Merrill Lynch Connects Past and Future Technology Case Study

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1) Why did Merrill Lynch need to update its IT infrastructure?

Merrill Lynch needed to update its IT infrastructure in order to remain competitive. One of the most important ways to do so was to provide customers with Internet-based applications that provided them with up to date access to portfolios and the tools needed to work with those portfolios. There are many competitors in the financial management industry and if Merrill Lynch cannot maintain its technological edge then those competitors will take advantage by offering a more user friendly web interface and variety of tools for customers to take advantage of. Merrill Lynch also needed to consider its IBM mainframe and how to include it in the update of its IT infrastructure. The mainframe provided a strategic advantage in terms of processing power but did not have compatible software for implementing Internet-based applications that were needed to stay competitive.

2) What is the relationship of information technology to Merrill Lynch's business strategy? How was the web services initiative related to that strategy? The information technology used in Merrill Lynch's business has played an important role in the companies’ profitability. The business strategy is directly linked to the IT infrastructure because without their IBM mainframe installation they could not stay competitive and would not have all the tools they need to carry out their strategies. In fact, you can find several articles on their web site explaining the impact the IT has on the different sectors of the business. These articles illustrate the evolution of this company with technology adopted into its systems. The article explains how web services and SOA initiatives are related to that strategy. Crew knew that if he purchased a platform rather that adopting one from another the company would be able to deploy web services faster. However, he felt that their own creation was more conventional. The result was an extension on the...
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