The purpose of this White Paper is to inform you on the Information Technology situation at Enqvist Int. Information Technology is all the hardware, software, telecommunications, database management, and other information that we use to process technology using computer based information systems. IT helps create business strategies in many business fields, including Business Management. In this white paper, you will be presented with the current standing of our IT development as well as improvements that can and should be make to increase company productivity.
By further developing our IT infrastructure, Enqvist Int. an improve so that we have the most up to date technology available in our field. More specifically, I am going to present to you the possibilities associated with upgrading our current software, databases as well as our telecommunications network within the organization. A few of the benefits that will be received will be increased collaboration, quicker, easier access to customer information as well as to supplier information. These details are discussed in depth in the scope of this white paper. Enqvist Int. is a manufacturing company that produces office equipment.
The production plant is based in New Albany and we distribute mainly to Indianapolis, Louisville and Cincinnati. We also do business with other companies in between these metropolitan areas. At Enqvist Int. , our products are sold to other businesses that use our equipment in their offices as well at to retailers for resale. We have offices in all three major cities that set up sales with possible clients. It is important that all three locations share common information with each other as well as with the plant in New Albany to make sure that there will be enough equipment to meet the demand for those cities as well as the surrounding areas.
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A close eye is always kept on inventory at Enqvist Int. as we pride ourselves in having what consumers want when they want it. Management of this inventory is currently done by hand at the plant in New Albany before the products are shipped to their designated location. In the following pages of this white paper I will present to you the current situation of Enqvist Int. in the IT fields of software, databases and telecommunications. After discussing how we currently use these technologies I will follow up with some developments that can be made in each field to improve the way we do business.
After discussing these issues I will give my recommendations on what I think the appropriate action would be to increase the productivity of Enqvist Int. I will conclude with what we can hope to expect from IT in the future. Scope of Situation in Business Management I have been working with an IT Specialist from Cisco. com discussing with him the alternatives of the way we are currently using IT in our company. He has been giving me suggestions along the way with what to offer you in this white paper. Again, I will focus on three major areas, software, databases and telecommunication.
At the present time Enqvist Int. does not have any particular software suite common to the three major offices. All three locations have access to the Internet and internally in the three organizations there is access to an Intranet. Product inventory is kept by hand with the information being stored on a hard drive in computers. There are relatively few computers on hand at the plant in New Albany while each employee has their own workstation at each of the three metropolitan locations. According to my IS source, we have an array of options for improving out software condition.
In today"s IT world, the trend in software is away from custom design programs and towards of the shelf software suites that are user friendly to our employees. The trend is leaning away from procedural and machine specific programming and towards specific business application uses. Speaking in terms of productivity, we can upgrade from our current software to software that will increase productivity. To continue doing business as usual we need to have a software suite that has the major types of software already installed and ready to use.
Remember that we will need a system that meets our requirements of how we do business. Some of the basic software necessary will be a Web browser, e-mail, desktop publishing and word processing. These are all included in several suites such as Microsoft 2000. For example, 2000 has several business specific applications like Word and Excel just to name a couple. These applications can help keep track of our inventory as well as the product schedule of what we will be running on the production line at the plant. E-mail and other forms of virtual groupware will help increase communications between employees at all locations.
Another alternative would be to implement a new operating system into the organization to meet our increasing software needs and requirements. An operating system is an integrated system of programs and software that manages the operations of computers. It controls the inputs/outputs and storage of information. In our case the primary reasoning behind an operating system would be to maximize productivity in a more efficient manner. An operating system has four major characteristics that help this process; User Interface, Resource Management, File Management and Task Management.
These qualities will help Enqvist International"s management team accomplish specific tasks such as checking to see how much inventory is in stock for a particular product. An operating system will also help with basic business management functions such as storing and retrieving customer information. That is an overview of the software standing at Enqvist Int. and what is available for us to implement to improve they was we use software. Implementing this system at all locations of Enqvist Int. will be costly but the benefits derived should offset those costs.
Some benefits will include efficient work, easy interaction with other software, reliability, and application specific programs. Enqivst Int. currently has a strong database infrasturcture but there is room for improvement. We currently have three separate databases, one for each metropolitan location. Each location can run several applications to find and configure data needed for themselves or to relay to customers. There is one big step we can take to improve our overall schema of Database Management systems. After consulting with my IS agent, I have discovered a more error free way to keep track of data.
Instead of having the three databases scattered throughout the company, we could have one main database that can be accessed by all three locations. For example, when an employee is running an application to find data on a customer, he will be able to find all data about them in one place instead of going to different databases for pieces of information. A Database Management System (DBMS) is a set of computer programs that control the creation, maintenance and use of data. This DBMS will consolidate records previously stored in separate files into a common file. The benefits of this include the ability for ad hoc queries.
These are unique unscheduled information requests from the DBMS, easily capable if we have the newest innovations in DBMS. Forming one main database will also reduce redundant data and errors about those data. For example when information is stored in separate files you need to change customer information in all areas, this problem is eliminated with what I am offering, once you change the information in one area it is automatically done in every aspect of that customer. This will be favorable for Enqvist Int. because customer information will always be up to date.
We will have all our entities kept together with the proper attributes to those entities easily accessible to our employees. DBMS will also allow us to build new applications to apply to the way we do business. For example, we will have all of our customer information in one area as well as information on suppliers to the plant in New Albany. DBMS will improve our efficiency and possibly help Enqvist Int. expand to new markets. There are four major benefits we can receive from DBMS. They are: Database Development, Data Interrogation, Data Maintenance, and Application Development.
