Opening Case Questions
1. What might have happened to Apple if its top executives had not supported
investment in iPods? The iPods have revolutionized the way Americans buy, listen and enjoy their favorite music. In just a few short clicks, consumers across the globe can download that "oldie but goodie" taking them "back down memory lane". However, the investment in the iPods was only just the beginning for Apple. It opened the door to a whole new portfolio of sleek. fun and clever technological advances for men, women and children everywhere. When Apple capitalized on iTun es and the iPods ten years ago, the iPod shuffle, iPod Touch, iPod nano and the iPod Classic were all born. Then came the iPhone and the iPad. Not to mention the extensive line of computers including the MacBook, the MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro, the iMac, MacMini and the MacPro. From the co,nception of just one idea, Apple has evolved into a multi-billion dollar company. If Apples top executives had not supported investment in the iPod, the company wou ld not be in the financial position it is in today. In fact, the company could have very well gone under. In the article, "In from the cold: How Apple has blossomed" the author states, "Just a decade after almost fold ing, the consumer-electronics provider is worth over $1 oo billion and now rubs shoulders with the USA s most prestigious organizations" (Unknown Author, 2008, p, 13). By getting in front of the MP3 trend that began back in 2000, Apple took its competitive advantage to a whole new level. Steve Jobs and other company executives saw the tremendous opportunity and took action to invest in it. That bold and smart step fore\(er changed the game of technology and entertainment and secured the company s future . 2. Formulate a strategy for how Apple can use efficiency IT metrics to improve its business. Companies like Apple have to constantly find ways to improve the way they do business. Executives can not simply rest on their laurels, hoping success and good fortune will continue from year to year. Technology is always evolving and executives must constantly seek ways to get in front of the trends; not behind them. Two ways organizations can do this is by employing the use of IT metrics. One of them involves efficiency. According to Baltzan and Phillips (2009), "efficiency IT metrics measure the performance of the IT system itself such as throughput, speed and availability" (Baltzan &Phillips, 2009, p. 17). A competitive strategy built on efficiency IT metrics begins with these five elements: Throughput, Transaction Speed, System Availability, Information Accuracy, Web Traffic and Response Time. This strategy will be designed for the Apple s iTunes online music store.
Throughput This is defined as "the amount of information that can travel through a system at any point in time" (Baltzan & Phillips, 2009, p.19}. iTunes customers should have the confidence in knowing that he or she can download and purchase any song,album or video any time of the day. This means optimal throughput performance must be maintained at all times. To achieve this goal, Apple must implement performance measurement tools to ensure the desired throughput for its iTunes customers. This tool must be checked and re-checked regularly to ensure proper levels of performance. As iTunes customers increase, so should the frequency of the assessment of the measurement tools. The objective is to keep up with the throughput demand. Transaction Speed This metric deals with the amount of time it takes a system to perform a specific task. This goes hand in hand with throughput. In order for throughput to be efficient, it has to be delivered at an optimal speed. Building on the iTunes store example, one of the best features is the amount of time it takes the system to locate the exact artist, song or album it is being asked to fi nd. Once an item is entered into the search box, results are found in seconds. To...