IS strategic plan
IS strategy assignment
The purpose of this handout is to outline the IS strategy assignment. The main deliverable for this assignment is an IS strategic plan covering the next 3 to 5 years for your personal situation. Students will also be expected to review the process they have undertaken and provide appropriate reflections on the outcomes. The expected length of this assignment is 2,500 words.
This assignment is intended to provide you with practical exposure to IS strategic planning work, and to a lesser extent, enterprise architecture. These activities are normally undertaken in an organisational context, but it is not feasible to place students in an organisational setting where they can do this work. Instead, we are getting you to undertake this work with your own personal situation.
While this assignment might overly formalise things that you would not normally do with your personal life, this work does provide you with some useful experience in compiling these IT related artefacts – this can be considered a form of work integrated learning (WIL).
You should submit a report that includes the following:
- an introduction outlining the nature of the report;
- an outline of your current information systems architecture, formulated using a recognised enterprise architecture framework (try to keep this to around 1 page or less) – discussed below;
- aspects from your general situation and the environment that may be considered as potential drivers of change;
- an outline of the future desired architecture. This should identify the main inputs used to formulate this architecture, including a short list of current and anticipated future needs/desires. This should be supported by a SWOT analysis and a gap analysis;
- a statement of the main strategies that you will adopt to transform the existing situation into the proposed future architecture. These strategies should be concrete enough for appropriate action and include some performance measures that would enable progress to be monitored;
- a reflection on the process used, using an evidence base to evaluate both the process and the outcomes. This is an important part of the assignment and should not be neglected. Reflective processes are covered below and a reasonable length for this section is around 500 words.
This assignment is intended to cover the full range of your personal situation with respect to information and its management – this will include any technology, insomuch as it relates to information processing and storage (such as home computers, laptops and home networks; and any mobile devices that you may have including smart phones, tablets, smart watches and other fitness devices) and any other storage media that you use to store relevant information. Where you store personal information online, you should include this in the review. There is no need with this review to include information about you that is stored by others (for example, the University keeps information on students, but this is not expected to be covered by this review).
While the exercise should include facilities needed for your personal life and University study, you should avoid including work related activity in the plan created for this assignment. For example, if you are working from home, or running a business, then you can assume the broader work context will assess and plan for the future with this IT context, so it should be omitted from this exercise.
You should also avoid exposing information of a sensitive personal nature – you should be able to discuss in fairly general terms anything you are concerned about sharing with the staff in this unit without revealing sensitive personal information. Please discuss this with your tutor if this issue causes concern.
IS strategic plan
Typically, when an organisation develops an information systems strategic plan (ISSP), the business context and drivers are paramount and many elements of the plan could be integrated into the corporate strategic planning processes. In a personal situation, this ‘business context’ is much less formal and you will need to develop your own personal ISSP taking account of this lack of formality with the general business context. However, you are likely to have some personal future plans that would be reasonable to integrate into this exercise in a similar way to the corporate planning would be in an organisational setting.
Once the planning process is underway, a key first step is to look at the current state of the information systems situation – this could be viewed as the current IS (or enterprise) architecture. A future desired IS architecture is then formulated, perhaps with inputs from the business and its strategy, a SWOT analysis, and a gap analysis. This then enables strategy alternatives to be formulated that will transform the current state to the future state.
A good ISSP that is meaningful and useful to the readers will then briefly outline the current information systems state; potential uses of the technology over the life of the plan and key drivers for change; the nature of the future states (perhaps at key milestones during the plan); and the main strategies that will provide for the transformation. These strategies need to be concrete enough to make investment choices and performance review, but flexible enough to allow changes as new needs (or opportunities) arise.
One of the goals of this exercise is to provide you with some exposure to enterprise architecture (EA), so we want you to use a recognised EA framework to help articulate your current IS situation, albeit briefly. The key purpose here is to use the EA framework to describe your situation – while EA frameworks can include complex processes for doing much more than this, these other elements of the EA frameworks are not relevant to this assignment.
There are a range of EA frameworks available, including Zachman, TOGAF, AGA etc. With a few variations, most of these are built around the concepts of:
- understanding the business and its key business processes;
- the data and information that are needed within these business processes;
- the applications that collect, store and process the data; and
- the technology that is needed for the data and application resources.
While less apparent in some of the frameworks, the organisational resources (such as the IS department) that support this infrastructure can also be an important element of the enterprise architecture, but this is unlikely to feature in this exercise.
An important element here is that these frameworks generally start with what you are actually doing (processes), then work through the information needed to support these activities, the systems that collect and generate this information, and then end up with a consideration of the technology needed to drive all of this. In other words, activities are the driver, and not the technology. Business analysis skills play an important role in understanding these activities and the information they need.
A key element with this assignment is to keep things fairly simple, so while we expect you to utilise a recognised EA framework, the resulting articulation of your architecture should not provide huge amounts of detail. It is likely it will fit on just one page. However, it is important that the artefacts in your expression of the EA provide the reader with an assurance that you have applied a recognised EA framework.
Concepts of professionalism underpin the work in the UC IT-related courses and a key element of what professionals do is self-reflection. Your assignment will need to include a section covering your reflections on the process.
While not a comprehensive or prescriptive list, some questions that could be considered are:
- Did the processes adopted for this work draw on good practice (sometimes referred to as ‘best practice’)?
- Was there any conflict in the knowledge used, and how were these conflicts resolved?
- Was this knowledge well applied?
- Were the outcomes of this process useful and will they have a positive impact?
- Were all stakeholder interests adequately accounted for?
While you may not cover all of these issues in your reflection on this assignment, these questions provide a useful starting point for consideration.
The assignment is worth 30% of the marks for ISM/CSITG. The deadline for submissions is Sunday at the end of week 11 (17 October 2021).
There will be opportunities for students to informally discuss issues with this assignment in classes during the semester. Make sure that you are familiar with what is required of this assignment and take advantage of this opportunity.
The report is expected to be around 2500 words – please include a word count but exclude words from any quotations and your bibliography from this word count. Note that it is not necessary to include an executive summary as this report is sufficiently brief.
In marking the report, attention will be given to your understanding of concepts relating to information systems strategic planning and enterprise architecture, along with how well you have met the requirements detailed above. Style and technique of your writing will also be considered.
The section providing a reflection on the process and its outcomes is an important part of this assignment and will attract around one third of the marks allocated.
All work quoted from other written sources should be appropriately referenced using the UC version of the Harvard author-date style (both with in-text references and all sources included in the bibliography). This style is described in detail (including electronic sources) in referencing guides available at:
http://canberra.libguides.com/referencing (Links to an external site.)
Submission: All assignments should be submitted in electronic format (via the Canvas online assignment submission process). A coversheet is not required, but you should include your student id, assessment item name and the word count.
[The Canvas submission process replaces the need for a coversheet. Providing a coversheet will add to the Ouriginal (Urkund) score and is best avoided.]
There is no draft submission box, but you can make multiple submissions to the assignment drop box and view Ouriginal reports. Please do not submit your assignment to a draft submission checking process on another unit’s Canvas site. This will lead to a very high plagiarism score when you then submit the assignment to this Canvas site and a penalty will be applied to the marking of your assignment in these cases.
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