Wal-Mart is regarded as one of the biggest and most popular companies in the world (Basker, 2007). The company specializes in the retail industry and has stores across the United States. Wal-Mart Stores’ management is organized into three major structures. One of the structures is the office of the chief executive officer and the board of directors. The CEO and the board of directors make the major decisions for the company (Lucey, 2009). Under the board and the CEO are the two major branches of the retailing company. The Wal-Mart Stores (US) operates in the United States of America and runs the retailing business. It is the major section of the company in the country. The second division is Sam’s club. In the recent past, the company has experienced numerous problems associated with poor information technology management. This has led to an increase in customer dissatisfaction cases. Similarly, the company has developed digital platforms to enlarge its business activities over a large market space. Therefore, the company cannot avoid the inefficiencies associated with information systems. This article focuses on an I.T. strategic plan that should be adopted and implemented by the company to avoid these challenges.
Wal-Mart has not had an effective online performance in the past owing to its poor communication strategy on the company’s internal and external departments. Notably, the main concern facing the organization is the lack of sound decisions about stakeholder information on the customer needs. This implies that the company’s information technology department is poor in its strategy formulation and implementation. If this were not the case, there would have been no vacuum amidst stakeholders. These communication breakdowns characterize the company’s I.T. management failures. These failures have made it difficult for the company to accomplish its set of goals. The I.T. management team should strive to identify issues that hinder development, analyze the issues, and critically review the options to take a corrective measure (Dess, 2012). Wal-Mart executives should consider coming up with an IT strategic plan to resolve the technological issues. This article seeks to highlight on IT strategic plan for the development aimed at ending the above issues.
Initiatives to be implemented
Based on the company’s current market performance, it is apparent that the company must adopt an efficient IT strategic plan. This section offers information on the strategic plan to be adopted by Wal-Mart. These goals are distinct and each one has several unique plans. As such, the set objectives and strategies are aimed at offering direction to the IT department in the development of its information resource plan. This plan will be implemented within a period of five years. Notably, the initiatives will be addressed at various levels of the organization such as individual, traditional and virtual teams, department, organization, inter-organization, partnership, and global.
On an individual basis, the company must enhance collaboration tools. As stated above, the company has had ineffective online performance due to lack of proper communication strategy not only internally but as well externally. As such, the problem with the organization is the lack of sound decisions with regard to stakeholder information especially concerning the customer needs. This problem can be solved if every individual takes the necessary steps to enhance communication (Heckman, 2012). Therefore, every individual must adopt collaboration tools. These tools will enhance collaboration among all the stakeholders including customers, shareholders, management team, and its employees. Through this initiative, every employee in the company must adopt the use of e-mails, social networks, team calendars, and video and call conferencing (Sisco, 2009). This will ensure that customers’ information is communicated to the stakeholders with ease. Similarly, the initiative will improve the relationship between customers and our marketing team. The plan would make Wal-Mart a global and virtual retail store and a customer-centered retail store (Targett, 2010). To achieve this goal, the company will put into practice an extensive usability development of its current information platform. Similarly, it must address the current information technology issues, and ensure that its network is reliable.
As an organization, Wal-Mart will implement a number of initiatives to ensure that its information system is efficient and is fully utilized. The initiatives to be adopted and implemented by the organization have been illustrated below.
Offer an efficient customer information system
This initiative aims at providing a customer information system that will be entirely web-based and easily reached from all global locations. To ensure that the goal is achieved, the right information technology infrastructure and personnel must be put in place. In the past, it has been alleged that the company’s information technology department is weak in its strategy formulation and implementation thereby creating a vacuum amidst stakeholders. Therefore, communication breakdowns have been common which have made it difficult for the company to accomplish the set goals. Thus, Wal-Mart executives should consider using business experts versed in good information organization to resolve the technological issues.
With the efficient customer information system in place, Wal-Mart will be able to deliver high-quality customer service, enhance the quality of its information integrity and accessibility, enhance customer satisfaction, enhance system operations, and improve the accessibility of its website from any location on earth (Dess, 2012).
Provide an efficient administrative information system
Wal-Mart must ensure that it offers an efficient administrative information system. Thus, its strategic information plan must ensure that this goal is attained. By doing so the company will be able to deliver high-quality customer services, enhance the quality of information integrity and accessibility, improve customer satisfaction, and enhance processing efficiencies (Watson, 2011).
