Easy Shopping is one of the major regional players in the UK grocery shopping market. Between 2006 and 2009, EasyShopping has realised rapid expansion. Despite the company recent growth, EasyShopping is not able to challenge major grocery companies such as Tesco or Morrison. However, the managing director of Easy believes that there is a need to develop the local market to be more competitive.
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Thus, the managing director of EasyShopping Mr Maxime Laurent believes that a major essential tool by which the company could be more competitive and achieve continuous expansion is to integrate information systems in the organization business model. (See fig 1 on the organisation chart of EasyShopping). Thus, the managing called for the review of “current operating systems and strategies, especially concerning information systems and the possibility of a new online shopping site.” (University of Bedfordshire 1).
The objective of this paper is to examine the strategy on how EasyShopping Ltd can make use of information systems using online shopping sites to enhance its competitive advantages.Thus, identification of the Mission Statement and Critical Success Factor is essential to allow EasyShopping to measure its success.
Mission Statement and Critical Success Factor
The major objective of all organisations is to achieve the medium and long-term goals to achieve strategic advantages. However, there is a need to set out the strategies to achieve these goals, and the methods an organisation can employ to achieve corporate objectives are to set out the Mission Statement and Critical Success Factors (CSF) that will allow an organisation to measure their success.
Typically, the mission statement is to capitulate the business targets, and the techniques to employ in order to carry out the translation and interpretation of business objective are to carry out the Critical Success Factors (CSF) analysis to set “those things which must be set right to achieve the objective.”(Ward 73).
To measure the success of the expansion of EasyShopping, there is a need to develop a mission statement and a set of critical success factors that will allow the management of EasyShopping to measure its success.
Thus, the mission statement of EasyShopping Ltd as being identified by the managing director is to achieve the crucial development if EasyShopping is to become a regional player in the UK grocery shopping market. The managing director has also made the single most important decision for the company to achieve continued success after a good period of expansion between 2006 and 2009. (University of Bedfordshire).
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In addition, EasyShopping intends to achieve the established goals through corrective actions, ameliorative recommendations, and corrective actions where appropriate based on the corporate determination. (South Texas College).
However, the Critical Success Factors are “those components of strategy where the organisation must excel to outperform the competition.” (Elsevier 12).
Thus, to excel the competitors, EasyShopping has tailored its strategies to achieve potential benefits and success criteria. To achieve these objectives, EasyShopping has decided to tailor its business towards daily shoppers and local produce. The CRF is also to concentrate on local markets for current and future expansion for the continued success of the company. To achieve this, EasyShopping intends to employ the local road network to achieve wider distribution of the products throughout the local area.
Part of the CRF is also to achieve future expansion throughout the wider London area especially East London via Canada Water and Canary Wharf. EasyShopping intends to achieve these goals by opening an online shopping site through the application of information systems. Moreover, EasyShopping is also to increase the annual turnover and number of delivery by 15% in the next 3 years. As part of CRF, EasyShopping also intends to design the appropriate strategy to achieve comprehensive security for the company information system to enhance data security. Moreover, CRF aims to develop the use of computer tracking for vehicles and delivery.
Finally, as part of CRF, Easyshopping intends to invest in information systems to achieve growth and expansion across London in the next three years. (University of Bedfordshire). To achieve the success of EasyShopping, there is a need to identify the main areas that need improvement.
Identification of the areas that need improvement
To achieve operational improvement and future expansion, the management of EasyShopping needs to improve on certain key areas. First, the current parcel delivery system is inefficient. From the analysis of the case study, it is revealed that in the delivery system, there is a possibility of ad-hoc deliveries, and despite that the pickup drivers could be contacted through telephone and memo, the drivers are unable to answer phone calls when driving or pick up memos in-between deliveries. Thus, there is a need to provide improvement of effective communication strategy for the pick-up driver while driving.
Moreover, the tracking system is also not effective. The current tracking system between the company and customers is done through telephone calls. This tracking system is not only inconvenient, using telephones call for delivery can be expensive, time-consuming, and possible lack of connection. Thus, there is a need to improve on the current tracking delivery system being implemented through phone calls.
In addition, EasyShopping needs to improve on the record-keeping of the delivered goods. It should be noted that delivery drivers of EasyShopping use a manual system through the hand-written worksheet to deliver goods. The manual system being implemented is not appropriate because the manual system is prone to error.
