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Electronic business management

Describe, and illustrate using examples, how information systems have changed the way businesses operate and their products and services. What is the contribution of information systems to globalisation? 25 points ANSWER a. i) Wireless communications, including computers and mobile hand-held computing devices, are keeping managers, employees, customers, suppliers, and business partners connected in every way possible. Examples: smartphones used by sales representatives; notebook computers used by financial advisers.

Email, online conferencing, the Web, and the Internet, are providing new and diverse lines of ommunication for all businesses, large and small. a. ii) Through increased communication channels and decreased costs of the communications, customers are demanding more of businesses in terms of service and product, at lower costs. E- commerce is changing the way businesses must attract and respond to customers, some of them in other countries. Example: online sales – e. g. Amazon. E-supply chain management makes global supply chains possible and effective.

Question 5 (25 points) Value chain and value web models can be used to help businesses identify opportunities for strategic information system applications. ) Define and describe the value chain model. Explain how the value chain model can be used to identify opportunities for information systems. 15 Points a. i) The value chain model highlights specific activities in the business where competitive strategies can best be applied and where information systems will most likely have a strategic impact.

The model identifies specific, critical leverage points where a firm can use information technology most effectively to enhance its competitive position. The value chain model views the firm as a series of basic activities that add a margin of value to a firm’s products or services. The activities are categorized as either primary or support activities. Primary activities are most directly related to production and distribution of the firm’s products and services, which create value for the customer. Support activities make the delivery of primary activities possible and consist of organization infrastructure.

A firm’s value chain can be linked to the value chains of its suppliers, distributors, and customers. b) Describe now the Internet nas changed competitive torces and competitive advantage. 10 Points a. i) The Internet has nearly destroyed some industries (e. g. ecorded music) and severely threatened others (e. g. printed press). The Internet has also created entirely new markets and formed the basis of thousands of new businesses. The Internet has enabled new products and services, new business models, and new industries to rapidly develop. Because of the Internet, competitive rivalry has become much more intense.

Internet technology is based on universal standards that any company can use, making it easier for rivals to compete on price alone and for new competitors to enter the market. Because information is available to everyone, the Internet raises he bargaining power of customers, who can quickly find the lowest-cost provider on the Web. Question 6 (25 points) What are the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing? Describe examples of the use and usefulness of cloud computing; you should describe at least one of Google Apps and Google Drive, Microsoft Office 365 and Saleforce. om 25 Points a. i) Cloud computing is the idea of making computing resources available based on what a user really needs instead of what they might need. The advantages include:

Question 7 (25 points) This question asks you to discuss how the Internet and Internet technology work and how they support communication and e-business. a) Define the Internet, describe how it works and explain how it provides business value. ANSWER a. i) The Internet is a vast network of computers that connects millions of people all over the world. The Internet uses the client/server model of computing and the TCP/ IP network reference model. Every computer on the Internet is assigned a unique numeric IP address.

No one owns the Internet, and it has no formal management rganization. However, worldwide Internet policies are established by organizations and government bodies, such as the Internet Architecture Board and the World Wide Web Consortium. The Internet must also conform to the laws of the sovereign nation- states in which it operates, as well as the technical infrastructure that exist within the nation-state. The Internet enables employees to gain remote access to the company’s internal systems through its Web site.

They are able to better service customers and suppliers, improve operational efficiency, increase productivity, lower operational osts, have a broader market base, and reach more individual customers on a global scale by establishing a Web presence. The cost of e-mail and other Internet services tend to be far lower than equivalent voice, postal, or overnight delivery costs, making the Internet a very inexpensive communication medium. It is also a very fast method of communication, with messages arriving anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds or minutes. 0 Points b) Explain how the Domain Name System (DNS) and IP addressing system work. b. i) The Internet is based on the TCP/IP networking protocol suite. Every computer on the Internet is assigned a unique Internet Protocol (‘P) address, which currently is a 32- bit number represented by four strings of numbers ranging from O to 255 separated by periods. (IPv6 introduces 128-bit IP addresses. ) A domain name is the English-like name that corresponds to the unique 32-bit numeric IP address for each computer connected to the Internet.

The Domain Name System (DNS) converts IP addresses to domain names so that users only need to specify a domain name to access a computer on the Internet instead of typing the numeric IP address. DNS servers aintain a database containing IP addresses mapped to their corresponding domain names. 8 Points c) Copy the following table of Internet services into your answer book and complete it by adding a short (one or two sentence) description to each item: Service Short description E-mail Electronic mail, commonly referred to as email or e-mail, is a method of exchanging digital messages from an author to one or more recipients.

