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CASE STUDY: SUH Incorporated Company Overview: SUH Incorporated: SUH is a light (value added) manufacturer in the Emergency Response Management market, and offers a variety of products to support domestic and international disaster relief efforts. Some of their products are: rapidly deployable structures, custom mobile command trailers, gas mask filter canisters, etc. SUH has built its reputation on the personal relationships fostered by its regional sales representatives and has an extensive network of community contacts. The sales representatives are proud of the best-in-breed product offering and are frequently called for live product demonstrations. SUH Company Stats (Last Quarter Results): Gross Annual Revenue: $30 Million/year Outstanding Debt: $20 Million Available Cash: $4 Million Average Sales Margin: 15% SUH made significant profits during a recent hurricane impact on the gulf coast. The executive management and board of directors felt that the time was ideal to acquire two companies that differed noticeably from their current business, CarbonTech and MyRentals. CarbonTech: A small activated carbon and filter manufacturer with NIOSH approval for their filter design. CarbonTech’s IT infrastructure is small (25 computers, 3 servers); the Operations Manager, Joe DeCline, has been servicing all IT needs. He takes great pride in the Epicor Vista® Software that he runs on a Progress® database. This has been a family business for years, and Joe’s father Jay manages the business very closely. Generally, CarbonTech is resistant to change. MyRentals: This medium size event services company provides tent rentals for a variety of events; they have been a “big player,” renting tents, AC Units, portable professional kitchens, etc. to everything from the Super Bowl to personal weddings. No event is too large or too small. The company’s General Manager, Bobby Buddy is the quintessential nice guy. He has a great personal relationship with most of his 200 full time employees, and even some of the 300 seasonal workers. The IT administration has been completely outsourced, and MyRentals is unhappy with the current level of support. The cost to support IT in their 14 satellite offices and use the Microsoft Dynamics GP® ERP system is consuming their very valuable cash. The Technology Environment: As the Director of Information Technology for the combined companies, you find three very different environments. The current CEO of SUH, Rock Martin, is technology averse – historically IT capital equipment purchases have been limited to less than $5,000/year. This is in stark contrast to your direct supervisor the CFO, Neil Robber, who loves to be connected. CarbonTech’s General Manager, Jay DeCline, is willing to invest in technology, but only if his son, Joe approves the purchase. Joe believes that he has already provided CarbonTech with everything they need in the areas of Operations and IT Infrastructure. Joe is fond of saying “If it aint broke don’t fix it.” Bobby Buddy, GM for MyRentals, is inherently trusting of his advisors, and has purchased all recommended services and support from his telecommunications, IT, and ERP support providers. Your IT staff consists of yourself as Director of IT, a senior database developer, and a ½ time PC technician. Each company has its challenges: The parent company, SUH is cash poor and unprofitable. CarbonTech is very profitable, but does not earn enough to support the other companies, and is very resistant to change. MyRentals has placed too much trust in the individual branch managers to run localized operations and is now only breaking even; they desperately need to get control of their financials, but each branch has different procedures for material acquisitions. Their “just get it done” attitude has resulted in poor margins and poor documentation on all purchases. Now with many more assets, personnel, and business challenges, the executive management is turning to you to help alleviate some of their financial stress with sound IT solutions that will demonstrably improve SUH’s ability to operate and the “bottom line.” With so many different stakeholders you know that your analysis and recommendations must be sound! Challenges and Opportunities: SUH has many challenges and opportunities as it works to combine the three companies into one integrated enterprise. The company could benefit from any number of enterprise-wide implementations that would improve its sales support, its manufacturing and supply services, and its corporate financial management, as described below. Sales Support The historical root of SUH’s success has been its regional sales representatives, and there is no reason to expect otherwise in the future. Each sales representative returns to the company’s headquarters periodically for product training and a PC upgrade. You have noticed, even in your short time at SUH, that everyone stores their information in a different format. SUH has been warmly received by all their customers. Despite that fact, however, there is some fear that the market for new purchases in the rapidly deployable shelter product line may be evaporating. The shelter product line has been the leading revenue generator at 60% of all revenue. Lately, SUH’s established customer base is more interested in shelter rental options than purchase options. Suffice it to say that SUH’s sales team is working long hours trying to sell the products they have been trained on (i.e. SUH’s historical product line). SUH