Porters Value Chain Analysis Management Essay

Porter’s Value Chain and Information System


The person most accredited for mounting and articulating the value chain thought is Michael Porter in his 1985 book, Competitive advantage. He offers viewing a firm as a sequential procedure of value-creating actions as a means of a influential conceptual tool for thoughtful the building slabs of competitive advantage.

What is a value chain?

The value chain shows the full variety of activities that are nedded to bring a product or organization from conception, throughout the intermediary stages of production (involving a grouping of physical change and the effort of various manufacturer services), rescue to final consumers, and final removal after use. (Porter, 1985) The Michael Porter value chain structure has two parts. The first part holds five “primary” processes:

â-  Inbound Logistics (warehousing, receiving and inventory management of raw materials and mechanism);

â-  Operations (value-creating actions that change raw materials and parts into finished salable yields);

â-  Outbound Logistics (warehousing, order fulfillment, transportation);

â-  Sales & Marketing (channel assortment, pricing, advertising, sales);

â-  Service (customer care, repair, etc.).

The second part holds four “support” type methods:

â-  Firm transportation (management, finance, quality, legal);

â-  Procurement (acquirement);

â-  Human Resources (enlisting, development, reimbursement);

â-  Technology Expansion (research and growth, process mechanization, and other technology progress). (Porter, 1985)

The five forces analysis is intended to help corporations understand how gainful an industry is and also what they can do to alleviate unenthusiastic forces and thereby improve productivity. Considering the five forces model, we can create to see how this links to the generic approaches.

Value chain analysis

This needs an ability to resolve the value the firm is demanding to create. Value in this logic is simply the reason why customers favor one company’s product over that of its opponent – ie, the additional value they recieve from the company’s product. This value should logically effect from either a lower cost or extra profits for which they are equipped to pay more. Using our investigation so far, they acquire from cost influential or differentiators. We can use value chain study to ensure that all actions in the firm are in procession with its search of this value. (Tsoukas, 2002 p. 567-582) A firm follow a cost leadership strategy would initiate suitable activities throughout its value chain, as would a company pursuing separation.

So, to gain a competitive advantage, a company must follow either cost leadership or demarcation, along with a suitable degree of focus. It can after that use a five forces analysis to charge how this strategy may succeed and productivity might be enhanced. Value chain analysis canister help to recognize and create actions that support the selected generic strategy

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Some economists assert that the breaches of trust (e.g., at Enron, ImClone, WorldCom, and Global Crossing) that resulted in passage of the Sarbannes-Oxley Act (SOX)were all crimes of information partly involving an unsupervised expert. While Boards will continue to rely on experts such as the CIO for advice, the responsibility remains theirs. (Tsoukas, 2002 p. 567-582) The value chain affirms the importance of the CIO, but let’s knows that the Board will be exercising oversight by consulting a number of sources, looking for convergence and consistency. Another example is Infosys that began to move up the IT services value chain into consulting and end-to-end IT solutions while continuing to offer low-end software services. As it moved up the value chain, the company weathered a global downturn due to the September 11th tragedy and the “dotcom and telecom bust. (Romme, 2003 p. 558-573)

In conventional planning for information systems (IS), companies start with imagining the desired future IS for the company, analyze the present application portfolios, and then compare the two to identify gaps. It is then possible to decide if anew portfolio of applications is to be developed to reach the desired future state. Advances in global information technology (IT) and telecommunications infrastructures, trends in deregulation and trade liberalization, and the emergence of world-class skills and capabilities in offshore locations (Tsoukas, 2002 p. 567-582) have opened up new sourcing opportunities beyond traditional domestic in sourcing and outsourcing.

Along the ownership (in source versus outsource) and location (domestic versus offshore) dimensions, four main types of sourcing mechanisms are available: domestic in sourcing, domestic outsourcing, offshore insourcing, and offshore outsourcing. (Van de Ven, 2005 p. 1377-1404) While the outsourcing phenomenon has been well recognized and addressed in the literature, the business process outsourcing and off shoring phenomena are relatively new.

