891-Management Information Systems

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Course: Management Information Systems (891) Level: MBA Q. 1 (a) (b)

ASSIGNMENT No. 1

Semester: Spring, 2012 Total Marks: 100

Discuss the basic roles of Information systems. Support each role with an example. (10) How do E-business and IT help organizations in achieving sustainable competitive advantage? Explain. (10)

E-business Strategic Planningn recent years, the Internet has presented a wealth of opportunities for conducting commerce on a global scale. As a result, there has been a significant increase in both the number of start-up businesses in the e-commerce field, as well as the number of traditional "brick and mortar" businesses entering this "new economy." Developing an e-business requires extensive research and planning in order to be successful in cyberspace. This planning involves the development of a solid and concise business plan, and a focused marketing plan well before a website is created. An e-business plan must have clearly defined goals as it is difficult for any business organization to stay on track if there are no goals in place for guidance. Strategic planning determines where an organization is headed over the next year or more, how it's going to get there and how it will know if the results are successful. There are a variety of perspectives, models and approaches used in strategic planning. The way that a strategic plan is developed is dependent on the nature of the organization's leadership, culture of the organization, size of the organization, complexity of the organization's environment and expertise of planners. Goals-based planning is perhaps the most common strategic planning model and begins with focus on the organization's mission and vision and strategies to achieve these goals. Vision and Mission Statements A successful organization understands that it takes more than a good plan to succeed in business. It takes an empowered organization with impassioned leadership, focused on realistic goals. It takes vision, consensus and a sense of purpose. According to Jack Welch, previous Chairman for General Electric, "Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion." The vision statement describes what the leaders of an organization want it to look like in ideal terms in the future - the results they seek to achieve and characteristics needed to possess in order to achieve those results. The strategic vision statement provides direction and motivation for organizational goal setting. A mission statement is an organization's declaration of its principles, purposes, and objectives that can be used to initiate, evaluate, and refine all life activities. It is an enduring statement of purpose for an organization that identifies the scope of its operations in product and market terms, and reflects its values and priorities. Every company no matter how big or small, needs a mission statement as a source of direction, a kind of compass, that lets its employees, its customers, and even its stockholders know what it stands for and where it's headed. A mission statement gives everyone the opportunity to know what the organization is about. Environmental Analysis Environmental analysis plays a central role in strategic management. For a company to gain or maintain a sustainable competitive advantage in the e-commerce marketplace, it must be ever attentive, watching and preparing for shifts in the business environment and must be prepared to alter its strategies and plans when the need arises. Companies conduct environmental analysis to identify market opportunities and threats and also to anticipate changes in highly complex and dynamic environments. By anticipating changes accurately, companies can gain competitive advantage through quick action. Environmental analysis assesses current environmental circumstances and projects, forecasts, and monitors their future situation. According to eSocrates.com, a knowledge, management and eLearning company, Environmental analysis also helps the firm to position itself in a continually evolving environment by matching its characteristics to the environment's demands. Competitive Factors In formulating an e-business strategy, a company must consider the strategies of their competitors. A competitive analysis allows them to identify the competition within the same market in order to analyze their strengths and weaknesses. This will help a company develop strategies that will provide them with a definite advantage and barriers that can be established in order to prevent competition from taking over the market. A competitive analysis can also identify any weaknesses that can be improved within the business development cycle.

