Management Information System at Apple Inc.

Introduction and Overview of the Corporation

Apple Inc. is one of the most popular companies regarding computer, software, and Smartphone technology. The company is based in the United States and has its products distributed and used in the global market. Apple is involved in designing, manufacturing, and marketing personal computers, software, and peripherals. Successful marketing and distribution of the company’s products have been facilitated through online marketing, third-party wholesalers, and a chain of stores. The company was started in 1976 by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. Their main aim and philosophy are to provide products based on innovative approaches to achieve unique customer satisfaction (O’Grady, 2009). The company has succeeded in all aspects of business operations and marketing in producing and distributing high-quality and innovative products. Many factors would have driven the company to realize its success. However, this paper focuses on the role of information, information technology, and the people in the company’s success. Aspects such as the type of information employees require, business intelligence through customer relationship management systems, and the usage of use efficiency IT metrics are discussed.

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Information, Information Technology, and People

Information, information technology, and people are considered the primary driver toward a successful organization in the modern competitive world. Apple Inc is an example of such companies; thus, it offers the best case study on the evaluation. The role of each of the elements will be evaluated separately.

Information

It is considered the refined data used to make relevant and appropriate decisions. Information about consumers, suppliers, marketers, and the organization’s internal operations is critical when developing relevant business strategies. Apple Inc uses market-based information to determine, among other things, the type of products that will bring high customer satisfaction, the potential demand for its products, and the potential supplier. Information on the type of products assists Apple in determining the features of the products that will meet the intended level of customer experience. The information on demand assists the company in determining the quantity to produce and the number of products to supply in various markets worldwide (Innovation tools.com, 2014). For example, the company has its largest market in developed economies; hence, large quantities are supplied to such markets. In fact, suppliers are critical stakeholders in any business irrespective of size, industry, and market of operation.

Apple Inc is more focused on innovation and the quality of products. Information about the suppliers assists the company in identifying suppliers whose materials and products are in line with the expected quality. Eventually, Apple receives high-quality raw materials at the best market prices to successfully produce its innovative and high-quality products.

Business operations should be aligned in such a way that the vision and objectives of the organization are realized. The vision and objective for high-quality products cannot be realized at Apple Inc without the full support of internal systems. Information on internal operations assists Apple in determining areas of weaknesses that may hinder its successful operations.

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Information Technology

The aspect concerns the system applied in an organization’s management and processing of information. The company has developed a management information system to facilitate effective management of IT. Through information technology, the management of business functions has been made more competent and successful than it used to be in the past. Departments are easily coordinated, a situation that facilitates effective flow in operations. Through effective communication among departments, the synergy brought about through teamwork and unity at Apple has made it possible to run the business successfully.

Apple Inc uses modern technology in many ways. Innovation as a tool for a successful business depends upon the application of information technology in research and development. Apple encourages its employees to conduct research that will assist in designing and developing the intended product (Innovation tools.com, 2014). The employees conduct research through internet-based technology and present their findings to the research system for valuation. Next, the information about the organization and its operations is collected and saved in an information management system. Information technology, particularly the application of computer hardware and software, assists the company in retrieving, processing, and using the information to make informed decisions on the type of products to design and develop.

People

 All levels of the organization are enjoined through the systems developed, while the company’s mission and objectives should drive the people’s efforts. Employees are key to the realization of successful business operations because they are involved in the daily development and running of the systems. An investor or a business owner can raise the funds, materials, and tools required but cannot succeed without people’s assistance. Apple Inc may have the required resources and systems, but its success is been driven by the employees’ efforts. The top leadership collects information on the manufactured goods and type of product that can offer the best customer satisfaction and calls upon the employees to develop models that fit within the described products (Brink & Berndt, 2008). The employees conduct research and come up with various models for consideration. Upon the approval of a model, the product development employees take up the model and design a production system, which eventually initiates the development of the intended products.

The employees at the marketing department are expected to develop a successful marketing model in marketing the products from the development and production department. With an understanding of the customer needs and preferences, the marketers decide on the markets to serve with a certain product and the qualities expected by the customers (Innovation tools.com, 2014). The marketing team ensures that the products are distributed to all the potential markets and that the customers are assisted in operating the products.

Information, information technology, and people are, therefore, prime factors when it comes to the successful operations of a business organization. In modern business operations, the three elements are interrelated. Information is required for decision-making to facilitate successful business operations. The type of information required in business is acquired, analyzed, preserved, and retrieved through information technology in the information management system. People are very critical when it comes to the collection and analysis of data. They are involved in the development and maintenance of information technology management systems, and hence employees play a central role as intermediaries between information gathered and application for successful business operations.

Information Required at Apple Inc

Employees require appropriate information to fulfill their roles and carry on their duties successfully. It is imperative to understand the role of employees to be able to determine the type of information they require. To determine the type of information required at Apple, the employees can be divided into three categories: executives at the headquarters, sales and marketing employees, and the human resource management team. The executives at the headquarters ensure that the company’s vision is rolled at all levels of operations. Employees operating at this level require information on how a product that satisfies the needs and expectation of customers are made. The executive requires the information to describe the features of the products to the product design and development team.

