Business and Organisation Methods Case Studies Essay
Case study question 1 How do information technologies contribute to the business success of Sew What, Inc.? Give several examples from the case regarding the business value of information technology that demonstrate this conclusion. Information Technology is vital for growth, in a small business. Megan Duckett is the founder of Sew What? Inc. Her overall goal in Sew What? Inc is to provide a more perfect approach to customer satisfaction, and overcome the challenges they face through IT (Information Technology). IT is vital for growth in a small business.
Through the chronicles of Duckett’s small business, Information technology played in important role in the creditability of her company. IT helps keep her customers informed through her never-say-no approach to customer satisfaction. After losing one of her biggest contracts, the potential client said that without a Web site, her company “lacked credibility. ” It is hard to figure out the mission statement of a company, and the credibility of their mission without a Web site. Duckett stated that,  “before losing that contract, I thought, ‘I run a sewing business, a cottage craft. I don’t need a web site’. As a small business such as Sew What? Inc it is nearly impossible to stick around as a business in the information age. After launching their website in 2005 their business took off. Sew What? Inc has enjoyed explosive growth in recent years reaching $4 million per year in sales by the end of 2006. Duckett use to grow her business using mostly word of mouth, which kept her company localized, but after launch her site in 2005, she now has clients all over the world.  In fact, last year their revenue grew 45% on the previous year’s sales, and this year they are on target to enjoy a 65% increase on 2005 sales.
And nearly all the growth came from Web-driven sales. Updating her site, and making it more user savvy gave her an edge and helped her company become more profitable.  In 2005, Duckett decided she needed to improve the site’s navigation, because “I wanted it to be sleek and to provide a really good customer experience. That was beyond my abilities, so we hired a Web marketing consulting company to build a custom navigation system for the site. ” She worked with the hired guns on branding, search engine optimization, overall design, and site layout. On her site there is also a Spanish version on the site, and the professionals tuned up he main site’s search features to include spelling variants for different English-speaking countries. The site also lets potential customers review all kinds of color swatches and teaches them how to calculate accurate measurements for their projects. The sites is able to provide better service by keeping the customer updated. Though this case study we understand that it is very important to have good customer satisfaction through IT. The approach that is through IT gives Sew What? Inc is a great opportunity to grow in a small business, in a big business world. Work Sited Page O’brien, J. A, ; Marakas, G. M (2008).
Introduction To Information Systems. New York,: McGraw-Hill Irwin.  Marakas pg 1  Marakas pg 1  Marakas pg 1  Marakas pg 1  Marakas pg 1 Case Study Question #2: If you were a management consultant to Sew What? Inc. , what would you advise Megan Duckett to do at this point to be even more successful in her business? What role would information technology play in your proposals? Provide several specific examples. As a consultant to Sew What? Inc. I would advise Megan Duckett to introduce a computer time card system which would allow her employees to clock in and out much faster and with the elimination of time accounting errors.
This is a good way to streamline daily operations within the company. Airgas Inc. has just recently implemented the use of an electronic time clock system to alleviate errors in reporting and negligence in record keeping. This drastically improves the efficiency and time saving of time saving within a company. I would also recommend the use of online education learning docks for employees to utilize. This would benefit Megan’s company by helping her ensure her employees are educated not only in their specified areas but in general safety as well.
This would allow employees to maximize their potential and benefit to the company. It also lets you as an employer monitor who is complying and at what levels. Dow Chemical uses several different learning docks for their employees. Each specific area has its own and then there are docks for everyone who is in the company to do. These are all done through the company’s intranet system. Information technology plays a huge role in streamlining a company like Ducketts and any aspect that is implemented within this company should heavily rely on the benefits of information systems and technology.
Ducketts uses of the few suggestions above would give her many benefits immediately. Case study question #3: How could the use of information technology help a small business you know be more successful? Provide several examples to support your answer. There is a small fitness center in a town near where I live. This gym utilizes a computer for their billing and membership profiles. When members enter the gym they can swipe a card which in turn brings up a profile screen of the member who just swiped in. The information that is displayed is limited to the last visit date and the payment history for the account.
Next to this computer screen are stacks of alphabetically ordered index cards that contain the individual members’ unique workout routine and progress. These cards are handwritten therefore some members update the routine less than what they should. A customized software program could be tailored to meet the need for keeping track of individuals’ progress and for providing updated workout routines that will continuously challenge the individual. This would enhance the members’ fitness results and in turn would generate more sales in membership.
For example, the customized software would work by programming an individual’s fitness goal. An initial workout routine would be provided. Once the workout is completed for the day, the person would visit the computer and click a few buttons to update their profile. The next time they come to exercise all they have to do is click a button to printout a new sheet which will guide them through the suggested changes to the routine. If there were two gyms in town and only one of them offered this service, I’m almost certain that the gym with the service would dominate the competition and new membership would sky rocket.
The technology in the exercise equipment such as the ability to change a machine’s resistance by the push of a button has been the extent of the high tech marketing for a gym. This really has no affect on an individual’s fitness results unless they know what they need to set the resistance to. The index card system would be obsolete and the gym space that is being used to accommodate the cards would be freed for other use. Discussion Question 1: How can information technology support a company’s business processes and decision making and give it a competitive advantage?
Give examples to illustrate your answer For business professionals and companies, Information Technology (IT) is the foundation of how a company will process in an ever changing business world. When referring to what exactly is Information technologies, it could be defined as hardware, software, networking, and data management components necessary for the system to operate. These are the basic tools for a business to communicate effectively. Companies rely on many different types of information systems that use various information technologies.
