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3 Challenges to Business Intelligence and Analytics Adoption

big data, challenges, business intelligence, BI, analytics

Business Intelligence and Analytics

What is the biggest challenge today for upgrading your business? You’ll find the answer through using tools enabling business intelligence (BI) and analytics strategies. It seems that businesses are looking to adopt BI and more advanced analytics to achieve bigger gains. Upper management needs to explore more information to gather key areas that they feel need improvement.

The Biggest Challenges:

  • Data Preparation – The ability to complete data management in putting together and cleaning data before compiling reports and analytics.
  • Skills and Leadership – Is there a structure focused on needs of both BI and analytics along with more complex methods?
  • Ease of Use – Can those who are less technically inclined be able to use the system?

Preparing Data

The biggest gaps are in data prep. It is more difficult and more complex than it seems. The size of the company and how they are using BI and analytics doesn’t matter. They all see big gaps in how they filter, transform and prepare their data. Good data gathering and compiling is completed. It helps find both relationships and potential outcomes quickly. The information found here will help improve your company’s productivity and build competitive advantages. Consider automation and self-service also for those in the agency who are less technically inclined. Analytics are behind BI. Improvements are needed to be able to prepare, augment and explore the data gathered. This will help your agency to find root causes and trends. You can then build and update predictive models through using machine learning.

Skills and Leadership

Skills and leadership are key too. Agencies strong in these areas still say that there are many challenges in innovation, creativity, and leadership. Shown executive support enforces the need for upgrades or change just will not happen. If there’s no strong vision and support at this level, the initiatives will fail or underperform. A leader needs to make sure that they openly show the value of success from the new initiatives.

Ease of Use

Overworked data scientists or analysts already in your company because of changes being implemented need help. In this case, it’s better to create self-service and interactive tools where everyone can find them. Nontechnical users will need the guidance, and instead of overworking your data scientists and analysts, this can help. There’s software built to aid building systems that can detect relationships, correlations, segments, and outliers. It could use natural language to create queries. It could present context-based narratives of important findings. All sorts of things could be created with the new software to help the organization.

Increasing adoption of BI and Analytics

  • Invest in data and data prep
  • Nurture culture, skills, and leadership
  • Keep self-service and Ease of Use in the Forefront

Conclusion

If the challenges of gathering and preparing data are not addressed, it will become more difficult to find a use for BI and analytics. If strong leadership isn’t used to make the employees excited to use the new technologies, the initiative will be a failure. And if ease of use with smart/automated capabilities isn’t used, it’ll hinder adoption of BI and more advanced analytics. Consider these things before upgrading your systems.

 

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What is Unit Oriented Architecture?

system architecture, computer architecture, system, UOA, unit oriented architecture, systems,

Definition of UOA

UOA is an business method of performing tasks based on the hierarchical composition of different units of software. These units give support to both operational and actions completed in technological systems. UOA creates groups of software fully supporting purpose, function, behavior, and structure of these systems. It helps clarify and strengthen architectures through finding right places and owners for assets. Included are web applications, mobile apps, web services and business processes to name a few. The unit then becomes both a construct and micro-platform that allows other components plugin.

Key Points of UOA

  • Creates digital constructs for actions completed and operational support
  • Views companies as a Composite (control) or Leaf (functional)
  • Unit software has to be comfortable and work in the unit assigned
  • Every unit has to have formal software boundaries. They represent contracts between assemblies both in and out of the agency.
  • All units have to run operations implemented as business processes that are executable. Every process is owned by one section only.
  • There is particular emphasis on control units. It causes a weakness in the company as only a few personnel will know how to run it.

What Does UOA Do?

UOA uses Systems Thinking to define problems. It uses Organization Design to configure enterprise and composite units. SOA uses constructing unit boundaries, and Business Rules to govern the system to name a few.

UOA allows practical and natural approaches to satisfy the needs of users. It completes this through unit orientation and clarity of what the system is supposed to do. Hierarchical unit structure helps define roles and spreads responsibilities between all the units. It creates a stable system where it can adapt, develop and grow fast. Process-centric (inside) and event-driven integration (outside) is where processes pass through the units to complete work.