The other key area that requires improvement is EasyShopping’s information system. The company’s information system serves the Ealing store, and the financial information system serves sales transactions. The company IT system also keeps vehicles’ records, and all the information systems of the three departments are being served by a small server, and the server is not powerful to carry the functions of the store department, finance department, and vehicle records.
Typically, in the past few months, there are some complaints regarding the vehicle management information system. Moreover, apart from the server being very slow, the staff also finds it difficult to use the server. In addition, the delivery of customer is billing in the store department lead to compatible problems and sometimes loss of orders. Thus, the ineffectiveness of the company information systems in the store department, finance department, and vehicle records need improvement.
Moreover, various platforms of hardware configuration in the store department also need improvement. A further key area that needs improvement is the overloading of the current network of EasyShopping’s computer system, which has been identified to be nearly overloaded. It should be noted that all stores are connected to the Local Area Network (LAN), which are connected to Wide Area Network (WAN) that allow communication between cities-based stores. However, it has been identified that the current network is at 80% capacity and may become overloaded within 12 months thereby may lead to the breakdown of the company’s IT system.
Finally, there is a need to enhance the IT system to protect the company’s sensitive data. It should be noted that there is no security to protect the customers’ information, sales prediction, development strategies of EasyShopping. There are also insufficient skilled personnel to provide rigorous security audit mechanisms for the company. With the importance of providing security for the company’s information system, there is a need to provide adequate security for the company information to ensure continuous success in the business and continuous growth.
With the identification of all key areas that need improvement, the paper provides methods of enhancing the improvement for the EasyShopping information systems.
Detail information systems to improve the local market of EasyShopping
Information systems have become trends in businesses, and many organisations have relied on information systems to enhance competitive advantages. Organisations have taken advantage of information systems to enhance their local, national and global presences. With the powerful advantages that information systems have created too many businesses, many small and medium-sized organisations have been able to challenge big companies in the marketplaces.
EasyShopping stands to gain many benefits in enhancing its local market with information systems. Integration of information systems in the local market of EasyShopping has been identified as the key strategy to improve the efficiency of EasyShopping. Typically, from the case study, it has been revealed that the local EasyShopping has not yet benefited from the advantage of online shopping. Since EasyShopping has decided to develop the local market to enhance its competitive advantage in the local market. The company needs to integrate information systems in the company retailing. The effective method of integrating information systems in the local market of EasyShopping is to introduce the real-time database in the company management system.
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Typically, the relational database enables a company to have the ability to respond to a complex and rapidly changing environment. The advantage of a relational database ensures the best practices of having up-to-date information about the customers. The other advantage that EasyShopping will acquire from the integration of a relational database is that a real-time data warehouse could be built into the database to help in the processing of a large volume of data for business processing. (Parikh, Haddad 2). It should be noted that EasyShopping would benefit from a relational database because relational database systems are more convenient for online shopping.
After all, it links the network for 24 hours. (XS4All Internet). The benefit that EasyShopping will derive for its local market is that customers can order the products of EasyShopping online and processing is done quickly and interactively. It should be noted that time is very critical in business transactions, the relational database will employ a payment gateway for the processing of credit card transactions. With the use of credit card transactions, the customer will be able to order the products online immediately after they feed their credit card details into the computer. The order’s confirmation is sent within seconds the transactions are carried out, and funds are transferred immediately.
The advantages will save Easy Shopping a great amount of time, and this will erase the problem of sending confirmation to the customers through phone. In addition, the real-time database has the advantages of storing customers’ information, and this will save customers’ time in retrieving their information when making their next online shopping. (InstabillTM Merchant Account).
As being pointed out by Parikh and Haddad, business information is essential for a business to maintain a competitive advantage. The explosion and fragmentation of data may lead to complications of situations within the organisation. Typically,
“…without the availability of accurate, consistent and timely information, businesses cannot effectively respond to customer service demands, consistently rollout differentiating products, support inventory optimisation efforts, rapidly onboard new systems or adhere to changes in information-centric regulations. To support such dynamic environments, enterprises are striving to evolve into what is called real-time enterprises by leveraging the power of their enterprise information assets”. (Parikh, Haddad 2).
Thus, with the integration of information systems in the local markets, EasyShopping will be able to keep accurate information about its customers. By having customers’ information at hand, EasyShopping will be able to address increasing customers’ demand as well as approach the threats that might have emerged from competitors in a more cost-effective approach. It should be noted in the current business environment, there is growing customers’ expectation.
