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Following on from the business research and analysis work of Assessment 1 and 2 it is time to focus on customer needs and market opportunities, and how these needs and opportunities can be achieved innovatively.

This work will need to be presented the business owners (Bob and Jeff).  To start to embed internal professional practice, you take the approach that the founders are new clients and that therefore the whole process must be professional and thorough.

  1. Read the Case Study (see Appendix 1)
  2. Prepare draft proposals and discuss with the owners (your assessor)
  3. Rework as required
  4. Present your findings to the owners on customer needs and market opportunities, and how these can be achieved innovatively
  5. Negotiate any proposed changes
  6. Update, and document as required.
  • Submit a correctly formatted and logically structured report incorporating MS Word, Excel and MS Project Include costs and timeframes
  • Submit a correctly formatted and logically structured presentation in PowerPoint
  • Present a clear and knowledgeable verbal presentation using PowerPoint to the business owners (your assessor)

To be considered competent in this assessment task the Candidate must satisfactorily perform the following:

  • Review business innovation in consultation with users and make recommendations for improvement or further innovation
  • Review current service level agreements (SLAs) if appropriate
  • Research client service needs and preferred level of service
  • Research opportunities for new business with client
  • Develop draft proposals to cover these new initiatives
  • Conduct a session with the client to present the new opportunities
  • Gather client feedback to improve the proposals
  • Present proposed cost and timeframes to the client
  • Present proposals to the client in a clear, concise and comprehensive manner
  • Negotiate the terms with the client and record alterations if required
  • Clarify areas of uncertainty or disagreement
  • Document the agreement negotiated with the client
  • Document changes to new provisions
  • Adjust the service provided to the client based on client feedback and in line with organisational guidelines
  • Assess progress in achieving new client initiatives.

Overview of Hosted Desktop Solutions IT Firm

Hosted Desktop Solutions is a small IT service firm located in North Ryde Sydney. Its offers a range of IT services such as installation of software, hardware, system configuration and management, creation of websites as well as intranets and extranets. Its major clients are design companies and other individual firms who have no need of, maintaining their IT infrastructure on their own

Of late the demand for cloud have propelled the client base of the firm hence stretching its resources. One of the resources under pressure are the employees of the firm who are currently being overworked hence affecting their service delivery. To control these issues and expand the firms market the founders of the firm Jeff and Bob have contacted an information officer to provide recommendations to help achieve customer satisfaction as well as expand the business empire through technology.

This report was therefore carried out with the help of the founders to evaluate the challenges of the firm and suggest the necessary measures that will see the firm regain its competitive advantage in the market as a quality service providers.

Challenges facing the stability of the Hosted Desktop Solutions

Hosted Desktop solutions (HDS) was initially established to offer to offer open source IT solutions to small and medium sized businesses. Over the years, the company have grown to a point where it’s no longer enjoys economies of scale to the contrary diseconomies of scale have set up. These have applied pressure to the existing resource of the company to a level of setting up issues which are currently threatening the future stability of the HDS

A study of the challenges the company faces have highlighted several issues which need immediate management attention. The old clients of HDS have developed a bond and trust with the old staff members to the level that they now prefer only dealing g with them but with the number of new clients increasing the old staff members can no longer allocate the demanded attention to the clients. Also, the old clients have more knowledge regarding the IT issues and due to this they find it hard to work with the new staff who lack the appropriate skills and experience. The older staff have preference for direct communication with the supporting staff an issue which is putting pressure on the small group of supporting staff available at the firm

There is a need for immediate acknowledgement of service emails. And in case of auto respondent is put in place an ID number need to be included. This is yet to be set up by the firm.

The older clients because of long working relationship have developed a culture of being recognised by the IT staff whenever they contact the firm through the phone but the new clients lack enough information regarding them. This is threatening the customer loyalty which the firm needs for it to hold its clients from the emerging companies.

The consumer is currently demanding highly customisable solutions ability for alterations to be made effectively at a minimal cost but with the company’s cash flow already strained this kind of services are becoming hard to offer.

Challenges Facing the Stability of the Hosted Desktop Solutions

Changes in the cost and timeline for the customer’s projects by the firm because of inadequate data and work management system is costing the company a lot of resources as they should compensate the clients for the losses incurred due to the changes.