Differentiation between functional and control units is defined here. Functional (leaf) units don’t contain other groups. They provide services and products, all digital. Control units have more entities in them. Actions are directed, coordinated, measured and controlled to ensure best means to get the bottom line. There’s a clear understanding of what everyone is to do in the company and delegates decision making to the right people.

Supported are operations interactions. The direction of vision focuses towards products and services instead of the process is itself. The quality of communication between system parts is considered more important than the quality of parts. The character of interfaces measures effectiveness.

The Possibilities

If a company’s units support strongly built digital constructs that entirely concentrate on the customer, everything will grow. Effectiveness, efficiency, and efficacy will improve. New capabilities initiate with further development. Growth through cloned abilities will occur, while agility will increase speed. There are numerous opportunities abound.

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Digital Transformation – 5 Identifiers

digital, digital transformation, upgrading systems, upgrading business systems, business systems

What is Digital Transformation?

Numerous changes happen where digital economy of business is connected real-time due to new technologies. Digital transformation is directly related due to this. Just about all small and midsized firms have some sort of resources in place. It can be anything from newer and more powerful software and/or computers, new forms of communication or cloud computing. The company has to ensure good implementation and integration of programs to increase performance. How to do this is:

5 Identifiers

  1. Hyper-connectivity – Anytime/Anywhere communication
  2. Unlimited Computing Power – Caused through diverse platforms
  3. Cloud Computing – Easy access to hosted software/services
  4. Numerous Sensors and Mobile Devices – Supply continuous streams of information and ways to access them
  5. Cybersecurity – Lessen internal/external vulnerabilities

Why Buy At All?

Faster growing companies look at ways to drive revenue growth, increase productivity, and get new customers. This is supported through the use of advanced technology. The question becomes what is the best approach to get and use new technology in order to support objectives? Most are buying advanced software applications to help grow their businesses. Buying collaboration software, CRM and ecommerce all help growing businesses through helping internal productivity and efficiency. When one application is updated, they all are. This improves performance of the agency as a whole.

Causes to Upgrade

Most upgrade due to partner and/or customer needs. Their main focus is to improve internally.  External influence is also taken into consideration though. Who wants to chase away potential clients due to not listening to their needs too? This is key in order to keep up with competition and the environment that they work in. Effective coordination of technology brings in greater performance results.  It is greater then the sum of the parts bought to improve the system as a whole.

Benefits

The departments that benefit the most from these improvements is sales and marketing. Everyone from services to manufacturing to wholesale and retail benefit too. Internal processes is also up there, but externally faced business is considered more important. This is the rank from highest to lowest in importance:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Production / Operations
  • Commerce / Ecommerce
  • Customer Service / Call Center
  • Finance
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Manufacturing
  • Strategic Planning
  • HR

3 Takeaways 

  1. Leverage Technology
  2. Digital transformation is a continuing process
  3. Direct / Continuing participation and support of senior management and executives. If there is none, or it is perceived as none, then changes will be hard to implement.

Key Questions to Ask

Key questions to ask yourself and those involved in the process of beginning the changes are many. Where are you falling short compared to other companies? What is the competition doing that you are not? Do you have a strategic plan in place that supports digital transformation? Some things to consider…

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3 Phases of Business Analysis Verification Testing

test, work, , business analysis, business, complete, system, strategic planning, software

The first thing you should do after buying a product for the business analysis solution is to verify if the software will work with your vision.  Will it do what it is supposed to do?  When it is being verified the testing team who can be anyone from developers, QA and business analysts work with the software to make sure that it really works for what it was bought and/or created for.  There are many phases to be completed in order to ensure the new product will work well with your system.

The Test Phases

The Smoke Test comes before anything.  It’s a pretest to find out if full testing can begin.  This test shows simple failures that could keep further tests from being executed in the next 3 phases.

