Case Analysis

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Using the provided “SMB Case& SMB Case Outline” material plus additional information that you have researched,write a Case Analysis that provides a solidly considered IT/IS strategy recommendation to Janice (Senior Director of IT)[You are writing this for her, not me.] that will help accelerate the growth of the business by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing, sales, inventory and accounting functions.

As with all business writing, assume other people not directly addressed may read your case. In this instance, assume all the senior executives will read your analysis. Note that the market opportunity is good so there is growing competition in the region from other larger, more technically savvy companies.

 

As you consider the elements of the case, think about the implications of the Enhanced Leavitt’s Diamond Model that we covered in class. This is your tool to make sure all relevant bases/topics are covered appropriately.

 

Note: Liberal use of tables, charts and diagrams is highly recommended. Any financial information related to your implementation must be in table format.

 

There are several questions that you must consider in your analysis. Please answer them in order given and restate the questions as a 4 to 5 word header as a statement (not a question):

  1. Should the company automate, in for mate, re-engineer or paradigm shift? Why did you make the specific choice? Cite best-in-class examples that support your choice.
  2. Using Leavitt’s Diamond Model – Modified, please cover the four main areas*:
    1. Process
    2. Structure
    3. Technology
    4. People
  3. High-level Budget for the implementation (presented in a table). Cite your sources.
  4. Timeline for the Implementation.
  5. What will the toughest implementation task be?
  6. What risks are thereof following your strategy? How would you mitigate them?(Remember – If you highlight a Risk you must always propose a Solution.)

 

*Note: Please use as the section main head “Areas to Consider” and use “Process”, “Structure”, etc. as sub headers.

 

Case Analysis Format

  • Executive Summary on the cover page
  • Introduction
  • Informate (we will be using informate for this case analysis)
  • Leavitt’s Diamond Model

Areas to Consider:

  • Process
    • Put all of your benefits here for CRM, SCM, ect. (Do not talk costs or specific products here.)
  • Technology
    • Subhead: Software
      • Cover the details of your choice of CRM, SCM etc. Comparison tables work well here.
    • Subhead: Hardware
      • Details of the computers, smartphones, etc. that are required to support the software.
    • Subhead: Infrastructure
      • Must include Network diagram plus a discussion of the diagram elements.(Do not forget the sales people in the diagram)
    • Structure (**You don’t change the structure of the organization** There will be no restructuring of the organizational chart)
      • Only a few sentences (Check the sample paper I have included)
    • People

 

  • Financial Budget (Make IT budget template for 3 years. Your budget limit is $750,000. You can draw the table however you want, you can use the business template from online, but be sure to do 3-year budget for HQ, Sales, Warehouse)

Make table for hardware, software, infrastructure. (month per month expenses)

Please do research on the recent price and costs to implement the equipment.

 

Headquarter

 

Equipment

(Hardware/Software/Infrastructure)

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
     
       
       

 

                 Field (Sales)

Equipment

(Hardware/Software/Infrastructure)

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
     
       
       

 

                  Warehouse

Equipment

(Hardware/Software/Infrastructure)

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
     
       
       

 

  • Implementation Timeline (Do the implementation step by step. You don’t implement all the hardware, software, infrastructure all at once. Your implementation takes time. Step by step. One at a time)
  • Toughest Implementation
  • Risks Management (Do research on risk of digital transformation on SMB)
    • Associated implementation risks
    • Risks mitigation
  • Conclusion/Summary
  • End notes (Use Chicago style) (more than 10-15 references) (Do not cite Wikipedia)

The following is the detailed guidelines to tell you what to write in each section. And what to avoid in this paper.

Five key Sections

An effective case analysis paper will have five key sections:

  1. Executive Summary:Four to five sentences on the cover page summarizing your analysis. An Executive Summary’s main goal is to provide a condensed version of the content of a longer report. It is not a summary of the table of contents or what you are going to cover in your case. (Do not write: “I will cover….” or “This report will cover….” or anything similar.) Executive summaries generally make a recommendation. Donot just copy your Introduction or Summary.
  2. Introduction/Thesis:Your paper should start by identifying relevant information that provides context to the issue(s) to be addressed in the case. The case or articles referenced may contain some important background information that should be summarized in this section. The length should be one to two paragraphs.
  3. The Questions: This is a where you answer the case questions. Analyze the questions carefully. At the beginning of each answer section and use as the header for that section – bold, and left justify with one line space above and below. (Do not use “The Questions” as a header and do not number them.)

For each question write a short paragraph to set-up the background for the question. Then answer the question in two or so paragraphs. Summarize the answer in a final paragraph. Consider illustrations, graphs and/or tables to increase readability and to emphasize your answers/conclusions. Do this for each question.

Here is where you will need to do some web and print research to support your answers. You may want to compare and contrast other companies/people/subject matter experts in similar situations and how they solved/addressed the issues posed by the question. There may be some additional information that would add depth and completeness to your analysis. Use the following technique: Ask “who, what, when, where, why, how” about the case questions. Ex: Why is the question important? What are the elements of the question that are important? What other company may have been faced with the same issue? How have other companies solved the issue? How might I use what I learned in class or in my job to answer the case question?

Remember, the purpose of this case study assignment is to let you apply the concepts you have learned in school and/or work and have researched to a “real life” situation.

  1. The Summary/Conclusion: The Conclusion is your chance to have the last word on the subject. It is your final paragraph to draw some type of conclusion about what you learned from the analysis. A conclusion should help your readers see why your analysis and information should matter to them after they put the paper down.

It is the place to synthesize your thoughts, to demonstrate the importance of your ideas, and to propel your reader to a new view of the subject. It is also your opportunity to make a good final impression and to end on a positive note. You should make a relevant observation. Maybe you learned some interesting fact from the research you did for the case. However, please do not use the phrase “I learned….” anywhere in this paragraph. Do not use: “In conclusion” or “In summary” or anything similar!!!!! Do not simply restate the Thesis/Introduction.

  1. End notes: Use Chicago Style end notes.

Finding and Using Good References

 

  • Evaluate the source based on its Currency, Reliability, Authority and Purpose/Point of View.

Things to Avoid

  • Avoid using Passive voice
  • Avoid Made-up words and buzzwords and jargon
  • Avoid Subjective words
    • Should, could, may, might
  • Avoid personal Pronouns (first and second, subjective or objective)
    • I, me, we, us, you
  • Avoid Superlatives and Opinions
    • “Large”, “small”, “high”, huge, ….
    • “Sometimes”, “always”, “never”, “maybe”
    • “I think”, “I feel”, “I know”, “I guess” …
    • “As you can clearly see….”
    • “and so forth” or “etc.”
  • Avoid Thought leading statements
    • As you can see
    • It’s obvious
    • Without doubt
    • Is certainly
    • Luckily

Reference and Citation

  • If quoting, indent the whole quote and use end note to cite.
  • Do not use Wikipedia as your source.
  • Use enough references necessary to cover the topic adequately. You will probably have more than 10 to 15 references. Be sure to use respected sources – Use the CRAP test. Websites are OK, however, it is best to find and use sources that also publish in print e.g. Bloomberg Business Week, Information Week, Fortune, Forbes, CRN, CIO.
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