According to question 1, it required to give the reasons of selecting computer hardware and software for the organization an important management decision. It also required to state out the management, organization, and technology issues that should be considered when selecting computer hardware.
A computer is a programmable machine that accepts input, stores and manipulates data, and provides output in a useful format. A computer is made up of combination of two components, which is hardware and software. Both components are important and have its own functions and meaningful usages. The simplest definition of hardware is the thing which we can touch and software is the thing which we cannot touch but only feel.
Computer hardware is the physical the mechanical, magnetic, electronic, and electrical components making up a computer system. Examples computer hardware are Central Processing Unit (CPU), Random Access Memory (RAM), hard disks, CD-ROM Compact Disk Read-Only Memory), keyboards, mice, printers, modem, router, and etc.
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Computer software is the detailed instructions that control the operation of a computer system. Computer software is divided into two major types of software, which is system software and application software. System software is a set of generalized programs that manage the computer's resources, such as CPU, communication links, and peripheral devices. Examples of system software are Microsoft Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, BIOS software, Device Diver Software, and etc. Application software describes the programs that are written for or by users to apply the computer to a specific task. Examples of application software are, Microsoft Word, Mozilla Firefox, E-mail software, groupware, and etc.
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Figure 1: Computer hardware (Examples only)
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Figure 2: Computer software (Examples only)
Answer (Question 1)
Nowadays, most of the greatest organizations are using the computer technology and had implemented their own IT (Information Technology) department(s). They cannot neglect the powerful and productive of its IT department(s) which brings their business towards success. Examples of organizations are Apple Inc., FedEx, Wal-Mart, McDonald's, and etc. Hence, IT is now critical to an organization's success, so it is important that an organization should uses the computer technology in its daily business routine and the computer hardware and software meets the needs of the organization. The managers and/or IT employees must have the understanding of the role of computer hardware and software in the decisions that promote organizational performance and productivity.
The computer components, either hardware devices or software, are now updating and improving its technology frequently and speedy, and hence affected its price are rising. The computer hardware and software costs a lot of money in an organization. Therefore, it is very important that the IT department of an organization should choose and buy the most appropriate and cost-effective computer hardware and software.
While selecting the most appropriate and cost-effective computer hardware and software, it also needs to be sufficiently powerful to meet the demands of the current users and future unpredictable increasing of users demand. Therefore, expandability and scalability of the computer hardware and software needs to be carefully planned and considered.
Selection and use of computer hardware and software technology can have a deep impact on business performance. Computer hardware and software represent important organizational assets that must be managed appropriately. The most important issues in managing computer hardware and software technology assets are understanding the new technology requirements for electronic commerce and digital firm, determining the total cost of technology assets, and determining whether to own and maintain technology assets or use external technology service providers for an organization.
Managers and IT specialists need to pay attention to the computer hardware capacity planning and scalability. Capacity planning is the process of predicting when a computer hardware system becomes saturated. Capacity planning ensures that the organization has enough computing power for its current and future needs. Business managers need to determine acceptable levels of computer response time and availability for the organization's mission-critical systems to maintain the level of business performance they expect. New applications, mergers and acquisitions, and changes in business volume all impact computer workload and must be considered when planning hardware capacity. Scalability refers the ability of a computer, product, or system to expand to serve a large number of users without breaking down. Organizations must make sure they have sufficient computer processing, storage, and network resources to handle their business databases and to make it available online constantly. Hence, not affect their daily business routine or the availability for users demand.
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The purchase and maintenance of computer hardware and software is but one of a series of cost components that managers must consider when selecting and managing computer hardware and software technology assets. The total cost of ownership (TCO) model can be used to analyze these direct and indirect costs to help organizations determine the actual cost of specific technology implementations. TCO designates the total cost of owning technology resources, including initial purchase costs, the cost of hardware and software upgrades, maintenance, technical support, and training. It is possible to reduce some of these administration costs through better management. Organizations can reduce their TCO through greater centralization and standardization of their computer hardware and software resources. They also can reduce the size of the information systems staff required to support their infrastructure if the organization minimized the number of different computer models and pieces of software that employees are allowed to use. When TCO can be reduced, computers might run up to several times worth the original purchase price of the equipment.
