Free Essay

Globilization of Businesses


Submitted By PieterLafrasUys
Words 4474
Pages 18
Table of Contents Section A. 2 Executive Summary 2 1. What are the capabilities of the XO laptop (especially the latest version, XO-4)? How well-suited is this machine for developing countries? 2 2. How the XO laptop narrows the global digital divide and the potential impact of this machine compared to that of cell phones in developing countries? 4 Section B 5 1. Major factors driving internationalization of businesses. 5 2. Alternative strategies for developing global business 6 3. Using information systems to support different global business strategies. 7 4. Challenges posed by global information systems and management solutions. 8 5. What are the issues and technical alternatives to be considered when developing international information systems? 10 References. 13

Section A.

Executive Summary
This document aims to explain the system design and hardware blueprint of the XO-4 laptop. While the capabilities of the XO-4 are similar to a regular laptop, it was designed for elementary school children. The primary goal of the hardware design is low-power operation, and for extensive use in developing countries or rural areas where access to classrooms are not always available.

1. What are the capabilities of the XO laptop (especially the latest version, XO-4)? How well-suited is this machine for developing countries?
According to wiki.laptop, (2013) the XO-4 are different to other laptops as all components except the keyboard and touchpad are located behind the LCD panel and is called the Core Module. Furthermore the keyboard encoder, touch pad module, keyboard matrix, and battery are combined in a separate Input Module that is connected to the core module by means of two cables in the laptop hinge (wiki.laptop, 2013).
The core processing system used in XO-4 is the Marvell PXA2128, which integrates multiple ARM processor cores and multi-level coherent caches (wiki.laptop, 2013).
In the XO-4, Open Firmware resides in a dedicated SPI Flash ROM with a 3D graphics-processing unit (GPU) to speed up common graphics and video operations, further more the system on chip put together a small ARM processor, identified as the “security processor”, which controls early boot stages and handles keyboard and mouse input streams (wiki.laptop, 2013). Regarding memory, according to wiki.laptop, (2013) “The XO-4 processor supports two integral 32 bit wide DDR3L SDRAM interfaces. Four 16-bit wide DDR3L SDRAM ICs are directly mounted on the motherboard, supporting 1 GByte of main memory”.In comparison to a normal laptop the power system design in the XO-4 is intricate, and in order to reduce the power consumption, the power supplied to a number of subsystems may be sequenced on or off as needed (wiki.laptop, 2013). This feature makes this design more than optimal for use in places or countries where power supply is not reliable or readily available, and according to wiki.laptop, (2013) the battery packs can be recharged 2000 times to half their capacity, as repeated charge and discharge gradually decreases how much power can be accumulated in the battery, but these batteries last in the region of four times longer than the typical laptop batteries. According to wiki.laptop, (2013) the Embedded Controller (EC) is a microprocessor providing numeral important system checking and supervisory functions, and consists of system power management and battery supervision. It enters sleep mode when possible, but it is powered at any time there is a battery with adequate charge or the laptop is connected to a power supply.
A distinctive LCD display is used, produced by Chi Mei Innolux and developed specially for the XO-4. Another important feature regarding the LCD display is that it can be used in bright sunlight. According to wiki.laptop, (2013) due to the low power design requirements of the XO-4 display controllers in conventional integrated processors and laptops are not adequate In the XO-4 there are external and internal audio input and output (wiki.laptop, 2013). The external audio input and output consist of “Jacks” provided for headphones, external speakers, or an external microphone, while internally stereo speakers are mounted on both sides of the laptop with a single channel microphone build in on one side of the laptop (wiki.laptop, 2013). According to wiki.laptop, (2013) the storage system of the XO-4 relies on “NAND Flash memory” for “non-volatile storage” that does not require power to retain data, and has no spinning media storage devices for example hard disk drives and optical devices. 4 or 8 GBytes of NAND Flash are on offer using only an internal eMMC device (device that helps to simplify boot and mass storage designs) build in onto the motherboard (wiki.laptop, 2013). According to wiki.laptop, (2013) the XO-4 laptops communicate with other laptops and the Internet via a wireless network interface, with two wireless networking options available. A video camera with a fixed lens is located on the right side of the exhibit.
According to wiki.laptop, (2013) The XO-4 meets an extensive array of environmental, mechanical, and electrical tests.
When it comes to safety the “XO-4 meets UL and EC safety certification”, and in addition “the laptop meets IEC 60950-1, EN 60950-1, and CSA/UL 60950-1 (Safety of Information Technology Equipment) specifications”. The most important certification “it also complies with UL 1310 and UL 498”. This certification ensures and guarantees the well being of children that uses the XO-4 laptop. That makes it ideal for use in developing countries or rural areas where may be a lack of medical infrastructure.
Where environmental conditions is concern the XO-4 is designed for function over an extensive array of environmental conditions, where it can operate in a temperature range of 0C to 50C and altitude range from sea level to 5500m above sea level (wiki.laptop, 2013).
When it comes to durability the XO-4 was designed for durability, and according to wiki.laptop, (2013) the following durability test were performed: The game keys and gamepad were tested to extensive cycles, “the membrane keyboard is tested to 5,000,000 cycles”. “The mechanical keyboard is tested to 1,000,000 cycles”. “All I/O connectors (Power, USB, Headphone, and Microphone) are tested to 5,000 insertion/removal cycles”. There were also drop tests performed on the XO-4 where it was dropped from a height of 80 cm onto a carpet and passed the 10 point free-drop test.

