Week 4: Cloud-enabled CEM Architecture

Topic:

Based on your reading of Chapters 10, 11, & 12 of the text including the “Unit Three Opening Case” entitled Second Life: Succeeding in Virtual Times, using Cloud-based CRM, SCM, and ERP systems, explain how to implement a virtual enterprise CEM strategy. Be sure to incorporate your personal experience and any learning regarding the Customer Experience Management lifecycle.

My Response:

A successful product or service needs customers. This single fact illustrates how important it is for a company to acquire, retain and grow their customer base. With the advancement of mobile technology and the web, a cheaper, faster and better product or service is just a click away; leaving companies with little room for error. As a result, companies are constantly looking for better methods of communicate their value proposition at every customer touchpoint. Through the implementation of a cloud-based enterprise information management systems (EIMS), companies can better manage the customer experience throughout the value chain.  A EIMS usually contains three core enterprise applications: CRM, SCM and ERP.

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Having these core applications working in unison over the cloud gives companies an additional level of transparency into their business processes and overarching customer value delivery system. The CRM application could be leveraged to understand customer behavior and to create a direct line of communication between company and customer. All of which has the potential of increasing the ROI of future marketing campaigns, especially as it pertains to customer acquisition and loyalty. The ERP application would help companies understand and forecast product demand; less out-of-stock product means increased sales and happier customers.  Finally, the SCM application can be leveraged to improve the delivery time and dependability of product or service to physical stores or directly to the customer.

Baltzan, P. (2015). Business Driven Technology (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education.

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Week 4: Big Data-driven DSS for CEM

Topic:

Based on your reading of Chapter 9 of the text including the “Unit Three Opening Case” entitled Second Life: Succeeding in Virtual Times, using DSS concepts explain how Wikipedia can deploy Cloud-based DSS to gain business intelligence. Be sure to incorporate your personal experience and any learning regarding the Customer Experience Management lifecycle.

My Response:

The primary purpose of a Decision Support System (DSS) is to provide business leads and high-level management with the analytical information and tools required to make effective operational and strategic business decisions. A typical DSS system aggregates key internal business data stored throughout the various transactions processing systems (i.e. sales, distribution, sales, etc.) into datasets that can be leveraged by analytical models, OLAP tools (i.e. data cubes) and dashboards.

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With the introduction of cloud-based technology, DSS systems can now leverage both internal and external business data quickly and with improved efficiency. I strongly believe that the accessibility, speed and efficiency of a cloud-based DSS system allows an organization to make proactive business decisions, not reactive ones. Organizations like Actionly.com have been able to leverage the cloud, to build a DSS system that can quickly (hourly) and simultaneously assimilate data from various external channels into comprehensive business analytics tools that let users quickly react and maximize their return on investment. Non-profit web 2.0 organizations, like Wikipedia, could use a cloud-based DSS system to leverage the inherent free-flow of information that is available to web 2.0 organizations to make day-to-day operational and long-term strategic decisions.

Baltzan, P. (2015). Business Driven Technology (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education.

Week 3: Case Study #2

PDF File: Ernesto Mancia -Case Study 2 – Enterprise Information Management Systems

Problem Statement

The goal of any Enterprise Information Management System (EIMS) software package should be to efficiently, dependably and securely manage all the information required for an organization’s day-to-day operations and decision making processes. A robust EIMS package should, at minimum, integrate the following three core enterprise management functions: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship management (CRM), and Supply Chain Management (SCM) (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Integration between ERP, CRM and SCM applications

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Figure 1. Baltzan, P. (2015). Business Driven Technology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

 

Robust on-premise EIMS software packages were previously only accessible to corporations with adequate investment capital, but the introduction of cost-effective cloud computing technology has made cloud based iterations of such systems accessible to small and medium sized organizations. The new cloud technology offers cheaper, simpler and often wider alternatives when compared to legacy on-premise models of enterprise computing (Heisterberg & Verma, 2014). However, cloud based EIMS services have also introduced additional compliance, network and security concerns that must be addressed during the evaluation, selection and implementation process.

