Week 5: Sections VII & VIII
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I. Requirements Checklist
A. Technical Requirements –
– Five requirement statements setting out the system performance specifications.
B. Security Requirements –
– Five requirement statements covering various aspects of system, data, and transactional security.
Section V-VI. Alternatives Analysis and Feasibility Analysis, of the Business Case
IFSM 495: Capstone Course
February 1, 2022
Natalia Crosdale, PM
Justin Gaffey, Deputy PM
Mitchell Jones, Editor
Nambo Francis, Research Manager
Matthew Hassan, Documentation Manager
I. Background and Environmental Analysis 2
A. Background 2
B. Environmental Analysis 2
1. Business Vision, Strategy and Objectives 2
2. Business Processes and Technologies 3
3. New Technology Trends 3
4. Commercial Trends Driving Industry Change 3
5. New Technologies/Processes in Use by Competitors 4
6. Changes to Statutory, Legislative, or Other Environmental Requirements 4
II. Problem or Opportunity Analysis 4
A. Business Opportunity Summary and Identification 4
B. Opportunity Alignment with Business Strategy 5
C. Supporting Evidence 5
D. Timeframe for Opportunity 5
E. Positive Impact on the Business 6
F. Reason for Selection 6
III. Proposed Solution 6
IV. Expected Improvements 6
A. Proposed Solution Business Opportunity 7
B. Business Objectives Alignment 7
C. Organizational Benefits 7
1. Financial Benefits 7
2. Non-Financial Benefits 8
D. Supplementary Organizational Value 8
V. Alternatives Analysis 8
A. Status Quo 9
B. The Proposed Solution 9
C. A Different IT Solution 9
D. A Process Change 11
E. Comparison of Alternatives 11
F. Justification for Proposed System 12
VI. Feasibility Analysis 12
A. Economic/Financial Feasibility 13
B. Organizational/Operational Feasibility 13
C. Technical Feasibility 14
VII. Requirements Checklist 14
A. Functional Requirements 14
B. Data Requirements – Justin 14
C. Technical Requirements 14
D. Security Requirements – Nambo 15
VIII. Context Diagram 15
Background and Environmental Analysis
Trusty Carpets is a carpet reseller who has been in business for 20 years. The company recently expanded into another location and used this opportunity to modernize the business. This modernization effort includes using technology to run both sites as a single entity, using internet sales to generate an additional source of revenue, and integrating with vendors, builders, and designers to install carpets on new projects as they are procured. As part of this expansion, Trusty Carpets will integrate with an installer business to provide a single source for customers to select a carpet and have it installed.
Some challenges associated with this redesign would benefit from carefully selected, strategic information technology solutions. These challenges include consolidating customer records and accounting data from the original location, the new location, and the installer business. Trusty Carpets also historically procured carpeting on an as-needed basis directly from the manufacturer. With a newly acquired warehouse with 20,000 square feet of storage, an effective inventory system must be implemented to ensure that Trusty Carpets knows what is available and when to reorder materials.
The current information technology assets in use at Trusty Carpets’ original location will not be sufficient to accommodate the recent expansions. A more robust system must be implemented to manage two geographically separate locations, multiple installation teams, and an internet presence for advertising and sales. The proper technology solutions would ease the administrative burden, simplify accounting and customer information storage, inventory tracking while coordinating with installation, sales, and management teams.
1. Business Vision, Strategy and Objectives
When considering most companies’ stance towards sustainable initiatives, it is in Trusty Carpet’s best interest to comply with all federal, state, and local mandates, contributing to its long-term marketing strategy. Carpet industries have made significant progress in recent years regarding reducing the number of chemicals released into the environment due to carpet production. In addition, the use of water and power has also slowly been declining due to improved production methods and companies acting in the best interest of the planet.
Trusty Carpet (TC) has made it clear that it will improve upon the already outstanding job it is doing when it comes to recycling and create less of an environmental impact when it comes to the production of carpets. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a Waste Reduction Model (WARM) that allows businesses to track the impact that they are having on the environment by staying current with any changes that the EPA might make (EPA, 2021). Trusty Carpets has unfortunately fallen behind on the company’s Information Technology (IT) business portion. However, given its current location, it has continually sold carpets.
