For the C-level executive team at Oasis the most critical strategic decision with regard to Web 2.0 technologies is processes, systems and functional areas can take the greatest advantage of their benefits. It is clear that the globally-based distributed order management process could be much more collaborative given its breadth of activity across so many manufacturing centers. The need for creating a collaborative distributed order management system globally is what differentiates best-in-class manufacturers from those that struggle to stay profitable (Alt, Gizanis, Legner, 2005). The use of Web 2.0-based applications for enabling greater levels of collaboration globally in the Oasis product development teams is also a high priority, as this specific process is essential for the new product development and introduction (NPDI) process to be effective. The rapid adoption of collaborative new product development processes has continued to revolutionize the development of new products and services, and has been particularly effective in globally diapered teams (Shamsuzzoha, Kyllonen, Helo, 2009). This aspect of Web 2.0 has a highly pragmatic value for Oasis in that the benefits gained can be seen in the reflected increased time-to-market of new designs, in addition to enhanced metrics of performance for the new product design and development process. With the need to coordinate development efforts between 65 designers across Taiwan, China, Japan, U.S. And the Netherlands, a Web-based collaboration platform and applications that have the efficiency and performance of Web 2.0-based applications is critical. Collaboration platforms used for the NPDI processes also need to have exceptionally high levels of security and authentication to the 256-bit level to be effective (Shamsuzzoha, Kyllonen, Helo, 2009). For Oasis and the highly competitive industry they compete in, security needs to be engrained in the application, in addition to the development of scalability features for supporting 24/7 access across a broad range of geographies as well. All of these factors need to be contained within a functional definition of the NPDI portal and working areas of the SOA framework.
Part II: Oasis Bicycles Case Analysis
As CIOs are given the challenge of creating transformational change through the use of IT while also delivering secure, reliable and scalable services and keeping the company running from an information standpoint, the selection of an ERP vendor to partner with is critically important. For the CIO, their decision to select one ERP system over another has career implications. Choosing the best possible ERP system can also significantly increase their marketability for future career growth as well. For the CIO of Oasis these are all considerations as the decision is made which ERP provider they partner with. Oasis' unique manufacturing needs could be automated by Epicor and their Microsoft .Net platform, Infor, Microsoft, SAP, or Oracle. There are literally dozens of other smaller ERP vendors to also choose from. These are the most active in the area of manufacturing. The criteria of their ERP system being able to scale globally and also keep the same system of record for managing pricing is clear, as is the need to support non-traditional workflows including quote-to-order and build-to-order. Oasis needs to keep their requirement of supporting demand-driven supply chains at the forefront of their priorities as well.
When all of these factors are taken into account and the needs of Oasis evaluated relative to these companies, the best possible ERP system would be from SAP AG. SAP's expertise in global deployments and the ability to define and execute collaborative production processes that support make-to-stock and quote-to-order is evident in their legacy of the Variant Configurator and its use with the Internet Pricing Configurator (IPC) engine. These two modules would be used for capturing both standardized and build-to-order bicycle orders. The SAP architecture also has several modules for managing operations including a Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) workflow that would allow for Oasis to align the best possible manufacturing center to fulfill each specific order. There is also a distributed order management system integrated in the SAP platform for supporting multiple location workflows. The need for a globally-based distributed order management system is critical for a globally-based enterprise to operate profitably (Alt, Gizanis, Legner, 2005). Finally SAP has a CRM suite of applications that can also manage the marketing and sales processes of Oasis. The MySAP CRM suite of applications are integrated to the IPC which makes it possible for Oasis to complete quotes and order interactively from any distributor, dealer or service point in their network. The SAP ERP Financials are better aligned with manufacturing than competitors given their support for pricing and costing variations by geographic locations, including tax considerations by regional area. All of these factors support choosing SAP as the ERP system for Oasis. In conclusion SAP's development of NetWeaver, their SOA platform, will further assist Oasis in their efforts to be more automated across regions.
Oasis needs to carefully consider the outsourcing option, as when a company does outsource they take on the added challenge of integrating to an entirely new culture as well. This can be daunting, as the culture of outsourcing companies is often significantly different than those of manufacturing companies. Oasis needs to consider internal consolidation of service areas as thei direction proposed by the IT investment in SAP would make this possible. As the bicycle business is highly unique, the management of knowledge and its value is best kept inside the company. Outsourcing non-strategic processes including payroll, Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable could over time free up more resources to support the core business strategies and functions of the company. This would be the best strategy for Oasis as it will be the least invasive in terms of cultural conflict and the least likely to fail. For Oasis and their global development plans and the speed at which information needs to move, it is highly recommended to not outsourcing any core functional area of their business. The need to have a very rapid time-to-market is critical in their industry and outsourcing a core strategic area of the business would run a very great risk of crippling their ability to stay demand-driven. This is a key aspect of their overall strategic direction and investment in an ERP system to begin with.
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Appendix A Web 2.0 Meme Map
Appendix B: Web 2.0 Applications
WEB 2.0 APPLICATIONS
Online diary or journal entry on the Internet, which primarily supports text, photo (photoblog), video (vlog), and audio (podcast) formats
• Google, AOL, and Yahoo offer free blogging platforms
• Web service that gathers related content from more than one source
• IBM's mashup applications enable project managers to match team resources with a map to identify the geographical locations of the resources
• A technique for effectively sharing music, audio, and text files