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Information System Strategy Assignment: Case Analysis Of Coles

Question

Task: Prepare well-researched information system strategy assignment critically discussing the current IS strategy of Coles Supermarket and ways to improve those strategies to overcome the current problems in business.

Answer

Introduction
The concept of IS/IT strategy explored in the segments of information system strategy assignmentrefers to the planning document which describes the way technology and information system must be used in the businesses' overall strategy. It also explains the technology and information system must be designed in a way which supports the entire business plan of the organisation. An effective IS strategy can able to improve the performance of the organisation as well as meet the business and IT goals (Devece et al. 2017). A strategic information system is mainly used for formulating organisation's business strategies and gaining sustainable competitive advantage. The purpose study is to understand a company's current IS strategies and the way to improve IS strategies in order to solve the current problems in business. This assignment will provide a brief overview of Coles' IS strategies. Key challenges facing the Coles as well as present IS Strategies of the Colesis going be discussed in this report. The Coles company's competitors current IS strategies and comparison of IS strategies between Woolworths and Coles will be provided in this assignment. The importance of IS/IT strategy management plan and various IS strategies will be described in this information system strategy assignment. This assignment will also select best IS strategies for the company. Further, this assignment will provide a suggestion for the Cole to introduce the new strategies.

Background of the company IS strategies
The Coles Supermarket is one of the well-known retail chains in Australia. According to Coles.com.au (2020), the Coles Company belongs to Coles Group Limited and the headquarters of the company is situated in Melbourne. The Coles was founded in 1924. Since the company's establishment, Coles does not have any particular IS strategy for its business which impact its business operations. The company is currently has developed IS strategy in order to manage the advanced technology which can help to meet the business objectives. The IS strategies help the Coles company to store, allocate, process and move the information and data they receive and develop. The Coles’ IS Strategy focuses on fulfilling the demands of the customers or reduce costs in campaign by adopting modern infrastructure and utilise IT for reducing competition in the Australian market by enhancing the strong supplier and customer relations. The company has set duration of three years for their IS strategy.

In this period, the company has tried to apply numerous services and tools for assisting the management to use the analytical tools and metrics in its information repositories. However, without proper knowledge and lack of initiative to share information make the project failure. The Coles wants to achieve its objectives and an initiative by implementing this IS Strategy. The company mainly use ERP and SAP tools for uninterrupted operations of the company. The Coles focuses on building trust with their customers by delivering high-quality services to them (Coles.com.au 2020). The company's current IS strategy deal with decision support framework and resource planning framework of the company. However, the company is unable to build an effective information system for retail management which helps to connect with their customers as well as produce business revenues.

Major challenges facing the company in the last five years
The Coles company' current changes have affected its business operations which leads to creating many problems in the business. It reduces the development and growth of the company. As stated by Heffernan (2020), the business activities Coles supermarket is affected by the present financial crisis negatively. The business has been facing financial challenges frequently due to changes within the structure of the company. The current business operation faces various difficulties due to the organisational structure and size. The Coles Supermarket is unable to manage as well as control the company's workers due to its size. Many studies have shown that a business is unable to survive when the organisation has a large employee base. The management team of the Coles is currently facing difficulty to manage the workers. According to the study ofTiwana (2017) utilized in this section of information system strategy assignment, starting new business or acquiring new business increase the number of workers within the organisation. Therefore, the company need to create a budget for the payments of the new workers. The new employees of the Coles can face difficulty to adopt with new organisational structure. In addition, the present management and employees have been facing challenges in accommodating with new organisational system as well.

The challenges of adapting to novel organisational structure may lead to affect the organisational operations as well as its success. It is stated herein information system strategy assignmentthat the system operations within the company have certain problems which affect the business performance such as large gap in decision making, ineffective communication process, and lastly selection of wrong process. As stated by Kamariotou and Kitsios (2018), every organisation invests a large amount of time in making a business decision as there are multiple stages present within the decision-making process. In the decision-making process, the managers should notify and provide sufficient time for the employees in order to make a proper decision. This can affect the operation of the Coles’ business. On the other hand, the organisation is facing a communication problem due to its outdated and poor information system. Without clear communication, the organisation is unable to handle a diverse workforce. It leads to teamwork failure within the company as the employees and management team are unable to perform together towards similar objectives. Wrong choice of business process can lead to failure of the business. The business process of the company is not efficient and effective. Therefore, the Coles Company is unable to meet the business objectives and goals. The Coles also faces legal charges for their misleading claims. According to Heffernan (2020), the Coles fined approximately 2.5 million dollars. Currently, the company offers their services online by enabling online shopping. However, the customers are facing problems in online shopping due to loosely secured shopping platforms as well as ineffective business processes. The payment system of the company is not managed properly which leads to creating other problems within the business operations (Yoshikuni et al. 2018). The IT infrastructure of the Coles is not up-to-date which can reduce the innovation within the company as well as the business revenue. The procedures and policies of the company are not transparent which may bring ethical challenge to the company.