Due to the continuous growth of other carpet resellers in the local area, Trusty Carpets needs to improve on its internal IT processes. Improving internal processes will allow for the continued growth it desires, along with the ability to appeal to new customers. The IT currently in place keeps Trusty Carpets from reaching its full potential, and a simple upgrade will help provide much-needed resources while increasing its profit margins.
2. Business Processes and Technologies
Trusty Carpets can introduce new IT that can seamlessly integrate or even replace the current IT already in place. As a result, this will provide the company with expanded system capabilities than its current operating model. An updated IT system will provide the desired results Trusty Carpets is looking for, which will align with the IT vision that it has been seeking. Additionally, with technology being at the forefront of most businesses, an innovative marketing strategy can be employed through cutting ties with the current paper-based method of promoting the business. Instead of outdated paper-based advertising, Trusty Carpets could now utilize the features provided with modern technologies.
By utilizing online marketing, Trusty Carpets will reach its current and future customers while simultaneously shrinking environmental impact through printed advertising. In addition to the updated marketing strategy, TC will no longer be at risk of potential hacking, which puts the privacy of the business and its customers’ privacy at risk. An updated IT system will allow anyone with proper access to analyse TC’s business trends. Additionally, this will provide strategic insights into which direction TC needs to focus. Unfortunately, TC cannot presently support these functions due to the current IT system’s limitations, and it will need to be updated to support these ideas.
3. New Technology Trends
Each year over four billion pounds of carpet gets thrown away in landfills, accounting for 1% of the annual municipal solid waste (EPA, 2021). However, when traditional carpeting was first utilized, recycling was not an option due to its chemical composition. To rectify this issue, leading carpet manufacturers collaborated to produce an eco-friendly, recyclable version made purely from polyester. By doing so, has significantly reduced the environmental impact.
Carpet manufacturer Mohawk introduced Airo carpeting in 2017, made from 100% Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). Polyester is made with a base of crude oils. Alternatively, Airo technology provides the ability to recycle and manufacture carpets which reduces the amount of crude oil used during the creation process. The investment by TC to purchase 100% PET-made carpets will reduce the harm to the environment through production and sustainability measures.
4. Commercial Trends Driving Industry Change
The global flooring market has seen a spike in demand due to increased requirements for better aesthetics and functions to spaces. Several contributions to this spike include:
1. increased home buyers with the need to develop their homes
2. improved standard of living in smaller family units
3. the demand for natural materials (stones and bricks, for example)
4. the same aesthetic at a lesser cost and higher efficiency (Yahoo!finance, 2022).
In addition to these commercial trends, the integration of Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) has been widely used due to its low prices, photo-realistic graphics, durability, and low maintenance (Hirshberg, 2017).
5. New Technologies/Processes in Use by Competitors
Rising environmental concerns and carpets’ impact on landfills, many companies look to alternative sustainable options. Due to the previously confidential chemical compounds found in carpeting, the rise in competing suppliers with enhanced solutions has been at the forefront of the industry. One flooring product, in particular, Karndean, fits many of the sustainable requirements that companies look for, including: ISO 14001 and 9001 certified, materials being recycled in a closed-loop process, and low energy manufacturing requirements when compared to other plastics (Karndean, n.d.). LVT, which Karndean falls under, is projected to reach $38.9B by 2027, with a projected growth of 10% over the next five years (ReportLinker, 2021).
6. Changes to Statutory, Legislative, or Other Environmental Requirements
Substantial improvements have been made around chemical safety laws and the environment. For example, in 2016, President Obama signed a new act titled the Lautenberg Act, the first update to its previous act initially signed in 1976 known as the Toxic Substance Control Act (Denison, n.d.). Before signing, the previous act allowed unsafe chemicals to remain on the market for use, left the government without the power to regulate and allowed the companies to hide this information from the public (Denison, n.d.). However, this legislation provides several notable benefits, including mandated chemical safety reviews, chemical safety reviews before entering the market, EPA enhanced testing and making chemical information more publicly available (Denison, n.d.).
Problem or Opportunity Analysis
One of the key components of the success of Trusty Carpets’ endeavors is identifying and understanding business opportunities prior to solution integration. By doing so, business managers and key decision-makers within the company will be better informed of the opportunities. This section provides Trusty Carpets with a summary of their unique business opportunity, how this opportunity was identified, the alignment that it has with their business strategy, the timeframe that this will likely exist for, the reason for selecting this opportunity, and ultimately the positive impact this will have on the business.
