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ERCIS Working Paper No. 16
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, European Research Center for Information Systems (ERCIS), Münster
Notwithstanding the substantial overall research efforts in the field of Strategic Information Systems Planning (SISP), the 'IS strategy' as the goal and outcome of SISP has received only limited research attention to date. In addition, there is considerable evidence that the debates on IS strategy in academia and practice are largely different and independent from each other. This observation motivates us to look into the existing research on IS strategy and its relationship to practice in greater detail. Our analysis reveals that academic conceptions of IS strategy do not seem to have much in common with how IS strategy practitioners interpret the construct. Both worlds seem to have coexisted independently alongside one another for a long time. This divergence leads to a number of problematic outcomes, not least of which is a considerable lack of relevance and acceptance of academic research in practice. Based on an intensive study of IS strategy perceptions in both academia and practice, we make suggestions on how IS strategy research should be reinvented in order that it may produce more reliable as well as practically useful and relevant insights in the face of the challenges of the 21st century. We concentrate these suggestions in four major propositions: (1) Strategy over Strategizing, demanding to develop an understanding of the construct of IS strategy first before focusing on SISP as the process developing it, (2) Strategy in vivo over Strategy in vitro, demanding to develop a fresh understanding of the construct of IS strategy by conducting research in the field instead of relying on strategy interpretations that are preconfigured by a small number of prevailing strategy models and theories, (3) Empiricism over Idealism, demanding that intensive field research on IS strategy should be conducted starting with deep small-scale explorative studies aiming at new insights instead of large-scale confirmatory surveys that test pre-existing hypotheses, (4) Sustainability over Competitiveness, demanding to relinquish the academic predilection for research on competitive aspects of IT in favor of issues that are much more relevant in practice, such as efficiency, reliability, serviceability and sustainability of a company's IT-based infrastructure.
IS strategy
Strategic Information Systems (SIS)
Strategic Information Systems Planning (SISP)
IS strategy contents
IS strategy reasoning
IS strategy practice
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Working Paper

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