Developing a strategic information system for construction companies

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, Turkey

Approval Date: 2008

Thesis Language: English


Principal Supervisor (For Co-Supervisor Theses): Irem Dikmen Toker

Co-Supervisor: Mustafa Talat Birgönül


Problems and issues at project level have been the main concern of the construction management studies and construction professionals. Consequently, the long-term strategic issues at corporate level remained uncovered in construction companies. The complex and unique characteristics of the industrial context of construction also limited the adoption of strategic management concepts by the companies. Recently, however, changing business environment, increasing competition in construction arena and higher client expectations have been the drivers for a shift in perception of strategic thinking experienced by construction executives. It is realized that setting long-term strategies is the roadmap towards gaining sustainable competitive advantage by the firm. The focus on strategic management raised the question about the strategic information sources for construction industry. Unless the required information is provided to the professionals as an input, decisions of high quality are unattainable outputs. This indispensable need for information increased the awareness of the companies about information technology and consequently strategic information systems which have great significance in shaping the competitive strategy of the organization. Although the significance of strategic thinking and information systems are realized by construction companies, it is still a complex task to design a strategic information system since the information needed to make the critical strategic decisions are widely spread and lost among the other data related to daily activities. The main objective of this thesis is to develop a generic IT-supported strategic management tool integrating the scattered information which can aid the decision making process of construction executives. Strategic fields within the context of construction industry are extracted from previous researches and discussed by experts in order to reach the right information sources which are to be stored in a database and accessed by the users through interfaces. The applicability of the developed strategic information system is tested by a Turkish construction company on real construction projects. Finally, the benefits, shortcomings and potential future developments for the tool are discussed by referring to the case study.