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From Instructor….minimum 300 words

Before participating in the Week 1 Discussion, Everyone should watch the short video What is an Information System? This will help develop a common understanding of information systems.

As mentioned in this week’s reading, Introduction to Information Systems (Week 1 Content), understanding how businesses use information technology effectively is a critical skill in today’s business world. Often a position is established for the role of a business analyst, which may reside either within a functional department or the Information Technology (IT) department. Throughout this course, you will be approaching a Case Study and series of staged assignments from the role of a Business Analyst in the IT Department. Think of the business analyst role as the liaison between a functional department and IT who helps analyze business processes, gather requirements from key stakeholders, and identify technology solutions to benefit the business. Aligning technology solutions or information systems to help the organization achieve its business strategy is an important part of maximizing the investment in IT.

To help you understand this role and the importance of information systems, this week’s discussion focuses on analyzing how a business uses an information system for STRATEGIC purposes. Each member of Group 1 should do some research, or draw from his or her own experience, and tell us about a company that used an information system for STRATEGIC purposes. Please be sure to tell us what the strategy was that they were working toward. There are many examples in the Course Content reading, but our discussion will be much richer if you select something that is not covered there. Be sure you’re not just discussing their business strategy but also including the use of information systems to enable that strategy. Searching on a company’s mission and strategic goals can help you align the pieces.

To sum up, every post (initial post or reply) should be supported by relevant information rather than simply express an opinion. Prove your point by a) citing external research, b) citing readings from the class content, or c) providing detailed examples of personal experiences that are relevant and support your position on the topic. Be sure to read the instructions and the grading rubric for classroom discussions and participation that is posted at the top of the Weekly Discussions forum. These instructions remain visible throughout the 8 weeks.

Students responsible for replying: Replied to a minimum of three classmates’ postings by Sunday midnight Eastern Time with substantive relevant postings, adding value to the discussion, incorporating relevant research correctly, and demonstrating student’s understanding of the concepts.

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Swingle is a company that focuses on creating the best outdoor experiences year around. Their primary duties consist of lawn care, pesticide and herbicide applications for both trees and lawns, as well as arbor care. The foundation for how they see their company and what their expectations are for the employees and customer retention is top priority at Swingle. While the income is coming from the manual labor performed by the field technicians, the office staff completes work behind the scenes to help the company work efficiently. In order to keep up with the expanding company, Swingle used a program called Evergreen. Evergreen was a way to categorize customers from geographical regions in the area as well as unique services each customer was to receive that year. As a representative for that company using the software Evergreen, the product allowed for seamless transitions of customer relations in all fields of operation. The biggest advantages to using the software include; tracking existing services as well as up-selling new services and the ease of changing services, the simplicity of tracking down a sales representative, and communicating with other employees.

The software application allowed for each customer to have their own customer number and a unique page. If a customer called an employee or an employee called an existing customer they could retrieve their information from imputing the customer’s specific identification number. The upgrade to the Evergreen software was a positive noticeable change from the start. On each customer page consisted of all current applications they had scheduled as well as the ability to create or add new services depending on customer preferences. At the ease of a click, customer care representatives, or CCRs, were able to treat each customer as an individual and create a relationship with that customer. They achieved this because they were able to talk about the services that existed rather than arbitrarily trying to sell a product. Swingle new that if the customer was a happy existing customer, the CCR would have an easier time up-selling that customer on another service by first being personable. If the CCR could engage in a conversation regarding an existing service that was done, or a service being done in the future, the likelihood of driving that conversation towards up-selling would be an easy direction to go. Evergreen was the foundation of how that sale could be done so seamlessly. On the contrary, If the customer was no longer interested in services at Swingle, a simple click on the cancel button would cancel all services tied with that account. The CCRs would then send out an “SOS” which stood for “Save Our Sale” to the Arborist in that region to reach out to the existing customer. While the action could come across as redundant for the customer, the hope is that if the CCR could not save the sale, maybe the arborist who has met with the customer personally would have a better chance of changing their mind. Evergreen would not let you call another customer until the SOS was sent to the representative or the department manager.

After the sale was completed the next step was contacting the regional certified arborist. The software application made that incredibly easy to do so. At the top right corner of the screen was the rep for the given area. The CCRs were able to put the customer on hold, call the sales rep who would finalize the sale, and return the call back to the customer in a matter of minutes to verify or answer any additional questions the customer might have. This application allowed for a fast and responsive attitude that had a high report of excellence from customers and employees alike. Between recorded phone numbers, company email addresses, and instant messaging, the ease of contacting the rep to finalize the sale was handled smoothly thanks to the software application Evergreen.

The application created a database of every employee within the company at all of the existing branches. Automatically generated emails upon hire, phone numbers (both cell phones and office landlines), and instant messaging between office staff created an environment of a well-oiled machine. Evergreen was able to track and alert email responses and instant messaging to create efficiency in technological conversation. At the start of every day and at 12pm every day, an alert would come on to remind everyone to check their email. Typically, it was done routinely by most employees since the function was one of the tabs at the top of the screen. But it was just another way the application was helping run the company behind the scenes.

Overall, what Swingle was doing is not something unheard of and it is not groundbreaking. Hundreds of companies use this model to keep the employee-customer relationship strong, it just usually consists of having a different name for the software. However, when Swingle bought the Evergreen software it created a noticeable strategic upgrade in the day-to-day functions that kept Swingle prominent up until they were bought out by SavATree in late 2016.

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