systems not only do not interconnect, support common semantics, or provide synchronized views of critical corporate policy, they are soon to form the almost impossible to comprehend confusion of systems and data from which systems order and semantic harmony must spring. Not only has the computing landscape become profoundly different and more difficult to comprehend, the need for just the right--and correct--information at just the right time is escalating. Late or wrong information is worse than no information.
Information systems managers need to come up with a model of their information systems environment. This model must be one which is malleable. As new requirements are discovered, budgets modified, new hardware/software introduced, this model must be such that it can reconstitute the information systems plan in a timely and efficient manner.

B. ISP Key Activities, Planning Types, and Components

The information systems plan project basically functions to determine the sequence for the implementation of specific information systems. The goal of the strategy is to gather and deliver the most valuable business information needed at the earliest time possible and in the most cost-effective manner.

The end product of the information systems project is an information systems plan (ISP). Once implemented, the information systems department can deploy and use the plan with confidence that they are doing the correct information systems project at the right time and in the right sequence. The focus of the ISP is not one information system but the entire suite of information systems for the enterprise. Once developed, each identified information system is seen in context with all other information systems within the enterprise.

The first key activity into achieving the information system plan is identifying and describing the currently existing situation. This includes gathering and listing of the manual and automated processes, gathering and listing of the manual and automated data, technology inventory and human resources inventory --- all within the context of the enterprise in consideration.

The second key activity is identifying and describing the future situation. This includes all the blueprints of manual and automated data, technology, and human resources.

The third key activity is describing scheduling of the project, which includes the scheduling of manual and automated processes, scheduling of manual and automated data, technology of scheduling and human resources scheduling.

There are two types of information system planning types --- the top-down planning and the bottom-up planning. The top-down planning is a generic information systems planning methodology that attempts to gain a broad understanding of the information system needs of the entire organization. The bottom-up planning is a generic information systems planning process that identifies and defines IS development projects based upon solving operational business problems or taking advantages of some business opportunities.

The information system planning has the following components:

The Process of Information Systems Planning
Strategic Alignment of Business and IT
Selection of Systems to Invest In
Project Management Issues


C. Characteristics of a Quality ISP
An effective ISP must demonstrate five distinct characteristics before it can e classified as useful. These five distinct characteristics are presented in the table below:

Timely: The ISP must be timely. It must be created before or during the time when it is needed by the enterprise for processes. An ISP that is created long after it is needed is absolutely useless. In almost all cases, it makes no sense to take longer to plan work than to perform the work planned.

Useable: The ISP must be useable. It must be developed in the way to satisfy the requirements and needs of the enterprise.

Maintainable: The ISP must be maintainable. New business opportunities, new computers, business mergers, etc. all affect the ISP. The ISP must support quick changes to the estimates; technologies employed, and possibly even to the fundamental project sequences. Once these changes are accomplished, the new ISP should be just a few computer program executions away.

Quality: while the ISP must be a quality product, no ISP is ever perfect on the first try. As the ISP is executed, the metrics employed to derive the individual project estimates become refined as a consequence of new hardware technologies, code generators, techniques, or faster working staff. As these changes occur, their effects should be installable into the data that supports ISP computation. In short, the ISP is a living document. It should be updated with every technology event, and certainly no less often than quarterly.

Reproducible: The ISP must be reproducible. That is, when its development activities are performed by any other staff, the ISP produced should essentially be the same. The ISP should not significantly vary by staff assigned.

Failure to develop an ISP which satisfies these five identified characteristics results to the risk of the entire funds allotted for the ISP creation.

D. The WHY, WHO, WHERE, WHEN, and HOW of the ISP

Why is there a high need to plan information systems? ISPs are created to help ensure that the information systems complements and assist in the achievement of the goals and execution of processes of organizations, businesses, and enterprises. ISPs also ensure that the use of resources is maximized within the business, and the benefits of changing technology are utilized to the optimum. Furthermore, ISPs help take account of the different viewpoints of business professionals and IT professionals.

The development process of the information system planning is most commonly done by information system planners, system analyst, variety of stakeholders, and the top management commitment.

To when and where ISPs are needed and highly efficient can be determined by several factors. ISPs are best for any organization, enterprise, and business that have the interest of getting the best out of its investments in information technology. Any organization which is facing problems, or grabbing opportunities are highly recommended to realize the great potential of information technology planning. Lastly, ISPs can be used in organizations wherein information systems have failed to satisfy and address huge, diverse and complicated information requirements of their users.

