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Week 6: Using Management Information Systems to Gain Competitive Advantage

April 4, 2021
Brenda I. Belcher

Week 6: Using Management Information Systems to Gain Competitive Advantage

An organization’s ability to learn and translate that learning into action rapidly is the ultimate competitive advantage.

—Jack Welch

Once the leadership of an organization understands what competitive advantage is and what it means for their organization, it is important for them to develop strategies to act on that understanding. Leaders can better ensure that they are basing their decisions on accurate information by incorporating various competitive analysis tool and models. For example, one of the most popular tools is a SWOT analysis, which focuses on an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Leaders can use this information to build on the organization’s strengths, address its weaknesses, discover more opportunities, and confront challenges that its competitors may present.

XYZ LogoThis week, you will explore how companies use information systems to gain competitive advantage with a specific focus on comparing various competitive analysis models and tools to analyze the competitive position of organizations. In the Discussion, you will appraise a competitive analysis tool that can create a competitive advantage for a company. In the Assignment, you will work as an IT analyst at XYZ Corporation to continue creating the business analysis for a client company that you began last week.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Compare various competitive analysis models and tools
  • Describe the role of information systems in achieving competitive advantage
  • Analyze the competitive position of a company

Due This Week

DescriptionDue Dates
Discussion: Selecting a Tool for Competitive AnalysisPost your initial posting by Day 3.
Respond to your colleagues by Day 5Walden Check BoxNote: As you complete this first Discussion, be sure to reference the Week 6 Discussion Rubric.
Assignment: Company Competitive Advantage Analysis: Part 2Submit your Assignment by Day 7Walden Check BoxNote: As you complete this first Assignment, be sure to reference the Week 6 Assignment Rubric.

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required Harvard Business Review resources, select the article link and navigate to the relevant article or go back to Blackboard and select Harvard Business Articles from the course navigation menu.

Required Resources

Competitive Advantage and IS/IT

Company leadership should examine every aspect of an organization’s operations when trying to gain a competitive advantage. Using these resources, you will examine how an organization can use information and information systems to achieve an advantage over its competitors.Cronje, M. (2016, February 4). Management information systems and competitive advantage. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/management-information-systems-competitive-advantage-michelle-cronje/Time Estimate: 3 minutesPorter, M. E., & Millar, V. E. (1985, July). How information gives you competitive advantage. Harvard Business Review.Time Estimate: 36 minutes

Competitive Analysis Tools and Models

When an organization wants to improve its competitive advantage, it often relies on tools and models to help in that process. Through these resources, you will explore the various competitive analysis tools and models that organizations use to help shape their competitive strategies and determine their competitive advantages over other companies in their domain.Deluccia, T. J. (2018). 13 competitor analysis tools and resources you need to stay ahead [2018 update]. Retrieved from https://engeniusweb.com/articles/5-competitor-analysis-tools/Time Estimate: 3 minutesFallon, N. (2018). SWOT analysis: What it is and when to use it. Retrieved from https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4245-swot-analysis.htmlTime Estimate: 7 minutesHarvard Business Review. (2008, June 30). The five competitive forces that shape strategy [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYF2_FBCvXwNote: The approximate length of this media piece is 13 minutes.Oxford College of Marketing. (2016, June 30). What is a PESTEL analysis? [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://blog.oxfordcollegeofmarketing.com/2016/06/30/pestel-analysis/Time Estimate: 3 minutes PESTLEanalysis Contributor. (2011). PESTLE and SWOT analysis: When to use SWOT. Retrieved from http://pestleanalysis.com/pestle-and-swot-analysis/Time Estimate: 4 minutesPESTLE Analysis. (2018). What is a PESTLE analysis? A tool for business analysis. Retrieved from http://pestleanalysis.com/what-is-pestle-analysis/Time Estimate: 4 minutesMercer, A. (2014). Competitive advantage vs. positioning: What’s the difference? Retrieved from https://titanwebmarketingsolutions.com/competitive-advantage-vs-positioning-whats-the-difference/Time Estimate: 3 minutesMiller, J. (2016). 9 brand differentiators to create a competitive advantage. Retrieved from https://stickybranding.com/9-differentiators-to-create-a-competitive-advantage/Time Estimate: 5 minutesTighe, D. (2017). How to do a competitive analysis in 5 easy steps. Retrieved from https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/5-ways-to-perform-a-competitive-analysis-establish-your-presenceTime Estimate: 2 minutes

Important Documents for This Week

Document: Academic Writing Expectations for 2000/3000-Level Courses (PDF)Document: Week 6 Assignment Template (Word document)


Discussion: Selecting a Tool for Competitive Analysis

Through this week’s Learning Resources, you further examined the concept of competitive advantage and explored some competitive analysis tools and models. With a new understanding of what is meant by competitive advantage, it is important to be able to conduct a competitive analysis to assess an organization’s market position. In choosing a competitive analysis tool, you may have realized that there are many options. Some tools may be more applicable for certain circumstances, and personal preferences may determine the use of one tool over another.

