Strategic information systems (SIS) are structures developed in response to the business initiative of a given company. The networks play a number of roles in contemporary organisations. According to Newman (2006), the primary purpose of the system is to give organisations a competitive advantage over its rivals in the market. Gallaugher (2010) is of the view that SISs are computer applications that help companies in the implementation of their business strategies.
They are put in place in a manner that will make them have a positive impact on the corporation’s products and business operations. The concept was introduced in 1982 by Dr. Charles Wiseman. Over the years, a number of information systems have been developed to suit the needs of modern firms. According to Hussain et al. (2008), most SISs act as ‘support activities’ for organisations. The reason for this is that they improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the firm. In addition, they are used to control operations. Due to these capabilities, information systems have become a fundamental part of companies today.
In this paper, the author will critically evaluate the ways in which strategic information systems generate value for contemporary organisations. To provide a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the SISs, the writer will use Accenture Consulting Services Company as an example of a corporation that uses the applications to gain a competitive advantage. The paper will also provide relevant information about the company. Such data will include its purpose, mission, objectives, trading value, strategies, and products offered. In addition, information regarding the list of systems used, the names of chief officers, and future direction for the organisation will be provided.
An Overview of Accenture Consulting Services Company
Accenture is an international management consultancy services company. It has its headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. The organisation is the largest consulting firm in the world based on annual revenues. In terms of branches and workforce, the corporation operates in more than 200 cities in 120 countries. It also has an estimated 373,000 employees (Long, Jacques & Kepos 2006). Since its formation, the company has recorded significant success in its operations. It has managed to maintain a competitive edge over its rivals in the global market. As a result, the firm has received numerous awards and honours. For example, in 2014, Accenture was ranked number one in the provision of Worldwide Cloud Professional Services. The table in appendix 1 shows the products offered by the company.
A number of factors are associated with the company’s success. One of them is the firm’s optimisation of its potentials. In addition, Accenture makes use of different resources, such as SISs, in its operations. Over the years, Accenture has managed to interconnect its resources and capabilities as an organisation to create new value (Newman 2006). The table in appendix 2 shows the firm’s trading value and share capital (Investor relations 2016).
A Review of the Strategic Information Systems used by Accenture Company
The operations of Accenture are based on sound purpose, mission, and objectives guidelines. Consequently, the company has managed to maintain its leadership position in the industry. The guidelines also help the management to uphold consistency in professional outsourcing services as a brand. The corporation has invested a lot of resources in efforts to ensure that its employees understand and meet the set goals and objectives (Newman 2006). To mechanise operations and help employees address the demands of the clients, Accenture incorporates a number of strategic information systems into its operations. Appendix 3 shows the purpose, mission, and objectives of the organisation.
For a long time, Accenture used conventional consulting, technology, and outsourcing means of operation. However, the company rebranded in 2013 and incorporated modern digital outsourcing system into its business activities. The new mode of information system helps companies gain a higher competitive advantage over their rivals by ensuring that they capture more opportunities online (Pearlson & Saunders 2013).
The figure below is an illustration of a conventional digital outsourcing network:
Through the use of the digital outsourcing platform, Accenture has been able to effectively implement Porter’s competitive forces model and strategy. In their framework, Porter identifies the primary types of competitive advantages. They include differentiation, focused strategy, and low-cost production. By adopting the digital outsourcing platform as a strategic information system, Accenture delivers low-cost services with higher value to its clients (Investor relations 2016). Consequently, the company manages to stay ahead of its rivals in the business. Long, Jacques and Kepos (2014) note that the digital platform is operated by more than 27,000 IT staff. The workforce and the online podium ensure that services are readily available to clients all over the world.
Digital Follower and Transformer
Accenture has expanded and shaped its business operations by focusing on different digital strategies. The approach has helped the customers served by the company to target and evaluate the value opportunities that a digital interference can generate in the industry. According to Newman (2006), the information technology approaches employed by Accenture are aligned with the company’s business strategies. As a result, the company can effectively attain the set organisational goals. Appendix 4 is an illustration of the strategies adopted by Accenture.
The two primary strategic information systems employed by Accenture to help in the realisation of its corporate goals and generate value are digital transformer and follower. The main function of the digital transformer is to capitalise on the opportunities made available through digital interference (Hunter 2010). On its part, the follower is designed to optimise the activities of the corporation. Integration of the two strategic information systems enables Accenture to gauge the connection between its competitive position and company activities. In addition, the systems help the firm to analyse the value that each operation carried out by the organisation adds to the service line (Investor relations 2016).
Application Programming Interface
Application Programming Interface (API) is an information system developed through a partnership between Accenture and Apigee (Saunders 2015). The primary function of the software is to help the clients create mobile platforms with apps. The figure below illustrates the use of a conventional API:
By adopting the information system, Accenture has been able to enhance its relationship with customers. In addition, the organisation has developed a stronger global alliance to provide solutions that help customers build applications and connect to enterprise systems.
Piccoli (2012) is of the opinion that APIs are gaining popularity in the world. The reason is that they allow corporations to simplify the integration of mobile applications. In addition, the systems hasten the conception of digital services. As a result of the APIs, Accenture has managed to expand its services and take advantage of the fast-growing market. Consequently, the company has been able to generate more value and maintain a competitive edge in the industry (Rainey 2006).
