Journal of Information Science and Technology

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Vol 5 Iss 3 Article 2

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icon Strategic Location Planning: A "Hard" Approach Supported by "Semi-Soft" Methods (343.74 kB)

Title:  Strategic Location Planning: A "Hard" Approach Supported by "Semi-Soft" Methods

Author(s): Jeppesen, S.L; Barfod, M.B.; & Leleur, S.


This paper deals with various methods to support a knowledge-intensive IT company in a strategic relocation of their Scandinavian headquarters in the Øresund Region. Choosing a new location can be regarded as a complex strategic planning problem that calls for a systemic planning approach. This paper considers decision support based on a "hard" approach supported by "soft" methods. It describes how "soft" methods were used by analysts, without direct stakeholder participation, simulating different stakeholders and their probable preferences. Used in this way the "soft" methods are seen as only “semi-soft”. The "semi-soft" methods were utilised in the customised decision-support system applied in the STMØ project (2005-2007). The input from the "semi-soft" methods comprises the results gained from a "litmus test" of complexity, CSH, Brainstorming, SSM and SWOT analyses and the "hard" approach combines preference analysis, CBA, AHP, SMARTER, MCA and COSIMA. The utilized process consists of several methodologies, some conducted by the consultants and some conducted with indirect stakeholder interference. Finally findings are set out based on an evaluation of the number and choices of methods in the actual case. Based on the relocation case and the various methods applied, the findings recommend that decision support can benefit from a multi-methodology approach and that "hard" and "soft" methods should be used in a complementary way. Furthermore, it was found that consultants can obtain benefits from "soft" methods even though they are used in a "semi-soft" way.