2. How the XO laptop narrows the global digital divide and the potential impact of this machine compared to that of cell phones in developing countries?
The digital divide is mainly the gap between the people with access to digital information and technology and those with limited or no access at all. Digital information can also be described as information and communications technology (ICT). The fast growing mobile phone industry can be utilised to narrow the digital divide (Rao, 2011). The access to information is very important only if the intended audience is able to access and utilise the information. Mobile phones can be used by people in rural areas for information regarding farming the weather and for educational purposes. Directly interpreted people with access to information can become richer quicker and easier and people without access to information fall even more behind. Information poverty leads to financial poverty (Rao, 2011). For example a farmer who has access to the weather prediction can make more informed decision on when to plant and when to harvest which will ultimately lead to making more profit or minimising his loss. Information poverty can be addressed by reliable access to information which can be cost effectively be delivered across a country (Rao, 2011). The traditional ICT delivery was via internet and the digital divide was defined as access to computers and the internet. Infrastructure continues to be a stumble block for internet users in rural areas. The most common obstacles are electricity service and maintenance of the computers and connectivity. When connectivity is available in rural areas it is mostly via dial up which is very slow and result in high cost and limit the access to information (Rao, 2011). The lack of information stumble block can be easily overcome by the access to a mobile phone. The main reason is that it is very easy to share information with a mobile phone for example via sms. Internet access with a mobile phone can be easily achieved with little or even no infrastructure at all (Rao, 2011). This is the reason why mobile phone operating companies should provide reliable cost effective access to the network. The access to ICT translates into economic growth according to the London business school that was done in 2005. Economic growth is stimulated by the access to information due to the improvement of literacy the accessibility of information in your home language and the access to service delivery (Rao, 2011). Governments of developing countries should subsidies the mobile phones industry to expand their network to the rural areas in order to give them access to ICT. Imagine the future if of a country if every citizen or child has access to a smart phone. Access to news not only local but international, access to educational information to make the people more literate, access health and safety information how to treat somebody with limited or no access to a medical doctor (Rao, 2011). The mobile phone and now the Smartphone will play a huge role in the development and economic growth of a country if utilised correctly by the government and if the information available reach the intended audience.
Section B 1. Major factors driving internationalization of businesses.

According to Laudon and Laudon, (2006:598) the global business drivers can be separated into two groups: general cultural factors and specific business factors. The five cultural factors leading towards growth in global business discussed:
Global communication and transportation technologies reference the fact that a global village has been created in which global communications of all kinds are no more difficult and not much more expensive than domestic communications. Laudon and Laudon, (2006:598) defines a global culture as a shared culture in which people around the world share such cultural artifacts as news programs and movies. These, in turn, result in the emergence of shared social norms in such areas as proper attire, proper consumption, and values concerning good and bad government (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:598). In reference to political stability, the world is living through the longest period of world political stability in the modern age. The growth of a global knowledge base refers to the fact that educational, scientific, and industrial knowledge and skills are no longer centred in North America, Europe, and Japan, but have spread to the rest of the world (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:598). These general cultural factors leading toward internationalization result in specific business globalization factors so all these factors are interrelated. The spread of global communications has led to the emergence of a global culture and global social norms, and this in turn has led to the development the first specific business factor namely: global markets. Global markets reference the fact that patterns of consumption of goods are becoming similar around the world (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:599).
In response to this global demand, global production and operations have come forward with definite online management between remote production facilities and central headquarters thousands of miles away (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:599). The new global markets and demands toward intercontinental production and operation have called into the open entire distinctive capabilities for global coordination of all aspects of production, and all the major business functions can be synchronized on an international level with location of business activity according to comparative advantage (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:599). Lastly, global markets, production, and management create the setting for prevailing, sustained global economies of scale. Global economies of scale means that production can now be concentrated where it can be best accomplished; lower cost factors of production can be exploited wherever they emerge, with the consequence of a prevailing strategic advantage to entities that can manage internationally (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:599).

