Topic 4 DQ 1Strategic IS Plan – IT Infrastructure

Part 1:

Read the course scenario (Attached PDF) for Reynolds Tool & Die. Based on the scenario, write a 4-page executive summary describing how you, as a senior IT manager, plan to leverage technology to achieve a competitive advantage for the company.


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Your paper should start with the title Executive Summary: Leveraging Technology to Achieve Competitive Advantages.


An introductory paragraph should include the goal of the summary, which is how IT will leverage technology to achieve a competitive advantage.


Your headings should include:

I. Competitive Advantages

What are the competitive advantages the business would like to achieve? Don’t choose a lot of topics. Focus on three or four competitive goals. These could include:

i. Lower cost of products or services

ii. Greater internal workflow efficiency

iii. Expansion into new markets

iv. Introduction of a new product or service

v. Company re-organization, which could include creating separate divisions, a merger, or consolidation

II. A Current Assessment of the Internal IT Resources

Topics to address should include:

i. Current hardware, software, and services (third party, outsourcing, etc.)

ii. Suggested changes, upgrades, and additions to the environment

III. The Plan to Leverage Technology to Achieve Competitive Advantage

Be specific when addressing your plan for leveraging technology. A good way to approach this topic will be to merge Headings I & II. For example:

i. Achieving lower costs of products or services might be achieved by upgrading aging data center equipment, virtualizing file servers, and, thus, reducing maintenance expense in the long term.

ii. Investment in workflow software may eliminate time-consuming manual processes, thus setting the stage for workforce reduction, which will lead to cost savings.

iii. Updated or new Customer Relationship Software may help in developing new markets.

iv. Updated or new ERP software may help facilitate new and better production techniques.

v. Cloud services could create a more nimble, flexible IT organization, quickly enabling mergers, acquisitions, or consolidations.

IV. Conclusion

Your concluding paragraph should be a brief statement reinforcing your position regarding leveraging technology and briefly summing up the document.

Cover Page and References

Remember, all papers need a cover page. Use at least one other reference for this assignment in addition to the course textbook.

Part 2:

Analyze the Reynolds Mission and Vision statements listed in the course scenario, and then write a 4-to-5-page analysis assessing the company’s current IT strategy (including existing hardware, software, licensing agreements, etc.) and aligning each strategy component to Reynolds’ organizational vision and goals. The result will be a detailed analysis of how well the company’s existing IT infrastructure is supporting the company’s mission and vision.

Your headings for this assignment should include:

I. Business Vision and Goals

Outline the goals and vision for the business. (You will find them in the course scenario.) Remember that this is not a strategic plan, so your assessment won’t need to address every single aspect of the company’s vision and goals. Instead, you’ll be analyzing IT components in the context of the company’s vision and goals.

II. IT Internal Analysis

You may want to review the assessment you produced in Competency 1 – Part 2 assignment and expand on it here, in the Competency 1 – Part 2 assignment. Be specific when analyzing hardware, software, licensing, and external services. For example, how old are the company’s servers, switches, routers, desktops, etc.? Is the company current in terms of operating systems, security patches, etc.? What enterprise business applications are in use, such as accounting packages, CRM, ERP, etc.? Are they all current? Are their licenses current? What external services, if any, is the company using? Is the company using managed services, cloud computing, mobile technology, etc.?

III. How the IT Infrastructure and Organization Can Be Optimized to Achieve Business Goals

Explain how the IT function within Reynolds is achieving or can achieve, with changes you suggest, the stated goals of the business as described in the first heading. For example:

  • If one of the company’s goals      was to rate high with customers consistently on customer service, you      would explain how the current call center infrastructure could produce      lower wait times, achieve 99.9% uptime, etc. Perhaps you would also      explain how the addition of a mobile app could enhance the customer      experience by enabling timely feedback, finding nearby retail shops, etc.
  • If one of the company’s goals      was to grow revenue by 10% annually, you would explain how the current CRM      or ERP software is helping to achieve that goal by helping to target new      customers and achieve faster, better production.

Look at Amazon’s vision statement as an example: “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” There’s a lot of IT potential there. Now take the Reynolds Tool & Die vision statement and explain how the IT infrastructure and organization can help achieve the company’s vision.

As you develop your analysis, remember that the current IT assessment may not support the goals and vision. You may have to suggest certain changes in the IT organization and infrastructure to achieve the organization’s goals and vision.

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