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Title: IT infrastructure flexibility and sustainable competitive advantage
Author: Dai, Zong
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis is a study of antecedent and consequent relationship between information technology infrastructure flexibility and competitive advantage in the organizational context, using a case study approach that combines quantitative and qualitative methods. Four American companies were selected for the case study. The companies' IT infrastructures development and implementation of enterprise systems were examined at the firm-level. This study makes three significant contributions. First, it is the first case study of relationship between IT infrastructure flexibility and corporate performance in the MIS literature, and thus it provides some meaningful insights to researchers and managers in the IT areas about the causality that has significant impacts on business performance at the present time and in the future. Second, it provides examples of what and how firms can do to significantly improve their corporate performance by implementing an enterprise information system that typically contains the IT infrastructure flexibility, from strategic. operational and tactical perspectives. The findings impel IT managers to recognize that the enterprise system is much more than a technology issue. Third, the research highlights the future research issues in the field. and particularly the need for managerial IT capacity, ERP implementation competence and learning capacity to become parts of the IT infrastructure capability. There are two major lessons from this study. First, the IT infrastructure is a dynamic and evolving concept. That is, it is business-and-application driven and changing with time, and the same is true for the IT infrastructure flexibility. Second, an enterprise information system is not stand-alone technology, nor the IT infrastructure; they must be integrated with the overall business processes and value chain. Thus, sheer enterprise information system per se can not be a competitive advantage and that IT managers must pay ongoing attention to the strategic direction and details of business requirements and make efforts to implement cross-functional and/or cross-activity integration. A firm will be most successful when it implements ERP system with a well-defined business strategic purpose, or deploys the ERP technology to reconfigure traditional activities and/or processes, or develops its organizational learning capacity to build and/upgrade its employees' knowledge and skills.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available