How ISPs are developed can be started by several steps. Looking and investigating the business structure, function, processes, culture, and existing in the organization under consideration is important. Having broad idea of what type of business processes is taking place in the organization can give major clues as to what type of technology and methods can be utilized to further develop a plan to achieving more efficient technological processes within the business. Looking at the available technology is also an important step. Carrying out interviews with the business/organization personnel (both IT and non-IT), and with IT experts can also be helpful in the development of efficient ISP. Development of policies and application portfolio can help in the deployment of the ISP. Planning for schedules of migration and implementation is also an important step.
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Ronic Winmar Concepcion

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: before December 12, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:53 am

Information systems planning, as a particular case of general business planning, often gets a bad rap. And for two good reasons. One, more often than not information systems projects fail...
Information systems planning, as a particular case of general business planning, often gets a bad rap. And for two good reasons. One, more often than not information systems projects fail.
And two, more often than not the planning process was aborted by an elaborate, detailed, multi-phased project plan that had no bearing on reality at the time it was created and even less as the project progressed and the plan not updated.
Considering the prospective information system assets available and the very real advantages of using these assets, the enormous, consistent lost opportunities are a devastating, embarassing indictment of the information systems and technology industries.
Three Assets at your Disposal
Let's consider the three traditional classes of information systems assets:
ē Hardware. From laptops and PDA's to servers and firewalls, hardware has become (a) incredibly intelligent and (b) simply put, cheap.
ē Software. From enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) to front office, desktop applications and work flow application services, your typical business has a wealth of tools from which to select to better manage and grow your business. Herein though, especially with big ticket ERP and CRM implementations, lies the bulk of lost opportunties discussed below.
ē People. Application Developers. Programmer Analysts. System Administrators. Database Administrators. Messaging Administrators. Help Desk / Technical Support. Technical Managers. Simply making the hardware and software operate as designed requires expertise and experience. As you'll see, it's a long way from getting a system to operate as designed and having a successful implementation. I.e., a profitable project.
Assets into Advantages
It's really too bad. Because, properly applied--at the appropriate time--technology can have the promised impact on your business:
ē Create competitive capabilities--whether carving out a competitive advantage or simply maintaining par with your competitors
ē Cut costs--reduce variable, per unit costs and remove fixed costs
"Waste, Fraud and Abuse"
Yes, a phrase primarily reserved for government spending. And like the drunken sailors Ronald Reagan referred to, a quick survey of information systems spending displays a sad, clear trail of lost opportunities:
ē Only 11% of IT projects projects are delivered on time, in budget, and return the expected, promised and hoped for business benefits
ē 31% of all information technology projects are cancelled before completion--a complete loss
ē Over half--54 percent--are delivered late, costing almost double the original budget and with 43% or less of the promised features, benefits and financial payback
The fact is a large number of opportunities are lost because (a) the expertise was lacking and (b) the technical experts were, by default, forced to make business decisions.
The dirty little secret in IT project failures?
So, why--with the price of computing power dropping, with software vendors consolidating and prices weak, with a weak technical labor market--why do IT projects continue to fail? All too often, IT projects are undertaken to solve underlying business problems that technology and technical expertise cannot solve.
4 Keys to Planning your Information Systems
First and foremost, identify the underlying business problems and address those--if you are not prepared to do this, save your time and money.
ē Setup effective purchasing, leasing and managment policies and procedures
ē Develop information systems supplier discovery, selection and management processes and relationships
ē Implement technical staff recruitment and retention policies
There is good information systems news for your business out there. Call us and we'll show you how the details can work in your favor.

Nowadays businesses often decide to form networked value constellations in order to satisfy complex customer needs. To fulfill the value-based requirements of an e-Business idea and to realize the coordination of such a multi-actor network an adequate underlying information systems architecture has to be conceptualized. This paper discusses the applicability of classical information system planning approaches, such as Information Engineering to cross-organizational settings expressed through value-based requirements. On the basis of this analysis several requirements for the enhancement and adaptation of Information Engineering-like methodologies for e-Business ideas are defined for the purpose of enabling alignment between a valuebased business context and the information systems architecture in a networked environment. The paper proposes a way to derive data-orientation from value-orientation, i.e. an enterprise model from a value model. This in turn enables afterwards the straightforward use of traditional data-oriented techniques for value-based business models.

