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An Overview of Overton's Information Systems

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

An Overview of Overton's Information Systems Executive Summary The following report provides an analysis of all of the information systems used by Overton's, the world's largest water sports dealer. It details of all of their computer systems including their transaction processing system, servers, mainframes, PCs, and inventory systems. This report consists all of the information systems used by the Information Systems department in Overton's as well as the pros and cons of these systems. It also analyzes Overton's disaster recovery and a breakdown of how it works and whether or not it is successful. Finally, the strengths and weaknesses of the IS department are discussed followed by suggestions for areas that may need improvement. Overton's successfully implemented the Internet as another venue for sales revenue in 1998. Their website receives from 900,000 to a million hits a week. This has allowed Overton's to continue to grow and expand. This also made them over confident and led to a faulty investment that cost them a great deal. Due to a lack of research in their perspective market their venture into the hunting and fishing industry was a failure. A downfall for Overton's is their use of multiple platforms to run the company. Overton's already experiences compatibility issues between servers and mainframes. Mr. Hardison has expressed his concern and desire to fix this problem, but there is no solution being implemented at this time. Table of Contents Executive Summary i 1.0 Introduction 1 2.0 IS Department 1 2.1 Organization 2 2.2 Objectives 3 3.0 Website 3 4.0 Personal Computers 5 4.1 Call center 5 4.2 Intel/Novell 6 5.0 Order Entry 7 6.0 Disaster Recovery 8 7.0 File Servers 8 7.1 Windows NT 9 7.2 Intel/Novell 10 8.0 Strengths 11 9.0 Weaknesses/Threats 13 10.0 Opportunities 14 Appendix 1: Email from Dan Hardison 15 Appendix 2: Porter's five forces model 18 I. Introduction Parker Overton started Overton's twenty-five years ago with a simple philosophy of "growth and knowledge." ...read more.

Middle

is kept in the distribution center as well as a copy in the corporate office. The data from the distribution center is also backed up and stored in the corporate office. This is an easy way for Overton's to ensure that valuable data is not lost. However, if a major disaster occurs and affects both the distribution center and the corporate office (both in Greenville) Overton's may have to rethink their easily implemented disaster recovery plan and look into a more costly and secure method. Overton's was very lucky during the recent flooding that none of their information systems were affected. The only items that were damaged were a few trucks of inventory that were waiting to be shipped. This still hurt Overton's financially, since thousands of orders were backed up and not delivered on time. Another way that Overton's could protect themselves in the future would be having another distribution center in a separate region of the country. This way in case of an emergency they have another location to ship from and make sure that the orders are completed on time. This will also become necessary as Overton's continues to grow and cannot support all of its sales from a single warehouse. 7.0 File Servers Overton's has decided to use an Intel/RedHat system for their File/Print servers. These Linux servers allow for centralized storage of files instead of individual storage on PCs. This makes it easier to backup data and allows access to data from multiple PCs. Using Linux also saves them a great deal of money for RedHat is free. This way they do not have to purchase an operating system such as NT. Also, RedHat is more stable for this purpose than NT so it is much better to use for running a printing server. The UNIX environment is inherently more stable than NT for large amounts of users. Overton's uses Samba to handle their actual printing needs. ...read more.

Conclusion

I would prefer to use RedHat on the desktop as well, but the application arena is not yet up to par with Windows. Appendices 2: Porter's Competitive Forces Model Porter's competitive forces model is a framework that models an industry being influenced by five forces. Porter's model is designed for managers that are seeking a competitive advantage over rivals and/or a better understanding of the market in which a firm operates. The following is a critique of Overton's using Porter's five forces. 1. Customers Overton's does not allow for total switching cost for their customers. Overton's believes that their customers are their number one asset, so they try very hard to keep them. However, they do lower the spread of cost by trying to stay in the competitive pricing range of their rivals. 2. Suppliers Since Overton's deals with a lot of specialty items the supplier's power stands to be fairly high. To counter this, Overton's raises the price of the specialty item. 3. Rivals Overton's tries to dominate their market by using low cost, product differentiation, focused differentiation, and the creation of tight linkages through their departments. Product differentiation is simple; they supply consumers with specialty items that cannot be found easily. Overton's uses a wide base of marketing to focus on an enormous spread of customers. This way they can expand their cliental. 4. New Entrants Overton's carries barriers to entry for the market of water sports recreation. With their customer base being so large and outstanding customer service, it will be hard for new entrants into the market to compete at their level. 5. Substitutes Since Overton's is a retail business they really cannot compete with substitutes in the market. The only substitutes that could interfere with Overton's would be another company's website. The information system department for Overton's uses IS to deal with each of Porter's forces. The firm uses IS for customer power by using in depth technical support on their website and for their products which increases the value of the products and imposes switching cost. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 14 ...read more.

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