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COIS12073 Enterprise Systems

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COIS12073 Enterprise Systems

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Course Code: COIS12073
University: Central Queensland University

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Country: Australia

Question

Case study: Supreme Dry Cleaners (SDC)
Richard owns and operates Supreme Dry Cleaners (SDC), which is a family run business operated by Richard’s family for over 40 years.  Richard started this business 40 years ago with 20 employees.  It provides cleaning and laundry services across six locations in Sydney.  His stores are located in Ashfield, Drummoyne, Earlwood, Parramatta, Rose Bay and Surrey Hills.  SDC offers a full range of services in all their stores including garment preservation, free 24/7 free pick-up and delivery service, carpet and rug cleaning and quality business shirt service.  Currently SDC staff record all their customers’ details and relevant transactions manually into a register.  Although, this manual system is working fine, recording data in the manual system is laborious and time consuming. 
SDC offers free pick-up and delivery service involving SDC staff collecting clothes from the customer location.  The collection process at SDC starts when a customer contacts one of the SDC stores by phone and provides them with their details (First Name, Last Name, Number, Street, Suburb, Contact number, preferred date and time for pick-up, type of clothes, customer preferences, Quantity, preferred date and time for delivery).  Upon receiving the details, SDC staff check their workloads and advises the customer total cost for cleaning clothes and approximate date and time of delivery.  If the customer is happy with the quote, then SDC staff will record customer’s credit card details (credit card type, number, name on the card, expiry date and 3 or 4 digit code) and deduct payment prior to collection service.
Once the clothes are collected, these will be washed or dry cleaned as per customer’s preferences and delivered to the customer.  At the time of delivery, customers are provided with a hard copy receipt and a pamphlet detailing current offers at SDC stores.
Walk-in customers leave their clothes with SDC staff at the front counter and prepay for the services by cash or credit card.  SDC staff records all the customers details at their first visit and provide each customer with a customer ID.  Each time a customer needs to quote their ID to leave clothes for washing or dry cleaning and at the time of collection.    Unfortunately, during rush times, not all of the data is entered, and there are many null values in the phone, firstname and last name.  In some cases, all three are null, in other cases one or two are null.  Order number, date in, date out and total are never null.  Also occasionally during a rush, phone number and name data have been entered incorrectly. 
Moreover, SDC is unable to provide quick answers to several questions including: (1) Total number of customers at each location (2) Number of repeat customers and their frequency of visits (3) Busy periods (4) Total expenses and the amount generated by each store (5)  High/Low margin services and so on. 
Richard makes his business stand out from the competition by providing excellent customer service.  He has noticed significant growth in customer numbers in the last couple of years.   As a result, his staff at SDC stores were unable to manage customer data and provide the same level of service.
Richard attended a workshop about the benefits ERP systems offer to businesses such as his.  He believes that an ERP system will not only help his staff to record the transactions easily but also help them to generate reports to understand the total number of customers at each location, peak times, payments received/outstanding, total revenue generated, etc.  In addition to this, they believe that an ERP system would be helpful in minimising inconsistencies with data and be able to manage cash flows effectively. Richard is keen to use the technology and implement an ERP system with the help of an expert (you) to manage their operations. 
Question
1. What are the Effective communication skills.
2. What are the Benitfits of having IT department
3. What are the Challanges involving IT

Answer

Workflow Management
Introduction
Teamwork can be referred to as collaborative efforts of independent individuals aiming at achieving some common goals (McInnes et al. 2015, p. 1974). It is applicable in many areas such as industrial organization and project development. Besides, it consists of different stages such as forming and performing. Moreover, it has many benefits such as development of individual qualities (Ku, Tseng and Akarasriworn 2013, p. 923). On the other hand, effective communication involves the process of sending and receiving messages successfully, therefore; information is understood clearly by both parties involved. It’s important as it improves relationship between management and employees (Austin and Pinkleton 2015). Many organizations have IT department alongside others such as finance, production and marketing. Configuration and maintenance are some of the roles associated with IT department. However, IT has some challenges such as data security (Winley 2015, p. 3). The aim of this paper is to discuss concepts related to teamwork, effective communication, benefit of having IT department and challenges involving IT.
Teamwork
A team is a group of people working together to complete a specific task. Therefore, teamwork can be defined as collaborative efforts of independent individuals aiming at achieving a common goal (Endersby, Phelps and Jenkins 2017, p. 75). Teamwork is vital as it can enable any organization to achieve its objectives, thus contributing vastly towards overall success. Apart from enabling management to achieve its objectives, it is also vital in ICT project management, hence implementing Information Technology (IT) technologies successfully (Endersby, Phelps and Jenkins 2017). There are some characteristics that can be used to identify effective teamwork, for example:

