Part 1 Introduction
Success Electronics & Transformer Manufacture Sdn. Bhd. (SETM) an organization established in 1980 and through dedicated commitment to customer satisfaction and innovation over the years. SETM is one of the largest low-voltage transformer and industrial lighting manufacturers in Malaysia. STEM is the wholly owned by Success Transfer Corporation Berhad, the first company listed on the main Board of Malaysia's securities exchange, Bursa Malaysia.
The current organizational structure has been assumed to appear as shown in Appendix 2 Operation Department which in turn is part of the Research & Development, Business Development, Finance & Corporate Affairs, and Human Resources & Administration as shown on the organization chart. There was including Export Sales, Local Sales, Factory, Quality Assurance, and Purchasing.
The homepage URL of the SETM is: http://www.success.com.my.
SETM has provided the most comprehensive range of low-voltage transformers and large volume of industrial lighting such as power products, including automatic voltage stabilizers, power line conditions, and energy-saving lumens regulators, high intensity discharge (HID) ballets, battery changers and testers. STEM also providing the industrial lighting products such as floodlight, high bay and street lighting in domestic and international markets.
As organization's philosophy to achieved the goals of customer satisfaction, SETM will be continuously to improve, upgrade and innovate their products by implemented technical and Research and development (R&D) engineers to sale and support staff. And the State-of-the art equipment and sound R&D to upgrade and maintain products standard-ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management System Standard. The consistently high standard of STEM work has engendered a loyal and long-standing customer base. It has also led to an increase in domestic and international new business.
In the horizon for organization future, currently SETM has over 850 distributors, not only supplying, servicing and supporting domestic markets, and organization made considerable headway in the international markets and export to over 40 countries including France, Australia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Japan, Korea, India, Hong Kong and Singapore; more than 100 distributors over the international markets. SETM expansion into global markets will continue to advance rapidly and effectively.
To counter the friendly environment the universal concerns, as the priority objective to energy efficient and renewable energy products. They continue researching and developing the products, the company positioned an established manufacturer of electrical industrial equipment with extensive new technological development in-house manufacturing capabilities, the new development incorporated into manufacturing process and customer service in order to be as efficient and effective as possible.
For the intention of consolidate position in both markets as a reliable manufacturer with superior quality products, SETM aim to become the reliable, dynamic and important player in domestic and overseas with the commitment to product quality and customer satisfaction [www.success.com.my, n.d.].
Part 2 IT Infrastructure: Issues and Challenges
Today IT infrastructure had been playing an important role in part of our daily life and essential in most organization for conducting day-to-day business, as well to achieve strategic business objectives and a successful infrastructure could outperform competitors most importantly as IT infrastructure is flexibility constructed. (Byrd, et. al. 2000)
As mentioned, Success Electronics had several branches overseas, including Australia and South Africa. It is important for the management to adopt collaboration and social networking to improve coordination, collaboration and knowledge within the employees. (Laudon, 2010) For example, updated information on stocks replenishment, new products development and information sharing to their clients.
IT infrastructure consists of a set of physical devices and software applications that are required to operate the entire enterprise.Â As well it performs as a set of firmware of services budgeted by management and comprising both human and technical capabilities. Platforms are main components to enhance relationship between suppliers, customers and suppliers into a cohesive e-commerce environment, including large main frames, desktop PCs, mobile computing devices and laptops. (Laudon, 2010)
Computer hardware platform, Dell had been providing quick response to their clients worldwide, which brought confidence to Success Electronics as a platform for their computer hardware. Their operating, database management systems and application software are using the Microsoft Windows which is much more user friendly while supporting large selections of software programs and utilities for system implementations. Microsoft Windows has a great amount of available online documentation helps them in resource planning, customer relationship management, supply chain management and support. (2011 Computer Hope, 2011) The organization had selected the database management systems of Structured Query Language (SQL) for flexibility in retrieving information and organizing data from database any time. Success Electronics is a stable growth company with increase of their support team, thus data warehouse had to be huge to support transactions within their companies and thus high cost of investment into the storage systems, hardware such as computers will have an impact on the cost with the increased software license application for their employees.
The backbone of IT infrastructure for Success Electronic to connect entire employees in the firm is through local-area-network (LAN), supporting for internet, intranet and extranet. Other branches are able to access into the data through internet services. Their communications tools through internet inclusive of email, electronic discussions, chatting and instant messaging, mobile devices, especially cost saving over usage over Voice over IP (VoIP) usage during critical decision making and immediate information flow for supporting their sales and clients.Â The company is using the integration services and consulting from the same suppliers of their hardware platform suppliers to help them in transaction processing system redesign.Â (Laudon, 2010)
Success Electronics are communicating their business connectionÂ through wired and LAN, however Malaysia is an equatorial country that having heavy storms during raining seasons often,Â they had faced critical situation in loss of data when theirÂ telecommunication network systems struck by lightning several times. It had impacted them much on information recovery, especially database on clients and suppliers, in both time and cost.