2. Alternative strategies for developing global business
The four main strategies that form the basis for global firms’ organizational structure are domestic exporter, multinational, franchiser, and transnational. The organisational structure dictates what strategy to follow. The four organisational blueprints or configurations are centralized, decentralized, duplicated and networked.

The four strategies and applicable system configuration resting on the relevant strategy is:

* Domestic Exporter
According to Laudon and Laudon, (2006:602) this strategy is characterized by heavy centralization of corporate activities in the home country of origin. This strategy is where all global companies start, and then move to other strategies (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:602). Furthermore Laudon and Laudon, (2006:602) states that international sales are sometimes dispersed using agency agreements or subsidiaries, but even here foreign marketing is totally reliant on the domestic home base for marketing themes and strategies

* Multinational
According to Laudon and Laudon, (2006:602) this strategy concentrates financial management and control out of a central home base while decentralizing production, sales, and marketing operations to units in other countries, and the products and services on sale in different countries are adapted to suit local market conditions. Businesses become an outlying group of manufacturing and marketing amenities in different countries.

* Franchisers
According to Laudon and Laudon, (2006:602) franchisers are an interesting mix of old and novel by on the one hand, the product is created, designed, financed, and initially produced in the home country, but for product-specific reasons must rely heavily on foreign personnel for further production, marketing, and human resources. More often than not, foreign franchisees are a copy of the country of origin units; however synchronized international manufacturing that could maximise manufacturing is impossible.

* Transnational
According to Laudon and Laudon, (2006:603) in a transnational strategy, nearly all the value-adding activities are managed from a global perspective without reference to national borders, optimizing sources of supply and demand wherever they appear, and taking advantage of any local competitive advantages. Administration of transnational companies takes on a global orientation and not country of origin orientation. The administration of a transnational business is likened to a centralized organization in which there is a strong central management centre of decision making, but considerable dispersal of power and financial muscle throughout the international division (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:603). 3. Using information systems to support different global business strategies.
There is a connection between firm strategy and information systems design.
Information technology and improvements in global telecommunications are giving international firms more flexibility to shape their global strategies. The organisational structure dictates what strategy to follow which in turn dictates the configuration, management, and development of systems.
Laudon and Laudon, (2006:604) defines systems as the full range of activities involved in building and operating information systems: conception and alignment with the strategic business plan, systems development, and ongoing operation and maintenance. There are four types of systems configuration. Centralized systems are those in which systems development and operation occur totally at the domestic home base. Duplicated systems are those in which development occurs at the home base but operations are handed over to autonomous units in foreign locations. Decentralized systems are those in which each foreign unit designs its own unique solutions and systems. Networked systems are those in which systems development and operations occur in an integrated and coordinated fashion across all units (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:604).
Domestic exporters tend to have highly centralized systems in which a single domestic systems development staff develops worldwide applications (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:604). Domestic exporters are centralized in domestic control centers with a variety of decentralized operations permitted. Multinationals offer a direct and striking contrast: Here, foreign units devise their own systems solutions based on local needs with few if any applications in common with headquarters (the exceptions being financial reporting and some telecommunications applications) (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:604). Multinationals rely on decentralized autonomy among foreign components with momentum toward the expansion of networks. Franchisers have the simplest systems structure: Like the products they sell, franchisers develop a single system usually at the home base and then replicate it around the world. Each unit, no matter where it is located, has identical applications (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:604). Franchisers always reproduce structures across countries and use centralized financial controls. According to Laudon and Laudon, (2006:604) the most ambitious form of systems development is found in the transnational: Networked systems are those in which there is a solid, singular global environment for developing and operating systems. This usually presupposes a powerful telecommunications backbone, a culture of shared applications development, and a shared management culture that crosses cultural barriers (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:604). Transnational businesses must develop networked system configurations and permit decentralization of development and processes. According to Laudon and Laudon, (2006:604) the networked systems structure is the most visible in financial services where the homogeneity of the product—money and money instruments—seems to overcome cultural barriers.