Thus, to meet customers’ expectations, business needs to be agile and efficient to thrive in the current business environment. With information integration of information systems, EasyShopping will be able to evolve in a real-time enterprise, which will allow EasyShoppping to maximise its value in the local markets that it operates, which the company will be able to employ various real-time back-office systems to be more efficient and profitable. (Parikh, Haddad).
It should be noted that the integration of information systems through a relational database, will be beneficial for EasyShopping especially during the periods of high sales when all business is at a high peak. Thus, orders processing could be done without fear of customers’ information being hacked by an unauthorised individual because all the information submitted by the customer into the company server will be encrypted and secure. ( InstabillTM Merchant Account).
In addition, EasyShopping will have a relational data warehouse where information about the current and past business transactions will be stored. This will enhance business decisions because there will be easy access to data when the time is required. With the information at hand, the management of EasyShopping will be able to react to customers’ demands and this will improve the customers’ service and operational efficiency in the local market. (Parikh, Haddad).
Typically, the use of a relational database is very essential for EasyShopping local market. It should be noted that the customers of EasyShopping consist of the residents and small local restaurants. Thus, the local markets of EasyShopping consist of Chiswick, Greenford, Hammersmith, Hounslow, Shepherds Bush, and Yeading. Due to the number of areas that EasyShopping is serving, there is a need for online processing of orders from different locations where EasyShopping is operating, and this will involve an enormous amount of paperwork. With the use of an information system with a multiprocessing database, there will be a connection from different locations that EasyShopping is operating. Typically, the integration of a central computer database, which will facilitate all the transactions made by EasyShopping on all the areas that are operating and will allow online processing from different locations by many agents at the same time. (XS4All Internet).
However, with various advantages that EasyShopping could realise from online presence, there are criteria that Easyshopping should follow to integrate online presence in its e-commerce model. The next section provides the strategies by which EasyShopping should adopt to launch e-commerce in its strategic policies.
Suggestion a custom-built e-commerce model, and the equipment (hardware) and software needed for EasyShopping for the realisation of e-commerce
The application of e-commerce has gained wide attention among small, medium and large businesses. Essential, e-commerce has been adopted by many businesses to gain competitive advantages. There are many advantages of e-commerce such as easy interactions with the customers, suppliers, and competitors. Apart from these advantages, businesses can achieve cost reduction with the implementation of e-commerce, and the application of e-commerce can provide the opportunity for businesses to interact on an international scale. Typically, EasyShopping stands to gain many advantages from launching e-commerce in its business model. According to Soliman and Youssef, e-commerce provides a methodology by which businesses and consumers interact with each other. (Soliman, Youssef 547).
For the application of e-commerce, EasyShopping needs to choose an e-commerce custom-built model for the successful implementation of online business. With a case of EasyShopping, this paper suggests a B2B e-commerce model. The Taxonomy of the business-to-business model involves the transaction between business and buyers, and this is made possible in a connective framework. The B2B model often involves closed and private transactions where a business transaction is only restricted to buyers or sellers. The B2B e-commerce model is also attributed to the open and public transaction where there is free access to all members of the community to carry out a business transaction. Thus, with the implementation of the B2B e-commerce model, EasyShopping will be able to adopt electronic commerce where there will be business connectivity between one seller and many buyers in the online marketplace. (Cullen, Webster).
However, for proper integration of e-commerce employing the B2B model for Easy Shopping, there is a need to install both hardware and software that can match the needs of business operation. The e-commerce contains a web server, and the webserver comprises web server software, hardware and operating system.
The need to choose appropriate software for Easy Shopping’s e-commerce system is essential, and since EasyShopping is a medium-sized organisation, the type of e-commerce’s software solution recommended for EasyShopping should contain the following:
- The capability of having a shopping cart
- Display of catalogue.
- Processing of transactions.
Typically, because of the nature of business of EasyShopping, its e-commerce software should include additional features such as:
- Applications and databases.
- Software for the supply chain management.
- Software for customer management relations.
The basic e-commerce software for medium businesses such as EasyShopping should be typically provided by e-commerce service providers. There are some advantages that e-commerce service providers can provide for EasyShopping e-commerce. For example, the e-commerce service providers offer low-cost software for the building of a website. The cost provided by an e-commerce service provider is as low as $20 per month. (Walcott).
