Information Technology and Sustainable Competitive Advantage   Leave a comment


How does information technology help you sustain your competitive advantage?

Is it just a matter of simply just getting the latest smartphone and apps? Or ensuring that your staff have the latest laptops and fastest internet connection? What about the cloud, and moving your data and applications to a completely web-based scenario?

These are important, but there is so much more to consider.

For IT should be there to support the business, not the other way around. IT is a service, a service to help the organisation achieve its goals. And to achieve long term success, those goals should be framed with sustainable competitive advantage in mind. And sustainable competitive advantage is built upon what you do with what you have. Therefore the question is: how well are you using the resources and capabilities at your disposal?

One way of thinking about sustainable competitive advantage is the VRIO model. Where V stands for value, R for rare, I for imitable and O for organisation. So, what do you have that is of value? And does this value enable you to compete in your market? The second layer is rarity. How rare is that resource/capability? Third is imitable. You may have something of value, and it may be somewhat rare, but how easy is it to copy? Perhaps a technology, a process, or the people you have. How easy is it for your competitors to imitate what you do or have? And finally, organisation. How well are you organised to take advantage of what you have?

And this is where information technology comes in. For IT is about information. It’s about the technology you use to support the flow of information throughout your organisation.

Pardon the pun, but IT helps you organise your organisation!

Think about all the different parts of your for-profit or not-for-profit organisation. Think about the operational departments, the sales and marketing people, the product support team, and so on. How well is information flowing between them? How easy is it for the people in each of those sections to get hold of the information they need to do their jobs? Who uses their information outputs, and what do they do with that information.

So we can see that there is a direct link between sustainable competitive advantage and the information technology you employ.

Information Technology helps you to take advantage of the valuable, rare and imitable resources and capabilities at your disposal.
For more of what I have to offer, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my strategy and futures-centric blog.

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Posted November 2, 2015 by terop in Futures, ICT Strategy, Innovation, Technologies

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