Week 1 Discussion
There are many examples of businesses using IT for strategic purposes. I\'d like each of you to do some research, or draw from your own experience, and tell us about a company that used some form of information technology for STRATEGIC purposes. Please be sure to tell us what the strategy was that they were working toward.
Post your answer here as a response to this discussion. The company you select can be any business organization, including the one where you currently work or have worked in the past (if appropriate). I\'m not asking you to reveal company/governmental secrets. Just use broad terms to describe the business process/strategy that was addressed and then give a brief description of the technology solution that was used.
For this week, every member of the class should do a main posting by Thursday midnight, and respond to at least two other class members by Sunday midnight. You should check back to see if I or anyone in the class have a question for you, or a comment that you want to respond to. Please review the Grading Rubric for Participation, as shown in the Syllabus under Project Descriptions Additional Course Information.
Here\'s an example of the kind of thing I am looking for from you:
The following article appeared on page B4 (Corporate News section) of the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, August 24, 2011. It described a new ticketing service being implemented by a company that promotes concerts. As I read this, it seemed to me that what was being described was a company that was adding some technology related to one of their prime business strategies that would allow them to capture business income associated with that strategy that was previously unaccessible to them, at least not directly.
Week 2 Discussion
IT Trends and Predictions for Priorities in the Future
A key challenge to Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and their staff is the ever-changing landscape in the Information Technology world. CIOs must be concerned not only with overseeing the current operation of the IT Department and how it best supports the business strategy, but they must also be focused on the years ahead. This is important, first to ensure that today\'s technology decisions will likely align and be compatible with future requirements, and secondly, that the CIO is well versed in the trends so he or she can advise the business of the potential of technology advancements and concerns. This will help the organization, overall, to make good business decisions.
The Gartner Group, is a leading consulting and advisory group. You will find their web site has interesting information. Also the UMUC library has access to some subscriber services that provide access to information and reports not available to the general public (look under Gartner in the database listings). Their website
provides summaries of Gartner\'s predictions of what the top areas are that will likely significantly impact IT this year and beyond. The summaries cover many different aspects of IT.
Each of you should select one of these predictions and add why you think it is a significant concern for CIOs and IT staff. What do you think IT needs to consider based on this? Do a little more research and see if you can find additional information. Some of these areas may be ones you\'re not really familiar with and that\'s to be expected. But each of you should be able to select one that \"makes sense\" to you and address it in your response. Please take a look at what has been posted by your classmates before choosing your topic, and then select something that has not yet been discussed, if possible. We will have duplicates, but let’s try to spread the discussion across as many of the predictions as possible.
Remember – your initial posting is due by Thursday midnight; it should be about two short paragraphs in length and it should be posted by clicking on \"Respond\". Then, you should reply to at least two different postings by other classmates before Sunday midnight. Everyone has a responsibility to check back and see if any questions have been posed to them, and to respond as you would in a classroom setting.
Week 3 Discussion
Last week, we covered Business Processes, including Process Improvement through streamlining and reengineering, and process modeling of both the As-Is and the To-Be processes.
Drawing from your own experience, select a process (a set of specified steps to accomplish a task) used at your place of work or in your interaction with a business that you would like to see improved. Explain why you picked that process. Explain how you would go about improving it. Who should be involved with you? What are some of the questions you should ask about the current process? How will you know if the process was actually improved?
I am interested in the method to be used to improve the process, not a solution. (For example, I am not looking for something like: \"The Café where I work is not selling enough coffee. We should use social media to advertise more.\" The discussion here is about how the Café would go about deciding how to improve a process, who should be involved, what should be considered, and what steps should be taken.) You should employ the techniques discussed in class or those that you find in your research. Remember, outside resources strengthen your responses.
Remember, you should create a posting in response to the questions above by midnight Thursday. These postings need to thoroughly respond to the questions. Then you are to respond to at least two other students’ postings with comments, questions and further discussion. If questions are posed, they should be responded to by the original poster. Let’s have a great discussion and some interesting examples to take a look at for improving business processes!
