Nike and 4 things it should be doing.

Crispin Nkya

MBA / Finance student

Business Analysis

 

With the consumer confidence report coming out tomorrow 09/25/18 , Nike should continue to do what it does best :-

1. Innovate and continue to look for ways to be better not only in this country but overseas as well concentrating on emerging markets that like south America and India  which have enormous potential. It’s now possible to reach those markets with the expansion of the use of high speed internet making the brand more accessible to a larger audience at the same time the brand is able to react faster and quicker in decisions making and executing strategies due to constant live feedback.

 2. Nike should continue look for ways to stay current and mitigating risks everyday by finding the most affordable manufactures, supply chain and strategies that are not too risky in order to control price points like it has managed to be in 41 countries and 529 factories.

 3. Use it’s already arsenal of mass knowledge to continue innovating in all its products and services, like how it has shown how forward thinking it has been with it’s research labs that have been able to take feedback from consumers in different areas of the business and combine them to create better products, increase production and enhance strategy.

 4. Collaborate it’s campaigns with success companies like eBay, Amazon or Alibaba to sell its products all over the world. It showed how effective this is when it did so with the most successful E-tailer in the United States Amazon to increase it sales and reach.

 

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What is an expert system?

Crispin Nkya

MBA/ Finance student

Management Systems

Expert systems are defined as an artificial intelligent based system that converts the knowledge of an expert in a specific subject into a software code and it consists of a knowledge base acquired by interviewing experts and governing logic rules, inference engine and an interface system allowing users to express problem in human language (Expert System, nd).

The benefits of having multiple rules in a knowledge base is, It’s able to capture tacit knowledge in very specific and limited domain of human expertise, Capture knowledge of skilled employees as set of rules in software system that can be used by others in organization , typically perform limited tasks that may take a few minutes or hours, Used for discrete, highly structured decision making which would have otherwise taken a very longtime (Course Learning Outcomes for Unit VIII, nd). This creates efficiency within an organizations and how it does things in accordance with this business goals. A good example is the home ownership approval process, the underwriters use expert systems by importing the customer’s information to which the system depending on the values i.e. credit history, down payment, cash flow, future earnings.

Unless an organization isn’t serious about surviving, competition, innovation or becoming profitable, it is vital that it embraces the use of an expert system. The rule of the thumb is to make sure that it invests in making sure that the input values align with its business current and future goals.

 

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Managing Information Systems Development

Crispin Nkya

MBA/ Finance student

Management Systems

Most businesses in the 21st are increasingly investing in at technology in order to be efficient, profitable, competitive, remain relevant and believe without it there will be no business. It’s true that the value of a system is based on whether it provides enough returns to justify its cost. Thus a project manager along with key business users have to create a business case for each project, think strategically, turn the business case into a true business, execute and control the project through the business plan, prepare for the closing out the project and focus on the operation and evaluation while making sure that they have a good and open communication with the Information Technology (IT) team to ensure information system development projects are in alignment with business strategies and goals (Dennis, 2000). One doesn’t have to look further than Amazon Inc. and online retailer that has taken over the world due to its use information technology strategy that has become a competitive advantage by being an efficient retail enterprise by simplifying the complexity of finding, buying, and shipping cheaper and fast than any of its competition (Abbruzzese, 2017).It’s vital that in any information systems development and project management a business user plays an important role in any information system building and development due to the fact that they are the first hand and everyday user of the system that it being built. It’s safe to say that Every new activity, every new product, every new project in the workplace is created in response to a business need to provide a service for its clients, be better in the industry, be profitable, innovate how business is done or fulfill future business goals.  A business user knows what are the core features that need to be in the system, have an idea of what works and what won’t work due to the experience in that field. Project managers also involve these business users by surveying the actual business user’s perception of activities and satisfaction with the completed system. These users provide good data for project managers to analyze the separation of business requirements into two constructs functional and presentation and understanding of user involvement on information system projects. They also provide vital analytics combinations of user characteristics and their activities that can improve the functionality of the system as a whole (Eichhorn, 2014).They are the frontline users who will be able to provide feedback about the information. They play an important role in supporting the information system by showing the benefits or defect. A business user is also the main implementer of the system after its approved for use so their input is vital. This is where business analysts play an important role working with both IT specialists and front line users to come up with the vital system requirements by identifying key Stakeholders, capture stakeholder requirements, using specific cases, categorizing the requirements, interpret and record the requirements (Business Requirements Analysis, nd).As research shows it’s vital for the users to gain psychological ownership toward their organization through organizational interactions in all levels (Joo & Shin, 2018). All this has to be done by reviewing each and every project thoroughly, set and have realistic expectations within the business, and makes sure that everything is in alignment and with clear guidelines and expectations available for review at a moment’s notice (Wakeman, 2015).