The sales and marketing employees are primarily involved in ensuring that the products reach the intended consumers in the right quality, at the right time, and in form. The information required by employees in the sales and marketing team should assist them in understanding the customers and the marketing environment (Innovation tools.com, 2014). The first type of information they require includes the trends in demand, changing customer needs, and appropriate promotion strategies for different markets. In addition, the employees would require information on various marketing strategies applied by the competitors. Information of this nature is important because it assists the marketing employees in developing better or unique strategies to counter the approaches applied by the competitors.

Human resource management teams/employees are immensely important in an organization’s acquisition, position, and retention. To serve in the department effectively, the employees require information on human resource used in various departments to be able to determine the number of new employees required (Rajola, 2013). Apart from human resource requirements, the HR department requires information on the type of skills, expertise, personality, and experience to fill in the different vacant positions. This type of information is important to assist in acquiring highly skilled employees who are ready to drive the company’s vision.

Business Intelligence in Customer Relationship Management System

Business intelligence is a recently developed concept concerned with the ability of an organization to collect and understand relevant information on the business environment and the strategies necessary for a successful business operation. An organization cannot develop relevant business intelligence without understanding target customers’ needs. Organizations oriented to customers strive to understand the expectation of the target customers to retain relevance in the market. Such companies are positioned to satisfy their customers at all times, a key ingredient to high customer loyalty and retention (Baran, Galka, & Strunk, 2008). Eventually, the sales revenue and profitability of the company grow at an appealing rate.

Many companies find it hard to develop reliable business intelligence because of the perception that it requires a lot of resources to fund the required research. However, this is far from the truth because what is required is only the development of a customer relationship management system. The system is a tool through which an organization can understand its customers. Therefore, customer relationship management systems can be the primary tool through which business intelligence can be acquired. Customers are the primary reason for participation in business operations; hence, it is important to develop business intelligence driven by customer-based systems.

An organization collects the required customer information and data by adapting approaches that allow close interaction. When customers are subjected to a close relationship with an organization, they feel like important stakeholders whose values are upheld. An organization should use different communication channels to reach out to a wide pool of customers. Communication can occur through phones, fax, corporate website, e-mail, and social media, among others (Rajola, 2013). Using these media platforms, an organization can gather information on various perspectives to satisfy customers’ needs.

A customer relationship management system provides an integrated database through which all the collected information at various channels is combined to avoid duplication. From the database, the organization can develop a holistic approach to identify customer concerns and develop strategies to address them. The database is also important in that it enables the organization to capture the data on customer identification where their names and contacts, and transactions with an organization, are recorded. Such arrangements make it easy to respond and communicate to the customers promptly and from an informed point of view (Thierauf, 2001). Such customers feel honored and understand that their needs are taken care of. Therefore, they develop loyalty to the company and its products.

Use of Efficiency IT Metrics to Improve the Business

IT is expected to be a tool to assist an organization in performing effectively and efficiently. However, many organizations have failed to realize positive outcomes from the investment committed to the development of IT. It is, therefore, important to identify IT metrics that an organization can use to realize the intended business outcome (Lüsted, 2012). In this case, three metrics can be used by an organization to build a strong IT and consequently improve its business.

One important metric that an organization should use is to align its business operations with IT functions. IT should be viewed as a tool to achieve business objectives instead of a separate operation approach. In other words, IT adapted by an organization should not contravene other systems. Next, the IT adopted should be matched with the needs of other stakeholders. For example, an IT adapted should not make it hard for the organization to serve and interact with its customers (Thierauf, 2001). Lastly, the IT adapted should be matched with the ability and capacity of the employees to run the system. The employees can be trained on how to run the systems, but in case it is appropriate, new employees can be recruited.

Apple Inc has grown and strengthened its operations through its powerful combination of information, information technology, and people. Employees at different levels are expected to understand the nature of their employment and collect the required information to carry on their duties effectively. For example, employees at the sales and marketing department should have adequate information about the nature of the market they serve. Business Intelligence based on a customer relationship management system offers a larger opportunity to understand the customers and develop a close working relationship for a profitable organization.

 

References

Baran, R. J., Galka, R. J., & Strunk, D. P. (2008). Principles of Customer Relationship Management. Mason, Ohio: Thomson/South-Western.

Brink, A., & Berndt, A. (2008). Relationship Marketing and Customer Relationship Management. Lansdowne, South Africa: Juta.

Innovation tools.com (2014) Innovating the End to End Customer Experience at Apple, Available at: http://www.innovationmanagement.se/imtool-articles/innovating-the-end-to-end-customer-experience-at-apple/

Lüsted, M. A. (2012). Apple: The Company and its Visionary Founder, Steve Jobs. Minneapolis, MN: ABDO Pub.

O’Grady, J. D. (2009). Apple Inc. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.

Rajola, F. (2013). Customer Relationship Management in the Financial Industry: Organizational Processes and Technology Innovation. Berlin: Springer.

Thierauf, R. J. (2001). Effective Business Intelligence Systems. Westport, Conn. [u.a.: Quorum Books.

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