Challenges & Opportunities

Although a large number of companies will rely on cloud-based EIMS services by the year 2020, the failure rate of implementing just the core ERP is high; ranging between 67% to 90% (Gupta & Misra, 2016). Since a ERP system is a key component of any EIMS package, this statistic should not be overlooked. The ERP system provides fundamental decision-making support and enables collaboration between an organization’s internal operations (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Core ERP Components and Extended ERP Components

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Figure 2. Baltzan, P. (2015). Business Driven Technology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

According to Gupta & Misra, vendor selection is critical to a successful implantation of a cloud-based EIMS software package. The organization should select a vendor that has the capability to customize the software package based on the organization’s current and future business needs. Additionally, given that implementation of a EIMS solution is a significant undertaking for organizations of all sizes, the number of vendors should be kept to a minimum. Organizations evaluating software packages should first turn to vendors that provide the complete suite of solutions instead of cherry-picking EIMS components from multiple vendors. Sticking to a single vendor will help reduce the implementation costs associated with API and middleware development. Additionally, dealing with a single vendor could mitigate cloud-based network and security concerns related to downtime, data archiving, segregation of duties, network latency, confidentiality of data, encryption and maintenance (Gupta & Misra, 2016).

Business Solutions

As stated earlier, the core ERP application is what helps EIMS package and organization work towards operational efficiencies, lower costs, improved supplier and customer relationships, and increased revenue (Baltzan, 2015). It achieves this by leveraging a central database that collects and distributes information throughout the various departments within the organization (Figure 3). This is why it’s important that any potential software vendor be well versed in what is needed to deploy and maintain a robust ERP solution. Vendors such as NetSuite, Oracle and SAP are not only leaders within the ERP space, but they all provide the additional components (CRM and SCM) to build a well integrated out of the box EIMS solution.

Figure 3: ERP Integration Data Flow

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Figure 3. Baltzan, P. (2015). Business Driven Technology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

EIMS Application Packages

Out of these three vendors, NetSuite is the only one to have been built from the ground up to be a cloud computing software company. It’s ERP solution has built-in SCM tools and offers a separate CRM product which is as robust as Salesforce’s offering (Netsuite: Enterprise Resource Management, n.d.). NetSuite’s ERP system is recommended for small to medium sized organization.

On the other hand, Oracle built its legacy on a robust on-premise EIMS solutions, but recently has made the jump to the cloud by launching Oracle Cloud, which offers ERP, CRM and SCM through its software as a service (SaaS) applications. Oracle also touts its SCM application as the most comprehensive SCM suite in the cloud (Oracle Cloud: Reimagine Our Business, n.d.). A point that shouldn’t be overlooked given that a SCM ultimately helps maximize profits by optimizing the price of raw materials, sub-products, final products, and maintaining sufficient stock levels (DZIEŻA, SIKORA & NOWAK, 2016).

Finally, SAP offers their cloud-based ERP called, SAP Business ByDesign. Like Oracle’s offering, SAP’s ERP solution is built on SaaS applications that provide ERP, CRM and SCM capabilities. But like NetSuite, SAP’s solution is recommended for small to medium sized organizations (SAP Business ByDesign: Cloud-based ERP for Mid-market Companies and Subsidiaries, n.d.).

Lessons Learned

Which EIMS solution should ultimately be selected? It depends on the organization’s key business functions. A large retailer might find what it needs in Oracle’s cloud solution because of its scalability and strong SCM application. On the other hand, a small sales organization might get more out of NetSuite’s solution because of its focus on small to mid-sized organizations in addition to its robust CRM product. Ultimately, what is most important is that organizations focus on minimizing the costs and potential risks associated with undertaking the task of implementing a EIMS software package. This can be achieved by going cloud-based; there by eliminating the upfront and ongoing investment required to manage and maintain on-premise software and hardware. Organizations should also look to a single tried and true leader in the EIMS/ERP space (such as Oracle, NetSuite and SAP) that provide integrated cloud-based EIMS solutions. Finally, once software costs have been negotiated, organizations should work closely with the selected vendor in order to build a trust-worthy relationship and to mitigate any compliance, network and security concerns.

