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Case questions

Google Inc.

  • The case describes several of Google’s “products” (their search engine, Gmail, Google Earth, etc.). What do they have in common? How would you describe the line of business Google is in?
  • What is Google’s revenue model (how do they make money)? Who are its customers? With this in mind, what is Google’s real product?
  • Based on the material in the case, how would you describe Google’s strategy? Do they have one?
  • The last section of the case is titled “What Should Google Do?” What do you think Google should do (it doesn’t have to be one of the options described in the case)? Make sure you explain why you chose that course of action.

STARS Air Ambulance: An Information Systems Challenge

  • Identify three or four of the most critical challenges facing the new CIO and make recommendations for how Khan can tackle each of these challenges.
  • What should Kahn’s objectives be for his upcoming meeting with the CEO and how can he prepare to best meet them?
  • What should Kahn do about departments contacting their “favorite IS staff member” when they need technical assistance? How can he change this practice and still gain the trust and support of the CEO and other senior managers?

Cisco Systems Architecture: ERP and Web-enabled IT

  • Do what extent does information technology contribute to the Cisco strategy?
  • How was the ERP project justified to the board for approval? Do you agree or disagree with the approach and decision?
  • What was Solvik’s web strategy for Cisco? How did the Internet and Intranet strategies tie in with the ERP project? Why was the ERP project essential for their web strategy to succeed?
  • What makes a good manager for the projects described in this case? How high in the organization should the manager sit?

Amazon Web Services

  • What are the four major web services described in the case that are offered by What does each service do? Compare each service in terms of pros and cons.
  • Why would a company use these services from Amazon instead of maintaining their own infrastructure? Assume you are the manager for a large bank, think through the pros and cons of using Amazon’s services.
  • Is Amazon web services following a disruptive strategy or a different business model?

eReading: Amazon’s Kindle

  • What “signals of change” did Amazon respond to in creating the Kindle?
  • Which industries can the Kindle disrupt? How? 

Knowledge Management at Katzenbach Partners, LLC

  • What are the key elements of Katzenbach’s knowledge management strategy? Is this a good strategy?
  • What are the critical challenges in Katzenbach’s knowledge management? Describe both organizational and technical challenges.
  • What are some specific ways in which Web 2.0 technology help Katzenbach’s knowledge management initiatives? Identify specific challenges, technology, and business solutions.

Globalization of Wyeth

  • What stages did Wyeth go through to achieve globalization? Which stage was the most critical?
  • What was the most important contribution of the IT organization on the globalization of Wyeth? Why? What was the second most important contribution?
  • Would you say that IT-enabled globalization is simply another version of the centralization/decentralization decision that any company makes when it has multiple divisions, or is it fundamentally different? Explain.

We Googled You

  • In what ways do you think the hiring manager is better or worse off for having additional data available via a Google search?
  • What do you think the hiring manager should do? What aspects of the expert commentary do you agree and disagree with?

Apple Inc. in 2010

  • What are the key success factors behind Apple’s platform strategy with iTunes?
  • Compare Apple’s strategy for iPad and iPhone to Amazon’s strategy for Kindle. Which company do you think will be more successful?
  • Develop an argument that a similar platform strategy can or cannot be used in other products such as cars, TV, or more traditional products like furniture and appliances (e.g., pick a side and argue it).


  • Are the criticisms of the new process valid?  Is it an improvement?
  • Who controls the budget for projects at Volkswagen? Who should control the budget? Should the IT department have its own budget?
  • What should Matulovic do about the unfunded Supply Chain Management project?

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