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Strategic It Plan

In: Business and Management

Submitted By aniles1007
Words 4088
Pages 17
Heathwood Hardware, Inc. Strategic IT Plan Capella University January 19, 2016 TS5010

Table of Contents

Introduction3
EIA Analysis3
Systems and Data Integration4
E-Commerce5
Enterprise Information Systems6
Security Issues7
Disaster Recovery Plan8
Transformation through Web-Based Technology7
Website Proposal13
Appendix A: Interface Design Evaluation15
Appendix B: Annotated Bibliography17

Abstract This IT strategic plan for Heathwood Hardware, Inc. (HHI) is intended to serve as a guide for coordinating an information-enabled enterprise. HHI must take advantage of IT and the internet to beat their competitors and with this plan there is a holistic approach to implementation. In an effort to change their business operations, this plan focuses on the business, technical, and architectural perspectives of IT implementation for this small organization.

Introduction
Small companies today must balance the push for information technology (IT) innovation with stable business strategies. Information technology is rapidly changing the business world, affecting how small companies market and distribute their products, as well as how their people operate. With that in mind, small companies like Heathwood Hardware, Inc. (HHI), must work to evaluate its existing infrastructure against the requirements. Currently, HHI’s IT infrastructure follows the typical scenario with silos of integration and knowledge. Critical functions such as accounting, inventory management, and sales order and request fulfillment are managed by separate systems that do not integrate with each other. HHI is absent on the Internet and conducts all transactions and customer support manually, leaving competitors like Rustica Hardware and Wild West Hardware with greater access to the market.
In an effort to gain leverage, HHI has to establish a strategic IT plan with objectives to reduce costs, reduce data duplication, increase performance analysis and provide customer relationship management. This plan will also include web-based operations, via a website, to reach a global audience, promote services, provide online access to product catalogs and secure online ordering as well as vendor access. In the business-to-business aspect, HHI will be more efficient and effective because of web-based operations. However, due to HHIs lack of IT resources their Board of Trustees will need understand how this plan will affect the people, processes, and technology involved.
EIA Analysis Enterprise Information Architecture (EIA) is the framework of people, processes, and technology working together. EIA’s principal purpose is to help an organization like HHI in achieving its IT strategic plan objectives. The architecture is the baseline that identifies all of the IT capabilities. The various systems that HHI uses today will integrate and share information to elevate manual transactions and duplicate data. For instance, within an EIA orders placed online must be verified through the inventory management system. This means that before a customer can place an order, the information being requested is interfacing with the inventory management system to ensure that the supplies needed are available for processing. The customer at this point can make the decision to move forward with the request or make a different choice, depending the availability of the product. Should the customer choose to move forward, the order is placed and the request fulfillment and accounting systems are notified. This capability would increase accountability and productivity for HHI. Not only does HHI meet customer expectations, it is able to use concentrate on other aspects of the business such as increasing the market size because they would be able to handle additional customers at that point. Also, performance analysis of real-time, key performance indicators could be assessed against the critical success factors of the organization allowing for a more competitive outlook. While the benefits are desirable for any organization, there will be challenges with EIA. EIA solutions are customized to the organization and may demand additional IT staff and training to become better suited to the altered infrastructure and the business requirements. Also, as the EAI solution may exist alongside some legacy systems, it may take the place of others, creating discontent, a learning curve, and loss of productivity. These factors could be potential barriers for the personnel involved. However, the benefits outweigh these challenges justifying a systems and data integration approach.
Systems and Data Integration
Interoperability is the magic word that is expected to solve HHI’s IT infrastructure issues, allowing varied systems to talk to each other and exchange information in a meaningful way. HHI’s small IT staff manages four major systems that do not communicate. So, how can HHI systems and data be integrated? By developing a global system for HHI, sitting on top of existing systems that will provide the desired level of integration of data sources. The integration goals will be to maximize data availability, performance, security, and service levels to meet business demands, while reducing data center and overall business costs.
To achieve these goals, a website will be created for HHI to boost the e-commerce capabilities with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. An ERP system in and of itself does not deliver everything needed to run HHI with its multi-tiered distribution and deals with customers. With the e-commerce approach, workflows will integrate the Internet into the traditional business processes of HHI such as fulfillment, payment, procurement, and replenishment. Because HHI is focused on Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Customers (B2C), it will benefit from a connected ERP and e-commerce site such as reducing countless hours of manual data syncing, eliminating data integrity issues between multiple solutions and applications. Having payments, shipping, inventory, financial and an e-commerce system on the same website will help HHI progress and grow.
