Details: The primary aim is to understand the effect and impact that business processes, competing and/or complimentary technologies and information systems have on an organisation. This means that just describing a technology or how the case study organisation uses a technology is an inadequate response to this assessment, and will not be rewarded in the marking scheme. There is an expectation that your submission will be analytical, and must draw on theory to frame its evaluation of an organisation’s deployment of business information systems in a competitive environment.
You have worked in your father’s business part time for five (5) years while completing studies at university. Both you and your father are keen for you to take over the family business so that he can retire young enough to enjoy travelling. Your father has owned the business since 1975 and it is conveniently located in your city’s CBD. The business offers many different kinds of specialised products and services for the whole family. The business was a local hot spot for many years but unfortunately, business has been steadily declining over the past few years.
The business has only one computer with most orders taken manually over the phone or via email then entered into an excel spreadsheet each evening or at the end of the week depending on how busy it gets. Your father has a wonderful memory and knows all of his customers and suppliers by name, but unfortunately, only minimal information is stored on the computer and most of it is out of date. The operational information required to run the business, such as sales trends, employee payroll and tracking, vendor information, promotional information and so on, is mostly in your father’s memory and although you have tried to update the computer with inventory etc, your father sees little value in this and does not allow you adequate time or resources to ensure accuracy. Although the business has a website it only includes basic information such as contact details and a few products/services so it is unclear whether this website generates any new business. In fact, the business uses very little marketing except word of mouth, and essentially still operates the same as it did in 1975.
Having recently completed your degree, you anticipate taking over the family business soon. Before doing this you have decided to use the skills and knowledge acquired at university to help you investigate contemporary issues in technology and business in order to recommend changes. Changes that may improve the business and help it grow in an increasingly competitive market. It is your hope to bring the business into the 21st century.
ENTREPRENEURIAL CHALLENGE: YOUR OWN BUSINESS + INFORMATION SYSTEMS
Using the above case study produce a business report as outlined in the submission requirements (below) which respond to the following in the main discussion section:
NB: You must use in-text referencing throughout your responses
Identify the type of specialised products and services for the business and create a name for it. For example, the business could be a coffee shop called El Mejor Café specializing Central and South American coffee; an extreme sports store called Cutting Edge Sports; or even a movie store called The Silver Screen specializing in classic and memorabilia for all ages. Try to pick a business you are genuinely interested in running and that aligns with your overall career goals.
NB: All following responses must relate to your chosen business by producing appropriate examples.
Explain the importance of knowledge management and the purpose of BI. Provide examples relevant to your business.
3.1 Write an analysis of buyer power and supplier power for your business using Porter’s Five Forces Model. Be sure to discuss how you could combat the competition with strategies such as switching costs and loyalty programs. Describe the role information systems can play in achieving these strategies.
3.2 Write an analysis of rivalry, entry barriers, and the threat of substitute products for your business using Porter’s Five Forces Model.
The Yankee Group reports that 66 per cent of companies determine website success solely by measuring the amount of traffic (Yankee Group 2014). Unfortunately, large amounts of website traffic do not necessarily indicate large sales. Many websites with lots of traffic have minimal sales.
4.1 Explain why measuring web traffic is not a good indicator of web sales or website success.
4.2 Make recommendations on ways to improve your website to enhance financial success.
You wish to capitalise on the use of social media to market and generate sales of your products/services.
5.1 Which social media tools would you recommend for your business and why?
5.2 Explain some barriers your business may encounter when trying to use this medium for marketing and selling your products/services?
5.3 Recommend changes that should be made to the way your business operates so that an investment in social media is a success.
Many of your customers are mobile, and you want your business to take advantage of mobile technology. Explain ways in which your business could embrace mCommerce by identifying appropriate technologies/services for wireless marketing and sales.
You have decided to replace the manual employee tracking system your father has been using since 1975. Time and attendance software is critical to the business because it can ensure you have the right employees, at the right place, at the right time, which can increase sales. You never want to find yourself understaffed during busy times and overstaffed during slow times. Also, accurately accounting for employees’ time is crucial to effectively analyse labour Page 3 of 5 expenses, which are the largest operating expense your business incurs. Conveniently, time and attendance solution providers are developing high-quality affordable applications that you could purchase off-the-shelf and have customized for your business. However you also have a highly technical employee, Jack Ripper, who has offered to build the system for you and ensures you it is a simple build.
