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Market Research Group

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Dan Wilkerson
Dan Wilkerson

Information Systems: Strategy To Design



INFO 102 Gender and Information Technology (5) SSc, DIVExplores the social construction of gender in relation to the history and contemporary development of information technologies. Considers the importance of diversity and difference in the design and construction of innovative information technology solutions. Challenges prevailing viewpoints about who can and does work in the information technology field. Offered: A.View course details in MyPlan: INFO 102




Information Systems: Strategy to Design


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INFO 200 Intellectual Foundations of Informatics (5) SScIntroduces the intellectual foundations of information, including what it is; how people create, categorize, find, interpret, manipulate and use information; how human values shape the design of information, information technology, and information systems; and how these systems shape people, organizations, and society. Includes analytic, design, empirical, and technical skill development.View course details in MyPlan: INFO 200


INFO 300 Research Methods (5)Introduces research methods used to understand people's interactions with information, information technology, and information systems. Topics include epistemology, science, theory, research ethics, and a selection of qualitative, quantitative, and design methods for answering questions in both research and practical settings.View course details in MyPlan: INFO 300


INFO 331 Introduction to Information Architecture (5)Introduction to Information Architecture (IA) methodologies and tools used to design and build information spaces. Discusses IA core concepts of navigation, labeling, data modeling, taxonomy and information personas. Also discusses wireframes, sitemaps, information design and integrating IA work with a UX strategy.View course details in MyPlan: INFO 331


INFO 353 Indigenous Ways of Knowing in the Digital World (4) SScCovers digital tools such as video games, virtual reality, language apps, and digital heritage sites used to maintain relationships to place, language, history, and culture. Explores respectful use and ethical development of these tools with emphasis on Native North American Indigenous approaches to knowledge. Students learn how relationality informs thoughtful and appropriate uses of information technology designed by and for Indigenous people.View course details in MyPlan: INFO 353


INFO 360 Design Methods (4) A&H/SSc, DIVIntroduces design paradigms and methods for envisioning information systems that meet the needs of people, organizations, and society. Topics include design thinking, creativity, and the sketching, prototyping, evaluating, and specifying of information experiences. Engages questions of design justice, examining who is and is not served by design.View course details in MyPlan: INFO 360


INFO 362 Visual Information Design (5) A&HBuild fluency in expressing information visually as diagrams, charts, maps, and icons. Learn to solve design problems, give and receive critique, follow an iterative process of design refinement, and learn technical skills. Understand the nature of visual potential, visual design principles, and the impact of color and typography.View course details in MyPlan: INFO 362


INFO 380 Information Systems Analysis and Design (5)Provides students with the skills to design information systems and software. Students learn how to identify and analyze system needs in terms of organizational and stakeholder goals, system functionality, and the constraints in which it must operate. Students learn analysis and design methods to gather, model, and define system requirements.View course details in MyPlan: INFO 380


INFO 441 Server-Side Development (5)Introduces server-side web development programming, services, tools, protocols, best practices and techniques for implementing data-driven and scalable web applications. Connects topics from human-centered design, information architecture, databases, data analytics and security to build a solution. Prerequisite: either CSE 123, CSE 143 or CSE 163; either INFO 340 or CSE 154; and INFO 330.View course details in MyPlan: INFO 441


INFO 464 Value Sensitive Design (5) A&HIntroduction to value sensitive design (VSD), information system design that accounts for human values in a principled and comprehensive manner. Examination of existing systems from a VSD perspective. Explores VSD research methods including conceptual, technical, empirical investigations. Key values include accountability, autonomy, consent, privacy, property, trust, sustainability. Prerequisite: either INFO 360, DESIGN 383, CSE 440, or HCDE 419.View course details in MyPlan: INFO 464


INFO 491 Project Capstone II (4)A student-driven team project that includes definition of an information problem, a method of investigation, creation of a project proposal, and completion of project deliverables (which may range from research reports, to design prototypes, to functional implementations of information systems. Must be completed in consecutive quarters after INFO 490. Prerequisite: INFO 490.View course details in MyPlan: INFO 491