Why I Care

Given that most of the EIMS solutions available in the market place are capable systems, I need to be able to look past the noise and focus on the key attributes that will create value and synergies between the organization and the cloud-based service provider. Additionally, as more and more companies begin to rely on cloud-based EIMS solutions to gain the competitive edge, I need to understand both the benefits and risks associated with the implantation of a cloud-based EIMS software package.

References

Baltzan, P. (2015). Business Driven Technology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

DZIEŻA, G., SIKORA, M., & NOWAK, A. (2016). THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING SYSTEM AND ITS INFLUENCE ON LOGISTICS. Studia I Materialy Polskiego Stowarzyszenia Zarzadzania Wiedza / Studies & Proceedings Polish Association For Knowledge Management, (82), 38-48.

Gupta, S., & Misra, S. C. (2016). Compliance, network, security and the people related factors in cloud ERP implementation. International Journal Of Communication Systems, 29(8), 1395-1419. doi:10.1002/dac.3107

Heisterberg, R., Verma, A., (2014). Creating Business Agility. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Netsuite: Enterprise Resource Management. NetSuite, n.d. Web. 10 July 2017. .

Oracle Cloud: Reimagine Our Business. Oracle, n.d. Web. 10 July 2017. .

SAP Business ByDesign: Cloud-based ERP for Mid-market Companies and Subsidiaries. SAP, n.d. Web. 10 July 2017. .

Week 3: Predictive Analytics Data Integration

Topic:

Based on your reading of Chapters 6, 7, & 8 of the text including the “Unit Two Opening Case” entitled It Takes a Village to write an Encyclopedia, using Big Data concepts explain how Wikipedia can use data warehousing to facilitate data integration for Predictive Analytics initiatives.

My Response:

With the advancement of technology, a data warehouse is now something that both big and small corporations can establish. By beginning to store, aggregate and leverage both transactional and customer data, a company can start incorporating business intelligence methods into the decisions making process. With access to historical and up-to-date data, a company should be able to beginning understanding historical and current trends in addition to leveraging that information to get a better understanding of where their business is headed; a company can go from being reactive to proactive.

In the case of Wikipedia, or any other firm, they could leverage a data warehouse to:

  • Build cubes (multidimensional databases) that would allow quick slicing, dicing and drilling-down of the data warehouse data.
  • Build dashboard reports (infographics) that will let the executive team quickly gauge business conditions
  • Data mine all the valuable information that is being captured and stored in order to build robust predictive models.

All these items would greatly enhance Wikipedia’s ability to quickly adapt to changes in customer behavior and the business environment.

References:

Baltzan, Paige. (2015). Business Driven Technology. New York: McGrill Hill Education.

Week 3: Business Case Analysis for CEM

Topic:

Based on your reading of Chapters 6, 7, & 8 of the text including the “Unit Two Opening Case” entitled It Takes a Village to write an Encyclopedia, using Business Case Analysis concepts explain how Wikipedia can deploy Cloud-based CEM systems to gain business intelligence of its customer ecosystem. Be sure to incorporate your personal experience and any learning regarding the Customer Experience Management lifecycle.

My Response:

Why would corporation need to run their CEM from a cloud environment? From an internal business perspective, cloud-based means having your business data living on servers that are not directly controlled or physically accessible by the company. For a start-up firm, using cloud-based systems from the get-go makes total sense, from an infrastructure cost and efficiency perspective, but for older companies, with in-house legacy data systems, the decision isn’t as simple.  Older companies need to seriously evaluate whether or not they need to take any of their key business functions to the “cloud.” From my experience, having key business data housed in the “cloud” through a third-party firm requires a lot of planning and investment in an infrastructure that can support the transfer and synchronization of large amounts of data between the cloud and in-house data systems (ie. internal databases) in order to mitigate the risk of running into information timeliness issues that could reduce the nimbleness of their business analytics.

With that said, I feel a cloud-based CEM system would help a web 2.0 company, like Wikipedia, quickly  understand (possibly in real-time) their customers which, in turn, would help them create a better user experience.  Since Wikipedia is basically a online encyclopedia that contains vast amounts of user created information that is constantly changing, a cloud based CEM would help Wikipedia understand the content creation and collaboration process/behavior of their customers. For example, they could track and analyze:

  1. Which customers contribute the most content
  2. Which customers are contributing “junk information” without verifiable references
  3. How customers interaction through the talking pages as they create and edit content
  4. Customer layout/formatting preferences for their content

With such valuable information, Wikipedia could start tailoring their website and creating tools that help facilitate and not hamper the creation and editing process of verifiable information.

