MIS2101 – Summer 1 2015

Information Systems in Organizations

Supporting the Sales Process with SAP – What Modern CRM Looks Like in a Natively-Digital World


In chapter 8 of our text, Kroenke outlines how companies utilize SAP programs within their organizations and how ERP programs help generate sales and maintain long term relationships with customers. In this chapter, Kroenke gives examples of how ERP programs such as SAP make for a smooth, easy sales process that is beneficial for both the company and the customer. With successful utilization of these ERP programs, firms will see increases in customer satisfaction which will result an increase of sales as well as repeat customers – which is the ultimate goal of SAP in the sales process.

In my chosen article from the SAP community network, the author discusses CRM in a “Natively-Digital” world. The article discusses how new age business’ such as Uber and AirBnB are taking CRM to the next level obtaining useful data while at the same time providing a simple, easy to use service in which everyone benefits.

Three discussion topics based on the Kroenke Chapter and the article are:

1) In the text, Kroenke states that there is a large possibility that you will work with SAP or another ERP system on your very first job after college. Does anyone currently work with SAP or another ERP system daily?

2) Kroenke details the importance of increasing ‘process synergy’– meaning the buying process is easy and simple along with the billing/delivery processes. (ex: Amazon, Uber) Do you agree that you are more likely to be a repeat customer of a company whose purchasing process for their product or service is easy and simple?

3) Have you ever received a benefit from a company who utilizes SAP as part of their operations?

Amazon WAAS – Warehouse as a Service

The article “A Rare Peel inside Amazon’s Massive Wish-Fulfilling Machine” demonstrates the efficiency and power that an intelligent warehouse like Amazon’s has. What makes Amazon truly remarkable is that over 40% of their inventory comes from third-party sellers. In 2013, Amazon sold over a billion items on behalf of third party sellers. By creating this selling platform for other sellers, it has allowed Amazon to explore and develop unique solutions in other fields. To name a few: Amazon Prime, Amazon TV, AWS services, amongst others. Amazon’s intelligence in logistics is an advantage that no other tech rival can come close to, as of now. Amazon is increasingly becoming faster and smarter, allowing it to fulfill consumer wishes faster every day. Amazon allows many businesses to save money, due economies of scope. Meaning they can reduce procurement costs for businesses due to their sheer volume of order volume.

Packages slide down chutes, separated by delivery method. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

Discussion Questions:

1.) What do you think Amazon will do next to enable more sales for small businesses?

2.) How do you think Amazon will enter local markets? Perhaps acquire a company like Postmates? Drones?

3.) Do you think that Amazon will develop its own private shipping service? (Ex. UPS, FedEx)

Supporting the Sales Process with SAP – Why the Ultimate Customer Experience still Doesn’t Exist


The Kroenke chapter I covered, “Supporting the Sales Process with SAP”, focused on the implementation of ERP programs like SAP to the sales process of a company. Since sales is arguably the most customer-focused aspect of a business, the chapter examined customer relationship management (CRM) on an integrated level, versus what a business would look like without sophisticated process integration programs in place. The objective of a sales process is simple: repeat customers. With an ERP system like SAP in place to overcome problems and achieve strategy, companies will see improved sales and service, fewer cancelled sales, faster customer response and an overall more satisfied customer.

The article I chose from SAPVoice: “A Three-Step Guide to the Ultimate Customer Experience” highlighted the fact that companies today are still behind in satisfying their customer’s wants. The three suggestions he has to help retailers address these issues are:

  1. What if everything went exactly right?
    1. Figure out what the customers actually want from their shopping experience.
    2. Connect with their customer, learn their preferences at every stage of the buying cycle – what is the most important to them? Low prices? Informed sales people?
    3. This process can be very challenging analytically. Having a sophisticated SAP system in place will help with complex customer data.
  2. What does it take to make it work out that way?
    1. Identify the specific steps, action items and work needed to happen to implement the changes the customers want.
  3. What are the road blocks?
    1. Today, many retailers have outdated policies and procedures that are not up to par with today’s hypercompetitive marketplace or technological advances – the mobile consumer can shop wherever and whenever they want.
    2. Why cant typical brick-and-mortar locations meet today’s customer’s expectations?
    3. One thing customers hate to hear most is ‘we’ve never done it that way’ – they cut out the middleman of the retailer and go directly online.
  1. Do you prefer to shop in-store or an online? Why?


  1. What is your idea of the “ultimate customer experience”? How much of that involves human interaction?


  1. How can the sales process with the support of and ERP system like SAP help bridge the gap between dissatisfied customers and thrilled, repeat ones?