This together with other internal administrative issues if not solved in time will render the company in effective and so risk being pushed out of the market by competitive firms. To retain the HDS name as one of the customer friendly and quality provider firm in the market there are initiatives which the management should put in place.

Mitigation of the challenges

There is need for Jeff and Bob to restructure their current roles in the firm such as making strategic decisions and offering hosted services to the clients.  As the founders of the frim they should a point a board of directors which is composed of five skilled personnel answerable to them. Afterwards the operations of HDS should be subdivided into branches and qualifies individuals appointed to head the branches. Some of these individuals should be derived from the experience old IT staff who will be able to cater for the interest of the old and new clients. The departments should be comprised of customer care, marker research, finance and budgeting section and data management (CA, 2003).

Jeff and Bob should define the objectives of the firm and pass them to the board of directors. Together with this they should source for necessary funding which will enable the firm implement tactical strategies that will improve its performance. In addition, they should be in close touch with the firm employees to maintain their loyalty to the firm as well as give them direction where appropriate regarding the culture of the firm (Neely, 2002). From there the board will formulate the necessary policies to guide the employees’ operations including defining the role of each employee of the firm. They should further foresee that the internal structure of the organisation is functioning effectively and allocate funds and resources in a manner that will optimise the operations of the firm.

To improve the service delivery of the firm the board should employ additional skilled workers to supplement the existing ones. Together with this skilled workforce they should hire another pool of unskilled and semi-skilled workforce to assist the skilled workforce in undertaking their duties. This will ensure that the employees’ efforts are utilised in the most effective way and production if improved without strain (Marr, 20004). The set deadlines should be strictly adhered to and evaluation of client price made in an efficient manner to minimise any alterations in the future.

The database management department will be tasked with ensuring that the consumer information is updated effectively. Also, they should update the website periodically to ensure it reflects on the current marketing information. The website should also be updated with adequate information regarding the services offered by the firm and ay new development which might be of interest to the consumers. Finally, it should contain the business internal structure and be able to direct the potential clients to the relevant department for ease of service allocation. To keep the clients happy their records should be maintained and made accessible to the employees to enable them offer personalised services.

Mitigation of the Challenges

The finance and budgeting department should be tasked with invoicing the clients in time and update their records. Maturing debts should be followed and effective techniques devolve to collect them.

As an IT firm, there is need for the firm to be in touch with the increasingly changing technologies in the IT industry for this purpose the Marker Research department should be allocated adequate funds to ensure they conduct effective research on the developing trends and new emerging technologies which if applied by the firm will improve its competitive advantage. The department should also carry out research on the performance of the firm and its attractiveness to the clients and advice the management effectively on the appropriate measures to put in place to maintain their clients’ base as well as attract new clients (Davidavi?ien?, 2008).

The core of the firm should be the IT consultants’’ team. This department will form the centre of the organization and it should be composed of the skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labour which work together among themselves and with the other departments to deliver quality services to the employees. The team should be structured such that each employee is allocated tasks which is in line with his skills. The clients need should be analysed so that he is assigned the best suitable team to offer solutions to his needs.

The customer care desk should be tasked with responding to client’s inquiry and teaching the clients on the new services being offered by the firm.

Emerging marketing opportunities

The client base of the HDS firm is showing signs of needs which the firm consider investing in to increase its market dominance.

Most of the HDS clients are still relying in the websites for their operations. HDS management should initiate consumer education regarding the benefits of the intranet and extranet and the cost associated with their installation. The education should be aimed at convincing them to accept their installation. This way the firm will increase its market.

The use of social media delivery should also be introduced to the clients and its benefits thoroughly illustrated to them this will convince them to release more resources to this sector as a result improving the market for the firm.

Due to the increasing market for cloud computing the firm should direct more resources to this sector in terms of employing additional qualified personnel to offer optimum cloud computing services to the clients

The company app development sector is still infant resources should be dedicated to research in the area to secure market for the company’s applications using the company website and customer care desk they should intensify the advertisement regarding the advantages of their developed apps and even give trial versions to their clients as after sakes services (Davidavi?ien? & Raudeli?nien?, 2010). This will publicise the app and increase its demand hence expanding the firm’s business empire.

Emerging technology that can be applied in to improve customer satisfaction and service delivery.

