INFO 410 Case Studies 1-2 Handout

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30 Οκτ 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 9 μήνες)

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INFO 410

Case Studies 1


General Instructions

Case studies are to be performed as described in the syllabus and

the Chapter 1 lecture
notes. The questions provided here are NOT designed to be comprehensive steps, just
some of the points I’d
expect you to address while doing the case studies. So please go
beyond the issues identified here; these are just help to get you started.

Case Study I
1 IBM’s Decade of Transformation: Turnaround to Growth
(starts on page 5)

This case study

resses several problems

over the history of IBM
, so it’s more like a

of little case studies.

Focus your attention on the state of IBM
when Louis
Gerstner took over in April 1993
, and address how

could have proceeded from
that point.
Of course t
he actual answer is the creation of One IBM, but what other
options could he have pursued? Only use the exhibit data through 1994, and you can
ignore the discussion of EBOs and other events well after 1994.

Since IBM is both a user of IT, as well as an in
novator and creator of IT equipment, they
have an unusual position compared to many organizations.

Focus on the problems IBM faced during this

and the alternatives they faced for
dealing with the problems.

What is the origin of

problem? Is it
a technical issue, or
customer relations, or competition, or something else?

What functional areas within IBM
were responsible for handling each problem (e.g. HR, accounting, marketing,
engineering, etc.)?

Some areas to consider:

What caused IBM to lo
se money in the early 1990’s? What options did they face
to handle that problem?

Why was the System/360 platform significant? How did it affect the IT industry?

How was marketing for the IBM PC different from the way it handled

Was IBM a lead
er in client/server and networked computing?

In Exhibit 2, look for trends, such as: when was IBM most profitable? What
generated most of the revenue?

Exhibit 3 and related text

how did IBM’s organization affect its ability to use
and sell IT?

What rol
e does technology play in achieving the
IBM values?

2. Case Study 1
2 The Brink of Bankruptcy (p. 146)

Your perspective for this case study is early in 2001, when Amazon was seeing massive
sales, but had yet to produce a profit. (Ironica
lly, most people starting a company have
little clue how to handle it if it’s really successful!)

Your challenge is to define the best path for Amazon to take. You are a middle manager
in Amazon, offering advice. Address your case study to Jeff Bezos,

Amazon’s CEO.

Your problem analysis doesn’t need to include much company history, since the
audience knows that. Focus on the relevant symptoms of the problem.

Your analysis should consider the substantial amount of data (exhibits) provided.
Are diff
erent parts of the organization doing better than others? That may inspire
some alternative approaches.

Consider the impact of environmental issues, like the dot com crash.

Assess how the IT aspect of Amazon should be changed, if at all. Is the digit
business infrastructure viable, or should it be changed? Different approaches
might answer that differently!

The changes mentioned at the end of the case study, such as Toys R Us and
Infrastructure Services, should be considered part of the existing

before you make your recommendations.

Profitability is an obvious decision criterion. What else is important to this

Your alternative approaches could change Amazon’s strategy, its capabilities, or both.
It’s the end of the d
ot com era, don’t be afraid to shake things up!

Solutions such as ‘sell the company’
or ‘do nothing’
are considered trivial, so don’t
present them.