Term Paper: Information Technology Strategic Plan
Imagine that a company has recently hired you as a senior business consultant. The company is seeking to gain better traction with regard to customer satisfaction and loyalty. The company hired you because of your expertise with mobile apps, social media, and cloud technology. The management of the company feels that yearly revenues could top $20 million per year with the infusion of current technology. Currently the company has revenue of $5 million per year.
Note: You may create and / or make all necessary assumptions needed for the completion of this assignment.
1. Write an introductory statement of the company including but not limited to the type of the company, the location, the industry in which it competes, and the organizational vision and mission that encompasses the nature of the company.
2. Specify the current situation of the company with regard to its technology and security aspects.
3. Determine at least five (5) information technology personnel / roles that would be in place in order to start the business venture of gaining better traction of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Justify your response.
4. Conduct a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis for the business venture in question for the company. Justify your response.
5. Develop at least five (5) major goals for the information technology strategic plan. Justify your response.
6. Speculate on three (3) positive organizational impacts of implementing the strategic plan. Justify your response.
7. Use at least three (3) quality references. Note: Wikipedia and other Websites do not qualify as academic resources.
• Be typed, double spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch margins on all sides; citations and references must follow APA.
The specific course learning outcomes associated with this assignment are:
• Describe the role of the information technology professional.
• Develop an information technology strategic plan to address and solve a proposed business problem.
• Describe and identify the uses of business process management and systems development.
• Use technology and information resources to research issues in information systems and technology.
• Write clearly and concisely about topics related to information systems for decision making using proper writing mechanics and technical style conventions.
Blurb Information Technology Strategic Plan
Blurb is a profound American self-publishing and marketing platform that unveils the creativity sense inside every individual. Blurb entity promotes and provides natural and desirable ways to design, publish, promote and market high quality printed books and electronic books. It was founded in 2005 by Eileen Grittins. This company was funded by global organizations; Canaan Partners and Anthem Venture Partners. It is headquartered in San Francisco in the United States of America. Apart from the company’s founder who is also the chairman, the other key staff member is Todd Larsen, who is the current Chief Executive Officer. It has an employee base of 120 fully employed workers. Booksmart, blurb plug in for Adobe InDesign, blurb bookify and blurb add-in for Microsoft are some of the organization’s global products.
This platform has provided approximately 14 million books made by more than 500 thousand esteemed customers. Interestingly, the company’s website is translated into six popular languages, with more than 72 countries and regions receiving its product. In April 2014, Blurb made a historic partnership with the Amazon, whereby the deal allowed the company’s products, mostly books, to be sold and marketed on the Amazon platform. In May the same year, this publishing entity also acquired MagCloud, which was a self-publishing entity mostly for magazines, which operated under permission from HP Corporation.
Currently, the company nets in approximately 5 million US Dollars amount of revenue per year. However, the company has a target of 20 million US Dollars per year as it intends to infuse the most current technology in its operations. This seems not only attainable but also achievable if the company hires experienced and well-versed business consultants to make the target feasible.
With the current accelerated pace of information technology, publishing and media sector, like other areas of the economy, is also changing rapidly. For instance, a decade ago, almost all individuals were glued to old desktops for documents and information. This is to mean that one could not even check an email while riding a train from work. However, the thing has changed, thanks to the great minds behind the daily inventions and innovations in the information technology and systems. Now, the internet is easily accessible, and flow of information is faster with the use of smartphones and tablets. Blurb, being in a competitive industry where only the smart ones survive is not left behind. It has modernized its operations by employing the most current technology. This has been a technological journey which took off in 2009 when they designed a PDF-to-Book program which allowed qualified designers were applying Adobe InDesign to influence its operations. The journey continues successfully as in the next year; this platform launches Bookify, which was an online book building tool providing a streamlined experience. It also goes an extra mile the following year;2011, when it launches Instagram and Facebook books. It also introduces e-book conversion for iPad users. Currently, the company has Blurb mobile 2.0, which allows users to formulate printed books directly from their iPhones and iPods. It is evidently clear the company is keeping its operations on track with the current information technology. Nevertheless, the company is also mindful of the security of their products and customers. It uses cloud services as an extension of user’s existing internal networks. It also has firewalls that protect its internal cloud infrastructure against people with ill intentions (Hackler & Saxton, 2007).