What are the current IS strategies of Coles outlined in this information system strategy assignment?
The Coles company has developed the IS strategies in order to identify the capable opportunities for business growth. The IS strategy of the Coles company is focusing on enhancing supply and operations efficiencies. In this IS strategy, the company wants to develop an effective data management which helps to analyse and present the data in a better way. With the help of the current IS strategy, the company is trying to improve customer service which will give competitive advantage. The IS strategies of Coles is based on operation support which facilitates product differentiation and external and internal communication. The Coles company have faced various issues as mentioned in the information system strategy assignmentwhile creating it’s IS strategy. The difficulties generally revolve around human resources, management, time taken during decision-making process, and technical issues. These difficulties have been faced during the whole process and also influence the planning, developing and execution. According to Kamariotou, Kitsios and Grigoroudis (2018), the main objective of the Coles company's IS strategy is to manage the information effectively as well as align the information system and strategic approach with their organisational goals and business strategies. Therefore, the company have focused on executing daily business activities in the initial phase of the IS strategy.

The Coles company also develops other IS strategies which concentrate on reducing market competition, controlling information flow, meeting the changing demands. The company have designed it IS strategy which contains of strategic information management as well as a strategic information system. The main purpose of the company's IS strategies is to execute the business activities without interruptions. The Coles company IS strategy helps to align the organisational goals with the IT infrastructure in order to produce values via their business activities as well as increasing the ROI. Based on Kitsios and Kamariotou (2016), every business has to handle the environmental complexity as well as uncertainty. Therefore, the managers need to create information system strategy which supports the overall business strategy and adjust the business decisions to maximise competitive advantage. The company is able to adopt the change with the help of the existing IS strategy. The company encounters numerous challenges to find possible solutions for IS Strategy. These IS strategies are suitable for current market environment. However, the company need to improve these IS Strategies as poor coordination between team members and communication gaps makes difficult to implement these IS strategies successfully in the current market changes.

Analysis of Coles’s competitors IS strategies and comparison of IS strategies between Coles and Woolworths
The Coles has many competitors which provide intense competition in the Australian market. They are Woolworths, Costco, Target, Walmart and Amazon and so on. As stated by Forbes.com (2020), the key objective of the Target is to provide an assortment which is customised according to the needs of the young families at a low cost. To meet this objective, the Target company has developed its IS strategy. The company is able to lower the prices by reducing the internal costs. This IS strategy helps the company to deliver services or products at a much lower price compared to its competitors. The Costco and Walmart companies also follow the same IS strategy which helps them to deliver high-quality products at low prices. The IS strategy of the Walmart company illustrated in the information system strategy assignment focus on increasing both customer loyalty as well as sales of the company. On the other hand, in IS strategy, the Amazon company outlines that they use networking technologies and advanced computing for optimal operational efficacy (Majed, Nuraddin and Hama 2018). The IS strategy of the Amazon company is committed to long-term thinking and operational excellence. This IS strategy focus on the company’s price, convenience and selection in both the physical and online location.

In the IS strategy, the Woolworths company focus on ISM or Information System Management which helps to access the financial reports easily from the company’s database system. According to Van Kampen and Kirkham (2020), ISM is considered to be an effective tool used by various organisations and businesses which helps to manage the computerised database in order to store financial information and data. It also helps to generate financial reports on the basis of business processes and operations at different management levels. The Woolworths Company can able to improve the decision-making process, coordination, analysis, control, and lastly visualisation of data by using the ISM. On the other hand, the IS strategy of the Coles company focuses on executing the daily business activities. However, this IS strategy is not implemented successfully within the company due to poor coordination and communication gap. The Coles also focuses on locking the suppliers and the customers in order to gain sustainable competitive advantage. The Coles uses the information systems to provide various types of advantages to the customers and suppliers; hence they are unable to replace with a competitor.

Importance of IS/IT strategy management plan in helping Coles achieving competitive advantage
The IS/IT strategy management plan offers a direct connection between the advanced information technology and the Coles company’ demands. This tactic enables the company to get the market’s hold by using information technology. The IT/IS strategy management plan helps the organisation to fulfil the challenging requirements of the market. The information system strategy assignmentexamines the words of Kitsios and Kamariotou (2019) that with the help of management plan of IT/IS strategy, the organisations can able to respond to the continuous changing corporate environment. The Coles can able to evolve its business strategy. The IT/IS management plan also helps the Coles company to manage the knowledge within the company as well as managing operations efficiently which helps them to achieve competitive advantage. External and internal information helps the company to understand the situation of the market as well as determine profit, revenue, and bottom line of the company (Galliers, Leidner and Simeonova 2018). Managing this information requires a proper plan which can be done by IT/IS strategy management plan. The IT/IS strategy management plan explains the way the Coles company runs its business. Writing the IT/IS strategy, allows the company to formalise the management operations as well as structure. The IT/IS management plan includes planning, leading organising and lastly controlling.

