1. How do information technologies contribute to the business success of the companies depicted in the case? Provide an example from each company explaining how the technology implemented let to improved performance.
Information technologies are imperative to businesses and organizations that want to be successful. In this case, there were three companies that demonstrated how information technologies helped their business. The first company was eCourier. eCourier delivers packages around London and wanted to “keep real-time tabs on customer satisfaction”(Textbook, pg 5). eCourier used SeeWhy software to help give them customer data faster. This software allowed eCourier to see when client’s accounts were going dormant or if there were changes in the bookings. With this new data, eCourier saved money by not having to add extra staff to monitor who was happy with service and who was not.
The second company was Cablecom. Cablecom was also interested customer satisfaction. They used statistical software to look through customer data and filter out trouble. They also found that using survey research in combination with statistical software gave a more accurate look at customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. These two information technologies allowed Cablecom to see which customers were unhappy and helped them retain those customers. Finally, the third company was a law firm called Bryan Cave. Bryan Cave needed an alternative to the hourly fee normally charged by law firms. Clients wanted “fixed pricing and pricing that was adjusted during a project” (Textbook, pg 6).
The law firm had spreadsheets to help breakdown the collection of fees and how much profit was being made but these spreadsheets were difficult and confusing. The company used business intelligent tools to help “lawyers track budgets in real time so that they could quickly make adjustments”(Textbook, pg. 6). The use of this technology led to improved profitability for the law firm and also improvement in hours worked by fee earners in the law firm.
2. In the case of law firm Bryan Cave discussed above, the use of BI technology to improve the availability, access, and presentation of existing information allowed them to provide tailored and innovative services to their customers. What other professions could benefit from a similar use of these technologies, and how? Develop two different possibilities. Many professions can use business intelligence tools just like in the case of Bryan Cave law firm. The banking industry can use BI tools to stay competitive. With competition nature and increasing due regulatory legislation surrounding financial institutions, it is imperative that financial institutions monitor customer’s behaviors related to consumption of banking products in an effort to retain the customers.
Business intelligence tools are being developed and marketed to banks to help monitor, analyze accounts, and determine customer profitability. This type of business intelligence tool would help the banks market to current customers based on their propensity to purchase products based on transaction behavior and other products the customers currently utilize. Additionally, a business intelligience tool that performs an analysis of the current fee structure charged for existing products in relation to the competition in the marketplace would help the bank determine if their pricing structure is competitive and in line with the competition. This technology would also help financial institutions identify which customers are profitable and whether or not fees should be increased or reduced. Currently,
Chemical Bank has implemented a business intelligience tool that commerical lenders will utilize by cross rreferencing their loan portfolio and any prospect against to determine the profitability of the customer in relation to the company’s return on equity. The business intelligience tool will help the commerical lenders determined if the loan rate is in line given certain parameters such as the market, financial statements, and the customer’s business plan. Additionally, the tool will help determine if packaging a suite of products would benefit the customer if more products and services of the bank were utilized. Finally, Chemical Bank is investigating an innovative business intelligence tool called data cube is being considered for implementation. The data cubes would be developed from different reports for regional sales managers allowing them to manipulate the data to be more useful strategic planning and determining staffing solutions.
BS&A software company could benefit from business intelligence tools. BS& A provides tax software and assessing software to many Michigan townships and cities. Each platform communicates with any of the other BS& A platforms. From personal experience it is a wonderful program. To help retain current clients BS& A could use survey research to see what needs to be enhanced for each client or what needs to be simplified for each client. This would allow the company to then tailor its software to fit each customer’s needs. At the township I work, we needed a way to enter credit card payments into our tax program from BS & A. The only payments accepted in the software were checks and cash.
By filling out the survey and sending it back via internet I was immediately contacted and the program writers made the necessary changes that allowed me to enter when a client of the township paid with a credit card. I was very satisfied with the results and BS & A retained my township as one of their clients.
Case Study 3:
Cablecom developed a prediction model to better identify those customers at risk of switching to other company in the near future. In addition to those noted in the case, what other actions could be taken if that information were available? Give some examples of these. Would you consider letting some customers leave anyway? Why?
Cablecom used two softwares, SPSS’s statistical software and SPSS’s Dimensions survey research software, to study customer dissatisfaction.
SPSS’s statistical software tells:
1. How many times problem occurred
2. How long does it took to fix the problem
Drawbacks of this software: This may or may not tell what the problem was. SPSS’s Dimensions survey research software tells:
1. After how many months of service customers gets dissatisfied- 9 months 2. When customers switch most- between 12-14 months
Drawback: why to wait till 7-9 months to find the problem?
Actions to prevent switching:
Find the problem, fix the problem: Send monthly satisfaction surveys to find the problem areas. If people are not responding very well then add some incentives to it like lucky prizes from the drawings of responders. Be PROACTIVE
1. Keep customers engaged by prroviding some money saving tips to customers with their monthly bill. Some
examples of tips that may improve customer retention are: family plans over individual plans that would allow for a cost savings; Explain the benefit of texting if it’s cheaper than making phone calls; explain the benefits of bundled plans over individual plans for phone, cable and TV; tips to increase the life of the products that Cablecom provides.