wants to continue to manufacture the deployable shelters, but is willing to lease them through the MyRentals subsidiary. SUH would like to reduce the total sales force, make them more efficient in their use of technology, and use the same sales force to sell and lease the shelters, depending on customer requirements. Your task is to propose an efficient IT solution for the mobile sales force to support them as they sell and lease products of both SUH and MyRentals. Manufacturing and Supply Services SUH has been using the filters made by the newly acquired CarbonTech company in its filter canister product and now wants to completely integrate the product line, manufacturing the correct number of filters and having them available at the canister plant just in time to be used in making the canisters. The sales of the canisters is increasing at a pace that SUH will be able to use all the filters made by CarbonTech. In addition, SUH will be the sole provider of deployable shelters to the MyRentals subsidiary. Therefore, the requirements for sales and leases of the shelters will impact the manufacturing process; and the amount of shelters manufactured will determine how many can be sold or leased. Since deployable shelters are a primary product of SUH, and are a significant portion of the leasing business of MyRentals, you have decided to focus on that product line as you propose improvements in the IT support. Your task is to propose a solution to the just-in-time supply of filters to the canister manufacturing process and to ensure the manufacturing line for the deployable shelters is producing the right number of shelters to fulfill the sales and leasing requirements. Corporate Financial and Inventory Management SUH is supporting three different financial systems for their business functions, which have been independent. For a publicly traded company, this presents an accounting nightmare. Each company reports independent financials and each company has different report formats. This makes the integration needed for combined reporting nearly impossible. Every quarter the accounting staff, IT Staff and executive management spend nearly 4 weeks producing end of quarter reports. Consequently, annual inventory is also challenging – once again, three systems, three inventory procedures. The annual inventory covers only the permanent assets of SUH and its subsidiaries, not the products being manufactured, leased, or sold. Financial systems currently in use are: SUH – Infor ERP Visual® CarbonTech – Epicor Vista® MyRentals – Microsoft Dynamics GP® SUH spends approximately $10K/year on private consultants to support a legacy version of “Visual.” SUH is not current on their service contract. Both CarbonTech and MyRentals are current on their licenses and service contracts. Below is a summary of expected annual costs: InforERP Visual: $25K to bring all 25 licenses to the current build, 10K for independent support, $10K for annual renewal of licenses. Epicor Vista: $16K for 10 licenses with support. Microsoft Dynamics GP: $25K for 25 licenses, $10K for support. Your task is to propose a solution for integrating the financial management and inventory systems for SUH and its two subsidiaries to significantly reduce the time and effort required to produce the quarterly reports and to ensure accuracy. Staged Assignments and Exercises: Throughout this course you will be Director of Information Technology for SUH. Taking advantage of the business practices and IT solutions discussed in the class, the Course Modules and the textbook, you will be expected to increase profits, keep the business running, and bring SUH and its subsidiary companies into the 21st century. One of the challenges/opportunities above will be identified by you, and you will propose a solution for that area. That solution will be used in a series of staged assignments. Upon completion of these assignments you will have performed an array of activities to demonstrate your ability to apply the course content to a “real world situation” to: Recommend an IT solution based on your analysis of the business environment (case study, stage 1: memo) Evaluate the IT architectural considerations of your recommended solution (case study, stage 2: paper) Provide the details of an IT solution Provide a business case for your proposed solution (case study, stage 3:annotated outline) Explain the best practices and enterprise methodologies to be used for implementation of your proposed solution (case study, stage 4: executive briefing) Evaluate the risks of a specific solution (Exercise 1) You will find the details of each assignment and a corresponding grading rubric in separate assignment documents. The specific weights of each of these assignments can be found in the class syllabus. Note: ONE of the listed business challenges/opportunities areas listed above (sales support, manufacturing and supply services, or corporate financial and inventory management) will be used throughout the staged project. Hint: As noted earlier in the case, the goal of SUH is to combined the three companies into one integrated enterprise—so your solution should support that goal. ——————————————————- Case Study, Stage 1: Analysis and Recommendation Case Study, Stage 1: Analysis and Recommendation Before you begin this assignment, be sure you have read the “SUH Case Study.” Analysis and Recommendation The SUH Case Study presents several opportunities and challenges that the company is facing. For this assignment, you will select one of the three areas (sales support, manufacturing and services support, or corporate financial and inventory management) to analyze and make a technology recommendation. Purpose of this Assignment This assignment gives you the opportunity to apply the concepts of this course to analyze business requirements and propose a technology solution to improve the business. This assignment specifically addresses the following course outcomes to enable you to: evaluate information systems and enterprise solutions to determine the best fit to enable the organization’s strategic outcomes use information technology tools and techniques to support business intelligence gathering and decision making Assignment Using the case provided, propose a technology solution that results from your analysis of the business environment. First, analyze the business environment and select one of the three challenges/opportunities areas where application of technology would align with the strategic outcomes to improve the business. Then, provide three different recommendations that you would have for improvements in that challenge/opportunity area. All three recommendations do not have to employ technology, but at least one must. From your recommendations, select a specific technology solution and describe how that solution would contribute to business goals (Note: The overall business goal is to combine the three companies into one integrated enterprise.) Your analysis will be presented in a two- to three-page memo to Rock Martin, the CEO of SUH, Inc., using a Microsoft Word memo template. Write the memo as if you were actually writing to your boss and need to convey the background and information you used to develop your recommendations. External resources are not required, but if you use them, remember to correctly cite and reference them in APA style format. Your memo should cover all of the following areas. Challenge/Opportunity Area for SUH. Choose one of the three areas below that could benefit from a solution and explain why it is in need of a solution Sales support: discuss problems associated with sales representative problems with no backup solutions, training issues and different methods of information storage. In addition, there is an increase in interest of the rental versus purchase of shelters Manufacturing/Supply services: discuss problems associated with the need for just-in-time delivery of filters to the canister manufacturing process as well as the correct production of shelters to fulfill the sales/leasing requirements. Financial/Inventory Management: discussion the fact that SUH is maintaining three different financial systems, each system has different report formats, reporting integration is needed, time waste consolidating the information for the required reports, different inventory procedures and the fact inventory doesn’t include manufactured leased or sold products. Recommendations. Briefly (2 – 3 sentences each), describe three recommendations that would help to solve the problem you chose to solve in step 1; all three do not have to be technology solutions, they may include process or procedure changes. At least one must use technology. (These should be three distinct solutions not alternatives of the same.) Recommendation 1 Recommendation 2 Recommendation 3 Proposed IT Solution. From the three recommendations you provided in step #2 (parts a, b, c), select one that is an enterprise technology solution that you could champion and explain its functionality in approximately 3 -5 sentences. (The full technical description of the solution will be covered later in Stage 2.) You do not need to address or incorporate all three recommendations. Simply select one of them that uses technology and briefly describe what it would do for SUH. Solution fit to Challenge/Opportunity. Using the technology solution you chose for step #3, describe how that solution would help solve the challenge/opportunity you chose in step #1. To organize your paper and to aid in readability, use the following headings: Challenge/Opportunity Area for SUH Recommendations Proposed IT Solution Solution fit to Challenge/Opportunity ———————————————————– Case Study, Stage 2: IT Architectural Considerations and Solutions Details for Proposed Technology Solution Case Study, Stage 2: IT Architectural Considerations for Proposed Technology Solution Before you begin this assignment, be sure you have read the SUH Case Study and completed the Case Study Stage One Project. IT Considerations for Proposed Technology Solution For your Stage 1 Project, you proposed a technology solution to improve a business process at SUH. In evaluating an IT proposal, there are several areas that need to be considered. Some of these considerations are listed below. Depending on the specific technology solution you proposed, some of the considerations will be more important than others, or may need specific consideration prior to implementation. Purpose of this Assignment This assignment gives you the opportunity to apply your knowledge of the areas to be considered in planning and implementing a technology solution. This assignment specifically addresses the following course outcomes to enable you to: apply information technology best practices and methodologies to create information technology solutions apply fundamental information technology architecture concepts for information technology solution building Assignment Using the technology solution you proposed in Stage 1, you will write a two- to four-page paper that briefly explains your proposed