Unit Code and Title: SBM4203 Management Information Systems

Assessment 2: Case Study-1

Assessment Details:

Assessment item 3 – Individual assignment

This assessment will assess students understanding of theoretical learning to practical, real-world situations. This is a great opportunity for the students to demonstrate awareness of:

  • the complexity of the managerial role;
  • the reliance of a manager on other people, both inside and outside the organisation, and
  • the necessary interaction of both informal/interpersonal factors and formal/organisational factors in fulfilling organisational purposes.

Instructions

“The manager’s job in context” is an individual assignment.

  • Undertake an analysis of your own job and its context.
  • If you do not have the managerial (or similar) experience, or if for some other reason it is not appropriate to analyse your own job, you may choose instead the job of another individual who agrees to be the focus of this assignment (current job). Your lecturer must approve your choice.
  • Alternatively, you may discuss with your lecturer/tutor the possibility of analysing a position you have held in the past.
  • You may change (or withhold) the names of people or organisations if you believe anonymity is required.

Complete the following requirements:

1. Briefly describe the actual requirements of the job. Include formal requirements (such as those that may be detailed in a position/job description), and less formal requirements (for example, particular personality characteristics you think are important).

2. Identify (list) other individuals or groups from inside and/or outside the organisation with whom you interact who are important to your job. These could include your staff (perhaps of various categories), your supervisor, peers, clients/customers, suppliers, regulators and so on. Specify THE PEOPLE, not just the organisation or department, for example, ‘Sonia Mirza, Finance Manager’, ‘Type-setters in the Printing Department’ or ‘Receptionists, Department of Foreign Affairs’ (not just ‘Printing Department’ or ‘Department of Foreign Affairs’).

3. Describe the principle characteristics of these individuals or groups, particularly those characteristics that impact on their interaction with you. If your list is lengthy, select those five or six individuals or groups who are the most important, who are critical to your ability to fulfil the requirements of your job (this description should include such things as formal organisational position, demographics such as age or gender, personality, or pattern of interaction with you). If you have only identified people inside your own organisation, you should briefly explain why people outside your organisation have not been considered.

4. Describe the nature of the interdependency that exists between you and these critical groups or individuals. That is, in what way do you rely on each other? What do you expect from these groups and individuals? What do they expect from you? You may wish to include formal concepts of interdependence (e.g. pooled/sequential/reciprocal) in your analysis, but only do so if it enhances your analysis.

5. Include a diagrammatic representation of these interdependencies. Note this should not be presented as an organisational chart. A typical format for this diagram would consist of you as the focus or centre with the groups and individuals with whom you interact arranged around you. You are welcome to supply an organisational chart in addition as an attachment.

6. Evaluate the interdependent group (that is, the virtual network your diagram represents: yourself and the groups or individuals with whom you must interact) in terms of its effectiveness and efficiency and the satisfaction of those concerned.

7. Make recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction of the interdependent group. These recommendations could include such things as the redesign of the structure and work routines of your department or organisation, or preferred changes in the external environment, such as government regulation or changes in other organisations. Please note: you are not being asked to simply evaluate your managerial style or the effectiveness of your department or organisation.

 

Assessment 3: Case Study-2

Assessment Details:

Read the case study below and complete the exercise at the end.

Office Depot Gets SaaSy Like most businesses, Office Depot has been searching for ways to boost its market share and increase revenue in times when money is tight. Glenn Trommer, director of e-commerce and implementation services at Office Depot, and his team work closely with the sales department looking for ways that technology can assist with sales. One area identified as needing improvement was in Office Depot’s ordering system for its business customers. Some of the transaction requests from business customers were not compatible with Office Depot’s ordering software. In other words, customers could not specify their needs using the existing system. Office Depot’s competitors, however, did not suffer from the same problem and were thus able to fill orders and satisfy customers that Office Depot could not. Office Depot needed software that could better integrate the order-placing systems used by its customers with its own order-processing system. Glenn Trommer and his team had three options: they could design proprietary software themselves, they could purchase software off the shelf and customize it to their needs, or they could hire the services of a company that specializes in integration software. Because of its financial restraints, Glenn decided that investing in software as a service (SaaS) for its integration needs would allow the business to get the best return on its investment in the shortest amount of time. Glenn, his team, and Office Depot sales managers ultimately chose Hubspan, which provides a cloud-based integration platform called Integration-as-a service. Hubspan’s system was placed between Office Depot’s and its business customers to interpret customer needs into a format that Office Depot could process. Glenn Trommer and his team worked with Hubspan to educate the service provider on Office Depot’s selling approach, sales cycle, and data formats. In a short time, the new system was in place without any inconvenience to customers. Since its adoption, Integration-as-a-service has provided Office Depot with a “significant” increase in incremental revenue—revenue generated by big corporate customers who had previously been driven to Office Depot competitors. The increase in revenue has led to an increase in market share for Office Depot. Glenn Trommer says, “In these tough economic times [it’s] really helped us gain market share with very little investment.” Trommer appreciates that Hubspan’s Integration-as-a service is secure, reliable, and scalable. He is considering expanding its use to transactions with Office Depot’s own vendors. The short implementation time, low technical requirements, flexibility, and low cost made SaaS a perfect solution for Office Depot’s problem. 

Exercise:

Imagine you are a manager of a company which is in need of IS solution to your company needs similar to Office Depot, looking for ways that technology can assist with sales. By reading the above article, you are motivated to upgrade your system to software as a service (SaaS) for its integration needs. You are required to make a business proposal to convince your CEO about introducing software as a service (SaaS) for its integration needs. You must address the following in your proposal through a considerable amount of literature review.

1. What is cloud-based computing? What is software as a service (SaaS)?

2. Why do you believe your company should implement software as a service (SaaS) to solve company needs rather than developing your own software or purchasing off-the-shelf solutions?

3. What benefits do SaaS solutions provide to businesses like your company and Office Depot?

4. Provide four lists of alternative cloud-based integration platform service providers which offer cloud-based solutions to small medium-sized businesses.

5. Do a comparative analysis among them in terms of cost, features.

6. Which provider do you think is best suited to your business needs, and provide reasons why? Justify your arguments with a detailed cost-benefit analysis.

7. In general, which types of problems are best suited for SaaS solutions?

8. What risk, if any, is your company similar to Office Depot taking by trusting its data and operations to your chosen SaaS provider?

 

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