To optimise the client’s satisfaction these are a range of technologies that the firm can implement. It is only through keeping the customers happy that the organization will be able to maintain their loyalty and achieve more clients through referral opportunities. VoIP is one of the innovative ways of improving consumer experience it allows the business to be able to answer all the calls directed to the firm. The system allows calls to be directed to less busy operator whenever the other parts of the customer care desk is busy (Tsaia, et al., 2011). It also allows playing of pre-recorded messages before the call a quality which gives the firm a chance to answer most asked questions in time and hence avoid repeated inquiry. This will free the operators and allow them time to solve more complex issues while on the other hand saving the time of the clients.

HDS should also secure a strong internet connectivity which is maintained by qualified personnel to ensure all the services depending on the internet runs smoothly without interference due to connectivity issues (Nafeeseh & Al-Mudimigh, 2011).

As much as the firm should offer cloud computing services to the clients it should also consider putting it in place. This will be a very advantageous link between the firm and the clients hence enabling the data management department and the research section to get adequate information form the consumers which will be necessary for evaluating consumer satisfaction and demands (Pope, 2016).

To ensure the satisfaction of the older clients and maintain the goodwill which was previously generated by the firm the, founders should consider putting in place a mobile CRM software this will allow access to crucial data, the employees of the firm by using this software will be able to access information about clients such as account history, services recently offered as well as updated invoicing information. In addition, the research on consumer trends is also made easier (Soh & Markus, 1995). As a result, the even the new employees will be able to offer personalised services to the older clients without putting more stress on the older employees.

This software will boost the productivity of the employees as they have all the information they need before they can engage a client (Maximizer CRM, 2015).

For maintaining the records of the organization’s activities as well as the client’s information the firm should also put in place a data base management system. This will allow updating of the data and entry of the original data to be in a reliable and effective manner (Murphy & Simon, 2000). In addition, it will give the managers an opportunity to restrict the information flow. As a result, the firm will be in apposition to maintain the confidentiality to have an edge in the competitive IT market. Sections such as app development are characterised with innovative ideas which if not protected from copying firms will not stand a chance of improving the business profitability

Conclusion

The above issues if addressed and the suggestions put in place will be a good start for the organization towards achieving its culture of quality deliverance, friendly staff as well as closer customer staff working relationship.

 References

CA, M. R. a. S., 2003. Business performance dimensions of strategic orientation,. Journal of Business Research.

Davidavi?ien?, V., 2008. Change management decisions in the information age, 9(4): 299–307. Journal of Business Economics and Management , 9(4), pp. 100-299.

Davidavi?ien?, V. & Raudeli?nien?, J., 2010. ICT in Tacit Knowledge Preservation, s.l.: The 6th International Scientific Conference “Business and Management.

Marr, B., 20004. Mapping the dynamics of how intangibles create value,. International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital, Volume 1.

Maximizer CRM, 2015. Strategic Advantages To Using A Mobile Customer Relationship Management Software, s.l.: s.n.

Murphy, K. E. & Simon, S. J. 2. U. C. B. A., 2000. Using Cost Beneft Analysis for Enterprise Resource Planning Project Evaluation: A case for Including Intangibles, Hawaii: Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences,.

Nafeeseh, R. A. & Al-Mudimigh, A. S., 2011. Justifying ERP Investment: The Role and Impacts of Business. Case A Literature Survey. International Journal of Computer Science and Network Security , 11(1), pp. 160-180.

Neely, A. A. C. a. K. M., 2002. The performance prism: the scorecard for measuring and managing business success, London: Financial Times Prentice Hall.

Pope, D., 2016. How technology can improve customer satisfaction. [Online]
Available at: https://www.fluidone.com/news/how-technology-can-improve-customer-satisfaction-02-16/
[Accessed 26 May 2017].

Soh, C. & Markus, L. 1., 1995. How IT creates business value: a process theory synthesis, Amsterdam: Proceedings of the 16th Annual International Conference on Information Systems.

Tsaia, M.-T., Lib, E. Y., Leec, K.-W. & Tunga, W.-H., 2011. Beyond ERP implementation, The moderating effect of knowledge management on business performance. Total quality management & business excellence:. an offcial journal of the European Society for Organisational Excellence , Volume 22, pp. 124-140.

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