Information Strategy: Implementing and Managing a Digital Strategy in a Portuguese Company

Information Strategy: Implementing and Managing a Digital Strategy in a Portuguese Company

Sérgio Maravilhas, Paulo Melo, Sérgio Goes Oliveira
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6225-2.ch011
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In this chapter, the implementation of an information strategy project in a Portuguese real estate company is analyzed. This involves its framing—historical and socio-economic—and a brief description of the activity sector in which the company operates. Several well managed projects have been developed to improve the competitive position of the company, but without focus all the activities lose strength because they might not reach their proposed targets. Some tools to identify the information needs of business activity developed are described, as well as the role of information as a promoter of competitive advantages. Social media tools were utilized and proved to be a great strategic decision. To conclude, a few reminders of the factors to consider in developing the information strategy to implement and that information management without a strategy could result in several diversified decisions without any positive consequence for the organization.
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The implementation of an information strategy is vital for any organization in the historical era in which we live, because we came from an industrial society to the information age (Gleick, 2011), where the efficient use of information as an economic resource and a production sector became a factor of strategic, economic, social and political (Best, 1996a) importance.

Information, along with natural and economic resources, proves to be an unprecedented social and strategic expedient (McGee & Prusak, 1995; Beuren, 1998). It has therefore a potential strategic value in identifying new market opportunities, and in identifying potential threats to the company (Gomes & Braga, 2001; Liautaud, & Hammond, 2001), two aspects to consider for any company that wants to achieve its goals.

Therefore, the importance of information for organizations is now universally accepted, being, if not the most important, at least one of the resources whose management influences the success of organizations (Ward & Griffiths, 1996). Information is also considered and used in many organizations as a structural factor and a tool for managing the organization (Zorrinho, 1991), as well as an essential strategic weapon for competitive advantage (Porter, 1985).

This information is called strategic information (Earl, 1998; Hinton, 2006), because it’s indispensable for the full functioning of the organization and needed to sustain its competitive position. The systems that identify, store, organize and provide this information, are called strategic information systems (Alturas, 2013; Amaral & Varajão, 2000; Davenport; Marchand & Dickson, 2004; Rascão, 2001; 2004; Varajão, 1998; Ward & Griffiths, 1996).

Information management relates to the organizational ability to make the right information available for use in decision making (Davenport, 1997; Rascão, 2008).

Hence, it is advantageous to any decision maker to hire professionals with these skills, since this function is not restricted to technological knowledge, but with the ability to properly organize and interpret the information obtained, allowing it to be used by those who need it, when they need it (Castells, 2001; 2004; Earl, 1998; Hinton, 2006; Ward & Griffiths, 1996).

Only someone with communication and language skills can more easily find and use the information available, making it profitable (Tapscott, 1999). Professionals in the area of information management have a multidisciplinary training that involves information sciences, information technology and communication, management and several of its sub-disciplines (Hinton, 2006; Wilson, 1989a; Wilson, 2002).

This multidisciplinary approach allows a comprehensive and overall vision that enables not only the collection of relevant information, but also its analysis and, especially, their synthesis to support the decision making of managers and organizational leaders, transforming the informational chaos into useful and practical knowledge application, leading to benefits for the organizations.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Competitiveness: Competence of an organization or country to produce and sell products/services that meet the quality of the markets at the same or lower prices and maximize returns on the resources consumed in producing them.

Market Intelligence: Data and information collected by commercial and industrial organizations about their competitive environment to support good decision making. Makes possible to compare our market share with our competitors and take actions to maintain or improve that share.

Competitors: A company in the same business or similar industry which offers a similar product or service. Competitors can lower the prices of products and services and gain a larger market share, reducing clients and lowering profits.

Information: A set of data arranged in a certain order and form, useful to people to whom it is addressed. Reduces uncertainty and supports decision-making. Information is considered to support human knowledge and communication in the technical, economic and social domains. Results from the structuring of data in a given context and particular purpose.

Information and Communication Technologies: Electronic tools based on the Internet, that allow synchronous and asynchronous communication and exchange of information—using sound, text, images, and video—between several points in different locations. Improves and stimulates the economic and societal globalization.

Business Management: The activity of conducting all the necessary operations in order to make the organization grow, benefiting all the shareholders and stakeholders and the society in general. It involves several specialized functions like finance, marketing, operations, human resources, production, etc.

Information Management: Usually defined as a comprehensive organizational capacity to create, maintain, retrieve and make available the right information, at the right place, at the right time and in the hands of the right person, at the lowest cost, in the best support for its use in decision making.

Strategy: The way an organization chooses to do his business in order to surpass competition and gain consumers preference. What is going to do, how, for whom, using what resources, and so forth. It’s the plan to conduct business, maximize profits, allocate the needed resources, and stay in the market as long as possible. Includes foresee what can happen, using forecasting methodologies and tools, in order to avoid problems or, if they happen, be prepared to minimize their effects.

Data: The representation of facts, concepts or instructions. Formalized with a structure suitable for communication, interpretation or processing by humans or by automatic means. The raw material of information. The basic element for the production of new information.

Knowledge: Is a fluid composed of experiences, values, context information and apprehension about their own field of action that provides a cognitive apparatus for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information.

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