E-Commerce
In today’s modern world of innovation and technology, HHI will have to resort to e-commerce as a quick and effective means to advertise their business, manage transactions with stakeholders, control inventory, and most of all, product sales over the Internet. As an e-commerce, HHI customers and partners will be able to electronically exchange products and services with no barriers of time or distance. Moving forward, small businesses will continue to move sections of their business to Internet for web-based operations and the traditional commerce will become obsolete, giving HHI leverage against competitors should it become an E-business today.
For HHI, marketing and promotions via the Internet is extremely important. Any type of information that needs to be disseminated to their customers or business partners will be done through the new website. HHI can publish sales on products via streaming images or banners on the homepage or post inquiries to business partners via a vendor portal. Affiliate programs are also a possibility for HHI’s marketing efforts.
Not only will the new website be beneficial to disseminate information, it will allow HHI to capture information. Capturing data about the customers and business partners will be essential and require their manual input at the time of purchase. However, once the information has been put into the system, it will automatically be captured and ready for future use, such as sending e-mail alerts to stakeholders regarding order tracking. The data capture feature of web-based operations will identify some of the consumer demographics to help HHI in allocating resources to a particular area or type of customer which will fulfill the B2C requirement.
The B2B requirement also takes effect in the e-commerce world. Although the new website will be mainly for the display of products and services, a separate portal for business partners will heighten opportunities for growth. With this portal, HHI can post discussions with partners and improve relationships with consistent communication. Communications will include emails alerts for product inventory or during a crisis when inventory is defective.
Becoming an e-commerce will generate sales, gain credibility and recognition for HHI. E-commerce will change the traditional business methods of HHI. The success of the HHI’s e-commerce endeavors will depend on their efforts to make the new website better than the competition and ensuring that there is a prime customer support team to interact with stakeholders.
Enterprise Information Systems Currently, HHI’s computerized systems and application packages are minimally customized to help automate the business processes. The problem is that these systems are independent of one another and there is no interfacing involved, which results in incidents and inaccurate data. The solution is a new enterprise information system (EIS) that will enable integration of data and business processes throughout the business. This system will facilitate communication amongst HHI’s systems and ensure interoperability across other business platforms, specifically on the World Wide Web (WWW) with their new website. The platform for this application integration and communication amongst their web community will be XML. XML can be used for the presentation, communication, and storage of data (Barry & Associates, 2012). For an e-business, like HHI, XML in web services will affect the way they do business and communicate with their customers and vendors. To use HHI’s existing applications as XML web services, HHI can build new or more powerful applications that use XML web services. For example, if HHI uses an excel spreadsheet to track to all of their inventory, the XML web services capability can convert that application into a web-application that can then publish its functions or message to all users and vendors. Rather than using customizing new software or purchasing hardware, an EIS with XML language is a much cheaper option for HHI.
Security Issues To protect HHI’s new enterprise information system, it is imperative that they implement security countermeasures. Firewalls, Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and a Disaster Recovery Plan are just a few of the security countermeasures that HHI needs to execute. Each of these countermeasures will protect HHI’s business information along with their customers. Firewalls are designed strictly to restrict access. They protect the network from unwanted users and messages. Although, firewalls do not authorize users, the benefit comes from protecting the traffic and connections on the network. For a small business like HHI, firewalls will be beneficial on software. PKI is the security construct that verifies and authenticates the legitimacy of the party involved via an internet transaction. PKI uses public key cryptography, using a pair of related cryptographic keys to verify the identity of the sender (signing) and/or to ensure privacy (encryption). Although there is not a standard for PKI, there is a general understanding and requirement for PKI techniques in order for HHI to adapt to the world of e-commerce. PKI is designed to counter hackers from sensitive information, to safeguard sensitive information and maintain the trust of online customers and partners. The effectiveness of PKI ensures the quality of information sent and received electronically, the source and destination of that information, timing of that information, and the privacy of that information. Once HHI has a handle on PKI and firewalls, the next step will be to ensure that the information system being protected is also available at all times.