Business Opportunity Summary and Identification
Due to Trusty Carpets’ business expansion opportunity along with their added warehouse storage, a unique scope exists for the business. In addition to being able to stake a presence within the flooring market, Trusty Carpets can expand its sales through several revenue streams (both online and nationally). For example, while their warehouse will allow for a more robust inventory that helps bolster their stock, logistics, and supply chain management, their recent merger places the business at an advantage to streamline management processes.
Regarding their revenue stream opportunities, this comes from developing online marketing and sales and creating rapport with local builders. By doing so, Trusty Carpets creates a solid foundation for their stance on environmental issues since using locally sourced items and providers results in a reduced carbon footprint. In addition to this, opportunities exist to work with equally minded local interior designers who comply with the EPA’s environmental initiative (WARM).
Opportunity Alignment with Business Strategy
Trusty Carpets’ business strategy includes effectively managing operational and logistical requirements while abiding by local environmental regulations. With their primary business opportunities identified, this aligns with their strategy to expand their business and ultimately increase profit margins. The important thing that Trusty Carpets needs to consider is that opportunities are not solely limited to physical expansion. These also exist through online transactions and digital marketing. It has the opportunity to use these tools to further its stance on compliance and support for environmentally friendly endeavors.
These strategic implementations at Trusty Carpet will affect the overall productivity and efficiency levels from an employee, operational, and managerial point of view. In addition, the increased capabilities and better services will align with the business vision, requirements, and objectives. Ultimately, the overarching goal for Trusty Carpets’ project is to synergize and establish an effective form of communication between all employment levels (i.e., offices, staff, customers, managers) while simultaneously increasing employee performance, productivity, and business operations.
Current trends within the flooring industry show how high-quality carpeting adds value to a home and helps customers stand out from their competitors. Not only does it provide the room with a heightened sense of aesthetic to a living space, but it also provides functional and monetary benefits. This includes acting as a durable insulator during the colder winter months and, also, being more affordable than wood and linoleum alternatives (Srinivasan, 2022).
Present-day digital marketing has shown to be a reliable and effective way to succeed at advertising for companies on digital platforms. Evidence has shown that Trusty Carpets can greatly benefit from an online presence. In a study done with Google, companies that added digital marketing to their business plans tended to have almost three times as much revenue and, also, three and a half times more probability to increase their workforce and business (“How Digital Marketing Helps,” 2019).
Timeframe for Opportunity
This opportunity presented itself when Trusty Carpets acquired the new location, previously Metro Carpets, and expanded its storage and display areas. Trusty Carpets seized this opportunity to review how it currently conducts business and how it might incorporate new methods to increase revenue. In addition to this expansion, Trusty Carpets officially incorporated an installer business, allowing it to field installation teams for new construction, home renovations, and interior redesign projects.
This opportunity should be seized over the next six months, as it recently bought out its main competitor and now has the potential to gain a significant market share in the carpeting sales and installation sector. While Trusty Carpets is the leading supplier of new carpeting and is expanding its workforce, it should work to create as many profitable business partnerships as possible while increasing its customer base.
Positive Impact on the Business
Trusty Carpets can benefit from this opportunity by providing carpeting and installation services to a greater variety of customers. For example, homeowners who want to update their current living spaces, builders working on residential and commercial projects, and interior designers or home renovation specialists who need flooring to complete more comprehensive area redesigns.
Trusty Carpets can partner with various builders and renovation companies in the area to provide a steady stream of new projects. In addition, working with many local companies will give Trusty Carpets valuable data on what flooring is most popular, allowing it to retain the most in-demand flooring materials in the warehouse.
Reason for Selection
This opportunity was selected as it aligns directly with Trusty Carpets’ stated goal of increasing profit margins. Trusty Carpets can see a greater return on its sales and installation projects by adding more profitable revenue streams. While residential sales are profitable, commercial sales can lead to a much higher volume of work. While dated, the average residential carpet installation project was shown to be 84 square yards in 2011, while a commercial job was 173 square yards (Floor Trends, 2011).
