Projects are the common vehicles for business organizations to fulfill its strategic initiatives, to effect change and to implement initiatives that do not usually conform to the normative organizational structures (INSEAD, 2013). With the globalization trends, project management skills have become more significant. However, traditional project management skills are not anymore adequate. The skills, which best fit project management, include the ability to manage time and to coordinate (ISEAD, 2013). Different factors make the old set of skills inadequate for managing complex projects, especially in international contexts.
Project managers are a very special group of professionals. They are highly catered set of professionals at present. Project Managers actually develop their professional expertise by sophisticated learning and exposures (“Basic Skills for Project Manager, n.d.). They try to learn new approaches to project management and apply them on their projects.
The project manager needs to be a master coordinator and scheduler. Yet, he must also be a trouble shooter, a consolidator in uncertain situations, an adaptive orchestrator, and a networker. All these require some special sets of skills which are also required in other internationally influenced professional works or job positions. To add, they must have people skills and other cross-functional skills. This is because project managers have to interact with both external and internal stakeholders (ISEAD, 2013).
There are key attributes of an excellent Project Manager which are generic skills. Generic skills refer to the present key competencies or skills. They also extend beyond the ambit of these competencies to include a wider set of transferable skills which are generic to most work (ISEAD, 2013). The generic skills for a Project Manager include the following: advanced communication skills; analytical and problem solving skills; negotiation skills; and stress management skills. Other similar key skills inherent to project managers are as follows: organization skills, number literacy skills, commercial awareness, team work, diplomacy, ability to motivate people, and management skills (Berrie, 2008). All these general skills can be applied across projects in any domain. While project managers may have similar personal and management skills, they may also differ in their technical skills.
This proponent will use information systems and E-commerce tools to market and manage a trading company which designs and sells car top carriers and vacation gear. This company is called Makeland Enterprises. Information systems and E-commerce tools will be significant to increase the product’s sale, reduce marketing expenses and enhance efficiencies in inventory management and distribution (McFarlane, Chembezi & Befecadu, 2003). These tools will also improve service delivery. In most cases, e-commerce is considered beneficial to the Makeland’s profitability and sustainability.
Generally, these tools will be very helpful since Makeland Enterprises serves a niche market and it integrates e-commerce into various aspects of the company’s operations (Barkley, Markley & Lamie, 2007). Thus, these tools are integrated into the company’s business plan.
Specific tools to be applied include the following: transaction processing and enterprise resource planning tools, knowledge management through business process reengineering and organizational change management, and the use of networked computing through E-commerce, ERP and SCM, among others.
Makeland Enterprises shall utilize the Nexternal Ecommerce Platform (Nexternal Ecommerce Platform, 2013). This is a set of XML tools designed to allow data synchronization and integration with third party systems housing like data. All Tools require server-to-server communication. In this system, the initiating server transmits a Request XML document to the proper URL and it then gets a Reply XML document from Nexternal. After a while, the document is parsed and takes proper action to get the intended integration.
These tools will provide for the business requirements as follows:
- OrderQuery – enables merchants to "export" all order data, including customer and line item data.
- OrderCalculate – enables merchants to obtain information about the various shipping rates and systems, discounts and taxes, and the present inventory levels for each line item in an order.
- OrderCreate – allows merchants to transmit order data into the portal from a third party system. This is useful in various situations. For instance, the company can make use of its historical data even when it moves to a new e-commerce system.
- OrderUpdate – it is useful in updating Order and Line Item Statuses, including importing tracking numbers.
- CustomerQuery – has all customer data including custom field and extra address information.
- CustomerUpdate – this is useful to update and add customer data including varied addresses and preferred credit cards.
- ProductQuery – enables merchants to "export" all information specific to Makeland’s products.
- ProductUpdate – enables merchants to enhance and update product information.
- InventoryUpdate – enables the merchant's Nexternal system to obtain inventory data from another system. Inventory could also be updated through the ProductUpdate feature. However, this tool is much fundamental if the only goal is to update inventory levels.
