Strategic Analysis and Critical Success Factors of an Information System Initiative

• Strategic analysis and CSF of an IS initiative • You will propose a company and an implemented IS • You will build an empirically based case study • It will require research and critical analysis • 4,000 words +/-10%1 2 • Deadline: Early May 2022 (4 pm) (TBC) The Task Choose a company and an IS initiative it undertook in the past. The company can be of any sector, size or country, and the IS initiative (i.e. the applications) can embrace either Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), e Customer Relationship Management (e-CRM), e-Supply Chain Management (e-SCM), e-Commerce or any combination. Although you can briefly explain some technologies and services received by the company, the initiatives must be about transactional systems (e-CRM, e-SCM, e-CRM and/or e-Commerce). Similarly, although you can briefly comment about business intelligence systems3 , the initiatives must be transactional. We will explain what a transactional system is in the first sessions of the module. You are required to explain the strategy of the company and/or the strategic imperatives in its industry, and how the IS initiative addressed some or all the key strategic aspects to remain competitive and be successful in the market. Then, you will explain 3 relevant CSF and what companies can do to successfully address them. The student will have to research the company, its strategies/strategic priorities in the industry, the application(s) that the company adopted (including the brand, if the IS was acquired or rented), IS suppliers, and from there to link business strategies and IS applications in terms of detailed business processes (what the systems automate/do) and their specific benefits. Regarding CSF, the student must define relevant ones based on the general characteristics of the case such as type of system, industrial sector, scope of operation of the company, size, interaction or not with external parties, country(ies), idiosyncratic characteristics or situation of the company, etc. We also expect students to explain how the CSF could affect the life cycle of the IS and what companies can do to deal with them. It is expected that the student will reference relevant sources of information, such as web links of customer success stories and customer testimonials (in the websites of the IS suppliers and service providers), website information of the company adopter, its annual reports, industry/government reports, reports of analysts, brochures and videos of the applications, website information of the suppliers of IS, news and blogs. It is also core in the assignment the systemic use of diverse theoretical frameworks for the strategic analysis of the company/industry including the PESTEL framework, the 5-forces of competitive position, the value chain framework, the generic strategies, the resource-based view of business strategy, etc., according to the year of the decision and implementation. The students will also have to use theories related to the type of application(s) they are writing about, i.e. ERP, e-SCM, e-CRM and/or e-Commerce. Finally, students must 1 The word-limit includes the main body of the text, index, tables, figures/illustrations, and footnotes, but not the cover sheet, and full list of references and appendixes. Count the words in the figures/illustrations and footnotes, and then add to the word count to get the total (report that final total). 2 Students must submit the assignment via the link on Canvas. 3 Do not choose an initiative based on Oracle Exadata, Oracle Exalitics, SAP Hana, IBM Cognos, or similar ones. Newcastle University heavily rely on academic bibliography specifically related to CSF. As IS cut across different functional areas, relevant theories from other modules are also welcome but just as minor complements to the ones previously mentioned. The references in the assignment must be from English language sources. Students are expected not only to link theory and the information of the company, IS initiative and industry but also to be critical, for example lessons learned, recommended e-business roadmap for the company, sustainability of the strategic advantages created by the IS, etc. Although the assignment requires the use of very numerous theoretical references in the main body of the text and in the list of references, the student does not have to occupy much space explaining them. The crucial point is to include them at relevant places of the text, reference them, explain them very briefly (if necessary) and apply them correctly to make sense and interpret the information of the cases. An exception to that is the part related to CSFs in which we expect a balance between theoretical and empirically based explanations. The Case Studies It is suggested that the students start to search for information as soon as possible, about both the companies and their IS initiatives. The students must send by email to the module leader 4 options of companies (just companies, not the IS initiatives) by 15th March as a maximum. Please, state in your email the number of each option. The order of the options is symbolic since the student must feel confident to do a good work with any of the 4 in terms of information and theories. The module leader will make the final allocation of one company per student at some point between the 16 th and 17 th March and will post it on Canvas. The idea is to avoid students choosing the same company. The module leader will accept the e-mails with the students’ choices from the 14th March, not before. The allocations will be done randomly, so it will not be the first-come, first-served modality. If you sent less than 4 options, the most probable is that the student will not get any allocation. The module leader will notify this to the student after doing the allocation to the rest of the students. The student would have to send the 4 options anyway but not any that had been previously allocated to the classmates. Companies that Cannot Be Chosen There is a group of companies that cannot be chosen because there is too much information about them on the Internet and therefore, my experience says, the students that choose them tend to be overconfident and start their work quite late in the process. There could also be a temptation to take just two or three similar works from the Internet and paraphrase them for the assignment, which is not acceptable. For other companies in the list, some few students think that their knowledge of the user interfaces of B2C websites would be enough, but then they realise that the case studies are very remotely connected to that. The list of companies includes (including any of their business units and subsidiaries) Apple, Amazon, Alibaba, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, E-Bay, Google, Baidu, Yahoo, Skype, YouTube, Youku, WhatsApp, Oracle, SAP, IBM, Microsoft, Groupon, Jingdong, Guomei, Tencent, Huawei, Walmart, Netflix, PayPal, ASOS, TikTok and any game company. If a student chooses any of them, the module leader would allocate to the person another of her/his three options. However, it is responsibility of the student to ensure his/her options are not part of this group. The module leader could realise this when he is marking, which would be too late for the student. If the student writes the assignment with a company of this group, the mark would be zero. In general, the module leader will not suggest, question, approve or