Another important management decision when selecting computer hardware and software was to determine whether to own and maintain technology assets or use external technology service providers for an organization. Nowadays, many organizations are obtaining their computer hardware and software technology from external service vendors. That is because it significantly cheaper and can saved lots of costs in maintaining and administrating.
One of the popular external service vendor is online Storage Service Provider (SSP) is a third-party provider that rents out storage space to subscribers over the Web, allowing customers to store and access their data without having to purchase and maintain their own storage technology.
Application service provider (ASP) is a company providing software that can be rented by other companies over the Web or a private network. ASP not just helps an organization to save cost of software purchases and updates, there may be benefits allows the organization to focus on core business issues instead of technology challenges.
Utility computing model of computing in which organizations pay only for the IT resources they actually use during a specified time period. It also on-demand computing or usage-based pricing. Again, utility computing model helps to save cost of computer hardware and software of an organization.
Moreover, when selecting computer hardware, it is very important that an organization should consider management, organization, and technology issues. In management issues, selecting computer hardware technology for the organization is a key business decision and it should not be left to technical specialists alone. General Managers should understand the capabilities of various computer processing, input, and storage, options, as well as price versus performance relationships. They should be involved in hardware-capacity planning technology asset management, decisions to distribute computing, downsize, or use network computers.
In organization issues, computer hardware technology can either enhance or impede organizational performance. Computer hardware selection should consider how well the technology meshes with the organization`s culture and structure as well as its information processing requirements.
In technology issues, IT today is not limited to computers but must be viewed as an array of digital devices networked together. Organizations have many computer processing options to choose from, including mainframes, workstations, PCs, and network computers, and many different ways of configuring hardware components to create systems.
Conclusion (Question 1)
In conclusion, selecting computer hardware and software for the organization an important management decision to improve business performance and productivity, while reduces the wasting cost for unnecessary aspects. Several reasons are new computer components costs lots of money, IT is now critical to an organization's success, so the computer components must meets the needs of the organization, and the computer components needs to be sufficiently powerful to meet the future increasing of users demand.
When selecting computer hardware and software, the managers and IT specialists of an organization need to understand the new technology requirements for electronic commerce and digital firm, to determine the total cost of technology assets, and to determine whether to own and maintain technology assets or use external technology service providers for an organization.
In addition, good decisions for selecting computer hardware and software make a business grow. Bad ones will burns organization's business money and investor's money. When these money is gone, the business will fail.
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If you were a manager in a company that operates in many countries, what criteria would you use to determine whether a new system should be developed as a global application or local application? Why?
Introduction (Question 2)
According to question 2, it required to state out and explains the reasons of the criteria that use to determine whether a new system should be developed as a global application or local application, if I am a manager in a company that operates in many countries.
A global application is a computer system that able to operate across national boundaries, political, global knowledge base, world cultures, law and legal systems, religions, global environmental, social expectations, languages and etc. While a local application is opposite of global application, it concentrates and operates locally or within a company only.
Assume that I am a manager of The Coca-Cola Company which operates in many countries, I would suggest for the new system should be developed as a global application.
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Figure 3: Coca-Cola's logo
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Figure 4: Products by The Coca-Cola Company
Answer (Question 2)
Nowadays, many localized companies will be replaced by fast-moving networked corporations that transcend national boundaries. The value of imports and exports from all nations companies has risen to about several trillion dollars annually. Therefore, the production of The Cola-Cola Company should be also parceled out to a number of different countries. The globe application would help the company in manufacturing, production, and operations management. It also enables to implement standard supply chain management software or enterprise software to coordinate global manufacturing processes and supply chains.