Agile project management is an approach based on delivering requirements iteratively and incrementally throughout the project life cycle by exhibiting central values and behaviors of trust, flexibility, empowerment and collaboration (Agile Project Management, nd). Differentiating itself from the popular dated Waterfall methodology, it divides the entire project into linear stages mainly analysis, design, code, testing user acceptance and retrospective makes it much more user friendly and efficient for development projects and organizations as a whole (Boileau, 2016). Agile Known for resolving many problems that have been plaguing traditional software development methods for over a quarter of a century s due to its methodology in incorporating every stakeholder that will be affected by the system in one way or the other to put in their input at a certain stage before moving to the next. Agile has been an amazing project management tool because of its ability to organize project into pieces that are delivered in order of priority, and in a way that grows the solution over time. Work in progress is demonstrated periodically to stakeholders in order to receive early and ongoing feedback which keeps everything on track and communicated across the board. And value can be delivered in phases as deliverables are released throughout the project, not just at the end, which helps business decision makers know what to expect and plan strategic moves in accordance to the project’s pace and capabilities (Aguanno, 2017). At its core empowers all stake holders involved, creates and build accountability throughout the organization, encourages real time diversity of ideas; allowing the early release of benefits; and promotion of continuous improvement in all stages of the project. It also helps build client and user engagement which focuses on supporting cultural change that is critical to the success of most transformation projects because it creates understanding and unity in all fronts. It also allows multiple decisions  to be tested and rejected early within each stage which is completely opposite from most other project management methodologies, whereby finding an issue and attempting to change it happens at the end of the project causing monetary loss and headache across the organization  (Tsai, Chen, & Chen, 2018). All this brings high customer satisfaction through early and continues software delivery, Increases communication across the board, promote sustainable development so developers, sponsors and users can maintain a constant pace indefinitely, enhance agility with technical excellence and good design and acts as a catalyst to regularly reflect on how to increase effectiveness and then adjust accordingly which is what an organization needs (Boileau, 2016).  This method is an example of a great way for organization to use all of its in-house skills and customer feedback in making a system that will benefit all the stakeholders involved.It is vital that project managers and or IT managers have a deep understanding of the business strategies and goals when developing project to make sure they fit or it will be a disaster in the making. The business has a budget in place and is trying to create a system that will add value in the long run, and so the input needed, process and output expected have to be under consideration at all times with everyone being on the same page with no exceptions (Niederman, Muller, & March, 2018).Choosing and implementing the right methodology is key to the success of any information system and thus a project manager has to be keen in making that vital choice within the scope of the project while aligning it to the business’s current and future goals. They should always lean on ones that involves mutually strengthening communication to ease the burden involved in documenting plan-driven projects, and focusing on people-oriented communication, elicitation of requirements, time scheduling and task assignment, test performance and validation, baseline build-up, continual brainstorming of new ideas, and risk monitoring, which is exactly what Agile software was created to do  (Tsai, Chen, & Chen, 2018).  They have to make sure there’s enough resources in order for project to be run efficiently and effectively, and making sure that managers assign and prioritize the required resources throughout the duration of a project (Pitagorski, nd). They also have to make sure that there’s stakeholder engagement all the way from the chief executive officer to the IT department in order to make sure that in everything that s done is always focusing on the bigger picture focusing on business strategies and goals. One has to understand the dynamics of the inner team members which includes project managers, team leads and outer team members functional managers, clients, executives and senior managers or the project is deemed to failure before it even starts (Top 10 Project Management Challenges, nd). Managing expectations with both the IT team and business, in order to have the project going smoothly by avoiding goals that have unreasonable deadlines and creating feasible expectations is key because the business can plan around the project financially and risk wise.

