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					                                             Question Paper
                                  E-Business (MB3H1IT): October 2008
                                          Section A : Basic Concepts (30 Marks)
                           This section consists of questions with serial number 1 - 30.
                           Answer all questions.
                           Each question carries one mark.
                           Maximum time for answering Section A is 30 Minutes.


1. Which of the following statements is/are true about e-business projects?                                              <Answer>
   I.   Breakthrough projects are also called improvement projects.
   II. Incremental projects are also called radical projects.
   III. Platform projects lead to the creation of a new structural foundation that can be used by all business entities.
     (a)     Only (III) above
     (b)     Both (I) and (II) above
     (c)     Both (I) and (III) above
     (d)     Both (II) and (III) above
     (e)     All (I), (II) and (III) above.
2.   Active participation of executives from all the business units in the organization is important for developing a <Answer>
     good e-business case. Which of the following executives provide insights on business processes and possible
     improvements?
     (a)     Chief Information Officer
     (b)     Chief Financial Officer
     (c)     Chief Executive Officer
     (d)     Operating Vice presidents
     (e)     Facilitators.
3.   Die-hard skeptic companies are those                                                                             <Answer>
     (a)     That are not bothered about the changes in technology
     (b)     That are not ready to accept changes happening around them
     (c)     Who notice the changes happening in the market and will take action only if they feel that changes are
             long term
     (d)     Who anticipates the changes and are first movers in technological innovations
     (e)     Who achieve competitive advantage by exploiting new technological innovations.
4.   Which of the following is an online exchange that links buyers and sellers and makes available extensive market <Answer>
     information to buyers, enabling them to make an informed purchasing decision?
     (a)     Employee connectivity
     (b)     Vertical procurement portal
     (c)     Suppliers connectivity
     (d)     Back end systems connectivity
     (e)     E-procurement.
5.                                                                                                                    <Answer>
     Marketing Mix includes four Ps product, place, price and promotion. Database marketing supplements the four Ps
     with four Ts. Which of the following is not one of the Ts?
     (a)    Targeting
     (b)    Tailoring
     (c)    Tying
     (d)    Tracking
     (e)    Tapping.
6. In e-business, an organization cannot maintain the same kind of relationship with all its suppliers. It has to <Answer>
   formulate a strategy depending on contribution of each supplier to the success of a company. Suppliers can be
   classified into many categories depending upon the type of components they supply. So, which of the following
   supplier’s products and services are essential for business but are not crucial for success?
     (a)    Suppliers of scarce products
     (b)    Suppliers of strategic products
     (c)    Suppliers of non-strategic products
     (d)    Suppliers of commodity products
   (e)     Suppliers of service.
7. Scalability and availability are two important criteria for evaluating the success of an e-business project. Which of <Answer>
   the following statements is/are true?
   I.   Scalability refers to the time period for which the user has been able to fully utilize the system.
   II.  Availability refers to the ability of a system to increase its capacity to handle more data and information with
        the increase in number of clients.
   III. Scalability is enhanced, using nTier architecture.
   (a)     Only (III) above
   (b)     Both (I) and (II) above
   (c)     Both (I) and (III) above
   (d)     Both (II) and (III) above
   (e)     All (I), (II) and (III) above.
8. Which of the following statements is/are true about middleware?                                                         <Answer>

   I.   Object based middleware is more scalable than event based middleware.
   II. Event based middleware depends on reply-request method of communication.
   III. OMG’s CORBA and Microsoft’s Distributed COM are object based middleware.
   (a)     Only (III) above
   (b)     Both (I) and (II) above
   (c)     Both (I) and (III) above
   (d)     Both (II) and (III) above
   (e)     All (I), (II) and (III) above.
9. Bhoomi is an e-governance project undertaken by which state in India?                                                   <Answer>

   (a)     Andhra Pradesh
   (b)     Karnataka
   (c)     Bihar
   (d)     West Bengal
   (e)     Madhya Pradesh.
10.The property of a receiver being able to prove that the sender of some data did in fact send the data even though<Answer>
   the sender might later deny ever having sent it is called
   (a)     Authentication
   (b)     Non-repudiation
   (c)     Confidentiality
   (d)     Integrity
   (e)     Audit trail.
11. For encrypting plain text, the cryptographic algorithm works with a key. The ‘Key’ is in the form of                   <Answer>

   (a) Word only
   (b) Number only
   (c) Either a word or a number
   (d) Either a word , a number or a phrase
   (e) Either a word, a number, a phrase or sentence.
12.CORBA uses a common architecture to standardize distributed object systems. CORBA stands for                            <Answer>

   (a)   Common Object Request Broker Architecture
   (b)   Common Operating Request Broker Architecture
   (c)   Common Object Remote Broker Architecture
   (d)   Common Operating Remote Broker Architecture
   (e)   Common Operating Remote Business Architecture.
13.Which of the following statements is/are false about ‘Direct Attached Storage’ (DAS) devices?                           <Answer>

