IT in Business Strategy

Unit code: BMAN31592
Credit Rating: 10
Unit level: Level 3
Teaching period(s): Semester 2
Offered by Alliance Manchester Business School
Available as a free choice unit?: N



Additional Requirements

Available for students on: Mgt/Mgt Specialism, IM, IMABS, ITMB, Accounting and IC. Core for CBA in SCS.


IT has long been considered as a separate part in organisations that merely provides some infrastructure and maybe a supporting mechanism for certain business activities. Recently, it has been recognised that IT and IS form an integral part of organisations. The introduction of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) is evidence of this trend.

In addition, organisations start to recognise that IT and IS should be closely linked to business strategy and objectives in order to achieve a competitive advantage.

The course  aims to explore these issues and is  concerned with the alignment of the IT function with business strategy, that is, how IT can be positioned to support organisational goals and business objectives.  Information Technology has become a key business function for almost every organisation and most, have great expectations of their investment in IT for the future benefits to the business - expectations that will enable the business to: reduce costs; standardise processes; enhance productivity; improve workflow and communications; sustain repeatable service levels; improve risk control mechanisms; implement new business strategies; gain competitive advantage by exploiting new technology.


• What is strategy, business strategy and IT/IS strategy

• IT as a supporting mechanism for organisations

• IT strategy as part of business strategy

• IT and the case of missing business value

• Positioning IT within the business

• Effect of IT in business models

• Effect of IT in business processes; IT and business process integration

• Identifying where a company needs to be with respect to IT and IS infrastructure

• Appraisal of an organisation and its IT and IS infrastructure

• Assessing and selecting IT investments transparently; IT project and services delivery

• Delivering, planning and optimisation

• Delivering and sourcing strategy for IT and e-business

• Porter’s concept of competitive advantage and its application in IT

• The role and responsibilities of the Chief Information Officer (CIO)

• The role of IT in business and competitive intelligence

• Competitive intelligence and business war games

• IT outsourcing

• Case studies: Motorola, FedEx, KLM Cargo, Novartis

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures: 24 (2 hours per week, over 12 weeks)

Tutorials: 0 hours

Practical Work: 0 hours

Private Study: 76 hours

Total study hours: 100 hours split between lectures, classes, self study and preparation for classes, coursework and examinations.

Informal Contact Methods

Learning outcomes

Academic knowledge
- Understand the principles of IT strategy
- Understand the steps towards achieving a successful IT strategy
- How can IT strategy deliver business value
- Understand the role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO)

Intellectual skills
- Students will be expected to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the role and importance of IT strategy in organisations through the critical analysis of specific case studies.

Transferable skills
- Independently gather, sift, synthesise and organise material from a variety of sources, and critically evaluate the extent to which it might contribute to current developments in the field.
- Improve one's own approach to professionalism through planning, monitoring, critical evaluation and reflection.
- Prepare a coherent and well structured written report

Assessment Further Information

Exam:  2 hour exam worth 50% (calculators not allowed)
Coursework:  total worth 50% consisting of:
- group report of up to 2,500 words (20%)
- group presentation on a company case study (30%)


Recommended reading

L.M. Applegate, D.Austin, D.L. Soule, Corporate Information Strategy and Management, 8th edition, McGraw-Hill International edition, ISBN:978-007-126319-1

L. P., Willcocks, P. Petherbridge, N. Olson, Making IT Count: Strategy, Delivery, Infrastructure, Elsevier (Butterworth Heinemann), 2007, ISBN: 978-0-7506-4821-9

M. Broadbent, E. S. Kitzis, The New CIO Leader: setting the Agenda and Delivering Results, Harvard Business School Press, 2005, ISBN: 978-1-59139-577-5

R. Hunter, G. Westerman, The Real Business of IT: How CIOs Create and Communicate Value, Harvard Business Press, 2009, ISBN: 978-1-4221-4761-0


Feedback methods

- Responses to student emails and questions from a member of staff including feedback provided to a group via an online discussion forum.

- Written and/or verbal comments on assessed or non-assessed coursework.

- Written and/or verbal comments after students have given a group or individual presentation.

- Generic feedback posted on Blackboard regarding overall examination performance.

- Weekly slot (exact time to be arranged with class) to answer questions and provide informal feedback.

One draft of group presentation and report to be read and informal feedback to be provided prior to coursework submission. Groups can also discuss initial ideas about approach/focus of coursework.

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam - 2 hours
  • Lectures - 24 hours
  • Independent study hours - 74 hours

Teaching staff

Shuaiqiang Wang - Unit coordinator

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