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Nibco Enterprise Information System

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Introduction and Purpose

The primary objective is to organize information and operate in a planned and controlled manner to capitalize on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the organisation.

The proposed information system would departmentalize the operations of the various departments and make the organisation accessible to its stakeholders in a pre-approved and designed manner. Not everyone would be allowed to access all kinds of information and all activities can be tracked so as to ascertain the state of the organisation at every point of time.

The involvement of EIS, MIS, DSS, TPS and knowledge work systems would ensure that different variants of stakeholders manage the system with their given privileges to drive the enterprise.

This project would evaluate the benefits of the P&N鈥檚 employees, customers and supplying manufacturers to the implementation of the e-commerce system.

The strengths of the Information system would be highlighted in the next section followed by the analysis of the implementation of the system.

Critical evaluation of the system implementation and the various factors determining its success are discussed in the final section.

A) Proposed IS

The proposed enterprise information system would be an ERP system which would be running in the company intranet and an e-commerce system which would be hosted in the internet. There would be a tunnel which would connect the e-commerce system with the ERP system for all the information synchronization among the systems.

Once the customer places an order, their order fulfillment mechanism would be working at the ERP side and all information relating to the cycle would be taken care and posted at the website for the customer to track the health and position of the order.

Optimized process of maintaining the customer鈥檚 details and preferences must be well maintained so that appropriate actions must be taken regarding the decision to serve them better.

B) Case analysis:

1. Benefits to P&Ns employees

A well established system would make sure that costs are cut to a maximum level, inventory management is improved greatly.

The cost of warehousing and carriage of goods would be optimum as they would be able to ascertain easily the nature of service which is required to be served.

The employees would be able to track the sales made to customers in periodic basis and would find a way to classify the customers according to high or medium potential.

The vehicle utilization would be optimized so that no vehicle runs empty reducing costs and consolidating deliveries so that time and effort utilization would be at the maximum.

The IS would allow other entities like other businesses to collaborate with each other. The manufacturers, suppliers and other retail chains would be able to connect with the P&N鈥檚 e-commerce system so that a better flow of business is guaranteed.

2. Benefits to P&Ns customers

The customers get a one window facility to see and purchase the products and pay online.

The frequent visits to the retail outlets would be reduced for purchases and only for delivering and collecting their orders.

The customers would be most benefited by the e-commerce system as they would be able to get what they want at all times whenever they desire. If they make bulk purchases they would get the facility to get the stuff delivered at the place.

The retailers would be paid a commission for fetching customers for the delivery of the products.

3. Benefits to P&Ns Supplying Manufacturers

Having an e-commerce solution would make the manufacturers collaborate with the company to deliver products in time and get the payment quicker and faster.

P&N would be able to order products on the go and would make sure that they avoid hoarding the products for long. Once the goods are sold to the customers, they would arrange for the payment. The manufacturers would be able to view the order status and delivery options. They would also be able to track the changing hands of the products so that they are able to be in synchronization with the P&N regarding payment and further order.

C) Systems analysis and design:

The system analysis would be based on the SDLC steps which would define the process and the transition between the different levels of the development process. The below mentioned steps would contribute to the very development and would make sure that the project stands success.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Feasibility analysis:

It examines the very first stage of proceeding when the proposed project is evaluated according to the various factors evaluating its very factor of proceeding with the project or not.

  • 聽ROI: The new proposed system and the present working system are analyzed so that the ROI (Return on Investment) is obtained. P&N thinks in a very positive way when it comes to the returns. The IT director is quite convinced with the idea and even the higher management equally investing their time and effort in doing this.
  • 聽Net present value (NPV): A positive NPV has a significant influence on the different project proposals. It is calculated as the difference between the initial investment and the present value of the future cash inflows. For P&N it is predicted to be quite high.
  • 聽Payback period: The payback period of any project is a meaningful way of judging its financial credibility as regards to the tenure the cash inflows take to meet up the initial investment. The P&N has a shorter payback period. The IT infrastructure must be quite efficient to give returns in a short period of time.
  • 聽Profitability index (PI): It is the ratio of the aggregate present value of the cash inflows to the cash outflows. A PI greater than one is an indicator of higher future profitability of the concerned proposed project. As indicated by P&N has a higher probability of attaining a PI greater than one after enveloping the IS system and hence promising good financial prosperity and credibility.
  • 聽Project time: This factor is the major element in the development of the project. The time required would quite moderate for P&N. They want a shorter payback period.
  • 聽Other: The proposed system is further analyzed for economical, technical, schedule and other feasibilities so that it stands in front of all difficulties in the development of the project.