 

Week 2: Case Study #1

PDF FileErnesto Mancia -Case Study 1 – Virtual Enterprise and C-Commerce

 

Problem Statement

In today’s competitive global environment, successful companies must possess a high level of flexibility and rapid response capabilities within their supply and value chains (Song, Ji, Qi, Zhang, 2012). With a high level of agility and value as the end goal, companies are looking to expand beyond their “four walls” by blending virtual enterprise and collaborative commerce to create a business ecosystem that improves the transfer of information and collaboration between the company, suppliers, stakeholders and customers (Figure 1). However, the increase in business interactions within such ecosystems also brings its own challenges as the participants attempt to find the right balance between maintaining existing core business structures and implementing collaborative flexibility, trust and commitment.

Figure 1. Business Ecosystems

Figure 1. Business Ecosystem actors. James F. Moore, Death of Competition, John Wiley & Sons, 1996

Challenges & Opportunities

In order to achieve agility on a global scale, most competitive corporations focus their core capabilities on their value chain management which is increasingly linked to a large business ecosystem of suppliers and vendors. As each enterprise operates as a component in the network of suppliers, customer, engineers and other specialized service providers, the collaborations between multiple partners are becoming necessary and virtual enterprise is emerging as a result (Kim, Son, Kim, Baik, 2006). However, creating or being part of a business ecosystem based on virtual organizations alone does not guarantee increased productivity or agility. To achieve enterprise productivity and agility, the enterprise as a whole needs to generate a high level of trust and commitment and to work efficiently by forming the right teams, making the right decisions, allocating resources correctly and effectively coordinating activities across the entire organization and business ecosystem (Heisterberg & Verma, 2014).

Such coordination involves trade-offs between maintaining the existing core business structure and implementing the collaborative flexibility that helps a virtual organizations succeed. For example, traditional ERP and supply chain management offer complete structure and no flexibility, while collaborative tools such as email, IM and SMS offer complete flexibility and no structure for working towards business trust, commitment and efficiency. In the middle of these two is business collaboration technology which tries to find the right balance between flexibility and structure (Figure 2). Collaborative commerce software coordinates interactions among various business ecosystem enterprises, suppliers, manufactures, distributors and costumers, to improve acquisition, delivery and payment for goods and services (Lamont, 2005).

Figure 2. The trade-off between flexibility and structure in business interactions

Figure 2 The trade-off between flexibility and structure in business interactions. Welty, B., & Becerra-Fernandez, I. MANAGING TRUST AND COMMITMENT IN COLLABORATIVE SUPPLY CHAIN RELATIONSHIPS. Communications Of The ACM. 2001

A collaborative virtual enterprise solution should also help build and maintain a high degree of trust and commitment between and within the virtual enterprises by leveraging the latest social tools and media available through their information technology partners.

Business Solutions

The introduction of information technology in business transactions has helped significantly reduce information disparity, transactions costs and foster business relationships by providing enterprises with the ability to transact, negotiate and interact through electronic means; by eliminating geographical barriers. The latest advancements in this technology has recently provided buyers and sellers with a high level of transparency by creating a tightly knit web between all the partners in the value and supply chain. Managers and business leaders are no longer tasked with projects that only involve their direct reports and internal business partners, but now include colleagues working within other businesses in the virtual enterprise. This “physical” disconnect has made it harder for leaders to manage and foster trust and commitment within their virtual project teams. Therefore, it’s important that a collaborative commerce framework based virtual enterprise system promotes trust and commitment through the use of interaction technology that creates real value for its users. According to Welty and Becerra-Fernandez (2001), trust and commitment can be managed within a collaborative commerce framework that contains the following concepts (Figure 3, Heisterberg & Verma, 2014):

  • A strong definitions of roles – clearly define customer and performer
  • A defined process of all business interactions necessary to achieve fulfillment of the customer request.
  • Conditions of satisfaction – focused on completely satisfying the customer.