   I.   DAS do not have much dependence on network bandwidth.
   II. DAS does not have centralized data storage.
   III. DAS support remote storage connectivity.
   (a)     Only (III) above
   (b)     Both (I) and (II) above
   (c)     Both (I) and (III) above
   (d)     Both (II) and (III) above
   (e)   All (I), (II) and (III) above.
14.Which of the following refers to capturing, sharing, and storing of customer information through electronic means <Answer>
   and making it accessible to the entire organization?
   (a)      Storage management
   (b)      Contact management
   (c)      Information sharing
   (d)      Consistent management
   (e)      Content management.
15.Based on the spending habits, customers can be classified into various types of loyalists. Which of the following<Answer>
   loyalists select the best products?
   (a)    Emotional loyalists
   (b)    Deliberate loyalists
   (c)    Inert loyalists
   (d)    Non-deliberate loyalists
   (e)    Non-inert loyalists.
16.PricewaterhouseCoopers has identified four distinct phases of e-business. Arrange the below statements from<Answer>
   fourth to first phase according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.
   I.     Putting supply chain management processes online by linking suppliers with the enterprise, using extranets
          and intranets.
   II.    Convergence will lead to innovative products and services.
   III.   Implementation of a website that will enable the concerned organization to buy and sell online.
   IV.    Organization forms alliances with other online players indicating the adoption of e-business as a commercial
          tool.
   (a)      I-II-IV-III
   (b)      I-III-II-IV
   (c)      II-IV-I-III
   (d)      III-IV-II-I
   (e)      III-I-IV-II.
17.Businesses need to be highly agile for fulfilling customer demand. Which of the following is/are the factor(s) that<Answer>
   will ensure e-business agility?
   I.   Conduct lengthy analysis.
   II. Test everything and test all the time.
   III. Expect occasional sub-optimal results.
   IV. Flatten the hierarchy.
   (a)   Only (II) above
   (b)   Both (II) and (III) above
   (c)   (I), (II) and (III) above
   (d)   (II), (III) and (IV) above
   (e)   All (I), (II), (III) and (IV) above.
18.Business-to-Business (B2B) is a popular e-business model dealing with B2B transactions. The main aim of these <Answer>
   marketplaces is to
   I.   Match buyers and sellers to enable exchange of goods and services.
   II. Sell products and services directly to individual consumers.
   III. Enable sale and purchase of products and services between individual customers.
   (a)     Only (I) above
   (b)     Only (II) above
   (c)     Only (III) above
   (d)     Both (I) and (II) above
   (e)     Both (I) and (III) above.
19.Dell Inc., a U.S.A based computer hardware company is selling their goods to customers without any <Answer>
   intermediaries. The process of eliminating the number of intermediaries between the manufacturer and customer is
   called
   (a)      Cross-industry competence
   (b)      Re-intermediation
   (c)      Gatekeeper model
   (d)    Blurring
   (e)    Disintermediation.
20.Which of the following statements is/are false with regard to relationships in the supply chain management <Answer>
   process?
   I.   Strategic relationships are maintained between companies and suppliers of non-commodity items.
   II. Alternative suppliers for non-commodity items can be quickly obtained.
   III. Non-commodity items are not given any critical importance.
   (a)    Only (I) above
   (b)    Only (III) above
   (c)    Both (I) and (II) above
   (d)    Both (I) and (III) above
   (e)    Both (II) and (III) above.
21.In which of the following modules of supply chain planning, operating plans are developed?                     <Answer>

   (a)   Advanced scheduling and manufacturing planning
   (b)   Demand planning
   (c)   Distribution planning functions
   (d)   Capacity planning
   (e)   Aggregate inventory planning.
22.Which of the following are characteristics of the integrated make-to-stock model of supply chain management?   <Answer>

   I.     This model is suitable for mass production environment.
   II.    In this model, production is based on forecasted demand.
   III.   In this model, final product is assembled in the distribution channel.
   IV.    In this model, companies wait for customers to place orders.
   (a)     Both (I) and (II) above
   (b)     Both (I) and (III) above
   (c)     Both (I) and (IV) above
   (d)     (I), (II) and (III) above
   (e)     (II), (III) and (IV) above.
23.Built-to-order is one of the models in supply chain management. Which of the following characteristics is/are <Answer>
   exhibited by the built-to-order model?
   I.   Mass customization.
   II. Flexibility in procurement process.
   III. Managing large stocks.
   (a)    Only (I) above
   (b)    Both (I) and (II) above
   (c)    Both (I) and (III) above
   (d)    Both (II) and (III) above
   (e)    All (I), (II) and (III) above.
24.An ERP system makes the process of tracking the lead times of all materials of the company easier. Identify the <Answer>
   correct sequence of steps for tracking lead times using ERP.
   I.     Heads of Various Departments.
   II.    Determination of the route and mode of transport.
   III.   ERP system checks order.
   IV.    Customer order.
   V.     Bill of material.
   VI.    Production schedule.
   VII.   Purchasing orders.
   (a)   IV-I-VI-III-V-VII-II
   (b)   IV-I-VI-III-II-V-VII
   (c)   IV-I-VI-V-III-VII-II
   (d)   IV-I-III-V-VI-VII-II
   (e)   IV-VI-I- III-V-VII-II.
25.Which of the following statements are false with regard to the phased approach implementation?                 <Answer>

