INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT

Executive Summary

Present Report sheds light on analysis of globalisation and innovation with the help of IT infrastructure of UCB. The report includes discussion related to the aspects of successful initiative and its respective challenges along with how the challenge addresses the cost model of the company.

The report even includes discussion on the aspect of innovation and globalisation with respect to implement on of IT in UCB. The report has presented ideas about modern day technologies and its respective budget plan.

Question 1

UCB IT in the 2000s was a huge company which dealt with three different industries related to Chemical, Pharma and Films manufacturing. The company had 130 subsidiaries and associate companies in Europe, Asia and all over America. More than 10000 employees worked for the company as the union of the company formed back in 1928.

UCB was extremely proud of their ‘speed of action’ technique in development of a new system. Damien was appointed as the group director of IT operations in the company and his goal was to transform the company by the help of IT/IS.

Successful Initiatives

IT/IS operations were created in order to manage, develop and operate the company’s growing infrastructure in communication-related to hardware and software. Daniel viewed the IT initiative as a strong, efficient and robust way to deal with the future.

A major successful initiative identified in the case of UCB IT group was the introduction of Email, Intranet and Internet. Damien introduced a single e-mail system between 1997 and 1998; he was responsible for installation of email servers in 65 countries where the company operated within four months of introduction.

As per the study by Maddodi et al. (2018), the introduction of email communication measures were growing larger in the early 2000s as people realised that it provides a quicker way of communicating.

Another successful initiative that has been identified in this case is this case was the introduction of a standardized desktop environment for the employee. Daniel has introduced this in order to increase the accuracy and efficiency of the works in UCB.

It was introduced in 1997 and was particularly directed to office employees who included software like Microsoft Office, Oracle and NT4. There were also standard packages related to SAP which were all used in case of database handling and management.

As per the study by Khamis et al. (2018), introduction of Oracle and SAP in most of the companies back in 2000s were a popular trend as it was widely recognised that the likes of this software were responsible for accurate database handling.

Contract Saving was introduced and it was directed to the cost-saving measures in case of dealings and operations related to UCB. This helped the company to save more than £2.7 million from the annual budget.

The introduction of the Legal Affairs Department in the company was another major successful initiative identified as it was directed towards the R&D operations of UCB. This was done by using patents from Google Search and 80% of information transfer was implemented through email.

Introduction of the New Data Centre in UCB was implemented in 1999 which was directed towards the storage of data and accessibility of it.

This was done with the help of HP’s UNIX and Microsoft’s NT servers which provided 24 hour-7days access to data. Based on Kauppinen et al. (2017), such servers were the latest technologies in the 2000s which are still used now in case of accessibility to a particular database.

Help Desk Support was introduced in 2002 which supported more than 200 applications in 7 to 10 languages resulting in helping more than 2800 employees. This is considered as a successful initiative since it was introduced for the sake of providing help to the employees related to IT infrastructure.

Security Policy was introduced which followed the guidelines of ISO 13335 and ISO 17799 for IT operations under a court of law. New HR Director was hired for e-hiring solutions in the company in 1997 which was another major successful initiative.

Initiative Action Year
Email, Internet and Intranet Stronger TCP / IP network measures 1998
Help Desk Support 24*7 support for 2800 employees in 7 to 10 languages 2002
New Data Centre Managing key resources 1999
Legal Affairs Department R&D operations 2000
Standardizing desktop environment Work efficiency enhancement 1997
Contract Saving Cost-saving measures 1999
Human Resource Activity E-hiring activities 1997
Security Protocols 1999

Table 1: Successful Initiatives by UCB

(Source: Learner)

Challenges Faced

Once all the initiatives by UCB were registered, there were several challenges identified by the company. Increase of profit margin due to fluctuating raw material prices was a major inclusion.

Close Corporation introduction in the UCB was a major challenge initially as the employee strength was not efficient in order to carry out such tasks. Based on the views of Ćeha and Mitić (2017), close corporation was a major challenge for any large corporation in the early 2000s.

Another challenge identified for the company was related to staff turnover as the introduction of help desk was not completely understood by the employees. Daniel took one major challenge related to identification of problems in the company’s operations.

Information gathering from the IT/IS department was another major challenge after such IT initiatives were taken by UCB. As per Razimi et al. (2017), every employee working in the company is required to be trained in order to understand the newly formed IT infrastructure.

Problems related to research and finding out information were identified in the Pharma sector of UCB along with installation of Sun Microsystems were identified as the employees were facing trouble related to security issues.

