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The role of information management in environmental scanning and competitive intelligence - an integrated process model

M.A. / Managers have an important and prominent role in an organisation. As decision-makers they hold the authority and responsibility to act on the available information. As leaders, they set examples and promote a culture of information sharing and collaboration. As strategists, they ensure that information policies are well aligned with the organisation's mission. One of the greatest challenges facing an organisation is to understand how the external environment is changing, what the changes mean, and how the organisation can best respond to the new provisos. The process of learning about the external environment is environmental scanning, i.e. the art of gathering and interpreting information about the environment enabling the organisation to have the knowledge to develop effective courses of action. The goal of information management is thus to harness information resources and information capabilities to enable the organisation to learn and adapt in an ever-changing environment. Key information processes will be assessed with reference to special problems of managing each process. At the same time the opportunity for change would be highlighted by combining an understanding of information use behaviours with a more flexible, user centred design of information services and systems. Competitive intelligence on the other hand is the systematic process of gathering and analysing information about the activities of competitors and general business trends to further the organisation’s goals. All definitions point toward creating knowledge from openly available information by use of a systematic process involving planning, collection, analysis, communication and management which result in decision-maker action. While competitive intelligence incorporates knowledge management processes of collecting and storing knowledge, competitive intelligence definitions discuss the actual analysis of the gathered information. Key factors for success of information management in organisations reinforce the need for the integration of business strategy and information. The key factors are the relationships with customers and suppliers; flatter management structures and better use of resources; training and quality and environmental issues. Each of these factors rests on information, its use, creation, storage and dissemination. A process approach to information management supports the integration of business strategy and information. The calls for integration come from at least three different communities: information management, information systems and management. Successful companies are those that adapt to and shape their environments. They do so by using and creating information in a process of continuous improvement and innovation. Key factors for success in organisations reinforce the need for integration of business strategy and information. Managers in firms see their success as dependent on their organisation's ability to accommodate and manage change and to respond to changes in their environments. The study concludes with a case study of Pyromet Technologies showing that it is possible to have an integrated strategic information management model incorporating all three variables successfully.
Date12 January 2009
CreatorsLangton, Anina-Marie
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish

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