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Assignment Questions for ISM

Q1. The manager has a leadership role to play. How can MIS support this role?
Ans: The management process id executed through a variety of decisions taken at each step of
planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, and control. The MIS helps in decision
Lot of data handling is needed. The decisions or actions are prompted due to the feedback given
by the control system incorporated in the MIS. The manager is able to handle the risk and
uncertainties effectively. The MIS supports the lack of knowledge, enriches experience and
improves the analytical abilities leading to better business judgments.
Many complex situations are handled with exemplary precision and that creates confidence
amongst the employees.
Q2. Why does the organization structure & MIS differ from company to company even
though they are in same business and industry?

Q3. Visit following websites and write an analysis report on how participants are benefited
by IT enabled e-business enterprise.
• ICICI.com
• BHEL.com
• REDIFF.com
• Satyaminfoway.com
Ans: 1. ICICI.com: It is the largest private sector bank in India. And the employees are
considered to be customer friendly. But they did not stop here only. The website is one of the
sophisticated and advanced. One can easily do transactions, apply for loans, and check the
account details 24 hrs. All the information about the company is given. Latest news about
market, new schemes are available. There are separate sections for personal, corporate, agri and
rural banking, NRI and business banking. And the contents are also available in Hindi.
2. BHEL.com: BHEL is one of the Navratna companies from the stable of the GOI. The site is
well designed for the business purpose as it does not deal with individual and small clients
except in the case of recruitments of new employees. It can be used both in Hindi and English.
All the information concerning the products, guidelines, research, suppliers, tender notifications,
press releases, all are covered.

3. REDIFF.com: Following facilities are at the disposal of the user. It is multi specialty web
portal catering to a number of facilities.

News (Latest news from India and around the world), Rediffmail (Lightning fast and simple to
use email ),Mobile(Ringtones, wallpapers, java games & more), Blog(sCreate your own
blog, express yourself and make new friends), Toolbar(Install the Rediff Toolbar )Book
a Domain(Get a web address and create your online identity),Books(India's largest
bookstore to buy books online) Matchmaker(Find your match here Photos Create
albums, share photos & post comments) Song Buzz(Listen together with friends and
people like you),Money(Indian stock markets: Mutual funds, Sensex, Nifty Rediffmail
ProProfessional POP3 email accounts, Business email hosting service) iShare
Share( photos, enjoy music, view movie trailers Q&A), Instant Messenger, Local Ads,
Shopping, Astrology, Buzz, Online Games.

4. SATYAMINFOWAY.com: Known as Sifycorp, is in top 5 of the user’s survey in IT, ITEs

and ICT companies and 12th best employers in country in Data Quest. It is one of the leaders in
IT solutions and customer care services. It is a well prepared site dealing in number of
dimensions. It has got various awards and it is highly involved in social responsibility.
Q4. Visit following websites & perform the given activities: -
• www.ibm.com (order a notebook computer)
• www.hdfc.com (apply for a home loan)
Write technical notes on your experience of using these websites.
Q5. What are the different types of strategy? Can a business have more than one strategy?
How are different strategies related to each other? Explain with reference to a business of
your choice?

Ans: The following types of strategies have been recommended by management experts:
1. Stability Strategy:

An organization that has a stable environment, limited number of products, customers, suppliers
and competitors, minimum need for special skills and so on may follow what is called the
‘Stability Strategy’. Such an organization is satisfied with its existing level of activities and
wants the same to continue.

2. Growth Strategy:

An organization that wants to raise its level of performance,

may adopt what is called the ‘Growth Strategy’. The following measures are usually adopted by
such an organization:
(i) Development of new products for the existing markets.
(ii) Creation of new uses for the existing products, and
(iii) Development of new products for new markets.

