Question to increase their sales, PantMax needs to

Question 1: PantMax Retail, through its
subsidiaries, operates approximately 1000 departmental stores pan India. These
stores hold a variety of merchandise including adult and children apparel,
cosmetics, accessories, home furnishing etc. The management feels in order to
increase their sales, PantMax needs to tailor its merchandise more to the local
tastes, colors, sizes, brands which should be according to the sales pattern in
each of the PantMax stores. For example, the stores in Mumbai might stock
clothing in smaller sizes and brighter colors than those in Chennai, or the
stores in Delhi may stock more makeup shades to attract trendier shoppers. How
will information systems help PantMax implement this new strategy? Is this a
suitable choice for the management to implement?

Answer1:-

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Introduction:- With the increasing
globalization of retailing, both in terms of their points-of-sale and their
points-of-supply; the information technology (IT) spend in the retail sector
has increased significantly. IT plays an increasingly important role in the
management of complex retail operations. Market knowledge, as well as control
of data and information, is key to obtaining a competitive advantage in the
retail sector. Markets are continuing to grow and become more complex; the
simple process of retailing has started to deploy more advanced retail
information systems to cope with all the transactions involved. Today,
retailers need to transform their IT capabilities for multiple reasons,
including:

a.    
To increase the company’s ability to respond to the
evolving marketplace through enhanced speed and flexibility.

·       To collect and analyze
customer data while enhancing differentiation.

·       To work effectively;
retailers need one system working across stores (or even across national
borders) to make sure the most effective use of stock and improve business
processes.

 

·       Retailers are beginning to
notice that technology’s role is one of an enabler.     Essentially, information technology can
speed up processes and deliver cost saving benefits to the company.

·       PantMax, in order to
increase their sales, needs to tailor its merchandise more to local taste, colors,
size, brands which should be according to the sales pattern in each of the
Pantmax store.

·      
Hence,
the aim is to analyze the sales pattern of the store/stores based on the region
of the country.

·      
Before
we go ahead to analyze what can information system do to achieve this aim, let
us first cull out the challenges which inhibit us to achieve this aim.

Ø 
Understanding
the taste of the customers in terms of apparel, cosmetics, home furnishing etc,
this will vary from region to region.

Ø 
India
being a diverse country, every region has its own time for festivals and
celebration. Understanding the requirement of the customers during this time
and equipping the store accordingly is again important.

Ø 
The
fashion quotient of the region needs to be analyzed.

Ø 
Understanding
the purchase capability of the customers in a particular region will decide
that the store should be equipped with exotic stuff or general stuff or a combination
of both and in what ratio.

Ø  Due to diverse nature of
the country, the seasons also play an important role. It may happen that Delhi
is cold and Chennai is still warm. Hence, the stocking needs to be catered
accordingly.

·       To meet these challenges, information system can help in following ways.

        
i.       
Data Warehousing. A data
warehouse is a centralized hub of data. This data is subject oriented,
integrated, time variant and non volatile so that anyone such as business
expert and end users can utilize it. PantMax needs to do this warehousing so as
to build up a database for analysis by business experts.

      ii.       
Data Mining. Data mining
is a process of digging through huge amount of data and analyzing it for
extracting the useful meaning of the data. Data mining tool analyze the pattern
of the customers and predict behavior and future trends which allows
organizations to make practical, knowledge driven decision. Data mining can
help spot sales trends, develop smarter marketing campaign and accurately
predict customer loyality. Specific uses of data mining are as follows:

     Market Segmentation. To identify common traits of customers who purchase
same product.

     Customer Churn. Analyses that which customers are expected to leave your
company and use product of competitor.

     Direct Marketing. Recognizes which prospect should be added in a mailing
list to gain the highest response rate.

     Interactive marketing. This is predicting what an individual is
interested in seeing on a website.

     Market based analysis. Understanding which product or services are
commonly being purchased together.

     Trend Analysis. Revealing the difference between the purchase of a
typical customer within the last and the current month.

 iii.         
Business Intelligence. It
is an umbrella term that consists of different types of business software
application. Business Intelligence is made up of various associated activities
including data mining, online analytical processing, query and reporting. PantMax
can make use of business intelligence software to make strategic decisions like
selection of accessories for various stores depending upon the taste and choices
of a particular region.

 

Question 2: The goal
of service companies is to develop services that attract, keep customers
satisfied, loyal and speak well of them. They use information and communication
technology to get closer to the customer, create long-term relationships, and
gain more knowledge from and about the customers to serve them better. As a
major element of business strategy, firms are embracing CRM, because
technological applications permit precise segmentation, profiling and targeting
of customers. To deal with competitive pressures a customer-centric culture is
required. The airline industry is no exception to this. Give an example of how
an airline company has successfully implemented CRM to increase their profits
and keep customers happy.

Answer 2:
Singapore Airlines is one of the world’s largest
airlines, which is well known for its superior customer services. It started
non-stop trans-pacific flights from Singapore to Los Angeles in 2004. These
flights are convenient and provide effective customer services. SIA interacts
with its customer on a regular basis with the help of its more than 25000
employee. In addition, it ensures comfortable journeys, better customer service
and quality food for passengers, irrespective of business or economy class. However,
increasing the competition in the airline industry led to a number of
challenges for the organization. Some of these challenges are adaptation of
same customer strategies, reduction in fares, and heavy discount on tickets by
its competitors. Moreover, competitors of SIA also started taking customer
feedback on a regular basis to make significant improvement in their services.
This has resulted in the loss of several valuable customers of SIA, because
they switched to other brands. To overcome these challenges, SIA decided to
implement a CRM strategy to bring back the confidence of its customers. The
strategy focused on the following aspects:

·      
Understanding customer
needs and preferences clearly.