Newsletters about new products and services, explaining how these are useful to customers and how they are better than competition. Brining a value added benefit to customers on a monthly or quarterly basis will create an affinity for the services a company provides.
I will not consider letting some customers leave anyway, unless those are financially unsustainable on long-term basis. There are different reasons for this:
If customer is there then job is available.
It takes lots of advertising resources to get one customer.
One satisfied customer brings more customers by word of mouth. One unsatisfied customer talks bad about company more loudly than a satisfied customer talks good about company.
Your competitor is getting your business.
In what major ways have the roles of information systems applications in business expanded during the last 40 years? What is one major change you think will happen in the next 10 years? The roles of information systems applications in business evolved in following order during the last 40 years:
Technical changes or Data Processing: Until 1960 information systems was used for transactions, processing, record keeping, accounting.
Managerial changes (1960s to 80’s):
1. Management reporting (1960’s): MIS helped in making managerial decisions from pre defined managerial 2.
Decision Support System (1970’s): Introduced to help management make decisions from the available raw data using unique inputs and style.
Corporate Activities (1980’s to 2000’s):
1. Strategic end user support (1980’s): This includes end user computing, executive information for critical 2.
decisions, use of artificial intelligence for strategy building, expert systems for providing knowledge to end user and strategic information on how to place products and services in competitive world. Enterprise Resource Planning (2000’s): It includes every aspect of business ranging from
manufacturing, supply, sales, HR, Inventory management, marketing etc. This also uses business Intelligence for better insight into competitor activities.
Enterprise beyond vendors and customers or global Networking (1990’s): Introduction of e-commerce, ebusiness, development of internet, intranet and extranet.
In future 10 years, speed and integrity of Information system will be crucial. This includes solving the problem of ethics in business, storage of personal information and data, missing or incorrect information. Some examples of the
challenges include insider trading in stock market, corruption in news corporations, credit card and insurance companies.
P.S.: I am having a hard time in fixing bullets and numbering on this page editor. It inserts numbers automatically when not needed and does not accepts bullets when needed. So proper formatting is a challenge unless I type on this page. Any suggestions or ideas to fix this problem are welcome. Gubir, I had the same problem with formatting so related to indenting. Insead of typing this editor, I have been typing in a Microsoft word document, to copy and paste the text over. It allows me to do a better spell and grammar check as well. ~Lisa 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. As stated in the textbook, “information technology can help support all types of business by improving efficiency and effectiveness of businesses processes and decision making” (Textbook, p.4). Incorporating information technology early in the decision making process and working collaboratively with the different business units will provide opportunities to strengthen a company’s competitive position by creating innovative solutions to deliver in the marketplace.
Additionally, it’s imperative to involve information technologist specialists or strategists (depending on the title designated by companies) at the very early stages of decision making processes. Understanding the role of IT in the managerial decision making process will help the manager make better decisions that provide a competitive edge. For example, a manager of retail store deciding which product line to add to a store may analyze computer generated reports to support his or her decision as the goal is to remain profitable and have an edge over the local competitor. The manager would demonstrate poor decision making and leadership by reviewing reports after purchasing the product line. Carrying a product line that customers will not purchase does not make good business sense.
Further, managers involved in a company’s strategic planning process should seek the knowledge and support of information technology specialists as well to determine the role information technology will play in developing and implementing the company short term and long term strategic initiatives. Information technology systems can be an essential ingredient in business processes such as product development, customer support processes, and ecommerce transactions (Textbook, pp. 8-9). For example, as a Retail Sales Manager for Chemical Bank, information technology representatives work collaboratively with me and other teams we develop new initiatives and projects to support the company’s strategic plans.
Most recently, the company embarked on a mission to increase the services and products of the current customers at penetration rate of 70%. A manager is sought the support IT as I created training of my staff to achieve the goal and also to develop the reporting of data to monitor progress toward the goal. Without a robust product line and customer service centers to meet the needs of the customers, financial institutions are not profitable or competitive. Information technology helps financial institutions stay in tune with the customer’s needs, wants and pulse of the industry.
How does the use of the Internet, intranets, and extranets by companies today support their business processes activities?
The Internet, intranets, extranets, and the technologies that support the applications have changed the business processes, the productivity and communication of employees, and helped companies participate in a global marketplace. As a starting place, it’s imperative to evaluate how the Internet, intranets and extranets have revolutionized the work environment and productive of the employees driving businesses. Employees now ability to work virtually and collaborating with different work groups or teams from across the company via e-mail, videoconferencing, e-discussion groups without geographic barriers.