3. Vertical Integration Strategy:

A business enterprise itself may decide to produce the raw materials needed for production to
ensure continuous supply. On the other hand, it may also decide to start its own sales outlets to
serve its customers better. In either case, the strategy is known as the ‘Vertical Integration

4. Merger Strategy:

It is also possible that identical business units may combine to rationalize production and sales
and thereby derive the benefits of economics of large-scale operations. This is what is known as
the ‘Merger Strategy.

5. Product Elimination Strategy:

A business unit may also eliminate products that have become unpopular with the buyers and
bring only losses. Such unsuccessful products also damage the image of the business. Thus, the
‘Product Elimination Strategy’ may be adopted by a firm to avoid loss of profits as well as reputa
Q6. What is Value Chain? How it is used in the following business?
• Desktop Computer
• Airlines
• Washing soap
• Tour & travel
• Automobile manufacturing
Answer: The Value Chain:

To analyze the specific activities through which firms can create a competitive advantage, it is
useful to model the firm as a chain of value-creating activities. Michael Porter identified a set of
interrelated generic activities common to a wide range of firms. The resulting model is known as
the value chain and is depicted below:

Primary Value Chain Activities

Inbound Outbound Marketing

> Operations > > > Service
Logistics Logistics & Sales

The goal of these activities is to create value that exceeds the cost of providing the product or
service, thus generating a profit margin.

 Inbound logistics include the receiving, warehousing, and inventory control of input
 Operations are the value-creating activities that transform the inputs into the final
 Outbound logistics are the activities required to get the finished product to the customer,
including warehousing, order fulfillment, etc.
 Marketing & Sales are those activities associated with getting buyers to purchase the
product, including channel selection, advertising, pricing, etc.
 Service activities are those that maintain and enhance the product's value including
customer support, repair services, etc.
Value Chain in Airlines:

The airlines have continued to be leaders in a shortening value chain by eliminating activities
that do not add value, while developing items such as electronic ticketing and last-minute fares at
low prices. Recently, five major airlines have announced plans to create a megasite for
eDistribution, a move which responds to the threat of online travel agencies as they attempt to re-
intermediate themselves with customers. The new economy is requiring them to collaborate with
their historical competitors with strategies to own the customer.

Value Chain for Travel Agents & Tour Operators

An area where travel agents do continue to add tremendous value is in advising travellers of
destinations, tailoring travel to individual preferences, and saving time and money for the
travellers before and during the trip. The new role for this group is that of a knowledge manager.
As the ease of use and customized offerings improve under the banner of powerful brands, the
superiority of eBusiness applications for the hospitality and leisure industry will eventually
become the norm.

Tour operators in Europe own a much larger portion of the leisure travel market than in North
America, with several large players dominating about half of the market. In the US and Canada,
the tour business is extremely fragmented, with few well-known brands and thin profit margins.
Suppliers connected with consumer groups have the potential to mimic and exceed the
purchasing power of individual tour operators. What prevents well-branded airline, hotel, and car
rental companies from agreeing to share inventory and creating their own packages? Nothing - as
is the case with many packages offered today by airlines and hotel companies. Furthermore,
customer loyalty is often stronger with the travel agent that sells packages in North America.
Currently, call centres create an artificial demand regulator, limiting the amount of product
available on a free-sale basis by the number of agents answering calls. If the same model and IT
systems are opened to web traffic, an unlimited amount of demand could overwhelm current
free-sale and price-yielding techniques. To compete, tour operators will need to use networking
tools and offer complete excursions that are priced in real-time and tailored to their customers.
The Automotive Supply Chain

Design (High Value Added) - After researching consumer wants and needs, automakers begin
designing models which are tailored to the public demand. In the past, this design process has
taken up to five years. Today, however, through the extensive use of computers, it is possible to
develop prototypes, or "concept cars," from sketches in less than a year.

Raw Materials (Low Value Added) - These include rubber, glass, steel, plastic, and aluminum.
Over the past few years, the cost of raw materials has increased significantly, mostly due to the
price increase of oil and natural rubber. Also, companies are now using aluminum and plastic in
place of steel whenever possible in order to lessen the weight of the automobiles, which in turn
improves fuel efficiency.