Essentially, the most effective and popular software packages that most organisations employ for e-commerce are as follows:
- Apache HTTP software.
- Microsoft Internet Information software.
- Sun Java System software.
However, before providing a recommendation for a suitable software for the implementation of e-commerce for EasyShoping, the paper examines these three types of software for e-commerce.
Apache HTTP software
The application of Apache HTTP software is free and efficient to use.
Moreover, the Apache HTTP software can be run on many operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD-UNIX, HP-UX, and SCO-UNIX. In addition, with the application of Apache HTTP software, it is easy to have a built-in search engine in the website designed for e-commerce. The Apache HTTP software also supports the HTML tools and can also support FTP. The Apache HTTP software can be managed from either a Web server or server console. The Apache HTTP software also has some add-ons features such as J2EE, ASP, PHP, and XML.
Finally, the Apache HTTP software also contains web services. (Walcott).
Microsoft Internet Information software
The other software suggested for the e-commerce of EasyShopping is Microsoft Internet Information software. This software can be integrated with the server of operating systems. It can also run-on Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows NT, Window 2003 server as well as Window XP. Typically, the Microsoft Internet server is suitable for many corporate intranets. The software is also integrated with search engines, and the webserver can be administered from a remote server. The Microsoft Internet Information software can also combine scripts, ActiveX components, HTML, and SQL queries. (Walcott).
Sun Java System software
The Sun Java system is also known as Sun One which consists of iPlanet or Netscape Web Server. There are many operating systems which be run in Sun Java. The operating systems such as Windows, Solaris, and HP-UX. The management tools the for Sun Java system allow administrators to able to monitor and manage server activities interactively. However, the setback for Sun Java software is that it is more appropriate for large companies. (Walcott, University of London).
Thus, this paper recommends the Apache HTTP software for e-commerce for EasyShopping because it is more applicable to e-commerce than EasyShopping wants to implement. It should be noted that EasyShopping is a medium-sized business organisation, and with the integration of Apache HTTP software for its e-commerce, EsayShopping will be able to use the software for catalogue display where it will be useful to add and delete items from the catalogue.
Moreover, the Apache HTTP software has a database feature where the management of EasyShopping could be able to store information, such as products description and search facilities. With Apache HTTP software, EasyShopping will be able to create web stores where an image of the products will be displayed on the website. Moreover, the Apache HTTP software comes with shopping carts where the prices, codes information of the products will be displayed before customers go to the order form. Moreover, with the shopping cart, it is easy to keep tracking of customers’ selection, and this will allow customers to add or remove items from the shopping cart.
It should be noted that EasyShopping stands to benefit from transaction processing by offering business-to-business where there would be servers to handle traffic to the websites. The software is also secure because it will protect the financial information of the company.
Apart from software, the EasyShoping also needs hardware for the realisation of its e-commerce
Hardware for the realisation of e-commerce for EasyShopping
Hardware is part of the technical requirements to support e-commerce. Some hardware must be integrated into the e-commerce model to enhance business needs. The type of hardware that will be recommended for the e-commerce solution for EasyShopping should have faster hard drives and having more memory, and the hardware for e-commerce should have multiple and faster processors. The Dell, Hewlett Packard or Gate has the powerful hardware that the EasyShopping could be used for the realisation of its e-commerce. The type of hardware supplied by these companies has the following features:
Desktop PC has 512MB RAM, a 200GB IDE Drive, 3GHz processor, DVD/CD-RW and a good monitor, which costs between $2000 and $4000. This type of hardware web server can handle daily traffic for e-commerce, and the hardware architecture is powerful to process millions of transactions each day.
Meanwhile, there are two types of the hardware architecture that EasyShopping could adopt for its e-commerce.
The centralised hardware architecture is large and is very fast. The technical problem with centralised architecture is that it only serves very expensive computers, and it is susceptible to technical problems. Thus, the company needs to have a backup recovery plan.
However, decentralised architecture employs large relatively inexpensive servers for e-commerce. In addition, the decentralised architecture can make use of smaller servers, thus, the risks are spread all over the servers. Meanwhile, the paper recommends decentralised architecture because of its several advantages over centralised architectures. (Walcott).
Despite the realisation of e-commerce through the integration of software and hardware, there is a need to provide security mechanisms to protect unauthorised access to customers’ and company information.