7.1 What are the pros and cons of using an employee to build the Time and Attendance system?
7.2 What are the pros and cons of purchasing an off-the-shelf time and attendance application and outsourcing custom development?
7.3 Based on your answers to 7.1 & 7.2, which option would you recommend for your business?
7.4 How will your older employees feel about the new system and what can you do to ensure a smooth transition?
Your business collects data relating to employees, customers, vendors, inventory, finance and sales etc.
8.1 why is it important to safeguard the data collected for your business?
8.2 List some potential internal and/or external threats to security that may compromise the safety of the data within your business.
8.3 Recommend ways to secure this data from the threats you have listed.
Produce a project plan in the form of a Gantt chart that depicts, as tasks, the changes you recommend for your business i.e. your recommendations for changes to the Website and for the inclusion of Social Media, Time, Attendance system and Security. The timeframe for project completion of all tasks is six (6) months, with an immediate start date. You will be the project manager and your project team will comprise a mix of internal staff and external professionals depending on your recommendations. NB: You can create your Gantt chart using a table in MS Word or you may use MS Project as long as your chart is inserted as an image in your final business report.
Answer: Case Study-Business Report
Data management is necessary for any organization. Internet has made flow of information quick, which, in turn, has led to increase in the pace with which businesses have to adapt to new and emerging technologies. City Coffee Café is running its operations on traditional basis and requires a major transition to make it more automated and technology driven. Porter’s five forces model presents the industry situation. Upgrading to use of business intelligence and making the website more attractive, engaging and appealing can help in getting more sales and customer loyalty. With the help of time and attendance system and security systems in place, City Coffee Café can thrive well in the information age.
City Coffee Cafe is food and coffee bar situated in the high street of London. It is a family owned business. It has been operating in the industry since 1975. It serves a range of food items and coffee drinks at cheap rates as compared to other coffee and food bars in the city and compared to the location as well. Central and South American coffee in the menu are specialties of the City Coffee Cafe. The place is small filled with aroma, which appear promising to customer for getting some good food and coffee. Various other specialist and independent food and coffee shops are present in the central business district with which City Coffee Cafe competes (Inc. Harvard Student Agencies 2010).
Knowledge management and business intelligence are an important part of a business. Business intelligence has an important role to play in implementing knowledge management. Applications related to business intelligence help in analyzing business operations and they produce information that can assist the business user in understanding, improving and optimizing business operations. The recent trend of use of business intelligence applications is putting high-level summarized data into the context of the business. Relationship of the data, goals, and objectives of the business improves business decision making and action-taking processes (Keyes 2006).
The reason for such relationship is that the results become actionable. For example, if the business owner knows that figure sales for today are 12 percent below the target, he can take decision in order to fix the problem through taking an appropriate action. Business intelligence applications help in knowledge management of a business as the related software and technologies help in storage, analysis, and provision of business access to the resulting information in a usable format. The resulting information can be stored in internal computer systems for future retrieval and training of new employees.
Business intelligence system in a coffee shop can help the employees to track inventory and sales. It also enables the business user to manage time of employees. Keeping track of inventory and generating sales performance report helps the business owner to know when he needs to reorder. BI can keep track of inventory of different kind of coffees ranging from simple and fancy coffees to flavorings (Keyes 2006).
Porter’s five forces is the strategic management framework specifically relevant to the selected company i.e. City Coffee Cafe. It is helpful in determining the competitive environment of the small business and company and helps in understanding the structure of the industry to assess the profitability of the company. With the help of this framework, managers can build on specific strategies to remain competitive in the industry. As in high street London, there are various food and coffee shops that present competition to the City Coffee Cafe, it is essential to understand the competitive environment (Sadler 2003).
