Privacy And Information Technology Essay, Research Paper
Geoffrey Graves MG3700 Mid Term Exam 4/24/2000
In order to produce an upwards swing in revenue, Toy World must track its customer?s buying trends with more accuracy and more detail. The Point of Sale system that they are currently working from can be improved and made to reduce after-market inventory.
Trend data can be used for a wide variety of purposes. One of the first problems is the store design and layout of items. Sale items and hot merchandise must be as strategically positioned as possible to allow a prospective customer to locate and remove the item from the shelf quickly and painlessly. By analyzing customer data, the new system must be able to sort items not only by popularity, but also by genre. Once data is collected, new stores can be quickly designed around the products. Some trends never die, seen by the toy world market data.
Comparing one toy with another is extremely important in order to decipher just why it?s a big seller. The POS system should be able to lay out all pertinent information about a toy obtained from sales data, and compare it next to a variable number of other ?hot? sellers. Data can be compared with toy descriptions after analysis of the item, and research of the toy?s advertisements and media exposure. Also by doing this, under- stocking and over-stocking shelves can be prevented. A ?hot? toy can be kept in stock if the retailer orders a large quantity ahead of time after POS analysis.
What of the items that don?t sell much when the POS data is analyzed? The system should be able compute the quantity to order, to keep in the stock room, or to totally remove the item from inventory.
At the ?snap-shot? of this case, Toy World?s tactical strategic position was decent and had room for expansion, but the tactical position was lacking in many areas. If you ask the CIO of any successful company that has been around for about 25 years, he will agree that for maximum results and increased overall cash inflow, a large portion of the budget should be spent on IT. More funds towards improvement of the POS system would have increased revenue two or even threefold. Much of the data network at Toy World is too slow to handle the amount of traffic necessary to sufficiently analyze POS information.
From IT Planning (Exhibit 5) the MIS spending plan as a fraction of sales, decreases from 0.9% in 1987 to 0.8% in 1988, around $4000. This shows a clear lack of good prediction when this % of sales data is compared with the revenue (Exhibit 3) of $10 million. IT spending could have been increased by 50%, (1.8-2.0) percent from 1986 to 1987 with practically no negative side effects.
Strategically, the company was looking towards the future of sales. One of the major ideas that were worked into Toy World?s ?electronic future? was e-commerce. If they were to win that race, the sales would predictably skyrocket. Toys are the perfect product to purchase online for tech savvy moms and dads at Christmas time. Though the technological problems were many, Toy World was still a leader in toys manufacturing and sale.
As the CIO of Toy World, I would have a comprehensive and competent staff working in a team-oriented workplace. The new management team positions would be
Systems Analysts would be hired in order to redesign the POS system. The system would keep the same base coding and structure but certain descriptive items must be added to the data analysis. This team would be in charge of analyzing the system and would work closely with the team of programmers to design the best way to integrate additions to the POS system.
The Lead Programmers would work closely with the Systems Analysts with the intent of upgrading the IT systems of Toy World. They must be competent in ANSI C, C++, SQL, Visual Basic, ORACLE, UNIX (AIX), and any other database systems.
Web Support and Development Experts would be in charge of an
E-commerce storefront and the development of a company website. This team of web savvy programmers and web designers would maintain the web system and servers. The team would also update the web page with new items. The analysts would specifically choose these new items from the new POS data.
Telecommunications personnel would be in charge of the phone line services and satellite connectivity between the points of Toy World?s stores and business offices. Small three or four man teams would have to be positioned at each store for maximum results and ease of communication and synchronization.
The POS systems analysts should be an elite hand picked team that knows the toy business and what makes function the best. This team would analyze computer POS data and also work with the Lead Programmers to design the POS system. After all, they are the personnel that will ultimately be benefiting from the POS IT system.
Technical Support Managers and Personnel would be in charge of troubleshooting systems and setting up small, business computer systems as needed. The managers would be trained by the team of Lead Programmers and would, in turn, instruct the larger number of Technical Personnel.
This group of professionals would be serving under a Vice CIO/ IT Financial Manager who would oversee problems and make financial decisions along with the CIO. This plan of new technicians will be modified and strengthened by new professionals as the need arises.
The corporate strategy from Toy World did not support its future IT agenda. The Toy World Corporate Strategy was:
1.) Increase sales per store
2.) Increase the number of stores to expand leverage from overhead and support expenses
3.) Convert more sales dollars to profit
?Information systems applications were explicitly identified in support of the latter issue only.? This clearly does not mesh well with the future of IT. Toy World?s IT budget decreased, while more stores were to be created? Increasing the number of selling points should means more funds needed at the IT level to support the growing need for communication and support the volatile expansion of store volume and customer base.
However, the AT&T sponsored Information Technology Management was a great plan that can only lead to a higher competency level in any corporation?s IT division. Similarly, the role of the external consultant should be to guide the MIS department at Toy World with solutions to problems and methods of IT that have been proven to work. The consultant should strategize the MIS plan, which Rothstein and O?Mara did, specifically the Opportunity/Impact plans. The planning and integration of ITM into Toy World would be an asset to the company?s revenue and profit. ?Vendor Ticketing? and the ?Electronic Shopping Aid? are methods that consultants should come up with, especially when they are tailored to the exact needs of that particular IT division.
Using the aforementioned team of programmers and analysts, the new POS system will be implemented in specific stages over time. This will increase the efficiency of the system for the short term because of user friendliness and to keep the learning curve from getting too steep. Key items would be implemented right away, with other descriptive data fields available down the road.