Economic Factors The economic environment consists of factors that affect consumer purchasing power and spending patterns. The environment in which an organization operates is very much determined by macro-economic factors. A recession can dramatically reduce total income and expenditure levels in the economy, in turn affecting consumer demand. Higher taxes, internet rates and inflation similarly serve as disincentives to consumer confidence (and therefore spending), while economic growth and prosperity can generate spending and an overall "feel-good factor." The importance of the economic environment - the broad trends in employment, inflation and growth that shape regions, nations and the world - to the growth of e-business in the U.S. should not be underestimated. Social / Demographic Factors Demography is the study of human populations in terms of size, density, location, age, ethnicity, income, occupation and other statistics, as well as those variables bringing about change in that population. The demographic environment consists of the customers who form the marketplace. These customers may be demographic environment shifts as customers enter the market, mature, and leave the market. As the consumer's level of comfort with online functions such as e-mail and research continues to increase, so too will their level of participation in e-commerce. A growing online consumer base, increases in new product categories, and efforts by online retailers to optimize online shopping experiences will spark significant growth in ecommerce in years to come. Long Term Objectives One of the key purposes of a comprehensive planning process is to establish a set of long-term objectives and recommend a series of strategies and policies to ensure that these goals are attained in the most effective way. The established goals combined represent an organization's vision or desire for a future condition that will enhance its overall image and quality of life. It is important to understand that these objectives serve as the backbone of the strategic plan. That means that any planning element included in this plan should function as reinforcement to these objectives. The achievements of an organization are based on the combined efforts of each individual within the organization working toward common objectives. These objectives should be practical, should be clearly understood by everyone within the organization and should mirror the organization's basic personality and character. Here are some steps that an organization can take to evolve the company culture toward e-business: • • • • • In order to be successful, e-business requires that information flow freely within an organization. Business experts need to be designated in each major functional area to facilitate the free flow of information and connect people and processes throughout the enterprise. Recognize that an e-business is an inside-out proposition. In order to operate as a true e-business, your core processes must be predominantly real-time, online, integrated and interactive. Remember that continual education and training is essential. Everyone within the organization must be knowledgeable of basic e-business concepts. For those who are accountable in areas that involve direct interaction with customers, more detailed training is needed. Instill a sense of urgency necessary to deliver the level of service that should help drive business decisions. Customers now expect immediate quality service, whether it is in person, on the phone or on the web. Recognize that the Internet and the realities of e-business have permanently changed the barriers to competition. Viable competitors can spring up almost overnight.

The completion of a written strategic plan document marks an important milestone in the planning process, but major benefits accrue to the organization only when the plan is put into operation. Achieving the established goals will require effort and attention from every part of the organization. Research must be conducted in order to determine all questions concerning success measurement. The questions "What do we want to achieve with this ebusiness website?" and "How do we know when the goal for the site is reached?" are of primary interest. Continuous planning with feedback is a strategic planning necessity that involves companywide activity. Ongoing measurement and evaluation after completion is necessary to track success of the e-business plan and to determine if any further changes or modifications need to be made. Most importantly, one must constantly revisit their

strategic plan to ensure that they are meeting the customer's needs and providing the highest level of customer service.

Q. 2 Discuss the relationship between application software and system software. Compare various business software suites or integrated packages available in the market. (20)

a system software is any computer software which manages and controls computer hardware so that application software can perform a task. Operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X or Linux, are prominent examples of system software. System software contrasts with application software, which are programs that enable the end-user to perform specific, productive tasks, such as word processing or image manipulation. System software performs tasks like transferring data from memory to disk, or rendering text onto a display device. Specific kinds of system software include loading programs, operating systems, device drivers, programming tools, compilers, assemblers, linkers, and utility software. Software libraries that perform generic functions also tend to be regarded as system software, although the dividing line is fuzzy; while a C runtime library is generally agreed to be part of the system, an OpenGL or database library is less obviously so. If system software is stored on non-volatile memory such as integrated circuits, it is usually termed firmware while an application software is a subclass of computer software that employs the capabilities of a computer directly and thoroughly to a task that the user wishes to perform. This should be contrasted with system software which is involved in integrating a computer's various capabilities, but typically does not directly apply them in the performance of tasks that benefit the user. In this context the term application refers to both the application software and its implementation. A simple, if imperfect analogy in the world of hardware would be the relationship of an electric light bulb (an application) to an electric power generation plant (a system). The power plant merely generates electricity, not itself of any real use until harnessed to an application like the electric light that performs a service that benefits the user. Typical examples of software applications are word processors, spreadsheets, and media players. Multiple applications bundled together as a package are sometimes referred to as an application suite. Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org, which bundle together a word processor, a spreadsheet, and several other discrete applications, are typical examples. The separate applications in a suite usually have a user interface that has some commonality making it easier for the user to learn and use each application. And often they may have some capability to interact with each other in ways beneficial to the user. For example, a spreadsheet might be able to be embedded in a word processor document even though it had been created in the separate spreadsheet application. User-written software tailors systems to meet the user's specific needs. User-written software include spreadsheet templates, word processor macros, scientific simulations, graphics and animation scripts. Even email filters are a kind of user software. Users create this software themselves and often overlook how important it is. In some types of embedded systems, the application software and the operating system software may be indistinguishable to the user, as in the case of software used to control a VCR, DVD player or Microwave Oven. System software is computer software designed to operate the computer hardware and to provide a platform for running application software.

