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Case Studies (Questions and Answers)

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Air Canada, Amazon, and Google vs Microsoft

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Case Studies (Questions and Answers)

  1. 1. Case Study Page 1 CASE STUDIES AIR CANADA Q1) what problems does Air Canada hope that Maintenix will solve? The company information system had plenty of room for improvement. When air Canada technicians worked on planes, they used several different legacy software packages installed over the past 15 years. The system weren't able to interact with one another or with finance and inventory system. The inefficiency of these systems were costing air Canada the time of its engineers and money that could have been used on maintaining its planes, instead of needlessly maintaining excess inventory. Air Canada turned to mix technologies for help in addressing these problems. Mix is renowned in the airline industry for its maintaining software package, which provides integrated, intelligent aviation MRO (maintenance, repair, and organizations) software to aviation organizations hoping to improve productivity. Q2) how does Maintenix improve operational efficiency and decision-making? The benefits of Maintenix that interested air Canada were enhanced visibility of fleet-wide data, timelier decision-making, support of its currently existing business model, and increased operational efficiencies. Maintenix provides a system platform that is accessible via the web and easy to deploy to all stations around the world. Mix claims that their software reduces repetitive tasks and time chasing missing or incomplete information by allowing maintenance, engineering, and finance division to easily share information. Maintenix can supply data to the company's existing enterprise resource planning and financial software, and Air Canada plans to link it up with its PeopleSoft finance and human resource applications. Wireless deployment also makes Maintenix more effective, since aviation technicians, equipment, and parts are always on the move. Q3) Give examples of three decision supported by the Maintenix system. What information do the Maintenix modules provide to support each these decision? The Maintenix software package consists of six different modules, which are separate segments of the product that interconnect. The six modules are maintenance engineering, line maintenance, heavy maintenance, shop maintenance, materials maintenance, and finance. The maintenance engineering module is the foundation of the Maintenix system. It is used to establish the configuration hierarchy, rules, and maintenance program that all of the other modules depend upon. Through this module, the airline can set up a "logically configuration", which describes aircraft components, part relationships, and compatibility rules. For example of how Maintenix will increase air Canada's efficiency might be as follows. An air Canada
  2. 2. Case Study Page 2 technician requests a part he needs for maintenance from supply. Maintenix automatically process the request. If the required part is available, Maintenix automatically reserves it and the appropriate personal are immediately informed that the part is ready to be picked for issue. Line Maintenix involves matching a dynamic list of maintenance work requirements against finite resources at varying locations within a flight schedule that is constantly undergoing change. The module includes line station planning applications, which are designed to schedule maintenance and allocate work, based on the capabilities of the line station facilities as well as the aircraft's scheduled location. For example, this module allows air Canada to ensure that qualified technician is available before they schedule maintenance. The material management module deals with the logistically complex process of ensuring availability of parts without overstocking. Maintenix ensure s that the minimum amount of each part is always in inventory without causing engineer to be sort on parts at any time. Maintaining this delicate balance is critical in order to maximize revenue and achieved greater operational efficiencies. AMAZON'S NEW STORE: UTILITY COMPUTING Q1) what technology services does Amazon provide? What are the business advantages to Amazon and to subscribers of these services? What are the disadvantages of each? What kinds of businesses are likely to benefit from these services? Amazon provides cloud computing in which also known as on-demand computing or utility computing in which refer to refers to firms off-loading peak demand for computing power to remote, large-scale data processing centers. Amazon offers computing capacity on a per usage basis just like other utility providers of electricity, water and waste treatment. Business advantages of these services show that Amazon could produce extra income from other businesses by offering its additional capacity to those that want it. Like other establishments, Amazon used only a small portion of it total computing capacity at any one time. Besides that, its infrastructure is considered by many to be among the most robust in the world. Subscribers to the Simple Storage Service (S3) can use only what they need without having to purchase their own hardware and software and decreases the total cost of ownership for small and medium- sized businesses. The system is scalable and dependable for both Amazon and their subscribers. In addition, the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service allows businesses to utilize Amazon’s servers for computing tasks without having the overhead costs. In reflection of above statements, firms might want to go with reputable names in utility computing but Amazon is not known as a technology company as its business is more as a