Security mechanisms are used to protect the sensitive (customer and business) data stored by EasyShopping’s information systems
The integration of information systems has several advantages, despite the advantages that e-commerce adds to the business models, there are inherent security risks, which businesses face. Typically, organisations face the risks where unauthorised individuals have access to the company and customers’ sensitive information and use it for illegal purposes. Although, it is a very brilliant idea that EasyShopping attempts to integrate e-commerce in its business model, nevertheless, EasyShopping needs to provide adequate security procedures for the company software and hardware to achieve the best in its information systems.
It should be noted that the security of the information system is part of business liability, and an organisation must employ the highest security procedure to protect the company’s data. Typically, security can address protection of corporate network, virus protection, disaster recovery, physical security and access authorisation. To ensure adequate security on the company information system, the management of EasyShopping needs to update the company document regularly. In addition, the company needs to carry out the following to provide security on company data.
To maintain data integrity, the management of Easy Shopping needs to maintain the secrecy of all the company data. This will also involve preventing unauthorised individuals to have access to a corporate business plan, credit card information, company’s message, and other confidential information. Moreover, a company can prevent unauthorised access to sensitive information by installing firewall software.
The use of a firewall has been identified as one of the best methods to provide a security mechanism for an organisational network. A firewall is a security procedure that prevents outsiders to have access to the private network resources of an organisation. Typically, the use of a firewall is to enhance security between the company network and the internet. EasyShopping can employ packet level firewall and application firewall to enhance the company security. The packet firewall is employed to deny or allow access to identified IP addresses. The company can buy VisNet Firewall 2.2, Software as packet firewall.
In addition, the application firewall is employed to filter incoming or outgoing data to protect the company network from unauthorised access. An example of an application firewall is SonicWall Pro 2040, Hardware. It should be noted that some unidentified individuals can carry out a series of attacks on the corporate website to gain access to company data. Typically, an individual can launch an attack using a program such as a Trojan horse.
The Trojan horse has been known to send private information to the corporate computer to alter the company information. In addition, there is a program such as a sniffer program that can read corporate email messages, the customers’ credit cards numbers and read usernames and passwords. To guide against these types of undesirable programs, EasyShopping needs to install a firewall to prevent access to unauthorised programs and networks.
Use of backdoor protection software
Although a firewall is very effective to protect the company database against unauthorised access to company data. However, the use of a firewall is only effective to protect the company front door. There are many cases where an unauthorised individual can gain access to the company database through the backdoor. Thus, to provide security on the corporate backdoor, EasyShopping needs to provide adequate security to the company backdoor.
There is software that can be installed to provide adequate security to the corporate back door. For example, software such as Advanced Office XP Password Recovery Pro 2.42, Backdoor Guard 220.127.116.11 or Solo Antivirus Software 9.0 has been known to protect company back door from unauthorised access. (Walcott). Typically, with the use of sophisticated security procedures, EasyShopping could provide effective security for its customer’s data through encryption.
The use of encryption is very critical to protect customers’ information such as credit card information. Encryption can be defined as a strategy to apply cypher code to transform the original data into nonsense. Essentially, when data are transmitted into the company database, the data will be transformed into an unreadable text to protect the data transmitted. It should be noted that in electronic commerce, the customer’s data are regularly transmitted into the company server. Thus, with the use of encryption, the company database would be protected. (Hsueh, Olawepo).
In the case of EasyShopping, it should be noted that the customer’s information could contain credit card information, bank information and other sensitive data. To protect the customers’ information, the encryption technique is one of the best methods to protect company and customers’ data from identity theft. (Traubitz).
In addition, to ensure confidentiality, there is a need to enhance authentication and integrity of all the online business transactions conducted. EasyShopping requires installing Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology to ensure secure transmission of data. With SSL, the data transmitted online will be decrypted upon receipt, and the use of SSL technology is to ensure the following security considerations:
This is to ensure that all the transactions are conducted online and transmitted in a secure server. This will be in form of a credential that serves as a server certificate. The main purpose of the server certificate is to enhance authentication. Confidentiality: To ensure confidentiality of the data transmitted onto the server, there is a need for encryption of data through SSL. It should be noted that sometimes, an unauthorised individual can intercept data, however, the installation of SSL will ensure that all the data transmitted in the server pass through a secured server and all the data remain confidential and are free of being intercepted. Integrity: Part of the security procedure is to enhance data integrity. To ensure data integrity, all data transmitted should be free of interception, and installation of SSL guarantee data integrity. (Armstrong, Ball, Bodoff).
