IT 210 Milestone One
IT-210 Bus Systems Analysis/Design
Southern New Hampshire University
The business selected in the case scenario is a small brick and mortar company that specializes in designer clothing, shoes, and handbags. They also offer discounted designer clothing and accessories for both men and women. Currently there are five store employees, two full-time and three part-time employees. The store uses a basic website with a list of a few products to promote and sell its inventory. However, customers can only purchase items in-store. This in turn has created a problem because the business is not able to reach customers as easily as its competitors can. These competitors consist of Bluefly, Zappos, Kohl’s, Macy’s, HauteLook, Nordstrom Rack and Lyst. The primary goal of the business is to promote growth with an increased online presence with a more customer-focused. In addition, streamlining the business processes along with integrating the brick-and-mortar business with an e-business aspect, is also a goal to improve customer service.
The two systems I have chosen to analyze are Business analytics and business intelligence solutions and Social Computing. Business intelligence and analytics tools are the most broadly implemented data management solutions. They both collect analyze and visualize data, offer suggestions to optimize data collected, and presents and organizes the data for presentation. However, only business intelligence can create summarized reports of historical data and use diagnostic analytics to determine the source of mitigating issues. Business analytics on the other hand can make predictions based on collected data and offer solutions based on issues found during data collection. Basically, business intelligence systems are used to maintain and optimize current operations, with an effort to streamline the business. While business analytics are used to gather and analyze data, create predictions, and generate ornately envisioned reports (Adair, B. 2018). Moving on to Social Computing, which is a form of IT that includes social behavior and information systems to generate value. Social computing is engrossed into refining a partnership and collaboration among people and focused on user-generated content. When social computing is sourced, the users, not organizations, manage and produce its content through cooperative communications and collaboration. This results in the transforming relationships within organizations between employees and customers (WileyPlus, 2019).
To satisfy these objectives the business must implement new technology and train its employees on the changes that will be made. The business must also identify what its competitors are doing differently and how they retain their customer base. The desired results are to increase sales and reach more of its target market. This is all very important because it allows the business to stay competitive and give consumers a convenient alternative.
Currently, the physical location struggles with managing customer information and does not have a reporting tool to help management make informed decisions. The objectives are to streamline the business operations, which will allow the business to connect with its customers, allowing them to expediently purchase items both online and in the store. In addition, products will be easily promotable, and customers will be able to conveniently view inventory. In order to accomplish and overcome issues that has subjected the business to become less competitive the owner will be looking for new technology solutions. These solutions will support the business goals by integrate online shopping, manage inventory and shipping, providing order status and online payment processing, facilitating collaboration internally and externally, manage customer contacts, provide reporting and use the new technology to manage the current brick-and-mortar processes, i.e. sales, payments, inventory, and customer contact.
This will all be done by implementing key technological requirements. First, the integration of online shopping will bring the business into today’s purchasing environment and provide a system that checks the status of the online purchases. Lastly, create a system that can manage the current brick and mortar processes that improves the sales, payments, inventory and customer contacts.
Competitors and Technology
Technology One: Business Intelligence Solutions.
The first competing company is Kohls. Kohls is a department store that sells both moderately priced private and national name brand clothing, footwear and accessories. In addition, the company also sells beauty and home products. According the Company’s Website, much of its merchandise that is available in its stores, is also available online (Reuters, 2019). Four separate technologies highlights Kohl’s strategy of investment for the future of its company. These four crucial initiatives are the Cloud, artificial intelligence, automation and mobile. First and foremost, artificial intelligence is helping Kohl’s to work in a faster, smarter, and more efficient way. This helps to innovate how they relate with their customers and to improve their jobs. This artificial intelligence is being applied into the 1100 department stores and e-commerce fulfillment centers. They are also investing in tools that provides online customers chatbots and voice and image search capabilities (Kohl’s, 2018).
Technology Two: Social Computing.
The second competing company is Macy’s. The company an omni-channel retail organization and department store that operates through both traditional stores and its online web site. The company sells a wide variety of merchandise, for men, women, and children that includes clothing, cosmetics, home furnishings and other consumer goods. As of April 4, 2018, Macy’s operates 690 department stores under the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s brands. 160 are considered specialty stores which operate under the brand names Bloomingdale’s The Outlet, Bluemercury, and Macy’s (Bloomberg, 2019). Macys is using artificial intelligence in conjunction with a mobile tool which will give customers answers to questions they may have about the store they are shopping in (Loeb, W. 2016). Macy’s is also using virtual and augmented reality tech in stores and has launch the use of VR for Furniture in 69 of its stores nationwide. This allows Macy’s to market its furniture collection without taking up room on the sales floor. A similar technology using a mobile app allows customers to see how several pieces of furniture would fit in their living areas. Virtual mirror technology is also being used in its beauty departments to expose customers to their wide array of cosmetic products by using a kiosk to show how they may look (Anderson, G. 2018).