4. Challenges posed by global information systems and management solutions.

According to Laudon and Laudon, (2006:599) although the possibilities of globalization for business success are significant, fundamental forces are operating to inhibit a global economy and to disrupt international business. The most powerful general and specific challenges to the development of international systems are:
Laudon and Laudon, (2006:600) states that at a cultural level, particularism, making judgments and taking action on the basis of narrow or personal characteristics, in all its forms rejects the very concept of a shared global culture and rejects the penetration of domestic markets by foreign goods and services.
Differences among cultures produce differences in social expectations, politics, and ultimately legal rules (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:600). For example in certain countries, such as the United States, consumers expect domestic name-brand products to be built domestically and are disappointed to learn that much of what they thought of as domestically produced is in fact foreign made.
According to Laudon and Laudon, (2006:600) different cultures produce different political regimes, and among the many different countries of the world are different laws governing the movement of information, information privacy of their citizens, origins of software and hardware in systems, and radio and satellite telecommunications. Even the hours of business and the terms of business trade vary greatly across political cultures. Furthermore Laudon and Laudon, (2006:600) states that these different legal system complicate global business and must be considered when building global systems. For example, European countries have very strict laws concerning transborder data flow and privacy (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:600).
Laudon and Laudon, (2006:600) defines transborder data flow as the movement of information across international boundaries in any form. In addition to general challenges, according to Laudon and Laudon, (2006:600) a host of specific barriers arise from these general cultural differences, everything from different reliability of phone networks to the shortage of skilled consultants.
National laws and traditions have created contrasting accounting practices in various countries, which impact the ways profits and losses are analyzed, and these accounting practices are tightly intertwined with each country’s legal system, business philosophy, and tax code (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:600).
Language remains a significant barrier, although English has become a kind of standard business language this is truer at higher levels of companies and not throughout the middle and lower ranks (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:601).
According to Laudon and Laudon, (2006:601) currency fluctuations can play havoc with planning models and projections in such a manner that a product that appears profitable in Mexico or Japan may actually produce a loss because of changes in foreign exchange rates.

We now can consider how to handle the most troublesome problems facing managers developing the global information systems architectures. * Agreeing on common user requirements
Establishing a short list of the core business processes and core support systems will begin a process of rational comparison across the many divisions of the company, develop a common language for discussing the business, and naturally lead to an understanding of common elements (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:610).

* Introducing changes in business processes
According to Laudon and Laudon, (2006:610) your success as a change agent will depend on your legitimacy, your actual raw power, and your ability to involve users in the change design process. Laudon and Laudon, (2006:610) defines legitimacy as the extent to which your authority is accepted on grounds of competence, vision, or other qualities.

* Coordinating applications development
Choice of change strategy is decisive for this problem. At the global level, there is far too much complexity to attempt a grand design strategy of change. It is far easier to coordinate change by making small incremental steps toward a larger vision (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:610).

* Coordinating software releases
Firms can institute procedures to ensure that all operating units convert to new software updates at the same time so that everyone’s software is compatible (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:611).

* Encouraging local users to support global systems
According to Laudon and Laudon, (2006:611) the key to this problem is to involve users in the creation of the design without giving up control over the development of the project to parochial interests.

5. What are the issues and technical alternatives to be considered when developing international information systems?
Implementing a global system requires an implementation strategy that considers both organization design and technology platforms. Typically, global systems have evolved without a conscious plan. The remedy according to Laudon and Laudon, (2006:608) is to define the core business processes. How do you identify core systems? The first step is to define a short list of critical core business processes. Business processes defined: Business processes are sets of logically related tasks to produce specific business results, such as shipping out correct orders to customers or delivering innovative products to the market (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:608). “Each business process typically involves many functional areas, communicating and coordinating work, information, and knowledge, and the way to identify these core business processes is to conduct a business process analysis”. The following questions need to be answered, how are customers orders taken, what happens to them once they are taken, who fills the orders, how are they shipped to the customers? (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:608). Cooptation is defined as bringing the opposition into the process of designing and implementing the solution without giving up control over the direction and nature of the change. The idea is to find a way whereby local units in transnational companies are brought into the process of building transnational core systems by becoming part of the process rather than by being brought in through raw power. One cooptation approach is to permit each country unit to develop one transnational application first in its home territory, and then throughout the world. Another approach is to develop systems based upon existing centres of excellence. The centres of excellence perform the initial identification and specification of the business process, define the information requirements, perform the business and systems analysis, and accomplish all design and testing. This approach uses a phased rollout strategy (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:611).