·       Employing people who are efficient and committed towards the organization’s
customer philosophy.

·       Organizing training and development programs for employees to develop
their skills.

·       Maintaining a smooth flow of communication within and outside the
organization.

·       Offering special discounts and concessions on fares to customers

·       Asking customers to provide their valuable feedback.

·       Focusing on creating value for customers and maintaining long term
relationships with them.

SIA has changed whole flight experience by focusing on creating customer
value. In addition, regular training and development programs of employees help
in dealing with customers in better way.

 

Question 3: In June 2017, a new
cyber virus spread from Ukraine to wreak havoc around the globe, crippling
thousands of computers. FedEx Corp, package Delivery Company, said its fiscal
2018 results would be hurt due to disruption of operations following a
cyber-attack last month. It is still experiencing widespread service delays
following the attack. It was unable to estimate when services at the unit would
be fully restored. It experienced loss of revenue due to decreased volumes,
incremental costs from contingency plans and remediation of affected systems.
Share prices of FedEx dropped after this incident.

A.
What are the different
forms of system attacks? What steps should FedEx follow to handle a virus
attack of such magnitude?

Answer 3(A): There are two
common forms of system attacks

·       Virus outbreak

·       System compromise

 

FedEx should take
following steps to handle a virus attack

·       Preparation. Creating back up for all data is of crucial importance. In addition to
that, back up disk must be kept in separate location, away from the computer,
to ensure that in case of an incident like fire or theft of hardware, a backup
copy of all data is still available.

·       Second very crucial step in preparing for a virus attack is to install
anti-virus software. A number of antivirus software is easily available, easy
to install and operate and are affordable. New viruses are created frequently,
so users must update their antivirus software at regular basis.

·       Identification of
Virus Attack. Viruses are very potent
and frightening since they spread very quickly to ‘friendly’ computers. Early
identification of an incident of a virus attack is crucial to ensure that virus
does not spread to other computers. It is also important that users be familiar
with the symptoms of a virus attack. They might range from mass e-mailing file
destruction to other malevolent action the result of which can be seen as an
immediate effect. Scheduling antivirus software to do real time scanning of
files and to periodically perform complete system scans helps in both
preventing and identifying viruses.

·       Containment. Containment of virus is crucial in limiting its adverse effects. Many
viruses automatically spread themselves. The administrator or user, must
disconnect network access including shared directories and other components
that may allow the virus to infect files and programs on other machines. In
case the antivirus software fails to clean the system or does not have the
features required to perform the cleansing, it is advisable to try other
software packages that may provide more comprehensive coverage. If the system
has been altered beyond repair; then the last resort to clear the system
entirely and reinstall the operating system and software.

·       Recovery and analysis. Viruses can cause varying degree of destruction-some virus exist
merely to replicate; others attach to and destroy files and programs. Generally,
antivirus software can restore files to the original state, but there are
exceptions. Once the system has returned to their full operation, analysis
should be done to determine where it failed. Is it due to faulty antivirus software
or due to frequent and reliability of updates? Was opening file from an unknown
or un-trusted source- allowing the system to become infected? Once the attack
was identified, were appropriate and sufficient steps taken to minimize the
damage that the system sustained? Thus analyzing the incident enables the user
to learn from the incident and ensure that it does not happens again.

 

B.   
What is a Business
Continuity Plan (BCP)? Should cyber security be a part of the BCP? What lessons
should FedEx learn from this incident?

Answer 3 (B):

Business Continuity
Planning- Business continuity planning (BCP) consists of the plan that an
organization can prepare for and help in disaster recovery. These are a
compilation of the steps that will have to be implemented to help the organization
recover should any type of disaster occurs. The plan is agreed upon in advance
by management and key personnel of the organization. These programs prepare for
multiple problems. The plan is detailed in nature and clearly outlines the
actions that an organization or particular members of an organization needs to
take at the time of disaster. The plan helps in recovering/restoring the organization’s
critical operations that may have been either completely or partially
interrupted/damaged during or after a disaster. It is highly recommended that
these plans need to be practiced regularly as well as outlined timely in order
to be fully effective in disaster recovery.

                             In general terms,
Business Continuity Plan or BCP is guideline for an organization to guard
itself against future disaster that could affect its long term health adversely
of hamper the accomplishment of its primary mission. BCPs take into
consideration those disaster as well that can occur on multiple geographic levels-either
local, regional or national disaster like fires, earthquakes, or pandemic
illness. BCPs should include everything from technological virus terrorist
attacks and plan for them. The primary objective of BCP is to help expedite
recovery of an organization’s crucial functions and manpower in the aftermath
of these types of disaster. Advance planning in this manner can help an
organization minimize the amount of loss in case of a disaster and also reduce
the downtime of its system.

Making cyber security as a part of BCP cannot be over emphasized. A
company like FedEx whose complete business is based on information systems,
such kind of cyber attack may cripple the whole business in no time. FedEx need
to have a comprehensive BCP for such kind of eventuality and the same should be
implemented without delay.