Project #36662 - Information Systems Case Study

You will create your term paper (due July 28) from a personal interview with a business or IT leader. To make sure that you ask focused interview questions, you will do research on the IT topics below. You can start by reading the articles whose links I posted. By July 17, you will develop ten interview questions for peer review.  

Interview Assignment

You will need to contact an IT- or other high-ranking manager in a local organization of your choice and ask him or her to give you an interview about their IT strategies. The purpose of your interview is to get some first-hand, real-world accounts about IT investment and management strategies and challenges.

To do the interview effectively, do the following:

  1. Review the information about the industry pressures a company needs to understand to develop the right strategies. 
  2. Review the kinds of generic strategies that organizations use to develop their own strategies. Try to figure out how companies use their knowledge about industry pressures to formulate their strategy.  
  3. Find out how strategy affects business processes such as order management, sales or after-sales service. 
  4. Research how IT can strategically improve these business processes. For example, exploiting the supply chain strategically gave Dell a competitive advantage for years.
  5. Be creative! 

Writing the Term Paper

Use Memo Format (to, from, date, subject).  In a 3-page memo (approximately 1500 words) addressed to me, provide a strategic report of the interview, using a mixture of paraphrased sections and direct quotes. Use direct quotes sparingly and only when necessary. Address the questions, but make sure you write in story or case study style (I’ll post a sample next week). Use a conversational style to make the report interesting and accessible to the reader. Add to your memo your research about the company.

Write your name and class number in the “From” section your document. Create an interesting subject line! Include in your first paragraph the name and the position of the manager, the company name, the interview location, and the interview date and time. Use the questions as a guideline for the remaining paragraphs.

Use block format (left aligned), single spaces within paragraphs, and double spaces between paragraphs. Clearly identify direct quotes and paraphrased passages. All sources must be cited according to APA style.

The quality of your interview depends on your thoroughness during the interview. To get details and specific examples, you’ll need to probe your interviewee (specifically in areas where they seem evasive or hesitant).  Don't be satisfied if your interviewee gives you some general ideas about communication in the workplace. Again, make sure you ask for specific examples! Probe! Ask the interviewee to explain his or her opinion and experience!

Topics and Links to Articles

  1. Supply chain management (see also Ch.2)
  2. Managing Big Data/Predictive Analytics (see also Ch.4)
  3. Virtualization/Cloud Computing (see also Ch.7)
  4. Open Source (see also Ch.8)
  5. Outsourcing (see also Ch.6)
  6. Application Software (see also Chapters 2, 3, & 4)
  7. IT Architecture/SOA (see also Ch. 6 and Ch.7)
  8. Systems Development Lifecycle (see also Ch. 6)

You can also suggest additional topics!

  • Supply chain management (see also Ch.2)
  •  Managing Big Data/Predictive Analytics (see also Ch.4)
  •  Virtualization/Cloud Computing (see also Ch.7)
  •  Open Source (see also Ch.8)
  •  Outsourcing (see also Ch.6)


  • Application Software (see also Chapters 2, 3, & 4)


  • IT Architecture/SOA (see also Ch. 6 and Ch.7)


  • Systems Development Lifecycle (see also Ch. 6)



I chose the "supply chain management" topic and here are a few questions that i've already turned in:


Supply Chain Management

1. Describe the information system that your company uses to sync the different aspects of the company regarding supply chain. Has there ever been a situation where this system malfunctioned? If so, do you have backup system or recovery team?

2. Has your company employed a logistics team to help with supply chain and the information system? How has this team contributed to employee training on supply chain and “simple” logistics scenarios?

3. In your opinion, how has supply chain management improved the company as a whole? Considering sales, employee relations, time and customer satisfaction.

4. What improvements do you think should be made with the company’s supply chain management? Are any of these improvements in progress? How long do you think this process will take?

5. What advantages does your company have over other companies due to supply chain management? How long do you think this advantage will last?
6. Who is your biggest competitor? Could supply chain management be the reason for this company to have the upper hand, if any? Elaborate.

7. Does your supply chain information system access real-time information, orders, sales, shipments etc? If so, how does the company use this feature as an advantage? If not, do you think this feature would contribute to sales increasing, generating more profit for the company and positively affecting time management?

8. Describe your data encryption mechanisms. Has there ever been a breach in your system where information was compromised, tampered with or not entered in correctly by an employee? How would a breach such as the two above be recognized? How would incorrect data be noticed and corrected?
9. How does the company’s supply chain management system contribute to create satisfactory value without spending too much?

10. Is the company familiar with a recent improvement to supply chain management called value chain innovation? If so, is the company looking into investing in this innovation? What advantages of this innovation are being predicted? (if the interviewee is not familiar with this I will briefly explain what it entails and ask if he/she thinks this is worth looking into)

This is a link to question #10 giving some bullet points on value chain innovation:



I have also attached an example from the instructor.

Subject Business
Due By (Pacific Time) 07/28/2014 12:00 am
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