1 – Purpose and Scope of the Study
The Bandon Group intends to have an information system study conducted to determine how they can best use Information Technology (IT) to meet the overall mission, goals and objectives of the organization over the next 3-5 years. The purpose of a Management Information System is to collect, store and process business information and to deliver it to decision makers in a format they can use. Information systems have gone through many changes. Experts currently refer to the current era as the “Customer-Focused Era” of modern computing (Petter & Mclean, 2012). Users expect to receive customized experiences based on their unique requirements. Currently Bandon has decentralized divisions around the country supported by a centralized IT infrastructure. The purpose of the study is to identify how Bandon Group can build a more integrated information system structure that ensures the following business goals: * Standardize business processes and reduce redundancy
* Reduce IT expenses and maximize outcomes associated with IT dollars * Improve data migration and data sharing techniques * Implement e-business solutions to remain competitive with other copier dealers upgrading to ERP solutions The study will identify the business direction of the organization over the next 3-5 years. It will also identify the collective information needs and business requirements of its regional divisions. Finally the study will identify the current IT situation to help determine the way forward.
2 – Document High Level Business Direction
The goal of management in this study is to clarify the direction and current vision of the organization and identify what IT investments are needed to improve the performance of the entire Bandon Group. It is very difficult to calculate the business value of an IT investment (Masli & Sanchez, 2011). Bandon’s leaders have identified specific data needs that their IT systems should deliver. The organization has commissioned a consulting group to sit down with key manager and identify the vision for the future. In order to continue to be successful and competitive the Bandon Group must unify its regional divisions with a clear business direction and a foundational set of business principles and practices. There is broad agreement on the basic business direction. The Bandon Group wants to target the office equipment market by catering to the needs of businesses with fewer than 25 employees. They want to grow their market share and revenue by $7 million over the next 3-5 years.
To accomplish these goals managers have identified several key business initiatives that they believe will lead to expanded business success. First, the group wants to increase it information technology consulting capabilities. The market is moving towards selling information and network based services. A big part of the future lies in being able to help customers come up with solutions that allow them to run their organizations more efficiently and at a lower cost. Second, the group wants to establish better Customer Relationship Management (CRM) capabilities. Loyal customers equal future dollars. The organizations information systems need to give a holistic view of each customer. This will allow sales, support and marketing to take advantage of opportunities in real time. This has always been a philosophy of the Bandon Group.
They have focused on building loyalty through superior service to the customer. CRM will build this idea into every piece of data the organizations collets and will allow them to meet the customer’s needs at every turn. Third, the group needs to improve the accuracy and efficiency of billing and collections. An automated, integrated solution that feeds information about system usage directly to a financial system will ensure the organization maximizes its profits while providing sales and support staff with critical information on the use patterns and needs of their customers.
Finally, the group invested heavily in 1994 in Office Machines Dealership (OMD) a commercial systems designed to support the administrative information system at Bandon Group. This system is dated and a solution is required to overcome the current limitations of the system and allow for the seamless flow of information in and out of the system. The leaders and managers at Bandon Group have articulated a clear business direction for the organization. The consulting group must put into place clear solutions to address the growing problems.
3 – Identify Key Information Needs and Measures
Information needs should be the driving force behind information systems. An information need is a business’s requirement to capture a specific piece of information or set of information points to meet a business necessity. The ability to manage information plays a critical role in developing a firm’s capabilities in customer relationship management, process management and performance management (Mithas, 2011). The Bandon Group has identified several specific sets of information needs. First they must have the ability to analyze existing customer accounts for profitability. The have a need to understand which account they are making money off of and which account represent high volume profits.
Second, they must have an effective sales prospecting system. The ability to measure the effectiveness of sales and marketing efforts is critical. Third, they need an integrated accounting system. To be successful and competitive they must have an accurate web-based billing, use tracking and reporting capability. This will produce a better billing, invoice and collection system. Finally, they need an integrated service management system. The small market companies the group targets expect prompt, specialized service. The organization must be able to track and correct or improve any issues related to servicing customers and keeping their systems up and active.
4 – Document Details Business Requirements
Business requirements should describe exactly what the Bandon Group’s divisions expect from the information system. The requirements should be expressed in terms that can be easily discussed and understood by the stakeholders. Requirement (1): An effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. CRM must be an organization wide effort to build customer satisfaction and loyalty. An effective CRM program brings together information from every area of the organization. It provides actionable data to sales representatives, customer support, and marketing personnel who directly or indirectly interface with the customer every day. Requirement (2): Effective e-Business Solutions. Bandon needs to utilize existing internet technologies to improve its productivity and profitability.
E-Business will extend Bandon’s capabilities beyond the reach of their offices and even beyond the reach of their technicians. By integrating their model with online services the company will be able to monitor and interact with customers in real time. Requirement (3): Effective Sales Prospecting solutions. The first rule of sales prospecting is to identify as many legitimate potential customers as possible for sales representatives to contact. Experienced sales personnel will explain that quality supersedes quantity.
Bandon want to be able to exploit its access to current customers to identify future needs and make the sales pitch just as the company begins to understand that they need more support. Requirement (4): Overcoming the shortfalls of OMD. There comes a time in the life of every legacy system where it fails to meet the growing needs of the organization. Bandon’s objective has to be to build on the core functions of the OMD system and augment it with enterprise wide supplemental technology that bridges the gap between the current capabilities and the company’s future needs.
5 – Document Current IT Situation – Internal
Bandon’s current infrastructure is outdated and doesn’t meet the needs of the organization. Support systems have been developed separately at the various divisions and interoperability is a significant issue. The information needs of the organization are not being met. The company’s leadership need to build an integrated system that delivers the data needed to make strategic decision. To accomplish this they have to design an end-to-end system that integrates their vision of future business requirements with the existing technology.
Masli, A., Richardson, V. J., Sanchez, J., & Smith, R. E. (2011). The Business Value of IT: A Synthesis and Framework of Archival Research. Journal Of Information Systems, 25(2), 81-116. doi:10.2308/isys-10117
Mithas, S., Ramasubbu, N., & Sambamurthy, V. V. (2011). HOW INFORMATION MANAGEMENT CAPABILITY INFLUENCES FIRM PERFORMANCE. MIS
Quarterly, 35(1), 137-A15.
Petter, S., DeLone, W., & McLean, E. R. (2012). The Past, Present, and Future of “IS Success”. Journal Of The Association For Information Systems, 13(5), 341-362.