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Business Strategy Assignment Question
Discuss the criteria to consider in specifying the structure and features of CGC's new system.
Identify the data that should be incorporated into CGC's new system to provide adequate planning capability. Explain why each data item it is important and the level of detail needed for the data to be useful.
Business Strategy Assignment Solution
Criteria to design the structure and features of CGC's new system
Any strategy driven by information systems needs to make sure of the size of the firm that it caters to. According to the size and complexity of the company, the sophistication level of the information system can be decided (Levy & Powell, 2000). It is important to understand if the IS strategy being employed here uses information systems to support a business strategy, to fetch insights to take key decisions or to propel innovation (Chen et al., 2010).
The new system primarily needs to address the current problems that the company is facing due to a bad forecast and missing out on aligning the demand & supply gap. The information system should also provide adequate information to set up long-term contracts with pipeline companies. The target is to have the storage field full at the start of the new gas year. This will need to be accurate since any excess or lesser amounts will lead to losses for the company. The new systems will need adequate information from the market. This is so that all the factors that can affect the demand or supply in any manner will need to be analyzed. These factors can then be used to find any correlation between each other or external factors. Also, the relative importance of these factors will need to be quantified which can state how much does a factor affect the demand or supply. The ones on the higher side can then be considered while taking additional buying or curtailing decisions. Curtailing decisions should also be based on which type of customer provides what amount of business to the company. It seems possible as different customers have different usage statistics dependent on weather and other external characteristics.
The system should be able to collate all the costs and perform a rough cost-benefit analysis of the parameters. Since we're considering an information system that can aggregate data and quickly perform calculations, it should be possible to store regular scenarios with usual data and insights derived from the same. Benefits here can be less wastage of gas, closing on the supply-demand gap, the ability to serve all types of customers at a given time, etc. The features and design will also be decided based on the expected usage of the system. If the strategic planning group is only going to use the system as a reference to cross-check their own predictions, it might not need to have multi-level details and higher complexities. It should then just alignwith what data results the business needs to arrive at a particular decision. However, if the corporate planning committee is going to be more dependent on the system with most of the key results to be provided based on the outcomes of the system, this will have to be more sophisticated and will need to present the next level detail in results.
The complexity of the design also depends on the amount of data to be fed to the system for arriving at insights. If the data amount is extremely high, higher tools will be required to deal with big data and bring out insights from the same. If we're dealing with only local data and can isolate the same assuming the demand and supply for gas at CGC will be decided mostly on local factors and restricted data, the data processing requirements can be relaxed. The infrastructure of any information system will turn more complex with the increase in the amount of data it processes (Laudon & Laudon, 2004). Along with this, it will also be essential to know the accuracy levels of the same needed. Accuracy may be important in any result that the system provides. However, it must be seen that a lot of capacity is not utilized to bring out high levels of accuracy when it is actually not required in all places. Since the entire exercise is planning the demand-supply for the coming years, there might be factors, which may not need next level accurate data.
Any information system is incomplete without a sophisticated reporting system. The leadership uses these systems to check various results at different stages and milestones of a project. Since the system is being considered to assist the leadership for the next 5 years on a monthly basis, care needs to be taken that there are monthly reports available with a long-term horizon and going forward it can use past data to provide yearly predictions, growth and other results. If the amount of data is a lot, the reporting can also use Business Intelligence frameworks and provide better insights from complex data. Also, the system should be such that certain company personnel are able to support the same in case of any errors or failures. This also includes collecting and putting the data points in the system, making sure the system is up to date and the support staff has an end-to-end view of the entire system to debug any problems. If supporting the system is cumbersome and expensive, the company will lose out on time as well as any costs saved by the system. Since it is assumed that CGC doesn't have its full-fledged IT, team, it is important that the system is simple enough for the company staff to be able to maintain it in the long run.
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