The P&N enterprise鈥檚 key management people are involved in the process of feasibility analysis. All the inputs, outputs and external environment are studied in detail so that the underlying intricacies would be researched well for their impact and development.

Inputs: P&N鈥檚 inputs are in the form of company鈥檚 short and long term objectives, its financial base and credibility for years to come, its general strategic plans, consent of the advisors and directors, risk handling strategies and many others.

Outputs: The feasibility has outputs in the form of higher management approval for the sustenance of the systems development, its full length use to cover all business functions, risk mitigation strategies and many others.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Systems planning and requirements gathering:

After the system is thoroughly checked for all its inputs and outputs, the requirements phase takes the lead. All the key stakeholders of the departments and the users of the system must be taken into account for gathering the crucial departmental functions, requirements and its interaction with other departments to achieve the central goal of the enterprise.

Input: It must be in the form of the users of the system who are better-off to understand and figure out the exact ground level happenings in the business. Their view of the workings of the enterprise must be captured so that appropriate implementation can be done.

Output: The valuable information fetched from the users of the system must be given a representation and frame it accordingly to fix it into a system.聽聽

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Systems Analysis and Design:

P&N鈥檚 system requirements are studied and the system is analyzed and designed accordingly. The flow of data is analyzed so that the system captures the entire business cycle and their functions.

Inputs: It would come from the requirements gathering phase and the order of business flow.

Outputs: It would result in helping the analysts and designers in the process of database handling and further development of the system.

o聽聽 Conceptual model:

Figure 1 : Conceptual framework of the P&N IS

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Coding:

The above design is given a representation of the business and the various functions are finally implemented at this stage.

Inputs: It is in the form of requirements gathered from the previous stages and the design documents.

Outputs: It results in actual implementation of the system to be viewed physically.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Implementation and Training:

This stage correlates with actual planting of the system at the P&N so that the present system is replaced and the proposed system takes its place. The users must be trained to operate the business functions with the system, store and retrieve data whenever it is demanded.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 System feedback and maintenance:

The general working of the system must be responded back so that any form of negative points would be highlighted and discussed to take advantage of the system and technologies involved.

D) General Benefits of Proposed new E-Commerce system:

  • The new system would be smart enough to market its presence and business over the internet to cater a large domain of buyers, retailers and manufacturers.
  • It will be able to spread the food wholesale business over a large domain of customers which may range from home users to bulk purchasers.
  • The awareness of the company stands very important so that people get a chance to compare it with the competitors.
  • The supply chain can be well managed.
  • P&N can implement a loyalty card which could be used for in-store, online and petrol stations. It gives the customer a lot of importance relating to the multiple services it caters such as discounts and free deliveries.
  • The customer information can be stored and managed well so that they are focused when catering repeat orders and services. The data will also serve as rich information to the degree of importance which a customer must receive.
  • Diversifications into other businesses are very important for business continuity and should be taken care really well to fetch more customers and provide them better and allied services for retention and indirect marketing.
  • Most importantly the services can be rendered to a large variety of customers across a geographical region with B2B, B2C and C2C models.
  • The feedback system can also be added so that future caterings can be handled better. Direct interface with the clients would ensure correct and right tapping of feedbacks online.
  • The total sales and profit can be easily captured and produced to management with ease reducing a lot of manual operations.
  • The comparison of various products can be made so that the customer gets an insight of the difference in the product features to make a better decision.
  • It would be quite professional to get into business with other business as well, rendering the B2C model.