Various information technologies allows top executives to know what is happening from top to bottom, making information of what customers are looking for more accessible and helping the process of the company.  “There is no longer any distinction between an IT project and a business initiative. IT at Marriott is a key component of the products and services that we provide to our customers and guests at our properties. As such, there’s very little that goes on within the company that either I personally or one of my top executives is not involved in”.
Those are the words of Carl Wilson, executive vice president and CIO of the Marriott International chain of hotels. Allowing all employees and Managers to access information at their finger tips is an important in allowing a company’s business process to process efficiently and effectively. In order for any company to have great decision making, it is necessary to have information technology through a computer based information system. Since all employees in a company make some type of decision, big or small depending on what level they are at, the decision they make must be nearly accurate and precise.
Making the wrong decision could cost a company a customer or millions of dollars.  So the important question for any business professional or manager is: What do you need to know to help manage the hardware, software, data, and network resources of your business so they are used for the strategic success of your company. And success can only come through good decision making. Having up to date software will allow your company to see perhaps what customers are buying, when they are buying it, and how they are buying it.
Figuring out these types of question through Information technology will allow an employee or management to better market to customers, or to help customers find what they are looking for. For example  Manny Ramirez, a star player for the Red Sox, is often seen sitting in front of the computer, watching game footage stored on the EMC technology. “There’s many times I’ll go up to a plate and hit the first pitch…I study the video very hard, and there’s a lot of times where I can break the game wide open because I’m very prepared against the opposing pitcher,” Ramirez says.
With Information technology employees or Athletes can make better decisions in helping their franchise make the right decision to get their company ahead. Improved Information Technology is the only way for a company to stay competitive and hold a competitive advantage over their competitors.  Success in today’s dynamic business environment depends heavily on maximizing the use of Internet-based technologies and Web-enabled information systems to meet the competitive requirements of customers, suppliers, and other business partners in a global marketplace.
The goal of many companies today is to maximize their customers. When you use information technology that is the most up to date, it will help you keep an edge over your competitors. Having a good IT system will allow a company to become more flexible, and will make it easier to solve problems that customers are facing. Giving customers what they want, when they want it and how they want it at a cheaper cost then their competitor will creates customer value. Using their time more effective will also help them tackle problems that hold their company back.
Making things easier for themselves and their competitors will cause them to increase their revenues. For example Hershey pursued an upgrade of the ERP system to a new R/3 version in July 2001. By May 2002, the upgrade was completed. Enhancements such as automated pick-list processing and materials management invoice verification, as well as credit processing for distributors to military customers, yielded measurable time and cost savings for Hershey. While greatly reducing product processing time, Hershey achieved nearly 100 percent quality in its production environment.
Work Sited Page O’brien, J. A, & Marakas, G. M (2008). Introduction To Information Systems. New York,: McGraw-Hill Irwin. —-  O’brien, p7  O’brien, p 7  O’brien, p 10  O’brien,17  O’brien, 18 Discussion Question #2: How does the use of the Internet, intranets, and extranets by companies today support their business processes and activities? The Internet, intranet, and extranets play a vital role in a businesses survival in today’s informational world. A company’s communication is extremely influenced by these types of information systems.
It’s very important that a company can communicate with its employees, partners, and the global market as well. The internet is “a rapidly growing computer network of millions of business, educational, and governmental networks connecting hundreds of millions of computers and their users in over 200 countries. ”  The internet allows for a company to stay in touch with the global market as well as keep a keen eye on its competitors and changes in the market. The internet allows for a company to stay connected to parts of the world that would normally be untouchable without this technology.
The intranet is the internet like system “inside the enterprise”  which allows a company to communicate with its employees through an internal system. Dow chemical utilizes intranets for everything from corporate announcements to safety alerts for everyone in the company. It really increases internal communications. The extranet is an internet like system “between and enterprise and its trading partners” . The extranet can be used for research development, communication of company data, and other pertinent information that partners may wish to access.
It also allows for better communication between customers and the company. This can be seen in things such as help systems that are established on the extranet.  O’Brien, James, and George Marakas. Introduction To Information Systems. 14th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2008. 524.  O’Brien, James, and George Marakas. Introduction To Information Systems. 14th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2008. 12.  O’Brien, James, and George Marakas. Introduction To Information Systems. 14th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2008. 12. Discussion Question 5:
How can a manager demonstrate that he or she is a responsible end user of information systems? Give several examples. End users are people that effectively communicate and organize in teams and work as groups most of the time. End users are people who work with information systems such as sales people, accountants or mangers and they can be considered customers also. Since privacy is an issue, there are several things an end user should do in order to keep his/her information private. First of all use a password, end users must maintain the security of their password.
They can do this by taking up such practices as changing the password occasionally and of course remembering the new one. Also there is a physical security issue that applies. Managers should ensure that access to offices, data centers and communication rooms is only authorized for employees and should be locked. Additionally, every organization has some information that needs a higher level of protection in that if someone gains access to it, it could be potentially dangerous. When dealing with classifications of information there should be procedures that are adopted to safeguard information that is received by managers.
Such information should be categorized and labeled as either classified or unclassified. Furthermore, managers should maintain backups of applications and data that is stored off site. This keeps them in safe place in case of any security breach The networks that are used by end users have to be protected from getting any viruses or any internet parasites. As an example, sometimes managers receive work emails on a home PC from outside sources that contain viruses, and afterwards their company computer will be affected.
Then when they use their company’s network, a risky situation is brought to life because they might lose some of their necessary data or in worst case scenario, affect the entire network. Therefore, never go from one computer to another or from an insecure network to your company network that has such risk associated without first utilizing at least a virus scan. Finally there should be some sort of team or individual who specializes in the network security and network protection. Discussion Question 6: Refer to the Real World Case on Autosystems in the chapter.
