Technology

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Summary

The use of technology will be very important in the projected growth of Primus Securities. With a multitude of technologies available, choosing the correct ones that maximize capability with future expansion will be a priority. Primus Securities, much like its industry brethren, E-trade Securities and Charles Schwab, is attempting to provide successful online investing via their website. Using technology, Primus has at their disposal many online products, tools, and services to choose from that would provide a unique and satisfying online investment experience for its customers. Primus wishes to expand their site to include more frequent and faster investment opportunity for customers.

An incremental implementation of technological infrastructure will allow for future expansion and will provide savings throughout future operation. In addition, this technology will provide customers a more secure and satisfying shopping experience and will increase their confidence level. It will be necessary to incur a large expense on infrastructure installation at the beginning of the development. This infrastructure investment along with a subsequent investment in human resources to staff it will make future expansion cheaper and easier to accomplish.

Finally, outsourcing key aspects of the operation will achieve maximum cost savings.

Infrastructure

The purpose of a well-designed infrastructure is to ensure that an e-business is able to run effectively while safely being scaled within a budget. For a company like Primus Securities, a cost effective infrastructure will be implemented remaining functional and adequate for their purposes. The important aspect of a new e-business is to add technology without disturbing business operations and aligning information systems with the organizational strategy. In this paper, Team B will examine a viable infrastructure for a new e-business venture undertaken by Primus Securities.

Hardware Decision

The company needs to invest in equipment such as servers, workstations laptops, PDAs and cell phones to keep up with the competitive edge of technology. The online trading industry is a fast-paced business, where customer information must be readily available to all key employees. Primus Securities main objective is to operate efficiently and effectively.

Part of building the web-based infrastructure requires Primus Securities to purchase adequate servers to accommodate their fast growing clientele. To assure that the website operates 24/7, the company has purchased redundant systems that will prevent server outages. This new design will allow the e-business application to run in a separate environment, independent of the corporate network. This will eliminate any security attacks on the corporate network. Since this is a Web based application, all users will access the application through a Web Browser. There is no desktop client for this application so physical access to the environment is not needed.

The new system design will require the following:

Compaq Servers / Storage

Domain Controllers (1) – There is one domain controller that will run DNS and Backup software

Web Servers (2) – These Web servers will be clustered for redundancy and load balancing. They will run the e-Business software.

SQL Servers (2) – These servers will run the SQL Database system in a clustered environment for redundancy. All data will be stored in the SQL database. Both will use a shared storage device.

Tape Backup (1) – This unit will connect to the Backup server and will allow Backups for all of the systems in the environment.

Shared Storage (1) – This storage unit is required when running SQL server in a clustered environment. It is shared amongst both servers but is only used by one at a time. If one of the servers crashes due to hardware failure, the other server is able to pick up where the other left off using this same storage device.

This hardware meets the allotted budget constraints. All servers, workstations, and laptops, running Microsoft Windows Server, Windows XP, Microsoft SQL Server, and Microsoft Web Services meet or exceed Microsoft best practices requirements.

Network

In order to be able to share file and print services amongst employee’s, a network infrastructure must be established, a Local Area Network, or LAN will be installed for this purpose. Although this infrastructure can be used for the Web infrastructure, “extra safeguards would have to be taken to secure internal applications and data from outside access”. (http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com)

Due to the nature of the business, the corporate LAN will need to be accessible at all times of the day. For this, the company will need to take advantage of the Internet to provide remote access via VPN onto the company network. To prevent unexpected intrusions into the corporate LAN, Primus Securities will need to purchase a firewall that will allow only authenticated users to access the system.

Outsourcing

Primus Securities has a choice to use Quote.com as a service provider for up to the minute stock ticker. This decision would be beneficial, as it will save money for the company. There is plenty of competition and rapid changes that Primus Securities has to face. They will have to make sure that they stay with what is affordable for them and what will help them run more efficiently for themselves and their customers. By outsourcing their infrastructure, Primus Securities will be able to reduce the cost of maintenance and allow the company to redeploy internal resources to other focus areas. The outsourcer will also be able take care of the little things so that the company can take on the strategic initiatives. (Chan, 2004) The new website will attract new customers, easy navigation, and allow the company to make more flexibility when it comes to making financial decisions.