  1. Unit Test: Here every unit is tested separately to find any possible bugs before moving on.  It’s another name for the smoke test.  Don’t just have the development team test it here, but others to so there will be unbiased testing completed.
  2. Integration Test: This part makes sure that all the individual parts can work together; either as a subsystem or linked units.  Here you would want to find problems with how components will work together in the software architecture design.  This includes multiple levels of integration where subsystems might be brought in to see if they would work, then attached to larger subsystems when in compliance.  The development team and possibly business analysists work here.
  3. System Test: Here is where problems are found with how the new system meets users’ needs.  It’s ran through the entire system, auditing everything from linear perspective’s.  It’s the last chance before turning over to a user acceptance test, and verifies if the software meets original requirements.  The business analyst works here for the most part.

Other Tests to Be Completed

There are numerous other tests that have to be completed during these 3 phases.

  • Requirements validation test: Verifies system logic, making sure that it supports system analysis.
  • Regression Test: Retesting to ensure changes don’t break what is working.  There’s usually more than one test completed to make sure all the applications work.
  • Dynamic Test: Testing of the software in different circumstances.  There are 3 tests completed here:
    • The Performance Test: How fast can the system complete functions?
    • The Stress Test: Push the software to its limits to see how it handles levels of users, rates of input and speed of response.
    • Volume Test: Can the new software handle growth projections?
  • Security Test
  • Installation Test
  • Configuration Test
  • Usability Test

Why Test and a Way To Help Implement

With all these tests completed it will help you to not have problems down the road.  There’s a need to make sure that everything will work before turning it loose for everyone to use in your company or sell online to your customers.  Click here to get an awesome partition assistant from AOMEI to help maximize disk space and improve the performance of your computer(s).  This will be needed when growing your system, implementing new programs and applications.  The best part of this is that it has the Windows to Go Creator which would help immensely in the long run too.

 

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What is the Role of Information Systems in the 21st Century?

information systems, business, IS, business information systems

Whether or not a company wants to believe it, information systems (IS) are a very important part of how the business runs now.  This includes how data is stored, transferred and understood by all the different departments in the agency.  The problem is, it seems that business owners are not really aware of how important IS to their companies in being able to be managed in designated systems.

10 Reasons to Have New Information Systems

10 reasons that it is so important for companies are:

  1. Control Creation and Growth of Records – Less paper wasted as everything becomes computerized
  2. Reduces Operating Costs – Storing inactive records in IS costs less per linear foot for the company
  3. 3. It Improves Both Efficiency and Productivity – Helps to upgrade record keeping so retrieval of information needed is vastly improved
  4. Assimilate New Records Management Technologies – Can be used in any area of the company, helps analyze manual recordkeeping and applied automation
  5. Ensures Regulatory Compliance – Companies have to be able to make sure that they are in regulations by having a good IS that is responsible for regulatory compliances
  6. Minimize Litigation Risk – The main reason IS is used is to reduce the risk of litigation and penalties. A newer system put in place will help to ensure this happens.
  7. Safeguard Vital Information – This is necessary in order to protect records and information as all agencies are susceptible to attack or natural disasters. This will provide backups and save the information in a safe place of the company’s choosing, for retrieval later.
  8. It Helps to Support Better Management Decision Making Capabilities – A newer system put into place will help managers and executives to better find information that they need when they need it to make critical business decisions. ERP systems would be perfect here instead of doing everything manually.
  9. It Helps to Preserve Corporate Memory – This is done through everyday activities and record keeping.
  10. Foster Professionalism in Running the Company – Neatness and cleanliness are key in running a smooth organization

Why Update at All?

Good, solidly built IS  means that companies that use it will be able to align their strategies together into a clear point of view as to where they want to go.  It also helps to find relationships that would be considered critical and gaps in their company culture and infrastructure.  Good information systems  find answers on how to gain competitive advantage against their competition by improving alignment to strategic decision making.

 

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Why All the Different Information Systems?

IS, DSS, EIS, TPS, MIS, information systems, organizations, senior management, junior management, executives, executive decisions, senior management decisions, junior management decisions,

This all started back in the day.  Someone would need a system made specifically for them to handle one problem.  Soon enough that it was discovered that different problems needed similar solutions, but not always in the same manner of getting them.  This is where defining of the information systems began and why it is still needed.   When the company in question decides that they need to upgrade, they have to go through a process in order to find the right applications and hardware to handle their data.  Classification comes to play here, so that categorizing information can be completed correctly.  This will help to make the data one unit instead of many.