- SavedCart query – fulfills the suite and return data about customers who have placed items in their Shopping Carts, when they have not yet fulfilled the checkout process (refers to abandoned carts).
This information systems and e-commerce tool efficiently manage high volumes of machines, lessen errors due to concurrent operations, reduce the production of partial results, reduce downtime, etc. This system shall also be used to provide geographical distribution, customization and scaling, and easy management.
Makeland Enterprises’ e-commerce portal will also speed up the market researches on the machine industry. It shall also provide an infrastructure to reach customers, including marketing, sales, after-sales services. The company shall also utilize the typical ERP system that integrates all of Makeland’s data and processes into a unified system. It will use a unified database to store data for the portal’s different system modules.
Meanwhile, the products of Makeland and its pricing information which sales agents and resellers require will be obtained using Big Machines web-based software (BigMachines Website, 2013). This software allows knowledge management of old and new sales agents since they can both configure their products properly and obtain 100% accurate quotes and proposals instantly. This software also has a simplified administration tools and the B2B e-Commerce & multi-channel solutions which Makeland Enterprises can rely on for expedited sales. This will ensure that the sales information is constantly updated and accessible anywhere.
For Makeland Enterprises to maintain good customer relations, it is also important that it communicates and interacts with its customers in a fulfilling manner. It should also constantly provide market offerings which consistently meet the changing needs of its customers (Romano & Fjermestad, 2003).
Makeland Enterprises will apply a web-based survey in order to utilize knowledge “for” customers and knowledge “about” customers, and then act on the said information to perform precise market segmentation. The market segments will be rendered by the system’s data mining techniques and a specific category of needs pattern will be defined and analyzed. After completing the segmentation, Makeland will attempt to properly address these market segments and offer them the right machines for their needs (Rowley, 2002). The information in segmentation will also allow the company to make proper strategic business decisions in product variant development plan and marketing programs (Henderson, 2001).
Barkley, D. L., Markley, D. & Lamie, R. D. (2007). E-Commerce as a Business Strategy: Lessons Learned from Case Studies of Rural and Small Town Businesses. Retrieved on September 5, 2013 from, http://www.clemson.edu/uced/working_papers/uced_100702.pdf.
Berrie, M. (2008). Project Manager Responsibilities. Retrieved on September 5, 2013 from, http://www.pmhut.com/project-manager-responsibilities.
ISEAD. (2013). New Project Management Skills required. Retrieved on September 12, 2013 from, http://executive.education.insead.edu/interviews-tips-insights/New-Project-Management-Skills-Required.php.
BigMachines Website. (2013). “Sell More & Achieve Sales Success with BigMachines Sales Software.” Retrieved on September 5, 2013 from, http://www.bigmachines.com/products.php.
Henderson, Jason R. (September, 2001). “Networking with E-Commerce in Rural America.” The Main Street Economist: A Commentary on the Rural Economy. Center for the Study of Rural America, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
Nexternal Ecommerce Platform. (2013). “Automate Your Business by Exchanging Data with Other Applications.” Retrieved on September 6, 2013 from, http://www.nexternal.com/xml/Default.asp.
North Dakota Information Technology Department. (2013). “Project Management Qualifications.” Retrieved on September 5, 2013 from, http://www.nd.gov/itd/service-info/project-management-qualifications.
Romano, N., & Fjermestad, J. (2003). Electronic commerce customer relationship management: A research agenda. Information Technology and Management, 4(2), 233–258.
Rowley, J. (2002). “Reflections on customer knowledge management in e-business”. Qualitive Market Research: An International Journal, Vol. 5 No. 4, p. 268-280.
Search Data Management Website. (2013). Making business transaction processing and applications work. Retrieved on September 5, 203 from, http://searchdatamanagement.techtarget.com/feature/Making-business-transaction-processing-and-applications-work.