Complimentary assets and information systems

“An Information System can be defined technically as a set of interrelated components that collect (or retrieve), process, store, and distribute information to support decision making and control in an organization as well as help managers and workers analyze problems, visualize complex subjects, and create new products” (Laudon and Laudon 2017: p. 16).  The relationship between complementary assets and information systems is that the technology of the information system itself is the primary investment and the complementary assets derive their value from their relationship with the information system itself (p. 26).  This can often be seen in the value web that a set of independent firms creates by synchronizing their individual industry value chains (p. 105) that can be independent entities or even a set of subsidiary companies that each operates primarily the way complimentary social, managerial and organizational assets do, but as individual companies (p. 27).

Complimentary organizational assets can be the investments that a company makes to create a supportive business culture that values efficiency and effectiveness, so things like creation of a recognition system, or a well customized business model, business procedures that create efficiency, distributed decision rights and decentralized authority a strong information system development team (p. 27).  There are synchronized businesses that specialize in providing products, services and consulting to businesses that help businesses do each one of these organizational asset component activities and they clump around like and kind businesses in a value web (p. 105).  All of these things energize employees to be more functional and effective utilizers of the information system that is the primary asset.

Complimentary managerial assets are similar to organizational assets, but they are the patterns of how management functions in a business so as to accentuate and make the information system more useful and valuable.  Senior management can create a senior management pattern and habit of supporting investment in technology, or they can incentivize bona fide innovation in their managerial ranks (p. 27).  “Teamwork and collaborative work environments”, “training programs to enhance management decision skills”, and fostering a “management culture that values flexibility an knowledge-base decision making” are all additional examples of complimentary managerial assets that must exist in a corporation in order for the investment in information technology to be optimized (p. 27).  This is why smaller businesses that invest into information technology platforms will exist in an online space of some sort in a grouping where other similar businesses congregate to exchange communications and to glean knowledge and at these nexus spots there will be a clumping of other like and kind businesses again making the parallel to the value web model, where one will encounter advertisers, networkers, or adept consulting businesses focused on eliciting conversation and interaction out of their key demographic within the value web (p. 105).

Social assets can be held and operated by the company or may exist around the company in the culture and law system of the region, state or country in which the company chooses to exist.  This occurs in the form of internet social media and other popular communication structures, digital educational informational programs aimed at labor force technology literacy, governmental computing standards, law and regulations, and simply by the existence of technology and service firms (p. 27).  There are a multitude of marketing training programs online that teach people to maintain a presence in a social sense where their desired set of networks within the value web of which they seek to be a larger part tend to populate online (p. 105).  All of the contacts made in different social media and social contexts in business can be funneled back into different Information Systems Components like a CRM and then used to foster business relationships using different soft approaches to using automation software.

In closing, the term “Information System” is an umbrella term that includes a whole set of different types of sub-systems.  The systems range from Decision-support Systems (DSS), Executive Support Systems (ESS), Customer Resource Management (CRM), Transaction Processing Systems (TPS), Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) and Supply Chain Management Systems (SCM), all the way to Custome Enterprise Dashboards that make quick work of accessing the sub-systems and analyzing Business Intelligence and Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERP) (pp. 46-55).  These systems have their different uses, as touched on above, within the complimentary asset realms (organizational, managerial and social) and are in turn support for the more core information technology primary assets of the modern digital firm.


Laudon and Laudon (2022). Management Information Systems: Managing the Digital Firm (16th ed., pp. 29-39, 74-75). Pearson.