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Australia:FIT9006 IT Management

Monash University
Faculty of Information Technology
FIT9006 IT Management
Semester 2, 2013
Assignment 1: IT Strategy & Business Strategy – An Investigation
Value:
This assignment is worth 100 marks but it contributes to 20% of your final assessment in
the unit.
Submission Date:
By 4:00 pm on 4 th September (Wednesday), 2013
Type of Assignment:
Individual
Australia:FIT9006 IT Management  
Submission Guidelines:
Caulfield-campus students:
Please follow this 3-step submission process:
a) Before submitting your assignment, ensure that you have first completed the Individual
Assignment Cover Sheet, which is available at:
http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/assignments/
b) Students should submit the printed copy of completed assignment (together with
completed cover page) at an assignment box (which will have an appropriate label for
this assignment), Caulfield School of Information Technology, 6 th Floor, Building H,
Caulfield campus.
c) Submit an electronic version (in MS-Word format) of the assignment through the
Moodle site of this unit. Use either font 11 or 12 and single space.
Sunway-campus students:
You must first complete the plagiarism declaration in the Moodle site of this unit, and then
submit the printed and/electronic copy of completed assignment as per the advice of the
Sunway campus lecturer. Use either font 11 or 12 and single space.
Warning:
Plagiarism is not acceptable – any students suspected of copying other students work will
be referred immediately to the relevant University disciplinary committee.
Extension Policy:
Note the extension policy in the Unit Guide. When an extension is to be requested,
students should consult the lecturer in person. Extensions will not be granted due to last
minute “technical problems” such as an inability to connect to the Internet, PC problems
etc.
Australia:FIT9006 IT Management  
Late Submissions:
Late submissions will be penalised at the rate of 1 mark per working day.
Other Questions: 
Please contact your tutor / lecturer should you require further clarifications.
Evaluation Criteria:
This assignment will be evaluated in terms of the following criteria:
a) completeness (contents addressing the key areas)
b) correctness (demonstrating research skills by identifying and using relevant sources)
c) presence of relevant information (showing cognitive skills: analysis, evaluation)
d) and clarity of expression (showing writing skills: structure, expression, presentation)
Assignment Aims
This assignment is designed to evaluate students’ understanding about the importance of
business and IT strategies in organisations. In particular, the assignment requires students
to critically think about the relationship among business strategy and IT strategy. Students
are also expected to understand how various factors my influence formulation and
subsequent implementation of IT strategies in organisations. Students are required to
consult relevant IT/IS related journals, text books, trade literature, electronic sources
(including FIT9006 lecture notes) on IS/IT management.
Students’ answers should be approximately the “suggested length” specified for each
question. Please note that the terms IT and IS are used in their broad sense and hence they
are considered to refer to the same concept.
Question 1 [(4x5 =20) + (2.5x4 =10) = 30 marks)
a) Identify and discuss four major factors that may affect IT strategies in organizations.
b) Would the influence of each of these factors differ between small and large
organizations? Discuss.
(Suggested length: maximum three pages)
Question 2 (65 marks)
Drawing on the experience of organization Alpha (Appendix-A), prepare your views for
the following questions:
a) Identify and discuss the nature of IT strategy adopted by Alpha during its two distinct
stages of business growth. (2 x7.5 = 15 marks)
(Suggested length: maximum two pages)
b) Identify and discuss the nature of business strategy adopted by Alpha during its two
distinct stages of business growth. (2 x7.5 = 15 marks)
(Suggested length: maximum two pages)
c) Is there an alignment between the IT strategy and business strategy of Alpha during its
two distinct stages of business growth? Discuss. (2 x7.5 = 15 marks)
(Suggested length: maximum two pages)
d) Offer two specific recommendations to help Alpha bring a greater alignment between
its business strategies and IT strategies. (2 x 10 = 20 marks)
(Suggested length: maximum two pages)
Use of References (5 marks)
Include at least five references and cite them in the text of your assignment and list them
in the Bibliography.
(The End)
Appendix: Case Description on Alpha
Started in 1976 as an equipment sales company by three salespersons of a large computer
vendor, "Alpha" became an independent equipment leasing company in 1983. Its net
worth grew from $25 million to $100 million from 1986 through 1996. From the time of
its creation, Alpha pursued a high growth strategy. It operated in a decentralised fashion,
with the functional areas operating independently following little formal rules. Pursuing
rapid growth, Alpha expanded its operations in various parts of the world. Within each
functional area, activities were performed based on teams (having the requisite expertise)
who although met frequently but still made decisions through an informal process. The
overall mind-set of the senior management of Alpha was to aggressively promote their
presence in many new geographical areas to gain competitive edge over their rival
companies. Alpha however has largely ignored its information systems. Although, it
developed useful strategic systems (by outsourced companies) and established electronic
relationships with its customers and suppliers (again by external vendors), it seriously
underestimated the need for developing a comprehensive marketing information system. It
had a small, centralised group of IT personnel isolated from the business functions. Thus,
a perception of IT-enabled information systems as non-strategic was accompanied by a
centralised IT structure.
Initially, business was good and Alpha grew rapidly. However, in 1986, Congress passed
the Tax Reform Act which dramatically altered the economic advantage of computer
leasing. Yet, Alpha continued to operate as if the environment had not changed. It also
failed to recognise the sharp decline in mainframe prices due to the advent of personal
computers. Alpha's economic position eventually became problematic.
In the light of continuing financial troubles, a new CEO was hired in late 1987 and the
company adopted a new business strategy. Alpha stopped growing and started cutting
costs. The new CEO centralised the business structure, instituted clear lines of reporting,
and took a greater role in all major decisions. The changes in top management, strategy,
and structure on the business side were accompanied by major changes in IS/IT. Realising
that IS/IT could play a strategic role in offering new opportunities, particularly in cutting
business costs, IS/IT's role shifted to seeking efficiency, thereby increasing alignment with
the new business strategy. IS/IT services and applications were continued to be insourced.
A new CIO was hired who stopped most of the ongoing IS/IT activities and focused on
major cost-cutting initiatives. However, he shifted the previously centralised IS/IT to a
more shared form by moving many IS/IT personnel to user areas. Although ostensibly in-
sourced, the IS/IT function was largely dismantled and had become decentralised to the
business units. Many senior business and IT managers disagreed with these ongoing
changes and were forced to resign.
(The End)

Australia:FIT9006 IT Management  

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