Coupa Software Partners with MasterCard and Silicon Valley Bank to Automate Payments in New Era of Connected Business


Chapter 7 of the text for Kroenke discusses the procurement process and answers questions about the process and how SAP can assist in making it a smoother and more effective.  The article, which is titled, “Coupa Software Partners with MasterCard and Silicon Valley Bank to Automate Payments in New Era of Connected Business” discusses how Coupa Software has started a partnership with MasterCard that would make it easier for Coupa’s customers to make payments and receive invoices.  Coupa Software is one of the leading cloud-based spend management solutions and also uses an ERP system to give business measurable results that cloud spend management has lacked for a long time.  The service deploys virtual card payment solution within one of Coupa’s platforms and would allow millions of business that use MasterCard to get their invoices paid faster without any negative impacts on their customer’s cash position.  MasterCards virtual card technology along with Coupa also allows buyers to set payment upon the approval of the transaction, which allows for reduced costs, and risks associated with traditional payment methods. This capability allows for less friction for companies around the world when it comes to their payment processes.  This partnership and service also allows for customers to set days payable outstanding while also allowing suppliers to choose their invoice payment terms and how they get paid leading to what they call the ultimate B2B win-win.  The platform should allow for greater efficiency as well greater benefits and allow better B2B relations with any suppliers regardless of the size or volume of business.


1.  Do you think Coupa Software has found a good balance between using the cloud and an ERP harmoniously?

2.  Are partnerships like the one discussed in the article a good idea in regards to the procurement process? Why or why not.  Furthermore do you think if this is successful it could lead to more partnerships like this one?

3.  In the future what other technologies do you think will be available that will make the procurement process easier?

Microsoft updates Dynamics ERP app



Chapter 6 of the Kroenke textbook answers several questions about ERP implementation, including information on the benefits, challenges, and purpose of ERPs. The  chapter also lists the “major” vendors of ERP systems, such as Oracle and Microsoft Dynamics, in a chart on page 173. The author explicitly states that Microsoft would possibly “make an ERP announcement for a new ERP product in the cloud” (p. 174). That day has come, as Microsoft has just this week announced an update to their Dynamics GP ERP product that will simplify the cloud system Azure. The article discusses how this will allow the company to compete with the new and growing cloud-based systems such as NetSuite, Intacct, and FinancialForce. While the chapter seems to almost bash Microsoft’s product, stating that the system isn’t well integrated and has no direction (they offer four different products – GP, AX, Nav, and SL), it seems that this new improvement to Azure and additional updates on Dynamics have proved they are still fierce competition. Microsoft is looking to not only expand the range of apps offered in the ERP (Azure, time management, visual indicators), but they are also trying to simplify the product as much as possible. These enhancements allow Microsoft to continue to cater to the small to mid-sized firms that they have been serving all along.


1. Do you think it is necessary for Microsoft to use Azure at all? Considering they are already being accused of having “four horses headed in different directions”, do you think it would be better for them to have a more narrow focus and improve their main, non cloud-based ERP products?


2. Based on the information in the article, would you choose Microsoft Dynamics as your company’s ERP product (if you were a company of the right size)?


3. Does it surprise you that a company as successful as Microsoft is not totally dominating the ERP market?

Four Ways Data Quality Solutions Can Better Your Business


The article “Four Ways Data Quality Solutions Can Better Your Business” explains how better data management can help companies boost their business and better serve their customers. In order for businesses to succeed, and to serve their customers with the highest efficiency and effectiveness, it is essential for the data to be accurate and trusted. Businesses spend millions of dollars annually by relying on inaccurate or poor quality data, which causes unnecessary waste and slows down the decision-making and understanding of business problems.

So, effective data management can help companies:

1. Reduce Costs

For example, bad data can interfere with a company’s ability to keep track of their inventory and as a result, the store is out of stock when a customer comes in and thus, loses the sale.

2. Save Time

Accurate data reduces business-processing time and accelerates it. When data is inaccurate, companies waste valuable time and resources searching for that bad data, fixing it and remedying the situation.

3. Increase Response Rates

Data accuracy and timeliness increase returns on business postal or email campaigns and eliminate money and time waste sending mails to outdated addresses. Also, businesses may send the wrong message to a customer and lose that customer for good. For example, if a new customer’s information is not collected accurately, and the information is sent to the wrong individual, the customer never receives the information and is unable to respond.

4. Boost Customer Satisfaction

Bad data quality can lead to critical errors, which can damage a company’s reputation and scare current and future customers away. For example, bad data could cause confusion about a delivery date, and the item arrives after the customer needs it.

  1. What negative impact a dirty data has on business processes? Do you have any real life example when bad/dirty data caused business loss or even failure?
  2.  How business can eliminate a dirty data?
  3. Who is responsible for data quality in an organization?