What should be the next step in business software implementation for a small manufacturer like Autosystems? Defend your proposal. The next step in business software implementation for a small manufacturer should be to have a set of procedures for ActivEntry and a complete detail of all the aspects of the TRANS4M system that would interface with the ActivEntry. The use of set of procedures would lead to the elimination of the production analyst, which would save the company money by cutting back on salary costs. Information about training, support and assistance for production associates would all be contained in the procedures.
The procedures would aid production associates by making them able to look at the procedures for help or guidelines instead of seeking help from the hypothetically former production analyst. The timeliness in that help could be sought would be improved. The variable or possibility that maybe the production analyst is busy, away or perhaps absent would no longer even be a factor. A strategy or long term goal for Autosystems should be to transform into a completely electronic system, as mentioned in the Real World Case for Autosystems. This would go follow the same steps as implementing the new procedures.
The fully electronic system along with the procedures would not only cut back on salary costs, it would reduce individual paperwork. Currently, the use of paperwork has decreased due to the ActivEntry implementation. Instead of the old system of having individual sets of paperwork at each of the three plants, the work is now distributed to the plants. Reducing most of your paperwork would not only save time, it would also be simpler for employees to locate the information that could be transferred from paperwork to a fully electronic system. This might even mean less job training, more environmentally friendly and a cleaner workspace.
The forms also use up a lot of space to store and this would take away a worker frustration and repetitive task that is created by filling out paper forms allowing the organization to be more ergonomical. Paper forms are also much easier to lose. The implementation of procedures and reduction of paper would help with employee motivation. Production has since increased with the ActivEntry implementation. Employees now feel important and cared for when management displays concerns about them. Since most workers only want basic respect in the workplace, when they get it they return the favor by becoming more productive and more efficient.
Happy workers equal productivity and success. Other submission for Question #5: Discussion Question # 5 According to the text, the definition of an end user is people who use an information system or the information it produces. Most end users are people that efficiently communicate and organize in teams and work as groups most of the time. End users can be classified as sales people, accountants, engineers, clerks, and customers found at all levels of an organization. There are several ways for a manager to demonstrate that he or she is a responsible user of information systems.
First, a manager must demonstrate that he or she has an in depth knowledge of the information system being used, specifically policies and procedures. It is very important for a Manager to know what is going on. When lower level employees have a problem with software or understanding a policy, the responsible manager should be able to assess and secure the problem in one way or another. The manager should make it his or her obligation to try and learn as much about the policies and procedures as well as different software that the company is using.
Being aware of updates and changes to various software and policies is another way of demonstrating that one is a responsible end user. One might consider providing copies of updated policies and procedures for the employees that he or she manages. A responsible end user should also assist employees in learning the software and different applications used by employees. Because most end users work in teams and groups communication is extremely imperative. Managers must make an effort to ensure that information is being shared efficiently and effectively whether electronically, face to face, by mail, etc.
This could be done by the manager or a responsible employee that the manager trusts. A responsible end user of information systems would also make sure information is safely communicated so that it does not fall in the hands of the wrong persons. This could be done by using passwords for different software and electronic message boards that may be used as communication devices. When storing information, a responsible end user of information systems should make copies of all data, information, and applications. It is always good to have a backup in case of an emergency.
Viruses and different types of malfunctions can be hazardous, making it vital to have different securities applications and software to keep computers and other hardware safe from infection. The occasional change of passwords is also a way to protect information. assignmetn 2 Edit 00 8… Case #1 Fed Ex and UPS and its leading competitor UPS have many similarities to how they invest in IT. One of the differences is that Fed Ex has always invested in information technology and according to the text, UPS started investing significally recently.
Fed Ex’s focus is revenue-generating, customer satisfaction-generating, and strategic advantage technology. Fed Ex invest $1 billion dollars per year in Information technolgy. (43) Fed Ex focuses on innovating more ways to improve service and get greater results while UPS and other competitors usually copy and gives Fed Ex the strategic advantage. UPS only offers tracking for one package at a time. I think that fed Ex has the better strategy because they are trying to make things easier for the customer. The Insight program allows you to view all packages coming to your adress and helps the customer prepare for them.
UPS is the bigger company so Fed Ex kinda has a chip on their shoulders. UPS is generally just spending lots of money to copy fed ex strategies to keep up instead of creating better ideas. It sounds to me that UPS is holding on by its name because Fed Ex really seems to be trying to offer the best services. Ups generally focuses on operations instead of quality, the usual problem with bigger companies. Part II Is FedEx’s “move, communicate, and shoot” IT strategy a good one for its competitive battle with UPS? Why or why not? Is it a good model of competitive IT strategy for other types of companies?
Defend your position. FedEx’s, “move, communication, and shoot” strategy does have potential for its competitive battle with UPS. The strategy essentially means that if they don’t move, they will be surpassed by UPS. If comfort sets in at FedEx, and they don’t remain one step ahead of their primary competitor, UPS, then they will lose the battle. As an example, even if FedEx did come out with the recent Insight product that UPS does not have, it does not mean that they can afford to stop research and development of future products.
UPS is always lagging slightly but it will not take long for them to catch up or perhaps even come out with a product that steals FedEx’s customers. With that in mind, the innovative employees at FedEx must always strive to be cutting edge in their industry and implement improvements of already existing ideas within the company in order to win their competitor. Effective communication is essential when implementing new ideas within an organization. Once the idea has been thought of, the first thing that needs to happen is to get feedback in order to assess the feasibility of it.
This will address whether or not the idea is possible, cost effective, and how the customers would react to it. Obtaining opinions from various departments that have a variety of experts and also management about the ideas is at the beginning of putting the ideas into motion. Great ideas have been known to be shot down if poorly understood or badly presented do management. This means that without full understanding and support, it will be difficult for the new product or service to be successful or reach its potential in the market.