Clear direction. For instance, a team must state its goals in advance prior to starting other activities. Each member of a team must understand listed goals, thus enhancing performance as all members will be working towards achieving a common goal.
Honest communication. Communication can be defined as the process of exchanging ideas between people. It is very essential in teamwork as it can enhance understanding between members. Open communication reduces conflicts, therefore; members of a team can be allowed to give out their suggestions freely without unnecessary restrictions.
Defined roles. Responsibilities and duties of each team member must be stated explicitly. This reduces conflicts as well as enhancing commitment, thus enabling a team to achieve its goals.
Mutually accountable. For instance, team members must accept responsibility incase of any problem rather than blaming others, which can result in poor working relationships, therefore; reducing performance.
Common goals. Team members must work towards achieving some specific goals regardless of their individual interests. Therefore; members should understand team objectives even though they are assigned different duties and responsibilities (Endersby, Phelps and Jenkins 2017).

Advantages and Disadvantages of Teamwork
The following are benefits of teamwork; building trust and fostering creativity. Besides, teamwork also results in better decision making. Therefore, problems encountered can be solved easily. Moreover, teamwork increases sense of ownership of a product as it is owned by members of a team rather than a specific individual (Endersby, Phelps and Jenkins 2017). Other benefits include; sharing information and reduced time for completing tasks. However, there are several disadvantages that are associated with teamwork, for example; team incompatibility, increased time for making decisions, blaming-game resulting in conflicts, difficult for leaders to determine strengths and weaknesses of team members and communication breakdowns thus reducing trust (Endersby, Phelps and Jenkins 2017).
Effective Communication
Communication can be defined as a process of exchanging information between people through a medium (Yildiz 2017, p. 142). Effective communication involves the process of sending and receiving messages successfully, therefore; information is understood clearly by both parties involved. Effective communication is essential in any company as it plays vital roles in reducing conflicts between employees (Yildiz 2017, p. 142). Currently, several media are used to facilitate communication, for example, online platforms such as Facebook and twitter. Apart from online platforms, communication is also facilitated through physical means such face-to-face. However, online platforms are commonly used in many organizations to reduce travelling costs. Apart from travelling costs, culturally diverse teams have also encouraged the use of online platforms. The following are some of the skills that are required for effective communication:

Listening skills. Listening involves paying attention to the other people while communicating aiming at understanding their messages clearly. It is one of the important skills for effective communication as it enhances appropriate responses to the questions asked by other employees. Thus, enhancing smooth running of business operations (Kalidindi 2018).
For instance, respecting other people is also vial in facilitating effective communication. It is not only expressed in face-to-face communication, but also in virtual communication through the type of information that is sent to the recipient. Therefore, employees of a company should interrupt each other politely while communicating especially in video conferencing as well as phone calls (Kalidindi 2018).
Open-mindedness. This enables a person to express his/her ideas freely. Similarly, a person can also understand other people’s ideas without bias. Therefore, leading to some productive conversations (Kalidindi 2018).
 Non-verbal communication. This includes; eye contact and facial expressions. It enables other people to understand a message that has been conveyed clearly. Also, it encourages other parties to express their ideas openly, therefore; building trust. However, it can impact negatively on communication, for instance, staring on the other person reduces comfort, therefore; unable to express their message clearly (Kalidindi 2018).