Planning in organizations and public policy is both the organizational process of creating and maintaining a plan; and the psychological process of thinking about the activities required to create a desired goal on some scale. As such, it is a fundamental property of intelligent behavior. This thought process is essential to the creation and refinement of a plan, or integration of it with other plans, that is, it combines forecasting of developments with the preparation of scenarios of how to react to them.
The term is also used to describe the formal procedures used in such an endeavor, such as the creation of documents diagrams, or meetings to discuss the important issues to be addressed, the objectives to be met, and the strategy to be followed. Beyond this, planning has a different meaning depending on the political or economic context in which it is used.
Two attitudes to planning need to be held in tension: on the one hand we need to be prepared for what may lie ahead, which may mean contingencies and flexible processes. On the other hand, our future is shaped by consequences of our own planning and actions.N
1
In June 2002, the Computing Research Association, with financial assistance from the
National Science Foundation, convened a group of about 65 researchers from the public and
private sectors. During a three-day conference these researchers discussed the specific and
urgent research challenges related to building the systems of the future.
As a result of the discussions, participants selected five Grand Research Challenges that will
provide a focus for more directed and more immediately relevant research. They are:
1. Create a Ubiquitous Safety.Net. Providing a ubiquitous Safety.Net will save lives
and minimize damage from disasters through timely prediction, prevention, mitigation,
and response.
2. Build a Team of Your Own. Building cognitive partnerships of human beings
with software agents and robots will enhance individual productivity and effectiveness.
3. Provide a Teacher for Every Learner. Tutoring each individual in a tailored, learner-centered
format will enable people to more fully realize their potential.
4. Build Systems You Can Count On. Assuring reliable and secure systemsófrom the
regional electric grid to an individualís heart monitorówill allow us to rely on information
technology with confidence.
5. Conquer System Complexity. Building predictable and robust systems with billions of
parts will enable broader and more powerful applications of information technology.
These challenges are deliberately monumental. Although these Grand Research Challenges
incorporate problems that are already the focus of research, our challenges set goals that are
broader than most typical research agendas and that move far beyond what has been demonstrated
by todayís research. In most cases, it is precisely the scale of the vision that makes it
challenging. Each challenge will require at least a decade of concentrated research in order to
make substantive progress. Each is deserving of considerable investment by government and
private funders because each challenge, if successfully met, will materially advance the capabilities
and the civilized conduct of society.
Participants decided that there are advantages to a framework for systems research that
emphasizes full-system solutions to daunting problems. Aspiring to build full systems will
drive progress in the field at a more rapid rate than otherwise. Common investment and
shared vision will encourage the development of a consistent set of standards that will lead to
a more efficient technical and societal integration of new technologies.
3
Rather than propose a single Grand Research Challenge, we propose an interrelated set of
challenges. This approach has enabled us to identify a set of deep technical problems that
apply to several of the Grand Research Challenges. Solving similar problems in different
application contexts will encourage solutions that are far-reaching and durable. Our economy
will benefit from the useful innovation that results from a more unified approach.
It is worthwhile remembering that while individual components may be elegantly and effectively
modeled by mathematics, complex systems that serve society are inherently messy. They
must adapt to human habits and procedures, understand verbal and nonverbal cues, and present
an interface that seems intuitive to human users, among other criteria. In other words,
they must be efficient for human use, even if not computationally efficient. Accordingly,
meeting our Grand Research Challenges requires the collaboration of experts from many
fields, such as cognitive psychology, biomedical engineering, mathematics, and linguistics.
We currently lack a powerful, generalizing framework that provides an overriding context for
coordinating and motivating this needed research effort. We believe that our set of Grand
Research Challenges provides such a framework.
In this document, we discuss each chosen Grand Research Challenge, revealing the rationale
behind our choice and the series of component challenges that it encompasses. Each of the
first three challenges directly addresses a fundamental societal issue. The fourth and fifth challenges
are more technical in nature and address information system reliability and complexity
in all their aspects.

Conclusion
Meeting the challenges posed here will require us to dramatically extend the frontiers of
knowledge in science and engineering. But they will also cause us to think more coherently
about the proper role for business and government, the development of public/private partnerships,
and the reconciliation of different priorities and points of view. Thus, they have the
potential to serve as a focal point for discussion, helping decision-makers to craft coherent
policies on such issues as intellectual property, privacy, and access to information in normal
and emergency situations. Addressing such policy issues is essential if we are to realize the full
promise that information systems can deliver.

When talking about the vast field of Information Systems there is not just one pressing issue, there are three: Accuracy, Usability, and Time. Without the combination of these three factors a business would go under in the matter of months.

The first of these three and probably the most important of these is the accuracy of the information. The information that you provide someone with in order to make vital decisions must be precisely accurate. If one piece of data is incorrect it could mean the difference between life and death, literally. For example, if a doctor receives false information about a patientís allergies he may give that patient medicine that could eventually kill them. Another recent instance where inaccurate information caused a catastrophe is with Enron. They falsified financial information causing the company to collapse. If a news station were to give a report that was invalid, they would lose their credibility and respect from the people. Accuracy is a must when it comes to information that is provided to make decisions of any kind.

Another major issue involving information systems is the informationís usability. If the business uses software to access the information it has to be easy to use and understand for the end-user as well as the executives. The information needs to be easily accessible from the hardware where it is stored. Also, if the information is generated into a report form of some kind, the report must be made so that it can be interpreted effortlessly in order to make precise decisions. The information provided should have value to the decisions at hand.