Accenture Interactive is a strategic information system that enables the company to generate value through the effective delivery of digital services. It also helps the company to improve its customer care and sales (Velte, Velte & Elsenpeter 2008). By adopting the system, the company is able to provide clients with cutting edge and first-class digital solutions. In addition, the organisation applies the system to handle and manage the extensive growth of its digital content. The process enhances the production and distribution activities, adding more value to the corporation (Poniatowski 2010).
Guilt Factor is a strategic information system used to reduce travel expenses and enhance organisational productivity through the optimisation of human resource (Saunders 2015). The system produces a ‘travel summary’ Accenture’s employees at the personal portal home page of every travelling member of staff. The software provides the organisation with information regarding expenditure on, among others, airfare.
For example, the system shows the details of aeroplane tickets booked without taking into consideration the set policies (Corporate development & growth: service overview 2016). The capabilities of the software have helped the company to eradicate first-class international travels paid for against the organisation’s guidelines. At Accenture, workers below the senior manager and executive grade are required to fly economy class. The table in appendix 5 indicates the list of Accenture’s chief officers.
The guilt factor has increased the value of the organisation. For example, the company has been able to cut down on training costs and increase productivity and agility (Cassidy 1998).
SAP HANA is a strategic information system used by Accenture for a number of purposes. It is applied to enhance business analytics, compel standardisation, and increase the efficiency of operations across the globe. In addition, the system accelerates the speed of reporting and lays the foundation for better decision making processes. To remain competitive and relevant in the business world, companies should use modern integrated systems that facilitate the effective use of data (Tomlinson 2010). SAP HANA is easy to maintain. It provides Accenture with additional business insights. As such, the system helps the company to generate value and maintain a competitive edge in the industry.
The Use of Technology and the Future Direction of Accenture
The management team at Accenture considers strategic planning and the use of information systems to be important to the firm’s business processes. In addition, the company believes in the improvement of traditional strategies and processes. Over the years, Accenture has used technology to develop inclusive methodologies of strategy formulation that ensure organisational success (Corporate development & growth: service overview 2016). Appendix 6 shows the systems used by Accenture.
The future direction of Accenture entails the development of SISs through the adoption of traditional wargaming theories and scenario planning. The aim is to help the company develop better competitive strategies with a wide range of alternatives. Appendix 7 is a copy of Accenture’s use of technology and future direction.
It is noted that SISs help companies realise their set goals and generate value. The systems enable organisations to change their goals, modes of operation, and products. In addition, SISs are essential in the development and enhancement of environmental relationships. Accenture uses a number of SISs to increase its value by customising products, improving reliability, and modifying business strategies and structures.
Appendix 1: Accenture’s products
|Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)|
|Software as a Service|
Appendix 2: Accenture’s trading value and share capital
Appendix 3: The purpose, objectives, and mission of Accenture
|To fulfil the vision of improving the way the world works and lives.||To become one of the leading Corporations in the world.|
Appendix 4: Accenture’s strategies
Appendix 5: Accenture’s employees
|Pierre Nanterme||Chairman and CEO|
|David P. Rowland||Chief Financial Officer|
|Jo Deblaere||Chief Operating Officer|
|Omar Abbosh||Chief Strategy Officer|
|Gianfranco Casati||Group Chief Executive-Growth Markets|
|Paul Daugherty||Chief Technology Officer|
|Bhaskar Ghosh||Group Chief Executive- Accenture Technology Services|
|Chad T. Jerdee||General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer|
|Mark A. Knickrehm||Group Chief Executive-Accenture Strategy|
Appendix 6: Accenture’s systems
|Systems used by Accenture|
|Digital follower and transformer|
Appendix 7: A press release
Corporate development & growth: Service overview
Accenture helps senior executives develop and implement sustainable competitive strategies successfully.
At Accenture, we still believe that strategic planning is important, however, refinements to traditional strategy processes are needed in light of the current business environment.
Our new global economic reality has important business implications in several key areas; customer values and buying behaviour has changed substantially, power dynamics in the value chain continue to shift, and the competitive landscape is also different. In addition, new financial and environmental regulations threaten to distort existing markets.
While there have been dramatic shifts in the “normal operating environment”, we believe the fundamentals of strategic planning still apply. Tactical decisions should always be aligned with a high-level strategic plan based on clear objectives. While reactive strategies might work in the short-term, it is the long-term strategies that will generate, and ensure sustainable value creation well into the future.
We help companies develop a more comprehensive approach to strategy formulation that accounts for their ambition and risk tolerance, helping them to choose among the wide range of options they face, enabling them to align their organizations with their chosen strategy and allowing them to measure their performance against their strategic goals and make adjustments as needed.
Our rigorous approach—which includes our next generation wargaming methodology: a combination of traditional wargaming theory and scenario planning—helps to ensure management develops and implements an agile, actionable and outcomes-oriented competitive strategy which takes into account a wide range of future alternatives. Our experience shows organizations will implement a much higher proportion of competitive recommendations resulting from our approach to corporate development in contrast to more traditional approaches.
Our deep skills and broad experience across strategy, coupled with our ability to deliver on a global scale, provide you with practical solutions that will help you to shape and execute your corporate direction — balancing risk with reward and opportunity with uncertainty — ensuring that you have the right strategy and the right planning mechanisms in place to allow you to compete successfully in a volatile marketplace.
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