Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Southeast Sporting Goods: Application of Information System Purchasing Principles

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Southeast Sporting Goods: Application of Information System Purchasing Principles

Article excerpt

CASE DESCRIPTION

The primary subject matter of this case concerns information systems. Secondary issues to be examined include identification of technology issues for a small business and the design of a new system. The case, when used for a RFI and RFP exercise, has a difficulty level of five. The case is designed to be taught in three class hours and is expected to take approximately fifteen hours of outside student preparation.

CASE SYNOPSIS

The company president, to whom Eric reports, gives him his first assignment, "You've got a budget of $230,000 to upgrade our old computer system. We want a fast, flexible network. And we want to move some of our marketing effort to the Internet. We'd also like to move toward having our salespeople use laptops or PDAs to enter orders directly from customers. Make a list of what we need in the way of hardware and software. Include everything-"

Students are presented with a business scenario in which they need to have a new information system installed for a small company where a recent graduate has just started working. Students are asked to review the scenario, create an organizational overview to be used as part of a Request for Information (RFI), create a functionality list for a new information system, create an internal memo to justify the expenditure on the new system, and outline what the possible responses to a Request for Proposals (RFP) might be. Included in the instructor's note are guidelines for the use of RFIs and RFPs, complete directions for an assignment, and a completed response. Graduates in the Information Systems area or with MBAs are expected to have an immediate impact on their new company. Many times the graduate is in a newly created position with little guidance from a mentor or more experienced worker. This is especially true for small and medium sized corporations, the very ones that are creating the most new jobs. This case and instructor's note fills a specific void in the field of applying information systems education. Although aimed at small business situations, the knowledge gained through this exercise is equally or more important to graduates who take jobs in government and non-profit agencies or supplying those offices.

SOUTHEAST SPORTING GOODS

The First Assignment

Eric Green, a recent graduate of Small State University, has just been hired as the first fulltime IT manager for a small sporting goods manufacturing company. During the interview process, Eric met with the company president, Sue Boss, and all three of the vice-presidents. Because of Eric's interest in sports and knowledge of business and information systems, he was hired over other similarly qualified individuals. Eric agreed to take the job because he liked the family atmosphere of the place and how decision-making was very participative.

The company president, to whom Eric directly reports, gives him his first assignment. Boss says, "We are committed to a new, upgraded information system and have budgeted $230,000 to spend on it. We want a fast, flexible network. And we want to move some of our marketing effort to the Internet. We'd also like to move toward having our salespeople use laptops or PDAs to enter orders directly from customers. Make a list of what we need in the way of hardware and software. Include everything - computers, cables, network cards, etc. Also, tell me how we are going to go about converting from our old system to our new system. Oh yeah, get this system proposal started within one week. We've got to get going on this before the old system dies on us."

"One more thing," Boss continued, "you better make sure the system is easy to use, because you have to train everyone on how to use it. The VP's have all been asked to meet you in the conference room at 8 am tomorrow, but judging from your interview, you are the expert and they won't have much to contribute except the type and timing of information they need. …

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