Application of the framework
Bargaining power of buyers:
The bargaining power of buyers is high in the food and coffee industry as prices are not to be kept too higher than that of competitors otherwise the buyer can switch to services of another restaurant. In the case of City Coffee Cafe, the prices of the menu offerings are reasonably cheap which makes the bargaining power of buyers quite low. Loyalty programs can help the store to get a loyal base of customers such as giving discount vouchers to loyal customers (Cesar 2008).
Bargaining power of suppliers:
The bargaining power of suppliers is weak because raw materials required for the food and coffee drinks can be obtained from various suppliers in London, such as butchers, farm, etc. Therefore, the bargaining power of buyers is low (Stickler 2011). Information system can help in creating supplier’s base. Sending automated texts and emails to potential suppliers and vendors presenting details of the store, connection through social media, etc. can help in generation of required base of suppliers (Cesar 2008).
Threat of new entrants:
The threat of new entrants in the industry is high. There are a large number of street food restaurants working in the high street. The industry is seeing growth in terms of increasing number of visits to the restaurant by people, as they want to taste and explore the food offered in their vicinity (Stickler 2011). Competitive rivalry: The competition in the industry is also high. There are various restaurants situated in High Street London. City Coffee Cafe is known for serving Western and South American coffee. There are various other street food restaurants as well as brand coffee chains, such as Harrys Bar, Starbucks, Costa Coffee. Other street food restaurants are also present in the high street such as La Gia, Viet Grill, Namo, etc. Therefore, City Coffee Cafe has to compete with both local and branded coffee stores (Stickler 2011).
Threat of substitutes:
Customers can order for other food items from other shops, if they do not like specialized coffee of the City Coffee Cafe. They can opt for any street food. Although, those who specifically like coffee, they will not substitute for any other food. Therefore, the threat of substitutes is medium (Sadler 2003).
Generally, it is seen that companies take website traffic as a criteria for success of their website and the marketing campaign. However, using the website traffic is a narrow aspect of the bigger picture for measuring the success of the website. It is good if the traffic to the website is increasing, but the main concern is about actual translation of the traffic into more sales for the business. If the traffic is going up and up, but the business is not registering any increase in sales or getting more people into their store for purchasing products or services, tracking the traffic for measuring website success is in vain. Website traffic can be regarded as a good and quick estimator of how well the website is doing and how well it is on the growth path. However, it is always essential to check whether people visiting the website are actually turning into customers (Cesar 2008).
At present, website of City Coffee Cafe includes only basic information, such as contact details and few products sold in the store. In order to enhance financial success, it is essential to bring in some improvements in the website. For example, the website should make use of web 2.0 applications to make it more attractive and approachable. Creation of separate tabs, such as history of the business, images and description of coffee and food items served in the store, timings of the store, testimonials of satisfied and loyal customers, etc. should be made. Another important improvement is to launch online coupon schemes, such as first 50 online coupon holders will get discount on purchase of any food or coffee item in morning hours on specific days. Creation of specific link with the social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter will help in increasing two-way communication between the business and the customer so that more interaction can take place and the business can understand consumer needs (Cesar 2008).
Social media tools such as Facebook and micro blogging website such as Twitter are used to market and generate sales for coffee and food items sold in the store. Such social media platforms are used because many people in the UK are members of these social media platforms. 15 million users are present on Twitter while Facebook has 31 million users in UK for 2014. Facebook is the mainstream as almost half of the UK population has a Facebook account (UK Social Media Statistics for 2014 2014). Large coffee chains such as Costa Coffee and Starbucks successfully use social media to make true interaction and brand building. Scheduling posts such as announcing events or specials at the store, positive interviews from websites such as Trip Advisor, Yelp etc. can create awareness among users (Neuman 2007).
Some barriers are present for the company to have an effective social media engagement. They are compliance concerns, lack of control over what is happening in the social network, lack of knowledge and lack of time. Compliance concerns include social networking sites clarifying issues each day and business required to follow the changes. Next is lack of control over social media happenings. A business cannot control online conversations happening on social media. Therefore, the business should focus on what can be controlled such as participation in online dialogue, inspiring people about the brand and making response, replies and engagements in online conversations. Lack of time is another barrier as social media activities take time. It can be solved through re-allocation of time allocation, use of support team and outsourcing. Lack of knowledge is the fourth barrier. It includes no knowledge about new tools, new etiquette and new people for social media engagement (Cesar 2008).
