7: Electronic Business Systems
1. Refer to the
Real World Case on Salesforce.com and Others in the chapter. What are several reasons why a business application on IT like
CRM can be so costly and take so long to implement for many companies and be criticized as a “most oversold, under-implemented
Reasons would include:
Lack of planning (preparing for the implementation of CRM).
Lack of training of users (employees, customers and business partners)
Vendors use scores of consultants to get the CRM up and running.
The company has failed to develop the changes in the business processes necessary for CRM
to be successful.
Why would systems like CRM which enhance a company’s relationships with its customers have such a high rate of
Reasons for a high rate of failure could include:
amount of high-level cooperation will protect a CRM project from rank-and-file employees that hate it due to fear the software
would threaten their jobs.
is complex to install because it often touches many different legacy systems.
CRM system may prove to be very slow for customers and employees if not designed and implemented right.
project planning and training with little stakeholder involvement.
How could some of the spectacular failures of ERP systems in business been avoided?
Failures could be avoided by:
involvement in the CRM project from the beginning.
of employees, customers and others that will be using the system including the re-training of employees with redefined job
project planning, design and testing of the system to insure that issues such as stakeholder acceptance and system speed are
4. Refer to the example of Dell Computer
in the chapter. What other solutions could there be for the problem of information
system incompatibility in business besides EAI systems?
The lack of integration means that companies aren’t getting the seamless processing that would enable them
to reduce costs and speeds up customer responsiveness. This is true whether you
are talking about Dell Computer or any other company dependent on integrated systems.
Dell Computer chose the WebMethods’ enterprise application integration (EAI) technology as a solution to their
challenge of integrating a variety of software packages from a number of companies that they deal with. This technology acts as a software translator and creates a kind of hub that, using the Web, allows instantaneous
communication among networked companies’ internal business systems.
Dell could have chosen to develop their
own in-house system or outsourced the contracting of a new system that their clients would buy into. They could also pursue such things as joint ventures, strategic alliances, licensing, etc. for a new system.
5. Refer to the example on Charles Schwab &
Co. in the chapter. What are the most important HR applications a company should
offer to its employees via a Web-based system? Why?
The most important HR applications that
a company should offer to its employees via a Web-based system are by giving employees access to information that they need. The HR department can do this by ensuring that employees can easily find applicable
information without spending a tremendous amount of time looking for it. Applications
can include a multitude of things such as benefits, training, opportunities for advancement or career growth, scheduling of
time, sick and dental benefits and forms, travel and hotel directives, learning centers and many other things.
6. How could sales force automation affect
salesperson productivity, marketing management, and competitive advantage?
Sales force automation is the use of computers
to automate sales recording and reporting by sales people as well as communications and sales support. It improves productivity by saving time otherwise spent on manual creation of records, reports, and presentations;
it improves communications and accessibility to information to support sales activities; and it may help in planning sales
Increasingly, computers and networks are
providing the basis for sales force automation. In many companies, the sales
force is being outfitted with notebook computers that connect them to Web browsers, and sales contact management software
that connect them to marketing websites on the Internet, extranets, and their company intranets. Sales force automation has resulted in increasing the personal productivity of salespeople, dramatically
speed up the capture and analysis of sales data from the field to marketing managers at company headquarters, allows marketing
and sales management to improve the delivery of information and the support they provide to their salespeople. Many companies view sales force automation as a way to gain a strategic advantage in sales productivity
and marketing responsiveness.
7. How can Internet technologies be involved in improving a
process in one of the functions of business? Choose one example and evaluate
its business value.
Students’ answers will vary. However,
it will be relatively easy for them to choose from any of the various functions of business such as accounting, marketing,
manufacturing, retailing, etc. For this answer, the accounting function
will be given. For example, aaccounting information systems are being affected by Internet and client/server
technologies. Using the Internet, intranets, extranets, and other network changes
how accounting information systems monitor and track business activity. The online,
interactive nature of such networks calls for new forms of transaction documents, procedures, and controls. Many companies are using or developing network links to their trading partners through the use of the Internet
or other networks for applications such as order processing, inventory control, accounts receivable, and accounts payable. These advances in the accounting function have to vast improvements in the capturing, reporting, and the accuracy of company data. Thus, real-time processing of accounting information enables executives to make better and more informed
decisions involving their firm’s resources.
Refer to the Real World Case on GE Power and Corporate Express in the chapter. Why is there a need for enterprise
application integration systems in business? Will this continue to be the case in the future? Why or why not?
Enterprise application integration systems are needed for the following
· It is a critical part of the IT strategy in organizations
looking to meld disparate systems and quickly deliver data to employees, customers and partners.
· Companies continue to have a need to integrate front-
and back-office applications, Web services and legacy applications.
· The ability to send data in real-time from one system
· The need to improve the quality and accuracy of the
· The need to cut costs both internally and for customers,
so a company will remain attractive as a preferred supplier.
· The need to integrate various application with enterprise
resource planning systems.
are several e-business applications that you might recommend to a small company to help it survive and succeed in challenging
economic times? Why?
e-business applications may take on many forms.
For example data conferencing, digital information services, distance learning, facsimile, intranets, teleconferencing,
videoconferencing, voice mail systems etc. It may also take on the form of applications
dealing with procurement, marketing, manufacturing, financial, logistics, human resources, supplier and vendor integration
applications and a multitude of other applications. What is important in the
question is that a small company can use e-business applications to survive and succeed in challenging economic times by allowing
it to carry out many functions more effectively. As well, as large corporations
restructure and go back to concentrating on their core business there are a number of opportunities for small businesses to
provide services to the larger companies.
10. Refer to the example on General Electric
in the chapter. How do enterprise collaboration systems contribute to bottom-line
profits for a business?
a growing organizational need to integrate functions and business processes to improve organizational control, coordination,
and responsiveness by allowing data and information to flow more freely between different parts of the organization. Poorly integrated applications can create costly inefficiencies or slow customer service
and become competitive liabilities. Enterprise
collaboration system software consists of a set of interdependent modules for applications such as sales and distribution,
financial accounting, investment management, materials management, production planning, plant maintenance, and human resources
that allows data to be used by multiple functions and business processes for more precise organizational coordination and
control. The modules can communicate with each other directly or by sharing a
common repository of data. Vendors are rapidly enhancing their products to provide
more capabilities for supply chain management, customer relationship management, and exchange of data with other enterprises. As such, these systems can greatly enhance the bottom-line profits for a business
who knows how to use them effectively.