Additionally, the collaborative commerce framework should reflect the best of consumer-style social models, which preserves both context and history, is flexible and provides the appropriate media required for a given communication; preserving the ease and fluidity of e-mail, IM and SMS (Heisterberg & Verma, 2014). This interplay between trust and technology can reduce transaction costs and encourage trust, commitment and in turn, efficiency and agility within the virtual enterprise system and business ecosystem.

Figure 3. Business Interaction Model

Figure 3. Business Interaction Model. Welty, B., & Becerra-Fernandez, I. MANAGING TRUST AND COMMITMENT IN COLLABORATIVE SUPPLY CHAIN RELATIONSHIPS. Communications Of The ACM. 2001

Lessons Learned

Application-to-application technologies, such as supply chain software, ERP systems and, to some extent, virtual enterprise systems are algorithmic; they provide information about the present and past. Person-to-person interaction technologies, such as collaborative commerce software, provide information about the present and the future commitments people have made to do work (Welty & Becerra-Fernandez, 2001). It’s this person-to-person interaction that is key to any virtual enterprise system’s success. Although the word “virtual” implies a physical disconnect, the disconnect should be transparent from a social and collaborative point-of-view. The individuals and entities that have a deeply invested in the virtual enterprise systems should feel the same level of trust and commitment with all the members of the business ecosystem as they do with their own internal business partners.

Why I Care

With most of the inefficiencies eliminated from internal systems, companies must look for further process improvements outside of the enterprise. Therefore, it would not be prudent for future managers or business leaders, like myself, to continue working in isolation when executing business functions, despite their capability, knowledge and experience (Heisterberg & Verma, 2014). Business ecosystems founded on virtual enterprises and collaborative commerce will continue to play an important role within the business environment. It’s important for me to not only understand the technical aspects of what make virtual enterprise systems tick, but most importantly, the social aspects that make them valuable business tools.

References

Heisterberg, Rodney; Verma, Alakh.(2014). Creating Business Agility: How Convergence of Cloud, Social, Mobile, Video, and Big Data Enables Competitive Advantage. Hoboken, NJ:John Wiley & Sons.

Kim, C., Son, Y., Kim, T., Kim, K., & Baik, K. (2006). A modeling approach for designing a value chain of virtual enterprise. International Journal Of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, 28(9/10), 1025-1030.

Lamont, J. (2005). Collaborative commerce revitalizes supply chain. KM World, 14(7), 16-24.

Moore, J. (1996). Death of Competition, John Wiley & Sons.

Song, L., Ji, Y., Qi, G., & Zhang, Y. (2012). Team-oriented parts information sharing platform. International Journal Of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, 63(1-4), 87-101.

Welty, B., & Becerra-Fernandez, I. (2001). MANAGING TRUST AND COMMITMENT IN COLLABORATIVE SUPPLY CHAIN RELATIONSHIPS. Communications Of The ACM, 44(6), 67-73.

Week 2 – Social-Mobile Collaboration 4C’s

Topic:

Based on your reading of Chapters 4 & 5 of the text including the “Unit One Opening Case” entitled Apple – Merging Technology, Business, and Entertainment, using the balanced scorecard framework describe how Apple can employ Social-Mobile technologies to enable collaboration best practices in terms of the complete C4 Spectrum (i.e., Communication, Coordination, Cooperation, & Collaboration) to drive iPhone product development via partner-developed apps.

My Response:

Apple could employ social-mobile technologies to enable collaboration best practices to drive iPhone product development with the help of the following four balanced scorecard framework perspectives:

  1. From a learning and growth perspective, Apple should continue to invest in R&D to continue advancing both the hardware and software that makes social-mobile technology possible (mobile devices, device OS, cloud technology, etc).

  2. From an internal business process perspective, Apple should continue to provide an efficient platform for developers to quickly develop, test and release application to the market.

  3. From a customer perspective, Apple should continue to be a market leader (with regards to both innovation and market share) in order to offer its developers the most bang for their “app development” buck.

  1. From a financial perspective, Apple should continue to offer a profitable and competitive revenue-share model (developers currently receive 70% of their app sales).