Determine at least five (5) information technology personnel / roles that would be in place in order to start the business venture of gaining better traction of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Justify your response.
Mobile application developers are another batch of personnel required to accomplish this task. They will be responsible for developing technical mobile solutions for the Blurb customer base. They will also design, configure and implement software systems and also note down unit test for the new and initial code. These developers will also develop application system features, build, test and implement efficient and cost-effective application solutions. Another task is the generation of proper documentation, that is; story boards, project plans, and use cases. Lastly, they will have to coordinate and work as a team with other IT staff to leverage Blurb shared services. The third category required is the SEO Specialist. These individuals’ roles will be to design, implement and manage various SEO campaigns. They will also be expected to create a strategic plan for civilizing search engines webmaster protocols. These specialists should have excellent written and spoken communication. It is because they will be required to write website content using the deep knowledge of SEO copywriting. They should also be detail focused and remarkable organizational skills to be able to execute regular Blurb site audits to make sure priority site sector are optimized. Finally, they should have in themselves professional analytical and challenge solving abilities. This will enable them design and maintain the KPIs required for SEO effectiveness, including processes for measurement and opportunity analysis.
The fourth category is the cloud computing specialist. These individuals should be able to provide proper and customized cloud value propositions. They should also be able to design First Level resolution in cloud services for related meeting with clients and prospects. They should also possess innovation skills and vision. In fact, innovation expertise and insight are always a part of every cloud job requirements. These will beneficial for Blurb managers or any other company, to access resources and conduct simulations on cloud platforms to develop and test new promotions. They should also possess business communication, leadership and unit management capabilities. This will enable the personnel to deal with integrated long-term projects involving multiple disciplines. It will also allow them to recommend to customers and the entire IT management proper technological alternatives. Such skills will also enable him, or her evaluate uprising technological developments and ever-growing business requirements and also provide high-level specialized technical support and consultations to the organization and particularly to the IT management. This group will also have to have good vendor relationship and negotiation skills. This is vital since they will be in charge of the transaction, contact administration, following, investigating and detailing of all innovation related contract duties made inside the data departments and different offices. Tracks and screens information essential to guarantee consistency to arranged contracts on a progressing premise and gives specially appointed detailing as required by large companies’ frameworks. Gives and exhibits specially appointed investigations, for example, contract terms, dollar spend, process consistency.” Lastly, technical proficiency is compulsory. This type of information technology role requires a good amount of technical savvy since they will be necessary to develop cloud-ready applications which entail network development and monitoring (Hackler & Saxton, 2007).
The last batch of personnel required is the Data Analytics. These individuals will be tasked with researching and gathering information and data on machine learning or neural networks required conducting experiments in Blurb. They are also expected to exhibit high levels of desire to help the company solve its most critical challenges. They will also be tasked with mapping and tracking data from one system to another one to address any organization problem. They should also analyze the platform’s data to identify the patterns and any correlations among the several data points. Lastly, they should be able to undertake the statistical analysis of the entity data and conduct logical modeling.
I believe the Blurb if equipped with the batch as mentioned earlier of personnel, will realize some benefits which include a wide customers base. For instance, the category of the mobile application developers will be very much useful in achieving this bigger customer base because research indicates that almost 87% of Americans possess a smartphone. This is to mean that many individuals will be able to access the company’s products through the mobile applications which will be developed by these people. Also, the security of the goods will be safeguarded by the cloud experts which in turn will promote trust and loyalty of product users. Data analytics will also foster satisfaction since they will be at their feet collecting and analyzing data to ensure all customers are served well (McFarlane, 1984).
Conduct a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis for the business venture in question for the company. Justify your response.
For large enterprises such as Blurb to continue shining in this ambitious venture of self-publishing, it is vital to analyze all situations keenly before approaching any decision. This will provide fewer chances of making errors or designing poorly working strategies. A good SWOT that is an analysis used to list down desirable and undesirable factors in business is recommended. This technique analyses strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in an organization by taking into description all the interior and external conditions of the business and market base. Below is a SWOT analysis ideal for a publishing company such as Blurb.
- Blurb has a big count of return customers. A significant portion of the users of the organization’s products always comes back to more services or products.