In this Discussion, you will identify a competitive analysis tool and examine aspects of the tool that make it more effective than other tools. You will also suggest any improvements that could be made to increase the effectiveness of the tool.

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review this week’s Learning Resources, focusing on the competitive analysis tools that are presented.
  • Identify the competitive analysis tool that you believe to be most effective and consider any additional improvements or modifications you would make to it in order to increase its effectiveness.
  • Review the Academic Writing Expectations for 2000/3000-Level Courses, provided in this week’s Learning Resources.

By Day 3

Post a 225- to 375-word (3- to 5-paragraph) appraisal of which competitive analysis tool you think would be most useful in analyzing a company in order to create a competitive advantage. In your appraisal, do the following:

  • Identify the tool that you selected and explain why you selected it.
  • Examine the circumstances in which this tool might be more effective than other options.
  • Identify improvements or modifications that might be made to the tool selected to improve its effectiveness.
  • To support your response, be sure to reference at least one properly cited scholarly source.

Walden Check BoxRefer to the Week 6 Discussion Rubric for specific grading elements and criteria. Your Instructor will use this grading rubric to assess your work.

Read some of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 5

Respond with at least 75 words (1 paragraph) eachto two or more of your colleagues’ postings by doing one of the following:

  • Suggest an alternate analysis tool to that of your colleague’s and provide a rationale for why it could be effective.
  • Propose additional modifications or improvements to your colleague’s selected tool that might improve its effectiveness.

Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned or any insights you have gained as a result of the comments your colleagues made.

Submission and Grading Information

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:Week 6 Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5

To participate in this Discussion:Week 6 Discussion


Assignment: Company Competitive Advantage Analysis: Part 2

XYZ Logo Farah AhmadYou are an IT analyst at XYZ Corporation, and the company has recently taken on a new client that wishes to understand how the organization can leverage its IT and IS functions as a form of competitive advantage. The company is small and would like to see some real-world evidence of this in order to arm themselves with information as they seek investors to grow their business. You have been asked by your manager, Farah Ahmad, to create a business analysis for the client company’s leadership in which you analyze the competitive landscape for a business and discuss the role of IT/IS in helping that company achieve a competitive advantage.

First, you should select a company, research two of its competitors, and create a report to present to the client in which you analyze the business’s current competitive standing within its industry using at least two competitive analysis models/tools with a focus on the role IT plays in determining its current competitive posture; one of the models used in the analysis must be Porter’s Five Forces. It is recommended that you search the Internet to identify industries/companies for which a Porter’s Five Forces analysis have been completed prior to selecting the company on which you will focus your response. Part 2 of your business analysis should be 11–16 paragraphs in length and include at least five references from the Walden Library or other scholarly academic sources.

Note: Last week, you submitted Part 1 of this Assignment. This week, you will complete and submit only Part 2.

To prepare for this Assignment:

  • Review this week’s Learning Resources.
  • Refer to the Academic Writing Expectations for 2000/3000-Level Courses as you compose your Assignment.

By Day 7

Submit Part 2 of your business analysis, to include the following.

Part 2: IT and Competitive Advantage
  • Illustrate the company’s use of information systems as part of its competitive business strategies. (150–225 words, or 2–3 paragraphs) 
  • Analyze the company and its two competitors through the lens of Porter’s Five Forces. (225–300 words, or 3–4 paragraphs) 
  • Analyze the company and its two competitors through the lens of one additional competitive analysis model or tool. (225–300 words, or 3–4 paragraphs)
  • Compare the three companies in light of your two completed analyses, including a discussion of which tool you feel was more useful in helping you to determine the competitive position for your selected company. (150–225 words, or 2–3 paragraphs)
  • Finally, present your analysis of the current competitive posture of your selected company. (75–150 words, or 1–2 paragraphs)

Note: For each prompt, be sure to reference at least one scholarly source to support your answer. Use the Week 6 Assignment Template, provided in this week’s Learning Resources, to complete this Assignment.

Walden Check BoxRefer to the Week 6 Assignment Rubric for specific grading elements and criteria. Your Instructor will use this grading rubric to assess your work.

Submission and Grading Information

To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:

  • Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK6Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name.
  • Click the Week 6 Assignment Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment.
  • Click the Week 6 Assignment link. You will also be able to “View Rubric” for grading criteria from this area.
  • Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “WK6Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click Open.
  • If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.
  • Click on the Submit button to complete your submission.
Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:Week 6 Assignment Rubric

Check Your Assignment Draft for Authenticity

To check your Assignment draft for authenticity:Submit your Week 6 Assignment draft and review the originality report.

Submit Your Assignment by Day 7

To submit your Assignment:Week 6 Assignment


Week in Review

This week, you continued exploring the concept of organizational competitiveness, focusing on how organizations can use management information systems to gain competitive advantage. You examined various competitive analysis tools and models, as well as analyzed the competitive position of a company.

Congratulations! After you have finished all of the assignments for this week, you have completed the course. Please submit your Course Evaluation by Day 7.

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