solution and then addresses the IT architectural considerations listed below, explaining how each impacts or relates to the proposed IT solution, as it would be implemented for SUH. The analysis that you provide for these considerations must be aligned to the specific solution you proposed and needs to be appropriate to the SUH Case Study. You should use the textbook and at least one external resource. Select credible sources, avoiding Wikipedia, blogs, etc. Remember to correctly cite and reference your sources with APA format. Submit your paper via your Assignment Folder as a Microsoft Word document with your last name included in the filename. Your paper should include the following: Brief explanation of proposed technology solution, providing just enough detail to set the stage for the discussion to follow. IT Architectural Considerations Choose four of the following IT characteristics that are most important to consider for your proposed solution and SUH. How does each of the four you selected meet the business requirements of SUH and relate to your proposed technology solution? Accessibility – use of the system is restricted to specific users for specific purposes i. Availability – timeframes during which the system must be “up” for use ii. Maintainability – the system can be modified quickly to accommodate business changes v. Portability – the system can operate on different devices or with different software Reliability – the system performs its functions correctly and provides accurate information i. Scalability – the system can grow to accommodate more users or more transactions ii. Usability – the system is easy to learn to use Describe how you would address each of the following security aspects as they relate to the technology solution you have proposed and explain why they are important for SUH. Authentication & Authorization i. Prevention & Resistance ii. Detection & Response Of the three enterprise solutions listed below, which one is most applicable to SUH and your proposed solution and why? Supply Chain Management i. Customer Relationship Management ii. Enterprise Resource Planning —————- Case Study, Stage 3: The Business Case Before you begin this assignment, be sure you have read the SUH Case Study and the Case Study Projects for Stages 1 and 2. The Business Case In order to receive support and funding for your proposed technology solution, you are required to write a business case. A Business Case provides the reason, or justification, for a proposed project. A strong business case provides the justification for pursuing one project over another, as the preferred project is seen to be in the best interest of the organization. A business case should be comprehensive, yet concise. It describes the project clearly, estimates its cost and the time it will take, and identifies the benefits to the organization over other alternatives. A business case makes the “case for change” and provides the economic justification in terms of a cost/benefit analysis and return on investment. It can be used to explain a proposed solution or project, to establish criteria for measuring success, and to obtain funding. When organizations must choose among investments they often use business cases to determine which investments they will pursue. A business case assists organizational stakeholders in making decisions regarding the viability of the proposed project effort. Use of a business case is considered standard practice throughout private and public industry. Additional information on business cases is included in Course Module 4. Purpose of this Assignment This assignment gives you the opportunity to apply the concepts of this course to address the planning, development, implementation and on-going management of the technology solution you have proposed by developing a business case for it. This assignment specifically addresses the following course outcomes to enable you to: evaluate information systems and enterprise solutions to determine the best fit to enable the organization’s strategic outcomes use information technology tools and techniques to support business intelligence gathering and decision making apply information technology best practices and methodologies to create information technology solutions Assignment Using the Case Study provided and your proposed IT solution, prepare an annotated outline 3-4 pages in length (no cover sheet), as if you were preparing for a presentation to the IT steering committee. The outline will address the basic elements of a formal business case shown below. External resources are not required, but if you use them, remember to correctly cite and reference them in APA style format. Use the Grading Rubric to be sure you have covered everything. Your outline should be in Microsoft Word outline format. Submit your paper via your Assignment Folder as a Word document with your last name included in the filename. An annotated outline provides the basic information in full sentences, but in outline form rather than in paragraph form. In this case, you will address each component of the business case to support your proposed technology solution. You should provide all of the important facts, without the expanded discussions used in full papers. Each of the topics in the list below should be explained as they apply to your proposed technology solution and to the Case Study, using one or two sentences for each topic and providing information specific to your solution. ———-
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