Shore & More Bicycles is a company that is operating its bicycle business in an environment with high competition. There is, therefore, a need to have an information system that will differentiate the different business processes in the company. The information system that is suggested for Shore & More Bicycles is CRM and ERP systems (Carayannis, 2010). These systems meet the growth strategy of the company. One way in which the systems meet the growth strategy of the company is that it will differentiate the customer processes within the company. There are both low-end and high-end customers who have varying needs. For this reason, there is a need to understand the requirements of these two types of customers in the organization. With the use of CRM, Shore and More Bicycles Company will understand the customer needs. The system also meets the strategy need of increasing the sales of the bicycles. This is achieved through the use of ERP system which provides the analysis of the revenue from sales. With this, they will be able to make strategies of how to increase the sales. The ERP system will also be useful as it integrates with the accounting and finance departments. It will be easier to understand the accounting and cash flow. Also, the bicycle designs with the highest volumes of sales will be identified. It will be easier to devise the strategies of increasing the sales in the bicycle brands that sell low (Harrison, 2012).
The technologies align with the growth strategy of the company because it will enable future expansion of the business. This is because the expansion of the company, there will be a need to increase the connectivity of these branches for easier collaboration. ERP technology will be web-based and, therefore, will enable the communication of the branches with one another.
CRM technology also aligns with the growth of the Shore & More Bicycles because as the company will double in the near future, it will double the customer base. There will be the use of CRM to manage the relationship of these customers with the company. This will enable the company to maintain a good working relationship with the customers.
After Shore & More Bicycles has implemented CRM and ERP, it will be able to grow their enterprise systems. This is because with ERP, it is possible to integrate any new system to the company. This means that the company will grow and will be able to integrate the modules that are required in the system.
The ERP/CRM system will be installed in the headquarters and will have a web capability. Web-based capability will enable future offices outside the headquarters to be connected to the system. This will enable the growth strategy achievable in Shore & More Company.
A gap analysis is the process where comparison of the current performance and the future expectations of the future performance to see whether the current resources is optimal (Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson, 2012). The gap analysis of Shore and More Bicycles Company is shown in the table below:
The current systems that are included in the company do not have the ability to integrate with other systems in the future. This is the reason why there is a need to have ERP and CRM system to be installed. This will help in the growth and expansion of the company. ERP and CRM technologies will enable the system to be added with other enterprise application in the future. This will, therefore, align with the growth strategy of the company.
There is a gap in web-based capability in the company. This disables the communication process and the collaboration of the business processes in the company. The integration of web-based capability will align the growth strategy of the company because it will enable the connectivity of the future branches that will be added to the company. The integration of online web-based supply chain management will allow the management of suppliers of the materials that come from Asia. This is anticipated with the growth of the company so that it includes and integrates more capabilities in the system. Suppliers will be able to communicate with the company in an efficient manner.
With the integration of ERP which is lacking, there will be new communication systems in the company. This will align with the growth strategy of the company because with the growth of more branches, there is a need to have a good and reliable communication system. Current the gap that is seen within the company is that communication is not managed well. All the channels of communication are autonomous. The implementation of ERP and CRM will enable the achievement of this communication system. There will be a communication module which will integrate all the communication systems in the company. With the autonomy of the current social networks communication, there is a need to have a system which will bring together the communication systems to one process. This will align well with the growth strategy of the company.
- The communication system is not integrated. There are different communication channels which are not integrated
- The enterprise systems in the company are not integrated so that there is isolation of the business processing system.
- There is no central management of the business processes in the company.
- The communication system in the company is traditional because the employees use landline telephone system, smart phones, and cell phones.
- The backup is done on individual computers and no external backup provided
For the computer to support future growth and enhance the communication of the company there is a need to integrate enterprise systems for easy analysis of data. With the growth of the company to several other branches, there is a need to provide a platform where all these systems will be installed. From the gap analysis that has been undertaken, there are a number of issues that need to be addressed. It is evident that the current system lacks some software and hardware. The company should make sure that there are additional hardware set up. This will enable the company to run most of the processes simultaneously. The running of the processes should not be done in a single computer. There should be collaboration enabled so that the design software be installed in several computers that belong to the designers. This will enable collaboration and sharing of designs. With this, better designs will be achieved through collaboration. Communication should also be enhanced so that the various channels of communication are enabled. There is a need to have integrated communication mechanism where all the communications from the clients are integrated in a single system. This will streamline the communication process in the company. Currently, a client who communicates via Facebook is not differentiated from the same communication from Twitter and mobile. They are taken to be autonomous clients. This should be eradicated (Kapferer, 2012).
IT System – The IT system that is suggested for the correct functioning of the company that will align with the growth strategy of Shore & More Bicycles is that of web-based ERP and CRM systems. ERP is an enterprise system that has different modules integrated together. The modules include such functionalities like procurement, accounting, finance, human resource management, communication management, and supply chain management. Other modules can be integrated to the system as much as possible. This will align with the growth strategy of the company because there will be additional modules added to the system as the company grows in the future. With the anticipation of the growth of the company, there will be a need to integrate more modules as per the need. There is also the use of a database system which will be used to store the data that is required for the company to function well. The database will be connected with the system and will be accessed using a 3-tier approach where the database will be stored independent of the operation of the system. The system will access the database as a third-party.