Hardware, global software, and telecommunications are the main technical issues. The main hardware and telecommunications issues are systems integration (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:612). The development of a transnational information systems architecture based on the concept of core systems raises questions about how the new core systems will fit in with the existing suite of applications developed around the globe by different divisions, different people, and for different kinds of computing hardware (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:612). The goal is to develop global, distributed, and integrated systems to support digital business processes spanning national boundaries and according to Laudon and Laudon, (2006:612) these are the same problems faced by any large domestic systems development effort, and these problems are magnified in an international environment. Hardware issues arise because the firm needs to standardize the computer hardware platform when there is so much variation from operating unit to operating unit and country to country. The choices for integration are to go with either a proprietary architecture or open systems technology. When it comes to connectivity Laudon and Laudon, (2006:612) states that truly integrated global systems must have connectivity (the ability to link together the systems and people of a global firm into a single integrated network just like the phone system but capable of voice, data, and image transmissions). The Internet has provided an enormously powerful foundation for providing connectivity among the dispersed units of global firms, but many issues remain (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:612). Companies can use the Internet for international communication by creating global intranets. Companies can also use the Internet to create virtual private networks. Although the Internet is an attractive option, caution must still be exercised, since many countries still lack the infrastructure for its successful use. Making data flow seamlessly across networks shaped by dissimilar national standards is a major telecommunications challenge. According to Laudon and Laudon, a (2006:614) the development of core system poses unique challenges for application software, and the following question needs to be addressed: How will the old systems interface with the new? Entirely new interfaces must be built and tested if old systems are kept in local areas. These interfaces can be costly and messy to build, and if new software must be created, another challenge is to build software that can be realistically used by multiple business units from different countries given these business units are accustomed to their unique business processes and definitions of data (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:614). Aside from integrating the new with the old systems, there are problems of human interface design and functionality of systems, for example, to be truly useful for enhancing productivity of a global workforce, software interfaces must be easily understood and mastered quickly concerns developing interfaces to existing systems and selecting applications that can work with multiple cultural, language, and organizational frameworks (Laudon and Laudon, 2006:614). Finding applications that are user friendly in an international environment and that truly enhance productivity is a critical software challenge.


Laudon, K. and Laudon, J. 2006. Management Information Systems: Managing the Digital Firm. 10th ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Rao, A. 2011. Mobiles in India Platform to Narrow the Digital Divide. [pdf] pp. 4-15. Available through: Kellogg [Accessed: 31 Aug 2013]. wiki.laptop. 2013. XO-4 Hardware Design Specification. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 31 Aug 2013].

Similar Documents

Free Essay


...Globalization and the Information Economy: Challenges and Opportunities for Africa1 Derrick L. Cogburn, Ph.D. University of Michigan School of Information and Global Information Infrastructure Commission – Africa Catherine Nyaki Adeya, Ph.D. United Nations University Institute for New Technologies Prepared as a working paper for the African Development Forum '99 24-28 October 1999, United Nations Conference Centre United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 1 Copyright © 1999 Derrick L. Cogburn ( and Catherine Nyaki Adeya ( This paper reflects the opinions of the authors and not necessarily those of the institutions represented. Comments on the paper are welcome, and an updated version can be found at: and www.intech.unu Derrick L. Cogburn and Catherine Nyaki Adeya ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors would like to thank the officers and staff at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa for their untiring patience and assistance on the st preparation of this paper. Special thanks to the team organising the 1 African Development Forum. Dr. Cogburn would like to thank his colleagues at the Global Information Infrastructure Commission for their assistance and support on the paper. Also, at the University of Michigan, he thanks his friends and colleagues at the School of Information, the Alliance for Community Technology, and the Centre for AfroAmerican...

Words: 24263 - Pages: 98