As Trusty Carpets expand partnerships, service capabilities, and offerings, Microsoft Dynamics 365 would serve as a viable Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based CRM solution that offers benefits such as ease of use, integration with other Microsoft products, sales insights and metrics, customization capabilities, scalability, and acts as a centralized repository across multiple teams and business units (KMicro, n.d.).
The expansion of Trusty Carpets’ revenue streams online and nationally would require a means to manage and track sales effectively. Also, added warehouse storage requires a means to manage those processes. Therefore, Microsoft Dynamics 365 has the necessary capabilities to achieve these objectives. Its implementation aligns with Trusty Carpets’ business strategy and objectives through its multitude of capabilities. Dynamics 365 is not only a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, but it also has Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) features.
Proposed Solution Business Opportunity
At the moment, Trusty Carpets uses a local newspaper for advertising its services in the local area. While this may have been a practical way to reach out to potential customers, it is no longer a viable solution due to technological trends. Digital marketing campaigns and expanding their reach to new land developers and homebuilders are achievable with the CRM solution. By using Microsoft Dynamics 365, Trusty Carpets is able to hone in on their target market through digital advertising and, thus, stay modern with current technological advances.
Business Objectives Alignment
The owner of Trusty Carpets described wanting to manage both of their store locations simultaneously while also developing rapport with new clientele digitally. Microsoft Dynamics 365 can fulfill both business objectives through a centralized software system requiring less employee staffing and higher means of efficiency. In addition, the system allows the company to integrate digital tools currently being utilized in their business operations and allows email communications to be achieved via the CRM system.
Trusty Carpets can expect to see several organizational benefits due to Microsoft Dynamics 365’s integrated features. These benefits can be classified as both tangible and intangible benefits. From a tangible standpoint, the proposed solution is scalable and cloud-based, which is an easy-to-change subscription (KMicro, n.d.). As the owner is expanding their capabilities to multiple regions while also increasing their market reach, the CRM solution can easily scale up or down depending on budget, workload, and team size. From an intangible point of view, Trusty Carpets must maintain and expand its current customer base. Since the CRM system includes several customer data points (website visit behavior, customer interactions, and buying patterns, for example), customer service representatives can assist better and understand what the consumer wants. Ultimately, this increases brand loyalty and returning customers.
· Opportunity Identification: CRM service platform provides an intelligent database that identifies up-sell and cross-sell sales opportunities. Sales representatives will have the ability to explore ‘what-if’ scenarios to increase profit margins potentially.
· Faster Work Resolution: The platform’s data analysis through machine learning through knowledge articles and case analysis can provide customer service representatives more efficiently with scenario solutions and provide resolutions quickly.
· Customer Demographic Segmentation: As Trusty Carpets expands regionally; the CRM solution lists customers through segmented demographic information. This means that there is a clear understanding of the region’s demographic, including their interests and behaviors, and it can match content based on the customer’s interests (Microsoft Dynamics 365, n.d.)
· Customer Intelligence: With its intuitive and easily identifiable data points, sales and customer service representatives can proactively engage with customers in effective and personalized ways.
· Enhanced Employee Agility: Microsoft Dynamics 365’s real-time status and performance indicators allow both managers and employees to plan and mitigate changes to work. This provides employees with the ability to provide profitable and consistent service.
· Optimized Productivity: The CRM program is mobile-friendly and easy to use for customers and project teams. Its enhanced communication capabilities allow projects and tasks to be easily collaborated on (Microsoft Dynamics 365, n.d.).
Supplementary Organizational Value
Based on the proposed solution, strategic alignment, and organizational benefits previously mentioned, the adoption rate of this platform has also been seen in national companies such as FedEx. Through its intelligent Artificial Intelligence (AI) system, data points will be gathered from FedEx’s system and used to deliver improved customer experiences (Chambers, 2022). Just like Trusty Carpets intends to relay information through multiple channels (i.e., supply chain management, digital marketing, and email system), FedEx chose this CRM solution as it will help manage their supply chain of COVID-19 vaccine transportation. Lastly, the platform’s function has been seen as a way for FedEx to accelerate collaboration across multiple departments, customers, and employees (Microsoft Dynamics 365, n.d.).