Installations required - As the ERP and CRM systems will have many modules working together, there will be the alignment and configurations needed for the systems to function properly. The systems will also need to be connected to the database. The database is required because it have data that will have to be stored.
Hardware required - ERP and CRM are integrated so that they work together. The systems are web-based which means that there will be the need to have internet connectivity for the systems which are located in far places. The web-based capability will enable the modules and the future branches to communicate well with the main installation. Shore & More Bicycles will need a server which is located at the headquarters. The server will be used to install the main application which will be accessed by the other host computers in the system.
There will be computers that will be installed in the branches. They will access the main application in the headquarters of the company. There will be the need to have LAN and internet connectivity in the various branches of the company. The computers will use the internet to connect to the system. The LAN will be used to connect the computers which are found in a given business unit like finance department. The computers that will be required in a business unit will depend on the number of users that will work or will be anticipated to work in that given department. In each department will be LAN connectivity devices like routers, switches, networking cables (CAT6), network cable terminators (RJ45), and hubs. This will be replicated in all other business units in all the branches that will be added to the company.
Software required – the software that will be required for the system includes operating system, and the network operating system that will be required. There will also be the need to have the system utility tools like antivirus that will be used to manage the computers. The ERP system will not need to be installed in the host computers because it is not web-based. This will mean that the system will just have a web-presence and an interface that will be used to connect and interface with the main system. The interface could be a web browser. The main application system will be installed in a server.
RE: Human resource need for new IT systems
For the past one month, there has been the need to have superior bicycle designs as a demand from the customers. This has shown that it will be profitable to the company. The various branches of the company will benefit with these demands. It is for this reason that new IT systems and technologies have been recommended. The challenge is that there is a shortage of IT staff in the IT department who will oversee the acquisition and operation process of these information systems. Because of the planned expansion of the business and the need for new systems to match this expansion, there is an urgent need to bring on board new staff who will manage the new systems that will be installed. The new workers include ERP specialists, CRM specialist, and cloud technology professionals, networking staff, database implementing employees, security professionals, and maintenance staff. There will also be the need to have database administrators who will be required in the system. This will be tasked with the management of the database that will be used in the company. With the plan to double the company size, there is an urgent need to increase the production staff according to the geographical demands.
There are also some hardware that we urgently need which include the uninterruptible power supplies and generators that will be used as backup alternatives. These are needed for sites which support production. This will ensure that there is no inventory hold-up being experienced while production is undertaken. For the new systems to be effectively managed and staffed there will be an urgent 45 new staff on an urgent basis. These are needed for the maintenance of the new IT systems in each of the locations.
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The technologies that are recommended in this paper will enhance globalization in the company because of the fact that web-based information process is recommended. With web-based information system that will be implemented, it will be possible to have clients from far countries placing their orders to the system. There is also the use of the website which is one way in which the company enhances globalization. The customers are able to use the website to find important information regarding the bicycles they are looking for. With the development of the company network, it will be possible for the suppliers to check their inventory online.
The recommended ERP and CRM also support globalization because it enables the different business departments which might be located in different parts to communicate and collaborate together. This supports globalization because the various systems are integrated together. These systems are also available in their web-based versions and will enable globalization in the company.
As the suppliers and customers will be able to connect with the company using the company extranet, it is another enhancement of globalization. The extranet enables the customers and suppliers to connect to the company in the context of globalization.
With the fast pace of globalization, companies are putting strategies that will enable them to have fast information processing. The proposed systems are justified as the company will be able to integrate important business processes together. With the use of CRM, the company will be able to understand the needs of the customers so that they change the business to suit these needs. ERP system will enable departments to work together and share important information which will enable connectivity to be possible.
The implementation of a website that is high-end also enables Shore and More Bicycles to better manage information processing and supply chain management. Supply chain management is an important process that should be integrated and managed well in the company. With these systems, the company will be able to get a satisfied customer and effective supply chain process. This will increase the profitability of the company.
The information systems will also enable the company to change the distribution process to suit the needs of the customers. This will be done in a national context because of the connectivity of the various branches of the company. The systems will enable the company to have quick responses and changes in the system. The new systems will also enable the productivity to be improved. This is because of the collaboration of the design process of the company.
The need for new workers will ensure that the business processes run smoothly within the company. The investment on new staff will enable the company to have better strategies because the new staff will bring new ideas to the company. This can be enhanced further by bringing in new staff from rival companies. This can be done by offering better pay. They will come with better ideas and business secrets.
IT Team Member,
Shore and More Bicycles
Carayannis, E. (2010). Strategic management of technological learning. CRC Press.
Harrison, J. S. (2012). Foundations in strategic management. Cengage Learning.
Hitt, M. A., Ireland, R. D., & Hoskisson, R. E. (2012). Strategic Management Cases: Competitiveness and Globalization. CengageBrain. com.
Kapferer, J. N. (2012). The new strategic brand management: Advanced insights and strategic thinking. Buy now from Kogan Page.
Klein, D. A. (2012). The strategic management of intellectual capital. Routledge.