Services on Demand
Revista de Administração Pública
Print version ISSN 0034-7612
VILLAS, Marcos; FONSECA, Marcus and MACEDO-SOARES, T. Diana L. v. A. de. Ensuring the strategic fit of information and communication technology: the case of Petrobras' oil refinery units. Rev. Adm. Pública [online]. 2006, vol.40, n.1, pp.127-154. ISSN 0034-7612. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-76122006000100007.
Information and communication technology (ICT) is a critical factor for company competitiveness. While some authors question the fact that ICT should be considered a source of competitive advantage, there is a strong consensus regarding the importance of ensuring its alignment with firm strategy so that it can contribute to the optimization of corporate performance. Ensuring this fit, that is, the consistency between the ICT strategy and the company's strategy, with a view to enhancing organizational effectiveness, became all the more important after the opening of Brazil's oil market in January 2002 and the ensuing increased competition in the oil sector in this country. The objectives of this article are to share the results of a multiple case study of the oil refinery units of Petrobras, and to propose a conceptual framework to help ICT management guarantee strategic fit between its actions and the units' business strategies, in order to optimize ICT's contribution to their performance. The study's results, in keeping with the perceptions of managers from different business areas at Petrobras, showed that there is merely a partial fit between ICT strategies and the business strategy of the oil refinery units at issue. As an additional contribution, the study suggests that the ICT strategic fit be promoted within the context of the evolutionary cycle of the "balanced scorecard" performance appraisal and the strategic management methodology that is being implemented throughout the company.
Keywords : strategy; strategic planning; information technology; strategic fit; balanced scorecard; oil and gas sector.