By utilizing intranets (networks within the company or enterprise), employees can support business applications from anywhere they have access or connectivity to an intranet. For example, employees at the financial institution I am employed, Chemical Bank, can access loan documents needed to close a loan for customer instantly from a cue on their desktop instead of waiting for an inter-office mail delivery from the loan department. All 142 branches have equal access in real time for loan documentation. Obviously, the speedier process of delivering loan document supports the bank’s profitability by getting the loans on the book quicker as well as providing better customer service because there is less wait time for the customer. Additionally, employee work more efficiently and the exchange of ideas flows better with the use of the intranet for internal projects and the extranet for interfacing and exchange of ideas with customers.
The extranet (the network or enterprise between the business and the customers/vendors) provides for the business and the employees the infrastructure to support business applications vital to many companies and the ability to collaborate among workgroups. (Textbook, p.12) Further, the Internet has benefits and supports businesses today by establishing a medium for the exchange of not only ideas but also goods and services. E-Commerce is defined by the book as “the buying, selling, marketing, and servicing of products, services, and information over a variety of computer networks”. (Textbook, p. 13) Businesses utilize the Internet in every step of the process involved in selling a service or good. Businesses advertise and market the goods and services on the Internet to promote the brand loyalty. Additionally, the ability to purchase goods on line and make payments increases the sales and profitability of companies.
For example, Kohl’s department stores now have kiosks placed in their stores. Customers who cannot find a size of a particular item or merchandise that is no longer in stock at one location utilizes the kiosk for service. The kiosk is an internet based selling system that allows customers to purchase items using their Kohl’s charge with all applicable discounts and the item will be sent to the customer’s home within a very short period of time. In years prior, customers would try to locate a sales representative who would contact another store to locate the item wanted which could take up to twenty minutes.
Then, the option is given to the customer to pick up the item at another store that has it or have the merchandise delivered to a local store requiring another trip by the customer. The process was cumbersome and didn’t provide the customer with an exception customer service experience. The kiosk on the other hand provides instant service and creates customer loyalty.
Finally, the market research and data that the Internet provides can support a company all the way from product development and innovation to the level of service being delivered by the employees on the front line. All of which is very important to businesses in making managerial decisions and deciding business processes. For example, financial institutions such as Chemical Bank are employing marketing firms to conduct Internet research to determine the brand loyalty of banking products or conducting online surveys to capture data about the
customer’s experience in the branch as well as what products are missing from the bank’s current suite of products. Businesses can know how many “clicks” on their website to the feedback about the business’ service by monitoring Facebook and Twitter.
4. Why do big companies still fail in their use of information technology? What should they be doing differently?
Big companies still fail in their use of information technology because they do not follow the right strategies to apply this technology to work effectively. Efficiency and effectiveness are the keys to a successful company. Companies have to be aware of the implications and abilities of f their information technology and how to apply it to their daily business practices. They must be knowledgable and remain aware of the latest innovations in the technological machineries as well as its functions as well as its business applications. Many large companies do not realize the potential of the technology their current possess that contributes to them not seeing the value in the information technology because they are only measuring the information in terms of effeciency when they actually should be looking at effectiveness in supporting the organization’s buiness processes.
Management of large companies fail to use information technology because they don’t realize how it enhances the organizational structure and culture of the company and it’s potential to increase customers and business value of the organization. Management has to play the biggest role in the change and take decisions accordingly to assist business and customer. Another important characteristic for big companies not to fail and do differently is to offer proper training for employees on the new technologies, to be able to work them in the appropriate way to deliver the right services. For example, Jackie Barretta, vice president and CIO of Con-Way, Inc. was able to benefit her cooperation from the changes she has made in adopting Agile development practices.
Her actions have benefited the business as well as her employees, especially the IT department. There was less time to develop projects and a greater communication with IT as they worked jointly and determined priorities. “I made the case for change in IT by explaining how the business would benefit if we delivered the highest priority functionality faster. I also kept reiterating what was in it for them- and there was a lot” (Textbook p19)
When companies’ presidents take change in consideration to benefit the company, therefore, they profited the company, the employees and the customers.
5. How can a manager demonstrate that he or she is a responsible end user of information systems? Give several examples.
Managers have to be responsible end user of the information system. They have to be accountable for all aspects of corporation and take the right decisions at the right time to promote the business and its employees.
Managers will have to be in charge and work thoroughly with the employees on the information system to make sure to deliver the benefits of the system. While doing so, managers have to secure the system and use ways to protect it through passwords for example to forbid the access to sensitive information. Also, if manager are working from computers not based in the company, there will be a great chance of viruses and spam that will put the information system in danger. Therefore, securing the work on the IS is a great deal before taking action or creating any change.
Managers will have to monitor the work of their employees as well as the affectivity of their jobs on the system they are working on. When a manager knows of their duties and the responsibilities that are to be made for an efficient business then there will not be a problem delivering these liabilities through the information system.
Being end users, managers will have to identify flaws and mistakes that take place and not over look them. When these strategies are used, it makes the job easy on both manager and employees as they work cooperatively and the security of the information system will not be likely jeopardized.