The use of information systems will bring enhanced management of business processes in companies. The company has not invested much in information systems in their business processes. Most of the processes are done manually. The company deals with distribution and, therefore, has to manage the entire process of supply. With the intent to expand to newer markets, there is a need to have systems which will scale with this growth. This proposal suggests the implementation of three enterprise systems. These are SAP ERP, SAP CRM, and SAP SCM. ERP will be used for managing the daily business transactions of the business in the different functional areas. It has modules which serve different functionalities in the company. CRM is entirely used to manage the customer relationships within the company. The patterns of the customers should be analyzed and exploited for better knowledge about the customer. Supply chain management is another component that is important in the company. Managing the supply process has become a critical concern for most businesses. This is the reason it is being monitored by many companies so that quality integration can be managed from the supplier end. With these systems, any new additional systems that will be added to the system will be seamlessly accommodated without affecting the normal business operations.
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Information systems are an important component of any organization. It is one of the components that are used by many companies to gain competitive edge over the competition. With the right strategies and plans, information systems can be leveraged to make the company succeed in their business processes. This paper will focus on how the small business can make use of information systems to improve business processes and how the company operates its internal business operations. The paper will propose the strategies that the company should focus on in order for the business to be effective and reliable in their business operations and procedures.
Information systems proposal
Objectives of the proposal
The proposal that is made in this report is in tandem with the long-term objective of the company which is to ensure that there is continued growth of the company. The solutions that are suggested in this proposal will scale the needs of the company in the next decade. This is because they are the latest technologies that have room for other systems to be added to the company. The solutions proposed will provide efficiency and reliable business process to the company. One way in which this is achieved is that marketing will be managed from one enterprise application. The marketers will have a chance to share information regarding their marketing. Also, there will be improvement of sales because the proposal has inclusion of sales desk that will help mobile workers coordinate their sales. There is also improvement of inventory management. This is because the proposal has an inventory management system that has 100SKUs. This will enable the inclusion of repair services to the company. This will improve the growth of the service. The accounting process will be coordinated in a collaborated manner. The accountants will be able to share information with the installation of these systems. They will have all their needs under one application. The proposed systems will require a budget of approximately US$400000. This is achievable for the company. The overall aims of the proposal is to ensure that new customers are attracted, existing ones serviced efficiently, increasing the productivity of employees, lowering the operational costs, and enhancing collaboration and sharing of information among employees.
Proposed software systems
One of the proposals that are made for the company is the implementation of SAP ERP. It is important to have this system so that the different branches can be connected seamlessly. It will enable the different functional areas to have communication effectively. SAP ERP is an effective and reliable solution to the company. This is because it has a web-based version of the system. This will connect the different users and partners together. With the expansion that is being experienced, there will be easy connectivity between the different branches.
ERP will be installed as a main core of the enterprise systems that will be installed in the system. This will enable the company to connect the other applications with ERP. From figure 1, the other enterprise systems are installed from the ERP component.
The SAP ERP has a web portal that will help in the implementation process. Since the development of web-based SAP enterprise systems, there has been a need to have connectivity to the web. SAP developed mySAP. com to be a portal that will be used for connectivity.
Figure 1: Enterprise systems suggested
SAP ERP provides functionalities that will enable functional areas to work together as one. They will also be able to share information with other functional areas of the company. With this information, they will be able to collaborate with the other staff members. SAP ERP comes in client/server model where the clients will access the server from their desktop computers. They have their credentials which they will use to access the server. This is done so that there is safe login into the system. The proposal made requires that the company installs a cloud-based version of the system. This is where the system is web-based. It will improve the connectivity and the accessibility of the system from different locations.
The implementation of SAP ERP will need desktop computers which have at least 4GB memory, at least 500GB storage, and at least 3GHz processor speed. This will enable efficiency in the running of the system. There will be no need to purchase a server because the system is web-based. The server side will be provided by Amazon Web Services.
There is also a need to have SAP CRM. This will enable the company have a good relation with the customers. In this age, there is a need to understand the customers. SAP Company is also proposed to provide CRM solution to the company. The solution they give also has web-based version that will be reliable and preferred for the company.
Just like the ERP software, there is server part and client part. Most of the client parts are used by the managers because they would want to analyze reports and business processes of the company. They would like to understand the patterns of the clients.
The server part is hosted by AWS and, therefore, does not need the purchase of a server. This will mean that the company will only purchase the desktop computers only. The implementation of SAP CRM will need desktop computers which have at least 4GB memory, at least 500GB storage, and at least 3GHz processor speed.
It is important to also have SAP Supply Chain Management (SCM) implemented in the company. The company that will provide this solution to the company is SAP. SAP SCM is proposed because of the compatibility with the other systems which have been proposed to be installed in the company. With SAP ERP, there is supplier connectivity so that there is communication and monitoring of the suppliers. This will enable the company the real-time information regarding the suppliers. It is important to understand the working of the suppliers. This communication will enable the company to understand the process and the extent in which supply is available.
The hardware requirements are the same as those of the CRM and ERP. The implementation of SAP SCM will need desktop computers which have at least 4GB memory, at least 500GB storage, and at least 3GHz processor speed
Choice of vendor
SAP Company is the preferred choice for implementing information systems in the company. This is because the company will provide support to the systems as a whole. The company will get support from SAP.