give feedback either on companies or IS initiatives in any case. The module leader will just accept the options of the students. Newcastle University Assessment Criteria The marking will be strongly based on the following criteria: MARKING CRITERIA  80% – Excellent 70%-79% – Excellent 60% – 69% – Merit 50% – 59% – Pass < 50% – Fail Purpose, Focus and Conformity Attention to purpose Has addressed the purpose of the assignment comprehensively and Imaginatively Has addressed the purpose of the assignment coherently and with some attempt to demonstrate imagination Has addressed the main purpose of the assignment Some of the work is focused on the aims and themes of the assignment Fails to address the task set Clarity of objectives and focus of work Has defined objectives in detail and addressed them comprehensively and imaginatively. Has defined objectives and addressed them at the end through the work Has outlined objectives and addressed them at the end of the work Has provided generalised objectives and focused the work on the topic area No information provided Conforming with instructions (e.g. word length) Work has been submitted within time boundaries and within prescribed parameters Work has been submitted within time boundaries and within prescribed parameters Work has been submitted within time boundaries and within prescribed parameters Deviates slightly from the required parameters Work has been submitted late with no allow-able reason, or deviates significantly from the required parameters Readability Presentation of assignment (intellectual approach) Shows a polished and imaginative approach to the topic Carefully and logically organised Shows organisation and coherence Shows some attempt to organise in a logical manner Disorganised/ incoherent Communication and presentation (appropriate to discipline) Can engage effectively in debate in a professional manner and produce detailed and coherent project reports Can communicate effectively in a format appropriate to the discipline and report practical procedures in a clear and concise manner with all relevant information in a variety of formats Can communicate effectively in a format appropriate to the discipline and report procedures in a clear and concise manner with all relevant information Some communication is effective and in a format appropriate to the discipline. Can report practical procedures in a structured way Communication is unstructured and unfocused and/or in a format inappropriate to the discipline Presentation (visual) Material is imaginatively presented resulting in clarity of message and information Material is carefully structured with clear message and visual effect Material included is relevant to topic and has been structured. Visual aspect of presentation is limited Material presented is relevant but lacks structure or visual impact Not all material is relevant and/or is presented in a disorganised manner Clarity of expression (incl. accuracy, spelling, grammar, punctuation Fluent writing style appropriate to document. Grammar and spelling accurate. Language fluent Grammar and spelling accurate Language mainly fluent Grammar and spelling mainly accurate Meaning apparent, but language not always fluent Grammar and/or spelling contain errors Meaning unclear and/or grammar and/or spelling contain frequent errors Theory and Practice Content and range Comprehensive/detail ed knowledge of topic with areas of specialisation is depth and awareness of provisional nature of knowledge Reasonable knowledge of topic and an awareness of a variety of ideas/frameworks Has given a factual and/or conceptual knowledge base and appropriate terminology Evidence of limited knowledge of topic and some use of appropriate terminology Lacks evidence of knowledge relevant to the topic and/or significantly misuses terminology Knowledge of Assignment Insightful and Most key theories Selection of theory Inaccurate or Newcastle University theory demonstrates integration and innovation in the selection and handling of theory appropriate selection of theory in key areas are included in the work in an appropriate straight forward manner is appropriate but some aspects have been missed or misconstrued inappropriate choice of theory Context in which subject is used Takes account of complex context and selects appropriate technique Takes some account of context and selects some appropriate techniques Recognises defined context and uses standard techniques for that context Context acknowledged but not really taken into account Context not recognised as relevant Information gathering/proces sing Selects and processes data with confidence and imagination. Makes a selection from data, applies processing tools and use some imagination Makes a selection from data and applies processing tools. Collects some information and makes some use of processing tools Random information gathering. Inappropriate use of processing tools. Clarity of Reasoning and Analysis Analysis Can analyse new and/or abstract data and situations without guidance using a wide range of techniques appropriate to the topic Can analyse a range of information with minimum guidance, can apply major theories and compare alternative methods/technique for obtaining data Can analyse with guidance using given classification / principles Can analyse a limited range of information with guidance using classification / principles Fails to analyse information Reflection / evaluation Can critically review evidence supporting conclusions/ recommendations including its reliability, validity and significance and can investigate contradictory information/ identify reasons for contradictions Can select appropriate techniques of evaluation and can evaluate the relevance and significance of data collected Can evaluate the reliability of data using defined techniques and/or tutor guidance. Limited and only partially accurate evaluation of data using defined techniques and/or tutor guidance. Fails to evaluate or use techniques of evaluation, or evaluations are totally invalid. Critical reasoning Consistently demonstrates application of critical analysis well integrated in the text Clear application of theory through critical analysis/critical thought of the topic area Demonstrates application of theory through critical analysis of the topic area Some evidence of critical thought/critical analysis and rationale for work Lacks critical thought /analysis / reference to theory Conclusions Analytical and clear conclusions wellgrounded in theory and literature showing development of new concepts Good development show in summary of arguments based in theory/literature Evidence of findings and conclusions grounded in theory/literature Limited evidence of findings and conclusions supported by theory/literature Unsubstantiated/in valid conclusions based on anecdote and generalisation only, or no conclusions at all Assessment Clinics There will be four pre-assessment clinics to discuss the assignment. It is expected that the students will come to the clinics with the structure of their cases, notes, and questions. The clinics will be interactive, and the module leader will give formative guidance on how to search for information and what is expected in the development of the cases. As a post-assessment clinic, there will be the option to meet with the lecturer after the release of the marks to discuss individual feedback and the general feedback to the whole cohort that will be posted on Canvas.

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