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Introduction - IT Management Issues
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Decision-making is a crucial aspect of the business. While implementing a business idea, there are many options that have to be considered in order to get the best out of good options for reaping profits in the business. In this report, a case of World University which is an online university comprising a group of private higher education institutions around the world. The whole discussion on this report had been done on the four decisions made by the senior management. First was associated with the customer loyalty program, the second was about mandatory purchase of e-books and laptop from the university only. The third and fourth are regarding the implementation of Information Systems, such as CRM and BI. In the report, all the four options had been critically analysed, wherein the pros and cons of all the options had been discussed. The issues with all the options were identified and elaborated with their impact on the business. The report ended with the recommendations regarding them. The first recommendation is that the university should not be forceful to make students purchase a laptop. The second is that in order to make the bottom line unaffected by the monetary reward of the loyalty scheme, the non-monetary reward should be given. For the IT-related decisions, the organisation should provide training to the employees.
In today's day and age, starting an online business is quite simple. This has revolutionised the higher education system. Numerous venues for online learning have been pioneered, thereby creating a huge profit-making opportunity for investors. In this report, a business idea for online higher level learning will be discussed, wherein the introduction of the Information System (IS) and Information Technology (IT) in the business will be talked about. In addition to this,various business management processes and information systems and technology will be critically analysed. The strengths and weaknesses of the information system will be thoroughly elucidated. Furthermore, the issues associated with the implementation of IT will also be outlined and discussed. The report will conclude after discussing some recommendations for the business to improve substantiated with IT and IS literature.
Overview of the Business Idea
The World University is one of its kind online university which is a conglomeration of a group of privately-owned educational institutions around the globe. The university will provide online lectures delivered from any associated institution to other. It offers a wide range of online courses to the students. All that is required from the students is to sign in and take lectures anytime anywhere. The university also offers online assistance from the faculty. The best part of the university is that it offers students a choice to choose on their own the country they want to graduate from. The senior management has taken some decision regarding the business that includes a customer loyalty scheme â€˜Study Together Loyalty' to reward those students who bring another student. All the students enrolling in the course need to purchase E-books and laptops which is mandatory for them. For a better engagement of past and existing scholars and functioning, Customer Relationship System will be used. In addition to this, the use of Business Intelligence for analysis of current market trend and data collection has been proposed.
Involvement of Information System and Information Technology
In todayâ€™s time and the past two decades, the growth of IT has been remarkable. Hence, the use of IT and IS for the growth of the World University around the globe. Even though Information System and Information Technology are used synonymously, there actual functions and meaning are different. Information system bridges computer science and business. It comprises people, processes, and systems to develop, distribute, manipulate, and disseminate information. IS includes information theory, social science, Foundation of Management, and Information Technology (Powell & Dentâ€Micallef, 2017). Talking about Information Technology, it falls under IS but mainly focused on the technology used in the systems. It is characterised by the design, management, and implementation of computer-based IS. It includes programming, database design, mathematics, and computer science. Since the World University comprises a large number of colleges connected by an online platform. The whole process requires a great deal of information and to manage that is not a cakewalk.
For the better execution of the online business, it is important for the management to the first review, develop, establish, and operate a data management and information management system as they can of great importance while making decisions. It increases the effectiveness and efficiency of the organisational tasks. The World University is based on a complex organisational structure and hence, it requires a system that should be dynamic and is able to handle a large amount of data. For the online learning platform, there are different Information Systems that can be used for different aspects (Powell & Dentâ€Micallef, 2017). These comprise the Management Information System, Transaction Processing Support (TPS), Executive Information System (EIS), Work Group Support Systems, Expert System, etc. As given here that the senior management of the World University needs to collect data and analyse it in order to understand the market trends and scholarsâ€™ choice. Therefore, the best Information System is the Decision Support System (DSS) which is capable of evaluating the business data and help in business decision making (Dutta, et.al, 2015). One thing which is important to note here is that DSS is a more of an informational application whose efficiency and usefulness is dependent on the input information while answering the queries. It can provide a comparative sales figure for a quarter or annual. In addition to this, proposed revenue figures from the total number of admission in a semester per program. Furthermore, the system will provide comparative data of various alternative for facilitating sound decision making.
Analysis of Management Processes
The management has decided to introduce a customer loyalty scheme in order to reward in terms of fee credit to those students who introduce a new student (Carter et.al, 2014). This would help in increasing the number of intakes and provide necessary data about customer and help in segmenting them, thereby minimising the unprofitable customers (Lin& Bennett, 2014). Talking about the mandatory laptop and e-book purchase, the decision will be beneficial for the university in reaping profits. In addition to this, the laptop is pre-configured and protected with software that would help in keeping the lecture video go public. Studentsâ€™ information is also protected by an unbreakable password in case of any mishap.