   I.     Higher demand for organizational resources.
   II.    Higher level of commitment.
   III. One stage of implementation at one time.
   IV. Higher resistance by employees.
   (a)   Both (I) and (II) above
   (b)   Both (I) and (III) above
   (c)   Both (I) and (IV) above
   (d)   (I), (II) and (IV) above
   (e)   (I), (III) and (IV) above.
26.Organizations generally classify their suppliers into various categories. The most critical components are procured <Answer>
   from
   (a)    Certified suppliers
   (b)    Approved suppliers
   (c)    Probationary suppliers
   (d)    Both (a) and (b) above
   (e)    Both (b) and (c) above.
27.To develop an ERP solution, certain elements have to be considered. From the options given below, which of the <Answer>
   following statements is/are true about the elements that will support development of an effective ERP solution?
   I.   Configuration of an ERP solution should be static and rigid.
   II. The implementation of an ERP system should be a long drawn-out process.
   III. Components of ERP system should be well-integrated with third-party service providers.
   (a)    Only (III) above
   (b)    Both (I) and (II) above
   (c)    Both (I) and (III) above
   (d)    Both (II) and (III) above
   (e)    All (I), (II) and (III) above.
28.The complexity of the ERP system increases as the number of modules/applications that it needs to integrate<Answer>
   increases. The maintenance of a system is more difficult than deployment. Therefore, organizations are seeking
   end-to-end management tools to manage complex ERP systems. Which of the following statements is/are true
   about system administration tool?
   I.   It manages the network and systems for ERP.
   II. It schedules jobs, monitors events, data output, backup and recovery.
   III. These tools need to be powerful as they have to analyze thousands of transactions that occur simultaneously
        in an ERP system.
   (a)   Only (I) above
   (b)   Both (I) and (II) above
   (c)   Both (I) and (III) above
   (d)   Both (II) and (III) above
   (e)   All (I), (II) and (III) above.
29.Which of the following statements are true with regard to e-CRM tools?                                             <Answer>

   I.   Inference-based software is used for cross-selling.
   II. Rules-based software keeps track of products/services that the online visitor has browsed.
   III. Tracking of customer behavior and grouping customers exhibiting similar behavior is possible through rules-
        based software.
   IV. Rules-based software is used for personalization of all products.
   (a)   Both (I) and (II) above
   (b)   Both (I) and (III) above
   (c)   Both (II) and (III) above
   (d)   (I), (II) and (III) above
   (e)   (I), (III) and (IV) above.
30.Which of the following options is/are not the fundamental element(s) of E-CRM infrastructure?                      <Answer>

   I.   Customer data computing architecture.
   II. Attracting new customers.
   III. Business rules for coordinating interactions.
   (a)    Only (I) above
   (b)    Only (II) above
   (c)    Only (III) above
(d)   Both (I) and (II) above
(e)   Both (II) and (III) above.


                                                 END OF SECTION A



                                         Section B : Caselet (50 Marks)
                        This section consists of questions with serial number 1 – 5.
                        Answer all questions.
                        Marks are indicated against each question.
                        Detailed explanation should form part of your answer.
                        Do not spend more than 110 - 120 minutes on Section B.


                                              Caselet
        Read the caselet carefully and answer the following questions:

