A Framework for the Strategic Management of Information Technology

Abstract: Strategy and IT research has been extensively discussed during the past 40 years. Two scientific disciplines Management Science (MS) and Management Information Science (MIS) investigate the importance of IT as a competitive factor. However, although much research is available in both disciplines, it is still difficult to explain how to manage IT to enable competitive advantages. One reason is that MS research focuses on strategies and competitive environments but avoids the analysis of IT. Another reason is that MIS research focuses on IT as a competitive factor but avoids the analysis of the competitive environment. Consequently, there is a gap of knowledge in the understanding of the strategic management of information technology (SMIT).The strategic analysis of IT as a competitive factor is important for achieving the competitive advantages of IT. This thesis explores factors related to strategy and IT that should be considered for the strategic analysis of IT as a competitive factor, and proposes a framework for SMIT. The research is conducted by means of a qualitative analysis of theoretical data from the disciplines of MS and MIS. Data is explored to find factors related to SMIT.The results of the analysis show that the strategic management of information technology is a continuous process of evaluation, change, and alignment between factors such as competitive environment, competitive strategies (business and IT strategies), competitive outcome, and competitive factors (IT). Therefore, the understanding of the relationships between these factors is essential in order to achieve the competitive advantages of using IT.This thesis contributes to strategic management research by clarifying the relationships between strategic management, competitive environment, and IT as competitive factor into a holistic framework for strategic analysis. The framework proposed is valuable not only for business managers and for IT managers, but also for academics. The framework is designed to understand the relationship between competitive elements during the process of strategic analysis prior to the formulation of competitive strategies. Moreover, it can also be used as a communication tool between managers, in order to achieve alignment among company strategies. To academics, this thesis presents the state-of-the-art related to strategic management research; it can also be a valuable reference for strategic managers, as well as researchers interested in the strategic management of IT.