Should HHI create a Disaster Recovery Plan, the system availability results will rise significantly in the event of a disaster. Disasters occur because no system or network can be completely shielded from all possible threats. Therefore, disasters have to be countered with advance preparedness to contain possible damage and to effect quick recovery (Bhasin, 2003). The DRP will store information, specifically the security controls that are in place to protect network. It will also reveal the communication channels used by employees/customers to access the network all together and ensure that all parts are functioning properly. Large scale events such as terrorist attacks and disasters such as Hurricane Sandy should make HHI evaluate the risks and the possible solutions to quicker recovery in the future.
Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) Outline for HHI
Like any organization, HHI will need to protect the newly integrated information systems from disruptive events. It is imperative to have disaster recovery plan (DRP) in place for business continuity in case of incidents as a large as a terrorist attack or as small as malfunctioning software caused by a computer virus. Specifically, security strategies are a major part of the planning efforts to ensure that customer and company data is protected through the use of encryption along with hardware (i.e. servers) and software protection. Attention to security must be given at all levels of recovery to ensure the integrity of the systems (Velliquette, 2005). HHI’s DRP will need to identify actions for personnel during a disaster, describe essential hardware and software and their off-site backup location, security policies for risk reduction, and testing and maintenance of the DRP itself.
Goals
The major goals of HHI’s DRP are : * To provide rapid response and minimize downtime of service. * To reduce overall risks. * To describe key tasks of how employees will be communicate, where they will go and how they will keep doing their jobs to ensure that HHI keeps gaining revenue in the event of a disaster.
Disaster Planning
HHI will need to identify their mission critical requirements to ensure that normal operations can be restored during a disaster. Critical functions such as accounting, inventory management, sale orders, request fulfillment and customer relationship management will need to be addressed in HHI’s DRP. HHI will need to identify all required software media and hardware, along with their physical locations, to restore operations. HHI will need to identify security policies and procedures for risk mitigation. With a new website and integrated systems, HHI will be susceptible to internet vulnerabilities so one of the first steps is take a close look at the newly integrated system and understand what the risks are in collaboration with the business processes. Using a good vulnerability scanning tool will help HHI to expose all of the system’s weaknesses. Once these weaknesses are depicted, key tasks can be addressed in HHI’s DRP to ensure that all bases are covered.
Emergency Response Procedures
Should HHI have a disruptive event occur, the DRP should be initiated and the following must occur: * Notify senior management * Contact and set up disaster recovery team * Determine degree of disaster * Contact backup site (or cloud service provider) and establish schedules * Contact all other necessary personnel--both customer and data processing * Contact vendors--both hardware and software * Notify customers of the disruption of service.
Backup and Operations Procedures
Firewalls must be in place, systems must be maintained and patched, backups must be conducted, and customer and company data must be managed securely and ethically. In addition, testing HHI’s environment against vulnerabilities or for disruptive events is also important in planning for disaster recovery.
The firewall is a key component is a key component to the network security infrastructure. The firewall policies detail hardware and software specifications, configurations, redundancy, and physical security (Velliquette, 2005). HHI will need to base firewall policies on their mission critical requirements in order to resume normal operations in the event of a disruption in service. Firewall backups must be included in the disaster recovery planning by identifying an off-site location where firewalls can be stored and hardware is available.
Traditionally, backups and recovery planning are done physically with off-site storage being manually transported daily but today, HHI has the option of using cloud storage. Cloud computing, based on virtualization, takes a very different approach to disaster recovery. With virtualization, the entire server, including the operating system, applications, patches and data is encapsulated into a single software bundle or virtual server. This entire virtual server can be copied or backed up to an offsite data center and spun up on a virtual host in a matter of minutes (“Benefits of disaster recovery,” 2012). In the event of a fire in the server farm, HHI would not be able to restore much of anything without redundancy of hardware which would need to be maintained and serviced monthly at additional costs. However, with the cloud, everything is backed up virtually at low-costs and without concern for a fire. Cloud storage is a considerable option for HHI’s backup and recovery planning.