      1. Call centers handle customer service integration. In this perspective, explain the            <Answer>
         challenges confronted by call centers other than those mentioned in the caselet.   ( 6 marks)
      2. Explain the practical ways of identifying information to ensure that updating the call             <Answer>
         center knowledge base is a part of the ‘sign off’ requirements.                        ( 10 marks)
      3. Many call centers now respond to online e-mail queries. Discuss the benefits that SR            <Answer>
         InfoTech can enjoy through the use of e-mails.                                       ( 8 marks)
      4. If you are a member of Board of Directors to SR InfoTech, what steps would you             <Answer>
         suggest for developing a Knowledge Management framework? Explain.              ( 14 marks)
      5. Briefly explain the various types of Knowledge Management applications.                ( 12 marks) <Answer>
        Knowledge Management at Call Centers: SR InfoTech incorporated in early1997,
        started its operations in late 1997. In the year 2000 they wanted to diversify its
        operations to call center business, for which they took Knowledge Management
        (KM) factors into consideration because KM is a concept in which an enterprise
        consciously and comprehensively gathers, organizes, analyzes and shares its
        knowledge in terms of resources, documents and people skills. Specific KM
        activities help focus the organization on acquiring, storing and utilizing knowledge
        for such things as problem solving, dynamic learning, strategic planning and
        decision making.
        By any measure, call centers are a growing business, with many organizations
        looking to them as the primary means of interacting with their customers. Call
        centers provide many business advantages, including improved efficiency, increased
        hours of operation, reduced costs and greater flexibility. Perhaps the greatest
        challenge of running a call center, however, is ensuring that customers are provided
        with the right information in a timely fashion. Knowledge Management has a
        number of practical tools and strategies for meeting this challenge.
        A call center is confronted with a number of challenges:
            Potentially wide range of customer enquiries.
            Legal accountability for the information provided to customers.
            Customer’s expectations of instant answers to their questions.
            High stress work environment for its operations.
            High staff turnover.
            Large and complex body of knowledge to be learned by the new staff.
            Constant pressures to reduce call handling times.
           Continuous tracking and assessment of efficiency measures.
        In meeting these challenges, Knowledge Management (KM) has the potential to
            deliver some (or all) of these benefits:
    Reduced training time and cost for new staff.
    Improved call handling and response times.
    Increased staff satisfaction and morale.
    Greater consistency and accuracy of information provided to customers.
    Greater flexibility in handling changing business processes, products, and
      information.
    Fewer calls to second-level support or the help desk.
Applying KM to Call Centers: There are two aspects to Knowledge Management
that must be covered in a call center. An efficient process must be put in a place to
ensure that the right knowledge is captured, managed, and kept up-to-date and
Knowledge Management systems must be established to support this process. These
Information Technology (IT) systems are the core of a KM-based call center.
Meeting both these requirements will ensure that one has the resources in place to
support front line staff, and the process to maximize their value. One has to identify
the information that one’s frontline staff and customers require, and gather them
together. Once the raw information is in place, it has to be shaped into a structural
and usable knowledge repository. Only then one will be in a position to deliver a
complete KM solution.
Identifying Required Information: There are a number of practical ways of
     identifying information needs:
    Talk to both experienced and novice staff, to find out their requirements first-
      hand.
    Conduct an information review of the resources currently available (both on
      line and on paper).
    Survey both call center staff and customers.
    Talk to business and product representatives, to identify the areas they would
      like highlighted to customers.
    Examine the daily activities of frontline staff to identify key information needs.
    Analyze call logs and other statistics to find out areas of customer interest or
      confusion.
    Identify the typical questions and problems addressed by the help desk or
       second-level support.
    Evaluate whether sufficient documentation exists for frontline IT systems.
As the operators may have as little as 30 seconds to find the answers, one must
ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date. To ensure information
accuracy, a permanent team should be there to create and update content. Ensuring
updating of the call center knowledge base is part of the ‘sign off’ requirements for
business development. The staff should be fully trained in use of KM systems and
processes.
Case of Support Scape: Support Scape is a web-enabled call center with its
headquarters in New Jersey and Indian operations in Jaipur. It has world class
customer support service because of its commitment and knowledge base. Initially it
took a long time for the call center agent to answer customer queries. Knowledge
base reduced this time by totally eliminating duplication of errors. Knowledge base
also helped in increasing satisfaction level of customer as well as reflecting the latest
correct information. It also helped in enhancing problem resolutions which were
consistent. It reduced operational costs.
Problems resolved by Knowledge Management: KM helps in bringing critical
information into the hands of knowledge engineers. Knowledge base allows bringing
islands of data into a single integrated public domain. Knowledge is distributed
quickly and easily via multiple channels of communication and thus helps in
disseminating knowledge in a clear, complete, easy to understand and easy to use
form. Many call centers now respond to online e-mail queries and FAQ’s on website.
To reduce number of calls online, sales and product information should be accurate
and comprehensive and standard responses should be developed.
                                       END OF
                                       CASELET
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                        Section C : Applied Theory (20 Marks)
                  This section consists of questions with serial number 6 – 7.
                  Answer all questions.
                  Marks are indicated against each question.
                  Do not spend more than 25 - 30 minutes on Section C.


6.   What is Mobile Applications Infrastructure (MAI)? Discuss the various types of             <Answer>
         MAI.                                                                       ( 10 marks)

7.   Each component of E-supply chain plays a significant role in the success of a             <Answer>
     supply chain. Discuss each component in detail.                               ( 10 marks)


                                          END OF SECTION C

                                      END OF QUESTION PAPER


                              Suggested Answers
                     E-Business (MB3H1IT): October 2008
                                     Section A : Basic Concepts
     Answer                                          Reason
1.      A     E-business projects can be classified into three types. Incremental, breakthroughs and < TOP >
              platform projects. Breakthrough projects are also called radical projects. Incremental
              are also called improvement projects. Platform projects lead to the creation of a new
              structural foundation that can be used by all business entities.
2.      D     Operating vice presidents provide insights on business processes and possible          < TOP >
              improvements.
3.      A     Die – hard skeptic companies are those that are not bothered about the changes in < TOP >
              technology.
4.      B     Vertical procurement portal is an online exchange that links buyers and sellers and < TOP >
              makes available extensive market information to buyers, enabling them to make an
              informed purchasing decision.
5.      D     The four T’s are: Targeting, Tailoring, Tying and Tapping.                             < TOP >
6.    C   The suppliers whose products and services are essential but not crucial for success are < TOP >
          Suppliers of non-strategic products.
7.    A   Availability refers to the time period for which the user has been able to fully utilize   < TOP >
          the system and Scalability refers to the ability of a system to increase its capacity to
          handle more data and information with the increase in number of clients. The third
          statement is true.
8.    A   OMG’s CORBA and Microsoft’s Distributed COM are object based middleware is                 < TOP >
          true. Whereas Event based middleware is more scalable than object based
          middleware and Object based middleware depends on reply-request method of
          communication.
9.    B   Bhoomi is an e-governance project undertaken by Karnataka state in India.                  < TOP >

10.   B   The property of a receiver being able to prove that the sender of some data did in fact < TOP >
          send the data even though the sender might later deny ever having sent it is called
          Non-repudiation.
11.   D   A cryptographic algorithm is also known as a cipher. A cipher is a mathematical < TOP >
          function. This algorithm works with a key, which may either be a word, a number or
          phrase for encrypting plain text.
12.   A   CORBA stands for Common Object Request Broker Architecture.                                < TOP >