Technology has changed how we live, communicate, perceptions, life spans and so the way business is operated is no exception, it has literally changed every aspect of our lives. Information technology has become the way for the future and companies or organizations don’t view the investment in its research and development as a luxury but the only way to be in business. It creates competitive advantage, increases efficiency, increase productivity, broaden customer bases etc. Every organization, big or small, for profit or non for profit, have to take the advantage of being in this era to become the best it can be by strategically embracing and implementing information technology at its core starting all the way from the business plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

Abbruzzese, J. (2017, October 25). Amazon Key tries to address the biggest problem with ecommerce. Retrieved from Mashable: https://mashable.com/2017/10/25/amazon-key-last-foot-problem/#wB31bN.Mviqo

Agile Project Management. (nd). Retrieved from Association of Project Management: https://www.apm.org.uk/resources/find-a-resource/agile-project-management/

Aguanno, K. (2017, October 19). Using Agile on Infrastructure Projects. Retrieved from Project Management: Using Agile on Infrastructure Projects

Boileau, P. (2016, October 17). How Agile Development can help your business. Retrieved from National Leasing: http://www.nationalleasing.com/en/blog/entry/how-agile-development-can-help-your-business

Business Requirements Analysis. (nd). Retrieved from Mind Tools: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_77.htm

Dennis, C. J. (2000). Why finance matters for project managers. Retrieved from PMI: https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/finance-matters-project-managers-important-1861

Eichhorn, B. R. (2014). The Impact of User Involvement on Information System Projects. Retrieved from Ohio Link: https://etd.ohiolink.edu/!etd.send_file?accession=csu1410793063&disposition=inline

Joo, J., & Shin, M. (2018). Asia Pacific Management Riview. Retrieved from CSU: http://web.a.ebscohost.com.libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=4&sid=b99fa6cd-01fb-4919-82cd-a809946fdec1%40sessionmgr4007

Niederman, F., Muller, B., & March, S. T. (2018, March). Using Process Theory for Accumulating Project Management Knowledge:A Seven-Category Model. Retrieved from CSU: http://web.b.ebscohost.com.libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=5&sid=5b2e75c2-bd4c-48df-bc92-f7525267e068%40sessionmgr102

Pitagorski, G. (nd). Failed Projects: Who Is Responsible? Retrieved from Project Times: https://www.projecttimes.com/george-pitagorsky/failed-projects-who-is-responsible.html

Top 10 Project Management Challenges. (nd). Retrieved from Villanova University: https://www.villanovau.com/resources/project-management/top-10-challenges/#.Wv0vNVS31hE).%203.%20(https://www.projecttimes.com/george-pitagorsky/failed-projects-who-is-responsible.html

Tsai, W.-L., Chen, C.-Y., & Chen, C.-S. (2018). Snowman: Agile development method with institutionalized communication and documentation for capstone projects. Retrieved from CSU: http://web.a.ebscohost.com.libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=4&sid=b99fa6cd-01fb-4919-82cd-a809946fdec1%40sessionmgr4007

Wakeman, D. (2015, September 23). 3 Steps to Align Project and Strategy. Retrieved from Project Manager: https://www.projectmanager.com/blog/3-steps-to-align-project-and-strategy

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CRM Systems and It’s Functional Features

Crispin Nkya

MBA/ Finance student

Management Systems

The agility of the various customer relationship management system (CRM) functional features like Contact management, Reporting and dashboards, Lead management, Social media management, are key to creating, operating and maintaining the existence of any successful business (What is CRM Software? Analysis of Features, Types and Pricing, nd).