Parts (Medium Value Added) - Tires, windshields, and air bags are examples of parts. While
the automobile industry as a whole has become more consolidated, the U.S. auto parts sector
remains highly fragmented. It includes four primary sub-categories: original equipment
manufacturers (Delphi and General Electric), replacement parts manufacturing (Cooper Tire and
Rubber and Federal-Mogul), replacement parts distribution (NAPA), and rubber fabricating
(Goodyear and Cooper).

Assembly (Medium Value Added)- Due to the combination of rising raw materials' costs and
consumers' eternal search for the lowest price, companies are looking for ways to cut costs out of
the manufacturing process. Recent trends to reduce costs include using fewer parts in each
vehicle component, minimizing industrial waste and pollution, and having parts delivered to
assembly plants on a just-in-time basis.

Marketing (High Value Added) - Marketing is an integral part of the value chain, since it is the
primary basis for consumers' perceived values. Automakers and individual dealers work together
to create national, regional, and local marketing strategies. These may include television and
radio advertising or special incentives offered to customers. In addition, firms have started
advertising more online. GM, for example, spent 67% more on online advertising in 2005 than it
did in the previous year.

Distribution and Sales (High Value Added) - After production is complete, automobiles are
shipped to dealerships around the world to be sold. As mentioned previously, dealers may offer
incentives to increase sales.
Q7. Identify strategic uses of information system & information technology in following
• Retail banking
• Hotel
• Hospital
• Retailing in food & Groceries.

Q8. Explain how knowledge gives a competitive advantage to the organization?

Q9. Knowledge is a generic term. Identify & distinguish between information & knowledge
in the following cases: -
• Customer
• Vendor
• Machining
• Product
Q10. Identify Key Result Areas (KRAs), BOPs, & BPPs for the following companies: -
• Jet Airways
• Life Insurance Corporation of India
• Taj Hotel
Ans: 1) LIC: Selling life insurance to farmers:
Narrating from personal experience, Roy provided deeply insightful peeks into his
experiences with rural marketing at LIC, which innovates its products to specifically appeal
to the needs of the rural consumer. He also talked about banking and insurance markets
which form symbiotic relationships when it comes to tapping rural markets, with banking
being an excellent distribution channel for marketing insurance products.

Citing the example of LIC tapping the extensive branch network of nationalized banks in
deep, miles-from-anywhere locations, he said the model has allowed for unprecedented
penetration by LIC into rural India.

The critical success factor in succeeding in India's rural markets is the element of trust that a
company has to gain from the rural consumer, Roy said in conclusion.

2) Bottom Of Pyramid Changed Business Models InTaj Hotels:

They came up with the idea of budget hotels, although being the luxury hotels. In consultation
with the pioneer of Bottom of the Pyramid C K Prahalad, they employed this strategy.
Code-named 'Wildfire', the concept of the project was to provide a comfortable stay for guests at
an affordable cost. The culmination of the idea was budget hotel Ginger, priced below ` 1,000
for a double room, launched in Bangalore in 2004.
With a large number of Indian managers travelling extensively, their choice of stay was
restricted to either expensive hotels or lodges. They conducted a research to find out the basic
expectation of most travelers. With the help of CK, they designed Ginger, which was born out of
his bottom of the pyramid vision. The Ginger chain has now expanded to 21 hotels.

Q11. What is the role of Executive Information System in strategic design of MIS?
Ans: An Executive Information System (EIS) is a type of management information
system intended to facilitate and support the information and decision-making needs of senior
executives by providing easy access to both internal and external information relevant to meeting
the strategic goals of the organization. It is commonly considered as a specialized form of
a Decision Support System (DSS).

