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Analysis of IT Strategic Planning

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Information technology (IT) strategic planning involves several activities that concern an organization’s goals and objectives being achieved through the use of technology. IT deployments have been implemented in many areas where the technology has made work easier and operations more effective. The strategic implementation process focuses on strengthening the company’s values that enhance its strategic position in its business niche (Griggs, 2002). SWOT analysis of a firm reveals various points that the organization should focus on to get the exact needs of its business; this is imperative in both the current and the future business situation that will be encountered.

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The strengths reveal the internal advantages of a company, these strengths include the financial position of the company, the clientele of the company, the management of the company, and the employee’s potential of the company among other factors (Ingman, 2002). The weaknesses of a business also form an imperative part of the SWOT analysis process. The weaknesses reveal the points that the business suffers internally, such weaknesses could be liabilities, less efficiency of the company’s employees, poor implementation and optimization of Information technology strategies among other factors that have a direct effect on the company’s internal performance.

The external forces that form part of the SWOT analysis include; opportunities and threats that the company faces in the course of the business process. Increasing market strength and capacity is an opportunity, the growing economy of a region that the business is located in is another opportunity, and an increase in the gaps to be utilized in the market is an added opportunity (Griggs, 2002). In essence, opportunities are factors that lead to growth in the business coverage of the company.

Threats are mainly the negatives that are brought about by the increase of competitors in the market, threats can also be associated with a decrease in the economical prosperity of a region, and it mainly leads to a decrease in the region’s market opportunity. A recession can be a threat to business development in an economic sector as it decreases the customers spending power which leads to decreased business activities. The combined internal and external factors contribute to the complete SWOT analysis of a company. To project strategic analysis of a company in many service industries, it is imperative to take into consideration the available SWOT analysis of the company and that of the competitor. Competitors’ SWOT analysis provides marketers with better strategies for approaching the market (Lowson, 2002).

According to Lavia (2004), strategic management requires optimization of an organization’s information technology deployment. This is because all firms depend on IT for communication and quick data processing which then translates to better company performance in the process of handling its clientele. The high responsiveness of technological infrastructure deployment leads to better service delivery in the business (Lowson, 2002). As stated by Griggs (2002), the information processing in the world has greatly enhanced business growth in several sectors of the economy including the ski and hospitality industry. Boyle (2001) points out that firms that do not optimize their information technology deployment, lose their market niche considerably with time.

An effective system tends to play a pivotal role in the organization simply because it leads to better usage of the available resources and time is also saved in the process (Garner, 2005). Technology is also another way of reducing the need for a large number of human capital, as argued by Bischoff-Turner (2008), the implementation of good technological infrastructure leads to a decrease in the size of the organization meaning that there will be a consequent decrease in the overall expense of the organization.

As elaborated by Gordon (2005) decrease in the organization’s expense results in to increase in both the gross and the net profit of that particular organization. In the end, there will be more room for the organization’s growth. As stated by Bischoff-Turner (2008) further development of information technology infrastructure especially in the network management sector, there will be an increase in the market scope of the company as a result of more opportunities which are created by easy online access and support services that are accessible to the company.

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Within the hospitality industry especially in the business of ski resorts, technologies such as lifts, temperature monitoring technologies, snowmaking technologies have been widely used to popularize the sport skiing and ski tourism. As acknowledged by Gordon (2005) there has been an increasing concern of safety in the skiing industry as a result of accidents that are prone to this kind of sporting activities.

As stated by Lowson (2002, pp.23-34) in a case study of Denver Colorado, the safety of the people involved in the sporting activity had increased due to the nature of the sport and general provision of accidents mitigation plans. This concern about the safety of tourists has generally contributed to increasing mitigation plans that look on technology as a way of mitigating the number of accidents that are ever-increasing.

SWOT analysis

Strengths

The strengths exhibited by Perisher Blue in the SWOT analysis show that the Perisher Blue resort is relatively large covering about 12 Km2 with several activities. The supportive infrastructure which includes power, hydraulics services, and communication is imperative in supporting the Perisher Blue resort clientele. Availability of good technology infrastructure, ski facilities such as a ski school, competition facilities, and restaurants are positive factors that give Perisher Blue an advantage over its peers and competitors, and as a result, they are categorized as strengths which the company could tap to improve its position in the market. Another strength factor that could be used by Perisher Blue includes the fact that their good customer service helps them in building a brand that is easily recognizable by customers.

