Executive Summaryi. Business problem Overall this business has no way of tracking there ProKing floor models. This is very important considering they reuse these floors. ii. Possible solutions1 Cloud database through 3rd party. -CB2 Website database through current website. -CB3 Internal data base, possibly just using excel files. -CB4 Investing an actual IT department/person. -CB5 Combination of 2 and 3 -JB6 Let CRT develop the software – JBiii. Recommended solutionLet CRT develop the software-SPb. Based on interviews and organizational documents, describe the business, organizational, and IS strategies. There are multiple factors that play a role in forming and choosing the strategies Horner uses to be successful. One of the most prominent factors is that Horner is a small company. With few employees with which customers can interact, the client to company relationships tend to grow very strong once they are successfully initiated. One of the business strategies of Horner is to continually increase clientele by generating new customers and converting competitor’s customers to Horner customers. In addition to that, Horner invests time and money into continually improve the quality of their manufactured products to stay equal and ahead of competitors. A couple information strategies Horner utilizes are to ensure that communication between Horner and customers is easier to execute than with competitors. This involves building strong personal relationships with customers through multiple communication platforms, and through the process of adding and maintaining the value of customer relationships. From what we have discussed in class about organizational structure, Horner is different in a sense that it is on a small scale relative to company examples we have discussed. With that, it is somewhat difficult to put Horner in a category as a hierarchical or network style organization. There are positives to this, in that communication is easy to perform and it flows faster due to the fact that there are fewer people in the communication process. This also means that communication performed may maintain accuracy when passed from one individual to the next, in situations where the communication is not recorded digitally or on paper. The disadvantages of this organizational structure is that it almost has a “small town” feel where everybody knows what is going on in everyone else’s lives, which can spark gossip and other detrimental communication forms. One individual may not be willing to work with another individual, and this can severely limit the performance of the company because there is not anyone else to pick up those individual’s work.Again, due to the fact that Horner is a small company with a few employees who have controlled the way the company is run for a very long time, the information system strategies are unique to Horner. Currently, there is a central, shared location of digital information that all employees use, but it is not consistently used. Not only is it not consistently used, but the method of organizing data is not consistent. The main strategy is for each employee to store the information that he or she needs, and when someone else needs it, he or she may share it with that individual. This creates a considerable amount of communication that could be avoided if the information was centralized in an efficient and accurate manner.c. Describe an area of the organization that could be improved to attain greater strategic advantage or better maintain strategic advantage.i. Describe the “problem” area. Tracking and floor data are kept track of on paper and in no central location. -CBInventory of finished products, not necessarily raw materials -JBii. Describe how fixing the “problem” could better attain or sustain competitive advantage. It would improve efficiency and higher customer satisfaction. It would help to keep everything organized and save a lot of time. Due to the aging, but loyal core group of employees at Horner Flooring, that company has grown complacent in use of technology, partially within their business strategy. The majority of documentation regarding customer information is kept on paper file. Although the company puts a vast amount of effort in keep the information organized, the system is still inefficient in comparison to modern technology. There is no centralized location that is information can be accessed by Horner employeesThe first issue with the current method of information storage is the physical storage of these paper file. The stacks of paper take up a vast amount of room. Form a marketing perspective this makes the company look as though they are not keeping up technology. If a customer were to see this, their thoughts may be along the lines of, “how could they be leading the market?” The second issue is maintenance. The time spent maintaining paper files, just to keep them organized require time and effort; much more than dropping and electronically organizing the same information. Lastly, this system makes the search of information inefficient. Communication of flooring information is a key component of the company, both internally between employees and externally with the customers. Currently when a customer calls, either the CEO or sales representative, asking a question pertaining to the floor, that employee must either physically go look for a paper file on the flooring or ask another employee that has more direct access to the information. With the integration of more advanced technology this information could be a few simple clicks away.It is important to acknowledge the amount of data that is stored on each floor. Appendix # is documentation that Horner Flooring has to keep on each floor, dependent on the type of flooring. Permanent floor have less documentation involved, but portable flooring has much more information required due to the higher amount of maintenance and customer contact. Portable flooring is also the product that high end customers, such as NBA teams, buy more often. NBA areas are commonly used for multiple events such as concert..By addressing this issue the company internally and externally will run more efficiently. By centralizing and storing their data more effectively, information can be more readily accessed by all of Horner’s employee, thus saving time . If the customer were to have questions and their questions are answered quickly, this would lead to higher customer satisfaction as well. Both the customer and the company would be saving time, but more importantly the company would be saving, and possibly making, money. Possible solutions- MB1. SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software like SAP can be implemented. SAP can offer modules for accounting (general ledger, journal entries, cost accounting), Sales and distribution, Materials Management etc. It offers a single software application platform for integration of all such modules which can increase the productivity within an organization. SAP software’s front GUI is connected to backend which is a database. It offers remote support that can perform eligibility