13.   A   DAS do not have much dependence on network bandwidth. DAS does not have                    < TOP >
          centralized data storage. DAS does not support remote storage connectivity.
14.   B   Contact management refers to capturing, sharing, and storing of customer information < TOP >
          through electronic means and making it accessible to the entire organization.
15.   B   Loyalists are of three types, they are emotional, inert and deliberate loyalists. < TOP >
          Emotional loyalists have an emotional attachment with the brand. Customers who are
          not willing to take pains to shift to new products are called as Inert Loyalists.
          Deliberate loyalists are those who select the best products. Whereas Non-deliberate
          loyalists and Non-inert loyalists do not relate to the types of loyalists.
16.   C   PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has identified four distinct phase of e-business. The < TOP >
          first phase is marked by the implementation of a website that will enable the
          concerned organization to buy and sell online. The second phase, involves putting
          supply chain management processes online by linking suppliers with the enterprise,
          using extranets and intranets. In the third phase, the organization forms alliances with
          other online players indicating the adoption of e-business as a commercial tool. In the
          fourth phase, there is a convergence that will lead to innovative products and services.
17.   D   Short customer life cycles and rapid pace of business growth make speed and agility < TOP >
          key factors in the e-business environment. The four factors that will ensure e-business
          agility are avoid lengthy analysis, flatten the hierarchy, expect occasional sub-optimal
          results and test everything & test all the time.
18.   A   Business-to-Business (B2B) is the most popular e-business model dealing with B2B < TOP >
          transactions. B2B marketplaces evolved with the goal of matching buyers and sellers,
          enabling the exchange of goods and services. B2B websites help streamline
          operations between organizations and their business partners. The Business-to-
          Consumer (B2C) business model deals with B2C transactions. The e-businesses that
          adopt B2C model sell their products and services directly to individual consumers.
          Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) websites enable the sale and purchase of products and
          services between individual customers. Individual customers frequently buy and sell
          products like automobiles, furniture, and real estate from each other.
19.   E   The process of eliminating the number of intermediaries between the manufacturer < TOP >
          and customer is called disintermediation.
20.   E   Only statement (I) is true. Remaining statements are false. Alternative suppliers for      < TOP >
          non-commodity items are not easily available. They are critical for production
          processes and suppliers engaged in these commodities are few in number.
21.   C   Operating plans are developed in the distribution planning functions module of supply < TOP >
          chain planning. Whereas, last two options belong to the supply chain execution
          modules.
22.   D   First three statements are correct characteristics of integrated make-to-stock model of < TOP >
          supply chain management. The unique characteristic of the make-to-stock model is
          that companies do not wait for the customers to place orders. So Fourth statement is
          not a correct characteristic of integrated make-to-stock model of supply chain
          management.
23.   B   First two are characteristics exhibited by the built-to-order model. Large stocks are < TOP >
          not maintained as they may become outdated over time. So, companies try to be more
          flexible in their procurement processes.
24.   D   Once an order is placed by a customer, the details reach the desktop of the heads of < TOP >
          the concerned departments. The ERP system checks if the required number of
          machines with the required specifications is available in the finished goods inventory.
          Bill of material specifies all the materials required in the production and delivery of
          each product made by the company and the lead-time required for each material. The
          production department identifies the number of products to be manufactured and
          prepares the production schedule. The materials management department prepares
          purchase orders for all components to be procured. The logistics department finally
          decides the route and mode of transport depending on the destination so that the costs
          are minimized and speed of delivery maximized.
25.   D   The phased approach breaks down the ERP project into certain stages. Each stage is < TOP >
          taken one at a time for implementation and is finished completely before moving to
          the next stage. Remaining statements are false about phased approach. These stages
          belong to Big-bang approach.
26.   A   Organizations, generally classify their suppliers into categories  certified, approved < TOP >
          and probationary. Most critical components are procured from certified suppliers while
          less critical and strategic materials are procured from approved and probationary
          suppliers.
27.   A   Configuration of an ERP solution should not be static and rigid. The implementation < TOP >
          of an ERP system should not be a long drawn-out process. It should enable the
          organization to progress steadily from one phase to another, rather than waiting for a
          long period to have the whole project installed. Traditional ERP systems focus only
          on automating and integrating specified business processes. Components of ERP
          system should be well-integrated with third-party service providers.
28.   A   Use-management tool: It schedules jobs, monitors events, data output, backup and < TOP >
          recovery. It manages the applications when they are being accessed by users.
          Service management tools: These help the management monitor the performance of
          various ERP applications. These tools need to be powerful as they have to analyze
          thousands of transactions that occur simultaneously in an ERP system.
          System administration tool: It manages the network and systems for ERP. It
          manages inventory and assets, configures software, modifies applications when
          needed, and distributes software.
29.   A   First two statements are true with regard to e-CRM tools. Remaining statements are < TOP >
          false. Tracking of customer behavior and grouping customers exhibiting similar
          behavior is possible through inference-based software. Rules-based software is used
          for personalization in case of specific products and services only.
30.   B   Customer data computing architecture; Business rules for coordinating interactions; < TOP >
          Systems and processes that facilitate integration of legacy, analytic and operational
          CRM systems are the fundamental elements of E-CRM infrastructure. Whereas,
          attracting new customers is one of the important functions of CRM.