E-trade.com Comparison

As a global leader in the industry, e-trade has over 20 years of experience providing online trading solutions. E-trade’s cutting edge platform has allowed the company to gain over $3 million active institutional and individual accounts and $90 billion plus in customer assets.

E-trade works hard to keep their clients’ account and personal information secure. From updated security technology to advanced fraud prevention measures, e-trade has the people and tools in place to provide a strong defense against electronic scams and fraud.

E-trade.com use cookies with advertising placed on other companies’ websites. The cookies are set when customers are on another company’s site and click one of e-trade’s advertisements or a hyperlink to go to the e-trade financial site. This particular cookie does not identify a customer

personally, but only identifies the customer’s browser as having clicked through from a marketing program. The cookie allows e-trade to show customers promotions or content specific to the marketing campaign or advertisement that customers clicked on. (www.etrade.com)

Primus Securities should follow e-trade’s suite in becoming a global leader of online trading. Extensive research should be conducted to determine what features should be offered by the company. It won’t take rocket scientist to figure out what needs to be done to reach the global leader status.

Charles Schwab Comparison

Charles Schwab has been one of the leaders in the online brokerage market from the start. It offers some of the same features as Primus, but differs with Primus in other areas of service. Because Schwab is a much bigger brokerage firm than Primus, the services it offers and the infrastructure it maintains would be expected to be more extensive. However, Schwab provides an excellent company from which Primus can measure the development and maintenance of its online infrastructure by.

From the earliest days, Schwab has understood that being responsive to customer needs

would require an ability to easily integrate its own existing systems, future systems that it

would develop, and ultimately many external systems. All of these would not be necessarily planned, but would be driven by changing business conditions and relationships and ultimately by how Schwab’s relationship with its customers would evolve. It integrates a service-oriented architecture with new technologies to achieve greater efficiencies, customer centricity (maintaining the consistency of client experience across all touch points and channels on the customer side, including Web, wireless, phone, and in person), and flexibility. (Marshak, 2003)

Schwab is in many respects just a big mainframe, COBOL, CICS shop that runs the core brokerage systems (portfolio systems, customer systems), that are organized into domains. Domains are managed sets of reusable services sharing some common business cohesiveness. These core systems, services, and applications are connected to a set of channels and touch points accessing the common information for a variety of customers and contexts. In between, there is a middleware software tier that both separates and connects the front-end and back-end services and a business a business logic tier where customer and employee focused applications are built. (Marshak, 2003)

Schwab employs a Java Framework (which Schwab has named Barista) in order to attain a rapid time to market for new services to customers and to control its own costs though reuse. (Marshak, 2003) By using Barista, independent advisors for instance are able to assess a customer’s risk profile, portfolio definition, asset allocation, sector diversification, equity concentration, bond diversification, style analysis, and cash flow analysis.

For Schwab, the content provided on its web site makes up a vital part of its online business. Schwab uses IBM CM to manage the content displayed on its web site. IBM CM is where all content is created and managed as separate assets. These are then published to the run-time rendering system. The CM implementation includes DB2 storage, Library Server, and Asset Manager. The Schwab application uses CM versioning, workflow, ACL and its API. (Marshak, 2003)

Conclusion

References

Chan, Isabelle. Dec 2004. The Other Side of Outsourcing. Retrieved August 26, 2005 from http://asia.cnet.com/news/specialreports/0,39037117,39209632,00.htm

Charles Schwab web site (http://www.schwab.com) Retrieved August 27, 2005

http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid7_gci212495,00.html Retrieved August 25, 2005

Marshak, D. (2003, December). Charles Schwab Responds to Market Conditions and Customer Needs: Services-Oriented Architecture Improves Time to Market and Leverages Existing Investments. Retrieved August 26, 2005, from

http://www.306.ibm.com/software/htp/cics/library/whitepapers/Charles_Schwab.pdf#search=’schwab%20online%20infrastructure’

Trava Soft, (2003). Services-e-business. Retrieved August 26, 2005, from Information Technology Outsourcing Web site: http://www.tatvasoft.com/offshore-outsourcing-services/offshore-outsourcing-eBusiness.asp

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