EIS enables executives to find those data according to user-defined criteria and promote
information-based insight and understanding. Unlike a traditional management information
system presentation, EIS can distinguish between vital and seldom-used data, and track different
key critical activities for executives, both which are helpful in evaluating if the company is
meeting its corporate objectives. After realizing its advantages, people have applied EIS in many
areas, especially, in manufacturing, marketing, and finance areas.

Advantages of EIS:

• Easy for upper-level executives to use, extensive computer experience is not required in
• Provides timely delivery of company summary information
• Information that is provided is better understood
• Filters data for management
• Improves to tracking information
• Offers efficiency to decision makers

Q12. What is CRM? What are the major application components of CRM system? What
are the three phases of CRM? What are the various types of CRM? (Draw Diagram as
Ans: Customer Relationship Management, or simply "CRM", is the development of strong
relationships with customers by systematically learning about their needs, behaviors, and values,
and using this knowledge to manage an efficient and effective fulfillment of their product and/or
service requirements in a manner that provides a pleasant experience to them. This management
concept was developed in cognizance of the fact that good customer relationships are the
foundation of business success.
The Three Phases of CRM:
The meaning of the very word "planning" makes this stage of customer relationship
management very explicit. It begins with the business organization planning to primarily
approach its customers or prospective customers. The second part of the planning phase is in
the design of campaigns to get more customers for it to flourish. This entire phase includes
relevant software-marketing tools as well as the personal marketing of goods and sales
without which the first phase is incomplete.

It is imperative to understand that a customer base needs to be selected for the relevant
analysis, but without assessment the whole idea of customer relationship management doesn't
work. Immediately after that the customer's various requirements are studied explicitly to
know what they are looking for. The assessment phase also includes software much like data
warehousing, data mining and online analytical processing. Certified personnel make the
CRM function while the analyst is responsible for analyzing the data collected from various
customer sources. The data is used to help the company better prepare its marketing material
for consumers.

Execution is the most important phase because the customer feedback and interaction are a
major part of this stage. Therefore, it is this phase in which direct contact with the customer
is how the flagship is able to find out whether the customer is actually satisfied with its
product. All of the feedback coming from the customers is treated as crucial to the company's
reputation. The execution stage includes the use of Internet, call centers and surveys in a
systematic way to keep track of what the customers actually are getting from the company
and what they may or may not want in the future.

Types of CRM:

1. CRM: Business-to-Business (B2B) CRM

The Business-to-Business (B2B) CRM enables organizations to manage the whole
customer/partner lifecycle and rapidly establish a selling channel, whether merely conventional
or online through web-based applications (E-Sales).

1.1Marketing Automation

Marketing automation creates a beneficial bind between service and sales organizations. The
CRM software solution should be able to deliver on a range of goals in multiple environments
(such as business-to-business and business-to-consumer).

1.2 Sales Force Automation (SFA)

Sales Force Automation (SFA) is the automation of the sales cycle by linking your outside sales,
inside sales, technical support, management, and service and customer care. The goal is to
increase communication and hence efficiency between sales and support teams.

1.3 Customer Service and Support

Customer Service and Support helps better understand one's customers and anticipate their
interest in an enterprise's products and/or services through processes occurring
throughout the marketing, sales, and service stages.

1.4 Partner Management

Partner management supports, usually through a web portal dedicated to partners, basic
functionality for partner management, such as partner information management (create, search,
update, and delete), opportunity and lead source tracking and automatic notification, opportunity
and lead assignment and automatic notification, all of these based on user-definable rules and

1.5 Contract Management and Creation

The Contract Management and Creation section enables organizations to manage, whether
electronically or in a more conventional manner, contract lifecycle from contract creation and
modification, to contract expiration and renewal, while supporting for multiple currencies; all of
these based on user-definable rules and workflow.

1.6 Project and Team Management

Project and Team Management enables organizations to manage project lifecycle and project
team, from project kickoff and role definition to personnel assignment, project execution and
completion; all of these based on user-definable rules and workflow.