                                      Section B: Caselets
1.   Call centre is confronted with a number of challenges:                                        < TOP >
        Eliminating ineffective processes during inbound/outbound calls.
        Avoiding call backs.
        High training costs.
        Tracking absenteeism.
        Ensuring safety and security of employees.
2.   Call centers handle customer service integration supported by communication via telephone or < TOP >
     web. There are a number of practical ways of identifying information needs which are as
     under:
     Talk to both experienced and novice staff, to find out their requirements first-hand.
     Conduct an information review of the resources currently available (both on-line and on
          paper.)
     Survey both call centre staff and customers.
     Talk to business and product representatives, to identify the areas they would like highlighted
          to customers.
     Examine the daily activities of frontline staff to identify key information needs.
     Analyze call logs and other statistics to find out areas of customer interest or confusion.
     Identify the typical questions and problems addressed by the help desk or second-level
           support.
     Evaluate whether sufficient documentation exists for frontline IT systems.
     As the operators may have as little as 30 seconds to find the answers, one must ensure that the
     information is accurate and up-to-date. To ensure information accuracy, a permanent team
     should be there to create and update content.
3.   E-mail has emerged as the largest source of information on changing customer behavior in < TOP >
     recent years. The foremost advantage of using the internet is the speed of information
     exchange. The information exchange may range from gossip to confidential business
     information. The speed of the Internet is fascinating for many business owners and customers,
     drawing them to use it.
     E-mail is a supplement rather than a complete replacement for traditional communication
     devices like telephones and fax. E-mails save paper and postal charges and also facilitate
     quick response. It is easy to use and supports for two-way communication anytime. This
     makes customer interaction very simple.
     The benefits that SR InfoTech can enjoy through the use of e-mails are:
        Faster response, quicker problem solving and swift change incorporation
        Provision of product updates to customers
        Display of new products and their features to elicit suggestions and opinions
        Sending product literature and press releases
      Communicating price changes.
     E-mails offer customers a convenient and flexible shopping experience. Customer loyalty can
     be built through good customer service. And good customer service entails prompt reply to
     queries and quick problem solving.
4.   If I am a member of board of directors to SR InfoTech, I would suggest the following steps in < TOP >
     developing a Knowledge Management framework.
     Identify the goals of the Knowledge Management (KM) project: While formulating goals,
     companies should ensure that these goals can be translated into action. These goals should
     also facilitate the use of newly discovered knowledge.
     Determine where knowledge resides in the company: Knowledge is present everywhere,
     but it is difficult to identify and capture hidden knowledge. Tacit knowledge resides in the
     minds of the employees or in their relationship with external entities. When the knowledge is
     not tacit, it resides in the databases and lies unused. This happens because knowledge in the
     database is either hidden or undervalued.
     Determine what information the company needs to capture: Identifying is finding the
     information that is relevant to the organization. Knowledge analysts can help employees
     understand information needs. They can also help apply existing knowledge to processes and
     provide advice on how to improve business processes.
     Collect, clean and prepare data: Companies must assimilate data from internal and external
     data sources and follow a standard structure for storing the data. Ratios and rolled up
     summaries can be generated using conversions. This step is very significant since it makes up
     for more than 70% of the total efforts required for knowledge management implementation. It
     will be relatively easier for companies to collect, clean and integrate data if they have a data
     warehouse in place.
     Balance outward and inward data: Most often businesses focus on internal business
     processes. However, this is less relevant in today's changing business scenario. To function
     effectively companies should be alert in grasping information from external sources. The
     challenge is to collect and organize external data.
     Develop new approaches to categorizing information: The latest trend in KM is
     categorizing information across business applications. This categorization should be relevant
     to the business operations. For example, IMS Health, a health care data provider, reorganized
     its intranet based on activities like recruiting, skill enhancements etc. This is a meaningful
     exercise as compared to revamping the organizational structure.
     Learn how to mine data: This step entails building a model for selecting the data mining
     tool, transforming data, generating samples and testing and validating the model.
     Validate the model: An independent data set should be used to test the model for data
     accuracy. Companies should run a pilot test to assess the sensitivity and usability of the
     model.
     Deploy the model: The model should be used to predict and alter organizational behavior.
     Deployment may involve the installation of computers to capture data and generate real time
     predictions.
     Monitor the model: Companies should monitor the model regularly so that it can be changed
     along with environmental changes. Changes in product, competition etc. should be
     incorporated in the model.
     Measuring the ROI of knowledge management: Knowledge is subjective, hence
     quantifying knowledge is difficult. Some companies use software to quantify knowledge
     returns.
5.   The various types of Knowledge Management applications are as follows:                             < TOP >
         Customer Relationship Management Decision Support Systems: Customer
          Relationship Management Decision Support Systems help organizations mine customer
          data, observe trends, price their products or services competitively, increase market share
          and improve customer service. To implement a customer relationship management
          application, it is necessary to understand customer behavior. The company should first
          identify the trends in customer behavior, analyze them and their impact on the company
          and then take a decision. Analyzing customer information is a difficult task, since data is
          scattered throughout the different parts of an organization. Even after aggregating the
          data, it would be difficult to transform the data into knowledge. Data warehousing
          enables transformation by facilitating information gathering and storage. Decision
          support tools are needed to enable data extraction and help managers take effective
          decisions. This would help them differentiate themselves from other players in the
          industry.
         Supply Chain Decision Support Systems: Businesses need to manage their inventory
          effectively. Better inventory management enables trading partners to maximize profits.
          Supply Chain Decision Support Systems (SCDSS) applications provide trading partners
          information that results in visibility and certainty.
         Personalization Applications: The process of real-time relationship management is
          called personalization. It accomplishes better customer service by understanding
          customer needs and preferences and responding to them quickly. With customers
          interacting with companies, the demand for customized products and services has
          increased and this in turn has increased the demand for personalization software. This
          type of application also helps companies keep their customers informed about changes in
          product or service offerings. This enables companies to make their customers feel
          important and valued. Personalization applications try to meet the customer needs by:
              Using personalized web pages
              Displaying information that customers need
              Notifying customers automatically about           relevant   product    and   service
               enhancements, upgrades and promotions etc.
              Tailoring information according to individual customer preferences
         Personalization is an integral part of e-business. With new age companies trying to use
         the concept of personalization for effective customer service and satisfaction, it is set to
         become an integral part of e-business standards.
         Remote Performance Monitoring: Managers can get the information about the
          enterprise with help of remote performance monitoring system, which in-turn will help
          them improve performance on a routine basis. It helps in constantly monitoring actual
          performance against strategic targets at all organizational levels. An effective monitoring
          system facilitates the translation of strategy into action.
         Business Simulation - Interactive ‘What-If’ Scenario analysis: ‘What-If’ analysis tool
          comprises of advance simulation and scenario modeling based on inputs from several
          internal and external sources. It aids managers in decision-making. To arrive at the right
          product mix of inventories managers can use ‘What-If’ analysis.
         Innovation: Business in the electronic age requires instant data access. E-mails and
          desktop applications facilitate the integration of contribution and subscription to the
          group memory.