  3. 3. Case Study Page 3 retailer. However, its competitors such as Sun Microsystems, HP, and IBM may keep on Amazon’s lead and offer utility computing without involving service-level agreements. Some businesses are cautious of using a supplier that does not offer SLAs but promise the availability of services in terms of time. The development of Amazon Web Services (AWS) could be risky to its Web services route as well as its retail line if the firm does not position itself to handle an increase in demand on its infrastructure. Other than that, another advantage includes customers may experience outages in the service and not have any compensate since there are no service level agreements but only Amazon’s word that will maintain 99.9 percent availability. Large and small businesses could benefit from using AWS in which the service discharges small business from the TCO of having its own systems. AWS creates the chance for others to work at Web scale without making the mistakes that Amazon has already made and learned from. Large businesses can use AWS as an ancillary unit without having to increase their hardware and associated TCO. Q2) how do the concepts of capacity planning, scalability and TCO apply to this case? Apply these concepts both to Amazon and to subscribers of its services. Amazon must require hardware capacity planning and scalability for not just its own needs but for all its subscribers as well. Underestimating capacity and scalability would create shortages for its own business and its subscribers and overestimates would affect Amazon’s financial assets. Too many instances of non-availability could create the impression that Amazon can’t manage the service. Estimating scalability for such a large and various numbers of users without breaking down is a huge duty. Amazon must sustain the total TCO of its services, all the while ensuring it can generate revenue from it. The services’ subscribers grant from not having to concern about these matters and not bearing the burden of TCO issues. Q3) Search the Internet for companies that supply utility computing. Select 2 or 3 companies and compare them to Amazon. What services do these companies provide? What promises do they make about availability? What is their payment model? Who is their target client? If you were launching a Web startup business, would you choose one of these companies over Amazon for Web services? Why or why not? Would your answer change if you were working for a larger company and had to make a recommendation to the CTO? Company that supply utility computing includes Hewlett-Packard (HP). They provide utility computing for PCs, server storage, mail and messaging, print, and centralized data center infrastructure through its distributed grid technology. It focuses on small, medium and large sized companies for a variety of computing services with their availability at 99.9 percent.
  4. 4. Case Study Page 4 Another company is Sun Microsystems that offers utility computing through grid computing. It charges $1 per CPU hour. It offers platforms for its target users in computational mathematics, computer aided engineering, electronic design automation, financial services, life sciences computing tasks. Software developers use Sun’s Network.com service for building, testing, and deploying new applications to their customers. It promises 99.9 percent availability. Amazon seems to be an easier service to incorporate into a start-up business because it has been focused towards small and medium sized businesses since its commencement. Q4) Think of an idea for a Web-based startup business. Explain how this business could utilize Amazon’s S3 and EC2 services? Amazon’s flexible and pay-as-you-go model gives opportunities for those who want to start up a Web-based business because it gives a competitive advantage over companies that require service contracts or purchase its own storage. By using Amazon’s S3 and EC2 services, user pays exactly what they use and it provides inexpensive yet fast method for businesses to store data on a system. An example of business could be an e-market network e.g. Mudah. My in which users could buy and find jobs, search cars for sale, houses for sale, mobile phones for sale, computers for sale and properties for sale in the region conveniently. By using S3, the business could store XML representation of the objects in which it is used to store and host the objects visited by the users. With EC2, the business has full control over the machines and choice of the environment. The business may run its own server in data center and EC2 acts as a system administrator. Therefore, by using S3 and EC2 would help a business towards cost savings and unnecessary to set up any hardware. GOOGLE VERSUS MICROSOFT: CLASH OF THE TECHONOLOGY TITANS Q1) Define the business strategies and business models of Google and Microsoft? Google: Google's business model is web-based. They have built their business around the strength of their search engine being the strongest on the internet. As the use of the internet has developed, so has their capabilities on the internet, and they have developed their business beyond their search engine capabilities. Their evolution has brought them to cloud computing. Cloud computing is concept where computer tasks are completed via the Web, on computers in data centers instead of the desktop. "Google has pioneered cloud computing. It is obviously