Challenges Reason
Profit Margin Increase Unstable price of raw materials
Close corporation introduction Internal Management responsibility
Staff Turnover Help Desk Usage
Loopholes identification Activity Planning
Information processing Lack of knowledge

Table 2: Remaining Challenges Identified in UCB

(Source: Learner)

Maturity Audit Framework

Maturity Level Capability Actions Maturity Result (1-5)
5 Process improvement (Continuous) R&D analysis E- hiring methods 4
4 Management (Quantitative) Management (Process) Desktop environment, communication medium (E-mails) 4
3 Standardization of Process Development ( technical solutions and Risk management) Help desks, data centre (Security Protocols) 5
2 Project management (Basic) Requirement gathering and Planning Network Infrastructure 3
1 Efforts Development and Designing Implementation of IT infrastructure 5

Table 3: A capability maturity model

(Source: Learner)

Audit framework is required to analyse the activities of this company. The most mature audit frameworks are the standardization of processes and efforts given by the company. These activities are done to increase the productivity and develop the overall performance of the company.

Help desk and data security protocols are used for standardization of offerings by the company. Besides, the main effort given by the company is to implement the IT infrastructure. There are activities such as process improvement and quality management which have the next level of maturity.

Developing the R&D department and improvement the management practices help this company in managing the performance. Incorporation of e-hiring method, desktop environment and improving communication thorough mail are the major action taken to achieve this improvement process (Mares, 2018).

Project management is also essential for overall development and for that the company need to develop the network infrastructure. In order to achieve project management resource gathering and a proper implementable plan is needed to be made by the management of this company.

Question 2

Classification of challenges

Based on question 1, business transformation index in the cost pyramid was 10% as fluctuating prices of raw materials can directly affect such cost estimations. As per Awasthi (2016), fluctuations in raw materials are directly related to the suppliers and market and changes in such aspects can destroy planned cost activities.

Close corporation initiative taken by Daniel was directly affecting the management decision. Nearly 6% of the total cost is handed over to the management in order to settle employee engagement. As per Mares (2018), changes in employee policy can result in a huge loss for management.

Staff turnover and loophole identification were directly related to the implementation of new IT infrastructure of the company.

According to the cost pyramid present in the case, it can be seen that 49% of the cost was accumulated for business support activities. Such kind of measures and challenges in the UCB business was directly affecting the likes of management as the productivity was going down.

Based on Akeke et al. (2018), employee productivity is directly related to the methods of working in a company. Lack of knowledge was another major challenge identified in this segment as infrastructure management and employee productivity accounted for 27% and 8% of the total cost respectively.

Lack of knowledge was resulting in less gathering of information which was affecting the end-user productivity.

Globalisation and Innovation (Contribution of challenges)

Globalisation is known as the process where a business attempts to extend through the national barriers. As per Rinawiyanti et al. (2019), exploitation of the international market and competing in the international market is known as globalisation.

It has been widely accepted that globalisation of a company comes with an extensive amount of risk. Such risks are responsible for making or breaking a company into pieces. Based on Cheng et al. (2017), expansion of a company is directly related to the efforts of a particular company in separate fields which is aimed towards delivering products according to customer demand.

In this case, it has been identified that UCB was already a global company and was further aiming to gain success at a global level by the introduction of IT/ IS measures. Based on a study by Yu (2017), innovation is a key aspect of globalisation.

Diffusion with respect to technology and knowledge in the international market directed towards bringing significant change to the native company can be termed as innovation in globalization.

In this case, it has been seen that Daniel’s approach towards the introduction of IT/IS infrastructure in the company is a big step towards globalisation with the help of innovation.

He has led to extensive measures in case of introduction of email, e-hiring, help desk and other measures which can help the company gain more efficiency and accuracy in business operation. As per the study by Hsieh and Liu (2017), acceleration of business operations is the key aspects of globalisation as well. Installation of desktop and setting up of private computer networks among UCB’s offices all around 65 countries was a major step towards globalisation by innovation.

Effort required for challenge analysis

Challenges Actions Required Amount of Money (Estimated in £) Time required for solution
Profit Margin increase Researching and controlling raw material cost along with gaining control on supplier negotiation Variable 1 Year
Close Corporation introduction Training must be provided to the employees 800 / Weak 1 Year
Turnover of UCB staff Revamping of employee policies 6000 /  Year 1 Year
Loophole identification by Daniel Researching on organisational goals and operation towards achievement of goals Variable Variable
Information gathering form IT infrastructure Training must be provided to the employees 800 / Weak 6 Months

Table 4: Challenge and Efforts Required

(Source: Learner)

Question 3

Optimise cost was one of the basic concerns for UCB in the late 1990s. The company used to operate in more than 65 countries all over the world and cost-effectiveness and optimization was UCB’s primary concern. The company largely believed that with the help of cost-effective measures, it can become one of the largest in business.