Application software, also known as an application or an "app", is computer software designed to help the user to perform singular or multiple related specific tasks.

Q. 3 Differentiate the relational and object oriented databases. Analyze and explain which is most suitable for small and large organizations? Justify your answer with examples. (20)
"In an object oriented database, information is represented in the form of objects as used in Object-Oriented Programming. When database capabilities are combined with object programming language capabilities, the result is an object database management system (ODBMS). An ODBMS makes database objects appear as programming language objects in one or more object programming languages. An ODBMS extends the programming language with transparently persistent data, concurrency control, data recovery, associative queries, and other capabilities. Some object-oriented databases are designed to work well with object-oriented programming languages such as Python, Java, C#, Visual Basic .NET, C++ and Smalltalk. Others have their own programming languages. ODBMSs use exactly the same model as object-oriented programming languages. Object databases are generally recommended when there is a business need for high performance processing on complex data." "An object-relational database (ORD) or object-relational database management system (ORDBMS) is a relational database management system that allows developers to integrate the database with their own custom data types and methods. The term object-relational database is sometimes used to describe external software products running over traditional DBMSs to provide similar features; these systems are more correctly referred to as object-relational mapping systems. Whereas RDBMS or SQL-DBMS products focused on the efficient management of data drawn from a limited set of data types, an object-relational DBMS allows software developers to integrate their own types and the methods that apply to them into the DBMS. The goal of ORDBMS technology is to allow developers to raise the level of abstraction at which they view the problem domain."

Q. 4 (a)

What is E-commerce Process Architecture? Describe the nine essential components of E-commerce Process Architecture.

E-Commerce Systems In order to integrate IS with E-Commerce, Manage should be able to: - Identify the major categories and trends of e-commerce applications. - Identify the essential processes of an e-commerce system, and give examples of how they are implemented in e-commerce applications. - Identify several key factors and Web store requirements needed to succeed in e-commerce. - Identify the business value of several types of e-commerce marketplaces. and understand the benefits and trade-offs of several e-commerce clicks and bricks alternatives. Electronic Commerce Fundamentals

“Few concepts have revolutionized business more profoundly than e-commerce. Ecommerce is changing the shape of competition, the speed of action, and the streamlining of interactions, products, and payments from customers to companies and from companies to suppliers.” E-commerce: Definition The online process of developing, marketing, selling, delivering, servicing, and paying for products & services transacted on internetworked, global marketplaces of customers, with the support of a worldwide network of business partners.

The Scope of e-Commerce:Three Basic Categories Business-to-Consumer (B2C) Business-to-Business (B2B) Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) Electronic Commerce Technologies: > The Internet, intranets, and extranets are the network infrastructure or foundation > Customers must be provided with a range of secure information, marketing, transaction processing, and payment services > Trading and business partners rely on the Internet and extranets to exchange information and accomplish secure transactions > Company employees depend on a variety of Internet and intranet resources to communicate and collaborate > IS professionals and end users can use a variety of software tools to develop and manage the content and operations of the websites and other e-commerce resources Essential e-Commerce Processes: Nine key components of an e-commerce process architecture 1- Access control and security 2- Profiling and personalizing 3- Search management 4- Content management 5- Catalog management 6- Payment 7- Workflow management 8- Event notification 9- Collaboration and training

(10) (b) Discuss the business strategies driving the trends in B2C and B2B e-commerce. Business strategies

(1

An organization's core competencies should be focused on satisfying customer needs or preferences in order to achieve above average returns. This is done through Business-level strategies. Business level strategies detail actions taken to provide value to customers and gain a competitive advantage by exploiting core competencies in specific, individual product or service markets. Business-level strategy is concerned with a firm's position in an industry, relative to competitors and to the five forces of competition.
The trends in B2C and B2B e-commerce