These benefits will help Enqvist Int. keep track of data about the business as well as being able to interrogate the data to be displayed in forms desired by our end users and employees. All this is available just by sharing a common database. The overall organization will be better informed about company data to provide better quaility decision making. There are issues to consider before changing our database infrastructure. We know that this system is able to update the database to reflect new transactions but we also need a DBMS that is reliable, secure and has a large capacity as we are a growing company.
Determining who has access to what information in the database will be an important decision that will be made by upper management. Enqvist Int. employees currently have accessibility to a local area network (LAN) within the organization they work for depending on the city. Employees at the three respective stores have all their computers wired together within the office. While this has enabled the employees to communicate with each other and retrieve information about their office transactions, it does not allow them to communicate and have access with possibly needed information from the other two stores.
We already have the basic components needed to improve our telecommunications network. We have the computer terminals and processors and the control software to manage the functions for which we use telecommunication. We could however take advantage of a more powerful channel over which our date is transmitted and received. We could also have this channel run fiber optic lines to connect the organizations three LANs creating a Wide Are Network (WAN). A WAN allows connection for large geographical areas, perfect for our situation. We could also form a VPN but our locations are close enough to form a WAN.
Implementing a WAN will enable managers, end users, employees and workgroups to electronically exchange data and information from any of three stores with anyone in the company. This will increase collaboration between employees but can be costly. However, the benefits are incredible. Office workers will still be connected internally but also with all other offices including the plant in New Albany. By having all the offices connected to the production plant, employees will no longer have to send e-mails to find out information regarding product inventory or when shipments are being sent and arrived at their location.
This takes time and may possibly cost us customers who will look elsewhere. With a WAN, employees could have access to this and other information to use in increasing customer service, another issue associated with business management. The speed and connectivity allowed through a WAN are just a few of the benefits that can be received from implementing one. Managers will have to take some things into consideration when implementing a WAN. With information so accessible to employees we must make sure it is secure so no one else can hack into our network. There are also the issues of who in the company can see and use what information.
Employees at all locations are now able to work together on team projects and connect to the plant to check product information but their accessibility will have to have some end. Only office managers and management members above them should have access to company information such as income statements kept on our software programs and total operating cost or per unit costs, other important issues in business management. Once these rules are set, a WAN can increase our company productivity greatly.
After informing you on the current situation that Enqvist Int. egarding Information Technology, I will now relay some suggestions that I feel can help this company improve and grow. Working with my IS consultant has helped me tell you the possible ways we can improve the current way we use IT at Enqvist Int. I feel that we could increase productivity to its maximum by using an operating system as our software suite. We could use this system to keep track on product inventory so that fewer errors occur in calculating inventory. Another advantage to Enqvist Int. from an operating system is that our employees will have access to user friendly, application specific business programs.
I also feel that we should combine our organizations databases into one common database accessible to our end users. Keeping customer information as well as information on employees and data about the plant in New Albany will help our employees work better to improve customer service. A DBMS also reduces errors that may be in our data. All employees will see that same thing when they look up a common file where as when the information was stored separately two different users might see two different descriptions for the same customer.
In reference to our telecommunications network, I think I already made my recommendation known in the scope of this white paper. I feel that implementing a WAN to connect our organization three current LANs will help Enqvist Int. improve in many areas by collaborating with each other. Connecting them with fiber optic lines will increase the speed at which this can be done. It will help us overcome geographical barriers and possibly expand to new markets.
The recommendations made to you in this white paper won"t come cheap to Enqvist Int. ut I feel that the benefits we can receive from doing so will outweigh these costs and in time pay for themselves in increased employee productivity. Enqvist Int. has shown in the past that we can survive in our highly competitive market but to stay that way we need to improve our IT situation. By following some or all of the recommendations made to you Enqvist Int. will likely continue to thrive into the future with the help of IT. It seems as if the Information Technology world is changing everyday, which it is.
By improving our IT infrastructure as mentioned in this paper, we will reap the benefits of what IT can do for business today. We can only wait and see what IT will have in store for us into the future, creating new innovating ways to manage data and help with business needs. It is likely that the IT tools we have today will be compatible with what will happen in to future thus allowing us to take advantage of those changes in IT. Into the future I think we should also start an Internet site to try in increase sales by expanding our market and also to add advertising.
I know that the managers at Enqvist Int. ave been thinking on this for awhile now and with the help of my IS consultant, we could implement it relatively soon. Something that we could see in the future of IT is increased voice recognition. It is already possible for users to talk over the Internet to each other and hear each other. Something that we can look forward to in our computers is their increased voice recognition. We will be able to talk to our computers to accomplish tasks hands free. The computer may actually be able to communicate back with us in the future making working a computer easier and more productive than ever.
Also in the future of IT we can expect to see increase in flexibility regarding what IT can do with increased power. This flexibility will open an expanding range of IT applications that help business processes. We will also experience increasing bandwidth making connection over networks faster and more reliable to access information. The future still remains to be seen but with IT, the possibilities are endless, I have only named a few. From writing this White Paper I learned that it is essential for today"s businesses to have IT has a backbone of their operations.
To be competitive in today"s market, businesses need to have a strong IT infrastructure to assist them in running their organization. I also strengthened my understanding of how IT can help businesses expand and grow by making them accessible all over the world via the Internet. They can do business now with people anywhere but this is also something that many companies are having trouble doing today. However, I understand that by using IT to help you manage you information and to create the ability to work and collaborate together, it can help to improve your business and now I realize how this works a lot more in depth.
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