Recent Tools for Effective Communication
Like any other fields, communication has undergone several changes. Therefore, new technologies have been implemented for facilitating effective communications, for example, social media sites (Khanna 2017). For instance, sites such as Facebook and YouTube facilitate communications between management and customers. Apart from social media, new technologies in collaboration such as video conferencing are also important in online communications. However, there is a challenge of choosing the best communication tool among several alternatives even though companies are advised to make decisions depending on their needs (Khanna 2017).
Benefit of Having IT Department
A department can be defined as a subdivision of a company or an organization. IT department deals specifically with IT solutions. Currently, there is a transformation of entire business processes ranging from manufacturing to marketing. For instance, data storage has undergone great changes (Luftman, Lyytinen and Zvi 2017, p. 28). For example, data is stored in cloud rather than books and disks. The need for easy accessibility to data is one of the reasons that facilitated this change. Apart from data storage, globalization has also impacted positively on adoption of IT technologies. For instance, IT technologies are used to facilitate communications between virtual teams (Hashem et al. 2015, p. 99). Therefore, IT department has many benefits since most companies have incorporated IT technologies. The following are some of its benefits:

Management of data and information. There are different data within a company, for example, employees and financial. Data is very important in any company, therefore; proper management is not an option. IT department manages data properly by implementing IT solutions such as ERP systems that manages all types of information (Wagner, Beimborn and Weitzel 2014, p. 242).
Big data analysis. Currently, most companies deal with big data. Therefore, IT personnel has a responsibility of analyzing data aiming at determining some trends. This can be achieved through data mining, which involves extraction of useful information from unstructured data. Thus, helping management to predict some business changes as well as making better decisions (Hashem et al. 2015, p. 100).
Maintenance of IT infrastructure. IT infrastructure includes both hardware and software. Hardware are vulnerable to malfunctions, therefore; replacing of defective parts can be done by computer engineers within IT department. Apart from hardware maintenance, IT department also plays vital roles in implementing security features in computers and networks. Security is the most important factor that is considered by companies before deploying IT solutions. Therefore, software and systems need to be updated regularly (Peltier 2016).  
Advising management on latest IT technologies. IT field is dynamic in nature, therefore; likely to undergo changes as new technologies are invented and implemented from time to time. Therefore, IT department plays some vital roles in conducting a research on recent technologies. Thus, deployment of recent technologies enables a company to have a competitive advantage, hence competing effectively with its competitors (Hashem et al. 2015, p. 105).  

Challenges Involving IT
Apart from benefits, there are also challenges involving IT, for example:

Difficulty in protecting IT solutions against attacks. Security is the major problem encountered by IT professionals. There are some factors that have contributed greatly to security problems. For example, development of sophisticated systems has impacted negatively on security. Therefore, increasing cases of data breaches. Apart from sophisticated systems, availability of hacking tools has also jeopardized security of IT solutions. Hence, increasing vulnerabilities in IT systems (Chang 2016).
Rapid changes in IT technologies. For instance, this is a great challenge especially to system developers as they need to predict upcoming changes. There are many advancements in IT, for example, cloud storage, Bring Your Own Device, emerging of big data and Internet of Things (IoT). Rapid changes not only affect developers and programmer, but also management of companies as it’s difficult to choose best IT solutions to incorporate into their activities (Galliers and Leidner 2014).
Increased costs. Successful implementation and running of IT solutions rely on resources that are available. These resources include IT infrastructure. Therefore, these resources can be costly, hence resulting in financial constraints. Apart from high cost of infrastructure, salaries for IT personnel is also very high, therefore; increasing costs. Moreover, maintaining IT infrastructure is very expensive (Galliers and Leidner 2014).
Intangible nature of IT solutions. Hence, it is difficult for companies to evaluate effectiveness of IT solutions. Other than effectiveness, it’s also difficult for product development team to measure progress when designing IT solutions (Galliers and Leidner 2014).