Finally, “shoot” is an accurate depiction of the last step required when implementing a new products or service that will keep FedEx winning its battle against UPS. Similar to the “move” aspect, if the idea lingers before being implemented, then its possible UPS will have already come out with their own version by the time FedEx has their ducks in a row. For that reason, in this case the best strategy is just to go for it and waste no time. If there is good communication and the idea is well thought out, there’s nothing you can lose by launching the idea in hope to land ahead of your competitor in the race.
A good example of what happens if a large market leader similar to FedEx doesn’t remain at the top of its game in regards to growing its organization and innovating would be the case with the company Seagate. It is a hard disk technology company that recently decided that the best way to progress was to shrink its research and development budgets and turn its focus towards lowering operating costs in order to increase profits. Nevertheless, this drastic change in policy proved to be an unwise one. Its main competitor, Western Digital was focused on improving their products drive capabilities. This allowed for 1TB, 1. TB and 2TB drives a reality for customers while Seagate watched their success happen from an instant and distant second place with its 500GB and 750GB drives that customers were no longer interested in. After Seagate lost the density race to their competition over this product, Seagate then reevaluated its business strategy. This mistake cost millions in potential revenue all of which the CEO was responsible. AMD also took a similar hit when it was not prepared for the transition to multi-core processors. The same thing happened to ATI when NVIDIA continued to push boundaries on innovation in the high performance graphics industry.
However, unlike these examples, FedEx has actively held tight onto the importance of innovation mind frame. This strategy has allowed FedEx to remain in first place and sometimes make significant gains over UPS. Case # 3 It is a good business vision for FedEx because FedEx is competing with UPS which is a bigger corporation then FedEx. In order to survive in the market you have to keep up with the technology and satisfying the costumers with better service. Nowadays technology is a big issue in the global business which can improve the service of the company and expend the size of the company.
According to Carter who is (CIO) Chief Information Officer said “we spend more than 1 billion a year on technology” which has helped the company to grow and improve internationally. So the IT is helping FedEx outspending with this huge budget but still they are not as big as their competitive enemy the UPS which Carter called them the brown guys. FedEx IT system has helped the company to provide a tracking number to the customers to show them where the package actually is, however UPS also has that type of service so FedEx is trying to come up with something new so they cannot be beating in technology and customer satisfaction.
In addition FedEx IT system protects the United States and the rest of the world on the war on the terror by scanning the packages and sending some of other suspicious packages. Discussion # 2 How could a business use information technology to increase switching cost and lock in its customers and suppliers? Use business examples to support your answer When a business uses Cost Leadership Strategy, and Innovation Strategy it may help them to lock in customers. Cost Leadership Strategy can be defined as a way to make your products or services cheaper or somehow keeping the cost cheap for your customers and suppliers.
Another strategy would be causing your competitors prices to go up. The use of IT to reduce prices when using an innovation strategy is vital to increase switching cost and locking in its customers and suppliers. Innovation Strategy is defined as  finding new ways of doing business. This strategy may involve developing unique products and services or entering unique markets or market niches. It may also involve making radical changes to the business processes for producing or distributing products and services that are so different from the way a business has been conducted that they alter the fundamental structure of an industry.
Creating certain strategies for business will ensure a longer relationship with your customers and suppliers. Customers and suppliers may become reluctant from leaving your business because you have an edge over the market. To give an example when Federal Express crated their online package tracking and flight management, it gave customers the opportunity to know where their products were, and when to expect them. If customers become use to this type of service, they may not want to leave because they know that it would be hard to find anywhere else.
Investments in a company’s IT can help them to lock in customers and suppliers, which will allow them to create barriers. By building a business relationship with customers and suppliers it will create a loyalty to that business. When a business builds a relationship with customers and suppliers, it may seem impossible to abandon their IT System. Always updating and making little effective changes will also give customers and suppliers a threshold on the IT system, preventing them to find another business because they have Become so use to the IT system that they are using.
These IT systems that are created, focuses on improving the quality of service to customers and suppliers and making relationships stronger. By doing this, the Differentiation Strategy is implemented.  Developing ways to differentiate a firm’s products and services from its competitors’ or reduce the differentiation advantages of competitors. This strategy may allow a firm to focus its products or services to give it an advantage in particular segments or niches of a market.
For example, when Dell Computer created their strategy in cost Leadership, it allowed customers to do online build to order, online seller bidding, and online auctions, which created a Low cost, and it will set a standard for customers competing in the market. Finding different ways to create switching cost in relation to a business and its customers or suppliers will help lock them in. The switching cost creates an inconvenience for customers or suppliers to switch to another firm.
Using the example presented in the book,  companies have begun to follow Wal-Mart’s example by extending their networks to customers and suppliers and adopting continuous inventory replenishment system that serve to lock in business. These interenterprise information systems use the Internet and other networks to link the business processes of a company electronically with its customers and suppliers, resulting in new business alliances and partnerships. Most business know that people do not like to learn certain things over again.
To learn a new system that you are unsure of working better than your old system, could seem like a hassle and an inconvenience.  O’Brien pg 47  O’Brien pg 46  O’Brien pg 47 Discussion Question #3 How could a business leverage its investment in information technology to build strategic IT capabilities that serve as a barrier to new entrants into its markets? According to the authors of the introduction to information systems text book, purchasing new and improved information technology acts as a barrier to block or delay the entry of other organizations.