  5. 5. Case Study Page 5 banking that Internet-based computing will supplant desktop computing as the way most people will work with their computers" (Loudon & Loudon, p. 289, 2010). Google's business strategy and model has grown over the last decade, and they are embarking on a new era as firm. However, the foundation of their business was built from the evolution of the desktop applications, and Microsoft is the leader. Microsoft: Microsoft's business model and strategy is built around their Windows desktop applications. 90% of the world's computer usage is based on Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office applications (Loudon & Loudon, 2010). Microsoft applications have had a significant influence on the growth and development of the internet. Moreover, Microsoft wants to embrace the Internet while persuading customers to retain the use of the desktop as the focal point for computing tasks. In other words, Microsoft wants consumers to utilize the desktop applications for their computer usage that Google is trying to get them to use on the Web. Q2) Has the Internet taken over the PC desktop as the center of action? Why or why not? The Internet has taken over the PC desktop as the center of social interaction, but not the center of action. The personal computer (PC) is still the hub that provides access to the internet. The PC is where work is completed, reports are written, and data is primarily saved. The PC allows for files to be sent via thumb drives, compact discs (CD), SD cards, and DVD’s to be used or placed on the internet. Consequently, the PC is too integral of a part to not be the center of the action. Q3) why did Microsoft attempt to acquire Yahoo!? How did it affect its business model? Do you believe this was a good move? Google currently owns 60% of the Internet search market. Microsoft wants to strengthen its Internet presence if the desktop applications market follows the Google cloud applications path. Yahoo! owns 20% of the Internet search market, and Microsoft owns 10% of the search market. A merger between Microsoft and Yahoo! would give the company 30% of the Internet search market. The move to purchase Yahoo! was a sign that Microsoft is transitioning their business model to become more adaptable to change. Regardless of the future direction of cloud vs desktop applications, Microsoft has to be able to adjust the possibilities in order to stay number one. Over 95% of the computers use the Microsoft applications, and so Microsoft does not want to lose their dominance. I do not believe that it was a good move for Microsoft to go after Yahoo! because their gain was going to be a minimal 10%, Yahoo! has been on a downward spiral in the Internet search market, and the purpose of the purchase was not Microsoft's modus operand for innovation and improvement. Bill Gates began Microsoft by taking the initial Apple programming, studying it, developing, and refining it to a point that it could be used in a format the rest of the world can use. The same formula that Bill Gates used for the Windows applications was used for the
  6. 6. Case Study Page 6 XBOX and other Microsoft products. They grow and develop from within. That method has promoted continuity, growth, and their reputation. If they take the time to develop their own version of cloud applications, they would conquer a holy grail of computing. With 95% of the world using Windows applications, it is a smaller leap for the existing market to transition into a Windows cloud application. Q4) what is the significance of Google Apps to Google's future success? I think Google Apps is extremely significant for Google's success. In order for Google to persuade consumers to trust the cloud, they need to show they have their own applications instead of needing desktop applications to thrive. Q5) Would I use Google Apps instead of Microsoft Office applications for computing tasks? Why or why not? I would not use Google Apps instead of Microsoft Office applications for computing tasks. Hackers are already breaking into desktop applications, I cannot trust my information to Web based applications. Consequently, the security issue is a major factor for me as a computer user, and so I will continue to use Microsoft Office. Q6) which company and business model do you believe will prevail in this epic struggle? Justify your answer. I believe that Microsoft will ultimately prevail. After thirty years of consistent growth, innovation, and diversity, Microsoft has become the entire computer technology industry. There is no company on the planet that does not use some form of Microsoft application or technology. Microsoft simply has to develop their Internet search capabilities because they have everything else in the marketplace. On the other hand, Google is trying to create the applications and technology to gain a foothold in a market that Microsoft owns. Moreover, people have to use a desktop application to access the Internet. Consumers do not need a Web application to access a computer. Finally, people already have personal computers (PC) to access the internet and perform projects from home. Google has to overcome the existing convenience in order for Google Apps to be successful, and I just do not think that it will be a feasible attempt.

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