Information Systems

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This report analyses the information systems of a subsidiary of a large international fast moving consumer goods company. The business of the subsidiary company is the bottling and selling of mineral water in Vietnam. For reasons of confidentiality, neither the actual name of the company, nor the name of its recently retired Chair, who was interviewed for the report, are disclosed. The report includes an analysis of the company’s major types of information systems, including a more detailed assessment of its Decision Support System.

The report also explores issues relating to hardware and software technology and telecommunications for the company. The report also includes an analysis of the Canberra Institute of Technology’s website. The characteristics of the company’s 6 major information systems are generally similar to the characteristics of typical information systems. There is a close interrelationship between the systems due to the company having successfully introduced an Enterprise System. The Enterprise System has played an important role in the company achieving increased profits through efficiencies in its supply chain.

This has, in part, been achieved through the development of a close relationship with the wholesalers and retailers of its product through the effective use of Customer Relationship Management practices. Because the company operates in a competitive and mature market with limited potential for growth in market share, the main strategy for the company has been to increase its profitability through improved efficiencies of its supply chain. The introduction of the Enterprise System has played an important role in achieving these efficiencies.

The company’s Decision Support System (DSS) is based on the effective collection of information through its Transaction Processing Systems (including detailed hand written records collected by field staff) which is later entered into the company’s information system. This information is stored in a data base from which it can be effectively mined. This information provides the basis for reports requested by managers. The ad hoc nature of these requests means that the company’s DSS must be very flexible.

Capacity planning and the scalability of the firm’s hardware are minor issues for the company due to the company’s stage in its growth cycle and the fairly basic hardware requirements of its current Information System. The future use of small hand held devices and portable information appliances to be used by staff in the field is likely. But this is not expected to have any major ramifications for the company’s overall Information System. Due to the fairly poor technological infrastructure in Vietnam, the use of telecommunication technologies for the company is relatively limited.

This is certain to improve in the future. This is likely to bring benefits to the company, but it is unlikely to provide new competitive advantages or opportunities in themselves for the company. Overall the company’s IS is of central importance to the competitiveness of the company. It is a relatively simple and practical system. The Chair stressed the fact that the key issue is for managers to understand the real drivers of the company and to be aware of changes to these drivers.

He said that it is important to evaluate IS opportunities in relation to these key drivers, rather than be focussed on IS opportunities in isolation. The Canberra Institute of Technology’s website is an example of a poorly designed website in terms of its functions, user friendliness and its fit with the organisation’s overall strategy. The organisation needs first to make strategic decisions in terms of the site’s role and target audience. CIT then needs to take the necessary steps to improve the site’s functionality and user friendliness.

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