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1- Determine and identify the strategic issues facing the SOUL group. What does the strategy need to address? What types of data and information do the group need in order to create a strategy for the future?
Managing Finance and Information for Decision Making
2- Take a market-driven approach to strategy - gather whatever primary and secondary data you feel relevant and analyze the external environment of the library. What opportunities and threats do you foresee? Critically evaluate the alternatives. Is there scope for a long term vision? Make any suggestions for high-level goals.
3- Reflecting on Questions 1 and 2, produce a business model for the Airemouth library/facility. Use data from the case and any other relevant sources in order to articulate "what" you are planning to offer in terms of services and "who" the services are for. (Make sure you address competition and identify why customers will opt for your services/facility.) Also, consider what resources are required to deliver your strategy. (You will need to think about tangible and intangible resources).
4- Based on your proposed business model you are now required to make cost and revenue projections for a 3 year period which will make up part of the business plan. It is clear that a lot of financial data is missing or unavailable so you will need to make assumptions and estimates based on research. Where assumptions and estimates are made, please detail any supporting evidence. Where further information is needed that research does not uncover, please explain and show how you would seek to obtain this information. Break costs down into appropriate headings (as you think sensible) and try to demonstrate the understanding of how these costs behave and how the associated cash would flow in and out of the library.
5- Now bring the findings of your analyses together. Make recommendations for strategic change. Consider both business unit strategy and functional strategies (including information system strategy). Make sure you align market needs with the resources available.
6- REFLECTIVE STATEMENT: What is the role of business planning in relation to strategy? Reflect on both the case and your own organization in explaining your views. Be critical in your thinking and provide well-balanced arguments.
The assessors are looking for responses that, where relevant:
- determine the strategic/financial and information issues described in the case;
- define these using relevant terms and definitions;
- demonstrate the application of theory, to case material, in order to address the key strategic issues (opportunities and threats);
- select appropriate theories and concepts for the analysis of strategic options and be able to explain these choices;
- explore the interrelationships between relevant theory and the practical challenges of business unit and functional strategies (including information systems strategy);
- draw conclusions and make recommendations for the theory and practice of strategy, managing information systems and financial reporting to support the development of the organisation. Responses should be presented in a balanced and discursive style, recognising strategic paradox where it exists.
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