SAP Unveils SAP HANA Cloud Platform for the Internet of Things

SAP Unveils SAP HANA® Cloud Platform for the Internet of Things

By Shikher Verma


SAP has introduced cloud computing in which it will give access to its customers or the independent software developers to make software applications that can take data from different elements from their business and create new kinds of information services and all in real time. Customers also have the ability to connect anything to any app or business process in their company and business network which results in new customer experience, new products and services.


In a nutshell to what exactly SAP Hana does… watch this video.


Q1. Have you had personal experience with cloud computing and how was it?

Q2. In what way can HANA be part of our business?

Q3. Is cloud computing going to be our future?


Supply Chain Managers Mine Field of Problems!!


Supply chains are a collection of companies and processes involved in moving a product from the suppliers of raw material to the suppliers of intermediate components, then to final production, and ultimately, to the consumer. These supply chains are normal very large and complex and include many companies located around the world. A single disruption no matter the size will cause many supply chains to fail. These could be anything from loss of power which is common in Brazil to deflation which Japan is currently facing. These disruption will can cause supply chains to fall apart and products and service to be delayed which will cause companies to lose potential contracts and services with customers. Companies that use supply chains that are located in areas that are still developing have no easy answer to the problems that they face of potential shutdowns.Supply chain managers have a tough job of finding ways in which to insure that production does not cease because event s that are out of their control.  One way that companies can combat these scenarios is by being on the leading edge with their suppliers by developing a strong and intimate relationship with them. This will allow them to be able to work hand in hand with them to find and avoid potential disasters.


Discussion Questions:

1)Do you think that with the current amount of natural disasters and economic situations that many of these countries are facing that companies begin to relocate elsewhere?

2)Do you think that if Japan and Europe are stuck in a prolonged period of deflation that they will have to adjust their supply chains to be more cost effective? If so how will they do so?

3)Since disruptions are being calculated in as part of the supply chain operations what do you think companies are doing to ensure that their business is not hindered?

Takata Air-Bag Recalls Expand to 34 Million Cars in the US

A large focus of Chapter 8 focuses on Supply Chain Management and how it effects business-to-business relationships. An advantage to having a supply chain management system in place is to maintain good corporate social responsibility. A common issue that many organizations face is product recalls. Having an effective supply chain management system in place can help manage where the products being recalled have traveled in shipments. When business is being conducted on an international basis it is a possibility that defects that occur at the beginning of the supply chain filter out to other countries and often go undetected until a consumer purchases the product. This is why it is important for companies, especially suppliers, to know where their products travel and who those products have been sold to.

Many of us are familiar with the most recent consumer product recall to hit the United States, the Takata Air Bag recall. The United States Transportation Secretary believes this to be the most complex and largest recall for a consumer product in United States history. Back in the 1980’s Tylenol’s recall scandal only called for a recall of 31 million products; Takata’s number has reached 34 million vehicles and this number could potentially keep growing. Takata’s airbags are said to be overly aggressive when they explode and sometimes eject sharp metal fragments into the car when they explode. So far six people have died and over one hundred have been injured when the airbags have ejected. Takata believes the airbag defects could be a result of high humidity and moisture in the air but are not certain. Takata has sold millions of airbags to car manufacturers over the years, especially Honda, Toyota, and General Motors. It is believed that Takata air bags make up 14% of current airbags on the road in the US. It could take months to years for this recall to be fully resolved.


Discussion Questions:

1. Have any of you been a victim of this particular recall or another recall in the past? Were you satisfied with how the company resolved the issue and did it alter your opinion of them?

2. Why do you think product recalls go unnoticed until the consumer receives the product?

3. What changes if any, could Takata make to its supply chain management to ensure that another recall such as this one does not occur again in the future?



The Importance of Cultivating Customer Relationships

Link: http://mashable.com/2013/11/25/customer-relationships/

Chapter 8 in the Valacich textbook gives us information about customer relationship management (CRM) and how it is important for businesses to attract new customers and keep existing customers happy. This article talks about the importance of cultivating customer relationships for a business. In this article, six different entrepreneurs give their intake on what they think are the best practices when building customer relationships. One of the key points that were mentioned in this article is that if you keep your current customers happy, they will more than likely refer your business to others. Another thing that was talked about was that a business should follow through with the expectations that they set for customers and to always ask “what can I do for this person?” Responding to customers promptly is also very important in building customer relationships because it shows the customers that you truly car about them and what they have to say. This was a good article that showed how important building customer relationships can be for businesses.



  1. Have you ever encountered a situation where you, as a customer, left a certain company because of poor customer relationship to a rival company? If so, what happened?
  1. What do you think is the most important key to a successful business-customer relationship?
  1. Have you ever been so satisfied with a business’s customer service that you have referred that business to friends or family? If so, what company was it?