In marketing it helps identify who its customers are, how and when to reach them in an efficient way that benefits the organization, by taking advantage of the availability of marketing lists, ability to design targeting campaigns. In sales it helps to provide the information that could lead into converting the customer to use or purchase the organization’s products and services, by being able to access competitor information, generate the right invoices and have the right leads. In service management it helps with billing, maintaining customer loyalty and identifying future strategic options for the customer as a whole which increase the brand equity for the organization, due to having knowledge base, having the right contracts, having a functional calendar (Functional Modules, nd).

All in all, an organization benefits greatly using CRM because it provides competitive analysis marketing, marketing, service management, campaign management, analysis & reporting, marketing penetration & segmentation etc. (Search Crm, 2002).

Bibliography

Functional Modules. (nd). Retrieved from Tutorials Point: https://www.tutorialspoint.com/microsoft_crm/microsoft_crm_functional_modules.htm

Search Crm. (2002, August). Retrieved from CRM functions and processes: https://searchcrm.techtarget.com/answer/CRM-functions-and-processes

What is CRM Software? Analysis of Features, Types and Pricing. (nd). Retrieved from Finance Online: https://financesonline.com/what-is-crm-software-analysis-features-types-pricing/

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Questions?

Corporate Governance and Strategic Management

Crispin Nkya

MBA/ Finance student

Management Strategies

Corporate governance is defined as the relationship among the corporation and all of its stakeholders both in and outside the company and is a core job for the upper management to maintain and enhance it (Arsoy & Crowther, 2008). They are responsible in decision making in the whole strategy including board of directors, conduct board meetings, oversee the audit process both internal and external and also responsible in conducting and strategizing nominations and compensations for the whole organization (Abbadi, Hijazi, & Ayat , 2016)

Strategic management is defined as the systematic analysis of factors associated with customers, competitors and the organization itself to provide basis to maintaining optimum management practices (Strategic Management, nd). This is done by following the five strategies of strategic management which are goal setting , analysis, strategy formulation, strategy implementation and evaluation control the high management then comes up with a plan that can not only make the company thrive but profitable for years to come (Clayton, nd) . The upper management then have to make sure that the strategy put in in place is executed flawlessly by making sure there’s a clarity on decision rights, implement easy information flows, aligning motivators, and making changes to structure in accordance to the strategy at all times (Neilson, Martin, & Powers, 2008). Strategic management can make a or break a company as seen with a Goodward Insurance that was not really competitive in its industry at one point, and so top level management took charge and implemented strategic management as part of their strategy, the rest is history because they were able to uncover things that they would otherwise not get to, important things like Information did not flow freely across organizational boundaries, Important information about the competitive environment did not get to headquarters quickly. No one had a good idea of the decisions and actions for which he or she was responsible, to which top management sprung into action immediately thus improving their decision making speed and quality from 20 to 25 percentage points, increase employee-satisfaction and yes on a good position to increase its profit and influence in the insurance sphere (Neilson, Martin, & Powers , The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution, 2008).

This goes out to show how vital corporate governance and strategic planning is to a government, organization, business, even a country.