The investment would typically help the business maintain and enhance their position within their respective industry. The new information system would improve the efficiency of its current processes. Once a better method of doing regular business is established, the company can begin to offer new products and services that they could not offer before the information technology was incorporated into the business procedures. Raising barriers to entry would discourage or delay other companies from entering a market when using IT systems.
When a company makes investments in information technology, it will help improve its operations and promote innovation to make things easier for customers. Recognizing a higher standard for IT systems in their chosen market will delay or even prevent many companies from entering, due to little investments in their IT system.  Typically, these barriers increase the amount of investment or the complexity of the technology required to compete in an industry or a market segment. An example of this is  In 1983, Wal-Mart invested in an elaborate satellite network linking the point-of-sale terminals in all of its stores.
In a few years, this system grew into a complex communication network that connected all Wal-Mart stores, its headquarters and distribution centers, and all its major suppliers. The most innovative aspect of the system was the facilitation of a modified just-in-time process of inventory control, a feat virtually unheard of in general merchandise retailing. When an Item is sold by a store, a message is immediately sent to the supplier of that item. Having all this set in place will allow any supplier of Wal-Mart to know when they should expect to send another shipment, and the date and time.
It was also a lot easier to schedule another shipment, and to know what was not being bought. When any company raises a barrier such as this one, it can be difficult for a company to enter into it, because such an IT system as Wal-Mart had will take a lot of time to develop. A good example of a leverage investment strategy would be for companies to have a strategic plan to utilize the information technology in creative ways. This can be done through focusing specifically on marketing and customer service. A business needs to think at least two steps ahead of the competitor.
This is because the gain from a new competitive edge doesn’t last long. When other businesses see that their not offering the same services as their competitors, the service becomes a necessity and the playing field becomes level after the service becomes common practice among all the businesses. If a business is consistent with their investments in information technology, they will continue to appear as pioneers of the creative services that they come to offer. In the gaming industry the slot machines and players club are constantly updated.
This would be a prime example of a specific industry. The casinos must stay up to date with the technology and marketing strategies of other casinos. The old slot machines were barely utilizing information technology. Now, the slot machine can keep track of a player’s winnings and how long the player stays during their visit. The slot machines and player’s club cards work hand in hand to offer promotions such as random drawings and gambling incentives. The player’s club was once a new idea, but now it’s a necessity for casinos to offer.
Many more information technology uses give casinos a momentary competitive edge, but as I stated before, this is a temporary advantage and will eventually become necessity. (47)  O’Brien pg 47  O’Brien pg 46 Discussion Question#5 What strategic role can information play in business process reengineering? As explained in the text book written by O’Brien and Maracas, the process reengineering is aimed at coming up with new ways to improve quality, speed, and service processes of a business which result in a competitive edge in the industry. The authors also explain that reengineering also has risks or potential failure of the strategy.
It’s noted that some companies experience failure, but many other businesses have benefited and prospered greatly. Needless to say, new processes in business are critical for organizations to stay afloat. Information technology will undoubtedly continue to play a vital role in the integration of the new ideas and processes that are planned. One of the examples of information technologies supporting ordering processes reengineering that are given by the authors of the text book include customer, product and order status databases accessed via intranets and extranets by the employees and suppliers.
This would be useful for large warehouses that have a multitude of employees who are searching for the ordered products in the warehouse. If the information technology wasn’t a major role in this process, the warehouse would be filled with confusion and frustration due to lack of communication within the warehouse. The business would eventually need to reengineer the process of fulfilling the order if they were constantly running into the issue of having more than one employee working on fulfilling the same order when two orders could be fulfilled during the same period.
Also, information technology supports the reengineering of a customer accessible websites. For example, Avon, a popular cosmetic company, used to be primarily a door to door sales business. Then Avon went through a reengineering process that involved setting up a website. Now customers can avoid the pressure of sales representatives and order directly from the company in the comfort of their own homes. This also changed the way Avon representatives gain new customers in the area. The new ordering process allowed customers the option of avoiding shipping costs by having a representative deliver the products to them. p53) Discussion Question # 6 How can Internet technologies help a business form strategic alliances with its customers, suppliers, and others? Companies can form strategic alliances with customers and suppliers through joint ventures. Many companies do joint adventures to lower cost. In the business world, companies need to stay ahead of the game, or they could find themselves slipping through the cracks of an unprofitable company. In order to do this, companies need to have an Alliance Strategy.
An Alliance Strategy is establishing new business linkage and alliances with customers, suppliers, competitors, consultants, and other companies.  These linkages may include mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, forming of “virtual companies,” or other marketing, manufacturing, or distribution agreements between a business and its trading partners. When entering into a joint Venture it will help split the risk of developing an IT system that customers will be able to use. A good example of a joint adventure is Cingular went on a joint venture with SBC and BellSouth.
SBC later acquired AT&T so now Cingular is now AT&T wireless. This allows them to keep brand name and customers from both markets and to dominate a market through strategic alliance. Companies can form strategic alliances with customers and suppliers through the forming of Virtual Companies. When you have a Virtual company, it will allow you to work from anywhere on the earth, and you can update your company at anytime, 24/7 and that’s a great advantage. You don’t need a showroom, and not having one will cause you to save a lot on overhead cost.
One great feature about this that customers and suppliers would like is they don’t have to drive to come find your locations, because you are as close to them as a computer. Take for example Staples Inc. and Partners has an Online one-stop shopping that allows them to increase their market share. It’s also easy for them to communicate, update information, and change part of their site if they chose. This is the key for any company, to be able to change information at their chosen time. Staples Inc and partners has cohesiveness because at anytime of the day, they are able to communicate and update IT because it is only a click away.