Should HHI choose a cloud service provider to for storage and disaster recovery a question of ethics comes into play. HHI will need to consider using Public Key (PKI) in DRP as a means to ensure that the customer and company data being provided to a third party is a secure, legal, and ethical process during disaster recovery.
According to Web Security Basics, Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is the infrastructure that lays a foundation for managing security policies, encryption keys, and applications that generate, store, and manage keys on the Internet. It provides a mechanism to generate, distribute, and utilize keys, and digital certificates (Basin, 2002). In simpler terms, PKI is the security construct that verifies and authenticates the legitimacy of the party involved via an internet transaction. PKI uses public key cryptography, using a pair of related cryptographic keys to verify the identity of the sender (signing) and/or to ensure privacy (encryption). Although there is not a standard for PKI, there is a general understanding and requirement for PKI techniques in e-commerce. PKI is designed to counter hackers from sensitive information, to safeguard sensitive information and maintain the trust of online customers and partners. The effectiveness of PKI ensures the quality of information sent and received electronically, the source and destination of that information, the time and timing of that information and the privacy of that information.
Testing HHI’s DRP
HHI will need to test their DRP regularly to ensure that all personnel are trained and aware of their responsibilities. Different aspects of the plan will need to be evaluated and tested regularly. Objectives of the test need to be identified and discussed with senior management. Results need to be evaluated and discussed with senior management. Lastly, other areas will need to be notified of results and changes.
Transformation through Web-based Technology
Web-based technology will transform the way HHI conducts business. The new website will get HHI recognized and provide opportunities to further advance their presence in the industry and the community. Web-based technology will help their business reach a bigger audience in a much faster amount of time. The more exposure, the better. However, the more exposure in such a vast time will require HHI to train their current staff and possibly hire and train additional staff to manage the extra business. This will inquire extra costs upfront but will pay off significantly long term. Web-based technology is essential to steady growth. Search engines, applications (apps) and social media platforms will all be a part of HHI’s transformation and require HHI’s staff to become familiar with these common practices. E-mails will be the preferred method of communication and HHI’s staff will have to conform to proper email etiquette and response times to maintain a high level of customer service.
Web-based technology will give HHI the leverage they need against competitors. Identifying the competition’s websites and their capabilities will enable HHI to provide a higher level of service. For example, Rustic Hardware and Wild West Hardware websites appear antique and unprofessional. In contrast, HHI will have a clear, professional, modern website with less clutter and usability. Incorporating web-based operations on a well-defined website will help HHI operate efficiently and cost efficiently in an increasingly competitive environment.
Website Proposal
The new HHI website will be designed to the highest standard and will reflect HHI’s as a corporate identity. An open source content management system (CMS) will be used to allow the IT staff to add content such as products, text and images with minimal technical knowledge within a tightly designed design framework. This framework will consist of a homepage, about us page, product catalog, order tracking, and HHI’s contact information.
The homepage will make a good first impression of HHI to all who visit the site. It will clearly communicate the purpose of the site, which is to make hardware sales available to retailers and customers. All major options will be presented on the homepage visibly with limited text. The homepage will be easily accessed from every page on the site.
HHI’s company profile will be on the about us page. The about us page will also include HHI’s mission statement with focus on customer service. Per management’s direction, historic information and future plans will also be posted to this page.
All products will be available in the product catalog section of the website. The product catalog will consist of multiple pages dividing products into categories alphabetically to make searching easy for customers. Each product will have an image, a price, and a short description. The product catalog pages will be linked to the inventory and sales databases for automatic updating. This will give customers real time quantity and availability data prior to ordering.
Once a customer places an order they will be able to track their order on the order tracking page of the website. By typing in their order number they received via their email receipt, a status of the products ordered will become available. For example, a product status may indicate that the order is processed and the estimated delivery date is November 30, 2013. This page will be linked to the request fulfillment system so that customers are provided with real-time data.
Lastly, the contact information page will include a physical address of HHI, main phone numbers and email addresses. Customers will be able to contact different departments directly via phone or email. The website will give customers the perception that HHI’s is available 24 hours a day. The website will project corporate, professional services with global visibility for an innovative and creative small business. Figure 1.0, below, is a diagram of the proposed website layout.