As per the study by Saunders and Brynjolfsson (2016), cost-effectiveness in a business is never enough to satisfy the longing customer’s demands as a company is required to use floating capitals in order to grow its business. It has been identified that the executive committee of the company is largely inclined towards cost-saving methods by investing a huge part in its business operation.

As per the study by Brooks and Pomerantz (2017), Research and development operations in today’s world are among the largest concerns for big global companies.

Damien was introduced in the company’s IT groups as a director and he wanted to change the business operations of the company. Damien did not believe in the optimised cost method of growing a business and he was inclined towards creating and increasing value for the company.

As per the study by Mikalef and Pateli (2017), such operations can only be done with the help of extensive innovation and investments in R&D operations. I completely agree with Damien’s view that IT infrastructure back in the 2000s was a growing technology which helped in increasing efficiency and accuracy of business.

Damien introduced the IT infrastructure for more than 10000 employees among 5 countries. The entire communication protocol inside the company changed with the introduction of email communication.

As per the study by Lee et al. (2018), innovation cannot only be a reason for a company’s success as controlling of implementing innovation is always a key activity. Damien introduced help desk support and cost-saving methods in order to support the infrastructure. Such an introduction saved the company more than £2.7 million in a year.

As per my views, I believe that IT does matter and the correct implementation of an IT infrastructure can help a company grow beyond its national restrictions. As per the study by Kruse and Beane (2018), it has been widely considered that IT operations are risky as it requires an extensive amount of time and money in case of implementation.

Daniel installed IT infrastructure for each of the business operations where the company was also hiring international employees through e-hiring methods. According to the success rate of UCB in the implementation of IT infrastructure, it can be easily proven that IT does matter and it can be largely implemented to create huge values in a company’s business operations.

Question 4

Daniel introduced an extensive amount of technology back in 2000 in order to implement the IT infrastructure he was aiming for UCB. The 2003 budget plan for UCB included many technologies which are still being used now. As per the study by Mao et al. (2016), technological implants in a company are mostly updated rather than altered from the early 2000s.

However, those technologies are not used in recent times and there are several alternatives to those technologies available in the market. 3R Portal which was introduced by Daniel was directed towards direct communication with the desired person.

Nowadays there are several technologies which connect one person to the other inside a company itself. Introduction of chat bots in a company website or inside an information system which is built inside the company can be used in such cases (Singh and Teng, 2016).

Chat bots can critically help one individual or a group of clients to reach out to a single person responsible for the job. Based on Chuang and Huang (2018), chat bots are among the most popular technologies used in a company.

Extended enterprise for chemical was based on knowledge management, according to recent times; knowledge management in a company is mostly done by using information systems which are built inside a company.

As per the study by Xiang (2018), these systems can be directly used in case of information exchange or passing of information along with updates and deletion of databases.
Information systems are unique to one single organisation and can be installed in each office of UCB, employees will be able to access the system for gaining or losing infarction.

However, it is to be noted that IS does not allow every person to access sensitive information (Melián-González and Bulchand-Gidumal, 2018). These systems can be designed in such a way that an accounting person will only be able to access information related to accounts.

These systems use a unique ID that is related to an individual working in the company. IS can be designed in such a way where major stakeholders will be able to access direct information without any roadblock.

As per Cresswell et al. (2017), each employee of a company will have their IDs and Passwords that will be used to access the IS, however, knowledge sharing in IS cannot be done at random since hierarchy permission is required to pass sensitive information.

The IT-IS is implemented using intranet connection that secures the entire system from global access.

In the case of Pharma, the company dealt with drugs which required extensive authorization. Pharma was directed towards testing of drugs and its related compositions.

People who were responsible for such actions used the Validation project, which was the use of digital signatures for authentication. As per the study by Liu et al. (2016), nowadays, digital signature can also be hacked by several means which might result in unexpected authorization leading to major losses in business.

According to the recent standards, Two-Factor authorization can be used by Pharma for authorization of business operations. These are related to extensive security measures which extensively promotes the aspect of security in every situation. These are the few technologies which can be used as an alternate with respect to current technology standards.

