Strategy in the Making: Assessing the Execution of a Strategic Information Systems Plan

  • José-Ramón RodríguezEmail author
  • Robert Clarisó
  • Josep Maria Marco-Simó
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 341)


Recent research on IT Strategy is in a phase of renewal, after a long period of static formal comprehensive planning. Currently, more importance is given to incremental continuous planning, program implementation and organizational learning, what has been labeled as strategy as practice. However, less attention has been paid to the evaluation of the implementation process and results.

In this paper, we introduce an exploratory approach for assessing the implementation of IT Strategic planning, based in the combination and iteration of different methods. It is grounded in an Action Design Research exercise recently made up at a leading on-line European university.

The assessment includes three major dimensions (strategy, performance and governance), extracted from the academic and professional research. Its application to this context through a varied scaffolding of methods, tools and techniques, that is summarized in the article, seems robust, able to work out with the business and IT senior stakeholders and allows a quick deployment, even in a complex institutional environment.

We propose further research in order to extend and validate this model through its implementation and evaluation in different contexts, selecting new variables and metrics, developing improved maturity frameworks and repeating the exercise on a periodical basis.


Strategic information systems plan IT strategy evaluation IT strategy implementation Higher Education 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Carlos Juiz (Univ. Illes Balears) and Dr. Joan Antoni Pastor (Univ. Politecnica de Catalunya) for their valuable advice; Clara Belena, Eva Gil and Daniel Caballe, UOC project team members, for their relentless commitment; and Rafael Macau (COO) and Emili Rubio (CIO) for their active sponsorship of the project.