Companies can form strategic alliances with customers and suppliers through the forming of Mergers and Acquisitions through IT. Acquisitions and Mergers are strategic Strategy’s that deal with buying and selling or acquiring different companies. Doing this can provide aid, or help a company grow without creating another business. This could also help create a dominant force in the market, and the uses of their IT system can benefit the merger by bring the best of both worlds, creating synergy. Synergy is the force of two, coming together to create one bigger force.
For an example, when Verizon wireless decided to purchase Alltel, the company was allowed to acquire their customers, along with their IT systems. Discussion Question # 9 Information technology can’t really give a company a strategic advantage, because most competitive advantage don’t last more than a few years and soon become strategic necessities that just raise the stakes of the game. Discuss. The chapter itself begins with a fundamental thought – that technology no longer is an afterthought in forming business strategy, but that it is the actual cause and driver. This idea cannot be stressed any further.
The impact IT has had over businesses is common knowledge and is all the more evident from the examples given the chapter. IT quite simply changes the way businesses compete today. It infuses newer blood into the organization by introducing new technologies and strategies as well as business processes which are vital to succeed in today’s dynamic business environment. Advantage comes with newer technology. From FedEx in case one, to the Wal-Mart example later – which adopted the network which linked the point of sale terminals, to even GE in case two – the idea remains the same.
Information Technology changes how one does business. IT has been integral in bringing about new products, services and capabilities. Information Technology can improve operations or even promote innovation, thereby deterring other newcomers into the market. It is the very crux of organizational efficiency today. As the world becomes increasingly flat, this can provide a business with a competitive advantage. What it also brings with it though, is the fundamental truth that every technology, no matter what it is, eventually becomes obsolete and has to be replaced.
In other words, a business can’t expect to hold on to what it pioneered forever. What Wal-Mart introduced, with its elaborate satellite network linking the point of sale terminals, has now been adopted by others who have put continuous inventory replenishment systems in place themselves. An interesting thought worth mention here is the talk about copying versus innovation between Colvin and Carter in case one. Carter puts it aptly when he states that” it is easier to copy than it is to innovate. The only thing one can do then is to keep moving”.
It can be thought of as an inevitable and continual cycle if you may, wherein a business moves from a position of competitive advantage to a position of competitive necessity to ultimately a state of competitive disadvantage with the technology it applies. It can be likened to the product life cycle where after one introduces a new product, it goes from being new and exciting, to a point where it reaches its peak, to where it finally becomes an old and tested product waiting to eventually be phased out. Many even contend that organizations should regulate their technology every two years.
An advantage serves its purpose only until it is not understood or has not occurred to a competitor. Once competing firms figure out what and how it is done, they copy it and the advantage is lost forever. It then becomes a standard; a bar which every firm is then expected to be at if it expects to survive. Thus, such advantages are only short lived. The most important thing then is to keep learning, in a manner which is faster than your competitors. Assignment 3 Edit 20 10… case study 1 What are the business benefits and limitations of the speech recognition systems at e-trade, Verizon and others?
How could their use of this technology be improved? There are a lot of business benefits of the speech recognition system at e-trade, Verizon and other companies. First off, using speech recognition when doing business can help you save a lot of money in your every day service. When companies substitute machine work, for man work, the cost can become a lot cheaper.  The average call-center call cost $5 if handled by an employee but 50 cent with a self-service, speech-enabled system, according to Data Monitor.
For example  online brokerage e-Trade financial uses Tellme Net-works (which makes voice recognition software for corporate call centers and telecom directory systems) to field about 50,000 calls a day. Half of those calls never go to an e-Trade employee. The company says Tellme’s system is saving it at least $30 million annually. These savings can become the lifeline of a company, and cutting back cost in today’s business is important in the business process. Sometimes businesses may even report a rise in satisfaction, of a business’s customer service.
For an example, some consumers are able to make payments right away instead of waiting a while for a representative to reach the phone. This will cause a business to save a lot of money in the long run. There are some business limitations of the speech recognition systems for some companies. As time goes on, updates in speech recognition are getting better, but however they have not met the standards for all business. The goal for most business is to have Speech recognition to eliminate as many employees as possible.
Speech recognition has evolved over the years, in 1988 there was an 8,000 word vocabulary, and you were forced to speak very slowly so that you could be understood. Now in recent times, things are a lot better, and speech recognition has improved tremendously but they have not been able to meet the standards. Take for example, when calling a credit card company, they are able to ask you for a change of address, or ask you for payment over the phone through their automatic system, but however, if you need to negotiate your contract, or ask them to lower your interest rate, it would be impossible to do so with an automatic system.
The Speech recognition system can be improved greatly through IT. When figuring out many of their consumers problems, it can be easier to find out a solution. For an example  Organizations that have deployed speech technology say that recent advancements in natural-language understanding have made the systems more acceptable to callers.  “With IVR, it was ‘Touch or say three,’” says Joe Alessi, vice president for marketing and IT at AAA Minnesota/Iowa. “Now we can say, ‘I’d like to change my address. ’” These Improvements are caused by improving IT systems.
Also making a good investment on your IT system will save you a lot of money in the long run.  O’Brien pg 111  O’Brien pg 111  O’Brien pg 112  O’Brien pg 112 Discussion #5 5. Are networks of PCs and servers making mainframe computers obsolete? Explain. Mainframe computer systems will never be obsolete. Mainframe computer systems are primarily used for the information processing needs of major corporations and government agencies with high transaction processing volumes or complex computational problems (80). Corporations use mainframe computers because they are powerful computer systems with massive storage spaces.
They are able to process thousands of millions of instruction per second (80). PC’s are generally used for personal workspace. They give employees the ability to work from home and communicate electronically when not in the office. PC’s are used in the office but are more needed to serve branches of corporations and smaller businesses. They don’t have enough memory capacity to be used in major settings unlike mainframe networks. In previous years mainframe computers were expensive in cost and also to run them. Present day mainframe computers are a bit smaller.