The IT department will be required to improve the company’s website, improve IT infrastructures (McGee, 2008). Wal-Mart’s IT department should improve its website from its status. It should set up and encourage a rational web attendance strategy. It should ensure that Wal-Mart’s website progress and improve the company’s brand and message. Therefore, the I.T. department should put into practice a convincing website to draw and retain all customers. Similarly, the company will select online ambassadors to improve the association between the company and the customers (Dess, 2012). In addition, the company will come up with a factual portal, which will act as a unit contact to all-important online assets and facts from the customers. This initiative will enhance Wal-Mart’s image, enhance the accessibility of the company’s website on a number of devices, enhance the operation of its website, and improve the dependability and navigability of its website.
Equally, the IT department must evaluate, research, and put into operation a state-of-the-art IT infrastructure. Infrastructure improvement should comprise network, hardware, and software apparatus. The infrastructure and services must be accessible at all times and from anywhere on earth. This will ensure that the company’s IT infrastructure is utilized, offer a foundation for IT regeneration and growth, keep on gathering ongoing demand for growth, and maintain innovation. Through this, the company must implement the following initiatives.
Traditional and virtual teams
Traditional and virtual teams will be required to evaluate and keep note of all the wired and wireless network infrastructures in all its stores, and offices. Thereafter, the required changes should be implemented. Secondly, the company will evaluate and keep note of the server hardware infrastructure in all its offices and retail stores. After doing this, they will come up with and put into operation the necessary strategies aimed at consolidating its servers (Boar, 2008). Finally, they will come up with a continuous and a multi-year infrastructure upgrade program.
All Wal-Mart retail stores and offices should adopt electronic data interchange (EDI). EDI is very effective for an inter-organization information system (Cassidy, 2010). This application has an extensive effect on the way business is done. It allows the exchange of information between two or more computers in different organizations. Unlike the conventional application of IT, this approach enhances the relationship between the organizations. Thus, Wal-Mart will implement the use of appropriate EDI on the harmonization and management of inter-organizational actions and resource dealings.
Organizational impacts of EDI can be subdivided into three categories operational, strategic, and social (Dess, 2012). Operational impacts comprise enhancements in functions such as arranging, delivery, assembly, and management. Strategic impacts refer to the consequences of the method on the mission and capacity of the organization. They comprise of the latest markets and the company’s expansion. Social impacts integrate alterations in the implementation of an organization and inter-organizational association between partners. When implemented, operational level inter-organizational information systems can enhance the effectiveness of transactions and lessen the cost of transactions (Muller, 2009). Similarly, this initiative will augment the number of vertical communications between different Wal-Mart stores and augment the quantity of information accessible in the circulation channel. Through this, the growth of more proficient harmonization arrangements like the quick response or vendor-managed register would be made possible.
Wal-Mart should collaborate with the best IT firms to improve its information system. Through this, the company will lessen its operation cost (Harris, 2011). Similarly, by collaborating with competitive IT firms, the company will be able to attain a competitive advantage. Collaborating should be seen as an innovative way of attaining business objectives. It substitutes the conventional customer-supplier model with a mutual advancement for attaining a joint goal. This may be to develop an improved IT infrastructure, augment the existing service agreement, or initiate a completely new course of work. Through this, Wal-Mart and its IT partners will operate together to accomplish a contracted mutual aim even as each member keeps dissimilar causes for attaining that common aim (Rocheleau, 2010).
Globally, Wal-Mart should ensure that its information systems and communication technology across its organizations can offer proficient ways of doing business and increasing output. Effective means of distributing information globally are a precious tactical resource that any business can employ to enhance its global market (Hong, 2009). Through this, it can earn a competitive advantage.
In conclusion, it should be noted that Wal-Mart is regarded as one of the greatest companies in the world. The company specializes in the retail industry and has stores across the United States. Wal-Mart Stores’ management is organized into three major structures. The information technology department is poor in its strategy formulation and implementation. This has led to a vacuum among stakeholders. These communication breakdowns characterize the company’s I.T. management failures. These failures have made it difficult for the company to accomplish its set of goals. Wal-Mart executives should consider coming up with an IT strategic plan to resolve the technological issues. Based on the company’s current market performance, it is apparent that the company must adopt an efficient IT strategic plan. On an individual basis, the company must enhance collaboration tools.
As stated above, the company has had ineffective online performance due to a lack of proper communication strategy not only internally but as well externally. Similarly, it must address the current information technology issues, and ensure that its network is reliable. As an organization, Wal-Mart will implement several initiatives to ensure that its information system is efficient and is fully utilized. Thus, it must offer an efficient customer information system and provide an efficient administrative information system. The IT department will be required to improve the company’s website, improve IT infrastructures. Similarly, all Wal-Mart retail stores and offices should adopt electronic data interchange (EDI). EDI is very effective for inter-organizational information systems. Lastly, the company should collaborate with the best IT firms to improve its information system. Based on this, it is indisputable that the company must adopt an efficient IT strategic plan.
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