Business Information Systems

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An evaluation of Apple Inc’s use of information systems through its website

In the highly competitive world of business the ability to understand and make use of information systems can provide substantial benefits to an organization. The diversification of consumer taste and competition has put pressure on organizations to focus on customer involvement and business information systems have proven to be a versatile and useful tool in order to achieve this. Strategic information systems have the potential to allow an organization to gain a competitive advantage by accessing new markets and providing a more efficient and faster form of communication between managers. By improving communication within the organization, strategic information systems have the potential to reduce the cost of advertising, delivery, design and manufacturing. The purpose of this essay is to evaluate the use of information systems in consideration of Apple Incorporated’s website.

About Apple Inc.
Founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the company was incorporated on January 3, 1977, under the company name Apple Computers. Initially the multinational company predominantly dealt as a manufacturer of personal computers, however in 2001 following the successful release of the iPod, the company established itself as a credible competitor within the consumer electronics industry. By 2010 Apple Inc had surpassed Microsoft in terms of market capitalization to become the largest technology company in the world. Apple Inc now provides 13 core products, including desktop computers, laptop computers, a tablet computer, a mobile phone range, a range of portable media players and a home media player. In addition, the company also provides accessories for all of its core products, as well as server and networking solutions. Furthermore Apple Inc provides both tangible products, as listed above, and intangible digital media through its software ‘iTunes’ and more recently via the newly launched ‘App Store’. Over 10 billion songs and applications have been downloaded via Apples software based digital media outlet and within the first quarter of 2010 Apple had sold 3.36 million Macintosh computers, 8.7 million iPhones and 21 million iPods (Apple Inc.). As with other consumer electronics companies Apple Inc provides a comprehensive after sale support service including hardware, software and educational services through its websites and retail outlets. Apples main manufacturing facilities are located within China along with the majority of its suppliers of electrical components such as Foxconn Technology Group. The company has in excess of 70 offices worldwide with 46,600 permanent employees (United State Securities and Exchange Comission, 2010).

Apple Inc’s current business model encompasses three broad categories those being, software engineering, hardware manufacturing and retail. The company operates across a multi-channel platform of commerce selling to customers through the use of its website, software based digital media outlet, official retail stores and franchised retail stores.

In terms of e-commerce Apple acts as a content provider through iTunes & the App Store, an online service provider through its ‘mobile me’ subscription service, an online marketplace providing an environment in which buyers and sellers can meet to procure apple targeted accessories, e-tailing in providing official apple products and social networking services through ‘Ping’ as well as its online support discussion boards. The company is also actively involved in M-commerce through mobile software on its portable media players, tablet computers and mobile devices using the iTunes store and App Store.

In order to reduce time between the point of sale and delivery, Apple has made use of a Just In Time approach, in turn reducing inventory costs. The JIT production technique is an integrated socio-technical inventory management system...
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