2. CRM: Business-to-Consumer (B2C) CRM

Business-to-Consumer (B2C) CRM enables organizations to manage the whole consumer

lifecycle, interact properly and successfully with their customers, and rapidly establish a selling

The CRM software solution should provide all the applications necessary for consumers to
complete actions online (request, submission, product catalog, secure payment, and purchase
tracking), and for you to better understand them (customer profiling, customer behavior analysis,
and behavioral pattern recognition [BPR]) in order to better serve them (automatic response and
notification, personalization, product recommendation, forecasting of demand for product,
delivery of near real-time operational data store).

2.1 Internet Sales

Internet sales enable visitors to look for and select products of their interest, and complete their
purchase online. To do so, the CRM software solution should provide an on-line product catalog
with real-time price and availability information, shopping basket management with secure
payment transaction processing, and profile information management (registration, subscription,
shipping and billing addresses, purchase history).

The CRM software solution may provide additional features like personalization, product
recommendation (up-sell and cross-sell), and order acceptance, rejection, execution, and
2.2 Email Response Management

Email Response Management ensures management of incoming emails from customers with
automatic guided-through questionnaires and outbound emails combined with customer's data. It
includes rule-based routing with reporting capabilities.

2.3 B2C Analytics and Business Intelligence

B2C Analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) are analytical applications using complex rules-
based techniques, neural networks, pattern recognition and other profile settings within peer
groups to identify certain transactions and set thresholds for what is considered "normal"
shopping behavior.

3. CRM: Other CRM-Related Application Areas

Throughout the customer lifecycle (suspect, prospect, visitor, user, lead, client), the latest CRM
software solutions allow you to gather, compute, analyze, report, and extract all kinds of
information related to your customers and their behavior.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the electronic form of direct marketing. It may be seen as the most efficient
way of communicating to your potential or most valuable customers in order to call them for pre-
determined actions. Indeed, by enhancing the relationship with your customers, email marketing
encourages them to do business repeatedly with you, thus building, if well done, brand
recognition, credibility, and loyalty.

3.2 Relationship Capital Management (RCM)

Relationship capital management (RCM) empowers sales organizations to drastically

accelerate their sales cycle by rapidly inventorying and charting their social and personal
relationships, whether internal (local relationship) or external (global relationship), in order to
target, reach, and influence key decision makers and influencers more efficiently thanks to the
so-built trusted introduction.
Although you may find a huge literature amalgamating the two concepts, RCM is not per se
equivalent to CRM. Nonetheless, a CRM software solution may be considered as one of the tools
available to support relational capital management, particularly in both information gathering
and dispatching phases.

Also would-be-called corporate social networking management (CSNM), relationship capital

management is, in fact, the formalization of intuitively-developed best practices that are
observed at the most effective sales professionals.

3.3 Survey Software:

Survey software are business intelligence tools aiming at increasing product acceptance, and
customer loyalty by ensuring that customer needs are better understood and addressed.

The survey software solution should provide the following standard capabilities:

• survey design (survey content)

• survey administration (deployment and management)
• survey analysis (reports)

3.4 Sales Proposal Automation Software

Sales proposal automation software streamlines the process of responding to a request for
proposals (RFP) by automating the proposal production, making it easier, faster, and more

Sales proposal automation software should also provide tools to determine whether submitting a
proposal is worth the time and effort spent.

Sales proposal software should support the customers for, and when and how to enter into action.

Q13. What is SCM? What are the four major decision areas in SCM, basic components of
SCM? Explain the SCM life cycle along with the diagram?
Ans: Supply Chain Management, or simply "SCM", is the management of the two-way flow of
materials, equipment, finances, information, and manpower resources within and among
organizations to ensure the efficient and fast delivery of goods and services to the end
customer. It involves the oversight of synchronized movement of these logistics from the
supplier to the manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer, until the end-product reaches the

There are four major decision areas in supply chain management: 1) Location, 2) Production, 3)
Inventory, And 4) Transportation (Distribution), and there are both strategic and
operational elements in each of these decision areas.

