Midsouth Chamber of Commerece
Midsouth Chamber of Commerce entities involved in issue:
* Vice President Leon Lassiter
* Territory Managers
* Marketing Support Supervisor
* Lack of access to new computer system
* Problems with using old systems
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Midsouth Chamber of Commerce Vice President Leon Lassiter is in the middle of transiting systems with several problems arising. Several workstations have had something happened to their data causing several processes to be done manually causing a major inconvenience to workers. As well as Marketing staff has been unable to access the new system causing their work to stop all together. Overall Vice President Lassiter feels the approach to the management of Information Technology is lacking and needs to be further developed to begin a more effective utilization of systems. Background
In the early part of the 20th century the Midsouth area was heavily reliant on the transportation system for economic growth. Due to poor legislative decisions several communities of the Midsouth were unable to achieve sustainable access to transportation. Which led to a slowing of business growth. Hence why the local communities of the Midsouth formed the MSCC to lobby legislature on this issue. Transportation services was the main issue the MSCC fought for until the 1930’s, at which time several more roles were added. Issues such as banking laws, industrial development and business taxes were added to the charter. This change brought about more staff and members, by 1988 the MSCC had 14 dedicated staff members and 3000 businesses and individuals. Along with an annual budget of $1,720,000. From there the MSCC only grew, by 2000 staff size nearly doubled to 24 members.
In 1988 a reserve account was also developed in the amount of $1.5 million which had been reduced to $250,000 by 2000. Also membership dropped to 2300 businesses due to the Internet boom taking away several of the manufacturing plants in the area. At this point the MSCC was facing several problems including halting the drastic growth due to being unable to fulfill the annual budget. A severe need of reducing costs is in order before any growth can be envisioned or enacted. Vice President Leon Lassiter came to MSCC in 2000 to help increase profitability and membership. After quickly settling in Leon began a review detailing all programs, departments and processes within MSCC. He discovered that the marketing support functions were much better off than the sales functions. As well as he also found that the current information system was limited in its abilities. As a concern of security no staff member had access to all the data necessary to operate the marketing and sales activities in an efficient manner. Discussion
Since Lassiter came on board MSCC several areas have improved within the Marketing department after some reorganization. A growing concern, however was how the MSCC would continue to use Information in an effective manner that drove revenue streams to newer heights. Some of the questions that needed to be considered were:
* How would MSCC use information?
* MSCC needs central database to enter member information and updates
* Database needs to be accessed by marketing department without interruptions
* Scalability needs to be built in to allow more functions to be added
To meet the growing needs of the MSCC, Lassiter discovered a small software firm that developed an extensive piece of software. The small firm was called Unitrak and possessed a database software that contained word processing, record maintenance, legilslative services, online publicaitons, list processing, database management, financial controls, conference registration, seminar registration, billings/invoicing, publication processing, data search/research, inventory tracking, desktop publishing, and project management. All of these aspects would act as solutions for the problems the MSCC was facing now, as well as in the future, giving them the scalability Lassiter was looking for. Unitrak’s software would allow MSCC staff to input special member information into a notes field, generate telemarketing scripts that would allow “tree scripting” based on various sales objections, develop letters and attachments from their workstations using information in a central database rather than manually linking information contained in several separate databases, and much more. Recognizing the value in this software Lassiter began preparing a proposal for Walingford and the Board of Directors.
He created flow charts demonstrating the time that was wasted on various activies from day to day by staff members. Activities such as the amount of time spent on new member sales with the current system and how the new software would begin to eliminate time waste. Lassiter also wanted to demonstrate a six month payback if he was challenged by a member of the executive committee. The proposal created some concern among board members, however. Once Lassiter explained that software could be purchased at a discount and receive unlimited support for free, as well as generate 20% increase in staff productivity and 10 – 15% increase in sales, once the new system was in place, the board agreed to the purchase of the new software. Conclusion
I agree with the solution Lassiter presented to his board. The Chamber of Commerce was experiencing seemingly normal problems for a business membership organization that needed to find a solution that would enable front line workers to be more efficient and increase productivity. The system described in this case study is similar to an ERP system, or enterprise resource planning system. With this platform buisnesses are not able to create more capable workers, they are also able to create statistics that give senior management a real time look into how the business is performing and allow them to make more effective decisions using real time data.
Brown, C. Dehayes, D.W., Hoffer, J.A., Martin, E.W., Perkins, W.C. (2012) Managing Information Technology. Prentice Hall Upper Saddle River, NJ.