Week 4: Assignment: Internet Tools at Dirt Bikes Loretta Renner July 8, 2010 IT/205 Robert Morris It is very difficult to attempt to assess a company when you have virtually no information regarding how they function, specifics about problematic issues they are having, or what type of networking technology they are currently utilizing. The only information given concerning the Dirt Bikes Company is that they are concerned about money being spent with their current networking setup and that their employees use desktop computers and are given internet access.
Assuming Dirt Bikes uses the most archaic of networking technology, such as phones, faxes, and pagers, and then there are a plethora of options that the company could consider to boost their networking efficiency. The most important upgrade the company should consider is the utilization of an intranet that supports wireless technology. This can greatly improve the company’s efficiency in communication and create many possibilities when it comes to achieving the most of a management information system.
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To start off, all of the employee desktop computers should be linked to a local area network implementing management information system software that keeps track of, synchronizes, and compiles all of the data that the company considers important. All of this information can then be accessed by employees and management (each having different levels of access permissions). All of the information from previous, current, and future clients can be stored and made easily accessible for sales analysis.
For instance, Dirt Bikes (assuming the company deals with the sales of motorcycles) could potentially keep track of which bike models sell the most in certain regions and which bike models are most popular among certain demographics. This information can be used in deciding on more effective marketing strategies that can lead to more sales. The company could also consider a wireless internet option, which would be a very smart choice if employees are to be working with portable devices or if employees will have to communicate outside of the office.
However, in this specific case (assuming the company is only buying and selling motorcycles); there is not a great need for wireless internet outside of simple efficiency. Assuming Dirt Bikes is selling motorcycles on-site to customers via a salesperson, they could potentially be equipped with Tablet PCs that are running company software and are connected to the company database by means of wireless internet. In this case, the salesperson could access data and information instantly and relay it back to the customer.
The problem with this idea is that it is highly un-necessary and costly to send salespeople out with portable devices such as Tablet PCs. And other less expensive wireless devices, such as cell phones and PDAs, do not have to ability to run company software in order to access data on the fly, making the need for wireless devices on the field very little. Of course, there are also wireless devices such as printers, fax machines, and scanners, though having these devices work off of a wireless network will not lead to any substantial increase in revenue or increase ease of use.
If the company wanted to go the route of wireless devices for the sake of fewer wires and slightly more efficiency in terms of where the device can be placed, they could definitely choose to go in the wireless direction, but it is not an option that would substantially increase profits or decrease manual work. Another aspect of wireless technology is having the capability to move computers around easily, though, assuming employees are working in offices, there is no substantial need for such portability. In addition, this would require replacing current desktop PCs with laptops, which would be very costly and un-necessary.
If Dirt Bikes utilize an effective management information system, there should be little need for wireless devices outside of mundane devices such as printers and scanners, which would just be a matter of whether that specific sort of efficiency is important to the company. My recommendation to Dirt Bikes would be to look into a management information system that is utilized over a local area network. Implementing such software would be beneficial in most all aspects of the company, including sales, marketing, accounting, management, and the monitoring of employee activity.
I would also recommend that the company goes online with their own Web site, which is something that, as the information provided makes it out to be, the company does not currently have. This Web site would not only help with advertising, but is a place for potential customers to go when seeking information online, without having to go to the company branches physically. The Web site could also be used to give customers the ability to make their purchases online and pick their motorcycle up at the nearest branch.
This idea could also give the company the opportunity to make sales to customers that are not located near a branch and would be willing to pay shipping costs to have the motorcycle shipped to their location. This may be expensive for customers and the vast majority of customers would not consider this option, though making the option available costs the company nothing and on the rare occasion a customer wants to go through with the shipping over a long distance, the product can be shipped via a third party shipping company on a case-by-case basis.
Finally, having a Web site up and running online gives Dirt Bikes the ability to track customer information to compile even more information regarding demographics, which can be added to the rest of the demographic data that the management information system compiles. In summary, linking all of the company’s current computers to a management information system running on an intranet would be beneficial in making more effective decisions, tracking and managing data, and learning more about customer demographics.
In addition, utilizing a Web site will give potential customers the ability to view product and company information without having to travel to the nearest physical branch. Not to mention that the Web site would be another form of advertising and can be included on future business cards, commercials, brochures, and other forms of advertising. These ideas can help to enhance most business aspects of Dirt Bikes and take the company to new heights, using more advanced, effective, and efficient networking environment.