                                     Section C: Applied Theory
6.   MOBILE APPLICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE                                                          < TOP >
     Mobile applications infrastructure (MAI) is the foundation on which mobile applications and
     services can be developed. It is the platform for developing and deploying robust mobile
     applications. MAI can be divided into four types. They are:
         Mobile Application Platforms (MAPs): Most software applications are developed for
          using on the desktop PC which has a larger screen. To view them on a small- screen,
          mobile device requires certain modifications. MAPs offer a software platform for
          extending a company’s business-critical applications to its mobile sales, service and
          workforce. The primary function of MAP is to provide mobile middleware like multiple
          radio protocols for mobile computing. They include both carrier-class and enterprise-
          class platforms. The mobile platform designs must have the following features:
         Compatible with all mobile devices: The mobile application platform should allow
          delivery of Internet-based content and applications to all types of mobile devices using
          different technological platforms.
         Cost-effective: The mobile application platform must be developed in such a way as to
          enable programmers to develop, maintain, and manage wireless delivery capabilities
          effortlessly.
         Optimize content and applications: The mobile application platform should optimize
          the amount and format of content for delivery according to the varying connection speed.
          It should be compatible with the existing web infrastructure security standards.
         Mobile Application Service Providers (MASPs): Involved in Infrastructure and
          application hosting MASPs play an intermediary role between a web portal and various
          wireless carriers and devices. They offer translation services for porting web Content to
          wireless networks, wireless application services, and infrastructure technology and
          services. Essentially, they provide connectivity and hosting services that form the base
          on which business automation and productivity applications function. MASPs provide
          organizations an outsourcing solution, ensuring faster deployment and lower initial
          investment. Apart from offering mobile middleware’ solutions, others services offered by
          MASPs include consulting, carrier contracts, security and network management.
         Mobile Internet Service Providers (MISPs): MISPs perform functions similar to the
          Internet Service Providers (ISPs). As ISPs provide customer’s access to the Internet over
          a telephone network, MISPs provide access to the Internet over a mobile network.
          MISPs include wireless carriers such as AT&T and specialized data carriers including
          GoAmerica and Palm.Net. Internet access on a mobile network can be provided either
          over a dedicated circuit-switched wireless connection or over a packet-based network,
          which sends data in packets.
         Mobile Application Enablers (MAEs): The companies in this category provide various
         services including billing and payment, data and transaction security, data
         synchronization, systems implementation & application integration and mobile strategy
         consulting. Hence, MAEs offer all ancillary services starting from content conversion up
         to project management.
7.   The e-supply chain comprises of five components, namely: supply chain replenishment, < TOP >
     collaborative planning, collaborative product development, e-procurement and e-logistics.
     Each of these components plays a significant role in the success of the supply chain.
     Supply chain replenishment
     Supply chain replenishment involves aligning the real time demand of a particular business
     with its suppliers and partners so as to improve customer service and enhance customer
     satisfaction. More and more businesses are allowing users to configure the products
     themselves over the Internet. Customers use configurators to assemble the components in
     different ways and place an order for a product of the desired configuration. Since the number
     of product configurations that can be obtained with the given components is known,
     companies would be able to standardize models. Therefore, companies can streamline their
     production processes and improve efficiency.
     When customers place online orders with a company, the role of sales intermediaries is
     eliminated, thus bringing down the time and cost of the transactions. The companies can
     further optimize their production operations by adopting make-to-order strategy. In the
     traditional assemble-to-order strategy, companies forecast the demand and stock sub-
     components and subassemblies to fulfill customer orders. However, in the e-supply chain,
     components or sub-assemblies are not stocked. When a customer order is received, the
     company places electronic orders with its suppliers for the components and sub-assemblies,
     which are immediately delivered to the site where they are assembled. The components are
     accepted without any inspection because the company selects the best suppliers and subjects
     them to strict quality control tests from time to time so that their supplies need not be tested
     before assembling the product. At the back end, the data mining system tracks the customers'
     history, records their preferences (regarding packaging, destination, delivery schedules, etc)
     estimates delivery time and evaluates the performance of suppliers and partners. This enables
     the company to take steps to further improve the efficiency of its supply chain.
     The make-to-order strategy is similar to the assemble-to-order strategy in many respects, but
     the former is generally adopted in a highly volatile environment where customers' preferences
     change drastically and rapidly. In assemble-to-order, a tentative estimate of the requirements
     is prepared and- the inventory of components and subassemblies is maintained accordingly.