- Customer satisfaction- several customers have posted on the company website and social media that they are contented with the services offered and always recommends these grooming products to their fellows.
- Keeping costs below that of close competitors. This has enabled them to contain their customers from being lured by other publishers.
- Consistent innovation and inventions. Every year, this company launches a new product or service, attracting more and more users.
- Viable partnerships. For example, the partnership with Amazon has brought in more revenues and popularity.
- It has a robust internal communications system. The flow of information or instructions from one worker to another is fast and on time.
- Do not pay much attention to marketing. This platform is much dependent on the website as opposed to other companies of its level.
- does not have much of marketing or sales budget. This is probably due to little focus on marketing sector.
- Some concerned customers have accused the platform of having a simple website. Others consider it being so static.
- Customers’ rapid increment in knowledge concerning what they want or desire to be provided in computers due to fast evolution of information technology. Almost 80% of Blurb customers have smartphones or tablet.
- The organization has a chance of using the internet as a marketing platform. This can boost client base.
- Increasing exploit of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
- There is a high demand for products of the similar kinds. For instance, books in conjunction with magazines.
- There are a lot of competitors in the market who have products of the same kind. This mitigates the sale of some of the organization’s products and services.
- The competitors have of late launched new and improved advertising and marketing campaigns. This is threatening the attainment of the desired target of 20 million US Dollars annually.
- There is also an alarming cost of running media ads (McFarlane, 1984).
Do strengths open some opportunities?
- Blurb can begin a loyalty discount program for the repeat customers. This will promote more loyalty and eventually customer satisfaction.
- Many customers have been heard saying they like the platform’s services and products and they are willing to recommend them. Thus, this company can open up referral reward programs to encourage and promote referrals.
- Encourage more usage of the social medias and research other low-cost methods of developing the business.
Ways of converting weaknesses to strengths
Considering the opportunities and the recorded weaknesses, it appears that social media could be an effective marketing chance. The corporation could consider opening more Facebook pages and twitter accounts in different languages to reach both the new and existing customers. It should also try the Pinterest, whereby pictures of the books or magazines can be posted.
How to utilize opportunities
- The corporation should set aside time, more staff individuals to run and update the social media business accounts or pages and any other vital resources.
- The top officials should also decide on the issue of referral bonuses and the customer loyalty plans. After doing so, they should inform the existing customers.
How to neutralize threats
Without a bigger marketing budget set aside, some advertisement campaigns may not work as expected. The corporation should also venture into regions where their competitors have a significant customer foundation.
From the earlier mentioned information, this SWOT analysis has formulated an overview of a marketing plan, which can be used in realizing the target of achieving more customer satisfaction and loyalty. It has also provided the guidelines on how to mitigate the efforts of competitors in luring away the existing and loyal customers.
SWOT Analysis Matrix
Information technology strategic plan and its goals
An information technology strategic plan is usually a listing providing comprehensive technology-backed organization activities. This plan serves as a guide to every computer related venture or decision making, with all the information technology actions given the priority and implemented by the use of the plan as the basis. The goals are the target set for which the strategic plan should attain in the long run. Concerning research of new ventures, the corporation IT strategic plan can set a goal of providing services and technologies that support the Blurb researchers. An objective of such a goal is to facilitate the business processes of grant and buy control. Action items of such an objective entail the purchase and implementation of supporting software. The second goal based on customer service is working with the IT staff and with the corporate partners such as Amazon, transform the old support model that is more customer centric and integrated. The objective of such a goal is to further develop or enhance both the physical and virtual customer experience for users of Blurb products to consistently improve the application of technology. An action item for this may entail developing a service catalog to give customer centric self-service equipment for the whole technology services. The third goal is to build and often improve a custom of service and support within the organization. The primary objective of this target is to offer regular internal training chances with the intention of giving out an approach to service excellence. It is achievable by formulating an ongoing customer service training platform for the IT staff and other support personnel. Developing and implementing a properly articulated service and support frame work based on accepted business standards is another objective of such a goal (Kearns & Sabherwal, 2006).