One of the major strategies by which EasyShopping can enhance the security procedure of its database is through the cryptographic procedure. Cryptography is the key combination that will protect the company information from gaining access to unauthorised individuals. The only people who can have access to the company’s information are the people having the secret key combination. To protect the company’s database, EasyShopping should use the method of cryptography to protect the company data and only the authorised people should have access to the key. (Walcott).
In addition, to ensure effective security procedures through cryptography, EasyShopping should install SSL, which will make use of key pairs, a public key and private, and if data transmitted are encrypted with one key, the other key will be used to decrypt the data. The fundamental reason to ensure this is to establish privacy and trust in all the transactions conducted. It should be noted that the encrypted value is referred to as a digital signature, and this improves the trust that the clients have in business conducted. (Armstrong, Ball, Bodoff).
Use of antivirus
One of the best methods to provide security to the company’s computer hardware is to use anti-virus software to protect company hardware. It should be noted that there are several damages that virus could do to the information systems of a company. A virus can attach itself to another program and damage computers. Moreover, the virus can come with email attachments and come with word processing files, databases, spreadsheets, excel. etc.
To counter viruses, there is a need to install antivirus in the computer to protect all the files in the database. Essentially, Norton antivirus 2010 is one of the best antiviruses and is effective to protect and scanning all the computers files. The Norton antivirus 2010 is effective in scanning the incoming emails, and automatically detecting and removing any virus found. Moreover, this anti-virus is also effective against worms, and spyware. Thus, by installing anti-virus, EasyShopping can protect its computers from internet risks. Apart from installing the anti-virus on the company’s computers, it is also essential to update the version of the anti-virus.
Miscellaneous security procedure
There are some other security procedures that EasyShopping should observe to ensure that company and customer’s data are free from interception. EasyShopping should ensure that all employees receive training on the company’s security policy. The training should reveal the obligations of all staff on how to protect the company information from improper use and unauthorised access. In addition, the company should make all employees sign a written acknowledgement of abiding by the company rules and regulations to protect the company intellectual properties.
In the training, the employees should be made to realise that all data and information in the database remain the property of the company, and the information in the data should not be stored, retrieved, or edited without permission, and all employees must sign a written agreement to comply with this procedure. Part of the training to enhance security procedures is also to ensure that employees should be extremely cautious when opening emails because some emails may contain email attachments that contain the Trojan horse or email bombs. The training is also to ensure that all staff should be able to identify the potential hazards. (Receivership Technology).
Thus, enhancing security to protect the company’s data is very essential, however, EasyShoping also needs to protect the computer files and database from power failure, flood, fire etc by developing comprehensive contingency for disaster recovery.
Disaster recovery plan
According to Bahan, “…a disaster is defined as a sudden, unplanned catastrophic event that renders the organisation’s ability to perform mission-critical and critical processes, including the ability to do normal production processing of systems that support critical business processes. A disaster could be the result of significant damage to a portion of the operations, a total loss of a facility, or the inability of the employees to access that facility.” (Bahan 5).
Typically, a disaster is unforeseen circumstances that normally happen through natural causes. Some of the processes where disaster can happen through natural causes are flood, fire, earthquake, hurricane, tornado etc. To ensure that company data are not lost through disaster, the management of EasyShopping must provide the disaster recovery plan through the disaster recovery process to safeguard the loss of sensitive data. (Cisco).
It should note that, “The disaster recovery process consists of defining rules, processes, and disciplines to ensure that the critical business processes will continue to function if there is a failure of one or more of the information processing or telecommunications resources upon which their operations depend.” (Bahan 6).
There is a process by which EasyShoping could implement a disaster recovery plan. First, identification of threats or risks that can lead to disaster in the areas where EasyShoping is operating. It should be noted that identification of threat is essential before embarking on the disaster recovery process since disaster occurrence is not the same in all-region. In addition, EasyShopping needs to set up the data recovery committee to see to the data recovery process.
The data recovery committee should consist of people who can activate and execute the data recovery plan. Finally, EasyShopping needs to prepare disaster recovery mechanisms by which there will be a suitable recovery of a data system, hardware, software, telephone system and other entities critical to the business. (Cisco). Thus, an effective procedure by which EasyShopping can adopt in the disaster recovery process is through data backup.