REQUIRED Discussion for Week 4
ast week we covered the seven primary characteristics of an IT infrastructure (the “ilities”):
Please select one of the seven characteristics above and respond with an example of what this term means in terms of IT architecture and why it is so important to a solid architecture to support information systems. These terms can be applied to other aspects of IT and business in general, but the focus here is on IT architecture. Some additional research will provide specific examples including what companies have focused on in these areas. Simply typing \"IT Scalability\" (or whatever characteristic you select) into your web browser should provide good results, but be sure to evaluate the sources to make sure they are relevant to this discussion. Remember to distinguish between objective articles and vendor\'s marketing information.
Initial response posted as response to this main topic must be posted by midnight Thursday and a minimum of two comments/responses to classmates\' postings is required by Sunday midnight.) Be sure your posting addresses the discussion questions. Let me know if you have questions. Failure to address discussion topics appropriately will result in less than full participation credit. Be sure to check back and see if other students or I replied to your posting and posed additional questions or asked for additional information.
Note: In Stage 3 of your Case Study (due next week), you’ll be identifying which of the “-ilities” above apply to the solution you are proposing and how they apply, so you will need a good understanding of these to do a good job with Stage 3.
As the UMUC Haircuts Case Study states, the owner has asked you to help her analyze her business and apply a technology- related solution to improve the operation of UMUC Haircuts. Before she expands her business, she wants to be comfortable that she will actually have customers. Use what you have learned to answer the following questions as they relate to UMUC Haircuts:
List 3 or 4 questions about the customers that Myra, as manager of the business, would want to have answers to. Label each question as to whether it is strategic or operational/tactical in nature.
What data would you gather about the customers to be able to answer those questions?
What would be the top two business benefits Myra could gain from this business intelligence?
What should she tell the customers about why she is collecting data about them?
Remember, your main response is due by Thursday and responses back to at least two classmates are due by Sunday.
Week 6 \\Discussion
As identified in the UMUC Haircuts Case Study, there are at least three areas where Myra’s business could use improvement: Customer and Employee Scheduling, Supply Management, and Customer Information and Marketing. Over time, each of these will likely have an IT solution. However, you know that if you could combine these into an enterprise system, you would be able to significantly improve the operations of UMUC Haircuts. You begin your analysis by answering the following questions:
What opportunities are being missed when each little area (scheduling, supply management, marketing, and others) has its own “stove piped” data? (Provide some examples.)
What benefits will the UMUC Haircuts business realize if you implement an enterprise-wide system? Identify how Myra as the manager will benefit from having additional information available.
What types of decisions that she makes as the manager would be improved if she had all this information in one place?
Would it make the most sense to start with a CRM, an SCM or an ERP system for UMUC Haircuts and why. Keep in mind that additional systems and functionality could come later.
Initial responses are due by Thursday, and comments back to at least two classmates are due by Sunday.
Week 7 Discussion
Referring to the UMUC Haircuts Case Study, Myra, the owner, has asked you if outsourcing some of the functions/processes would benefit her business. Identify which function(s) you would recommend she outsource and explain why they would be appropriate for outsourcing. List three competitive advantages Myra could get by outsourcing and three challenges or risks in outsourcing, as well as what she could do about them.
As always, initial responses are due by Thursday and comments back to at least two classmates are due by Sunday.
Week 8 Discussion -1
Please address the following 3 questions:
What do you think is the most important project management consideration for the technology solution that you proposed for UMUC Haircuts?
Explain briefly why you selected it.
Discuss how you would ensure that this aspect was well addressed to maximize your chance for success.
Your main response is due by Thursday. Comments on classmates’ postings are encouraged, but not required.
Week 8 Discussion - 2
Many of you have said that you have learned a lot during this class. I would like for each of you to think back over the class and then share with us one new and important concept that you learned during this class. It could be something that peaked your interest, something you never heard of or did before, something you struggled with, etc. Your response counts as part of this week\'s participation grade, and you are not required (but are invited) to respond to your classmate\'s postings.
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