How Do You Identify Different Types of Systems?

There is no simple answer to the question.  Every company builds an information system (IS) that is tailored to their specific needs.  There are many different types of IS that are used in some manner or another.  Classifying IS relies on how tasks are performed and responsibilities are divided in the agency.  This becomes a pyramid model as most companies are hierarchical, so classes of IS are categorized following the hierarchy going down.

To compare different information systems:

  1. Transaction Processing Systems (TPS)– These are operational level systems.  They are used by shop floor workers and front line staff.  Data is gained here through tracking of low-level activities and basic transactions.  They function as simple data processing systems only.  This is the system that produces information for other systems to use.  They are used internally and externally, are used by operational personnel and supervisors and are focused on efficiency.  Examples:  Payroll, Order processing, Reservations, Payments and Funds Transfers.
  2. Management Information Systems (MIS) – Management level used by middle managers. This system ensures smooth running of the company for short to medium terms.  Information is given out highly structured and helps managers to evaluate the company’s performance through comparison of outputs.  MIS is built on data given by TPS.  They are based on internal information flow, support structured decisions, but are inflexible with not much analytical ability.  Examples:  Sales Management, Inventory control, Budgeting, Management Reporting, and Personnel.
  3. Decision Support Systems (DSS) – Knowledge based system used by senior managers. They analyze existing structured information, allowing managers to estimate any potential effects on decisions they are thinking of implementing.  These systems are interactive and are used to solve problems.  They can access databases, offer analytical tools, allow simulations to be completed, and can support exchanges of information in the company.  This system can alter and build solutions provided by MIS and TPS, that can create insights plus new information to go off on.  DSS helps to support badly or semi-structured decisions already being built, and have analytical and modeling capacities.  Examples:  Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS), Computer Supported Co-operative work (CSCW), Logistics, and Financial Planning.
  4. Executive Information Systems (EIS) – Strategic level used by executives and senior managers. These systems analyze environments that the company works in, find long-term trends, and plan courses of action.  The information gathered is gathered from internal and external sources, and is weakly structured.  These systems are designed to be able to be used directly by the executives and are user friendly with the ability to be customized to whomever is using it.  EIS gathers and presents data from the MIS or TPS so senior management and executives can see what is going on a make decisions based off what they see.  The people who use this want ease of use and being able to predict what will happen to the company in the future.  It has to be effective, flexible, and support unstructured decisions.  Examples:  There are none.  These systems are tailored to individual wants of the user, in other words are custom made.  There are off the shelf packages that can be customized too.

The Importance of Planning

There is no easy way to explain why there are so many different types of information systems.  Every company out there is not the same, or runs their agency in the same manner as others.  This is why modifications are made to the systems in order for them to work specifically with what said company uses and the data they keep.  Also every level of the agency uses different systems.  Not everyone has to have a need to know of everything going on.  It is better to keep it at the level that the systems are going to be used at the most.  This is why planning for upgrades is so important.  If the wrong system is used, or the wrong programs…

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8 Types of Business Information Systems

functional, constituency, information, information gathering, data, data gathering, business information systems, information systems,

When upgrading what type of business information system you use at your company, everything has to be taken into account.  As the saying goes, no stone goes unturned.  If something is ignored or overlooked, it could potentially ruin the entire upgrade.  No system is the same and one system won’t provide all the information for one agency.

What Are The Different Systems?

There will always be a collection of systems in place to take care of different actions.  The different systems can be called either functional or constituency.  Functional perspectives look at systems by the business function that they perform.  Constituency perspectives look at systems through looking at the organization that they serve.

The four main information systems serving functional systems:

  1. Sales and Marketing –  They can improve how the company monitors sales transactions, can analyze sales trends and effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
  2. Manufacturing and Production – It provides information about numbers of items available in inventory so that they can build more product without interruption.
  3. Finance and Accounting – Provides accounts receivable system to track and store customer data.
  4. Human Resources – Maintains data on company data supporting HR functions.