As given that the management of the World University will make use of two Information System for better management of stakeholders and to make sound decisions. It is important for the university to build rapport with existing, past, and potential students in order to reap long-term benefits. Customer Relationship Management system can be very useful in this area. The senior management of the World University has decided to start â€˜Study Together Loyaltyâ€™ programme which is a customer loyalty scheme. CRM will help in keeping the information of the alumni and existing students in order to contact them to promote the university and introduce other potential scholars and get rewarded. In addition to this, the information regarding laptop and e-book purchase as a part of the course can also be stored in the system.
There are some strengths of the CRM that can help the World University in going and growing. The first and foremost is that it helps in finding and targeting the potential students and clients that will contribute to the increase in the profit. All the data associated with the clients and students can be stored and the management can easily refer to it to predict their current and future behaviour. This way they can provide the right services to the right people. This would ultimately increase the number of intakes as the institutions can address students' need by modifying their courses, if possible. CRM also ensures customer satisfaction as their demands are being fulfilled. Hence, it increases the dependency of the customers on the organisation and they will show loyalty towards it. In addition to this, CRM improves customer interaction and relationships by employing advanced communication technology. CRM assists in gathering the studentsâ€™ data and other personal information. This can help the senior management in making use of business intelligence to improve the decision-making process by updating the data regarding the needs and preferences of the students.
The other Information system used by the World University is Business Intelligence for turning the data collected from CRM to insights and actions. With the collected knowledge, the senior management of the university can act accordingly and design their offering as per their demand. This can be done to beat the competitors in the market as well. There are many benefits for making use of Business Intelligence in the processes. First and foremost is that BI assists in faster reporting of data along with the accuracy which can further result in the speedy and sound decision-making process. In addition to this, it also improves the data quality and its processing efficiency is even better than some of the widely used data processing software. Ultimately, the use of BI in data processing reduces the cost of data handling and processes. The revenues coming from the business is also increased.
Issues and Their Impact on Business
The loyalty programme has some downsides that make it a bit complex option for starting the business. The rewards in terms of fee credit will definitely affect the bottom line of the organisation (Kiseleva, et.al, 2016). It will impact the revenue and profits of the university. Talking about the mandatory purchase of E-books and laptop, this can put the university in the disadvantageous position. Many of the students might be having their own laptops and forcing them to purchase a new laptop will increase a load on their budget. This needs to think again.
As the strengths of the two management decision associated with the use of Information System and Technology have been seen, it is important to understand the issues as well. There should be a proper analysis of the downsides of the two options. Talking about the CRM, implementing it might decrease the personal interaction with students as most of the sessions will be held online. In addition to this, CRM is a computer-based application and will lead to over automation and will affect the relationship with the management. CRM implementation might affect the management too. A weak combination and understanding of the management with the system might result in poor services to the student. The university would not be able to achieve its goals.
In addition to this, using CRM might overload the unnecessary information. This would make the information processing a difficult task. Conflicts might take place in case of CRM failure. This will directly affect the decision-making process. CRM is usually characterised with inefficiently definedtasks that include various internal activities, such as process costs and time, data quality, coordination of tasks, and productivity (Chuang& Lin, 2013). It has been noticed that CRM finds difficulty in succeeding with new data and information feed. CRM needs a large amount of data in order to achieve proper productivity and efficiency. Otherwise, the whole purpose of using CRM for the University purpose will be valueless.
Talking about the use of BI, the data needs to be well-structured in order to gain better results out of them. However, most of the data entered to perform even simple BI processes, the data need to be structured or else, it would lead to some discrepancies (Thamir&Poulis, 2015). This would waste a lot of time and resources of the user. Furthermore, BI requires a well-efficient and effective strategy for a particular problem. Without a BI strategy, the use of BI is insignificant. In addition to this, both CRM and BI needs trained employees in order to achieve better performance (Lee, 2015). Hence, these are not budget-friendly options initially.
This report was all about a business idea for online higher level learning, wherein various business management processes were critically analysed. In addition to this, the introduction of the Information System (IS) and Information Technology (IT) in the business was talked about. Furthermore, the issues associated with the implementation of IT were also outlined and discussed. The report ended after discussing some recommendations for the business to improve substantiated with IT and IS literature.
The first and foremost recommendation is that instead of mandating the purchase of E-books and laptops, the same should be made optional. The university should collaborate with some famous publishers and keep their E-books on their portal. The lecturers should recommend those books. The students will willingly purchase them online and the university wonâ€™t be criticised. The second is reward should not only be in terms of monetary terms, but the students should also be made feel valued and let them sell the courses through word of mouth approach. The service standards should be improved first. The third and the last is related to CRM and BI. The organisation should first provide the necessary training to every employee to first structure the data and segment it in order to analyse and process it (Lee, 2015). These are applications should be fully utilised as per their functions and controls (Thamir&Poulis, 2015).
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