Bibliography

Abbadi, S. S., Hijazi, Q. F., & Ayat , A.-R. S. (2016). Corporate Governance Quality and Earnings. Retrieved November 22, 2017, from University of Wollongong Australia: http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1698&context=aabfj

Clayton, J. (nd). The Five Stages of the Strategic Management Process. Retrieved November 22, 2017, from Small Business Chronicle: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/five-stages-strategic-management-process-18785.html

Kurtz. (2009, February 5). Upper management. Retrieved November 22, 2017, from Geek Interview: http://www.geekinterview.com/question_details/72857

Neilson, G. L., Martin, K. L., & Powers , E. (2008, June). The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution. Retrieved Nov 22, 2017, from Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2008/06/the-secrets-to-successful-strategy-execution

Neilson, G. L., Martin, K. L., & Powers, E. (2008, June). The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution. Retrieved November 22, 2017, from Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2008/06/the-secrets-to-successful-strategy-execution

Strategic Management. (nd). Retrieved November 22, 2017, from Business Dictionary: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/strategic-management.html

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Vodafone’s Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP)

Crispin Nkya

MBA/ Finance student

Management Systems

Starting in the 1980’s, Vodafone is among the world’s leading mobile communications providers, operating in 26 countries and currently serves almost 444 million customers worldwide, employing over 13,000 people across the United Kingdom alone. It has been so successful in its journey due to strategic investment, constant innovation and award-winning customer service (Our company history, nd).

With all its success in different area, there was also a chaos brewing that had to be addressed if it wanted to remain relevant and profitable in the future. It had multiple Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems that didn’t communicate, it operated in a Decentralized operations module across it businesses, there was no processes uniformity across the board, lack of adherence to global policies for the processes, participated in local market with different objectives, was unable to report on a global scale, had people of varying skills and knowledge that the company wasn’t taking advantage of the fact that they can do more. All this was a problem that needed fixed immediately but in a very strategic way by being aware of the facts, understanding suppliers and customers, having clear and concise communication, have a strong support from the top (O’Sullivan, nd).

Technological advancements have helped many organizations to reach their goals, create value for its stake holders, increase profit and for Vodafone is no exception. First and foremost, all its businesses had to be on the same page, it needed to Increase efficiency across its business, competition was getting fierce in everything they had invested in, it needed to connect human resources, supply chain, implement finance planning and report requirements for the whole organization (Golden, 2016). By the time Vodafone decided it was time to change, they had in place 140+ Legacy Systems that need to be reviewed and where possible decommissioned. The upgrade had a future savings of €557m per financial year. The change was set to increase the Shared Service center penetration by over 60 %. This was a no-brainer and an excellent example of a company that realized a problem and strategically solved it while increasing its market share (O’Sullivan, nd).

It started focusing on the move from market focused to global process focused since the ERP focused on vision & strategy, performance management, process standardization, process level master data, compliance, continuous improvement. This resulted in cutting down to 25 systems, 150 applications and 550 interfaces that finally connected harmoniously increasing the company’s efficiency across the board (O’Sullivan, nd). Even though this system has been successful for the company making it profitable and an example worldwide on what technology can do for a company, I think it took a long time for the company to come up with the idea which is a problem in itself because it shows the company didn’t have a culture to embrace technological advancements, and also the implementation lacks a story on how it helps its customers because it really doesn’t have that personal feel. I would suggest that the process include more of exposing how it affects the regular people it serves as a whole like how Apple and other successful companies have done within their organizations.

It’s no secret that this move of implementing a new ERP was a game changer for Vodafone, it became more profitable, efficient and gave a competitive advantage over its completion in all areas. The company started Moving from labor arbitrage to skills arbitrage which helps it take advantage of the amazing skills it has within it company and use that to make quality products and provide excellent services. It started building resilience into the shared service center giving it the ability to solve any issues across the board with strategic decisions making. Reduced of costs across the board by being able to identify where the problems are or be able to anticipate where they need as a company to focus on to be profitable. Finance functions enabled leadership in get the right data analysis so as to make decisions that affect the company in a positive and lucrative way. Move from Geographical support model to process support model is what the company needed to maintain relevance in the market by closely looking at all the activities under one umbrella and how it affects the brand and future earnings (O’Sullivan, nd).

