1. In this scenario, management was able to outline some specific characteristics that the resulting technology must have. Is this a good idea? On the one hand, it provides clear criteria against which proposals can be evaluated; on the other hand, it limits solutions to what management has thought of, which is likely derived from what exists today, not what might exist in the future. How do you balance these two aspects of the problem?
2. Beyond the obvious efficiencies, is management taking a leap of faith when it assumes that going digital will open the door to new products and services, or is it a foregone conclusion? Can you provide some examples of what would be possible with digital PODs that would not be possible with paper-based ones?
3. What are some of the challenges Budway Enterprises faces as it seeks to modernize its business practices? Which are technical in nature, and which are business-related? How do the challenges you identified generalize to other companies?
1. What do you think will be the major challenges Center-Point will face as it embarks on its transformation from real estate manager into a provider of logistic solutions? What part of those challenges will be related to IT? What does your answer say about the importance of IT in organizations today?
2. What are some of the alternatives that Center Point has for procuring the new functionality required from their IT for the new business model? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of those alternatives?
3. Is it a good idea to roll out a new, large IT implementation at the same time the company is embarking on a major transformation? On the other hand, is it possible to radically transform a company without major changes in IT?
Do large IT implementations and radical transformation go together?
Is it possible to transform an organization without a large concurrent IT implementation?
Given the timelines imposed by the privatization process, were there really any alternatives from which Japan Post Network could choose? What is the lesson here about nontechnical constraints that are imposed on this type of project?
1. To build or to buy is one of the central questions when it comes to provisioning technologies. How did Center-Point choose what to buy and what to develop internally? What lessons can be synthesized from its approach that can be applied to other companies in the future?
2. What is your opinion on whether CenterPoint should possibly license CUB or act as a service provider? Do you think this would dilute CenterPoint’s competitive position? What are the advantages and disadvantages of moving forward with this idea?
1. Why does Crescent Healthcare need to replace its current technologies? The company has very likely invested huge sums in its core applications over time, they seem to work as expected, and people know how to use them, even if they have some quirks. Is it worth starting all over again?
Why replace current technologies?
Where is the value of their systems?
2. What are some of the alternatives that Michalak has for achieving these objectives? That is, in which ways could the revamping of existing applications be accomplished? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
3. Beyond replacing the current systems with more modern ones, what other functionality would you add to Crescent’s IT infrastructure? In what ways would you make the new systems different from the current ones?
1. Looking at the situation that Qualcomm faces, how does a large, technology-oriented company get to this point? What would be some of the underlying reasons that would make the development of separate applications a priority over careful orchestrated integration?
2. What does it mean to say that technology can “either constrain or enable its capacity to create and deliver new products and services”? In which ways?
3. Moving forward, what are some of the alternatives open to Qualcomm? Should it replace its integration approach with a different one, or rewrite all of its legacy applications from scratch? Or should it do something in between? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative?
1. What are some of the different ways in which the needed services could be provided? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Which resources will be required in each case?
2. What will be the key issues that will define the success of any solution that is implemented? Are those technological or organizational in nature?
3. What are the shared characteristics of the problems that both organizations face? That is, how are the challenges that they face structurally similar?
1. This case chronicles the many issues associated with the IT environment in which U.S. Xpress currently operates. How did U.S. Xpress get into this situation? Was this the result of different business priorities in the past? If so, which ones? What are the lessons for companies that frequently acquire other business?
2. Moving forward, what does U.S. Xpress need to do in the future regarding its IT infrastructure in general, and its data issues in particular? What do you think should be the next three steps the company should take?
3. Should companies take a periodic (e.g., clean every so often) approach or a continuous, more expensive, approach to data quality? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
1. Once the technical aspects of data quality are put in place, who should be in charge of making decisions about these issues? Is this a technical responsibility or a business one? What are the advantages and disadvantages of either approach?
Who should be in charge of making decisions?
2. Are the benefits outlined in the case the result of better technology or improved decision making? Today, is it possible to clearly separate the two anymore? What are the implications for U.S. Xpress as it decides where to go next and how to invest in future projects?
Are technology and business decision making separable?
1. What are the disadvantages, if any, of relying on cloud computing and Software as a Service for the provision of mission-critical applications such as the one enabling the cross-selling of products and services from other companies in the group? What are the most important factors that management should assess as they select these providers?
2. The majority of the development for the two systems discussed here was achieved by putting together components that already existed in the Force.com platform. Is this the best approach – or even possible one – for all kinds of systems (e.g., strategic, functional, and so forth)?