check, detect any defects if any etc. It can handle large amount of data and allows high flexibility.When a new customer is acquired, his order details will be entered through SAP Graphical User Interface which will automatically be stored in SAP’s backend database. Customer will approach Sales team to place an order. The team updates the centralized database so that all other departments will stay informed about the new order. Product planning team auto updates the system for product requirements and checks the availability of the raw materials via centralized system updated by Inventory department. The manufacturing team will update the system with man power status which can be accessed by HR team. If there is any shortage of manpower, HR team will recruit new employees to fill in the void. Thus, labor costs will go down. Vendors can directly upload their bills in this system so that Finance team can keep a check on financial details.Outcome:1. Better customer interaction and improved customer service2. Provides information across all departments.3. It will eliminate duplicate data, superfluity and discontinuity of data.2. Cloud ComputingHorner being a decentralised management system, their data should be stored centrally. To store their data at one location, Cloud Computing can be one of the solution for Horner’s problem. Cost Savings: Company need not invest in in-house server storage and application requirements as all the data will be stored on cloud. Costs related to primary infrastructure, power, air conditioning and administration costs will be eliminated. Company can pay for what is used and can dissociate whenever they like – no IT investment to be worried of. Even for small companies, cloud services are extremely affordable. For example, if computer users are 6 then only 6 licences will be required. If business increases or decreases, licences can be adjusted. This can also be applied in terms of data storage as well.Reliability: All the data can be shared and accessed 24*7 and is available to all. It provides correct output, stays operational all time and data can be recovered whenever required. Manageability: As data is available online, it can be managed and shared by all. It provides enhanced and structured IT management through centralised storage system. All the updates and maintenance process will be handled by the service provider. There is no need to dedicate an employee to keep the track of upgrading the database or install any upcoming version. The service provider will ensure guaranteed delivery, management and maintenance of the TI services. Considering all the above functions supported by cloud computing, it will help Horner store data at a central location and manage all the operations in one go. Also, cloud computing helps in keeping track of any editing done of that particular user. Instead of maintaining data in a file folder, all the data can be stored on cloud reducing paperwork and allowing accurate data tracking process. Files can be accessed from anywhere using an internet connection.3. Database Management System: Database can be implemented so that all the customer entries and order details can be entered into the system. When a new customer is acquired his details will be entered into the system and whenever required, all his records can be fetched easily. By implementing database, it will reduce paperwork and provide more accurate data tracking records.Implementing database into the system will manage all the orders and customer details. System will track all pertinent records of all portable floors. All the operations such as delete, update, insert shall get stored once the query has been committed. Objects are stored in the form of indexes, hence accessing a record through indexing shall result sooner. Every execution of query can be recorded. If any changes take place, the logs get updated accordingly.When new customers are acquired, their order details can easily be added into the information system. This will provide Horner Flooring with a complete set of records.Database System will allow records to be searched faster increasing productivity. This will be possible by implementing a user-friendly interface. This will increase productivity for Horner Flooring by eliminating the time-loss locating records in the traditional manner. Rather than needing multiple copies of floor specifications for various departments, the system will provide a method in which everyone can access the same data. This will reduce both, the amount of errors related to conveying information to multiple departments as well as eliminate the paper waste associated with the multiple copies of information Database System allows increased customer tracking for marketing and sales purposes. The system will track the date that a customer purchased a floor. Horner requires that a floor should be replaced about every five years. The system will be designed in such way that will notify the company when a floor has reached five years old. This allows Horner to contact customers, and speak with them about replacing their existing floor.Keeping the data in cache memory will avoid querying back-end data sources. Applications can have a query and analyze data in memory (cache), leveraging the huge parallel capabilities of the data grid. Hence instead of fetching a record directly from database, it can be queried from cache/ temporary memory. This will lead to time saving task. Latency being a big problem can be reduced by coherence. It will help solve the problems by caching and processing data in real time. The system is defined in such a way that every user will be associated with unique UID(User Identification) and password to access a network location, and prevent unwarranted access. Each user can bse assigned a number of privileges like granting specific right without restrictions or read only access to a specific table.e. Recommendations- SS SPTo overcome this lack of centralized system to track information proposing a technical solution would be the best possible solution. We can recommend having a centralized storage location such as Database for storing data.A database such as MySQL would be optimal to use in this case for the following reasons:· Open source software (anyone can use it for free)· Easy to use· Minimal implementation cost (almost negligible)In correspondence to Horner’s problem having a database management system will allow employees to store, organize and manage notable amount of floor information within a one software application. All the information related to portable floors will be maintained in single storage location which will save lot of time on tracking the product (portable floor) information. Increasing the overall productivity of the process. Employees will able to track the floors sold to customers for future maintenance which can retrieve customer’s information. For already sold products, we can provide additional discounts for registering their products online, by this we can retrieve old customers.Following are some other benefits of having a database· Scaling of businessMultiple users can access the database software from multiple locations at once. Employees will be able to login at the same time from multiple locations. · Providing data SecurityCompany owned valuable data can be safeguarded as illegitimate attacks can be eliminated by authorization. If anyone is hampering the data it can be easily caught as the latest changes will be logged by the database software.