Trusty Carpets understands it needs to update its current technology to expand the business, increase sales company performance, and become vastly more profitable. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the way to get where Trusty Carpets wants to be. Using this new software, Trusty Carpets will have an updated ordering system, become more engaged with the customers, and have a greater ability to manage all the inventory and overall daily operations. By updating the existing system to Microsoft Dynamics 365, workers will be provided with more detailed information from top to bottom; orders will become more efficient and go out promptly, in greater quantity. Listed below are alternative solutions that Trusty Carpets can analyze.
A. Status Quo
For Trusty Carpets to stick with the status quo would be a mistake, especially now that they are looking to expand. Doing the same thing they have always done will not get Trusty Carpets where they would like. Upgrades on ordering systems, inventory and how it is handled, and how information is gathered and disbursed would continue to remain the same. There are other options out there, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365. RollMaster Flooring software is another option that could be used to update Trusty Carpets’ current IT system. However, it would not provide as much control over the business as Microsoft Dynamics 365. RollMaster would also be a more costly addition by way of profit loss and would require Trusty Carpets to partner with other organizations to market and distribute their products; this, in turn, would lower the profit margin, which is not ideal. RollMaster implementation would save Trusty Carpets money upfront because the implementation of the IT is cheaper than Microsoft Dynamics 365 but is not the right fit, especially if Trusty Carpets is going up against other businesses using Microsoft Dynamics 365. There are certain risks that Trusty Carpets must come to terms with if the choice to use RollMaster software is taken. Those risks include lack of oversight regarding customer data, reduced profits due to sales loss and the need to outsource to other businesses, and a less secure IT. Overall, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a much better fit for Trusty Carpets and will meet the needs of the business and increase profits.
The Proposed Solution
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Software is the proposed solution for Trusty Carpets to use to help manage inventory and help increase operations by increasing orders placed and sales made. Along with this, customer satisfaction will be at an all-time high due to the hands-on personal touch that it allows management to have with the customer base. Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides Trusty Carpets with the ability to run a more efficient flooring business by reducing costs with inventory and predicting customer demands by predicting repeat orders, basically keeping stock on hand for repeat customers. The proposed use of Microsoft Dynamics 365 is not only for its industry positioning as a superior solution; it is far less expensive than competing solutions in the market. For example, an Oracle Database comes with a start-up licensing cost at a minimum of typically $5,000 for programming, hardware, and installation. Microsoft Dynamics 365 comes with a price tag of around $40 a month per user. Seeing that Trusty Carpets is a small business, the overall cost to the company would be far less than the alternative IT proposed. Overall, Microsoft Dynamics 365 IT is the best possible solution to Trusty Carpets’ problems and what they are looking to do in the long run.
A Different IT Solution
Trusty Carpets is expanding its operations and needs to expand its networks by enhancing communication between the organization and its clients. A system needs to be set up that aids the management in making strategic plans. As the organization is expanding, its operations will increase. The Trusty Carpets corporation has also incorporated installment operations in the business. It implies that the organization will have numerous customers who need installation, repair, maintenance, and renovation services. Therefore, Trusty Carpets will need an integrative system that advances communication between clients and organizations. The IT system will aid the management in getting the customers and communicating with them on the queries they may have.
The organization can accept client orders based on their specifications, boosting its sales. Customers will make orders as the organization will inform them of the installation of the carpets. The IT system will aid the management in controlling the customers and knowing the customers’ needs (Hirshberg, 2017). It will also help the administration understand where they may have gone wrong and what needs to be amended. In the wake of the evolving world, operations have been transformed into a digital platform where all operations are overseen through the internet. The managers will manage the stock levels through their phones, enhancing operations and focusing on strategic operations. The management needs to ease the procedures and make everything smooth by expanding operations.
The expansion will require installing systems and computers in the organization as there were none. The customer relationship management system will also be incorporated and the inventory management system. There will be codes that will ensure that the organization has taken a proper stock count. The organization needs to employ IT experts to oversee operations and ensure that all the systems are running. These experts will also aid when the organization experiences breakdown in the system to restore operations. The system implementation will cost about $5,000. The procedures applied are cost-effective and will help the organization achieve its objective of increased profitability. Suppose a cost-benefit analysis is conducted for the system. The organization will implement the solution as the improved management will boost its operations (Hirshberg, 2017).
