Information system (IS) is where hardware, software and people (input) work together to collect store, sort and process (process) information (output). Businesses with IS will have competitive as one of its strategic objectives. Competitive advantage can be defined when a firm is doing better than others. Strategic advantage is established when there is an IS that plans in getting opportunities for competitive advantage. This IS can be called strategic information system (SIS). SIS can create strategic advantage either by making or improving the business’s advantage or change the business model to cause an advantage. SIS’s main objectives could be to increase competitive advantage while decreasing competitive disadvantage. This will help the business to gain competitive advantage over other competitors. Making an advantage could be easier than maintaining it because the competition is getting more intense and smarter as well as the customers. However, it is generally disagreed that it is not unsustainable. It is difficult to maintain strategic advantage because as technology is advancing fast so are the minds of the competitors and customers. However maintaining competitive advantage is possible.
The first way to ensure that competitive advantage is maintained by being asset-driven such as having loyal customers. For instance, Starbucks have a Reward system in the form of a card which provides customers benefits. This builds and ensures customers’ loyalty as they will be tempted to repeat purchase and build loyalty at the same time. This ensures a long term sustainability as it is hard to break a long term relationships.
Another way is to have a unique branding that the business can be known for. For instance, Apple and Samsung are mostly known for its mobile technology. This means that when customers sees or hears of these brands, their minds will come up with different types of phones and laptops. Thus it creates an advantage due to its brand telling the whole story of what they do making it easier for customers to think of what products to buy when they hear such brands. This makes it a long term sustainability.
Another way of having a strategic competitive advantage is to start focusing on a narrow target market. Narrowing down target market helps in focusing on the need of that one specific target making have an advantage over others that may focus on a wider target market. For instance. Facebook which is now one of the most popular social media has started as a service for Harvard students. Thus by constricting to a smaller market, business can increase customer share and expand the market into leading the business to one of the top, making it a long term sustainability.
Developing customer intimacy also causes an advantage as the organization can understand and fulfil customers’ needs and wants. Intimacy is developed by knowing more about customers through surveys or feedbacks. Dell is one of the companies that focuses on customers’ relations by customizations to their needs which gives them an insight of their preferences and needs, quickly fulfilling them before their competitors. Thus, strategic advantage is maintained long term through learning and fulfilling them faster than other companies.
By using cost advantage, companies can sustain strategic advantage. Cost advantage means of producing similar products but at lower price so that customers may be attracted to buy due to lower price compared to other companies. Amazon is one of the companies that uses cost advantage as one of its marketing strategies where it sells at a similar or lower price than other companies that sell books. Thus, it also shows that being advantageous in pricing can also maintain competitive advantage as customers prefers things cheaper, though it is only sustainable short term as customers may switch to even cheaper price.
Overall, the statement of not having sustaining strategic advantage is generally disagreed. Though it may be tough to maintain advantage, it is possible. Apple is one of the oldest companies that has maintained advantage since 1976 compared to Facebook which has started since2004. These companies prove that though it may be tough, sustaining strategic advantage does exists.