In the 21st century it’s no longer a question of “If” a company should implement, embrace the use of ERP if it wants to improve productivity, save money, maintain customer loyalty, be strategic, improve inventory and product management strategy, it’s a “must” and Vodafone is a great example on why, how and when.

Bibliography

Golden, A. (2016, April 13). Vodafone: A Giant ERP Implementation Case Study. Retrieved from Prezi: https://prezi.com/nt0tud9twv4s/vodafone-a-giant-erp-implemantation-case-study/

O’Sullivan, N. (nd). Lessons learned from global ERP implementation. Retrieved from Deloitte: https://www.deloitte.co.uk/makeconnections/pdf/presentations/day2/plenary7-niall-o-sullivan-vodafone.pdf

Our company history. (nd). Retrieved from Vodafone: https://www.vodafone.co.uk/about-us/company-history/

SuperNet 4G SIM users: Here’s how to get. (2017, April 12). Retrieved from Indian Express: http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/vodafone-offering-4gb-free-data-to-supernet-4g-sim-users-heres-how-to-get-4610368/

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Comparative Advantage: What it is…

Crispin Nkya

MBA / Finance Student

International Business

Comparative advantage occurs when a nation’s opportunity of cost of producing goods is lower than the opportunity cost of producing the same good in another nation (Feenstra & Taylor, 2014). Germany for example has a comparative advantage in producing machinery than most countries due to it’s largely and sophisticated investment in technology that helps them produce quality products better than most countries , making them leaders in quality and ingenuity see in their cars like Mercedes Benz, BMW that keep redefining how people drive, interact with their cars and functionality as a whole, it has yet to be seen another nation to compete with the Germans in coming up with affordable, luxurious and dependable cars .

A nation is said to have an absolute advantage when it has the capability to  produce more of a certain product or service using much less of  a given resource than the other nation it’s trading with (Absolute Advantage Versus Comparative Advantage, nd).China has been the talk of this century due to having absolute advantage on many fronts making it a powerful financial powerhouse in the world, with its vast population and network it has single handedly dismantle rank of the United States as the leader in exports in the world . This however doesn’t mean that doesn’t import, even though the United States is experiencing a trade deficit with China, it still imports billions of services and products from the United States the biggest being scrap metals (Rapoza, 2012). This goes to show that just because a nation has an absolute advantage it doesn’t mean that it can’t trade with others

Ricardo is one of the early classical economists who saw trade different from what other economists in his era were thinking to be true and were only focused in mercantilism where by exporting goods to other nations was what was considered positive way of doing business while importing was negative. He then went out to prove that international trade can be beneficial without the use of tariffs or always focusing on balancing the exports to the imports and that every country involved benefits (Feenstra & Taylor, 2014). Ahead of his time indeed because the mercantile period thoughts were way different and eventually had to embrace his ideas because it made more sense.

The Ricardian Model is still seen today in the way most nations interact in international trade simply due to its ability to touch all basis of business, a nation can have a comparative advantage, absolute advantage or both over its trading partners but the benefits of being able to trade with other nations is more profitable and beneficial for all nations involved and the global trade as whole , the United States for example is one the most industrialized nation on earth with the capability of producing almost everything but it trades with other nations , from Asia, Europe ,South America and all the way to Africa. It is thus the best philosophy for a nation to use to continue to be profitable and create a homogenous relationship with its trading partners.

Bibliography

Absolute Advantage Versus Comparative Advantage. (nd). Retrieved September 20, 2015, from Boundless: https://www.boundless.com/economics/textbooks/boundless-economics-textbook/international-trade-31/introduction-to-international-trade-124/absolute-advantage-versus-comparative-advantage-493-12589/

Feenstra, R. C., & Taylor, A. M. (2014). International Trade (Vol. 3rd). New York: Worth Publishers.

Rapoza, K. (2012). China’s Favorite U.S. States in 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2015, from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2012/03/26/where-and-what-china-imports-from-u-s/

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