Question 4 (25 points)
Describe, and illustrate using examples, how information systems have changed the way businesses operate and their products and services. What is the contribution of information systems to globalisation?
a.i) Wireless communications, including computers and mobile hand-held computing devices, are keeping managers, employees, customers, suppliers, and business partners connected in every way possible. Examples: smartphones used by sales representatives; notebook computers used by financial advisers. Email, online conferencing, the Web, and the Internet, are providing new and diverse lines of communication for all businesses, large and small. a.ii) Through increased communication channels and decreased costs of the communications, customers are demanding more of businesses in terms of service and product, at lower costs. E-commerce is changing the way businesses must attract and respond to customers, some of them in other countries. Example: online sales – e.g. Amazon. E-supply chain management makes global supply chains possible and effective.
Question 5 (25 points)
Value chain and value web models can be used to help businesses identify opportunities for strategic information system applications. a) Define and describe the value chain model. Explain how the value chain model can be used to identify opportunities for information systems.
a.i) The value chain model highlights specific activities in the business where competitive strategies can best be applied and where information systems will most likely have a strategic impact. The model identifies specific, critical leverage points where a firm can use information technology most effectively to enhance its competitive position. The value chain model views the firm as a series of basic activities that add a margin of value to a firm’s products or services. The activities are categorized as either primary or support activities. Primary activities are most directly related to production and distribution of the firm’s products and services, which create value for the customer. Support activities make the delivery of primary activities possible and consist of organization infrastructure. A firm’s value chain can be linked to the value chains of its suppliers, distributors, and customers.
b) Describe how the Internet has changed competitive forces and competitive advantage.
a.i) The Internet has nearly destroyed some industries (e.g. recorded music) and severely threatened others (e.g. printed press). The Internet has also created entirely new markets and formed the basis of thousands of new businesses. The Internet has enabled new products and services, new business models, and new industries to rapidly develop. Because of the Internet, competitive rivalry has become much more intense. Internet technology is based on universal standards that any company can use, making it easier for rivals to compete on price alone and for new competitors to enter the market. Because information is available to everyone, the Internet raises the bargaining power of customers, who can quickly find the lowest-cost provider on the Web.
Question 6 (25 points)
What are the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing? Describe examples of the use and usefulness of cloud computing; you should describe at least one of Google Apps and Google Drive, Microsoft Office 365 and Saleforce.com
a.i) Cloud computing is the idea of making computing resources available based on what a user really needs instead of what they might need. The advantages include:
(a.i.1) Not dependent on physical location of either resources or users. (a.i.2) Users access computing resources on their own - not necessarily dependent on IT staff. (a.i.3) Based on standard network and Internet devices.
(a.i.4) Resources serve multiple users with computing virtually assigned according to...
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