Given the convergence of personal computer and mobile device technology, web-based applications can be leveraged to deliver a social-mobile experience across all devices which is what Apple is doing through their developer program that offers support, access to beta software, advanced app capabilities, extensive beta testing tools and app analytics. Most of these services can be accessed through their iTunes Connect suite of web-based tools created for developers. iTunes Connect gives developers the ability to develop, test, submit, release apps and provides quick access to app feedback and analytics (see figure 1).

Figure 1: About iTunes Connect

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Source: https://developer.apple.com/programs/

Reference:

Baltzan, P. (2015). Business Driven Technology (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

https://developer.apple.com/programs/

Week 2: Cloud Value Chain Analysis

Topic:

Based on your reading of Chapters 2 & 3 of the text including the “Unit One Opening Case” entitled Apple – Merging Technology, Business, and Entertainment, using Porter’s Five Forces Model explain how Apple can deploy Cloud-based CRM to gain business intelligence in the context of their buyer-supplier value chain. Be sure to incorporate your personal experience and any learning regarding the Customer Experience Management lifecycle.

My Response:

A cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) system would give Apple the ability to quickly manage, analyze and share customer data throughout the customer lifecycle when compared to a traditional intranet based CRM system. Through a cloud based infrastructure, Apple would remove key physical and technical networking barriers that would allow it to easily connect cloud based customer services (i.e. iTunes, iCloud, etc.) and supplier systems with their internal CRM system. With these systems connected through the cloud, Apple would be able to efficiently gather and distribute information about its competitive environment; quickly understanding and learning as much as possible as quickly as possible about what is occurring outside the company to remain competitive (Baltzan, 2015).

In the context of their buyer-supplier value chain, a cloud based CRM would potential weaken the buyer and supplier power by allowing Apple to gain the competitive intelligence needed to remain a market leader. By quickly gathering customer information (possible in real-time), Apple could quickly acquire insight into their customers’ needs and wants, thus making better use of their R&D dollars to create a hardware and software ecosystem that continues to increases customers’ potential switching cost. In turn, as a market leader, Apple remains a significant customer to its suppliers, thereby strengthening Apple’s negotiation power. A cloud based CRM could also potentially improve buyer-supplier relationships and synergies by providing Apple’s suppliers with customer data that could help them better anticipate future product/component demand.

References:

Baltzan, P. (2015). Business Driven Technology (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Week 1: Social Business Value of IT

Topic:

Based on your reading of Chapter 1 of the text including the “Unit One Opening Case” entitled Apple – Merging Technology, Business, and Entertainment, explain how Apple achieved business success through the use of information and people in the context of the social business value of IT. Be sure to incorporate your personal experience and any learning regarding virtual team success for both internal members and external partners as they engage the customer throughout the Customer Experience Management lifecycle.

My Response:

Social business value is derived through activities that include activities that use social media, social software and technology-based social networks to enable the create connections between individuals, information and assets (Kane, Palmer, Philips, Kiron, Buckley, 2014). IT can help facilitate social connections between a business and its customers through the use of both physical hardware and software. Both technologies, through management information systems, are used in tandem to not only transfer valuable data between businesses and customers but also to capture and analyze these data points to help generate meaningful business insights.

In the case of Apples, they were able to leverage their management information systems to create valuable social connects with their customers (both consumers and developers) to ensure that their customers are involved in the product and application development process, drive customer satisfaction, and loyalty (Baltzan, 2015). This ability to create and maintain these social connections has helped Apple drives valuable business insight that in turn has helped them become an innovator and market leader.

References:

Baltzan, P.(2015). Business Driven Technology (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

https://dupress.deloitte.com/dup-us-en/topics/emerging-technologies/social-business-study-mit-smr.html

 

My First PLE Post

Hopefully I will learn how to successfully implement a PLE that focuses on the following types of activities:

  1. BUS 4200 class learning activities
    • My weekly discussion posts
    • Case studies
  2. Personal learning activities
    • Not sure what I’m going to do with this, I barely have enough time to keep up with the assignments 🙂
  3. Work learning activities
    • Final term paper  outline
    • Final term paper