Information Systems Management — Tutorial 3

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Strategic Information Systems Planning

Introduction

Strategic information systems planning (SISP) is a key concern for business organizations. This is because SISP determines the changes that organizations undergo after implementing information systems or information technologies (IT) (Amrollahi, Ghapanchi & Talaei-Khoei 2014). The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) (2014) developed a strategic IS plan as part of the Chairman’s assumption to office. The OPM provides human resource (HR) services for federal job seekers through a number of staffing solutions such as USAHire, USAJobs, Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB), USA Learning, Investigative Systems EPIC Suit, Talent Acquisition Systems and Retirement Systems. These systems allow the federal job seeker to search for jobs, fill in assessments, receive clearance, develop their careers, seek new positions in the Federal Government, make retirement claims and retire or leave Federal Service. A SISP would align these HR functions with IT activities to support OPM’s goals for strategic workforce planning, talent acquisition, career management and performance management in the organization (OPM 2014, p.2).

Overview of the Strategic Information Systems Plan

The purpose of the SISP is to provide a framework, which would utilize human resources, allow data reuse in HR systems, improve the flexibility of the chief information officer (CIO), and to establish successful initiatives, which support the modernization efforts of the OPM. The framework would provide a standard for integrating IT and human resources activities offered by the OPM. In addition, the SISP articulated that the IS solution would adhere to governance practices, support the Office’s human resource (HR) lifecycle, and comply with the Clinger-Cohen Act.

The SISP is a separate document for the OPM’s strategic plans. The plan recognizes that the IT functions should support HR business processes as part of the larger government-role of the Office. The separation of the plans allows the OPM to develop a strategic IT Plan, which is based on the HR lifecycle rather than other functions of the OPM such as finance or procurement (OPM 2014).

Positive and Negative Aspects about the SISP

One good thing about the plan is that it is separated from the organization’s strategic plans. This separation helps the organization to develop an SISP which would improve the HR outcomes of the office, make the HR process more responsive to modern IT challenges and support government decision-making (OPM 2014). Secondly, the plan helps the organization to develop a business model which integrates elements of the HR lifecycle. This business modeling is important because it helps the organization to reduce experimentation costs, change variables and model uncertainties through risk calculations (Basahel & Irani 2009). The benefit of the modeling is that it encouraged OPM to analyze its IT strategies using a variety of techniques such as benefit-level matrix, business system planning, and scenario planning (Amrollahi, Ghapanchi & Talaei-Khoei 2014).

Two negative things about the plan are that it does not provide a situational analysis or strategy conception which was proposed by Mirchandani and Lederer (2012). The plan provides a limited summary of the current IS in the OPM but does not describe the future challenges for the organization in detail. Secondly, the plan does not provide detailed information about the implementation of the strategic plan (Mirchandani & Lederer 2012). It does not articulate the program portfolio or document the actions for implementing the information system. It merely states that the implementation plan would be created in August 2015, and completed in December 2016 (OPM 2014).

Overall, the SISP provides a framework for measuring the performance of the organization’s IT program, facilitate strategic HR planning and integrate the functionalities of the organization’s business units.

References

Amrollahi, A, Ghapanchi, AH & Talaei-Khoei, A 2014, ‘Three decades of research on strategic information system plan development’, Communications of the Association for Information Systems, vol. 34, no. 85, pp.1439-1467.

Basahel, A & Irani, Z 2009, ‘Evaluation of strategic information systems planning (SISP) techniques: Driver perspective. European and Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems, vol. 2009, pp. 1-15.

Mirchandani, DA & Lederer, AL 2012, ‘“Less is more:” Information systems planning in an uncertain environment’, Information Systems Management, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 13-25.

United States Office of Personnel Management 2014, Strategic information technology plan, viewed 22 August 2014, <http://www.opm.gov/about-us/budget-performance/strategic-plans/strategic-it-plan.pdf>