IT System Recommendation: HD Supply

IT System Recommendation: HD Supply

Week 5 Final Paper

INF 220: IS Principles

Technology is the engine that drives the marketplace today and has improved the way businesses function. Information technology has transformed the landscape of how business is conducted through innovative developments, approaches, and trends. It has allowed for increased collaboration among employees, workforce mobility and flexibility, connectedness, time and cost simplification, and enhanced business models. Companies seek to use these advancements in technology and continue to develop applications to help them effectively sell their products and services through brick and mortar locations and over the internet. Information technology has further helped to create an infrastructure where businesses are connected to their vendors, shippers, customers, producers, and dealers up to the minute. Information technology is a facilitator for economic and financial success in today’s every changing business landscape.

As the world in which we live becomes more interconnected, subject matter experts in business information systems and security will continue to be in high demand to further advance the speed and efficiency of business transactions while mitigating the risks of collecting, transmitting, and disseminating information. Online technologies have helped businesses to severely reduce costs, increase efficiency, and streamline operations on a potential international scale. Organizations can now stay open the entire day, seven days a week and even on holidays to offer services all over the globe. Information systems are essential components of all companies today.

HD Supply is one of the largest North American industrial distributors that provides maintenance, repair, and operations products and services to over 500,000 customers in multifamily, healthcare, hospitality, and institutional facilities (HD Supply, 2017). With over 46 distribution centers across 36 states, the organization utilizes SAP to better control costs and increase flexibility in delivering the products and services our customer’s desire in an efficient and effective manner. “This integration allows for inventory optimization, order tracking, order fulfillment, and universal product naming” (SAP, 2017). The various customer service contact centers located across the United States utilize associates to process orders and returns, provide delivery information, and resolve customer issues and concerns. SAP helps to facilitate a smooth and seamless transition of products and services originating from HD Supply and arriving at the customers location to satisfy the customer promise of “deliver what you need, where and when you need it” (HD Supply, 2017). Data accuracy correctly establishes levels of inventory in each of our distribution centers which mitigates delays in delivery, helps to identify customer queries and complaints, and maintains control of assets. Customer service agents have the necessary tools and resources at their disposal to quickly process a customer request in a limited number of steps. Simple and straightforward process allows for less confusion and rapid assimilation of the operation functions of the business. Job responsibility reflects functionality in SAP. A customer service associate has access to only the tasks that support their role. Inventory levels are accurate and established through SAP functionality to help identify product availability based on customer needs. Part numbers can be created for all types of products that contribute to the maintenance, repair, and operations needs of the customers we serve to streamline operations and functionality. The system works without error and when problems arise there are steps in place to resolve issues in a timely fashion.

Organizations like HD Supply work with immense amounts of data that are formulated to be accurate, timely, specific, and organized within the company’s goals and mission statement that give them meaning, relevance, and purpose. This information helps to answer specific questions within the organization and to solve problems relevant to its strategic initiatives. “An information system can be defined technically as a set of interrelated components that collect or retrieve, process, store, and distribute information to support decision making and control in an organization. In addition to supporting decision making, coordination, and control, information systems may also help managers and workers analyze problems, visualize complex subjects, and create new products” (Laudon & Laudon, 2009, p. 11). Information systems determine their relevance and importance by processing the collected data from various company collection avenues to generate information that is useful for managing business objectives and operations and increase their overall effectiveness and capabilities.

Sales and marketing is the function of the company that manages advertising, promotions, public relations, and sales. They are also responsible for research and development, pricing, and communication channels to reach their target consumer base. “A marketing information system involves an organized system of direction, collection, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence to operating units of a business enterprise.” (Evans & Schlacter, 1985). (p. 50). To maintain its customer base, sales and marketing takes responsibility for making sure buyers are happy, as well as trying to add sell, upsell, and cross sell. The division takes the initiative to contact customers with feedback surveys, incentives, and is proactive in attempting to solve any problems that might cause the company to lose customers and diminish loyalty. Manufacturing and production systems refer to the processes and methods that are responsible for turning raw materials into the company’s finished goods and services offered to their customers for financial profit. Manufacturing and production information systems include facility management, creation and assembly of goods, design and development of software applications, processes, work methods, production planning systems to include staff, equipment, and part components, and quality assurance tasks to ensure a safe and functional product free of defects and problems. Finance and accounting systems form a set of controls which establish the financial activity for your organization through a balance sheet, cash flow, and profit and loss. The operating costs, payroll costs, available cash, accounts receivable, and accounts payable all solidify the company’s financial position towards customers, investors, creditors, and regulators. Finance and accounting helps to formulate the future direction and course of action a company takes. It is a way to measure success and evaluate performance based on established strategies and the company’s long-term and short-term goals. Human resource systems are responsible for attracting, developing, training, and retaining the corporation’s workforce. A human resource department provides an organization the ability to meet its business needs by taking care of their most valuable resource-the employees. They develop their workforce through recruitment and staffing by completing job postings, screening potential applicants, conducting preliminary interviews, and helping managers with filling their hiring requirements. Human resources supports workplace safety and training initiatives along with workers compensation claims. They maintain employee relations through measuring job satisfaction, employee engagement, and workplace conflict resolution. They also set compensation structures for positions throughout the company and negotiate health and wellness benefit plans. Compliance with labor and employment laws is another essential function of human resources. They provide employees with orientation training and onboarding along with leadership and development training.