Recommendation
I recommend Richard to enhance teamwork among his employees, therefore; increasing performance. This can be enhanced by defining common goals clearly. Also, responsibilities and duties of each employees should be stated explicitly. Apart from teamwork skills, effective communication should also be enhanced by encouraging his employees to improve their skills in listening and being open-minded, therefore; leading to productive conversations. The business should adopt recent collaborative technologies such as online conferencing to facilitate meetings. Moreover, Richard should also incorporate IT department in his business. Therefore, facilitating recording and storage of information into computers rather than manually. This can help management in keeping track of all information ranging from employees’ details to financial information. Also, it reduces time. Furthermore, IT department can also spearhead successful implementation of ERP systems to enhance automation and central management of all operations. However, the business should allocate adequate funds for purchasing IT infrastructure and maintenance, therefore; reducing risks associated with unnecessary malfunctions.
Other than effective communication and teamwork, process mapping and fail-surfing are also vital in spearheading necessary changes within a company. For instance, a user can map the business flow in a graphical representation by using necessary tools related to process mapping. Therefore, a user can visualize how process works across functional boundaries. Besides, this tool is also vital in statement analysis verification by creating process mapping on to how the credentials happen. On the other hand, fail-surfing is a methodology that is used to identify defects within the process, and afterwards, deriving solutions that are helpful in mitigating risks. It consists of the following steps; problem identification, identify the root cause of the problem, generate alternative solutions, evaluation and implementation plan. It involves all stakeholders ranging from customers to the support team. Finally, the team checks results obtained, and subsequently, making necessary changes if any. Besides, there is continuous improvement, therefore; enhancing the process.   
Conclusion
To conclude, this paper has discussed concepts related to teamwork, effective communication, IT department and challenges involving IT. Teamwork and effective communication are vital in any company as evidenced throughout the paper. For instance, the following are some of the importance of team work; solving problems, better decision making, building trust, enhancing unity and improved productivity. On the other hand, the following are some of the roles played by effective communication; improving working relationships and enhancing mutual understanding. Moreover, IT department is vital in any organization. For instance, the following are some of its benefits; advising management on latest IT technologies and management of data and information. Apart from benefits, there are also challenges involving IT, for example, increased costs and intangible nature of IT solutions.
References
Austin, E.W. and Pinkleton, B.E. (2015) Strategic public relations management: Planning and managing effective communication campaigns. Routledge.
Chang, C.H. (2016) New technology, new privacy: Facing information privacy challenges in an age of emerging information technology (Doctoral dissertation, American University).
Endersby, L., Phelps, K. and Jenkins, D. (2017) The virtual table: a framework for online teamwork, collaboration, and communication. New directions for student leadership, 2017(153), pp.75-88.
Galliers, R.D. and Leidner, D.E. (2014) Strategic information management: challenges and strategies in managing information systems. Routledge.
Hashem, I.A.T., Yaqoob, I., Anuar, N.B., Mokhtar, S., Gani, A. and Khan, S.U. (2015) The rise of “big data” on cloud computing: Review and open research issues. Information Systems, 47, pp.98-115.
Kalidindi, S. (2018) Strategies for teaching effective communication skills. Cancer cytopathology.
Khanna, S. (2017) Effective Communication Skills-A Road Map for Success.
Ku, H.Y., Tseng, H.W. and Akarasriworn, C. (2013) Collaboration factors, teamwork satisfaction, and student attitudes toward online collaborative learning. Computers in Human Behavior. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science B.V. 29(3), pp.922-929.
Luftman, J., Lyytinen, K. and Zvi, T. B. (2017) Enhancing the measurement of information technology (IT) business alignment and its influence on company performance. Journal of Information Technology, 32(1), pp.26-46.
McInnes, S., Peters, K., Bonney, A. and Halcomb, E. (2015) An integrative review of facilitators and barriers influencing collaboration and teamwork between general practitioners and nurses working in general practice. Journal of advanced nursing, 71(9), pp.1973-1985.
Peltier, T.R. (2016) Information Security Policies, Procedures, and Standards: guidelines for effective information security management. Auerbach Publications.
Wagner, H.T., Beimborn, D. and Weitzel, T. (2014) How social capital among information technology and business units drives operational alignment and IT business value. Journal of Management Information Systems, 31(1), pp.241-272.
Winley, G.K. (2015) Determinants of the Success of Information Technology Project Management in Thailand. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 71(1), pp.1-35.
Yildiz, A.K. (2017) Effective communication skills to manage the library: relations between managers and librarians. Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries, 1(2), pp.141-153.

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