As the pace of competition intensifies the use of information resources is emerging as a critical new weapon for competitive advantage. The question is: How can organisations recognise the opportunities that these resources provide and use them for competitive advantage?
The objective of this report is to try and answer that question by way of a literature review.
In the first chapters, this report attempts to determine the characteristics of information resources and the nature of competitive advantage. It then reviews the characteristics of models for management of information resources for competitive advantage focussing on four main frameworks. In the last section, the strengths and weaknesses of these strategies, the main issues, opportunities, and implications are discussed.
The main findings of this study are:
1. There are no comprehensive frameworks described in the literature that provide a definitive solution.
2. There are an abundance of models with narrow focuses.
3. Both frameworks and models tend to be descriptive rather than prescriptive.
4. A cookbook approach for management of information resources for competitive advantage is unrealistic, since there are too many variables that need to be taken into consideration. Most approaches only offer guidelines.
5. Sustainable competitive advantage comes from using firm-specific competencies and strengths. It comes from doing something different that is not imitable. If it is easy, others can do it too.
6. Competitive advantage can be achieved at all levels in the organisation.
7. Organisations need the ability to accept change, manage technological change, manage relationships at all levels in the firm, and promote innovation.
8. The models focus too much on planning and not enough on implementation.
9. There is a lack of empirical studies, that has resulted in uncoordinated research and fragmented models with a narrow focus.
10. The models fail to address important issues such as: sustainability of competitive advantage, importance of innovation, lack of systematic measures, risk, and failure.
Information resources are not a panacea for competitive advantage, but they can help create opportunities. Therefore, management need to have an understanding of the models that identify these opportunities. The search for sustainable competitive advantage needs to focus on a firm's resource heterogeneity and resource immobility; those features that distinguish it from other firms.