Location Decisions :

The geographic placement of production facilities, stocking points, and sourcing points is the
natural first step in creating a supply chain. The location of facilities involves a
commitment of resources to a long-term plan. Once the size, number, and location of
these are determined, so are the possible paths by which the product flows through to the
final customer. These decisions are of great significance to a firm since they represent the
basic strategy for accessing customer markets, and will have a considerable impact on
revenue, cost, and level of service. These decisions should be determined by an
optimization routine that considers production costs, taxes, duties and duty drawback,
tariffs, local content, distribution costs, production limitations, etc.

Production Decisions :

The strategic decisions include what products to produce, and which plants to produce them in,
allocation of suppliers to plants, plants to DC's, and DC's to customer markets. As before,
these decisions have a big impact on the revenues, costs and customer service levels of
the firm. These decisions assume the existence of the facilities, but determine the exact
path(s) through which a product flows to and from these facilities. Another critical issue
is the capacity of the manufacturing facilities--and this largely depends the degree of
vertical integration within the firm. Operational decisions focus on detailed production
scheduling. These decisions include the construction of the master production schedules,
scheduling production on machines, and equipment maintenance. Other considerations
include workload balancing, and quality control measures at a production facility.

Inventory Decisions :

These refer to means by which inventories are managed. Inventories exist at every stage of the
supply chain as either raw materials, semi-finished or finished goods. They can also be in-
process between locations. Their primary purpose to buffer against any uncertainty that might
exist in the supply chain. Since holding of inventories can cost anywhere between 20 to 40
percent of their value, their efficient management is critical in supply chain operations. It is
strategic in the sense that top management sets goals. However, most researchers have
approached the management of inventory from an operational perspective. These include
deployment strategies (push versus pull), control policies --- the determination of the optimal
levels of order quantities and reorder points, and setting safety stock levels, at each stocking
location. These levels are critical, since they are primary determinants of customer service levels.

Transportation Decisions :

The mode choice aspect of these decisions is the more strategic ones. These are closely linked to
the inventory decisions, since the best choice of mode is often found by trading-off the
cost of using the particular mode of transport with the indirect cost of inventory
associated with that mode. While air shipments may be fast, reliable, and warrant lesser
safety stocks, they are expensive. Meanwhile shipping by sea or rail may be much
cheaper, but they necessitate holding relatively large amounts of inventory to buffer
against the inherent uncertainty associated with them. Therefore customer service levels,
and geographic location play vital roles in such decisions. Since transportation is more
than 30 percent of the logistics costs, operating efficiently makes good economic sense.
Shipment sizes (consolidated bulk shipments versus Lot-for-Lot), routing and scheduling
of equipment are key in effective management of the firm's transport strategy.

Supply chain life cycle:

There are 5 phases in the supply chain life cycle: 1) identification of business opportunity, 2)
selection of business partner, 3) formation of the supply chain, 4) operation of the supply chain,
and 5) reconfiguration of the supply chain. This is a repetitive cycle. For every new business
opportunity or product line these phases spring into action, thus creating a living and dynamic
supply chain.

A basic supply chain management system has five (5) components: 1) the plan, which refers
to the over-all strategy of the SCM program including the development of SCM metrics to
monitor; 2) the source, which refers to the suppliers who'll provide you with goods and services
necessary for you to run your business; 3) the 'make' or manufacturing component, which refers
to the execution of processes needed to produce, test, and package your products or services; 4)
the delivery, which refers to the system for receiving orders from customers, developing a
network of warehouses; getting the products to the customers; invoicing customers and
receiving payment from them; and 5) the return, which is the system for processing customer
returns and/or supporting customers with problems with the products they received.