Strategic Information Management

[Abstract]
The purpose of this document is to provide a basic understanding of managing information systems by utilizing a scenario of a store that has multiple sites and locations to deliver products in a fast and efficient manner. The corporate IT strategy is to improve IT communications throughout the organization. There are three projects under consideration to assist the organization in communications. One project is to use wireless networks in order to access data faster. Another project involves using a collaborative system that allows for synchronous and asynchronous communications. The third project involves using a customer resource management system, however this project requires replacing previous systems and a lot of lead-time to deliver the system for operations. There are specific questions that are answered within this document as it pertains to the scenario. How is the project you selected consistent with Kucera Clothiers’ IT strategy? Why would Kucera Clothiers consider implementing your selected project at this time? Why not later? What issues would arise by not implementing the other projects first? This document is intended for anybody looking to gain a basic knowledge or understanding of strategic information management.

[Content]
The retail clothing company Kucera Clothiers with over 100,000 employees in 3500 locations is looking to improve their corporate IT strategy. The company’s desired corporate strategy is to improve communications between the corporate headquarters and the satellite offices while improving access to corporate records and customer accounts as personnel are either in the office or travelling. The company has narrowed the options down to three projects that will best suite their needs. The first option involves providing wireless network connectivity with associated devices in order to provide access to all necessary data and services at all of their locations. The second option involves providing a collaboration system that is either accessible on the Intranet or over the Internet, but the system involves a deployment of a new software system and training for employees. The third option involves the implementation of a customer resource management system throughout the organization, which replaces any previous systems, and there is a lot of lead-time that is needed to both implement the system and train employees.

The company has requested assistance with analyzing the options and making a managerial decision of which one to implement, it is best to first choose the option that aligns well with the corporate IT strategy. The option that best aligns with the desired corporate strategy is the second option where a collaboration system will be installed and utilized throughout the organization. A reason this best aligns with the corporate strategy is because it is going to meet all of the requirements that have been identified by the company by allowing everybody to have access to the desired information both while they are at a brick and mortar location and while they are travelling (Frenzel, Frenzel, 2004 P.71). This method is also the best choice because the company has so many locations, that all the different site locations cannot be treated the same because their network connectivity costs may differ from location to location and this puts the responsibility in each location’s hands to determine which method of access the Intranet or Internet will best suites their needs. This also allows personnel who are travelling to choose which method to connect to the Internet best suites their needs and they can still have access to the desired information. Also due to the use of the collaboration system the training costs and time it takes to train all the employees will be minimal. The collaboration system may utilize online training to inform all the employees of how to use the system in which each employee can access the training as their schedules allow. The overall software costs of a collaboration system are minimal compared to the costs that would entail network infrastructure upgrades for every location, as seen in the first option. The time it takes to implement and train all employees to use the collaboration system is minimal compared to the time needed for the implementation of the customer resource management, as seen in the third option. The second option best aligns with the corporate IT strategy because it is easy to implement with minimal costs and minimal training time required to train all employees while still meeting all requirements that have been identified by the company.

The implementation of a collaboration system can easily be and should be implemented immediately in contrast to the other options. It is imperative to implement the collaboration system immediately because the company will be able to function much more efficiently with low costs and little training time needed (Frenzel, Frenzel, 2004 P.82). The time and money needed for both implementation and training for the first and third options is so great that it would be a poor business decision to wait to implement the collaboration system. Although the collaboration system could be implemented after the installation of the wireless network, as seen in the first option, however by doing so each of the locations do not have access to corporate records, customer accounts, and the just-in-time inventories will be delayed which will result in loss of customers and revenue for the company. The collaboration system best aligns with the corporate IT strategy, it is able to be implemented immediately, and by delaying the implementation of the system can result in loss of customers and revenue.

In conclusion, when making strategic managerial decisions there are many considerations to take into account. Some of the considerations include how well the chosen options align with the business objectives, how much will each option cost the company in both return on investment or loss of revenue, how much time is needed for both implementation of the option and how much time is needed train all the necessary personnel, and finally are there any organization considerations that could affect the implementation of any of the options. After taking all of the considerations into account, one can weigh the options and it may be apparent to see that for this scenario the collaboration system is truly the best choice for the Kucera retail clothing company.

References
Frenzel, Frenzel, Carroll W., John C. (2004). Management of Information Technology Fourth Edition. Boston, Massachusetts: Thomas Learning Inc..

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