Apple Information Systems
The company chosen for this paper is Apple Inc. As information systems in an Information Technology based company would be interesting and highly important to look into. The company has a global presence with manufacturing assembling, retailing supply chain management, being the core activities of the company along with the important element of research and development which is the key differentiator for the company in terms Of being the leader in the industry in relation to innovation. 1. APPLE INC Before we go ahead and analyze the issues related to information system, we would first have a brief overview of the company which would enable us to view the overall impact of information systems in the organization and its relevance to the different activities undertaken by the company. Apple as a many was incorporated on 1st April 1 976 by three persons namely Steve Jobs, Steve Woozier and Ronald G Wayne. The company received its first order for computers from “Byte Shop Computer Store” for 50 computers.
However, the company did not have the financial depth that was required to match the big players of that time like MM, HP, Atari and Commodore. Luckily, they were able to raise venture capital from Mike Markup and set up their new corporate WHQL in Cupertino, California (New York Times, 2007). Apple was successful with the next product which was launched and branded as Apple II which was in production for a record mount of time from Par ill outnumbered 1993.
This has been the successful product and created the path way for the growth of the organization and by 1 980 the company several thousand employees with a market share of 50% and was selling computer s internationally. The above factor s created the operational and management hurdles as there was lack of clarity and communication between the different board of directors were focused to bring in efficiency and make the company a stereotypical one was progressively implemented by the new investor sand the new employees which led to a strong divide between the old and new set of employees.
In this phase the organization underwent a change from being a functional organization to a product oriented organization. There by segmenting and creating different departments based on product lines like Apple II, Macintosh, Apple Ill, Lisa, manufacturing, sales and service, human resources, administration, etc. , (Apple. Com, 2010). Let us understand the corporate structure in the organization as that would provide us with an understanding of where the communication gap exists and how the same can be addressed through the effective deployment of management information systems.
The company’s core and support activities are listed below for ease of understanding of the functions that are undertaken by the company 1. 2 Organization Structure of Apple The organizational structure at Apple has undergone changes and in its present form it looks as follows: As can be seen from the above the structure of the organization is flatter and also aligned with the functional roles of the different directors this greatly enhances the control on organizational activities and keeps the focus on the core competencies of the different departments (Hill & Jones, 2004).
This kind f structure creates numerous possibilities for the lower level managers to take initiative and thereby foster company’s strength (Businesslike,2004). The next level Of the organization is structured as follows which can be considered as the mid managerial level, this is segregated according to the geographies that they serve, like for example the Americas, Europe, Japan, and finally Retail.
This kind of structure at the mid managerial level enables the company to be responsive and understand the operational issues of the different geographies that they operate in. This enables the company to leverage its skills globally (Hill &Jones, 2004). The difference in structure at the various levels creates a concern in terms of communication as the matrix structure is created in the lower levels, the functional reporting to the corporate director sand the operational elements being reported to the regional director s.
In this juncture it would be prudent to understand the effectiveness of information systems to enable and sustain this issue Of dual reporting and how the same can be turned into an advantage by the company. 2. Management Information System 2. 1 Introduction Today the society is changing from an industrial society to an information society. Modern societies are driven by technology and large organizations which operate on trans-national networks without any geographical boundaries, all this require highly efficient communication systems.
Hence, Management Information Systems can be described as the key differentiators which are affecting the way companies are differentiating their products and services (Murders& Munson, 2004). They further describe Management Information System aesthetes that monitor sand retrieves data from the environment, captures data from transactions and operations with the firm, filters, organizes and selects data and presents them as information to anger s, and provides the means for managers to generate information as desired”.
Modern management is undergoing changes which can be witnessed in progressive companies where the management is becoming system oriented, information is made available to managers as needed, planning, and control are increasingly tied to operational systems of implementation due to availability of information (Murders& Munson, 2004). 2. Importance of Information There are different attributes to information like the purpose for which information is being collected, mode and format of information, efficiency of the information, frequency of information reporting, cost of information gathering and the reliability and precision of the information being gathered (Murders& Munson, 2004). Any organization’s context has a definitive influence on the problems faced and solutions provided.
The problems are shaped by the constraints the organization faces and the organization structure that is in place in the organization. When unanticipated events occur in the problem solving process We identify them as contingencies (Thompson, 1967). “This indicate that the organization’s structure, its technology or technical process and its environment will all be significant elements of the context affecting its decision-making’ “(Saucer, 1993). 2. Strategic Information Management On a strategic information management level Garlic and Sympathy (2009) state the following principles that are required to be borne in mind when the information system management is planned and they state that there is no one “best” IT organizational structure, however it needs to be adaptive and should provide value proposition, synchronization of the model to the current situation faced in the organization, organize according to the new developments in the organization.
There have been recent developments with regard to Strategic Information planning (SIP),however the key focus is still relied on the planning process rather than the result I. E. , information strategy(Tuber and Mocker, 2009). The other aspect being discussed is the element of fusion between the business strategy and IT governance strategy in the overall blueprint which is developed for the organization (Hodgkin, 1996). 2. Virtual Business Organization The other development which is being witnessed is in the area of virtual business or virtual organization which brings in a third dimension to the Issue f information management apart from the above issues of communication and strategy. A virtual organization has been defined by Porter (1990)as “a collection of business units in which people and work processes from the business units interact intensively in order to perform work which benefits all”.
Even though the virtual organization concept is not too prevalent however the elements of the concept are being picked up by different organizations in segments to enable the utilization of the same to build comparative competitive advantages in the market place through the averaging of the different information technology systems that are currently available (David & Malone, 1993). The above concepts give guidance on the multitude of issues that are being faced by the organization.
And shows how an effective deployment of managing information system is required to ensure that the plethora of data which is being collected can be assimilated to the required manager s in an effective and timely manner. 2. 5 Information Systems in Apple Inc. The organization structure of Apple with its global presence and different domains in the electronics industry would require a system of information assimilation which enables availability of right information to the right people and at the right time, to ensure that the business decisions undertaken by them are consistent and backed with appropriate availability of information.
Let us have a look at how Apple is managing their information system and the tech oenology that is used by the company to managing this mammoth task of information management. Apple’s main objective has always been to be the innovation leader. The same philosophy extends even to the manner in which they manage their internal communication which show cases their superiority. In accordance with this concept they have most of the processes which are brutalized, as the company believes that fertilization is the factor which will provide the company with a competitive advantage in the market place in future.
Apple’s intranet provides the required platform for undertaking this process and this intranet in the company enables the employees to access all required information from the comfort of their desktop. From an external linkage point of view the company has an extranet which enables the company to interact with the key supplier sand developers of Mac based applications. This enables the organization to build a seemingly unlimited ‘value chain’ in the information domain by creating a virtual link between the supplier sand the production units which are in turn linked to the retail stores.
The information from the retail stores is communicated to the customer service department which already has access to other information about the supplier and the production details. Hence, there exists a vast amount of information to enable the company to offer services at the ‘click of the mouse'(in terms of information availability, the seemingly end to end input of all parties involved in the value chain has enabled the company to offer customized services to its customers).