MISM 5402 – STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY KCA Past Paper

UNIVERSITY EXAMINATIONS: 2016/2017
EXAMINATION FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTERS OF SCIENCE IN
INFORMATION SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT
MISM5402 STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT FOR INFORMATION
TECHNOLOGY
ORDINARY EXAMINATIONS
DATE: AUGUST, 2017 TIME: 2 HOURS
INSTRUCTIONS: Answer Question One & ANY OTHER TWO questions.

Use the following case study to answer questions 1-4
CASE STUDY-MEDDEVCO
Meddevco (name changed) is a large multinational corporation that operates in the medical
devices sector. The firm employs around 33,000 people in five divisions and has operations in
120 countries. 66% of the multinational’s revenue is generated from products which are less
than two years old and 80% of employees are working on products that are less than two years
old. These figures illustrate the highly competitive and fast paced nature of the medical devices
sector. This sector is also characterized by high levels of regulatory control and a need to
comply with industry norms. Meddevco is headquartered in the United States and Switzerland.
The information needs of a firm of this size are substantial and it would be next to impossible to
collect, store and analyze HR related information without the use of a fully integrated global
HRIS. Moreover, the diversity of the workforce, the multiplicity of skills required in the
different divisions and product lines, and the pressure of compliance necessitate a perfectly
orchestrated T&D effort. Needless to say, HRIS T&D applications play a major role in
managing the T&D function. Meddevco uses a HRIS by PeopleSoft (now Oracle) to manage the
majority of its global HR processes, including e-recruitment and performance appraisals. With
regard to data entry into the system, the corporation operates a strict ‘no customization unless
legally required’ policy to ensure data compatibility across the system. In the US, most HR
services are centralized in a HR Shared Services Center. The corporation has a dedicated HRIS
Center in Europe and negotiations are ongoing to implement a European HR Shared Services
Model. The company uses a number of different payroll systems in Europe for compliance
reasons. All employees in the corporation have access to a company intranet called My
Meddevco, which also includes a learning portal that provides access to online training
programs, which employees can utilize at work and at home. The intranet also includes a
knowledgebase and detailed company information including a full listing of all employees and
their job titles and location. Employee transfers and promotions are also listed. A number of
years ago, the corporation made the decision not to use the Training Module included in
PeopleSoft and opted for a training management system called SABA to coordinate and manage
training initiatives, for example, the recent roll-out and training for the use of SAP (an ERP
system) for production facilities was managed through SABA. In addition, Meddevco has
recently commenced using the Talent Management Module included in PeopleSoft to identify
and track high performing employees for promotion. Every employee is required to complete an
online Talent Profile, which is similar to an online CV and which can be updated by the
employee. The combination of systems and applications and the careful analysis of HR
information contained therein allow the organization to develop and implement a global T&D
strategy. However, the firm also faces some challenges arising from the use of these systems.
As the organization largely grew through acquisition, a number of legacy systems still co-exist
with the global HRIS among some of its subsidiaries. Data compatibility issues also derive from
the use of SABA, which is not part of PeopleSoft. In addition, the firm is also using SAP and it
is questionable whether Oracle (the owner of PeopleSoft) will support data exchanges with a
system supplied by its chief competitor. Furthermore, because Meddevco did not involve the
workforce in the implementation process of the Talent Management system, employees are
reluctant do complete their Talent Profiles. Moreover, the need to customize the HRIS locally to
comply with national legislation in its subsidiaries further complicate the collection and transfer
of data within the global HRIS.
The example of Meddevco illustrates how large organizations employ HRIS to manage their
workforce and how they leverage human resource development through the use of HRIS T&D
applications, learning portals and specialized learning management systems. However, it is also
apparent that careful planning is essential to avoid compatibility issues and to ensure a consistent
global flow of HR and T&D related information.
QUESTION ONE (20 MARKS)
a) Describe the concept of strategic alignment between IT and the business, and use
examples from the case study to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of this
alignment. (10 Marks)
b) What are digital disruptions? (2 Marks)
c) Using the case study, identify and describe TWO impacts of ICT on Meddevco that could
be described as digital disruptions.
(8 Marks)
QUESTION TWO (15 MARKS)
a) What is an applications portfolio and what is its importance in strategic IT management?
(3 Marks)
b) Draw and annotate a Portfolio Diagram for Meddevco. Clearly identify the quadrants,
list and justify the applications in each quadrant. (12 Marks)
QUESTION 3 (15 MARKS)
Both the IS research literature pre-1990 and media reports reflected a general optimism
concerning IS/IT’s potential for creating advantage.
More recently, there has been interest in exploring the essence of ‘sustainability’ from IS, as few
organizations continuously achieve advantage from their IS/IT investments and the exemplars
often quoted tend to be from different organizations.
Using the case study above
a) Identify and describe ONE major competitive force that Meddevco has to grapple with
that is probably propagated by the wide use of the internet. (5 Marks)
b) Identify and describe TWO areas in which ICT can help Mededevco to gain competitive
advantage. Clearly identify the competitive strategies that you will be employing here,
and the respective technologies (10 Marks)
QUESTION FOUR (15 MARKS)
a) There are FOUR approaches that can be used in the management of ICT applications in a
multi-business organizations:
i. Constrain
ii. Communicate
iii. Control
iv. Rationalize
c) Describe each of these approaches and relate them to strategic, key operational, support
and future potential applications at Meddevco.
(12 Marks)
d) Discuss who is an Applications Service Provider (ASP) and, in the case of Meddevco,
identify the benefits to be accrued from using such a service. (3 Marks)

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