Question 5

Budget Plan

ID. Activity (Expected) Outcome (Expected) Time (Expected) Money in £ (Expected)
1 Installation of latest Hardware devices Efficiency Enhancement 6 Months 8000
2 Installation of latest Information system Efficiency Enhancement 6 Months 4000
3 Subscription required for the systems Increased Productivity 1 Month 2000
4 Installation of network devices and equipment Increased Productivity 4 Months 6000
5 Major CRM software for HR Efficiency Enhancement 2 Months 1500
6 Replacement of the already installed software Increased Productivity 1 Week 200
7 Maintenance cost related to the installed equipment and software Increased Accuracy 6 Months 8000
8 Appropriate Security required for the installed devices Efficiency Enhancement 5 Months 6540
9 Skill development program (Lower Level Employees) Increased Accuracy 1 Year 2500 / month
10 Skill development program (Higher Level Employees) Increased Accuracy 4 Months 3500 / month
11 Training required for the business operations Increased Productivity 1 Year 10000
12 Research and Development for future projects Efficiency Enhancement 6 Months 2000 / month
13 Implementation of automation measures in the company Efficiency Enhancement 6 Months 9000
14 Installation of AI and machine learning in business operations Increased Accuracy 8 Months 9000
15 Review of ongoing activities Efficiency Enhancement, Increased Productivity 1 Month 1400
16 Feedback of ongoing activities Increased Productivity 2 Weeks 3500
17 Implementation required for changes Increased Productivity 6 Months 1200

Table 5: Proposed Budget Plan

(Source: Learner)

The most budget is allocated to the activities that are going to increase the efficiency of the company. Most of the activities are time taking and on an average they are going to take around 6 months to 1 year.

Upgrading the technologies is one of the top requirements for efficiency increment. Installing latest hardware and information system is going to cost around £12000.

Besides, for efficiency increment there are measures such as installation of automation, research and development form future, CRM software for the company and a few others (Mao et al. 2016). These are cost around £11000 which is a single investment and another £3000 which is going to be a monthly investment.

Increment of productivity is another important aspect of this development plan. This section includes activities such as Installation of network devices and equipment, Training required for the business operations, Feedback of ongoing activities and many more.

A total of £23000 needed to be invested by this companies in order to active all the productivity increment activities. Besides, there are activities that are going to be performed for the accuracy improvement of this company.

Maintenance cost related to the installed equipment and software is one of the costly activities among them. Skills development program and installation of AI in the business operations are activities for accuracy improvement. These activities cost around £17000 as a single time investment and £6000 as a monthly investment.

Priority List

ID. Activity (Expected) Priority Rating (1 – 5)
1 Installation of latest Hardware devices 5
2 Installation of latest Information system 4
3 Subscription required for the systems 2
4 Installation of network devices and equipment 5
5 Major CRM software for HR 5
6 Replacement of the already installed software 2
7 Maintenance cost related to the installed equipment and software 4
8 Appropriate Security required for the installed devices 3
9 Skill development program (Lower Level Employees) 4
10 Skill development program (Higher Level Employees) 4
11 Training required for the business operations 3
12 Research and Development for future projects 5
13 Implementation of automation measures in the company 4
14 Installation of AI and machine learning in business operations 1
15 Review of ongoing activities 4
16 Feedback of ongoing activities 4
17 Implementation required for changes 2

Table 6: List of priorities in the budget plan

(Source: Learner)

The top priority of this plan is to install the latest hardware such that the total system can be upgraded. Besides, installation of network deicide and equipment is essential for the support of this hardware. CSR software for this company is another aspect of this top priority list.

Moreover, it is essential to install new information system, implement automation measures, and maintains cost of the latest installed equipments (Liu et al. 2016). In addition training of the employees and feedback collection for the improvement of the business practices is imperative.

The next priority is to organize appropriate security to the newly installed software and hardware. On the lower priority list there are activities such as replacement of software, implementation of required change and a few others. In this project plan installation of AI and machine learning in the business operation has the lower most priority.

Presentation of Plan

The plan will be presented to the executive committee with the help of MS PowerPoint by creating slides which would critically include data and future prediction related to changes. It would also include how the budget plan can directly affect the avenue of the company.

As per the study by Chang et al. (2017), a budget plan must be presented in such a way that a committee must look through it into a company’s future. There is one major additional activity regarding the budget plan, it is the expansion of business in third world countries where the labour cost will be extensively leads which would help the company manufacture more products and sell them in the international market.

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