Both companies are benefiting from the technologies that are being used to improve their operations. Kohls has presented a plan of which the business in the case scenario would benefit from as well. The technology that Kohls is using is more rounded and benefits the business as a whole. The concepts of the Cloud, artificial intelligence, automation and mobile, would easily be implemented and seems more logical. This would give the business a method to connect with its customer base and expand its target market.
The first of two technologies that can help the business is Business analytics and business intelligence solutions. This type of technology is very useful for an emerging and upcoming business to compete with others in their market. Business analytics, according to WileyPlus is defined as the process of developing actionable decisions or recommendations for actions based on insights generated from historical data. Whereas, business intelligence is defined as a broad category of applications, technologies, and processes for gathering, storing, accessing, and analyzing data to help business users make better decisions (WileyPlus, 2019). In this situation where this type of technology would benefit the business would be to support one aspect of its operation in being able to reach more customers easily as the competition can. This would allow the organization to generate database to store the needed data on customers and their purchasing habits, preferences and demographics to help reach the target market. Although, this needs to be an independent entity as this data storage does not turn out to be a “data silo” which may lead to inconsistencies when integrating into other parts of the operation. The flow of information that business analytics provides is very important as it improves decisions made within the business. It also gives an analysis to see where the business currently sits however, large amounts of data are needed to have successful results and with the size of the current operation this may be a challenge (MSG, 2019). The business intelligence side is a critical step to incorporating the needed systems to allow customers to view products and meet their needs. With an intelligent business system, management can investigate more detailed and present information about several parts of the business. This could include the financial, production and customer data. In turn more informed decisions can be made when considering the products to focus on and which ones to terminate, thus meeting customer’s needs. The one downside to this technology is that it can be costly, complex and very time consuming to implement for the size of the company that it currently stands at (Strain. M, 2018).
The second technology that would benefit the business is social computing. In this day in age and the popularity of social media it only makes sense to promote and establish a foothold in this type of media. With social computing there are several platforms for the business to expand on and the ability to communicate with potential new customers is expansive as well. This will fulfill the need that the company desperately needs to expand its customer base. It’s a relatively inexpensive option that reduces marketing costs and increases customer service performance. Social Computing also potentially can increase economic revenue over other more traditional methods (Userhub, 2019). There are some downfalls however, monitoring traffic can be difficult as social computing is an open environment in the online world, so more resources will be required to manage the businesses online presence. Social media is immediate and will also require additional monitoring. Lastly with an increased online marketing method there is a potential to receive negative feedback that can harm the business (Business.gov.au, 2018).
Considering the potential that these two technologies can provide and the ability to enhance the business needs the best course of action in my opinion is to implement social computing along with a small addition of business analytics and business intelligence solutions. Considering the size of the business social computing makes sense as it is the most cost-effective method where the current availability of employees could implement this technology with less training. Management will be able to control the content to which will be disseminated across social media platforms. In addition, this method will reach new customers and will promote the business in a more expedient manner. With the addition of social computing, applying business analytics and business intelligence to incorporate data collection and to bring the business into a more modern-day operation standard.