Modern email operates across the Internet or other computer networks. It is based on a store-and-forward model. Email servers accept, forward, deliver and store messages. Chatting and instant messaging Instant messaging (IM) is a form of communication over the Internet that offers quick transmission of text-based messages from sender to receiver. In push mode between two or more people using personal computers or other devices, along with shared clients, instant messaging basically offers real-time direct written language-based online chat.

Newsgroups A newsgroup is a repository usually within the Usenet system (but now more often Google Groups) for messages posted from many users in different locations. It is in fact a discussion group. Newsgroups are much like the public message boards on old bulletin board systems: envision an electronic version of the corkboard in the entrance to a local grocery store. File Transfer Protocol (FTP) File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used to transfer files from one host or to another host over a TCP-based network, such as the Internet.

World The World Wide Web (abbreviated as WWW or W3C; commonly known as the Web), is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet. With a web browser, one can view web pages that may contain text, images, videos, and other ultimedia, and navigate between them via hyperlinks. VoIP Voice over internet protocol (voice over IP or VoIP) commonly refers to the communication protocols, technologies, methodologies, and transmission techniques involved in the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (‘P) networks, such as the Internet.

Other terms commonly associated with VoIP are IP telephony, Internet telephony, voice over broadband (VoBB), broadband telephony, IP communications, and broadband phone Virtual private network (VPN) A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network and the resources ontained in the network across public networks like the Internet. It enables a host computer to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if it were a private network with all the functionality, security and management policies of the private network.

This is done by establishing a virtual point-to-point connection through the use of dedicated connections, encryption, or a combination of the two. 7 points Question 8 (25 points) What is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and what business processes can it assist? What advantages do ERP systems (sometimes) bring to the enterprises hat implement them? You should discuss both Customer Relationship Management(CRM) and Supply Chain Management (SCM) aspects. 25 Points a. i) Enterprise software consists of a set of interdependent software modules that support basic internal business processes.

The software allows data to be used by multiple functions and business processes for precise organizational coordination and control. Enterprise systems feature a set of integrated software modules and a central database that enables data to be shared by many different business processes and functional areas throughout the enterprise. Organizations implementing this software would have to first select the functions of the system they wish to use and then map their business processes to the predefined business processes in the software.

A particular firm would use confguration tables provided by the software to tailor a particular aspect of the system to the way it does business. Some of the major business processes supported by enterprise software include financial and accounting processes, human resources processes, manufacturing and production processes, and sales and marketing processes. Enterprise systems provide value both by increasing operational efficiency nd by providing firm-wide intormation to help managers make better decisions.

Large companies with many operating units in different locations have used enterprise systems to enforce standard practices and data so that everyone does business the same way. Enterprise systems helps firms respond rapidly to customer requests for information or products. Manufacturing is better informed about producing only what customers have ordered, procuring exactly the right amount of components or raw materials to fill actual orders, staging production, and minimizing the time that components or finished products are in inventory.

Enterprise software includes analytical tools for using data captured by the system to evaluate overall organizational performance. Enterprise system data has common standardized definitions and formats that are accepted by the entire organization. Enterprise systems allow senior management to easily find out at any moment how a particular organizational unit is performing or to determine which products are most or least profitable.

Companies can use enterprise systems to support organizational structures that were not previously possible or to create a more disciplined organizational culture. They can also improve management reporting and decision making. Furthermore, enterprise systems promise to provide firms with a single, unified, and all-encompassing information system technology platform and environment. Lastly, enterprise systems can help create the foundation for a customer-driven organization a. i) Supply chain planning systems enable the firm to generate demand forecasts for a product and to develop sourcing and manufacturing plans for that product. They help companies make better operating decisions such as determining how much of a specific product to manufacture in a iven time period; establishing inventory levels for raw materials, intermediate products, and finished goods; determining where to store finished goods; and identifying the transportation mode to use for product delivery.

One of the most important functions is demand planning, which determines how much product a business needs to make to satisfy all of its customers’ demands. These functions are referred to as order planning, advanced scheduling, demand planning, distribution planning, and transportation planning. a. iii) Supply chain execution systems manage the flow of products through distribution centres and warehouses to ensure that roducts are delivered to the right locations in the most efficient manner.

They track the physical status of goods, the management of materials, warehouse and transportation operations, and financial information involving all parties. These functions are referred to as order commitments, final production, replenishment, distribution management, and reverse distribution. a. iv) Customer relationships arguably represent the firm’s most valuable asset. CRM systems capture and integrate customer data from all over the organization, consolidate the data, analyse the data, and then distribute the results to various systems and customer touch oints across the enterprise.

Companies can use this customer knowledge when they interact with customers to provide them with better service or to sell new products and services. CRM systems integrate and automate many customer-facing processes in sales, marketing, and customer service, providing an enterprise-wide view of customers. These systems track all of the ways in which a company interacts with its customers and analyse these interactions to maximize customer lifetime value for the tlrm. CRM extends toa tlrm’s customer.

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