Through modular business process and IT designs, firms can unbundle their value chain processes, decouple them from the underlying IT support infrastructure, and make sourcing decisions that best fit the characteristics of business processes. Tight coupling of business processes and IT is negatively associated with a firm’s ability to detach its processes from each other and from IT. This may leave the firm with no choice but to use a uniform sourcing mechanism for all business processes. (Van de Ven, 2005 p. 1377-1404) Our findings imply that the firm may forego opportunities to exploit low-cost, high-quality capabilities in offshore locations because tight coupling among business processes and with IT may make it infeasible or too costly to separate a business process from the firm and source it from offshore locations.

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The information chain

To the basic elements of the information engineering approach, we add the notion of information chains. The information-chain concept parallels that of the value chain. In fact, for every component of the value chain, at least one information chain exists to support it. Such a chain may begin with a marketing forecast. The forecast leads to a sales plan, from which managers develop a production plan, and thence to a series of decisions about purchases, labor force commitments, and finally a series of sales results. The sales results are eventually quantified as ACTUALS in a sales report, and senior managers can assess the validity of the original marketing forecast in light of these actual results. (Boland, 2000) Unfortunately, most information systems cannot support the association of specific plans and observed results. That is, they cannot close the information chain. Although these systems are excellent at processing transactions, they lack the capability to trace the flow of events, materials, information, and the decisions managers make about them.

The transaction processing focus is an intrinsic limitation, but it isn’t the only one. Another limitation is the overwhelming emphasis most organizations place on financial results. When organizations stress financially oriented performance measures, they tend to obscure or confuse the tracking of more fundamental causes of performance successes or failures. (Van de Ven, 2005 p. 1377-1404) New accounting methods like activity-based costing are an improvement, but still stress financial measures. Creating customer value is a tough proposition without a focus on traceability.

Traceability of causes

Traceability of cause and effect is a basic requirement in the transition to competing based on value-chain logic. Traceability is important in solving problems of delivering goods to customers on time, because this performance measure is fundamental to perceived value in the marketplace. In this area, most information systems can provide a quantification of service levels but few provide the mechanisms to determine why specific measurements were observed.

For example, many steel service centers have informative systems that can accurately report how many days it took to deliver a quantity of steel to a customer, but few such systems provide management insight on why some deliveries were late. (Tsoukas, 2002 p. 567-582)

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The value-chain architecture

The key benefit of value-chain logic is that it clarifies the relationship of internal operations to events visible to the company’s customers and critical stakeholders. Information engineering, with a few methodological improvements, can help clarify the corresponding information relationships through which the company creates those events. For example, the function-entity matrices that contrast business function against data can be useful in finding point of sensitivity and leverage in performance. (Romme, 2003 p. 558-573)


In the past, outsourcers tended to look just like enterprise IT departments, handling large numbers of diverse devices, systems and applications. By contrast, the new model is based on the idea that different players in the market will focus very narrowly on a limited set of competencies (e.g., managing data centers, servers, a particular application, or a specific business process). Since, for example, the competencies needed to succeed at operating server farms are different from those needed to provide a specific application service, the rules of competitive engagement will change: Companies that try to provide totally integrated outsourcing are likely to fail against competitors that are themselves highly focused, and have a series of inter-dependent partnerships.

This major restructuring of the IT value chain introduces its own forms of complexity and the need for something akin to integrated, end-to-end multi-vendor management. It will also create the need for a new type of industry player, a service integrator. Early leaders in this new role are International Network Services (INS–www.ins.com) and AT&T Solutions (www.att.com/solutions). (Romme, 2003 p. 558-573) The ability to address a much wider range of concepts and the quality of those insights are much higher. Now the team can plan learning in relation to time, which dramatically portrays opportunities’ lifecycle cost. The depth of analysis is greater. There is also tremendous learning potential through scenario analyses, which are embedded in the new tools. The effect is a more representative project profile.

While the development of unconventional resources is a complex value chain, the new tools and processes Shell unconventional oil has implemented are applicable to conventional opportunities where there is a portfolio of projects to be managed. In these instances, the same tools and processes outlined here enable a portfolio of multiple wells to be more effectively managed at a higher aggregation level. If a portfolio contains multiple individual projects with dependencies and common resources (constraints), it is a candidate for more effective modeling using the dynamic business-simulation planning processes.

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