The major criteria that the new system should be developed in globe application are the growth of cheap international communication and transportation has created a world culture with stable expectations or norms, and political stability and a growing global knowledge base that is widely shared contribute also to the world culture. These criteria create the condition for global market, global production, coordination, distribution, and global economies of scale.
A business driver is a force in the environment to which businesses must respond and that influences the direction of the business. The global business drivers can be divided into two groups, which are general cultural factors and specific business factors. Easily recognized general cultural factors have driven internationalization since World War II. Information, communication, and transportation technologies have created a global village in which communication (through telephone, television, radio, or computer network) around the globe is no more difficult and not much more expensive than communication down the block. The cost of moving goods and services to and from geographically dispersed locations has fallen dramatically.
The development of global communications has created a global village in a second sense: A global culture created by television, the Internet, and other globally shared media such as movies now permits different cultures and peoples to develop common expectations about right and wrong, desirable and undesirable, heroic and cowardly. The collapse of the Eastern bloc has speeded the growth of a world culture enormously, increased support for capitalism and business, and reduced the level of cultural conflict considerably.
Another criterion what should be considered is the growth of a global knowledge base. Nowadays, Latin America, China, India, Southern Asia, and Eastern Europe have developed powerful educational, industrial, and scientific centers, resulting in a much more democratically and widely distributed knowledge base. Hence, more and more citizen has the knowledge of using computer technology and networking, better languages understanding, and more. This will enhance the meets of suitable quality of labor force, which can fit in the company's computer system easily and quickly, and then improve the productive and employee performance.
These general cultural factors leading toward internationalization result in specific business globalization criteria that affect most industries. The growth of powerful communications technologies and the emergence of world cultures create the condition for global markets. Global consumers interested in consuming similar products that are culturally approved. Therefore, products of The Coca-Cola Company would be fit into global markets easily.
Global production and operations have emerged with precise online coordination between far-flung production facilities and central headquarters thousands of miles away. Managers or employees of the company do not need to travel a long distance for business coordination, meetings, and any management operations. By this way, it reduces the employee's travels fees and save times. In addition, the transportation fees of global shipping companies are quite low compared to the recent years. This helps reduced the cost of exporting company's products to many far distance of countries.
The new global markets and pressure toward global production and operation have leaded towards whole new capabilities for global coordination of all factors of production. Not only production but also accounting, marketing and sales, human resources, and systems development (all the major business functions) can be coordinated on a global scale.
Global markets, production, and administration create the conditions for powerful, sustained global economies of scale. Production driven by worldwide global demand can be concentrated where it can best be accomplished, fixed resources can be allocated over larger production runs, and production runs in larger plants can be scheduled more efficiently and precisely estimated. Lower cost factors of production can be exploited wherever they emerge. The result is a powerful strategic advantage to organizations that can organize globally using global application. These general and specific business drivers have significantly improved world trade and commerce.
Moreover, when determining the new system should be developed as a global application, it is very important that an organization should consider management, organization, and technology issues.
Managers are responsible for devising an appropriate organizational and technological framework for international business. Choosing a global business strategy, identifying core business process, organizing the firm to conduct business on an international scale, and selecting international information system architecture are key management decision.
In organization issues, culture, political, and language diversity magnifies differences in organizational culture and standard operating procedures when companies operate internationally. These differences create barriers to the development of global informational systems that transcend national boundaries.
The main technology decision in building international system is finding a set of workable standard in hardware, software, and networking for the firm's international information systems infrastructure and architecture. The Internet and intranets are increasingly used to provide global connectivity and serve as a foundation for global systems, but many companies still need proprietary system for certain functions, and , therefore, international standard.
Conclusion (Question 2)
In conclusion, the new system of The Coca-Cola Company would be the most appropriate developed as a global application. The criteria that should be considered were globalize the company would increase the profits, the growth of cheap international communication and transportation has created a world culture with stable expectations or norms, and political stability and a growing global knowledge base that is widely shared contribute also to the world culture. The global application also helps in online coordination, meetings, and any management operations, which reduces employee's travels fees and save times. Overall, it improves the productivity and business performance of the company.