Even as the project is estimated to increase value to the organization, there are some associated risks with the system. Firstly, the system is costly to install, run and repair. The machines and software will require updates to ensure that they can keep track of sales, orders, and client requests. The IT team will also face risks as the system is new. The system will be tailored to meet the needs of Trusty Carpets. The IT team will have issues in contemplating the terminologies in carpets. The organization will have some challenges as the system being applied is new and will require training employees to understand better how to use the system (FloorTrends, 2011).
Embracing this solution will advance operations and cut substantial administrative and operational costs. With the system, most employees can work at home. The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a “work from home” strategy, which led to joblessness. With the use of the system, very few personnel will be required in the warehouse. The organization can even prefer to meet all employees once a month or join video conferences such as zoom to monitor the organization’s progress. The system has a way of developing the employees’ lives to interact with the clients efficiently. This makes it the best solution to be embraced by the organization.
A Process Change
Trusty Carpets is expanding and increasing operations. The organization is partnering with an installation organization that will aid customers in purchasing the carpets and would require them to be installed. The partnership entails that the two partners assess all operations in the organization. The collaboration will aid the clients in gaining confidence in the institution as other clients will know their work. Joining efforts will make operations efficient for clients who will market their products to potential clients who want to renovate their carpets. The merging of the business will enhance operations as the two organizations can come up with a unique brand that will outsell its competitors. Combining efforts will also cut down some associated costs that will boost revenues.
The expansion is costly, and the organization’s combined efforts can make the growth easy as each team can contribute to the development or seek finances from banks and other lending institutions at affordable rates. The partnership can gain more finances from a bank than a single entity. The operations will also save time and money as customers work closely with the management to ensure smooth procedures. Moreover, the management can increase productivity as they will make more informed decisions. The process will entail changing the legal formalities and setting up deeds that should be run by the merger (Karndean, n.d.).
The process will also entail setting up operations and meeting locations. It will not be that expensive for both parties to merge as most of the equipment is owned by individual organizations. They can purchase a few items. On the other hand, it will be costly to set up a merged system where some assets will have to be disposed of. Merging will enhance operations for the management. If a cost-benefit analysis is done, the organizations will benefit from sharing costs and making plans together. The organization will increase the share market as clients prefer to make their orders. Even as the organization is expanding, some risks are associated. There are instances where there will be a conflict between the two organizations that have merged. The competition may arise out of differences in opinion or strategies. However, a robust management policy should be set out to enhance operations (Karndean, n.d.).
The expansion may call for costs such as advertising complying with the legal requirements that the organizations were not paying for. The good side of this is that the organization can share these expenses (Karndean, n.d.). Merging operations that are not similar is a massive task for organizations, and they need proper care. If the work is to be analyzed, merging supersedes the costs. The management should go for the idea that can make the organization spread its operations across the globe.
Comparison of Alternatives
The table below depicts the advantages and drawbacks of the four alternatives described above:
Name of Alternative
The Proposed Solution
A Different Solution: RollMaster Flooring Software
Popular carpet industry solution
Loss control of customer data
Required outsourcing to other businesses
A Process Change
Use of existing infrastructure
Minimize training investment
Short Term Benefit
F. Justification for Proposed System
The Status Quo, or system in its present state, would offer familiarity and minimized risk. As a result, Trusty Carpets could enjoy business continuity without augmentation of current processes. However, taking this position would mean attempting to grow the business using outdated systems, limited in functionality and scalability, thereby placing Trusty Carpets at a competitive disadvantage in the industry.
The proposed Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution, though a new expense and requiring training for employees, presents advantages such as modernity, scalability, and automation. As a modern technological solution, Microsoft Dynamics 365 would rely less on physical infrastructure and hardware on-premises and instead leverage the stability and reliability of cloud computing.
Founded in the late 1970s, RollMaster Flooring Software is a customer relationship management solution primarily used in the flooring industry RollMaster , n.d.). RollMaster, launched in the mid-1980s, is RollMaster Flooring Softwares’s cloud-based retail system, and could be an alternative to Microsoft Dynamics 365. RollMaster was explicitly designed to handle and deliver real-time data for flooring businesses with multiple locations; however, it is more expensive than Microsoft Dynamics 365 and does not offer comparable flexibility or scalability.
Alternatively, updating specific processes could offer short-term benefits like the cost savings associated with utilizing existing infrastructure and minimized need for employee training on a new system. Unfortunately, this option underutilizes more robust feature capabilities in the proposed Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution.
