How Apple Leverages Information Systems Case Study

¶ … services management of no less than Apple Corporation. Apple has established a level of basically unparalleled dominance in the form of its product offerings such as the iPhone, iTunes, the iPod and its line of computers and tablets. The points of analysis that have been conducted and that have revealed the sheer excellence and overall performance of Apple include its use of business intelligence, enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), data mining and intelligent systems. They have built a formidable and singular platform for their own business operations as well as for their consumers. They have even accommodated the preferences and wants of some consumers that are not Apple-exclusive. This would include the embracing of the common MP3 file format, integration with Windows products, the use of Intel chips that were solely or mostly the domain of Windows-based PC's in the past and so forth. Rather than try and create and maintain a solely proprietary system, Apple has also focused on looping in other customers. Surely, this has allowed Apple to gain customers into its fold that come to the opinion that Apple computing and services are the best when Apple has an option for them and that would indeed be most of the time. Many of Apple's competitors have, as a result, done the same thing in reverse. For example, it is no accident that Microsoft Office is available on Mac OS X. In much the same way, Microsoft and other competitors of Apple are willing to play on Apple's playing field so as to maximize customer counts and minimize defections of the same, even if it is a matter of degree. Apple's attention to what their consumers want while also nudging their consumer base in certain directions is timely and usually spot-on. Apple has had some media and market blunders here and there over the course of their history but they are in a very good position right now. A review of recent financial performance will be at the end of the main body. Introduction

As started by the executive summary above, this report will explore the formidable information services management structure that Apple has. This structure is both client-facing and internal to Apple's daily operations all at the same time. There are certainly strong elements of enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and other information services structures in place at all times. Some of these structures are largely digital and abstract in nature (e.g. iTunes) while others are based on tangible and physical goods that are used and harnessed by the consumer and Apple employees alike, such as computers, tablets, smartphones and so forth. As one might expect, most of those products are going to be Apple-made. The late Steve Jobs led the company out of many doldrums and to soaring heights before his untimely death in the last few years. While Apple has some challenges to face in terms of managing their largesse and staying on the top of the proverbial mountain, they are doing a rather good job of staying in their elite position and about the only company or entity that could be the undoing of that is really themselves.

Analysis

As already noted in this report, business intelligence is a huge part of what has made Apple successful. Just a scant twenty or thirty years ago, the internet was used a fraction as much as it is now and the use of business intelligence in general was much more primitive and slow in terms of updating and keeping data fresh. Nowadays, real-time data (or very close to it) really has to be the norm and there is any number of metrics and analytics that could and should be used to keep up with the current market conditions, where products stand in terms of the product life cycle, where trends are taking the industry and so forth. The competitors that Apple faces are very aggressive even if they differ based on the product, physical or abstract, that is in question. Further, sometimes the product is of Apple's own creation and updating while other products are marketed by other companies besides Apple concurrent to what Apple is doing. A sterling example of the latter would be MP3 file sales on iTunes or the sale of movies. Other vendors like Amazon and such are doing the same thing and Apple must use their business intelligence to sell the goods quicker, better and so forth. The elements that must...

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Optimally, an ERP system will all be from vendor or will entirely be the creation of the company that needs it and has it operating. Regardless, each iteration and manifestation of enterprise resource planning is unique as each company has different needs and desired deliverables. Concurrent to that is that the markets change and this leads to business needs changing. Software often has to be redesigned or massaged in a way that allows for the proper evolution with the conditions of the marketplace and the product life cycle (Apple, 2016; Microsoft, 2016).
Customer relationship management (CRM) is yet another part of the equation that Apple must solve. Indeed, CRM is often a part of a larger enterprise resource planning framework and is used to provide the best level of service to consumers. Whether it be returns, warranty issues, recalls or the needs of stores and the supplies they need, Apple has to have the software in place to manage and perfect the customer experience. Many times, there is a live Apple employee involved with the process. Other times, the pre-designed software is meant to be self-service in nature and the shopper is able to look and peruse as they wish. Indeed, many a consumer has poked around on the iTunes website to see what they wish to buy now or save for later. A huge part of what makes that all work is data mining and getting a good clue as to what consumers are looking for. Amazon is a company that is exceedingly good at this and Apple is much the same way. Much in line with what Amazon does, Apple uses data regarding what people look at and are ostensibly interested in to help market and suggest similar or different goods. For example, if someone looks at a Beatles album, the iTunes application will likely suggest other Beatles albums and/or albums that are from that same realm of music or that time era. If someone looks at a certain color of "Beats" headphones (which is owned and controlled by Apple), there will probably be a listing of all the different colors and styles that are in the same general range in terms of price or color. In short, the consumer is given low-key suggestions about similar products just in case there are other options that are more preferable from a cost or aesthetic standpoint. Even the consumer goods of Apple can be marketed this way. If someone is generally interested in an iPad, they can quite easily figure out, based on data mining and the design of Apple's site, what each model costs and the capabilities of each one (Apple, 2016; Rygelski, 2002).

Another manifestation of Apple using data mining would be looking in on what their consumers watch while using the Apple TV streaming boxes. Much like what Amazon, Netflix and other streaming outlets do, Apple can suggest movies, television shows and what-not that coincide with what is being watched. Of course, Apple is not telepathic and may not have the best and brightest suggestions for a given customer. However, Apple can use its business intelligence and data mining to see what patterns emerge. For example, if is found that that many to most people that like the Despicable Me movies also like Shrek, then people in the future that buy the Despicable Me movies can have the Shrek movies or television episodes marketed to them. Another example would include that people that watch COPS likely also would enjoy shows such as Jail, Campus PD and so forth as the basis for these shows are very similar in nature (Apple, 2016; Moorman, 2012).

The above is truly very automated and real-time in nature. There is no need for a person to manually tabulate what each person buys and what other things they like because information system frameworks can often do all that work for the employees at Apple. There may need to be tweaking here and there but the systems involved are very intelligent. They just need to be told how to operate and they are then unleashed to do precisely that. Apple just needs to be careful that they do not cross ethical or other boundaries as…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Apple. (2016). Apple. Apple. Retrieved 28 February 2016, from http://apple.com

Dice. (2012). Apple iPad Is Evolving the Business Intelligence Market - Dice Insights. Dice Insights. Retrieved 28 February 2016, from http://insights.dice.com/2012/05/07/apple-iPad-is-evolving-the-business-intelligence-market/

Fox, S. (2016). Keep parental controls in mind when picking which streaming services to share with your kids. Timesherald.com. Retrieved 28 February 2016, from http://www.timesherald.com/article/JR/20140319/NEWS/140319594

Huynh, T. (2016). Apple CarPlay: everything you need to know about iOS in the car. TechRadar. Retrieved 28 February 2016, from http://www.techradar.com/us/news/car-tech/apple-carplay-everything-you-need-to-know-about-ios-in-the-car-1230381
Microsoft. (2016). What is ERP? Enterprise Resource Planning -- Microsoft Dynamics. Microsoft Dynamics. Retrieved 28 February 2016, from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/what-is-erp.aspx
Moorman, C. (2012). Why Apple Is a Great Marketer. Forbes.com. Retrieved 28 February 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/christinemoorman/2012/07/10/why-apple-is-a-great-marketer/#3199b8b86cb0
Rygielski, C. (2002). Data mining techniques for customer relationship management. Sciencedirect.com. Retrieved 28 February 2016, from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160791X02000386
Yahoo Finance. (2016). Apple Inc. Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved 28 February 2016, from http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=AAPL


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