Information Systems in Organizations – Fall 2014

MIS 2101 Section 701 – Amy Lavin

Online Assaults By Hackers and Scammers Is Soaring!


“Cyber crime is a growth industry. The returns are great, and the risks are low,” says the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “We estimate that the likely annual cost to the global economy from cyber crime is more than $400 billion. A conservative estimate would be $375 billion in losses, while the maximum could be as much as $575 billion. Even the smallest of these figures is more than the national income of most countries and governments and companies underestimate how much risk they face from cyber crime and how quickly this risk can grow.”

1.  While cyber crime is on the rise and happening more frequently, will it change the way that we do business?

2.  In what way might you currently be in the path to be a victim of a cyber crime? What precautions will you take to prevent anything from happening?

Horrible Apple iOS virus; vectored via USB: WireLurker is ‘new brand of threat’


Plugging your iPhone or iPad into your computer by a USB connection could put you and your precious data at serious risk. A new virus called WireLurker infects Mac OS X applications and collects call logs, phone book contacts and other sensitive information. This virus waits until an iOS device is connected by a USB cable and then has the ability to install third-party applications on both jail broken and regular devices. Typically, users can only install third-party applications if their device is jail broken but WireLurker has the ability to reach regular devices which puts a threat on all iOS devices. Wirelurker exhibits complex code structure, multiple component versions, file hiding, code obfuscation and customized encryption to thwart anti-reversing. It is a serious issue where hundreds of thousands of users have already been infected.

1. In what ways will you become more reserved about using your iOS devices knowing how easily your device can become infected?

2. In what ways has this become an issue for Apple? Do you believe WireLurker will reach Android or other software devices?

3. Does this virus pose a risk to new applications such as Apple Pay? Knowing now that this virus is extremely serious would you be willing to use applications which make your personal information easily accessible?

How Will Alipay Fare Against Apple Pay And PayPal?

Related article:

The Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group, has caught the world’s eyes with the largest IPO, along with its largest payment system in the world, Alipay. Very similar to Paypal in the US, Alipay is a payment system universally used among small businesses in China. The system features a safe, free, and escrow service, where customers can pay after they are are confirmed that they are happy with the transaction with no transaction fee. Aiming at small businesses, the payment system makes it easier, more reliable and much cheaper for individual business owners to get their earnings from a guaranteed third party. Now that Alibaba Group has come to the US, Jack Ma, the CEO of Alibaba, is also bringing the payment system to the international business field. He spoke publicly someday ago that he wished “we can do something together” when he referred to Apple. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, also responded, “We love to partner with people who are wicked smart, with flexible teams, who are product-based, who push us, and we push them. Jack [Ma, CEO of Alibaba] has a company that’s exactly like that.” The chance of the link-up between Apple Pay and Alipay is high. In the meantime, challenges can come to both of the companies.


1. What are the challenges faced by Alipay when entering the US market if it keeps its strategy of aiming at small businesses? In the meantime, what are the advantages?

2. If you were a small business owner, which payment system would you consider using, Paypal, Apple Pay or Alipay? Why?

3. What are their mutual benefits if Apple Pay and Alipay link up? What are the benefits for customers?

Users warned over ‘aggressive’ Oracle software licensing tactics

Software licenses are important assets for many organizations and organizations need to manage these licenses just as they would manage any other asset. However, software asset management can present unique challenges because of confusing licensing agreements.

This article focuses on Oracle and licensing issues its users often encounter. The article also introduces the Campaign for Clear Licensing (CCL) which aims to improve the clarity of licensing language.

  1. How can organizations effectively manage their software licenses? Provide your own ideas or research software management services.
  2. Can you find specific examples of contract disputes between a software company (it does not need to be Oracle) and a user?
  3. Many individuals buy software licenses for personal use. (For example, everyone in our class has bought a license to use Pearson).  Think of other licenses that you have purchased. Do you do anything to manage them? Have you ever interpreted the licensing contract differently and been disappointed (or pleasantly surprised) with your purchase?
  4. Software asset management is an evolving issue that is complex and nuanced. Please comment on anything else you find interesting that relates to managing software licensing.

IBM’s ‘click to buy’ consulting services look beyond just IT

This article talks about IBM’s new approach to reaching a new customer base. Usually computer companies target the techs of the company to sell new products but with the ever changing technological world innovative marketers have to find new ways to integrate their products. IBM is offering 5 new ‘click to buy’ software’s that can be purchased by the non IT professional. The first service being offered is called Social Media Analytics and Customer Insights. This software will help a business analyze what is being said about them on social media. It can be purchased online with a simple credit card and does come with some prerequisites like having a subscription to IBM’s Social Media Analytics Software. The other four services being offered will be checkup services to software’s that are already in use within the organization. IBM is planning to roll out more click to buy services if the first round is well received.


1. With the first set of new products targeting non-IT employees, what role will IT play in the implementation of these products?

2. Do you think targeting non IT professionals is a smart business decision on IBM’s part?

3. Many questions arise after an implementation concerning the systems effectiveness and efficiency, do you think purchasing another software like “technical healthcheck” for SAP is a necessary purchase?