     But in make-to-order, since the demand is highly volatile, such estimates cannot be prepared.
     The supplier has to constantly change the design of the components according to the
     specifications of the customer order received by the company. This process requires tight
     integration between the supplier and the company so that non-value adding and time-
     consuming activities can be eliminated and the desired product can be delivered to the
     customer at the earliest.
     E-business redefines the way production and demand can be managed by businesses. The
     complexity of production operations increases, as the companies scale up their activities to
     meet global requirements. Traditional order management and production systems used by
     companies cannot be used to track global inventory requirements. E-supply chains enable
     companies to obtain information about the inventory levels, production plans and schedules of
     their production units across the globe. Managers can communicate with production units and
     warehouses across the globe and suggest any last minute changes in plans and schedules.
     Some of the e-supply chain applications integrate with existing ERP systems, and help
     optimize procurement, inventory management and scheduling. This improves the quality of
     decision making in organizations and helps them minimize inventory, streamline production
     processes, reduce operating costs and obtain greater control over the business.
     Collaborative planning
     Collaborative planning enables organizations to coordinate product flows across their business
     units, optimize resource utilization and optimize inventory levels through integration of
     operations across the suppliers and partners in the value chain. The mutual trust and reliability
     of the partners determine the efficiency of the e-supply chain.
     The e-supply chain enables a company to provide the suppliers of key components with real-
     time access to demand information. The company's headquarters forecasts the demand, and
     the statistics are made available to all the partners and suppliers across the globe. The
     production schedules and customer order information are also shared with partners and
suppliers and they are updated on any subsequent changes in the information so that the
activities are synchronized. Therefore, the e-supply chain achieves complete integration of
partners and suppliers, and enhances the speed of information sharing eliminating production
delays. It enables the company to be more receptive to changes in the preferences of
customers and to deliver the desired product to them at the desired time.
Collaborative product development
This component of the e-supply chain deals with the design and implementation of product
development process within the organization and across partners and suppliers in the supply
chain. It also seeks to observe the impact of the change in processes on the organization. If e-
business technology is properly used in product development, the product development cycle
time can be reduced significantly. By launching technologically advanced and innovative
products ahead of its competitors? The company can reach the market faster, win market share
and obtain profits. Product development costs can be brought down by integrating and
streamlining communication channels properly.
A major problem faced by large companies in product development is the coordination of
activities of staff working in different locations. Knowledge is crucial. In product designing if
there is continuous knowledge sharing between the engineers, marketers and designers
working in different locations, products can be designed better and launched faster. With the
help of the e-business technology, organizations can design products at one location while
taking inputs from engineers and designers at diverse locations. The technology also enables
various parts of the product to be designed at different locations and integrated later to form a
complete product. However, the major obstacle that prevents organizations from leveraging
technology is the difficulty in coordinating teams and ensuring that each team understands its
assignments accurately.
The problem of communication increases with the size of an organization. Large organizations
have many divisions such as marketing, finance, production and R&D. Each division has
individual reporting and reward systems and goals, but all the divisions need to work together
for success. E-business technology increases the need for integration and coordination among
the departments.
E- Procurement
E-procurement refers to the streamlining of the procurement process across business partners
in the supply chain using e-business technology. Earlier, designers had to search several
catalogs to identify parts with the functionality required for their new product designs. The
process of selection was through trial and error; they often found that parts were not
compatible with others and they had to restart the search. Today, electronic search
mechanisms help designers find components quickly. Using software and electronic modeling,
engineers and designers can instantly determine the suitability of a part or component for the
overall design. Decision-making is speeded up because most online catalogs allow three-
dimensional views of the parts. The engineers can also find out the long-term benefits and
problems with, the parts. Therefore, companies can ensure that they procure the right parts in
the first instance and avoid redesigning products. On-line procurement reduces processing
costs. Companies can compare online catalogs of multiple suppliers efficiently and can locate
the best supplier and procure quality products at reasonable prices. Online purchase orders
streamline the delivery process.
E-Logistics
E-logistics is concerned with the redesigning of warehousing and product distribution using e-
business technology. E-logistics enables companies to optimize the routing of products and
allows customers to track the real-time shipping status of the product. Companies can even
extend e-logistics to the retail unit level. They can track the inventory movement in retail
stores through vendor-managed inventory systems and use the information to improve product
distribution to the stores as well as to enhance


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