Weaknesses

The SWOT analysis revealed that Perisher Blue suffered weaknesses such as high operational costs and technological problems. The visitors of the Perisher Blue resort fumble with gloves, zippers, and jackets to get their identification cards ready for the scanning process that occurs at the lift. This shows that the IT infrastructure in place is not efficient enough to handle these problems. The other weakness of high operational costs affects Perisher Blue in that financial resources are spent on servicing and maintaining technology which has an overall effect on the performance of Perisher Blue. Skier management and resort facilities are not properly managed to enhance the company’s efficiency; the company should outsource some of its activities since the movement of visitors in the resort is poorly managed by the use of technology.

Opportunities

Opportunities that Perisher Blue could tap into include the growth in the Ski Resort market by between 2- 4.6% at a constant rate for 25 years. The IT department of the Perisher Blue resort is expandable and thus encourages more efficient systems that manage the business to be set in place. The resort can maximize its potentials by outsourcing some sections of IT to improve the management of the entire resort without inconveniencing the visitors as evident in the case of the lift’s identification process and their movement within the resort. All these opportunities coupled with a strategic IT vision implementation process that can clearly enhance the performance of the business if the implementation process is carried out effectively; could be harnessed by Perisher Blue as part of its business goals.

Threats

Threats that can cause problems to Perisher Blue in its operations include competition, environment and other unforeseen external factors. Due to global warming and increased temperatures, snow production is expected to reduce affecting the operations of Perisher Blue since snow is their main resource. Increased competition could pose threats to Perisher Blue in that there is a chance for the resort competitors to take advantage of the inconveniences caused by technological loopholes like the lift inconvenience and reduce the resorts’ clientele. There is no structure laid in place to check on the systems performance and evaluation to enhance the company’s competitive advantage (Lowson, 2002).

Some of the unforeseen factors that pose threats to Perisher Blue include the increased preference for tourists to tour less costly destinations and the increased costs of winter tourism. These threats coupled with the fact that statistics show of increased accidents in skiing and winter sports are some of the factors that were analyzed in the SWOT analysis as potential threats.

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Recommendations

It is very imperative for the management of the resort, especially the IT department to provide services that enhance business optimization and less clientele inconvenience as described in the weaknesses and threats that the business faces. In order to create and implement a functional system for the Perisher Blue resort, the major weaknesses and threats ought to be addressed. As evident, the resort lacks a plan that oversees the clientele identification management; this is done in the lift a situation that inconveniences that company’s clientele (Griggs, 2002).

The IT management plan needs to create a system that will perform the following tasks; management of clientele identification upon entrance into the resort and management of the location and movement of the visitors within the resort. Innovative technologies through system creation that is capable of taking the information of the client at the point of entry and consequently providing the client with access to different locations according to his or her chosen location.

The system will work online (with options of payments to the sites to be visited) in order to avoid congestion in the entrance of the resort. The client will be provided with a code that will be used in the point of entry. The requirements for this kind of system is addition of hardware that will be placed at all points of entry, the system will only allow individuals to enter at the points that they registered and paid for online before they visited the resort (Ingman, 2002). This will eliminate inconvenience that is being created in the lift identification process.

References

Bischoff-Turner, S., 2008. From Strategic Planning to Strategic Positioning. Children’s Voice. pp.12-15.

Boyle, P., 2001. From Strategic Planning to Visioning: Tools for Navigating the Future. PM. Public Management. pp. 283.

Garner, R., 2005. “Swot” Tactics: Basics for Strategic Planning. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. pp. 74.

Gordon, G., 2005. From Vision to Implementation and Evaluation: The Changing State of Strategic Planning. Public Management. pp.87.

Griggs, H.E., 2002. Strategic Planning System Characteristics and Organisational Effectiveness in Australian Small-scale Firms. Irish Journal of Management, 23(1), pp. 73-94.

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Ingman, D., Kersten, J., & Brymer, T., 2002. Strategic Planning That Uses an Integrated Approach. PM. Public Management. pp. 84.

Lavia, A., 2004. Strategic Planning in Times of Turmoil: If They’re Going to Survive, the Service Providers Must Change Their Approaches to Planning and Organization. Journal of Business Communications Review, 45(3), pp. 34-42.

Lowson, R.H. 2002. Strategic Operations Management: The New Competitive Advantage. Denver, CO: Routledge. PP.23-34.

Appendix

Business process flow

A value chain specifically aims at increasing value through service delivery inside the business. This business flow diagram of Perisher Blue resort aims at handling IT strategic infrastructure that is recommended for the resort in order to enhance the service development process.

Business flow Chart of IT improvement infrastructure.
Business flow Chart of IT improvement infrastructure.

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