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  Our approach to align Business strategy with an appropriate e-commerce strategy follows three steps (click on the heading for a detailed explanation of the step):
   
Step 1.  Understand the business
True plans take the developments of the industry in question into account, they take cognisance of the business ethics and the culture of the organisation, and they encourage innovation and offer an easy means of assimilating this.

Porter's Value Chain Analysis and models for analysing competition in an industry, play an important role here.

In this step we also define the business parameters.

One powerful tool to enable a business isolate the "things that must go right" is Critical Success Factor analysis. This can be used at the micro level to interpret the objectives, tactics, and operational activities into information needs and allow strength/weakness analysis of existing systems to be determined. At the macro level it can be used to focus attention on which activities have most influence on the successful achievement of a particular objective.
   
Step 2 -  Identify the information needs
The role of IT in delivering the needs of the business as described in the above models is the starting point for identifying the information needs of the business. The tools and techniques employed here must have a strong visual character and be easily understood by senior management. During the interpretation of the business strategy and its translation into information needs the following questions will need to be answered:
1. What might the organisation do within the current operating environment or by moving into a new environment?
2. What does the organisation want to do given the corporate values and mission?
3. What must it do to maintain its position given the developing influence of pressure groups?
4. What can it do given the current level of resources and capabilities?
The possible role, and more importantly, the desired role, that IT is to play in answering each of these questions will be made clear at this stage.
   
Step 3 -   Rank the IT opportunities
The ranking should take into account the need for immediate action to achieve a short term benefit while laying the foundation for the support of the longer term business development strategy. The tools and techniques employed here need to stimulate discussion and focus discussion to ensure consensus (not compromise) and an open evaluation of the different possibilities.

Once again a clear definition of the outcome is needed to avoid any future ambiguity. The tools used are graphical in nature and easy to understand.

During this phase attention must be directed to the high priority items that are truly critical to the business. The wish lists associated with these items would typically become the short term action lists.
    On to the next step - Identify the information needs
     
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