Sustainable competitive advantage exists. Though with some hurdles, it has been made possible by the ever changing technology. Through information systems, a company can improve its relationships with its suppliers and customers as well whose zone is outside the value chain of the firm, but still belongs to its value chain which is extended where they are very critical to the firm’s success. Information systems in the new technology have enabled businesses to focus on market niche which has further enabled them to serve the market that is a narrow target better than its competitors. Another aspect of sustainable competitive advantage is strengthening of the intimacy with customer and suppliers which has also been made possible by use of information systems in business.
The internet plays a key role of providing a business with a competitive advantage. However, certain issues have to be considered so as to determine whether internet would provide a business with competitive advantage. They include; checking whether the management systems of the firm’s supply chain that coordinate resource’s flow into the firm as well as management systems of customer relations that also coordinate the firm’s sales and support the workers with clients. Both are two of the most common system application that is obtained from analysis of business value chain. Another issue to consider is benchmarking which entails the comparison on the business processes’ effectiveness and efficiency against various strict standards, and then carrying out a measure of performance against the standards. So as to determine whether the internet will provide a business with competitive advantage, it is necessary to identify the industry’s best practices through consulting other companies, government agencies, organizations that deal with corporate research and industry associations. Using these alongside other methods for solving problems ensures consistent and effective achievement of business objectives. After analysing the different stages in the business’s value chain, one can come up with information systems’ applications of candidates. One can decide on the one to develop first after having the candidate applications’ list. The internet can then be used to achieve competitive advantage through attainment of operational excellence, cost lowering, improvement of the profit margins and forging of a closer and tight relationship with suppliers and customers. If internet after all analysis has been done cannot be able to achieve this for the organization, then sustainable competitive advantage will not be achieved. If the firm’s competitors make similar improvements, then a relative competitive advantage will be achieved.
The advantage that the leading-edge retailers such as Wal-Mart have over competitors is highly contributed by technology, not exactly their management; however management plays a key role in bringing about sustainable competitive advantage. For instance, the company uses information systems to produce products and services at a relatively lower price that its competitors while at the same time enhancing the quality of its products and services. Through the new technology, Wal-Mart has been able to create entirely new markets. It has also formed new products, services and models for business basis as well as providing new opportunities for brands building with customer bases that are very large and loyal. These loyal customers have helped the business grow unlike their competitors who do not embrace the new technology, more so, in the field of information technology which has also helped it in advertising of new products and brands in the market to its large customer base. Generally, technology has given Wal-Mart a competitive advantage over its competitors, more so, those that have not been able to conform to the technological advancements.