E) Evaluation of the benefits:

聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽i.聽聽 Requirement of the enterprise to become an e-business:

The reasons for converting 鈥榖ricks and mortars鈥 into 鈥榗lick and mortars鈥 is as follows:

  1. The visibility is improved which means more people get to know about it and often want to try it out for a change.
  2. The e-marketing helps to let people know about its various services it caters.
  3. The business can spread in diverse fields so as to provide ancillary services to the customers along with grocery items so that they get served better. Helps for greater retention.
  4. The supply chain management is better rendered through e-business.
  5. People can access the online store at their convenience and make payment through loyalty card it may desire to introduce.

聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽ii.聽聽 Technologies for doing business online:

The various technologies used are classified into client and server side and more specifically they denote the e-commerce and web techniques used for building up and running successfully the online business.

On the web technology side, Active Server pages (ASP) can be used for the web pages to exchange information and get the job done. At the server end there is more than one web servers to cater to the business functions namely display of products, promotions on them and their prices, managing the shopping cart, payment system, registration and delivery system, shipment, tracking back of order and many more. All these business functionalities must be interlinked so that the ultimate objective is achieved. The web server is linked with the business process server, which may be linked to a series of other servers such as payments and security servers. XML is used for a service called Really Simple Syndication (RSS). It may use RSS to announce their offers and promotions to web based blogs and news.

On the e-commerce side, it can use VeriSign services for protecting data and information exchanged between the sites. It uses a 128-bit SSL certificate to get the job done. The e-commerce transactions can be well protected using the SSL technology (Rayport, 2002). It is very secure for all business deals and offers greater protection for business financial information.

聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽iii.聽聽 Engineering principals:

Due to the complexity and diversity of large scale web development it is vital for the competitor to adhere to web engineering principles. These ethics offer a regimented approach to achieving the most aggressive website. Engineering principles will ultimately affect profit; costs of bad design are high. Our client must consider the Quality Requirements addressed by (Pressman, 2000) and aim to capitalize on performance in usability, functionality, reliability, efficiency, maintainability and scalability. Engineering principles will prevent problems with obsolete or immaterial information, slow response, crashes or security breaches to which web applications are sensitive. It also must provide support for large number of users as it has a global presence and thousands of people access it worldwide.

The competitor must recognize that web based systems development is a process with an iterative life cycle. (Murugesan & Ginige, 2005.) Web applications continually evolve in terms of needs and functionality and so our clients design must demonstrably fit context analysis.

Engineering principles will minimize risk; improve quality, maintainability and scalability. (Murugesan et al, 1999.) Software Configuration Management and Quality Control should be addressed to preserve standards. Testing will help our client plan, monitor, control and deal with the challenge of their web application.

The navigation links must be appropriate so that the user can traverse from one position to another at any moment. The web site offers a huge forest like structure which is given well navigation plan.

聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽iv.聽聽 Ethical issues

Legal and ethical issues are vital to online success. Building trust and user confidence is essential to our client, respecting consumer privacy and adhering to data protection legislation. “Consumers are extremely concerned about security and privacy on the Internet” (Trepper, 2000.)

The online store is designed to give options concerning the privacy of ones credit card information, name, address, e-mail, and any other information provided. The business is committed to keeping the information collected over the site secure. It offers the industry standard security measures available through the browser called SSL encryption. If at any time a customer would like to make a purchase, but do not want to provide credit card information online, an order can be placed without credit card information and a representative will contact them. Alternatively, a sales representative can always be contacted over telephone. The policy is to contact customers in the event of a potential problem with their purchase or any normal business communication regarding purchase.

“It must take customer fears about security seriously” (Chaffey, 2004) we strongly recommend the competitor to emulate security policies to provide customer reassurance.

It makes clear terms of trade and offer warranties/returns policy. They address copyright, patents and trademark protection, which their competitor should adopt.

聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽v.聽聽 Usability features:

To stand out in the crowd it must come up with great graphics in their website, page layout and navigation must be well ordered and in correlation with usability. “The homepage is your company’s face to the world.” (Nielsen, 2002) The homepage must clearly depict the essential services which are provided and search options must be incorporated well. An appropriate tagline can add a lot to the glamour online. The homepage can have a white background with blue hyperlinks. 鈥淲hite in its nothingness acts as a wonderful balance between colors鈥 (Singh, 2001).

聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽vi.聽聽 Security factors:

The security aspects could be divided into two parts: one would be software security and another would be information security.

System security can take the form which can be elaborated as follows:

  • Passwords: A lot of various mechanisms are used for hacking the system, some among them are as follows:
    • Social engineering: The best way to get it done is the use of fake names and pretending to be internet service providers.
    • Installing Trojans: They are malicious invisible programs which monitor keystrokes and file paths.
    • Interception: Not enough encryption would make the passwords vulnerable to network malicious programs.
    • Others: The proper amount of care must be taken in safeguarding the website towards online threats from malicious users who trap valuable information for either tampering them or for stealing them for illegal use.
  • Software Flaws: The software flaws would be concerned with more of the performance of the system.
    • Bugs: The software bugs would compose a lot of loopholes where security factor may weaken due to greater functionalities of the software which makes it to track back the processes already undergone.
    • Secure servers: Sometimes the server technologies are not secure enough to display websites which make it a more erroneous.
    • Antivirus software: A lot of antivirus software makes the website flawless; again expired antivirus software would make the website quite vulnerable to malicious programs.
    • Firewalls: It helps in reducing security risks and also covers port to port. 聽 聽
  • Information security: Information in the websites must be locked and should be kept secure so that no malicious or external harmful program is able to alter it to mislead or represent wrong information.
    • Secure communication protocol: Using 鈥渉ttps鈥 would make sure that information exchanged would be safely done and managed well (Ghosh, 2001).
    • Detecting and removing flaws: Regular flaw detection software must be employed so that they are corrected instantly.
    • Database handling: The security features can be handled by the database itself so that the data rules are strictly adhered to when working with the database in adding and deleting data.
    • Implementing views: The database is able to create views for every group of user so that they are able to access data only to the extent of their privileges and not the entire data itself. Restricting the data at the user level makes it quite viable to secure the right kind of information and enforce data security and warehousing.
  • Encryption: To make a website secure financial data and payment transactions, encryption must be properly implemented.
    • Public key encryption: The transfer of secret information from one to another would make the transfer secure so that no other person is able to tap the message. It includes algorithms which make sure that the information reaches to the intended recipient only (Rayport, 2003).
    • Other techniques: The other techniques are quite useful in the use of internet security namely private-public key and RSA techniques.


P&N has taken a right step in the light of technology and it must exploit the very supreme nature of the latest technology. It has taken a great step which would place it above all its competitors and would enhance the very nature of competition. It must also take care of the innovative techniques for getting the customers using the website and the frequent updation鈥檚 that would make efficient handling of the information.

The use of information system would make the wholesaling business organize and restructure itself so that it is able to depict organizational thought in every activity and would handle every resource productively and optimally.

Proper attention must be paid to the working of the system so that it is able to track and manage every decision with care and there is continuity in successful decision making.

Using the latest web technologies would make sure that it is ready to compete with international scenario. Having an IS makes it a branded company. It creates trust for all the financial operations made and the feedbacks from the clients are capitalized for future innovation.


Ghosh AK (2001). Software security and privacy risks.

Hoffer A. Jeffrey (2002). Modern systems analysis and design, third edition. Pearson Education

Kraemer Kenneth & Dedrick Jason, 2001.Dell Computer: Using E-commerce To Support the Virtual Company.

Napier (2003). Creating and Winning E-business, Vikas publications.

Navathe Elmasri (2002). Fundamentals of Database systems, fourth edition. Pearson Education.

Nielsen J (2002). Top Ten Guidelines for Homepage Usability. See: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20020512.html.

Norton Peter (2002). Introduction to Computers, second edition. Tata McMillan.

Raja Raman (2002). Analysis, design of information systems.

Rayport (2003). E Commerce, TMH.

Singh, V. (2001) Colour Design for the Web, See: http://coolhomepages.com/cda/color/.

Trepper, C. (2000) E-Commerce Strategies, Mapping your organizations success in today’s competitive marketplace, Microsoft Press, pp.138-140, 153.

Weick K. (1995). Sense making in Organizations.

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