Data back up
“In today’s information-driven digital economy, disaster recovery (DR) is often synonymous with data recovery. Companies depend on information to operate. If a critical application goes down, business screeches to a halt and revenue inevitably suffers.” (Carpenter 2). To safeguard the loss of company data through disaster, EasyShopping should constantly update its data through data backup. Data backup should be one of the highest corporate priorities to protect the company database. Back up is to copy all the important files stored in the computer in a separate location to be retrieved in the case of emergence. Typically, loss of files can happen in many ways and there are unforeseen circumstances that can lead to loss of computer files. There may be fire disasters, floods, theft or another emergence that may lead to damage or loss of computer files. Thus, there is a need to copy all files in the USB, or the personal computer hard drive. (Carpenter).
Meanwhile, providing security procedures and data recovery is essential for the viability of a business, however, to enhance the competitive advantage of EasyShopping, there is a need to design a comprehensive strategy that can make EasyShopping harness technology and information systems to meet their business needs.
Comprehensive Information Systems Strategy that suggests how EasyShopping can harness technology and information systems to meet their business need
Businesses need constant information to remain in business. It should be noted that to enhance effective decision-making, the management needs an adequate flow of information to aid them in business planning. In addition, the middle management also needs essential information to control and monitor business activities. Apart from top management and middle management, the company’s employees also required information to carry out their duties effectively. Meanwhile, to carry out these functions, information systems have been identified as a potent tool by which businesses can enhance competitive advantages. EasyShopping stands to gain several advantages by integrating information systems in their business model.
Management Support System
The information systems will aid the executive of EasyShopping to have easy access to information to enhance decision-making. Gone are the days when management needs to scroll through paperwork to identify information before deciding. Presently, the use of information systems has enhanced the methods by which management has access to information. Tapping the computer keyboard is enough to have access to information that can enhance management decisions. It should be noted that through sophisticated software such as Microsoft Office, spreadsheet etc, management can analyse a large volume of data within minutes, and this would enhance their business decision. (See fig 1 on the organisation chart of EasyShopping).
Online transaction Processing
The use of information systems has been noted to enhance the transactional process. It should be noted that computer systems have been identified to facilitate the business transaction. With the introduction of online business, many companies have introduced an online transaction process where the businesses are opened 24 hours to customers. The online transaction is a kind of automated business where customers can purchase products online by their credit cards and online invoices are automatically delivered to customers after orders are submitted. Thus, with the online transaction process, EasyShopping will benefit tremendously because the customers will not have to visit local stores before making purchases. A customer can easily purchase their goods online and assure to receive the products the next day.
In addition, with the use of information systems, there will be the availability of online tracking of current goods. Thus, the use of tracking by telephone will be removed since there can be online tracking. In addition, the use of information systems will also enhance the job done by the delivery drivers. Typically, the real-time online computer system will be installed in each truck where the driver will be able to access all goods to be delivered online and answering the telephone while driving will be greatly reduced or erased. In addition, EasyShopping will also have access to the intranet and Extranet.
A corporate intranet will allow workers of EasyShopping to have access to company memos, company account worksheets, budgets, newsletters, and other corporate documents. Typically, intranets have varieties of advantages that EasyShoping could benefit from. Intranets “allow for the secure online distribution of many forms of internal company information. Intranets are used for workgroup activities and the distributed sharing of projects within the enterprise. Other uses include controlled access to company financial documents, use of knowledge management, research materials, online training, and other information that requires distribution within the enterprise. Intranets are usually combined with and accessed via a corporate portal.” (Wiley 72). The corporate extranets also allow the authorised external parties to have access to company information.
Another area where EasyShopping can enhance its business through information systems is by using the internet to launch its products worldwide. Typically, many businesses are taking advantage of the internet to launch their business across their geographical locations. It should be noted that EasyShopping is not being able to challenge some big companies such as Tesco or Morrisons, and with the internet, the EasyShoping can launch its products from the UK to other continents such as Asia, other parts of Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Australia.
The online tools that EasyShopping needs to launch its products onto this market are internet advertisements. EasyShopping can place its advertisements on powerful search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing etc. With this strategy, EasyShoping can challenge the big companies such as Tesco, Morrisons and other big companies in the grocery business. As is indicated by Morino Institute, many small businesses have been able to challenge the big companies due to the advantages of electronic commerce.
