Discuss about the IT/IS Infrastructure for Toestep & Sons.
Information technology forms the foundation of modern business. It changes the operational structure of business and contributes to the value chain of the organization. IT has seeped into every domain of business and aspects of business; from production to marketing. Porter and Millar states that the influence of the revolution in technology affects the market competition in three ways: by changing the rules of completion due to inclusion of technology, providing new ways to surpass business rivals and creating business within the operation of existing business.
The strategic implementation and incorporation of technology in business, however, is often an unexplored territory; consequences of which include inefficient use of technology and unnecessary technical investments. A number of business models have been proposed, elegant use of which might steer the business towards growth.
A defined IT/IS strategy paves the way for a methodological innovation and development process. The strategy helps in the formulation of objectives for the organization and provides a tool to benchmark the growth of the corporation. A number of frameworks have been developed to aid the incorporation of IT and IS in business. Strategy marks the difference between serendipitous growth and strategic innovation. An ill-structured growth in IT invites over budget, lag in schedule, delivering less than expected service and expose the organization to faults and security risks (Ward and Peppard 2016).
A number of models and existing strategies can be referred to for the implementation of the IT infrastructure of Toestep & Sons. Among the available systems, the strategic innovation framework to understand the requirements of a strategy and IBM’s Business System Planning for the graceful alignment of IT and business processes, seems two reasonable choice.
The seven dimensions of strategic innovation framework provide the core management framework that a corporation should follow in order to achieve a productive growth. The first dimension the model states, is a managed innovation framework. The company should explore convergent and divergent techniques though interaction between its stakeholders. The second dimension of the framework focuses on the strategic alignment of the business with IT. This dimension suggests that Toestep & Sons should involve the individuals of their business into the process of transition. This will incorporate a sense of participation among the components of the organization. The third dimension of the framework states the importance of industry foresight, which demands the understanding of the business drivers and enablers and anticipate the future business requirements. The next dimension focuses on the customer insight and states the importance of understanding and comprehending the technological expectation of its customers. The fifth dimension lays stress in comprehending the strengths of the business and leveraging the technology to optimize the cost of business. The sixth aspect states the importance of assessing the organizational readiness of the corporation in regards to the imbibitions of technical approaches. The significance of a disciplined implementation of the aforementioned phases and the transition is laid out in the final dimension (Keathley et al. 2013).
The Business System Planning is a framework developed by IBM that focuses on the strategy required to integrate information technology into business. The BSP methodology outlines the steps that an organization needs to undertake for the successful implementation of information technology. The framework starts with the identification of a sponsor for the study of the technical requirements and members for the study team are determined. Team members are trained in BSP. The team members study the functions of the firm based on which a work plan is outlined. Stakeholders are interviewed regarding the business processes and the compiled data is reviewed by the sponsor and IS executives. Based on the relationship of data to business processes, the compiled data is classified into data classes. Existing IS support of the corporation is analyzed and responsible departments are identified. Executive level interviews are conducted which helps in understanding the issues that the system should address. The study team analyzes the results of the phase and the issues are categorized. The study team formulates databases and charts based on the categorization and formulate the information architecture, stating the priorities of requirement fulfilled by each of the components of the architecture. The strengths and weaknesses of the organization are determined and action plan and recommendations on the technical requirements of the corporation are made (Salirti and Arman 2014).
BSP provides a defined strategy for Toestep & Sons to follow.
Prospects of New Technologies in Toestep & Sons
Toestep & sons is a well-established organization and their business structure offers immense potential for the absorption of information systems. Information systems are the congregation of technology that aims at putting the information resources of the company to optimal utilization for the growth of the company.
Supply Chain Management (SCM) Systems
SCM systems co-ordinate the processes related to the supply of resource that includes communicating with supplier, delivery of product and inventory control. The existing system used by Toestep & Sons is crude and basic. Integration of an SCM system will aid the company in smooth maintenance of its supplies. SCM systems communicate and maintain information related to suppliers, distributors and manufacturing sources, monitoring and executing procedures for inventory management, procurement of supplies and delivery of products. The SCM system operates at the core level of an organization providing information to the management about the supply logistics (Bozarth and Handfield 2016).
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems
Toestep & Sons do not possess a defined system to maintain the information about its customers. The company views each of its clients equally and does not have any mechanism to assess customer loyalty. A CRM can help the corporation on this aspect of the business. A CRM system considers the customers to be asset for the company and oversees and coordinates all activities and interaction with the customer, including sales, marketing, customer satisfaction and customer retention. A CRM will be able to organize the processes related to customer handling for the company. A CRM will also provide tools and methods through which the company will be able to obtain customer information in an organized manner, identify its loyal customers and prioritize services accordingly (Khodakarami and Chan 2014).
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems
Toestep & Sons is a growing company, it has plans to expand, and an ERP system is indispensable for its growth and maintenance of a large organization. An ERP system coordinates the task of different departments and other information systems. An ERP provides a unified platform for all business processes to interact with each other facilitating the flow of information among processes, monitoring every interaction. The advantage of the unified platform is reflected in the management of the organization. The extent of an ERP is the entire system; hence, it also helps in maintaining the information repository of the corporation (Monk and Wagner 2012).
Transaction Processing System (TPS)
Toestep & Sons posses a manual transaction processing system, which renders the scope of transaction processing, limited. The processing of orders is time bound and limits the revenue generation of the company. A TPS is an automated system that manages and coordinates transactions throughout the organization. A TPS serves a broad base of services that encompasses payroll generation, sales order entry, employee record keeping and many other tasks. A TPS monitors the transactions and generates reports based on the data it collects (Nagashima 2014).
Executive Support System (ESS)
The growth of Toestep & Sons and the increase in its technical infrastructure will increase the production of data within the company. The rise in the data will require apt management to filter essential data for the management. Executive support systems provide this functionality to a corporation. An ESS interacts with other information system and collect relevant data from the information repository and process the data to depict information that are essential for the management (Mishra 2013).
The cloud technology offers cost effective methods for businesses. The establishment of an individual IT infrastructure is a cumbersome and unprofitable venture. Toestep & Sons will be paying for the service they use in a cloud infrastructure and the cloud offers a plethora of services. Scalability is an inherent property of the cloud and this is suitable for the growth of Toestep & Sons. The company can vary the amount of services it receives from the cloud based on its requirements (Erl, Puttini and Mahmood 2013).
Toestep & Sons is well established and growing. Incorporation of IT/IS infrastructure will enhance their productivity. The company will be able to carry out its operations throughout the day by virtue of the automated information system. The system will generate reports based on the data collected from the individual information system and provide summarized report to the management on the progress of the operations of the company. The system will possess the ability to be managed remotely and security methods will protect the information of the company. Cloud infrastructure will provide the scalability the company requires during its expansion and provide service on-demand.
The technologies demands proper implementation and execution because the incorporation of technology and digitization of company information pose considerable threat to the security of information. The problems, however, can be bypassed using vigilant monitoring and maintenance.
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