The four categories of constituency are:

  1. Transaction Processing Systems (TPS) – Basic systems serving at the operation level of companies. They record daily routine transactions needed to conduct business like sales receipts.
  2. Management Information Systems (MIS) – Support middle managers’ interests. Support through giving historical performance information to perform decision making actions at the management level.  MIS and TPS data work together to build reports of basic operations.
  3. Decision Support Systems (DSS) – The business intelligence system. Helps managers with unique, fast changing and not easily found decisions that have to be made.  For example, they might be used to help the manager to develop a bid on contracts.
  4. Executive Support Systems (ESS) – Used by senior managers to find answers to strategic issues and long-term trends in both the company and their environment. This type of system pools data from both internal and external sources, consolidating the data found into a form that is easy to use.

Integration and Implementation

In order for these systems to work correctly it is good to use them with others.  For example, TPS is a major source of data for other systems while ESS is a recipient of data from external sources and lower systems.  They all work together interdependently in some manner or another.  But as it is, most businesses are starting to use new technologies that they create themselves.  This better combines information from all the different systems mentioned beforehand, therefore making the said company more competitive.

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Information Systems and Effective Management

systems, types systems used, evaluation of data, data, data gathering, data analysis, SISP, IT, IS, strategic information systems planning,

Information technology (IT) is a huge part of effective management that managers have to know.  They have to as they build and put into place new decisions every day.  The information systems (IS) are for the most part completely built from scratch.  The main purpose of strategic information systems planning (SISP) is to create implement new systems to use for the agency that the managers work for.  This is something that has to be worked from the top on down or it will never gain fruition.  There are complications to building these new systems, but if done correctly, it can be a godsend.

SISP Research and Implementation

Steven L. Alter did some research into which agencies have the most success with SISP through adapting to it correctly and optimally.  He has found that applications being created and used now are now built to support the managers who have to make decisions, instead of replacing them.  This is called decision support systems and are used to greatly improve managerial effectiveness.  The problem is that there is a restriction of knowledge as to what kinds of systems are used now.    This means that information systems are out there that the manager and their superiors have not built it themselves, so they don’t know what these systems do.  Don’t just focus on the technical aspect, focus on how the new system will work with the agency in question.

6 Types of Systems

The types of systems used are:

  1. Used to retrieve isolated data
  2. Uses mechanisms for ad hoc analysis of data
  3. Gathers aggregations specified beforehand in standard reports
  4. Can estimate consequences of all proposed decisions
  5. Can propose decisions based off of data gathered
  6. Can help to make strategic decisions based off of the data gathered

Examples of SISP Being Used

Some examples of how SISP is used are:

  • For retrieval of information only – shop floor IS
  • Retrieval and analysis – portfolio analysis system
  • Multiple data bases and analysis – sales IS
  • Eval of decisions using accounting models – source-and-application-of-funds budgeting
  • Eval of decisions using simulation models – marketing decision system
  • Proposing decisions – optimize raw materials usage
  • Making decisions – insurance renewal rate system

Questions to Ask Yourself

There is a huge range of approaches that can be taken here that would be helpful depending on what is needed for said company’s business model.  What do they do?  What needs to be fixed that they would bring this up?  What improvements are going to be implemented?  What do they want the company to strive towards?  What systems are they going to use in order to implement their changes?

Build the System

These are just some of the questions that have to be answered before the company goes forward.  If there’s no clear vision on what is going to be done SISP can be a complete failure instead of being a bonus.  Build small prototypes first of specific areas in order to find where the bugs are.  Then they can be fixed with little or any cost before the big implementation begins.  Just remember as the author points out, building an IS makes sense when it is clear that changes are needed in how decisions are made in the company.  That and everyone learns what the role is of computers are in their workplaces, and helps managers to make decisions dealing with administration and competitive strategies against other companies in their industry.

 

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Key Methods of SISP

strategic plan, IT, IS, SISP, strategic information systems plan, information systems, information technology, alignment

SISP can be defined as the process to determine the computer applications that help achieve business objectives. SISP can be considered a critical management tool as it focuses on strategic goals of organizations. It’s needed in order to move strategic directions of organizations.  Otherwise things could get sloppy really fast. SISP keeps things organized when change is being implemented in agencies, especially with information technology (IT).