The Coles can able to achieve competitive advantage when they are able to operate the business processes efficiently. The IT/IS management plan helps the company to operate the business processes efficiently. As provided in this information system strategy assignment, the IT/IS strategy is considered to be a crucial element of the company for their expansion and growth. It also helps to manage their supply chain. Based on Kamariotou and Kitsios (2017), competitive intelligence and information technology can contribute to the competitive advantage of the business by using and analysing the data gathered on customers, competitors, and other various market factors. The Coles can able to collect and analyse the information systematically by designing the IT/IS strategy management plan. It helps them to use the resources effectively by allocating in proper areas. The information system and advanced technology integration within the company may be maintained easily by using management systems and allowing open access (Alamr et al. 2016). This management plan can also help the Coles to classify various opportunities for utilising information infrastructure for multiple strategies. The company can able to use the limited resources in sustainable way (Yoshikuni and Albertin 2018). With the help of this management plan, the company can able to confirm that the IS strategies support the organisational goals and objectives. Strategically data systems can help the Coles company to develop and sustain resources in the competitive market.

Two IS strategies which provide solutions to current company needs or problemsidentified in this information system strategy assignment
The IS strategies can help the companies respond to various business initiatives as well as act according to corporate world. The Coles company should focus on developing better IS strategies which will solve the current problems as well as fulfil the needs of the company. The company needs to develop a IS strategy which is based on four key pillars which are governance, investments, leveraging resources, and lastly digital transformation. According to Trantopoulos et al. (2017), digital transformations allow the organisation to gain sustainable competitive advantages. The company is also able to survive in this unstable business environment. The Coles should emphasise on the requirement of IT staff and consolidating the current IT infrastructure. The company needs to develop short-term initiatives due to the limited IT resources. The Coles company should develop the IS strategy considering new IT strategy may take a long time to achieve success. Therefore, the IS strategy should be realistic, repeatable, measurable and lastly easy-to-update. It will help their key stakeholders to track the progress.

The Coles company also can develop an advanced IS strategy which helps to manage its in-house systems and hardware. The Coles is currently facing difficulty in maintaining its in-house systems and hardware because the infrastructure within the company is continued to evolve and grow. The company needs to update its current information technology as the advanced technology is not compatible with its existing environment. Therefore, the company should partner with third-party organisation who can help them to move the entire IT system to the cloud. Based on Sarwar (2017), cloud environment helps the organisation to reduce the direct capital costs significantly and also reduces the capacity risks. With the help of this IS strategy discussed in the information system strategy assignment, the Coles company can able to minimise the maintenance costs of IT infrastructure as well as increase the configuration and server set up process.

Selection of IS strategies which contribute to success of the company
The IS strategy which focuses on developing barrier to the competitors' entry should be the best IS strategy for the Coles company. According to Alamr et al. (2016), an organisation can able to develop innovative services or products with the help of its information system which can difficult to imitate. In this IS strategy, the Coles company should focus on developing highly specialised products and services. When the Coles company will use this new IS strategy, new competitors are unable to enter the Australian market because they find that developing a highly specialised product or service requires a huge amount of time and money. The company also needs to develop a backup IS strategy due to the current unstable business environment.

Recommendation to introduce the new strategies
The new IS strategies can be introduced after understanding improving the coordination and communication process within the company. The Coles should introduce these strategies in the next 2 years. The company needs to monitor the implementation of the IS strategies and evaluate the performance of the IS strategies to determine the success of the IS strategies. The organisation can utilise its information system to develop barriers to the entry of new competitors. With the help of this information system strategy, the Coles can able to get a competitive advantage in the Australian market.

Conclusion
This information system strategy assignmentfocus on improving the Coles’ current IS strategies in order to solve the current problems in business. The Coles is one of the popular supermarkets in Australia. In this assignment, the Coles company's IS strategies are discussed. The Coles is currently facing various challenges in the business which is discussed elaborately in this report. The company does not have a proper IS strategy which can manage the information flow effectively. The Coles company’s competitors current IS strategies are analysed to understand the IS strategies of the retail industry. The Coles company's competitors are mainly following IS strategy which focuses on reducing internal cost in order to deliver high-quality services or products. This assignment also draws a comparison of IS strategies between Woolworths and Coles. The benefits of IS/IT strategy management plan and various IS strategies for the company are described in this information system strategy assignment. This assignment also selects the best IS strategy for the company. Further, this assignment recommends a time for the Cole to introduce the new strategies.

Reference List
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