In this current age technology-based solutions are the main drive for business growth. A company that lags behind in adopting technology-based solutions risk the potential effect of incurring losses and finally bowing out of the business. Amaco is a systems development company having been in the industry for more than 10 years. It has seven branches all over the globe with three in Europe, one in Middle East, One in Africa and the headquarters in San Francisco U.S.A. Over time, it has realized that business environment is changing and needs to adapt to the changes in order to remain competitive. Mr. Given is the product design and development manager headed a team of developers and project managers located in different parts of the world. Communication and information sharing is always a challenge for the manager since a lot of time and resources is wasted while travelling to consolidate projects carried out in individual branches. The manager has approached me for advice on how to develop a business model that captures the use of Web 2.0 applications to better performance of individual teams and maximize growth.
Thus, this paper looks into the potential impacts that C-Commerce trends such as Customer Experience Manager (CEM), Cloud Computing, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and Project Portfolio Manager PPM can impart on Amaco’s virtual team project management system development and use.
In today’s world virtual businesses utilize electronic and digital media to transact their business operations. This mechanism is in contrast with the traditional brick and mortar models where face to face interaction, physical documents and physical currency or credit is the norm. Shifting to the digital framework requires that an organization outsource some of its non-core business operations.
Communication and information sharing is essential for the operation of an organization and as such proper communication channels and information sharing protocols are utilized.
One of the challenges facing effectiveness of virtual teams is good communication among members of the distributed team. Social dimension factors need to be considered during the creation of virtual teams. Teams shifting from collocation to virtual find it hard to change and adapt and the early stages of virtual communication is filled with trial and error. For Amaco, the learning curve is another challenge that is worth consideration. Having operated their business for a while on location, virtual teams will take considerable time to master the techniques and reach optimum productivity. At the start, performance might be lower and this may jeopardized the company’s operations.
In particular, it enables Amaco to expand to far-flung international locations and improve its market share. Communication is enhanced and flexibility is attained. A project could be to several locations across the globe to be worked on by critical; contributors who might have been constraint by travel distances, time and cost. All the locations where the company has branches are considered viable locations for any task since expertise is sought virtually.
Responsiveness is attained where customer’s diversity brought about by cultures and business customs are neutralized to produce counterproductive ethno-centric business. Culturally diverse virtual teams are less likely to experience backlash from customers and are able to produce innovative solutions to issues.
The overall project and maintenance cost is significantly reduced. Pools of inexpensive labor who do not want to be relocated can still work for the company with a fraction of the cost that could be incurred for travel, accommodation, and other miscellaneous expenses.
Improved resource utilization occurs through time leverage to the virtual team’s advantage. The company’s code programmers based in London could transmit their days work to U.S based team members for testing. Development time is significantly reduced.
Cloud computing is one such information sharing platform. The clouds provide unlimited virtual memory to store project information. Cloud computing and virtualization enable users to create virtual machines and utilize cloud based services for project management. This encourages speedy communication, collaboration and sharing of projects. Cloud computing allow for the set up of private clouds where internal applications as a service are run. These applications can be utilized by more than 300 Oracle databases consolidated into On-demand Oracle instances for quick provisioning by application development teams. Likewise, it turns the agile development model into a truly parallel activity where agile development teams can provision the servers they require quickly without relying on IT operators.
Staging of servers is another benefit accorded by cloud computing on systems development teams. While agile development frameworks can be utilized without virtualization or clouds, development teams are limited to the number of physical servers they can access. However, with cloud technology and virtual machines, development teams are accorded unlimited number of servers. Time wasted while waiting for physical servers to be freed in order to begin working is eliminated.
Customer Experience Management
It is true that the world is shrinking at a faster rate than anticipated. Advances in technology are enabling a variety of communication channels that were previously unavailable or on the reach of many organizations. The increased use of virtual teams for project development, management and use has increased the overall growth of many companies. As company’s spread in a bid to capture a sizeable market niche, customer experience and relations may suffer. This calls for restoration of customer loyalty and trust through virtual teamwork. The need to quickly address customer concerns, product development, and service delivery and tap a more diverse group of employees across the organization is the motivation behind virtual collaboration.
Amaco is looking into ways of expanding its networks globally and making profits. Its virtual teams will provide almost real time solutions to customer needs and queries while at the same time managing development teams and projects. As Amaco endear to increase its customer base globally, it must improve customer experience. This is only possible through utilization of foreign labor and off-shoring. The skilled labor force available in different locations is optimized through 24 hour collaboration to provide direct customer service.
SaaS or on-demand software refers to software delivery model in which applications and associated data are centrally hosted in the clouds. SaaS are accessed by users located in disparate locations via the browser. They are the main delivery models for most businesses such as Amaco. SaaS are offered in a quite range of business applications such as CRM, ERP, MIS, Content Management, DMBS, Virtualization, Office and Messaging software among others.
Essentially, these applications are necessary for virtual team project development and use. Virtual team members cannot collaborate fully without the sharing of information and data concerning projects. For instance, databases are essential for software development projects. The motivation behind the development of an information system that will migrates the company’s documentation to the digital platform is better information management through online sharing unlike the conventional brick and mortar models. Management information systems are used by the management to derive detailed reports about project status. It manipulates data within the system to produce an in-depth report for decision making purposes. An example of such an information system is IBM Oracle Database 11g data management software. IBM Oracle Database 11g data management software is a key component of the Fusion application platform business software. The Oracles enterprise editions has unlimited memory limits and can utilize clustering through Oracle Real Application Clustering. When implemented along with Oracle Warehouse Builder, it centralizes customer information and analyzes it to create useful statistics such as profitability in each company location. This is basically how Software-as-a-service drive virtual team project development, management and use.
Project Portfolio Manager (PPM)
PPM is a set of business processes that permit organizations to manage projects as strategic portfolios aligning with the organizational objectives. Executives need to regularly review why some projects are essential, their spending limits, and fair strategic resource allocation. With virtual teams, where communication and resource sharing is optimized, appropriate project selection and review criteria can be applied to ensure that only projects that make it to the portfolio program are implementing and avoiding problem projects.
Virtual private teams can be assigned a specific corporate network telecommuting to achieve secure collaboration and private browsing that accords employee’s access to the necessary resources to execute their work securely across the desired branches. Management of projects from the headquarters will also be simplified as specific projects will only be handled by the United States branches while other branches manage specified projects. In this way, the best project sequencing and grouping as well as proper allocation of resources to accomplish specific tasks is attained.
It is believed that the following trend will present a range of opportunities for the company. These include flexibility, responsiveness, lower cost and improved resource utilization.
Also, Web 2.0 services have become common tools for online business operations. These tools facilitate virtual communication technology. In virtual project management, teams located in disparate location around the globe collaborate using virtual interaction tools.
Any prospective business should use C-Commerce trends to facilitate virtual team project management system development and use with a clear mission and objective.
Conclusion: Why it is important
It is important to note that in order to gain economic viability and expand Amaco’s dominance in the market across the globe; web-based solutions should be adopted. As a systems development company, it requires to tap into the different employee capabilities across its geographically located branches. Current trends such as cloud computing, software-as-a-service, PPM, and customer experience management are essential for sustainable virtual team project management systems and use. They reduce cost, and improve efficiency and performance in addition to flexibility, responsiveness and resource utilization.
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