“Consumers are demanding content-driven, multichannel commerce,” “The majorities of B2C organizations are attempting to deliver dynamic user experiences, but are finding it hard to do so consistently across channels. The B2B community is also pulled by the rich consumer experience its users expect in their professional interactions, but face greater complexity in terms of content, channels, geography and brands.” B2B Commerce has evolved significantly over the past few years. B2B websites are critical to influencing decision-making and building a stronger relationship between the brand and the endcustomer. B2C experiences increasingly influence expectations for what a B2B user experience should be: easy, personalised, and consistent across all touchpoints.

New customer expectations are inspiring innovation and driving competitive pressure in B2B industries like distribution and manufacturing. B2B business leaders are seeking to roll more B2C-like capabilities into the B2B user experience while simultaneously expanding their businesses into new geographies and channels.

Q. 5 What is Customer Relationship Management? Describe its functions, trends, benefits, and issues.

(20)

Customer relationship management Customer relationship management (CRM) is a widely implemented model for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients, and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support. The overall goals are to find, attract, and win new clients, nurture and retain those the company already has, entice former clients to return, and reduce the costs of marketing and client service. Customer relationship management describes a company-wide business strategy including customer-interface departments as well as other departments. Measuring and valuing customer relationships is critical to implementing this strategy.

Benefits of Customer Relationship Management
A Customer Relationship Management system may be chosen because it is thought to provide the following advantages:
• • • Quality and efficiency Decrease in overall costs Increase Profitability

Challenges
Successful development, implementation, use and support of customer relationship management systems can provide a significant advantage to the user, but often there are obstacles that obstruct the user from using the system to its full potential. Instances of a CRM attempting to contain a large, complex group of data can become cumbersome and difficult to understand for ill-trained users. The lack of senior management sponsorship can also hinder the success of a new CRM system.

Complexity
Tools and workflows can be complex, especially for large businesses. Previously these tools were generally limited to simple CRM solutions which focused on monitoring and recording interactions and communications. Software solutions then expanded to embrace deal tracking, territories, opportunities, and the sales pipeline itself.

Implementation issues
Increases in revenue, higher rates of client satisfaction, and significant savings in operating costs are some of the benefits to an enterprise. Proponents emphasize that technology should be implemented only in the context of careful strategic and operational planning.

Adoption issues
Historically, the landscape is littered with instances of low adoption rates. Many of the challenges listed above offer a glimpse into some of the obstacles that corporations implementing a CRM suite face; in many cases time, resources and staffing do not allow for the troubleshooting necessary to tackle an issue and the system is shelved or sidestepped instead.

ASSIGNMENT No. 2
(Total Marks: 100)
0. Business Process Reengineering

Business process reengineering (BPR) is the analysis and redesign of workflow within and between enterprises. BPR reached its heyday in the early 1990's when Michael Hammer and James Champy published their best-selling book, "Reengineering the Corporation". The authors promoted the idea that sometimes radical redesign and reorganization of an enterprise (wiping the slate clean) was necessary to lower costs and increase quality of service and that information technology was the key enabler for that radical change. Hammer and Champy felt that the design of workflow in most large corporations was based on assumptions about technology, people, and organizational goals that were no longer valid. They suggested seven principles of reengineering to streamline the work process and thereby achieve significant levels of improvement in quality, time management, and cost: 1. Organize around outcomes, not tasks. 2. Identify all the processes in an organization and prioritize them in order of redesign urgency. 3. Integrate information processing work into the real work that produces the information. 4. Treat geographically dispersed resources as though they were centralized. 5. Link parallel activities in the workflow instead of just integrating their results. 6. Put the decision point where the work is performed, and build control into the process. 7. Capture information once and at the source. By the mid-1990's, BPR gained the reputation of being a nice way of saying "downsizing." According to Hammer, lack of sustained management commitment

and leadership, unrealistic scope and expectations and resistance to change prompted management to abandon the concept of BPR and embrace the next new methodology, enterprise resource planning (ERP).

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