For a manufacturing company, one of the most important aspects of the organization's success is the effective management of information within the organization. This process of managing information basically entails delivering e-mail and Instant Messaging (IM) applications to its internal users. The process is considered effective when the performance of the application meet the expectations of the user through suitable operating costs. However, the manufacturing company is forced to reexamine its approach for delivering these applications when performance does not meet user expectations while operating costs continue to increase for the foreseeable future. The evaluation of the approaches used to deliver e-mail and instant messaging applications is also fueled by the fact that mailing and its associated operational costs on the balance sheet accounts for a significant portion of the company's financial performance.
Email and IM Hosting:
In the modern world, especially the manufacturing industry, e-mail and IM hosting plays a crucial role in business that necessitates the need for organizations to consider how and who manages these applications. This is brought by the increased use of technology in manufacturing processes across many organizations and the need to avoid the disappointment of office e-mail going down (Pruitt, n.d.). When the performance of these applications does not meet user expectations and the operating costs continue to escalate in the foreseeable future, many business owners experience an uncomfortable scenario.
The scenario is likely to arise because workers become frustrated and get jumpy when awaiting e-mailed documents from colleagues and clients. This situation is likely to have significant impacts on the success of a manufacturing company because of its potential damages on the manufacturing process of the organization. The frustrating situation also contributes to the organization's technical staff being pursued with questions regarding when the system will be restored.
Similarly, instant messaging (IM) has become one of the rapidly-growing means of communication in modern business. The growth of these applications is attributed to the significance of the notion of collaboration in business operations through the convergence of several communication technologies (Hsu, 2004). For internal users in an organization, instant messaging applications involve the integration of these services with others such as e-mail to enhance communication within the company. Since it's known as enterprise applications, integration of IM applications with other services requires the use of commercially available Enterprise IM applications (Hsu, 2004).
Generally, instant messaging applications play a critical role in enterprise communication because IM protocols are integrated with other technology protocols. This enables IM to become an important part of communications in the organization that requires the development and execution of effective integration strategies. Due to its significant role in enterprise communication, poor performance of IM applications has critical impacts on organizational processes and effectiveness. Similar to poor performance of e-mail applications, poor performance of IM applications in a manufacturing company is likely to cause damaging effects on the manufacturing processes.
For an organization whose e-mail and IM applications have failed to meet user expectations despite of increasing operating costs, there are various solutions to consider. These solutions include retaining the data center and ownership of the applications, completely outsourcing e-mail and IM compute and application systems to a third party, and contracting a third party to host these applications through cloud computing infrastructure.
The Appropriate Solution:
The most appropriate solution for the company to address problems with delivering e-mail and instant messaging applications is to completely outsource these applications to a third party. This process is also referred to as outsourcing the help desk, which has several advantages including the lack of infrastructure issues to deal with and the ease of providing full-time support (Morrison, 2003, p.232). Outsourcing e-mail and instant messaging applications has become a conventional part of the modern business operations. This process allows the company or organization to use external experts, equipment, and manpower to carry out some mail responsibilities that were previously conducted by the company (Alvarez, 2009, p.25).
In relation to addressing the failure of these applications to meet user expectation albeit increasing operating costs, completely outsourcing the applications is an important direction to consider. This process enables the organization to use a full-service print-to-mail firm that specializes in design, production, and delivery of mail. As a result, the organization formalizes the operations of its mail center into a business relationship with its external supplier. When developing the business relationship, the third-party is mandated with the task of production that includes people, processes, technology, and assets (Alvarez, 2009, p.25).
One of the major reasons for completely outsourcing these application systems to a third party is the need to lower costs and increase efficiency of the current use of these applications within the organization. The ability of e-mail and IM outsourcing to meet these objectives is based on the fact that it allows the appropriate and most efficient use of capital, technology, labor, and resources in managing information.
Through outsourcing, the third party, which is usually a small or mid-sized firm deals with the procedures of developing or setting up and managing e-mail and instant messaging systems on custom platforms. Such companies configure an organization's e-mail, develop the domain name, and offer several accounts. Unlike in-house e-mail hosting and management of IM applications, third-party hosting consists of several benefits that outweigh the risks. One of the main disadvantages of in-house hosting is that the company incurs extra costs of updating security software because of the responsibility of setting up, managing and backing up the system. Some of the benefits of completely outsourcing these services to a third-party, which makes it the most appropriate solution include & #8230;
Reduction of Operating Costs:
One of the major advantages of completely outsourcing e-mail and instant messaging applications is that it contributes to reduction of operating costs. The main concern for the manufacturing company in relation to its current e-mail and instant messaging system is that these applications continue to increase the firm's operating costs in the foreseeable future despite their failure to meet user expectations. Some of the major costs associated with managing these applications internally include initial hardware costs, costs associated with antivirus and anti-spam software, and extra long-term costs related to server maintenance, which exceed the original acquisition costs (Posey, n.d.).
The organization will be able to reduce operating costs through completely outsourcing these applications because such attempts enable it to evade the initial startup costs and the ongoing costs of maintenance. Moreover, the costs of operation will significantly reduce since the company will not go through extra employees hiring and cater for extensive training to the employees or re-build infrastructure to achieve various tasks ("What is Outsourcing?" n.d.). Outsourcing promotes sharing of these services with other organizations, which implies that several companies can share costs of maintenance and monitoring.
Generally, in-house management of e-mail and instant messaging applications is more costly because of the various costs related to the systems. While the costs of labor within the organization should be minimal, the management of these applications internally is more costly because of routine administration (Ou, 2006). The organization has the ability to reap efficient e-mail and instant messaging applications and systems for a relatively minimal monthly fee through complete outsourcing.
Improvement of Business Focus:
By reducing operating costs, the organization will in turn free internal resources that will be used for other purposes. The process allows the company's employees to increasingly focus on the core of the business and meet the needs of customers through allocating a third-party to handle all the operational details of the business. The company will in turn improve its efficiency by completely outsourcing e-mail and instant messaging applications and focusing on the core aspects of the organization's operations.
Outsourcing of e-mail and instant messaging applications to a third-party is the most appropriate solution to the firm's problem with the current situation because it will result in improved performance of the applications. The third-party will promote the improved performance of the e-mail and instant messaging applications by ensuring that the system meets user expectations.
The ability of complete outsourcing to enhance the effectiveness and performance of these applications is fueled by the guarantee of greater system reliability through a service-level agreement (Waxer, 2008). Through this process the organization lays claim to a formalized service-level agreement with the third-party, which has real financial penalties unlike agreements with an internal department. Moreover, performance of the e-mail and instant messaging applications is enhanced by outsourcing because the third-party provides greater flexibility and scalability (Waxer, 2008). For instance, the organization can launch new services and add new inboxes in various locations at predictable costs.
The selection of the most appropriate solution for this organization in addressing the failure of e-mail and instant messaging applications to meet user expectations is a process that requires critical consideration of the available options. The decision should also be based on determining the suitable choice that will enhance the effectiveness of the company's operations at minimal costs as possible. With the failure…