The cost of running them isn’t as high, power consumption has been reduced, and not as much floor space is needed resulting from the use of newer air-cooled technology for mainframe systems (80). PC’s are definitely not the fall of mainframe systems. PC’s are used for the office, mainframes for the corporations. One mainframe system can operate a whole city. A prime example would be the black out in Detroit and other parts of eastern United states in 2004. A singlemainframe system was operating the electricity and water system for multiple cities and states. Discusiion # 6
Providing advice for CEO Steve Jobs, of Apple Computers is not a simple task considering that 73 percent of the 30 million MP3 players accounted for are iPods. ITunes is responsible for 75 percent of the sales of digital songs according to NPD Group. This all occurred during the iPod’s introduction year. There has been a total of 90 million iPod’s sold globally and over 2 billion songs purchased from itunes. Jobs has an impressive resume. Ipods today don’t have much battery life. We all know how frustrating this could be when you heavily depend on your iPod for entertainment at work, the gym, at home,school, etc.
Maybe a lithium powered battery would be a great battery to use for such a product. In addition, jobs could also consider adding more storage space or providing larger memory cards. You can never download enough songs. No one wants to delete songs that they obviously like for newer downloads. A longer battery life and more storage space could help improve an already huge sales revenue. The Apple Computers are pretty difficult to use. I think that he could try to come up with a simple mac book that would be similar to a dell or gateway in easiness to use.
My experience with Apple computers haven’t quite been great because I don’t think they were made for the average PC user. It usually takes a while for me to figure out how to save files or locate files browsing on apple computers. Apples are great computers and offer a lot for the customers who buy them but I think they should come with instruction manuals. Dissussion question 7 What are several trends that are occurring in computer peripheral devices? How do these trends affect business uses of computers? Peripherals are changing the outlook on businesses through the use of Input devices. 1]Peripherals is the generic name given to all input, output, and secondary storage devices that are part of a computer system but are not of the CPU. Peripherals depended on direct connections or telecommunications links to the central processing unit of a computer system. We use input devices through our everyday life, and now we are becoming more and more dependent on these devices. Through our experiences when using input devices such as pointing devices, it makes it more convenient when you can point to a graphical user interface such as icons menus, and buttons, when making choices, and responding quickly with little hassle.
This makes business work a little better, and the flow is more efficient. business are constantly looking for better ways to save money, and have looking to improve their IT system so that their business flows better. For example professionals with disabilities use speech recognition when creating certain documents. These types of devices make it easier for disabled people or people who have trouble with different types of system. It may be the future of data entry, and when on the go, and you need to create a document for your boss, typing up a document trough speech recognition may be possible in your own car, driving to work. 2]Speech recognition is gaining popularity in the corporate world among non-typists, people with disabilities, and business travelers, and is most frequently used for dictation, screen navigation, and web browsing. Peripherals are changing the outlook on businesses through the use of output devices. Video output and printed output are some of the few to mention. Video displays are the most common type of computer output. Many desktop computers still rely on video monitors that use a cathode ray tube (CRT) technology similar to the picture tubes used in home TV sets.
Usually, the clarity of the video display depends on the type of video monitor you use and the graphics circuit board installed in your computer. When businesses have recourses like this, it will allow them to do business more effectively. They will be able to send files and documents over the net, and business plans would be able to be seen more clearly, and it would become more convenient for people to view certain plans for business. Printed output is also another good use for peripherals. When using printers it is one of the most common forms of outputs. 4]Printed output is still a common form of business communications and is frequently required for legal documentation. Computers can produce printed reports and correspondence, documents such as sales invoices, payroll checks, bank statements, and printed versions of graphic displays. And these kind of features can allow business to flow better when staying on track or competing against their competitors. Because of this, businesses are relying on computers more and more every day, and they have used computers as their base for businesses.
For an example progressive car insurance sends off printed documents stating that a customer is being served under certain polices that are set up. If this person were to be pulled over by polices and cannot show any proof of car insurances, they are required pay money by law. So print outs are required for businesses, and it’s becoming more and more dependent. Peripherals are changing the outlook on businesses through the use of secondary storage devices. It is important to store Data and information when needing it at different times, and business uses many different types of storage methods to do so.
For example many people and organizations still rely on paper documents stored in filing cabinets as a major for of storage media. However, you and other computer users are more likely to depend on the memory circuits and secondary storage devices of computer systems to meet storage requirements. When business need to save anything to their computer, they need to find certain devices especially if they need to take information from one computer to another computer using a USB or portable hard drives. This will allow business to work more efficient and effective.  O’Brien pg 86 2] O’Brien pg 86  O’Brien pg 90  O’Brien pg 94  O’Brien pg 94  O’Brien pg 99 2. What types of business situations would benefit most from speech recognition technology? Which ones would benefit least? Explain your choices. The author claims that speech recognition technology converts spoken words into machine readable data. There are various ways in which speech recognition technology contributes to a business. For example, a manufacturer may utilize speech recognition technology for things like inspection, inventory, and quality control of a variety of products.
Parcel delivery businesses and airlines use speech recognition for voice directed sorting of packages and luggage. I can see how this could streamline operations and make them faster; however the handling of packages and luggage solely by a technology could lead to lost items which translate to major losses. To additionally demonstrate its popularity, the tool has been so far used by businesses, healthcare, airlines and the disabled. Doctors that usually have a heavy work schedule can dictate into a hand held recorder or record the dictation and save it.