To be successful in today’s business world owners must modernize operations and implement these two business solutions. The data collection will give real time information on who is purchasing goods and will show demographics of the potential target markets the business must go for. By using the suggested technologies, the business will become more efficient and organized to where results will be seen. Social computing itself will cut the time it takes to communicate with customers and allow them to reach customer service more readily. Business analytics and intelligence will provide an expedient method to identify where the needs of the company will require the most attention and what segment of the business is most successful. The position of the company’s online presence will increase due to these technological additions as it will bring allow the company to be seen by a much larger audience
Basic Security Considerations
With implementation of any technology comes the risks of security issues. The ability to protect information and data is a key factor of a successful security system. One thing to consider is the internet. As we apply new technologies into our business many of these new systems require internet access. Endless numbers of computers and networks communicate freely through the internet which can expose organizations to untrusted networks and potential security threats (WileyPlus). A second factor to consider is that of external storage devices. These may include thumb and flash drives. With the advancement in storage media, these devices have become smaller in size yet can copy more information compared to their predecessors. The identifying characteristics of these tools allows for potential attackers to steal the sensitive data or information of an organization (WileyPlus, 2019). Another factor to take into consideration is how global organized crime is increasingly being associated with cybercrimes. Organized crime rings have taken over hacking groups which have targeted known software security weaknesses of large corporations. These crimes are nonviolent however, have turned very rewarding to the criminal organizations, in terms of revenue. A business can be targeted anywhere in the world resulting in billions of dollars in costs to business organizations every year due to the repairing of information systems and lost revenue (WileyPlus, 2019). Lastly, there is just a lack of management support for the implementation of information security and needed procedures to combat this issue. Managers are in close contact with employees every day and are given the opportunity to make sure procedures are being followed. As a result, the security of information and data can be properly monitored (WileyPlus, 2019).
First and foremost, when a company contracts with a third-party vendor to provide a product service, vetting of the company must occur and gather background information on their business, especially when comes to data privacy and security. Next do they have inclusive security strategies and recovery plans in place when security issues come up and how often are these procedures reviewed or updated? In addition, third-party vendors must perform data back-ups and recoveries on a regular basis, which includes the implementation of backing up servers as well to circumvent any loss of information if hardware fail. Performing internal audits is also a very important factor to consider as it provides an added security measure. Lastly, making sure all third-party employees are vetted and have been given proper to background checks because they will be handling company data and information (Bailey. T, n.d.)
One internal safeguard is basic physical controls. Physical controls simply prevent unwanted or unauthorized individuals to gain access to certain areas. Walls, doors, fences, gates, locks, badges, guards, and alarm systems are the most prevalent safeguards used to prevent access. Motion detectors and other sensors are some more advanced systems that companies have deployed within their operating procedures. Companies have also included when and where employees can access computers and have placed a limit for unsuccessful log in attempts. There are some draw backs and limitations of physical controls in regard to human guards. As important as their job is, duties become tiresome and monotonous which may result in compliancy. Next is access controls. These controls limit unauthorized people from accessing sensitive information. There are two primary purposes that they perform, which are authentication and authorization. Authentication is used to determine an individual’s identity who may require access. After and identity is authenticated, an authorization will next take place. The authorization is determining the rights and privileges the person is assigned to. Some methods of authentication are biometrics, ID cards, voice or signature recognition and passwords. These methods are all great ways to accurately identify an individual. Lastly there are communication controls. Communications controls protect the movement of information throughout networks. Firewalls, anti-malware systems, whitelisting and blacklisting, encryption, virtual private networks, transport layer security (TLS), and employee monitoring systems are all components of communication controls. By using these types of systems, networks will have added security and deter damages caused by malicious attacks.
Adair, Bergen (2018) Choosing Between Business Intelligence vs Business Analytics Solutions. Retrieved from, https://selecthub.com/business-intelligence/business-intelligence-vs-business-analytics/
Anderson, George (October 8, 2018) Macy’s Tech Strategy Is Promising, But Scattershot. Retrieved from, https://www.forbes.com/sites/retailwire/2018/10/08/macys-tech-strategy-is-promising-but-scattershot/#ba80fc11b37d
Bailey, Tricia C. (n.d.) Managing Third-Party Vendor Risk. Retrieved from, https://identity.utexas.edu/id-perspectives/managing-third-party-vendor-risk
Bloomberg (2019) Multiline Retail Company Overview of Macy’s, Inc. Retrieved from, https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=318091
Business.gov.au (July 9, 2018) Pros and cons of using social media for business. Retrieved from, https://www.business.gov.au/marketing/social-media/pros-and-cons-of-social-media
Kohls (April 17, 2018) The Four Technologies to Know: Kohl’s Is Working Smarter With Artificial Intelligence. Retrieved from, https://corporate.kohls.com/news/archive-/2018/april/the-four-technologies-to-know–kohl-s-is-working-smarter-with-ar
Loeb, Walter (July 22, 2016) Macy’s Makes Rapid Advances In Technology. Retrieved from, https://www.forbes.com/sites/walterloeb/2016/07/22/macys-rapid-advances-in-technology/#30dd8af07da8
MSG (2019) Information Technology and Business Alignment: Why it is Important. Retrieved from, https://www.managementstudyguide.com/information-technology-and-business-alignment.htm