City Coffee Cafe should make use of the support team for making the social media engagement smarter and efficient. Creation of intranet in the store will help the team to remain connected with the social media platform. Another change is in the approach to leverage independent business connections. The coffee shop is the place for the community to get together and have some conversations. By building the community presence through giving support to local suppliers and vendors and then reaching out to them as a fellow independent coffee shop owner can help in getting business from them. Organization of events and specials is also required to be done so that the business can increase social media activity (Neuman 2007).
Mobile commerce is on the rise. In order to get business through rising mobile commerce, it is essential that the business develop specific mobile apps. Integration of the store with automated solutions, such as SalesBuilder can help in reaching out and communicating to customers in an automatic manner, for reminding them of their rewards and encouraging them to return to the store via sending automatic messages on mobile. The business can send an offer with the text message with presence of a unique code that is traceable, so that the valued customer can use it only once. Coffee shop customers can be attracted through loyalty app for visitors. Users can create a profile and upload their photo. They can enter their input details of usual coffee preference and while entering the store, they can order their favorite usual from the app without even getting on to the counter (Harris + Hoole mobile app allows customers to place coffee order before even reaching the till 2014).
An employee can build the time and attendance systems with proper knowledge of the requirements of the coffee shop. It incurs less cost when the system is built in-house. Furthermore, the employee knows the details of the overall working system of the store due to his own experience in the store. However, disadvantages of using the employee is that the employee comes to know about the working of the software and he can manipulate or disclose critical information to fellow employees at any time in future.
Purchasing off the shelf time and attendance application systems helps the store to get recent and updated version of the system without any tension of keeping a wide base of knowledge for the system. Purchasing the system and then outsourcing the custom development can prevent the business owner to go through much trouble for customizing the system. Through outsourcing, the system can be customized according to the needs and wish of the client. However, high cost incurred on purchasing and outsourcing activities is one of the drawbacks of the option if the business does not want to expend much on the activity. Furthermore, changes in systems or policies of the store will require changes in the system too and off shelf software systems are complex to amend once the customization is done.
The most suitable option is using the employee of the store for designing the system. The business is slowly moving from traditional system to tech savvy systems with use and application of business intelligence and knowledge management. In such scenario, it is advisable to go with easy and simple time and attendance management system in the initial phase. It will cost low and the system can be fully customized due to personal experience of the client. However, it can be later replaced with off the shelf system in the long-term so that the con of the in-house option can be done away.
In order to do smooth transition for older employees, training will be provided to them and they will be encouraged to use the system in a phased manner. A sponsor assessment and roadmap will be created for providing a clear vision of future to employees, and it will also create a sense of urgency which will help them in moving forward to attain the goals and objectives of the system. Demonstrations will let the employee know about changes they will see with the implementation. It will bring information about the system to users and they can ask questions so that resistance to change can be done (Time, Leave, and Attendance Program 2013).
Safeguarding the data collected from the business is essential because it is used for knowledge management and it is related to the critical business decisions that a business has to take, for example, decision to promote the sales of a particular coffee or food item based on business performance report generated through integrated business intelligence (Godbole 2008).
Potential threats to security comes in following form- unwanted users seeing the confidential data, possibility of breaching the data by hackers, occurrence of malware and viruses that can make the make the system sensitive and vulnerable of breaching (Godbole 2008).
Steps to do away with the threats identified above are: Encryption of data so that all data can be translated into code, strong and secure password protection for sensitive data to avoid its breach, up to date software for malware fixing and presence of updated antivirus, and training of employees to keep passwords secure (Godbole 2008).
Data management is important for organizations. In the present ear of internet society, it is not possible for the organization to survive without making effective use of the technology and related applications. City Coffee Café has been running on manual basis since its inception. However, including business intelligence, social media and attractive website with all security in place can lead to generation of more sales and can help in making the store stay ahead in the internet world.
Cesar, J 2008, Building Web 2.0 Business Websites: Business Process Innovation with Web 2. 0 and Joomla, Web 2.0 Business Websites, UK.
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