Amazon Web Service
There is a need to implement Amazon Web Service (AWS) so that it will enable web-based capability for SAP ERP, SAP, SCM, and SAP CRM. With the expansion of the company, there will be a need to have cloud computing support which will provide web-service. Amazon Web Service has Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). It has simple storage services and relational database capability. Amazon EC2 is cheaper because it will require the company to pay only US$ 40 per month for the initial cost. This is a reliable and cheaper option for the company. It is important for the company to include this service so that SAP, the chosen enterprise application vendors will install their systems in this cloud(Mirashe & Kalyankar 2010).
There is also the need to have new forms of communication systems implemented in the company. This is because there is no use of modern communication channels within the company. There should be a process where new forms of communications like mobile phone text messages and the use of social media should be embraced. This is a new source of information that the company can make use(Wheelen & Hunger 2011).
SAP Company has a suggestion that aids in the implementation of the enterprise applications that they support. The company has the following procedure for implementing the ERP systems. The SAP implementation process will need to have implementation processes aligned for the client and customer side. This will help process the implementation of the enterprise systems.
Figure 2: SAP enterprise systems implementation
In suggesting these information systems, the strategy is to have collaboration of the staff and manage the supply chain process. This will help improve the quality of the supply. There will also be the management of the staff and the business processes which will improve the operational costs and enhance the productivity of the employees.
The structure of the organization is an important aspect when devising the strategy that an organization should follow when devising new ways of working. In the company, there are various functional areas which are headed by managers. This is shown in figure 1. From the figure, there are four functional areas within the organization which need to be managed. The different functional areas have their unique business needs. The senior management like the vice-president and the president will want to analyze information from the different functional areas for their strategic management and decision-making. The suggestion to have ERP system will serve the needs of the senior management because they are able to get the required information from the different functional areas from one system.
Figure 3: Organizational structure
The implementation of the enterprise systems will help staff communicate with one another. There are controls that have been suggested in the system. Some of the controls in the system include limiting users to their functional areas. They are able to collaborate, though.
One objective is to have one image and unified process of management. The systems that have been proposed will enable sharing of business processes. One way in which this will be achieved is to have enterprise systems that will cut across different functional areas. With the use of ERP, and CRM, this will help have a unified image and will encourage the different users share and practice one culture in the organization. The second way is through the management of both external and internal business processes. This is achieved with the implementation of supplier management systems. The suppliers will conform to the culture of the company and will, therefore, share the values of the company.
The mission and vision of the company is to expand the company to newer geographical areas. This will mean that there are new customers, enhanced satisfaction and increased profits. There is also the mission to improve the competition against the competitors.
The style of leadership that is adopted will affect the working and the success of the new systems that will be proposed. Leadership styles will affect the way communication is passed in the company. The new systems should enable the teams that have been formed in the company to function nominally.
The staffing needs of the company should be met. With the growing staff, there is a need to ensure that their needs are met. There is a need to have collaboration of the different staff in the different functional areas. With this, the staff will have information that will enable them to make better decisions. The current systems do not allow the staff to share information. This is because there is no connectivity that is found within the company. There are no information systems which have been implemented that will enable the staff to share information.
The skills that are needed by the organization include marketing and sales. The business is involved with distributing parts. The parts have been manufactured; this does not require the company to have any special knowledge about the technology. They should understand the clients and the market. These are the skills that should be integrated to the management.
Should the company automate, informate, or transform?
The company should transform. This is what is required because most of the systems are not aligned to the business. There is no alignment of the business and the people. There is also the lack of aligning the people and the information systems. There has been no auditing of information systems so that there is no understanding of what is lacking in the company. This could have helped understand the gaps and strategize on how to achieve these gaps. The strategy should be properly aligned with the vision and the mission of the company. This will enable the company have information systems that will meet the strategic vision they have developed. Another reason for the need for transformation in the company is that there are no systems in place and the business processes are manual. There is a need to ensure that the company transforms the way the different business processes are undertaken. The company should change shape, appearance, and form. This will improve the efficiency of most of the business processes in the company(Holland & Light 1999).
Why I made the decision
The decision to implement the systems come from the fact that information is an important asset to the company. It should be available for strategic working and decision making for all the management and staff. This decision was based on the levels of need of information within an information system. The systems that have been proposed will meet the different information needs of the managers, the staff, and the executive management.
The product to focus
One product that I would focus on would be the customer relationship management. This is an important solution because it is this one which, when handled well, will increase the number of customers. This is the solution that will help understand the customers and what needs to be changed in the company.
The toughest implementation task
One of the most difficult tasks that I will face will be the change process. This is when the systems are being introduced to the company. There will be resistance of the new systems that have been suggested. The systems might require that there is complete overhaul of some business processes. This will be hard to achieve and it is the area which will need cooperation from all the management of the company. This will enable the company achieve the targets and growth that is needed.
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One of the risks that will be met is the failure of the systems to solve the problem. The proposed systems could fail to solve the issues that the company faces. One way to mitigate this is to understand the business process of the company and evaluate each solution that has been proposed with the managers.
Another risk is lack of finance that has been allocated to the project. One way in which this can be mitigated is by having a review of the needs and the materials that will be required in monitory terms. This will help request for more funds. There is also a fund for emergency issues.
Chaffey, D. & White, G., 2010. Business information management: improving performance using information systems,
Holland, C. & Light, B., 1999. A critical success factors model for ERP implementation. Software, IEEE.
Mirashe, S. P. & Kalyankar, N. V, 2010. Cloud Computing N. Antonopoulos & L. Gillam, eds. Communications of the ACM, 51(7), p. 9.
Wheelen, T. & Hunger, J., 2011. Concepts in strategic management and business policy.