  1. 1.
    Altbach, P.G.: Global Perspectives on Higher Education. JHU Press, Baltimore (2016)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ambrosini, V., Johnson, G., Scholes, K.: Exploring Techniques of Analysis and Evaluation in Strategic Management. Prentice Hall Europe, Hemel Hempstead (1998)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Amrollahi, A., Ghapanchi, A.H., Talaei-Khoei, A.: A systematic literature review on strategic information systems planning: insights from the past decade. Pac. Asia J. Assoc. Inf. Syst. 5(2), 4:1–4:28 (2013)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Arvidsson, V., Holmstrm, J., Lyytinen, K.: Information systems use as strategy practice: a multi-dimensional view of strategic information system implementation and use. J. Strat. Inf. Syst. 23(1), 45–61 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ashurst, C., Doherty, N.F., Peppard, J.: Improving the impact of IT development projects: the benefits realization capability model. Eur. J. Inf. Syst. 17(4), 352–370 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Barber, M., Donnelly, K., Rizvi, S., Summers, L.: An avalanche is coming. High. Educ. Revolut. Ahead 73 (2013)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Barn, B.S., Clark, T., Hearne, G.: Business and ICT alignment in higher education: a case study in measuring maturity. In: Linger, H., Fisher, J., Barnden, A., Barry, C., Lang, M., Schneider, C. (eds.) Building Sustainable Information Systems. Springer, Boston, MA (2013). Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bartenschlager, J., Goeken, M.: IT strategy implementation framework-bridging enterprise architecture and IT governance. In: AMCIS, p. 400 (2010)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Baskerville, R., Wood-Harper, A.T.: A taxonomy of action research methods. Institut for Informatik og Økonomistyring, Handelshøjskolen i København (1996)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bates, A.W., Bates, T., Sangra, A.: Managing technology in higher education: strategies for transforming teaching and learning. Wiley, Hoboken (2011)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Bharadwaj, A., El Sawy, O.A., Pavlou, P.A., Venkatraman, N.V.: Digital business strategy: toward a next generation of insights. MIS Q. 37(2), 471–482 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Brown, I.T.: Testing and extending theory in strategic information systems planning through literature analysis. Inf. Resour. Manag. J. 17(4), 20 (2004)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Chan, Y.E., Huff, S.L., Copeland, D.G.: Assessing realized information systems strategy. J. Strat. Inf. Syst. 6(4), 273–298 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Chan, Y.E., Reich, B.H.: IT alignment: what have we learned? J. Inf. Technol. 22(4), 297–315 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Chen, D.Q., Mocker, M., Preston, D.S., Teubner, A.: Information systems strategy: reconceptualization, measurement, and implications. MIS Q. 34(2), 233–259 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    da Cunha, P.R., de Figueiredo, A.D.: Information systems development as flowing wholeness. In: Russo, N.L., Fitzgerald, B., DeGross, J.I. (eds.) Realigning Research and Practice in Information Systems Development. ITIFIP, vol. 66, pp. 29–48. Springer, Boston, MA (2001). Scholar
  17. 17.
    DeLone, W.H., McLean, E.R.: Information systems success: the quest for the dependent variable. Inf. Syst. Res. 3(1), 60–95 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    DeLone, W.H., McLean, E.R.: The DeLone and McLean model of infor-mation systems success: a ten-year update. J. Manag. Inf. Syst. 19(4), 9–30 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Doherty, N.F., Marples, C.G., Suhaimi, A.: The relative success of alternative approaches to strategic information systems planning: an empirical analysis. J. Strat. Inf. Syst. 8(3), 263–283 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Earl, M.J.: Experiences in strategic information systems planning. MIS Q 1–24 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gable, G.G., Sedera, D., Chan, T.: Re-conceptualizing information system success: the IS-impact measurement model. J. Assoc. Inf. Syst. 9(7), 377 (2008)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Galliers, R.: Information systems planning in the United Kingdom and Australia: a comparison of current practice. Oxford University Press (1987)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Galliers, R.D.: Strategic information systems planning: myths, reality and guidelines for successful implementation. Eur. J. Inf. Syst. 1(1), 55–64 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Gottschalk, P.: Strategic information systems planning: the IT strategy implementation matrix. Eur. J. Inf. Syst. 8(2), 107–118 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Grajek, S., et al.: Top 10 IT Issues, 2018: The Remaking of Higher Education. Educause Review, January–February (2018)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Hall, L., Stegman, E., Futela, S., Gupta, D.: IT Key Metrics Data 2018: Key Industry Measures: Software Publishing and Internet Services Analysis: Multiyear. ID: G00341764. Gartner (2017)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hartono, E., Lederer, A.L., Sethi, V., Zhuang, Y.: Key predictors of the implementation of strategic information systems plans. ACM SIGMIS: Database Adv. Inf. Syst. 34(3), 41–53 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Henderson, J.C., Venkatraman, H.: Strategic alignment: leveraging information technology for transforming organizations. IBM Syst. J. 32(1), 472–484 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Hunter, R., et al.: A Simple Framework to Translate IT Benefits Into Business Value Impact. ID: G00156986. Gartner (2008, 2016)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Isaca, C.: Cobit 5 A Business Framework for the Governance and Management of Enterprise IT, 2013 ISACA (2014). ISBN: 1963669381Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Johnson, G., Whittington, R., Scholes, K., Angwin, D., Regnr, P.: Exploring Strategy: Text and Cases, 11th edn. Pearson Education, London (2016)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Juiz, C., Toomey, M.: To govern IT, or not to govern IT? Commun. ACM 58(2), 58–64 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Kamariotou, M., Kitsios, F.: Information systems phases and firm performance: a conceptual framework. In: Kavoura, A., Sakas, D., Tomaras, P. (eds.) Strategic Innovative Marketing, pp. 553–560. Springer, Cham (2017). Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kirinic, V., Kozina, M.: Maturity assessment of strategy implementation in higher education institution. In: Central European Conference on Information and Intelligent Systems, p. 169. Faculty of Organization and Informatics, Varazdin (2016)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Kopmann, J., Kock, A., Killen, C.P., Gemnden, H.G.: The role of project portfolio management in fostering both deliberate and emergent strategy. Int. J. Proj. Manag. 35(4), 557–570 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Lederer, A., Sethi, V.: The implementation of strategic information systems planning methodologies. MIS Q. 445–461 (1988)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Lederer, A.L., Sethi, V.: Key prescriptions for strategic information systems planning. J. Manag. Inf. Syst. 13(1), 35–62 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Lowendahl, J.M., Thayer, T.B., Morgan, G., Yanckello, R.A.: Top 10 Business Trends Impacting Higher Education in 2018. ID Paper G00343300. Gartner (2018)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Mentzas, G.: Implementing an IS strategy - a team approach. Long Range Plan. 30(1), 84–95 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Meskendahl, S.: The influence of business strategy on project portfolio management and its success - a conceptual framework. Int. J. Proj. Manag. 28(8), 807–817 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Mintzberg, H., Waters, J.A.: Of strategies, deliberate and emergent. Strat. Manag. J. 6(3), 257–272 (1985)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Parker, M.M., Benson, R.J., Trainor, H.E.: Information Economics: Linking Business Performance to Information Technology. Prentice-Hall, New Jersey (1988)Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Peppard, J., Galliers, R., Thorogood, A.: Information systems strategy as practice: micro strategy and strategizing for IS. J. Strat. Inf. Syst. 23(1), 1–10 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Petter, S., DeLone, W., McLean, E.: Measuring information systems success: models, dimensions, measures, and interrelationships. Eur. J. Inf. Syst. 17(3), 236–263 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Pucciarelli, F., Kaplan, A.: Competition and strategy in higher education: managing complexity and uncertainty. Bus. Horiz. 59(3), 311–320 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Rodríguez, J.-R.: El Master Plan (Plan Director) de Sistemas de Informacion de la UOC. Caso Practico. PID_00248250. FUOC. Barcelona (2017)Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Salmela, H., Spil, T.A.: Dynamic and emergent information systems strategy formulation and implementation. Int. J. Inf. Manag. 22(6), 441–460 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Sambamurthy, V., Venkataraman, S., DeSanctis, G.: The design of information technology planning systems for varying organizational contexts. Eur. J. Inf. Syst. 2(1), 23–35 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Sarkar, S.: The role of information and communication technology (ICT) in higher education for the 21st century. Science 1(1), 30–41 (2012)Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Sein, M.K., Henfridsson, O., Purao, S., Rossi, M., Lindgren, R.: Action design research. MIS Q 37–56 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Segars, A.H., Grover, V.: Strategic information systems planning success: an investigation of the construct and its measurement. MIS Q 139–163 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Soares, S., Setyohady, D.B.: Enterprise architecture modeling for oriental university in Timor Leste to support the strategic plan of integrated information system. In: 5th International Conference on Cyber and IT Service Management (CITSM), pp. 1–6. IEEE (2017)Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Sutherland, A.R., Galliers, R.D.: The evolving information systems strategy information systems management and strategy formulation: applying and extending the stages of growth concept. In: Strategic Information Management: Challenges and Strategies in Managing Information Systems, pp. 47–77, Routledge (2014)Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Teo, T.S., Ang, J.S.: An examination of major IS planning problems. Int. J. Inf. Manag. 21(6), 457–470 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Teubner, R.A., Mocker, M.: A literature overview on strategic information systems planning. European Research Center for Information Systems Working Paper No. 6 (2008). revised 2012Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Thiry, M.: Program Management, Gower (2010)Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Universitat Oberta de Catalunya: Strategic Plan 2014–2020 (2016).
  58. 58.
    Vaara, E., Whittington, R.: Strategy-as-practice: taking social practices seriously. Acad. Manag. Ann. 6(1), 285–336 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Vitale, M.R., Ives, B., Beath, C.M.: Linking information technology and corporate strategy: an organizational view. In: ICIS, p. 30 (1986)Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Ward, J., Daniel, E.: Benefits Management: How to Increase the Business Value of Your IT Projects. Wiley, Hoboken (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Whittington, R.: Completing the practice turn in strategy research. Organ. Stud. 27(5), 613–634 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Zelenkov, Y.: Critical regular components of IT strategy: Decision making model and efficiency measurement. J. Manag. Anal. 2(2), 95–110 (2015)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • José-Ramón Rodríguez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robert Clarisó
    • 1
  • Josep Maria Marco-Simó
    • 1
  1. 1.Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)BarcelonaSpain

Personalised recommendations