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Gaining a competitive advantage

The core of good business decision making is aligning the business model and ICT investments.
Man paying for vegetables with mobile add-on
© Deakin University

The core of good business decision making is aligning the business model and ICT investments.

There are several ways the use of technology can deliver financial returns to businesses.

Automation as a competitive advantage

A benefit of ICT is to automate aspects of the business that were previously done manually. For many businesses, especially small ones, this can be a financially daunting step, as it involves high establishment costs associated with infrastructure and expertise acquisition (not only technical, but also managerial).

However, it is important to consider and evaluate how IT investments can increase the business’s competitive advantage.

Pic Nic Pak’s increased competitive advantage

Returning to our Pic Nic Pak example, the cafe owner might use the automated system to free up staff time so that they can provide a friendly and more personalised service to customers. This would make the cafe more attractive to those customers seeking a more intimate friendly experience.

Alternatively, the owner may be able to operate with fewer staff and thereby sell cheaper meals. This would be appealing to customers seeking a cost-effective meal.

Either way, the owner must seek to understand the competition and keep up to date with market shifts.

In this respect, the Pic Nic Pak scenario offers us a microcosm of the dynamics of business decision making.

Your task

Moving beyond simple automation, what other ICT solutions do you think would assist the Pic Nic Pak cafe to gain a competitive advantage. Discuss your ideas in the comments.

© Deakin University
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Competitive Advantage: Using Information to Build Business Success

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