By designing the new POS system around a SKU and UPC code structure, communication speed will increase and costs will stay low. Large, unwanted packets of data can be avoided since all information can be coded into the SKU number for that item. This 7 to 10 digit number can contain up to 4 or 5 descriptive qualities about that particular toy, including store positioning data, color, shape, and toy genre. Market data can be included in a second descriptive value associated with the object. Using an object oriented programming environment such as J++ or C++, the TOY class, (example), can store many different values that directly correlate with the actual objects respective physical genre.
Would information about the store collected by the store stay there? Other stores can benefit greatly from its collected market and buying trend data. Should the central business offices be the only ones to see market data, or should individual store managers have access to this data each day? The answer is, both. The individual store managers should be able to see the information in order to rearrange the store daily due to new market data collected from the previous day or week. Trends would be highlighted or marked on the data sheet by the POS allowing the individual store managers to correctly assess all possible situations. But, many trends and good ideas will only come from a collective source of all store data, analyzed by the ?central office? team. Market data such as price, mean quantity per day that is sold, and Boolean values such as credit card or check usage, would be collected by the computer.
Perhaps the best way to store and organize the information would be an ORACLE database, where operations can be performed easily on the collected data. Database queries can be coded in SQL or ORACLE for speed of searching and computing data.
Privacy in the Business Environment
Increased Safety ? By increasing information technology, safety will also be increased. By knowing information about any given individual, criminals would be almost nonexistent. The amount of rape, murder, and theft would decrease yearly after new security technology, such as better alarm systems and a faster moving, sophisticated response team is implemented. Advanced surveillance technology can prevent problems before they start.
Increased Product Pertinence ? With advances in IT, companies will no longer sell to the consumers, they will tailor products to the individual consumer. By advanced analysis of electronic buying data from goods bought online, companies can produce more desirable and more useful products. As time progresses, this can also bring on an sense of individuality. The product is sold to the individual, not the public.
Customized Advertisement ? Along the same lines as the product betterment, advertisements in any media, whether on TV or on the computer screen, will be displayed accordance to your recorded market data and preferences. Although web companies such as Alladvantage are already doing this, it can be taken to a new level with market POS data on goods that a given household purchases.
Practical Reasons for the ?Big Brother? System
When corruption strikes at the heart of the US government, the media eventually finds out about it. In turn, the American people view the corruption and lies on TV or in the newspaper. Most law-abiding, tax paying, citizens feel disgusted and let down by political corruption. The same government officials that Americans elect to office are cheating, lying and sometimes stealing from the public. Who wouldn?t want a government that is almost corruption free? By using technology and decreasing personal privacy, everything important can be caught on camera or recorded. The men and women, who are elected by the public, are expected to be ?public? leaders.
Criminal activity is also an issue pertaining to security and the decrease in privacy. A major issue in the US today is the terrorist threat, heightened by the bombing of the federal building in Kansas City, and the World Trade Center disaster. More information on each citizen, in accordance with advanced immigration technology, can prevent the problems before they arise. If certain governments unite and devise a highly involved database of individual records, immigrants with sketchy records can be denied at the door of the country. I believe the people whose lives were affected by past incidents would sacrifice an amount of privacy for this high level of protection.
Health care can be applied immediately to the small boy who was stung by the bee that he was allergic to if the information is available. If medical records and files could be accessed immediately, and by everyone, emergencies could be solved with ease. The system could include not only the records, but also previous methods and solutions to past ailments. Learn from the past, and in turn, computers can save the boy?s life.
Through the web, information is passed faster than the speed of light. Information can be transferred instantaneously over a high-speed line. The faster speed means better connectivity to other people with different views and perspectives. In short, the Internet can open your mind to new problems, and new solutions. The less that is hidden, the more that is able to added to our knowledge of the world and the people we live with. This is an obvious asset compared to privacy.
The same applications are relevant with police officers and the people that they arrest. All police activities and pre-meditated arrests could be recorded in the same fashion to prevent problems in court. The Rodney King example is probably the most famous event that is appropriate to the privacy situation. If we could have seen or heard clearly what had happened, much of the legal distress that followed the incident could have been prevented by hard evidence.
Management and other empowered personnel who know the facts make sound decisions. Decreased privacy will bring more facts into light and allow for specific orders to be made.
Solutions for Changes in IT and Privacy
Using data analysis provided from previously recorded incidents, trouble spots for crime could be monitored with accuracy and ease. Mandatory recordings by a third party should be required in order to make a pre-meditated arrest. Although video is extremely reliable, sometimes it is not appropriate. Alternative technologies could be audio solutions and sophisticated heat detectors.
A network of databases containing intense medical records and research of individuals would enable anyone to help out a person in need. The network could be easily organized by detailed characteristics of health problems/conditions as they are related to the man or women. This would provide ease of use.
Public, government run discussion boards can be an asset to the American people. But, this only holds true if officials and people empowered to make change are required to participate in and review the discussions. The boards could also be monitored to prevent hacking and misuse, not to investigate opinions.
An advanced version of the Microsoft Java Cookie can be implemented into all POS and web browsing systems. The cookie records information and takes statistics on web surfing, and makes certain decisions based on related genres and consumer goods. Combined with other statistics software cookies can be a valuable asset to any company in terms of selling to the individual, not the group.
All decisions that affect the public directly must be televised in some manner. The day-to-day work of the government can be recorded, but not publicly broadcasted. Instead, the media can be available upon request by any citizen of the US providing that that person gives a pertinent reason for the viewing of that media. Personnel must accompany viewers at all times so foul play can be lessened.