Just in time production strategies

This article elaborates on how switching from a traditional manufacturing system to a just in time manufacturing model can change the future of your business. We learn about how Gamblin Artist’s oil colors went about this change this and what benefits were reaped. This particular business was a small one, owned by a husband and wife. As their business continued to grow they came into the common problem of having too much of their money tied up in their inventory. This was preventing them from expanding. Most manufacturing companies charge over 200 an hour, and that was a cost that a small business simply could not afford. Fortunately companies such as Oregon Manufacturing Extension Program (OMEP) cater to small business such as these utilizing state, local and federal funding to subsidize the cost. The Gamblins used to make colors in batches of 1,200 tubes of paint at a time, which would remain on the shelves as inventory for three to six months. Now the Gamblins make colors in smaller batches-about 500 tubes-and they focus on producing a single type of color at a time, like different kinds of red all made on the same day. Many small businesses don’t realize that they need a manufacturing philosophy. It increases creativity and flexibility by reducing variation. After implementing new manufacturing strategies, the Gamblins cut their inventory in half and freed up about $200,000 in cash, which they’ll use to invest in capital growth and launch their first advertising campaign. Their transition definitely turned out to be a success.



Do you think just in time manufacturing is better for small businesses or large businesses?

What are some negative outcomes that can result from moving to just in time manufacturing?

What are some examples of businesses you know of that use this technique?


Comcast Acts To Reform Customer Service

CRM is a major component in a business’s strategy to be successful. But what happens when there is little competition? Comcast, one of the largest (as well as one of the few) cable and internet providers is looking to improve upon its customer service. A Comcast executive, Charlie Herrin, has become the vice president of “customer experience” and plans to help make Comcast deliver the best customer experience possible. After being ranked last in customer service surveys, as well as having viral videos of terrible customer service on the internet, Herrin hopes to improve upon customer service pain points. In the article, Herrin does not state how they will improve, just that he wants the company to improve. This article also comes from a controversial time for Comcast, where the company is hoping for a merger with Time-Warner cable, and is also fighting the issue of Net Neutrality.


1. In a market with little competition and difficulty to switch service providers, How important did you think CRM is?

2. Based off of the past history of Comcast, What changes do you think will happen to their Customer Support process? Could there be no change?

3. In past issues, it appears that Comcast has the most problems with its call center. What would you change to improve the call centers? Would you just get rid of them all together?

The Human Cost of Apple’s Supply Chain



Apple’s Supply Chain – There are Human Costs, Too

From The Verge – Latest audit on two Chinese Apple suppliers finds labor, health violations: 


Worker in Apple’s Supply Chain


“If companies want to do business with us, they must uphold the highest commitment to human rights.” – Apple

When managing a supply chain as massive as Apple’s, company executives must be aware of the impact that its sourcing can have on certain locations and those who live in said communities. If firms fail to engage in humane business practices – as is noted in the text – their image of a company can be tarnished, or even destroyed. Over the past few years, Apple has come under intense scrutiny regarding the working conditions of factories in its supply chain. While Apple has gone to great lengths to regulate how its suppliers treat their employees, infractions remain.

According to a recent report (as described in my article), Audits continue to find infractions in the way Apple’s suppliers treat their employees. The Fair Labor Association, which Apple is a member of, found issues relating to “excessive overtime, underpayment of sick wages, and inadequate health and safety measures.” While Apple claims it closely tracks weekly labor hours, it is clear that many suppliers continue to overwork some of their employees. 

Firms must consider the human impact of their supply chain when they discuss and determine SCM planning and execution. They should also use analytics to track the well being of  those in their supply chain.


Discussion Questions: 

1. What impact can poor working conditions have on supply chain execution and performance? How would supply chain analytics help track this correlation?

2. Can supply chain planning (SCP) have an impact on the working conditions of employees? Why or why not?

3. Are large companies, such as Apple, responsible for the working conditions in factories, of their supply chain, which they do not own?

SAP And IBM Get Intimate–Real Value Or Hook Up Of The Oldies?

Article:  SAP And IBM Get Intimate–Real Value Or Hook Up Of The Oldies?



Ginni Rometty, chairman, president, and CEO of IBM, and Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP

Recently, the two major IT companies SAP and IBM have announced their partnership. The German company SAP will use IBM-operated cloud facilities along with its own in order to expand their cloud reach. This would facilitate and decrease expenses of managing software and associated hardware for customers. On the other hand, IBM will now run SAP HANA  on its cloud system. The SAP HANA, according to it’s website is “ an in-memory data platform that is deployable as an on-premise appliance, or in the cloud.” This partnership will give both company big advantage over their competitors, such as Oracle.  CEO of both companies believe that this is a major step forward in bringing innovation quickly to customers in an “easily consumable manner”, as well as improve security and privacy concerns.


  1. What risk do you see in this partnership between IBM and SAP?
  2. Why do you think did SAP chose to partner up with IBM rather than with Amazon or Google for example?
  3. How will this partnership benefit current and new customers that uses SAP AG products as their ERP system?

SAP: Entering the Small Business Market

The article I chose shows how SAP realized the need Small Businesses have for big data.  I chose this article because I found it interesting that this company had expanded their resources to smaller markets because of their similarities with their sports analytics division.  With Small to Mid-Sized Businesses being such a big percentage (80%) of SAP’s customers, this realization of similarities between teams and businesses was a huge break through for SAP as well as their SMB clients.

1.) Do you believe that smaller businesses are “too small” to benefit from “big data” /business analytics?

2.) What are some similarities between a sports franchise and a small company?

3.) Why do you think SAP’s sales of analytics to SMB has skyrocketed since the launch of their Sports Analytics Division?

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