Why Use Any Methodology of SISP

Different methodologies that SISP uses is:

1. Business System Planning
2. Strategic Systems Planning
3. Information Engineering
4. Information Quality Analysis
5. Business Information Analysis

Whichever changes are chosen by the agency will influence methodology of implementation. It may also be more prudent to choose a bunch of different ways to complete it. This will help to keep a balancing act together when planning for the future.

Why Use SISP At All?

It seems that top management still doesn’t fully support using SISP methods in order to better compile and implement new changes. Research suggests agencies cannot reach success if there isn’t proper alignment of business and information systems strategies. There has to be a good mesh in order for the changes to be fully implemented with no problems. If there is no fit, it’s unlikely that there will be a proper alignment between information technology (IT) and the agency in question.

The Different Methodologies

The different methodologies are:

1. Business planning
2. Competitive impact
3. Computer-based applications
4. Conceptual analysis
5. Information systems planning
6. Information technology resource planning
7. Methodology
8. Strategic alignment
9. Strategic information systems planning (SISP)
10. Strategic management
11. SISP approach
12. SISP methodology
13. Strategic management planning
14. Strategic planning

The Why of All This

These methods can all be switched around and used in different ways in order to better find solutions. It has to be done correctly or a large amount of money will be invested with no results. Benefits from investing in IT can only be seen when there is a strategic alignment between IT and strategic business strategies. IT resources have to be able to target areas in the agency that are considered the most critical to their success. This has to be done with upper management, to include CEOs, CIOs and managers. This is why I have suggested in past posts that upper management is critical in SISP. If they are not willing to change initiatives and programs, there will be no change in the agency.

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Why is SISP Important for Organizations to Use?

IT, IS, SISP, strategic information systems planning, planning, IT planning, IS planning, information technology, information systems, information systems planning, information technology planning
data, information, information technology, information systems, systems, IS, IT, SISP, strategic information systems planning, planning, IS planning, IT planning
The Relationship Between Data, Information and Intelligence

As time goes on there has been a recognition that information technology (IT) is becoming more and more integrated in businesses and organizations. But as it is, IT is only as successful as how aligned the information system (IS) development is within the company. This is where SISP comes into play. One issue is that there is raised pressure to leverage importance of SISP, and is a key issue to top management.

The Main Purpose

Basically SISP helps to find computer-based applications in order to better assist organizations. This helps them to use their business plans and reach business goals. So in this it helps to identify and use IS to reach both goals, objectives, and affect strategy. If it isn’t used correctly it instead can cause lost opportunities and waste money on resources not needed.

Strategic…How?

IS can be considered a strategic part of an organization. It helps conducting of daily activities, supports decision making, and works correctly in timely manners. There are four areas that IS can be considered a strength in:

1. It helps to gain competitive advantages
2. It helps increase productivity/performance
3. It enables new ways in management and organization
4. It assists to create new business opportunities

How Does SISP Work?

As to how the strategy works depends on how the customer wants the IS to be used in their organization. But SISP brings users and professionals together in order to help build a mutual understanding of what the information systems do and what problems can arise from them. This helps to create priorities in development. What the customer and professional does is rank systems in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and value to the company or organization that is considering switching systems.

The Five Phases of SISP

It can help build barriers against new entrants, change the competition, create new products to sell, and find cost-effective methods between they themselves as the customer with their suppliers. There are five phases in SISP:

1. The new business plan incorporating IT
2. Information systems assessment
3. Information systems vision
4. Information systems guidelines
5. New strategic initiatives

Four Objectives when Implementing

This is for both public and private organizations, as it is an incredibly important step in the entire process. SISP is only as good as how the organization implements and uses the ideas given. This in turn will decide how successful the company will be in the future. Always plan ahead as adopting IS creates a huge expense.
There are four objectives when implementing the new information systems:

1. Alignment
2. Analysis
3. Cooperation
4. Marked improvement of capabilities

Challenges

SISP improvements are considered a major challenge today for IS executives. Planning has to be successful in order to find out potential strategic impacts of IS. One thing to make sure of is, IS has to be planned and aligned with organization planning or it won’t work correctly. If it is aligned correctly then there will be fewer problems with the new hardware and software, along with a smooth and effective implementation of plans.