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Walgreens pharmacies have integrated intellectual technology into every facet of its operation. The ability to develop, implement, and analyze the effects of the IT has significantly increased pharmacy efficiency. The company’s core strategies include key objectives to provide innovative IT within its business operations that place them as the industry leader. The IT transformation is not just about cutting costs but utilizing this intelligence to become the value added community destination for quality healthcare.
The pharmacy’s many processes utilize IT to fill prescriptions, bill third party payers, maintain patient profiles, document clinical services, manage supply chain, multichannel communications, and other supportive services. The integrated platform improves productivity and performance of the organization by streamlining workflow. The pharmacy manager can utilize the key performance indicators (KPIs) to effectively manage departmental functions and improve processes. The pharmacy staff utilizes the IT to improve customer service and satisfaction.
Walgreens strategy is to operate as the leader within the industry. The initiative to transform community pharmacy is dependent upon its innovative IT development. The shift from the payer and provider to the consumer directed healthcare system will change the community pharmacies model. The IT system will support the necessary tools needed to redefine the role of community pharmacy.
The prioritizing of company strategy focused IT systems will further support the business objectives. The future of the IT department will be to become less dependent on consultants to provide expertise rather than investing in the training and promotion of present company talent. There will be a shift from customized software solutions for applications and the utilization of packaged options when pertinent. The assessment of the IT operating model will determine if global delivery options will be needed to support the companies’ twenty-four hour capabilities.
Over 7,500 integrated locations to provide services
72 percent of all Americans live within five miles of a Walgreens
18 percent of the market share
IT focused strategies
Dependence on outside IT consultants
Development of customized IT solutions
Lacking development of global and/or off shore IT staff
Changing IT operating model
Wifi hot spots
Integration of healthcare units
Recession limits on new IT development and costly implementation
Highly trained IT personnel
Highly efficient packaged software
Figure 1: SWOT Analysis of Intellectual Technology.
The core strategies of Walgreens are focused on IT. There is a great deal of support from management to provide innovative transformations that will increase efficiencies and improve customer service. There are over 7,500 integrated locations compromising eighteen percent of the market providing these services to the consumer (Standard & Poor’s, 2011). The many opportunities to interface with the consumer have given Walgreens the leading market position as the most convenient community drug store. The multiple channels include: brick and mortar store, telephone, website, e-mail, mobile phone, texting, and social networking media.
The dependence on outside IT consultants posses a potential risk of the under development of Walgreens staff and increased costs to the company. The utilization of customized IT solutions increases costs for development and continued support. The cost savings that could be realized by either off shore or global IT staff have not been utilized.
The changing of the IT operating model has the ability to create innovative opportunities that could increase their market share. The offerings of Wifi hotspots and wireless internet connections have the potential to capture more consumers through this on-line interaction. The IT integration of all health care units serves to increase efficiency and performance for the business.
Several threats of the Walgreens IT system create potential risks to their market share. The recession poses constraints on the research and development of new IT solutions and innovations. The networks of highly trained IT people have the potential to offer their expertise to the rival competition. The increase in the development of packaged software options offers a more efficient and less costly system to maintain.
The competitive environment of the industry exhibits significant power to control Walgreens share of the market with its most significant rival, CVS. The ability to gain market share could be greatly dependent upon the extent of innovative IT that either company may integrate within their operations. The ability to utilize this IT to conduct a more efficient business operation and exert its leverage on the market can determine its level of control. Walgreens has positioned its company as the market leader of innovative technology by offering cost effective solutions that provide value added services to the consumer. Walgreens ability to operate as an IT strategy focused operation is key to exhibiting a competitive advantage within the market. The ability to gain a further market advantage would be dependent upon innovation that would continue to differentiate Walgreens from the competition and establish its individual Brand identity. Walgreens has utilized its company IT focused strategies to introduce national programs (immunizations, diabetes testing, blood pressure monitoring, ect.) to change the community pharmacy and the role of the pharmacist. This leverage within the industry has enabled them to build substantial barriers that competitors must overcome.
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