Many small companies have been able to “establish a global presence and market products and services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with comparatively low overheads.”( Morino Institute 2). It should be noted that the electronic marketplace is very vast, and with an option to sell products anywhere in the world, EasyShopping could take these advantages by launching its products worldwide and assuming a global presence. (Morino Institute).
Enhancement of communication
Effective communication within an organisation is an effective tool by which an organisation can enhance competitive advantages. Effective communication is very essential among employees, and this will enhance customer employees relations. Typically, information systems have been identified as a potential tool by which an organisation can enhance market forces. Effective communication is very essential among employees to enhance efficiency within an organisation.
As being pointed out by Liang, the use of email and intranet within an organisation is effective in ensuring downward communication, which involves an effective method of providing instruction to the subordinate staff. It should be noted that with information communication technology, downward communication will be effective. Typically, EasyShopping needs effective downward communication to improve its efficiency. Downward communication involves passing instructions from superiors to subordinates. It should be noted a superior need to communicate to the subordinates about orders and fulfilment of orders. (Liang).
In addition, electronic communication has changed the pattern an organisation communicates. In the traditional method of communication, there is an only two-way communication where an organisation communicates with customers, sponsors, media, competitors, and supply. However, electronic communication has created powerful channels where computer-aided communication has generated new methods of communicating. Electronic communication has created many-to-many communications where an organisation can communicate with its branches in a different location at the same time.
With powerful advantages of electronic communication, EasyShopping can use these advantages to hold inexpensive video conference meetings with all its management in other locations. In addition, it will also be possible for EasyShopping to hold a video conference with any of its associates in any part of the world. With electronic communication, EasyShoping will be able to interact with its constituencies differently, and this will enhance effective communication with employees, customers, board members, partners and other members of constituencies. It should be noted that with electronic communication, EasyShopping would be able to combine numerous media such as graphics, text, video, sound etc, into a single message. (Morino Institute).
Human resources enhancement
With information systems, EasyShopping can enhance its human resources. It should be noted that EasyShopping could monitor employee’s turnover, which will add to company efficiencies. Typically, information systems will enhance communication among the management of EasyShopping, and this will increase the speed by which the management of EasyShopping decides. Typically, knowledge is very important in decision-making.
The information system will enhance the accumulated learning among employees, and this will enhance organisational knowledge. It should be noted through information systems, EasyShopping could train its employees through online learning. Gone are the days when employees must travel a long distance before an organisation can train its employees. With the use of CD ROM, video conference etc, an organisation can train its employees to enhance organisational knowledge. Thus, EasyShoping will be able to enhance employee’s knowledge of information systems.
Customer relations enhancement
Customer relation is very essential for business continuity, and information systems can enhance the methods by which a company can discover, maintain and improve the market horizons. With the use of information systems, EasyShopping can maintain contact with its customers. Typically, effective communication with customers improves the confidence that customers will have in businesses. Thus, the information systems have been noted to improve the methods by which businesses can effectively communicate to customers. By answering emails questions rapidly, increases the customer’s retentions. (Wiley).
With the powerful effect of information systems, EasyShoping can take the advantage of making potential millions of customers reach its gateway with the power of the internet. Typically, the internet has created a powerful channel by which an organisation can present itself to 20 million internet browsers. The presence of the EasyShopping website will create an avenue where the company will be able to communicate with potential customers. With a website, EasyShopping will also be able to gain the following advantages:
- Update information on the website instantly to communicate with people.
- The website can present an electronic survey where customers will be allowed to provide their feedback through surveys, suggestions etc, and this will help EasyShoping to improve on its products. (Morino Institute).
Information systems have been identified as a strategic tool by which an organisation can enhance its competitive advantages. This paper analyses a case of EasyShopping where it identifies several problems that Easy Shopping has been encountered due to the lack of effective information systems in its business model. To upgrade the business model of EasyShopping, the paper identifies the mission statement and Critical Success Factor on which EasyShopping can measure its success.
To enhance company competitive advantages, this report identifies key areas where EasyShopping can improve. In addition, the paper explores how EasyShopping could employ information systems to enhance its competitive advantages. The report also suggests the effective software and hardware that EasyShopping could employ to upgrade its information systems. Typically, security is essential to protect the database; the paper provides comprehensive security mechanisms and a disaster recovery plan for EasyShopping. Finally, the paper provides a comprehensive Information Systems Strategy that suggests how EasyShopping can harness technology and information systems to meet its business needs.
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