Challenges is massive for the IT infrastructure in this industry as competitors might have chances to intrude into the company's important data and tracks updated information of the company's strategy and planning.Â Strong and expensive network security is essential in protection due to vulnerable information.Â Todays' email systems and mobile device are common in transmitting data flow and thus if the mobile devices are lost, high possibility of allowing attacker and virus to access into the email system resources and data breach. (Cisco, 2010) However, internal human resources, such as employees could be one of those to steal the company's database as well.Â This could be a massive business risk.
Cyber networking security is crucial as bunch of unidentified hackers or virus might intrude the organization operation and networking systems' through file receiving and unauthorized downloads. This might create a high chance of networking interruption through the local area network, intranet and extranet, affecting the organization's daily business operation and network connectivity. Exposed of confidential and customer information will be risky to an organization, especially to their rivals. Their rivals enable to gain customers database and modify their data for illegal transaction, the vulnerabilities of IT infrastructure could cause damage to the organization, at the same time leading to costly legal liabilities that will threaten the organization's viability and reputations. (Microsoft, 2011)
Security oriented firewalls are important to prevent any potential intruders attacks for a company's software and hardware application, as well of all trusted boundaries and database are to be protected and back up in storage.Â However, security protection could have different trust level and lower trust level software might be harmful to the IT infrastructure ecosystems. Thus, the administrator is to monitor the networking activities consistently.
Part 3: Cloud computing and its Business benefits and costs
Cloud computing is an online form of computing and users can access the applications via a browser. The application is installed and stored (as well as the data) on a server. This is a new form of computing and allowing thousands of users from all around the world to access something without having to download and install anything on their own computer [webhostingreport.com, 2009-2010].
These services divided into three categories: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Cloud computing's name was inspired by the cloud symbol that's often used to represent Internet flowcharts and diagrams [searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com, 2007].
The three distinct characteristics for cloud service have differentiated it from traditional hosting. Sold on demand, typically by the minute or the hour; for elastic, user can have as much or as little of a service as they want at any given time; and the service is fully managed by the provider (the consumer just needs a personal computer and Internet access). The significant innovations in virtualization and distributed computing, it's as well as improved access to high-speed Internet and a weak economy, have accelerated interest in cloud computing [searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com, 2007].
A cloud can be private or public, public cloud sells services to anyone on the Internet, such as Amazon Web Services is the largest public cloud provider. And private cloud is a proprietary network or a data center that supplies hosted services to a limited number of people. When the service provider uses public cloud resources to create their private or personal cloud, it is called virtual private cloud. For private and public, the cloud computing's goal and objective is to provide easy, scalable access to computing resources and IT services [searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com, 2007].
SETM's objective is exiting customer satisfaction and loyal, learn as much as possible for customer's attitudes, needs and behaviour and provide them suitable and optimal service and retain relationship. CRM system can reach into many areas within the organization: - sales, customer needs and marketing.
Cloud computing can help organization to achieve their goals, objective and mission. CRM software is the service and cloud computing as a platform, can manage customers while minding their budget, such as Salesforce.com. It can be up and running and delivering critical business result within 30 days; and streamline and automate business processes to give all staff a 360 degree view of customers, critical sales andÂ customer metrics, employee can focused on retaining current customer and attracting new prospects [salesforce.com, 2000-2011].
The CRM solution including: sales and marketing, activity management and service and support.
Organization may generate and channel marketing, management and delivers the real time account, the related information to keeps sales reps productive. Provide relevant and full view customer data to managerial and employee (transaction, calls and email), take the right action to the right place. CRM also help collect consumer request for support helping customer find solution [salesforce.com, 2000-2011].
Cloud computing can helps users and website owner keep the cost down. Users can access it from any computer and still have the file they need. And owners do not need to reproduce the software and ship it out, just rent the server space. It is also because cloud computing can hold more storage than a personal computer can [webhostingreport.com, 2009-2010].
Cloud computing is more flexibility and mobility. It's automatically updated, owners no longer need to hire people to update more than one server, and download updates for the software. The server gets the updates and the service gets the updates without updating anything on their end. It has more flexibility than other computing network systems, saves time and money for people who are in a time crunch. Allows users to connect even without their own computers, means user can do their work from anywhere in the world as long as have an internet connection and a computer access. So user can take work with them on their wedding and vacations [webhostingreport.com, 2009-2010].
Furthermore it help user saves time and hard drive space, users do not need to download anything, just log onto the network. A key component of cloud computing is that companies share resources, this allows all user to have access to the resources via cloud computing; this again can saves businesses time and money by placing all resources in one location, easy for their workers to look up and access [webhostingreport.com, 2009-2010].
Except helping companies and government keep their files safe on their servers and less likely to be lost or stolen on a hard drive. Cloud computing is able to store copies of files that need, but not in user own hard drive by using cloud computing; can also share important work files with each other workers and send them back and forth [webhostingreport.com, 2009-2010].