As the failure to take maximum advantage of information technology may seriously hamper a firm's performance and viability (Venkatraman 2000; Avison et al. 2004), information systems-business alignment is fundamental to all organizations. Strategic alignment, the integration of strategies relating to the business and its information technology and information systems, has always been of interest to researchers and practitioners. Previous studies (e,g., Premkumar and King 1991; Tarafdar and Qrunfleh 2010; Velcu 2010) on strategic alignment have concentrated almost exclusively on understanding the integration of information systems planning with business strategy. In this research stream, most of the research (e.g., Burn and Szeto 2000) agrees that, by means of strategic information systems planning (Sinformation systemsP), strategic alignment enables information systems to support business strategies more effectively.


Second, the nature and scope of alignment is inadequately clarified in the literature (Avison et al. 2004). As Reich and Benbasat (2000) argue, planned information technology/information systems strategy is a necessary but not a sufficient contributor to effective alignment. Achieving alignment requires an ongoing effort of strategic planning, goal realignment, and implementation of best practices in support of and shaping business strategies (Chen 2010). In particular, strategic alignment is a continuous and dynamic process (Croteau et al. 2008; Luftman 2000), rather than a planning-oriented approach to business objectives only (Avison et al. 2004). The extent to which strategic information systems planning meets its objectives is determined by implementation, including information systems design and deployment (Gottschalk 1999), but the alignment in information systems design and deployment has been underemphasised.


In fact, system development is fundamentally a process of design (Arnott 2006), and using a system that is not well designed can lead to inferior outcomes at the organizational level (Ba et al. 2001). For example, systems can be fault-tolerant and easy to use but may fail to contribute to the organization's goals (Ba et al. 2001). Corresponding to these research gaps, this study addresses two specific questions. First, how do organizations really design their information systems with respect to their business strategies? Secondly, and building on the first question, what are the mechanisms of design fit through which alignment can be achieved?


We argue that information systems is often designed and deployed primarily to solve pressing functional and technical problems, without regard for overall strategic considerations (Grant 2003); to understand the concept of design fit is important to the ability to maintain alignment efforts in strategic planning. Using a case study of SaveCom, a Taiwanese telecommunications company, this article explores the concept of design-fits, which refers to the strategic alignments in the enterprise system design. The theoretical profiles for aligning information systems design and business strategies are developed in terms of March and Smith's (1995) four main information technology artefacts: constructs, models, methods and instantiations. The results of this study could be useful to researchers and practitioners interested in strategic alignment in the enterprise system design.


The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. First, the background of strategic alignment, the role of design-fits in the strategic alignment research, and the concept of information technology artefacts are discussed briefly. Next, the research approach is described. A description of the case follows, where the information systems design and development and their effects on aligning the business strategy are analysed in terms of March and Smith's (1995) four main information technology artefacts. Following is a discussion of three proposed mechanisms of design-fits. The conclusion highlights the implications of the findings for both research and practice, along with suggestions for future research.


The focus of this paper aims to outline how organizations achieve alignment and design their information systems with respect to their business strategies. In this section, a review of strategic alignment, the proposed concept of design-fits and information technology artefacts are provided.


The need to link the information systems planning process with business planning is critical to business success and to ensuring information systems planning process success (Sabherwal and Chan 2001; Croteau and Bergeron 2001). The well-known strategic alignment model (SAM) proposed by Henderson and Venkatraman (1993) was the first to describe clearly the relationship between business strategies and information technology strategies. This model is defined in terms of four fundamental domains of strategic choice: business strategy, information technology strategy, organizational infrastructure and processes, and information technology infrastructure and processes, each of which has its own underlying dimensions. The model also assesses alignment based on strategic fit and functional integration. Employment of an alignment model such as this assists a firm in three ways: by maximising return on information technology investment, by helping to achieve competitive advantage through information systems, and by providing direction and flexibility to react to new opportunities (Avison et al. 2004).


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