subject Matter: an analysis of General Motors? (GM) information systems and how they are geared towards supporting the firm?s wider strategic objectives
This paper is split into two sections. Section one provides some contextual information relating to how the concept of strategy is understood when applied to GM vis-?-vis its information systems capabilities. Also discussed are the current challenges facing the automotive sector generally and GM in particular before proceeding to give a detailed description of the more important aspects of GM?s global strategy, and the ways in which IS are incorporated into the overall strategic vision. Section two focuses on the specific ways in which GM utilizes its information systems resources to fully complement wider organizational strategic objectives by assessing the extent to which functional integration of value chain activities are successfully realized. Particular emphasis is given to the alignment of manufacturing and engineering business processes with those of marketing and sales to satisfy global demand, and how any obstacles have been overcome. Finally, an assessment is also made of the importance of the firm?s strategic alliances with key stakeholders in relation to IS ventures and how these relationships are crucial to the firm?s successful delivery of its wider strategic objectives.
Setting the scene
1.1. How ?strategy? applies to GM:-
As other writers have demonstrated (e.g., Nickols, 2000), strategy can be interpreted by individuals (and indeed organizations) in many different ways. Such interpretations are often dependant upon certain philosophical assumptions made by the individual (organization) as to the nature of strategy, and this can be crudely summarized as being the conflicting debate between those who believe that strategy is a concept which is rooted in sequential and planned processes, against those who are of the opinion that strategy is a continuously evolving phenomenon which is adaptable to a range of unforeseen forces that arise from the external environment. Although it is crucial to be aware of this debate, for our purposes strategy is taken to mean the way in which GM utilizes all of the available means at its disposal in pursuit of the realization of a pre-determined set of objectives. A strategy is usually deemed to be successful if it results in measureable concrete outcomes such as increased operational efficiency or rising profits, as well as a general improvement in a firm?s competitive position within the sector in which it operates.
1.2. Why information systems (IS) are important:-
IS?s are an essential ingredient of any firm that aspires to be successful in today?s globalised, digital economy. The fundamental aim of IS?s are to bring together the sociotechnical elements of organizations whereby ?optimal organizational performance is achieved by jointly optimizing both the social and technical systems used in production? (Laudon: 28). IS?s merely...