Other departments within a company may include transaction processing, management information, decision support, executive support, enterprise resource planning, supply chain, customer relations, and knowledge management systems that serve specific functions within a business. Transaction processing system involve the collection, modification, and retrieval of data to include sales transactions, order entry, payroll, shipping, and receiving necessary to conduct business on a daily basis. Management information systems allow managers to make more effective and productive decisions based on the collection of company revenue and expense data specific to departments which helps to maintain stability and predict future performance. Decision support systems look at sales figures from one week to the next, projected revenue based on sales forecasts, and the evaluation of decisions and past performance to help predict the marketplace of the future. Executive support systems address how executive and business owners gather and weigh data that forecast future events and help to positively influence ongoing business decisions. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems integrate the departments of a company: finance, human resources, manufacturing, services, procurement, and supply chain, into a single system that provide visibility, analytics, and increased efficiency across all departments and functions to make decisions and manage performance in the now. “ERP systems are designed to provide seamless integration of processes across functional areas with improved workflow, standardization of various business practices, and access to real-time data.” (Powell, Riezebos, & Strandhagen, 2013, p. 397). Customer relationship management systems provide information involving customer satisfaction, loyalty, and customer retention. Knowledge management systems use principles around business productivity, intelligence, knowledge, and analysis that support leaders in making critical decisions involving business objectives. “A firm’s knowledge resources are the unique skills, expertise, insights, experience, and intellectual capital that it uses for building information technology capability.” (Jahangir, Toni, & Anol, 2007, p. 225). Supply chain management systems provide activities to maximize customer value and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage in the areas of product development, production, logistics, sourcing, and transportation. It is the successful coordination of multiple organizations that collectively deliver products and services to the customer. There is the physical flow aspect of products that involve movement and storage and then the informational flow aspect which coordinate partners and develop long term plans for order fulfillment.

HD Supply integrates SAP functionality in order fulfillment and tracking available inventory throughout their own distribution network. However, they do not utilize this enterprise resource planning software to integrate the entire supply chain process to better meet inventory levels and product availability based on geographic location and the ordering history of its customers. This integration of additional SAP resources can consolidate sales and operations planning, response and supply planning, and inventory optimization. It can increase supply chain visibility and run predictive analytics for product sourcing. Redefine inventory forecasting and customer product demands using social collaboration capabilities. Create scenarios and run simulations to evaluate different plans and to understand the importance and impact of potential business decisions.

Benefits of the proposed expanded SAP platform include less development time, easier integration with existing SAP systems already in use, continued support with product updates and enhancements, reduced work load, shortened project time lines, functionality to meet changing business needs, greater flexibility and customer satisfaction, increased consumer loyalty, standardization of business processes, system automation, and a stronger more stable infrastructure. Disadvantages include a higher cost to purchase and implement, employee training time, software complexity, length of time taken to adapt to the new systems, the level of education needed to maintain the system, on location versus cloud centered integrations, and software architecture needed to accommodate changing business environments, uses, and needs.

Security controls needed to report suspicious activities and enable HD Supply to identify breaches to its network are to receive alerts that can be pursued in time to effectively neutralize the dangers for business-critical assets and to prevent critical damage to your business and its reputation in its chosen area of expertise. Support a continuously changing threat environment by using a powerful and flexible cybersecurity monitoring solution with detection and response capabilities. Identify security lapses in the application landscape readily and efficiently with the real-time data processing combination of smart data streaming services and the SAP platform. Build confidence in the overall cybersecurity solution strategy and help ensure systemwide security compliance. Consolidate and process enormous amounts of events with the SAP platform to gain insight at groundbreaking speed and efficiency. Gain an overview of the threat situation, perform forensic investigations, and discover new attack patterns to resolve the ever-evolving threats to the business and its customers.

Data integration across all organizational fields supports analysis and decision-making. It offers a clearer picture of the processes which when streamlined, help achieve greater organizational value and deliver exceptional performance. The SAP ERP integration solution makes it easier to exchange functionalities and data with other systems. This significantly raises the value of information by connecting it to personnel-related data, supply chain, logistics, production, storage, and transportation. SAP has tremendous exposure across all business markets and is a market leader in providing ERP solutions to all sizes of companies. They are diversified and have a presence across the world and in many different languages which further promotes their flexibility and strength in the marketplace for providing solutions to ever evolving problems and business approaches. A better understanding of marketplace needs and industry specific capabilities due to their experience and continuous innovations. They can provide real-time analysis of substantial amounts of data in a very short period. These resources and advancements help businesses maintain and sustain their competitive advantage through technology.



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