· Supports Multiple viewsMultiple user can be given access to users/employees to view different data according to their role in the company. For example, the managers of the company will have many views, whereas the other employees will have restricted views of the database tables. · Reducing the complexityIn business it’s very important to have a track about the current status (product information), a database system will allow the current status to be known to everyone. For example, the current status of an order will be known to everyone thus responding the customer regarding their order status will be fast. · Helps in making critical business decisionsCurrent status of data obtained from database. Based on that reports can be made which can help managers take some critical business decisions. · Improving customer relationshipRelationship with the customers will be improved as we can update customers regarding their order in minimal time period as employees will be able to retrieve customer data easily or either by triggering some automatic alerts. Relationship with the can also be built by sending automatic promotional emails from database.Outsourcing the development of the database would be best as Horner does not have an IT department. For this our team consulted with a firm called CRT Associates & Inc. CRT produces data management products. They use Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP to develop cloud data systems that are accesed primarily using a browser. The designs are can be used by both desktop and mobile devices. The system CRT will develop would containing two parts, a back office data management part or dashboard and a front facing part, or “the app”, that consumers of the data interact with. They often use third party data management software to speed up development of the project. These are usually products that provide quick data entry screens and a consistent user interface for MySQL tables. Data integrity and security are most crucial for our project. So whenever possible only the correct options would be provided to the data entry person to maintain consistency. Implementation:The most appropriate projects for agile are ones with immediate deadlines, a high degree of complexity, and novelty to them. If it’s something the team has done before then the team probably doesn’t need an agile approach. Since this is the first time Horner would be working on such a new project, We would suggest using agile methodology for this project. We can use SCRUM along with JIRA (integration tool) to implement this solution effectively.Implementation in 7 steps:1. Define first Scrum team: In our case the Scrum team includes Horner and CRT (company who would develop the database for Horner). This team would include software developers, testers, designers, business analysts, etc. All the members of this team need to continuously work together.2. Define Sprint length: A sprint can last between a week and 3 weeks and typically remains the same for the duration of a project. Horner and CRT can plan meetings and work for that sprint can be planned. At the end of the sprint a review/meeting can be held where the improvements are reviewed and work for the next sprint can be assigned. 3. Appoint a Scrum Master: We can have the Senior programmer at CRT as the Scrum Master for the Scrum groups. The Scrum Master guards the team and its process, keeping an eye out for Scrum smells and removing impediments to productivity. The Scrum Master’s responsibility is to assist the team in planning the work for the upcoming sprints.4. Appoint the Product Owner: We can have the President/CEO of CRT and Horner as the Product Owners of the Scrum group. They would be in charge of making sure the team produces value from the project to the business. They have the responsibility to write the client-centric requirements in the form of stories, prioritize them and provide them to the backlog.5. Create the initial product backlog:The product backlog is a wish list of all of the user stories (requirements) that is expected to be completed in the project. The most important requirement goes on the top of the list, thus the entire backlog is ranked in order based on story importance. A backlog has typically 2 types of work items:a. Epics: High level stories that are roughly sketched out.b. Stories: More detailed requirements for what should be done. An epic can typically be broken down into several stories. The Product Owner has the freedom to re-prioritize the backlog as he sees fit, at any point in time.6. Plan and start your first sprint: The team now picks items from the wish list based on prioritization. The team brainstorms and decides what can be done in the upcoming sprint. Once the decision is made, sprint is started and the team starts working on the stories.7. Close the current and start the next sprint: When the end of the sprint is reached, all planned work for that particular sprint should be done . If that is not the case, it is up to the team to transfer the remaining work for the next sprint or be put back into the backlog. The team now does a retrospective where they discuss if the work went well and if not what improvisation is needed for the next sprint. After that, the sprint planning meeting for the next sprint is starts and process is repeated till the project is completed. In our case we need a deadline since most of the key employees at Horner would be retiring soon and we would need time to train the new employees.Actions done in SCRUM:1. Planning meeting: The SCRUM group can plan meetings via video conference calls (since CRT is located in Germany) and select a user story from the backlog and brainstorm on it. The SCRUM group then decides the depending upon the complexity of the story if it should go into the sprint.2. Completing the work: Once the team members complete their work on the stories, they are ready to move on to the next one. 3. Daily SCRUM meeting: Through the sprint cycle, The daily SCRUM meeting is held to keep a track of the work. Each team member is needed to meet for ten to fifteen minutes to discuss where they are at. They need to keep a check on how much the work is completed and how much more work needs to be done yet. 4. Sprint review meeting: After each sprint, the team holds a Sprint review meeting to inspect the increment. The Product Owner and everyone else who is interested collaborate to check what has been done till now and what further improvements need to be done to optimize the final product.5. Retrospective meeting: In the retrospective meeting, the SCRUM group meets and discuss about what exactly went well and what did not and which actions items need to be acted on.