REVIEW QUESTIONS 12
Core business processes
Theseare key activities or a set of activities that have to be carried outin an exemplary manner so as to safeguard the continuedcompetitiveness of the firm as they add fundamental value to theoutput.
Core and support services of a value chain
Coreactivities are undertaken by the functional areas of a businessentity that processes inputs and produces outputs. Support services,on the other hand, are activities that allow for the occurrence ofthe core activities.
Evolution of enterprise systems
Inthe past, business entities would buy proprietary software systemsfrom varying software vendors. The design of the systems, however,did not allow them to share data among themselves, which was costlyand highly inconveniencing for business entities (Valacich& Schneider, 2010).These challenges were addressed by enterprise-wide informationsystems which integrate business operations for all industries,departments and processes thereby enabling businesses to integrateinformation across the operations of a company using a singledatabase.
Customized vs. packaged software
Customizedsoftware involves the incorporation of additional software in theenterprise systems. Packaged software are designed in line with thespecifications of a wide range of companies.
Vanillaversions vs. best-practices based software
Vanillaversions underline the modules and features that an enterprise systemincorporates out-of-the-box (Valacich& Schneider, 2010).Best practices based software are software that are designed as areflection of the processes and techniques that have been identifiedvia research and experience and shown to incorporate superior resultsthan those achieved via other means.
Core components of an ERP system
ERPCore components are aimed at supporting the crucial internalactivities of an organization for the production of their servicesand goods. The core components may include human resource management,operations management, and financial management (Valacich& Schneider, 2010).Financial management components support activities such as corporategovernance, financial reporting, performance management, whileoperations management components are aimed at simplifying,standardizing and automating the business processes pertaining tooutbound and inbound logistics, sales and service, manufacturing andproduct development.
Keys for successful implementation of an ERP system
Tosuccessfully implement the ERP system, it is imperative thatbusinesses secure executive sponsorship, obtain assistance fromoutside experts, train users extensively, follow a multi-disciplinarystrategy to implementations and have a beyond-ERP perspective.
Supply chain and why it should be more aptly called supply network
Supplychains are a collection of processes and companies that undertake themovement of a product from suppliers of raw materials to those ofintermediate component and then final production before being takento consumers (Valacich& Schneider, 2010).This flow of materials may be more aptly called supply network as aresult of the varied interrelated parties that undertake the movementof raw materials, the intermediate products and end products in theproduction processes.
B2B portals vs. B2B Marketplaces
B2Bportals are access points via which business partners access theproprietary or secured information dispersed in an organization. B2Bmarketplaces enable numerous sellers and buyers to come together,thereby offering business entities access to real-time trading withother business entities within the vertical markets.
Innovations enabled by effective collaboration within supply networks
Thetwo process innovations that have been allowed by collaboration amongsupply networks include vendor-managed inventory and just-in-timemanufacturing. Just-in-time production or manufacturing is founded onthe comprehension of the fact that keeping inventory can be expensiveand not value-adding, in which case business entities that make useof the JIT technique are essentially attempting to maximize theirordering quantities so as to enable raw materials and parts to arriveat the time when they are needed for manufacturing and production.Since the orders arrive in considerably smaller quantities and athigher frequency, the business entity would be able to minimize thestorage space and inventory (Valacich& Schneider, 2010).
Vendor-managedinventory, on the other hand, underlines a business model where thesuppliers to a manufacturer would manage the manufacturer’sinventory levels on the basis of the pre-established service levels.The possibility of VMI is created when manufacturers or retailersallow the suppliers to monitor the ongoing sales data and stocklevels, in which case they would replenish the supplies whenrequired.
Effective Supply Chain Management and Corporate Social Responsibility
Therelationship between effective supply chain management and corporatesocial responsibility is underlined by the fact that the former wouldallow for the incorporation of accountability and transparency withinthe organization, thereby assisting it to save costs, as well ascreate a good image for itself. First, supply chain management wouldplay a crucial role in product recalls that would save consumers ofcosts and likely accidents (Valacich& Schneider, 2010).It is noteworthy that typical supply networks incorporate numerousplayers some of whom may be dispersed across the world, in which casethere is the likelihood that quality standards are not met andshortcuts are used in the production process. Supply chain managementwould allow for the singling out of the source of the problem therebyallowing the company to take appropriate action thereby saving itsgoodwill and lowering the costs pertaining to a recall. On the samenote, supply chain management would allow companies to examine thepractices of its suppliers with regard to the manner in which ittreats its workers or the efficacy of its production processes withregard to the environment.
Difference Between CRM and SCM
CRMapplications are packaged software purchased from software vendorsand are usually integrated with all-inclusive or comprehensive ERPimplementation so as to leverage external and internal informationand provide customers with better services. SCM enhances thecoordination between product or service production, suppliers anddistribution, and would assist in lowering inventory costs andrevenue via customer service. SCM systems support B2B(business-to-business) transactions, while CRM systems promote andsell products, while also building and improving long-term customrelationships.
