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Implementing New ERP system in Marias Aquariums

Each group will have 5 members with each student having to do 1 of 5 tasks. Each task will involve a literature review for the topic you have been assigned plus an exercise demonstrating your understanding of the topic by applying your knowledge to an exercise relating to a case study narrative which will form the basis for assignment 2 & 3. The literature review should be no more than 1200 words. The remaining component has no maximum limit. 

Topics for review: 

1. Feasibility Studies (in particular economic) in ICT projects. Relate this to the narrative by discussing how you would go about undertaking an Economic Feasability Study for the organisation mentioned in the narrative. 

2. Problem Discovery and Definitions in ICT Projects. Relate this to the narrative by discussing how you identify the root cause problems that exist within the organisation mentioned in the narrative. 

3. Project Management in ICT Projects. Relate this to the narrative by creating a project scope and plan for the identification and implementation of a project based on the organsation mentioned in the narrative. 

4. ICT in relation to Enterprise Resource Planning Projects. Relate this to the narrative by discussing what ERP’s could be used to satisfy the requirements of the organisation mentioned in the narrative. Explain the reason for your choices. Are there shortcomings in your choices? 

5. ICT in relation to Customer Relationship Management. Relate this to the narrative by discussing what CRM’s could be used to satisfy the requirements of the organisation mentioned in the narrative. Explain the reason for your choices. Are there shortcomings in your choices? 

The group must compile all 5 parts into a single document with a compiled bibliography. Please spell check the document and make sure that fonts, spacing graphics etc are all a similar style.

Answer


Accounting Information Systems

Introduction

Today, with increased challenges in the external environment and due to advancement of technologies, it is found that the organizations want to expand in new territories of the world. The senior management want to increase the total sales and thereby want to increase the total revenues of the organization. 

However, before planning for the expansion, the organizations need to revamp their current strategies to overcome the gaps in the current practices in the organization. There are several issues faced by the employees and the senior management in the organization. Hence, it is the responsibility of the Operations team to determine such issues and gaps in the organization (Strohmeier, Bondarouk, & Konradt, 2012). They will thereby deploy necessary techniques for the purpose of improving overall efficiency in the organization. 

Today, the role of the IT systems in the organization has turned vital as it will not only streamline the business processes but will also ensure productivity of the employees across the organization. However, before the deployment of such IT tools, all the departments of the organization need to determine their needs so that the IT team can work on it accordingly in the organization.

Case Background

In a given case scenario of Maria's Aquariums, the owner is initially dealing into selling of fish that includes both cold water and tropical of a given region. There were no retail outlets earlier but with passage of time there were three opened in Chatswood, Wollongong, and Gosford. Today, the business is managed by her son Raymond who finds the need of replacing the old traditional system with the new ERP system in the organization. 

The current system is not responding as per the needs and hence the employees are facing daily issues in the organization. Also, it is reducing the productivity of the employees and subsequently is affecting the performance of the organization. 

There are pricing issues, order management issues, conflicting issues between the sales channel, the branch manager, and the administrative staff of the head office. It is thereby important to overcome these conflicts and subsequently help the employees in improving their coordination and collaboration in a given work environment (Strohmeier, Bondarouk, & Konradt, 2012). There are several benefits of installing an ERP system that will be identified in the later sections of this report.

Need for Technological Solution

In a given case, the company is first finding issues with the prices as they are entered manually in the record-book; however, as the prices fluctuate it becomes difficult for the sales team and also for the branch manager to deal with these issues. Second, the staff faces problems in entering details of new stock, sales, and other information pertaining to the products. 

The head office is lacking collaboration with the branches and hence the ground-level staff is facing more problems in a given situation. The head office further faces challenges of preparing the payroll details since every record is sent by the branch through a manual mode. The salesperson is not able to develop better relationship with the customer due to lack of customer relationship management system in the organization (Liang, Xue, & Wu, 2013). 

Also, the balances entered in the Stock Cards are inaccurate that is further misleading the senior management in many cases. Raymond thereby finds a need of installing a proper ERP system in the organization. It will help them overcome the key challenges faced in the daily business activities across three major departments that include - Office, Stock Management, and the Hatchery. 

ICT in relation to Enterprise Resource Planning Project

Considering this case scenario, the role of Information and Communication Technology across the organization is vital; the top-level management thereby needs to take steps for the purpose of overcoming the current problems in a given environment. The major benefits that the ERP system will deliver include - inventory management, improvised accounting, elimination of the errors occurring in the operational practices, material cost reduction, access to data efficiently, reduction in the overall costs, efforts, and time, and improvement in the work processes (Subramanyam, Ramasubbu, & Krishnan, 2012). 

There are different types of ERP solutions available and hence it will finally depend on the needs of the organization. The top-level management thereby needs to determine the gaps first and accordingly install vital ERP solution in the organization. It will help the organization to overcome process redundancies, improve quality of the business practices, and finally, enhance the productivity of the employees across the organization (Berente & Yoo, 2012). Also, the top-level management will be in a better position to take effective decisions in a given environment.

How ERP will satisfy the requirements of the Organization

The role of the ERP systems is not only to bridge the gaps in the current business practices at Maria's Aquariums but also to enhance the overall efficiency of the business practices in the organization. There are different ERP solutions that will help the senior management from different perspectives. For example, it will help the sales team to increase their concentrated efforts in the direction of marketing and advertising in a given environment. 

It will further improve internal communication, solve problems of the staff in recording the details, improve coordination with all the teams, ensure time management of all the tasks, optimize operations of all the business activities in a given environment, improve performance of the staff, and finally, provide reports to Raymond about the daily sales and other sales figures (Aral, Brynjolfsson, & Wu, 2012). 

It will thereby help Raymond to take better decisions of expansion and also focus on other business aspects of the organization. Even, the employees will find it better to work on such solutions; however, they need to get trained on such solutions so that it becomes easy for them to operate in a given environment.

Shortcomings of the Choices

There are few shortcomings of the ERP solution that need to be overcome through proper strategic planning and implementation. The major shortcomings of the ERP solution include - indirect costs, higher implementation time, high costs, complication of reengineering the processes, integration issues, difficulty in measuring the returns-on-investment after installing the solution in the organization and risk to meet the failure (Wu, Ding, & Hitt, 2013). 

It is thereby recommended to the senior management to identify these risk factors and solve them before implementing the ERP solution in the organization. Also, the operations team along with the IT department needs to conduct costs-benefits analysis in a given environment to ensure that the ERP system is performing as per the expectations of the organization. 

It should help the organization save time and money for all the business activities and subsequently integrate the major processes in a given working environment. It will thereby increase flexibility for the employees and thereby allowing them to perform as per the needs of the organization (Wu, Ding, & Hitt, 2013).

Conclusion

Today, with increased expectations of the customers and also with increased challenges in the external environment, it is found that the organizations need to increase the overall scale of the operations. Also, the senior management will plan to expand their operations to increase their overall profitability in the organization. 

Now, in a given case of Maria’s Aquariums, Raymond needs to deploy an ERP solution that will help him in - overcoming the traditional work methods, improving the performance of the employees, integrating the branches with the head office, serving better to the customers, reporting the sales figures and other important data, taking better decisions for the future, ensuring regulatory compliance, and also allowing the company to grow as per the expectations (Ali, Ghoniem, & Franke, 2014). 

There are certain shortcomings as discussed but through effective team planning and proper implantation of the ERP solution, it will help the company to install the ERP solution as per the requirements. It will thereby help them enhance flexibly in all the business operations in a given working environment.

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