The third goal is to develop and implement a robust frame work to make sure that the corporate data is reliable and supportive. The main objective behind such named goal is to develop a corporation business intelligence strategy, that is; data, analytics, and reporting- with desirable security standards in conjunction with administrative sectors of the company. To attain this, it requires a review of the already in place framework and tools; both operational and strategic and also clearly state the operational reporting standards. Besides, developing and implementation of education and communication strategies that support enterprise reporting would also lead to the achievement of this objective.
The fourth goal of the IT strategic plan of Blurb platform, centered on the security sector, is to advance the company’s information security infrastructure and management practices by applying industry accepted standards. One of the objectives of this goal is to strengthen the whole data security posture by facilitating Blurb practices to ensure consistent data security practices are in the best order. This can be realized through the creation of surroundings that promote safe storage of information. This may entail automating secure storage. Another objective is also to provide technologies and procedures that support adoption of security initiatives. This is done through documentation and communication of the security framework.
The last is the goal that intends to provide enterprise resources and processes which promote continuous improvement and organizational effectiveness. There are several objectives of such a goal, one of them is developing a capacity planning and periodical improvement practice, entailing sustainability for storage and networks. Maintaining and enhancing the storage infrastructure can help achieve this objective. Also, monitoring the need for high-performance calculation and storage of big data facilitates the realization of this goal. The second objective is to timely improve enterprise best action for risk management and capital planning that is transparent and sound. Evaluation of the existing processes to ensure they lead to greater productivity and agility is the best action item of realizing this objective. Secondly, exploring ways of improving communications and exchange of ideas can also promote such an objective.
I believe that if the above-mentioned Information Technology strategic plan, together with its goals is adopted successfully, it will ultimately overturn the operations of Blurb Platform, hence, in the long run, achieve the target of maximum customer satisfaction and unwavering trust in its products and services.
Since decades ago, it is known that, if a strategic plan is implemented successfully, it brings to the business a pack of positive impacts. A well-known advantage is that a strategic plan enables associations to anticipate their future and to get ready as needs are. Through IT strategic planning, organizations can expect certain ominous situations previously they happen and play it safe to maintain a strategic distance from them. With a solid fundamental arrangement, associations can be proactive instead of just responding to circumstances as they emerge. Being proactive enables organizations to stay aware of the regularly changing patterns in the market and dependable remain one stage in front of the opposition. In fewer words, it means that it gives organizations a chance to be proactive instead of being reactive.
The second benefit attributed to a well formulated strategic plan is that it offers a business venture or an investment a sense of direction. An Information Technology, like any other essential planning, characterizes the bearing in which an association must travel, and helps in setting up reasonable destinations and objectives that are by the vision and mission graphed for it. A necessary arrangement offers genuinely permanent establishments from which an association can develop, assess its prosperity, repay its workers and build up limits for proficient, basic leadership. Winding up the benefits of strategic planning in an organization, it is good noting that it makes the business more durable and realistic. Business is a wild idea. A business might be blasting one year and paying off debtors the following. With always showing signs of change ventures and world markets, associations that do not have a reliable establishment, center, and prescience will experience difficulty riding the following wave. As indicated by reports, one of each three organizations that are pioneers in their industries won’t be there in the following five years, in any case, the chances are supportive of those that have solid strategic plans! (Kearns & Sabherwal, 2006).
However, some individuals may ask, are there drawbacks associated with an IT strategic plan? The answer is yes. One of the factual criticism of strategic planning is that it needs the association to anticipate the upcoming condition keeping in mind the end goal to generate plans, and as we as a in one piece know, foreseeing what’s to come is not a easy endeavor. The certainty, being that if the future does not unfold as envisaged, then it might contradict the system taken. Late study led in the private segment has shown that associations that exploitation arranging process accomplishes excellent execution over those relations who don’t design – paying little mind to whether they accomplished their planned target. What’s more, there are assortments of ways to pact with vital planning that is not as reliant upon the anticipation without bounds.
Hackler, D., & Saxton, G. D. (2007). The strategic use of information technology by nonprofit organizations: Increasing capacity and untapped potential. Public Administration Review, 67(3), 474-487.
Kearns, G. S., & Sabherwal, R. (2006). Strategic alignment between business and information technology: a knowledge-based view of behaviors, outcome, and consequences. Journal of management information systems, 23(3), 129-162.
McFarlane, F. W. (1984). Information technology changes the way you compete (pp. 98-109). Harvard Business Review, Reprint Service.