CRM System and its Primary Components
CRM(customer relationship management) systems are used by businessentities to deploy organization-wide strategies for the management ofthe increasingly complex customer relationships.
CRMsystems have three primary components including operational CRM,analytical CRM and Collaborative CRM. Operational CRM underlines thesystems used in the automation of the basic business processes forinteracting with the consumers, while analytical CRM systems are usedin the analysis of customer perceptions and behavior so as to offerbusiness intelligence. Collaborative CRM, on the other hand, aresystems for offering efficient and effective communication with theconsumers from the whole business entity.
Making a successful business case (fear, faith and fact-based arguments)
Making a successful businesscase can be based on varied aspects including fear, facts and faithor even fiction. Of particular note is the fact that decisions do notnecessarily have to be based on facts rather it can be appropriate tohave arguments that are based on other aspects such as fear andfaith.
Faith-based argumentsunderline arguments that are founded on beliefs pertaining to theorganizational strategy, industry forces, competitive advantage,market share and perceptions of the consumers among other things.Such arguments would be made in instances where individuals aredeficient of the appropriate data pertaining to the problem at hand(Valacich& Schneider, 2010).Fear-based arguments, on the other hand, would be founded on thebelief that in instances where a system is not put in place, thebusiness entity would experience losses in its competitive edge andeven be pushed out of business. More often than not, this argumentwould be driven by the herd mentality, where the business entitywould implement particular systems simply because other entities aredoing the same (Valacich& Schneider, 2010).Fact-based arguments are founded on indisputable factors,quantitative analysis and data, where the decision makers would makearguments on the basis of the information that they have regarding aparticular phenomena or position.
Tangible and intangible benefits and costs
Tangible costs underline thethings that a business entity can purchase directly for a particularcost, while intangible costs are considerably more difficult tomeasure in spite of their crucial nature to the failure and successof a business entity (Valacich& Schneider, 2010).Similarly, tangible benefits are easy to quantify and account for,while intangible benefits are not. some of the tangible benefits forthe implementation of a particular system may include reduction oferrors in orders and cost avoidance, or streamlining the operationsof a business, while intangible benefits may include enhancedcustomer service among others.
Perspectives on making information systems investment decisions
Different stakeholders wouldbe involved in making decisions pertaining to investing ininformation systems in the company or business entity. First, thereis the management whose perspectives are essentially of managers orrepresentatives of the varied functional areas in the businessentities (Valacich& Schneider, 2010).In essence, their focus is on larger project sizes and strategicfocus, as well as longest duration of the project.
There is also the steeringcommittee whose perspective is of representatives from varyinginterest groups in the organization and who may incorporate their ownagendas in the decision-making process. They have a cross-functionalfocus and are geared towards more organizational change andundertaking riskier and larger projects.
The third stakeholder is theuser department which is primarily composed of representatives of thetarget users of the system in question. These would have aconsiderably narrow and non-strategic focus.
The last stakeholder is the ISexecutive or information system executive, whose overallresponsibility is the management of the IS development, maintenanceand implementation of the selected systems. Such stakeholders wouldbe concentrating on the integration of the system with the currentones, as well as eliminating the delays in development.
Systems development life cycle
SDLC has four primary phasesincluding systems planning and selection, system analysis, systemdesign, and systems implementation and operation. System planning andselection is aimed at identifying, planning and selecting adevelopment project from the likely projects in line with theexisting needs of the business entity (Valacich& Schneider, 2010).
Systems analysis would allowdesigners to have all-inclusive comprehension of the current mannerin which the organization undertakes activities in the area where thenew system is constructed so as to determine the requirements of theproposed system.
System design would involvethe creation of the system in line with the identified requirementsof the company, where the pseudocode, charts and decision trees areconverted into an actual program code (Valacich& Schneider, 2010).
Systems implementation andoperation involves varied steps. First, there is the transformationof the system design into a working information system. The operationwould also involve training users and providing them with on-goingproblem-solving and education assistance or systems support.
Five techniques used in the requirements collection
The techniques that may beused in collecting the requirements of the system may includeinterviews, questionnaires, document analysis, observations, andjoining application design.
Major components of the design phase of SDLC
The systems design phase ofthe SDLC has three activities including designing the human-computerinterface, designing database and files, and designing processing andlogic (Valacich& Schneider, 2010).
14. Recommendations formanaging IS outsourcing relationship
It is recommended thatnumerous levels are incorporated in the interface between theoutsourcer and customer. Further, it is imperative that the realisticand clear performance measurements pertaining to the systems and theoutsourcing arrangements are established (Valacich& Schneider, 2010).Lastly, an active and strong CIO and staff must persistently managethe professional and legal relationship with the outsourcing entity.
17. System Benchmarking andcommon benchmarks
System benchmarking underlinesthe utilization of standardized performance tests in the facilitationof comparison between the systems. Some common benchmarks may includethe response time that a specific number of users are given, the timetaken in sorting, retrieving, producing and reading certain dateamong others.
Valacich,J.& Schneider, C(2010). Informationsystems today.Pearson.