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IT Support of Organizational Performance in Turbulent Business Environments

IT Support of Organizational Performance in Turbulent Business Environments
The Wireless Café in Shanghai offers fantastic food in a whimsical décor. The chef’s contemporary interpretation of classical Chinese cuisine gives foodies a reason to indulge, and its location on the famous Bund along the Huangpu River makes it a destination for locals and visitors alike. The free wireless Internet access and table-to-table instant messaging help to create a community where regulars return time after time.
Your academic achievements, coupled with your major advisor’s connections have landed you a summer internship at the Wireless Cafe and you have just settled into your Shanghai apartment for the summer. Your initial interview with Jade Leung, co-owner of the Wireless Cafe has piqued your interest in restaurant operations, and you are now on your way to meet Jade’s husband and restaurant co-owner Jimmy Kwok. Jimmy is the Wireless Café’s office manager and accountant with whom you will be working closely this summer.
Jimmy has created a web site for the Wireless Cafe that provides information on the restaurant’s location, décor, and cuisine in addition to a web portal for employees only.
You should view it before answering the following questions.
1. What did you learn about the Wireless Cafe from their web site?
a. What kind of food does the Wireless Café feature?
b. What are the attractions of the Wireless Cafe?
c. What is the organizational structure of the Wireless Cafe?
d. Who’s the head chef?
e. What recognition has the Wireless Cafe received?
f. What are the current job openings at the Wireless Cafe?
g. How can you contact the Wireless Cafe?
h. What’s on the Wireless Café’s intranet?
2. What evidence does the Wireless Café web site provide that indicates it is a digital enterprise?
3. What market and societal pressures are unique to the hospitality industry in general and to the Wireless Cafe in particular?
4. Jade and Jimmy are interested in learning more about how information technologies might be used to enhance the business performance of the Wireless Café. The owners would like to meet you for a discussion of potential future uses of information technologies in their business. Using the “IT Performance Model” as a guide, develop a list of 3-5 questions that you could use during an upcoming meeting to begin understanding more about the Wireless Café’s current operations, as well as future business plans.
5. Think about what you have learned about the Wireless Café’s business operations, cultural and geographical environment, and current uses of information systems and technologies. Conduct brief research via the Internet to find 1-2 emerging technologies that might be applicable to future business operations. Write a short report that documents your findings, making sure to include coverage of the following concerns of the owners:
5a) What are the technologies you have discovered and how can these impact business operations?
5b) How might these technologies transform the Wireless Café business (similar to the textbook’s examples of old vs. new economy)?
5c) Would you recommend that these technologies be used at the Wireless Café? Why or why not?
6) Using Porter’s models as reference guides, consider the Wireless Café’s competitive position with the following questions:
6a) Identify potential competitors of the Wireless Café.
6b) What services do these competitors provide to the customer? Suppliers? Employees?
6c) Which of Porter’s five forces have the highest influence upon competitive advantage in the Wireless Café’s marketplace?
6d) What appears to be the dominant competitive strategy that exists in the Wireless Café’s marketplace?
7) Based on your knowledge and experiences with social networking technologies and systems, how could these enhance the Wireless Café’s visibility with customers (current and potential)?
8) How could your suggestions in question 7 affect the Wireless Café’s operations?

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