This is very beneficial in that doctors can record details early after the procedure or patient visit instead of losing sight of what happened by waiting until after the workday is over. It has also been utilized by individuals that haven’t learned typing or have a disability that prevents them to type. Additional benefits that speech recognition technology leads to may occur at a call center where there are also people with disabilities who are still able to operate the call center because the speech recognition software converts their words.
When people use this technology it’s not necessary to communicate body language in order to get their work done. Speech recognition technologies have led to a boost in confidence of people with disabilities and have led them to believe that there are options and a future full of communication to look forward to. 3. Given the advancements in speech recognition software over the past 20 years, what types of new applications for this technology do you see in the next 20 years? Provide examples to illustrate your answer. Technology changes so fast that in 20 years, it is likely that there will be many advances in applications for this software.
There has already been some experimentation with voice recognition software in automobiles for example the use of Microsoft Sync by Ford Motor Company. Microsoft Sync operates by allowing voice control over electronic amenities in the vehicle. This enhances safety by allowing drivers to keep both hands on the wheel. It is highly probably that there will be integration of speech recognition software in homes in the near future in things like showers, lighting, appliances, televisions or even doors for enhanced security purposes and convenience.
Perhaps there could be voice recognition microphone locations through the house, allowing a person to activate something in another room before they get there. It would be nice to not have to wait for water to warm up or wait for the garage door to open in the cold winter. One of the utilizations of this technology that has a lot of potential is that in security systems at home, on the computer, in your car or in a business. There are countless ways that speech recognition software could be used in a house but in a security system it could not only serve as a convenience but perhaps prevent things like fraud or identity theft.
In business, speech recognition software will reduce the level of manpower required. The software will fine tune and widen its applications in the future and then perhaps technical support questions could be handled by a speech recognition program. It could operate and troubleshoot the problem by following a diagnostic system that tracks the problem(s) and propose a solution. Another interesting application is in the surgery room. Maybe the lead surgeon is out of town and he can direct a robot by the precise instructions he provides with his voice.
This technology is one among many that offer many good things, however it poses the question of what jobs can’t or won’t be replaced by automation. It is impossible to replace humans entirely and as mentioned in the case provided, speech software does have great potential to save a lot of money and that translates to more lost jobs to their technological competition. Discussion 1: What trends are occurring in the development and use of the major types of computer systems? The computer systems came a long way since they were invented.
The trends that are occurring in the development and use of the major types of computer systems are generally to increase the overall power that can be offered. It doesn’t take long before a newly purchased computer to become outdated. This is mainly due to the fact that there is a consistent introduction to something newer. The first one is :Microcomputers, also known as personal computers (PC), are the most changed type of computer system. the microcomputer has became more powerful with more data storage, that’s why it became more useful for businesses as to individuals. they are now available for many uses that were not always available.
For example, they are able to be networked, making business within an office more efficient. Microcomputers are also developed to aid in businesses that require intensive calculations, like architects, using computer-aided design (CAD). The trend for microcomputers is the continual development of smaller and more powerful systems. For example the Laptop computers and cell phones they are becoming smaller and most widely in business. . The second is : trends midrange computers were primarily used for engineering analysis, scientific research, and industrial process monitoring and control.
Now days midrange computers are more popular as network servers, used for management of large Websites, intranets, extranets, and other powerful networks. These computer systems can be used for data storage for applications like financial programs, manufacturing and distribution programs, and other useful information that is needed by many people over the intranet. The third is : trends and uses of mainframe computer system they are very large systems, but also very powerful, with large primary storage capacities.
The size of mainframes is one noticeable trend in these systems, as they are becoming smaller in size due to increased ability to make them more fashionable with newer technologies. Mainframe computers are very useful for large organizations with the need for huge amounts of data storage, like government agencies, international banks, and large corporations. As businesses are becoming more needy of computer, the use of mainframe computers is becoming more and more necessary for large website management. Discussion 4: Do you think that information appliances like PDAs will replace personal omputers (PCs) in business applications? Explain. Information Appliances will definitely challenge PCs in use for business applications. These handheld computer devices are known as personal digital assistants. They offer internet access and the ability to perform basic computational . Some features of PDAs are the use of touch screens, pen-based handwriting recognition, or keypads so mobile workers can send and receive e-mail, access the Web, and exchange information such as appointments, to-do lists, and sales contacts with their desktop PCs or Web servers.
Since these devices are handheld, these functions can do more conveniently that those of larger PCs. Information Appliances offer new technology to assist in business. The RIM Black Berry is the latest entrant to PDA technology. The Black Berry is a mobile telephone that can perform all common PDA functions as a pager-sized device. The major advantage to the Black Berry is that it is always connected. Since it always connected, it allows real-time transfer of email and when an email is received, the Black Berry owner will be alerted. The Apple iPhone is another new entrant to PDA technology.
The features of this small and lightweight device include a mobile phone, a widescreen iPod music and video player with touch controls and an internet communications device with e-mail, Web browsing, maps and searching. The iPhone is advantageous to the businessman because it allows the user to control everything with their fingers. In brief, PCs and PDAs are two information appliances that compete with each other and it’s possible that PDAs to replace PCs in business. PCs is smart technology and it has been a good information appliance from celluar, handheld PC and web based game machines, but it’s not the best technology.
For example PDA (personal digital assistants) is one of the most popular category devices in the information appliances. Also the PDA technology has showed an incredible functionality on the blackberry and the iphone. The only way that PDA can replace PCs is when PDA can come with a better technology that can be efficient and easier to use to the companies and I personally think it’s possible that PDA is going to replace PCs in the long run. Assignment 4 Edit 00 10… Discussion # 4 Why is an operating system necessary? That is, why can’t an end user just load an application program into a computer and start computing?
An operating system is an integrated system of programs t