Sustainable Competitive Advantage for Strategic Business Planning, Strategic Alignment of Information Systems with Business Strategy
Organizations have evolved tremendously, and it is evident in the shift of their focus. While previously businesses were aimed at goods and production, they have now changed to knowledge and intellectual capital. The changed focus encourages construction companies to use information technologies to achieve greater sustainable competitive advantage. Analysis of literature allows asserting that the use of information technologies helps construction companies to win competitiveness by shaping their value chain, including more effective communication, creating a “single point of responsibility”, and integrating construction industry into a wider market of global opportunities. Thus, this project evaluates how an alignment between information system (IS) strategy and business strategy allows companies achieving sustainable competitive advantage. While relying on in-depth literature review and applying Porter’s (1989) competitive advantage framework, this paper aims to answer the following research questions: (1) What are the factors shaping an alignment between IS strategy and a company’s business strategy in construction industry? (2) How the use of information technologies generates sustainable competitive advantage in construction industry? and (3) What are barriers to the integration of IT in construction, and how could companies respond to them? While answering these research questions, the paper recognizes the fact that inherent limitations exist in the selected data collection methods. Qualitative data collection methods do not include statistical testing. Bias regarding sustainable development and its further integration into construction industry is also the likely weakness of the research presented. However, despite some initial methodological limitations, it can be argued that that integration of information technologies shapes sustainable business competitiveness in construction industry. It is further suggested that information technologies are an effective tool used by companies to adapt to ever-changing construction environment that includes, but is not limited to, technological changes, quality movement, and stringent regulations. While considering the application of information technologies to win sustainable competitive advantage, construction companies are recommended to replace their short-term tactical considerations with long-term ones, and consider the alignment of information technologies with strategic vision.
Keywords: Sustainable development, competitive advantage, construction industry, information system (IS) strategy, alignment.
Recently, construction industry has become the subject of scrutiny in many research studies. This focus can be attributed to the fact that construction industry is very fragmented, which is likely to impact productivity and performance (Akinsola et al., 2000; Dawood et al., 2002). Experts have developed a range of approaches to improve productivity and increase the quality of performance, since they shape a company’s competitiveness. One of the most frequently considered approaches involves integration on information system (IS) strategies into a construction company’s business strategy (Ndede-Amadi, 2004; Porter & Millar, 1985; Sabherwal & Chan, 2001). According to Sabbherwal and Chan (2001), alignment between business and IS strategy is likely to improve organizational performance. The validity of this assumption was later confirmed by McLaren et al (2011), according to whom, companies seeking sustainable competitiveness focus on …