Part 4 Recommendation of Cloud Computing Adoption/Adaption
Whenever there are business opportunities, there will be strong competition forces in the industry environment. Similar to Success Electronics' current situation as mushrooming of new market entrants due to low barriers to entry, innovative technologies on LED lightings technology had gradually substituted the HID lightings, switching of consumer preference to competitors, as well as threat from incompetent material costs impact to finished goods from supplier. All these are affecting the company's growth. [Laudon, 2010]
With cloud computing adoption, the organization could re-define IT operation by eliminating routine infrastructure deployment, as cloud computing provides a complete infrastructure solutions with major operating systems supports, which enable the company to remain competitive and outstanding among their rivals. [3Tera, Inc 2008] Unlike the initial capital expenditure with costly maintenance and upgrading, cloud computing services charged upon usage only with billing either subscription service or utility (like electricity and broadband charges). That investment on IT department and physical storage for servers can be avoided.
“Customer satisfaction” is the main philosophy of Success Electronics, to be as successful to the name of the company “Success” in the competitive market environment, they must have strong bond with their customers by keeping track of their records, from analyzing their products preference, habits to behaviors such as data mining, through client's access into their websites of www.success.com.my.Â Impressive customer experience will enhance business growth in long term. Cloud computing provides on-demand Customer Relationship Management (CRM), with no cost on computer hardware and servers, refers to Appendix 3. CRM software system is beneficial to the company's frontline, as it provides supportive environment and encourage collaboration among sales representative to exchange information while sharing latest market trend. Other than that, it is convenient for the salesperson to access into their products availability and customers' database immediately whenever there is internet connection, with their portable laptops or cell phones. As all information is updated in real time, this provides their client a better experience and satisfactions. The company stands better opportunity than their competitors with quicker response to their customers' needs; and important decision can be made during final negotiation with immediate approval from their superiors. With a better management, cloud helps to expand business and create more partnerships and channels for the business by focusing on the channel needs. Managers are able to access into the sales reports and data. They could use the data analytical tools to evaluate their performance, such as Key Performance Index (KPI), less time will be spent for gathering pipeline data reviewÂ and forecast sales, while giving more informative details for decision making significantly.
With a stable growth of the company, high cost of investment in company's hardware, data storage and legacy software license is essential for Success Electronics. However, with their wide clients' network base of over 850 distributors in Malaysia and more than a hundred in overseas, it will be much efficiency and quicker for their clients and sales force to access their data through cloud computing. Increased database storage is an expensive investment with limitation, such as unexpected damage by lightning strike, loss of data, run low of storage memory to delay the systems due to storage overload, time and cost consumption on data recovery. Thus cloud computing could be a helpful platform to Success Electronic, by streamlining data and procedures into one centralize location, databases are stored and maintain efficiently. Loss of customer‘s database can be prevented, as services offered by cloud computing are actually software, known as software-as-a-service (SaaS), that is not installed on a computer. Whenever there are changes made on the cloud, it will exist and updated in real time, thus there is no fear o database crashes or no necessary on daily backup. Cloud provides flexibility in organizing information in different departments; while enabling company-wide collaboration. The software can be accessed through the internet, with unlimited storage, creating analytical database, information management and sales forecast.Â [All Things CRM, n.d.]
Data protection is important as mentioned on the database to prevent data flow out from the organization which will be a threat and damage to the organization. The recent news of Sony data invasion that compromised more than 100 million customer personal data of the Japanese electronics conglomerate to rethink of cloud computing. [Reuters, 2011] However, cloud based solution had to design to strengthen their security system, patched software with appropriate firewall while moving to the cloud and mobile devices to prevent the above incidents of Sony. For example, monitoring through web filtering, staffs monitoring, mobile monitoring and mobile devices recovery, retrieve remote data and tracking are adopted for database protection. [All Things CRM, n.d.]
Part 5 Conclusion
Cloud computing services are essential to use with internet services and other software, comparing to the 20th century of business communication through phone, facsimile and hand written letter. Email service is one of the clouds computing that is closely related to our daily life and business communication, as well as social media and social networking. It is an important communication tools in the modern world to increase productivity, communication with customers on products development and improvement need to make.
Besides, cloud computing solutions are often less expensive than the IT infrastructure hardware and software counterparts, that is the reason why they had become a popular choice among businesses. The charges is on per-user basis, and thus if this is applied to Success Electronics, they just had to pay a flat rate based on the number of usage of their employees. This will be much time and money saving when it comes to software upgrade; which cloud services are updated at the provider own cost, so everyone is always working on the latest platform to have users access to their information through the Web anywhere and whenever they need it. To prove the cost savings, a simple return on investment (ROI) calculation can help determine just how cost-effective it can be for your company. [All Things CRM, n. d.]
With the time hassle for accessing and acquiring the information required, it is usually time consumption to operate at functional level, thus cloud computing could save the management time in avoiding this. Management enables to access the information anytime with cloud computing. Thus, cloud computing can be cost effective in their IT infrastructure investment while providing more accurate and fast details to the management. Convenience in accessibility through cloud computing is effective to improve customer relationship management, as with the real-time data offered by cloud computing, companies can have a 360 degree view of their customers behavior to make measurement on strategic marketing plan, improve on R & D for new products development and enhance customers' loyalty. [All Things CRM, n. d.] Growing satisfaction from their customers will be a more effective way of advertisement through word-of-mouth, it will be higher confidence in leading the business towards successful. Thus, it is highly recommended for Success Electronic to adopt the cloud computing.