According to Szewczak (1988), it has been argued over the years to what extent information systems are useful to hold up a strategic plan. The answer lies on how well developed these systems are. This fact leads us to a new concept: “organizational strategy set” which stands for the suite of mission,objectives and business strategies plus other strategic features.
Strategic information is defined as “data that has been evaluated for use in the context of strategic management” (Szewczak, 1988:2).
As for the case, a possible organizational strategy set from a Spanish chocolate manufacturer may well be:
• Mission: creating, manufacturing and marketing cocoa products, in order to maximize thevalue offered to the firm’s stakeholders.
• Objectives: to be a market leader in its sector, to be differentiated by its quality products and its capability to maximize value for stakeholders.
• Business strategies and other issues: continuous innovation and development; and organizational growth and expansion, trying always to keep balance between them as to not damage any stakeholder’s interest.Consequently, strategic information for this case will consist of data related to these three concepts, since they are which compose the organizational strategy set.
Besides, according to Makadok and Barney (2001), companies must gather information about their competitive environment as to anticipate what the results of a strategic choice may be. It has been discovered through previous researchthat the information collection for strategic rationales is concerned with two flows: on the one hand, the “environmental scanning”, is concerned with when the company gathers information for strategic choices, meaning that this is to happen in highly complex and uncertain situations in which a strategic line of attack is crucial for the company. On the other hand, the “competitor intelligence”,relates to how the company gathers this information, e.g., means of data collection.
Furthermore, it seems to be proved that the only manner for a company to get to resources able to create competitive advantage is to predict more exactly their future value. However, there exist an inflexion point in which more information may damage the strategic planning process, so, as to solve this issue, thefirm needs to adapt its research based on: the existing information available, the uncertainty’s intensity, the likeliness to reach competitive advantage, the ability to process information and the solidness of the existing resources and capabilities, all in terms of the company and its competitors (Makadok and Barney, 2001).
Consequently, if a chocolate manufacturer is to succeed in itsstrategic formulation, he must be aware of the limits to its research. Let’s say, for an SME’s company which is not likely to compete overseas, there will be no point in studying international competition strategies, or in analyzing international law for multinational companies.
2. Identify sources of business & industry information, and build a list of information sources classifying them according totheir usefulness for external and internal analysis.
Sources of information
The sources of information for a chocolate manufacturer in Spain are pretty much the same than other’s companies’ sources of information, if we are to group them in four sets: primary, secondary, external and internal. Variations related with the purpose of the business show up in concepts such as Industry Unions orFederations, whilst the rest of the concepts remain the same regardless the product or service offered, as shown in the appendix 1.1:
As shown schematically above, some of the concepts may appear in more than one quadrant. This is due to the fact that they may be useful both externally and internally or gathered from primary and secondary sources. For instance, institutional information providers...