However, during the little more than 10 years of this research line, contradictory results have been found (Brynjolfsson, Hitt, & Yang, 2002). From the 1970s to 1980s, those companies that invested more in IT suffered a relative setback in the work factor productivity indexes. This paper will discuss the relationship between IT and competitive advantage in following content. We believe that IT is necessary to improve competitive position of the organization.
Many business professionals point to the use and deployment of IT as a point of weakness, not a point of strength in their organizations. They think that the reason for this is often that IT is being driven from a technical perspective, not from a business perspective (Orlikowski & Iacono, 2000). This phenomenon exists because many businesspeople think that the IT is too complicated, too expensive, too risky and too changeable. They would not like to spend time on understanding the complex information technology management. Most businesspeople only understand how specific technologies affect their ability to do their specific jobs. Poorly understand IT initiatives often end in failure.
The previous literatures reveal that IT brings huge impact on careers and information technology has impacted many jobs such as IT has replaced human labor and many organizations no longer pay people to simply oversee others and pass along information. The business benefits that are derived from the strategic use of technology are significant, but they are accompanied by risks that must be addressed. The failure to address IT vulnerabilities within their own organizations and throughout the supply chain can have devastating consequences for business operations n (Brynjolfsson, 1993).
2.1.1. Definition of Strategy
According to the Oxford English Dictionary or OED, the modern word "strategy" is derived from the words strategus and strategian with the earliest known use of the word starting in 1562 Armenia. The word at that time referred to someone "in office or command of a general, generalship (OED 2003)." Pliny accounts for "120 Strategies Governments or particular Jurisdictions of every Province (OED 2003) but also defines "strategy" as "the art of projecting and directing the larger military movements and operations of a campaign (OED 2003)."
Having a working definition helps create a strategy for management to use across the board when it comes to implementing changes to increase productivity and efficiency while reducing overall costs. This may mean changing the corporate strategy on many levels to better reflect a company's core values and to add new ones. This may mean incorporating different management styles and embracing new innovations and technologies to gain competitive advantage within the marketplace. With this in mind, it is important to remember that not only does every corporation have different vision but also different goals. A strategy is not a cookie cutter or one size fits all. It is important to understand in essence that many factors contribute to successful IT strategy.
The best way to utilize strategy when it comes to marketing to an organization's best benefit is to simply know the market in which business is done. It is imperative a company know its target and be flexible to new targets. An organization can remain at the forefront by having a cutting edge attitude toward change within the target audience. Gordon writes, "The mood of the marketplace profoundly affects a campaign's success. It is important to respond correctly" (2003, p. 1). Also to remain competitive, an active pace is needed. Instead of allowing the market to define the marketing strategy, the organization should strive to define the marketplace. This can be done through incorporating innovative ideas across the board. This starts with the organization valuing innovation to begin with. By having innovation as a core value, one can create marketing and promotions plan to encompass many different audiences utilizing different methods. This may require branching out into new medias like the Internet or World Wide Web as a way of reaching new audiences. This all adds value to the strategy and by having a multi-faceted strategy; an organization will have more than one plan in which to rely upon during uncertain times.
2.2. China and IT Strategy
To this day, the country of China remains an enigma, isolated from the Western world and shrouded in mystery conceptualized by the Communist Red. Its culture both ancient and modern fascinates one on many levels mainly because it is so completely foreign. Aspects of their way of life, customs and lifestyle elements mirror the Communist doctrines and the absence of pure freedom seems sad to Westerners. Still slowly China is opening its doors to the West. There is a changing tide, a force at work. It is the advent of globalization, mass communication and new technologies that changed the atmosphere of China. The world is forever shrinking due to the marketplace is growing at the speed of light and commerce taking place over new mediums. This makes possibility happen. People from every nation have yearned to participate in this explosion.
The Chinese have been no exception. They have reached a point in their history where they must not only hold on to their cultural identity but also embrace change from outside. This has been the only way to take advantage of globalization and create a new persona for China. Still the seed of change had to grow from somewhere. This transformation did not happen over night. It can be difficult and frustrating for one to understand yet try to respect. It is out of understanding what one fears that one can be a catalyst for change. Only then can the barriers come down.
Much of the emergence of globalization can be attributed to the world economy. China has made steps of change within recent years and as a result found itself at the forefront of economic explosion. At this time the Chinese economy is growing at the rate of ten percent a year, faster than any other country in the world (Richardson, 2005, p. 1). As a result, the region of the Pacific Rim and more specifically South East Asia is considered an emerging market, one that many international corporations are focused on gaining a competitive advantage. This industry of health food and vitamins is no exception. Due to vast changes in available technologies, it is expected and imperative that all companies have an Internet presence or utilize a global e-strategy that involves their business practices to evolve into e-commerce.
2.2.1.China's Health Food Industry
As addressed above, China's economy is exploding at a tremendous rate. Its industries are growing because of exposure to the west and new opportunities available due to not only the country entering the World Trade Organization but also telecommunications technologies that make doing business easier. This trend does not apply to any one industry in China, in fact, they are all on the move. In fact, "statistics show that there are 1,027 enterprise specializing in 1,509 varieties of health food and products in China" ('Chinese heath market matures', 2005). It is estimated for the year 2000, this meant 18.15 billion yuan in sales at a growth of three percent. One of the reasons for health food taking off and profits on the increase is managements focus on quality management and new marketing strategies using the Internet. These enterprises have seen a change in shopping habits and have adjusted their strategy to meet demand ('Chinese heath market matures', 2005).
China represents to companies "relatively low manufacturing costs" ('China's Hunger', 2005) and cheap labor. This is the main reason why the Chinese economy has seen such amazing growth because of foreign direct investment. Multi-national corporations have seen the advantage of setting up shop in China and as a result, local companies have had to make themselves stand apart to remain competitive. Regardless of who is doing what, China represents an enormous market for health food and vitamin consumption. It is estimated that "450,800 metric tons of vitamins were produced in 2004, of which, only 127,943 was exported" ('China's Hunger', 2005). This is 17.9% annum over the last ten years and this rate is expected to hold steady until 2009. The market locally is so strapped for supply due to high demand, local enterprise cannot keep up with expansion. This has lead the larger companies like DSM to form join ventures with Chinese vitamin producers in order to continue a presence. This remains a conflicting issue for wholly owned Chinese companies; the question of rather or not to let the outside partner to gain strength. This is where strategy and now more than ever IT strategy become very important to the Chinese business person's future.
Waseta International Trading Company is a small yet leading supplier of high quality nutritional supplements, herbals, food additives and vitamin products. The company is located in Shanghai and is a relatively new and up-start venture founded in 1998. It is staffed with highly talented and experienced executives, scientists and associates. It is the company's powerful value that sincerity comes first that makes…