Internet Tools at Dirt Bikes
Dirt Bikes’ management is concerned about how much money is being spent on communicating with people inside and outside the organization and obtaining information about developments in the motorcycle industry and the global economy. It has been asked of me to investigate how Internet tools and technology could be used to help Dirt Bikes’ employees communicate and obtain information more efficiently. Dirt Bikes provides Internet access to all employees who use desktop computers.
Internet tools are a perfect way for Dirt Bikes to get up and running with the latest in software and hardware to bring their employees the type of communication and information that they need to stay in touch with the latest trends, demand and knowledge of competing companies. To be able to have information on demand will be key for the sales and marketing division of Dirt Bikes. Sales and marketing can use an intranet for a wide variety of tasks such as searching for sales reports or looking up information on products. “An intranet is the generic term for a collection of private computer networks within an organization. An intranet uses network technologies as a tool to facilitate communication between people or work groups to improve the data sharing capability and overall knowledge base of an organization's employees.” (Mitchell, 2012).
Sales and marketing are not the only ones that will benefit from an intranet network at Dirt Bikes, human resources would be able to upload and store their employee related information such as employee policies, handbooks, benefits, meetings and schedules. This would reduce a great amount of paper being used at the company plus reduce the risk of losing or misplacing this information. Employees that are new could download this information onto their desktops and read from their instead of having a desk full of booklets or pamphlets to search through.
Dirt Bikes manufacturing department would also benefit from an intranet network, it will help to maintain and coordinate production schedules to keep product builds done in a timely manner. Time management is important as the companies’ product must ship on time to the customer if repeat business is to occur. The intranet could also be used to manage parts inventory, they way they know for sure what they have in store and when a need comes up they will be able to order the particular parts that they need. This will ensure that money is not wasted on parts that are not need and also there is never an over supply of parts that may or may not be used.
My examination of Dirt Bikes reveals that the customer service department could use a few internet tools that will help with day to day tasks. One particular tool that will be useful is Voice over IP (VoIP). “VoIP is a technology that allows telephone calls to be made over computer networks like the Internet. VoIP converts analog voice signals into digital data packets and supports real-time, two-way transmission of conversations using Internet Protocol (IP).” (Mitchell, 2012). Customer service will be able to make and receive their calls through their desktop computers by speaking through a headset microphone. This is the perfect was for Dirt Bikes to reduce their telecommunication costs, “operating costs for VoIP service providers are significantly lower than for traditional phone companies, which must contend with the existing, expensive-to-maintain phone infrastructure and costly industry regulations. With lower expenses, VoIP providers can charge much less than their competitors. And with VoIP, businesses no longer have to maintain separate networks for phones and data--another significant money saver. Also, the costs associated with employee moves, adds and changes--which can cost $100 or more per occurrence--are virtually eliminated.” (Alexander, 2012). This will give management more flexibility as they will be able to take their phone system with them as they travel as long as they have access to a broadband connection, management can use VoIP anywhere. Employees and customers will be able to stay in contact just by calling their regular business phone number and it will ring to that employee cell phone.
Another tool that can be used is a Virtual Private Network (VPN), a “VPN utilizes public telecommunications networks to conduct private data communications. Most VPN implementations use the Internet as the public infrastructure and a variety of specialized protocols to support private communications through the Internet.” (Mitchell, 2012) A VPN can be used in few different ways; to support remote access to an intranet, to support connections between multiple intranets within the same organization, and to join networks between two organizations, forming an extranet. This will help for employees that may work outside the office and need to access a particular database from their laptop, just by using an outside internet connection they can dial in to the VPN, at that point they will be now be on a secured network without fear of anyone else that is sharing that connection having access to the companies data. VPN offers two main advantages over alternative technologies: cost savings, and network scalability. To the clients accessing these networks, VPNs also bring some benefits of ease of use. A VPN can save an organization money in several situations, by eliminating the need for expensive long-distance leased lines, reducing long-distance telephone charges and offloading support costs.
Adding wireless technology to Dirt Bikes is my next recommendation. Wireless technology is cutting edge and will boost efficiency at the company. Wireless devices such as a cell phone, laptop or tablet are used by more companies for their business practices. Installing wireless routers in Dirt Bikes will provide a wireless signal throughout the building and giving those who use their tablets, cell phones or laptops to receive their job related emails or to access the intranet to download files while away from their desk or while they are in a meeting and need information without having to walk off and leave a client waiting. This will not only improve efficiency within the office but it will also help with on demand searches for product information while not sitting at a standard desktop computer. Bluetooth is another wireless technology that can be utilized in the office. The majority of wireless devices is equipped with Bluetooth and is mostly compatible with other devices such as printers, scanners or computers. A person using a tablet that wants to print out a report will be able to go to a printer and send that print job to the printer using Bluetooth and have their print out done.
These recommendations will help Dirt Bikes to grow and to continue to succeed in all areas of their departments. As long as proper research is done to see how to integrate these tools to fit their needs they will have no problems in the future.
Mitchell, B. (2012). What is an Intranet?. Retrieved from http://compnetworking.about.com/cs/intranets/g/bldef_intranet.htm Alexander, P. (2012). Should Your Business Switch to VoIP?. Retrieved from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/79842 Mitchell, B. (2012). Virtual Private Network. Retrieved from http://compnetworking.about.com/od/vpn/g/bldef_vpn.htm