The final of the three most significant challenges of the field of Information Systems is the time factor. As time progresses everything is built bigger and faster and people seem to be always operating at a faster pace, therefore information needs to be received at a faster rate. If a person or business does not get the information in time to make a prompt decision they could lose out on many opportunities. This concept all started when the phone was introduced and people could be connected to each other in an instant, instead of waiting a week for a letter in the mail. Now as the internet has evolved, people and businesses can send documents and other information to one another in matter of seconds, causing decision-making times to decrease dramatically. A good example of this high information transfer rate is a cash register. At Samís Club, where I work, within one minute the computer can check on the memberís status, scan the items decreasing the inventory, calculate the total, send the transaction to the database, verify the memberís credit card, check, or debit card, and even connect to a bank and pre-approve them for another credit card. As people remain to progressively become more frantically fast paced the challenge of information getting to them will need also to become faster.

These three aspects of Information Systems must be used in conjunction with one another. Information may be received quickly and easy to use, but if it is inaccurate it is worthless. Just the same if the information is either too slow or incomprehensible it is useless as well. ďBeing an information services provider, we especially understand the importance of speed, accuracy, flexibility, technology and the highest level of customer service as being key components of a successful marketing strategy in a competitive environment,Ē states Berkshire Information Systems Inc. The biggest challenge of these three issues is combining them together in an efficient effective manner.
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PostSubject: exercise 3   Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:59 pm

Discuss the purpose of IS planning and identify its major challenges

Information Systems are a very essential part of business. today an enterprise without having the capability to use and share information would most likely to fail in many aspects of its goals and objectives. the key to having a successful business nowadays with the advent of information technology is to harness information to speed-up almost every known processes on the company's operations. This will turn out to be the company's competitive edge among the others that are otherwise ignorant of the idea. Although it does not mean that by technology alone a company is now well on its way to accomplish its business goals. The thing with Information Technology is that no matter how well a company uses it its still is just a tool, and like a plain old tool say for example a hammer if not used correctly may turn out on you and you end up hammering your hands instead of a nail. What i am trying to emphasize knowing that in fact IT is just a tool is that even in simple tools a user can find complications no matter how well the tool is made and that only by having an in dept understanding of the tool a user can avoid things that could go wrong upon using the tool. We can say now that it is not the Information Systems of the company alone that can cause it to become effective in its business. So what else is there to take in consideration for a business to use Information Systems effectively? Planning, I believe that every grand thing that is known did not came just by mere accident, there has to be some kind of force that brought it there and made it to do just what it is supposed to. Anything that has a carefully made set of guidelines and rules as well as anticipating factors are bound to do what its supposed to, its purpose to be exact. At least that's what a perfect plan sounds like to me. Now Let's Go on with Information Systems Planning, What is there that makes this critical to businesses in the new world or in the Information Age? We already had an introduction of the tool Which is Information Technology to drive the change in the way businesses handle information and that Information Systems lead to speedup processes in modern day businesses. Today effective Information Systems cannot be separated from Information Technology because no matter how good the current information systems are working for the company the need to incorporate Information technology for competency, fast and efficient service is at hand.

A carefully planned Information System has certain qualities that shows it effectiveness. The first good quality in an Effective Information System and the quality that i think is most critical is that it should be fluid enough to be in tune with all the other business tools that are being used by the business. this would be in terms of compatibility to the business plans, compatibility with the managerial aspects, compatibility with funding and budgeting and as well as having the capability to change its own processes to adapt to change without having to change the whole structure and processes of the business. An effective Information System has to be incorporated with the business' business plan regarding the successful acquisition of the business' vision, mission. goals, and objectives. It should have the capability to aide in the management level processes such as providing up to date and efficient information to constitute a better management decisions, and as well as help in realizing the personnel requirements for the business. It should have the ability to be funded by the business without having to cause overhead but it should nevertheless be an income generating tool for its own and the company, budget for its operation should be realized internally with its operation so that it should be operating in its own expense while providing the necessary function for the business. Also it should be in a way made in a way that it should act as a never ending cycle of plans once it is started that is why is has to be funding its own operation in the first place to enable it to function autonomously inside the business this way an Information System can adapt to changes due to Technological requirements, Managerial changes, Personnel changes, as well as a change in the entire business itself. At this point the Information System has come to a point in where it can function whatever the requirements of the business might be.

Information Systems no matter how good it was planned still face some challenges. For me a major challenge in Information systems planning is the fact that it should be planned to work autonomously inside business processes and that business processes change along with the businessí goals and objectives thatís why its very hard to plan for things that are very hard to anticipate because it is only time that can tell itís happening and that by no means it can be anticipated with existing information such as sudden change in business operations due to future incorporation with another business models or a different business nature. This time an information system must be restructure from the bottom up to adapt with the new operations of the business but nevertheless a carefully planned Information system will have the ability to cope quickly with these kind of changes.
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