Figure 1.0 – Proposed Website Layout

Appendix A: Web Design
Homepage

At link below you will find the draft homepage of Heathwood Hardware, Inc. (HHI). As an Information Technology (IT) consultant for HHI, the page has been created to show the framework for the HHI’s new website. The banner consists of a simple, yet sophisticated logo I created for the company. This was in effort to market the brand on the internet. Because the website is still under construction, the intention is to give customers an opportunity to contact HHI in the interim, so the contact information was posted directly underneath the banner. On the side bar are placeholders for links to the About us, Products, and Order webpages. In the main body of the homepage, I included a graphic of a customized handle so users could associate it with the tagline listed, “A Handle Above the Rest”. Finally, I included some information about HHI and their mission statement.

http://vle13.capella.edu/1217435/Heathwood%20Hardware,%20Inc.%20Homepage.html
Product Pages
Below you will find sample product pages for the new Heathwood Hardware, Inc. (HHI) website. From the homepage, products can be accessed under the product catalog. Products are listed in alphabetical order for quick reference. The product pages have been setup to show a product image, item name, item number, price, “product details” button as well as a “buy” button. In addition, the other pages on the website, such as contact us and home links, are listed on the sidebar for easy access from the product pages. The setup is simplistic providing an easy read and navigation for the users. As a follow-on from the homepage, the product pages have a white background with black lettering and include the HHI logo. With this consistency, the site is free from clutter and various colors. The white background allows the product pages to display the images in color and does not distract from the product and/or the details. Once the product pages are finalized, the links will be turned on and ready for use. http://vle13.capella.edu/1217435/HHI_Product%20Catalog_Brackets.html http://vle13.capella.edu/1217435/HHI_Product%20Catalog_Handles.html http://vle13.capella.edu/1217435/HHI_Product%20Catalog_Handles.html http://vle13.capella.edu/1217435/HHI_Product%20Catalog_Door%20Pulls.html

Appendix B: Annotated Bibliography

Bhasin, S. (2002). Web security basics. Boston, MA: Course Technology. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/capella/Doc?id=10064357&ppg=266. Benefits of disaster recovery in cloud computing. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.onlinetech.com/resources/e-tips/disaster-recovery/benefits-of-disaster-recovery-in-cloud-computing.

Davison, C. B. (2007). Ethics of business continuity and disaster. (Doctoral dissertation), Available from International Journal of Computers, Systems and Signals, Vol.8, No 1, 2007. (10.1.1.151.1666).

Velliquette, D. (2005). Computer security considerations in disaster recovery. (Master's thesis), Available from SANS Reading Room. Retrieved from http://www.sans.org/reading_room/whitepapers/recovery/computer-security-considerations-disaster-recovery-planning_1512

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