It is in Trusty Carpet’s best interest to assess the feasibility of the proposed solution from several different aspects in order to ensure its business viability. These include the economic, financial, organizational, operational, and technical aspects of the solution. The overarching goal for these feasibility analyses is to determine whether opportunities exist to invest in the proposed solution as well as ensuring there is substantial justification through a Return on Investment (ROI) and business growth.
Currently, Trusty Carpets is in a growing industry which has been shown to be in-demand with several investment opportunities for expansion. In addition to market research indicating that there is rise in new homeowners requiring carpets, businesses needing new flooring, and the demand for sustainable material solutions, there is, also, a national demand to improved living standards. For carpeting in particular, the launch of bio-based carpeting is expected to show significant growth in the flooring industry due to its stain resistance, ease of maintenance, durability, and several notable designs and textures (Shah, 2022).
Trusty Carpets’ proposed solution falls within their allocated budget and financial capabilities. Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers a full Customer Engagement Plan which encompasses the CRM aspects of business operations. With the inclusion of sales, customer service, marketing, insights, and several other notable features, the platform is offered at $40 per user per month. Since only a select number of users will need to access the system, Trusty Carpets can expect to pay $1,440 annually on licensing and subscription costs (Wright, 2019). Therefore, the business will be able to allocate up to 10% of its total budget in modernizing their new IT system and network.
Although Trusty Carpets will incur a large initial investment to setup the new system and infrastructure, the business can expect to see financial returns within the first 24 months of operation. CRM solutions for businesses has seen a rise within the $27.5B market (Brigham, n.d.). Market research indicates that every dollar spent on a CRM project (i.e., implementation, hardware, software, etc.) results in a return of $8 back to the business (Brigham, n.d.). While Trusty Carpets will incur on-going subscription costs and service fees, the business will be able to recuperate the costs due to its combined store profits.
The proposed Customer Relationship Management system takes advantage of the stated opportunity by streamlining customer outreach and enabling interoperability with builders and interior designers. The expansion of Trusty Carpets brings with it the potential to cooperate with these other businesses to lock in alternative revenue streams. Using Microsoft Dynamics 365’s Customer Engagement will enable Trusty Carpets’ salespeople to manage all of these different accounts. Microsoft Dynamics 365 makes use of email templates, PDF sales contracts, and data management to simplify the customer outreach team’s processes (Microsoft, 2021).
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is an established CRM solution that has proven its effectiveness at modernizing sales methods and customer communication. Copper State Bolt & Nut is an example of a successful use case. It utilized Dynamics 365 to help analyze its data and enable mobile operations. The company experienced a period of rapid expansion and leveraged Microsoft Dynamics 365 to effectively manage these new customer relationships (Microsoft, 2019). An additional benefit to Dynamics 365 is its scalability. It can grow with the company and retain its effectiveness as the company takes on more complex processes.
As Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based suite, an internet connection and mobile devices are all that are required from an IT architecture perspective. Trusty Carpets has internet connectivity in both locations, and salespeople have mobile devices for conducting business while on the sales floor. This solution fits with Trusty Carpets’ current infrastructure without the need for additional hardware.
The implementation may require the help of outside consultants. It will require a Microsoft Azure license to access Microsoft’s cloud environment as well as a license for Dynamics 365 (Microsoft, n.d.). While the Azure setup is not expected to be complex, the skills required to complete the setup may not exist on the current staff. The software itself does require some training to maximize its effectiveness in the workspace. The initial push to train an employee or team will be rewarded, as utilization of Dynamics 365 can result in revenue growth up to 67% in a year (Dynamics Labs University, n.d.) The software is cloud-based, so the infrastructure is managed by Microsoft.
While additional staffing is not a necessity, a dedicated CRM administrator or staff is beneficial to getting the most out of a CRM system. A CRM team can spot inefficiencies in current business processes and identify possible solutions that the CRM can provide (Dorman & Zezza, 2018). Trusty Carpets should consider the option to either add a dedicated CRM staffer or obtain training for an existing employee to maximize the CRM’s benefits to the business. In either scenario, a slight reorganization of the staff will be necessary to include CRM duties in the position’s responsibilities. Microsoft does offer a certification in Dynamics 365, as well as an associated training course (Microsoft, n.d.). To make full use of the CRM, this training course and certification should be considered for the current staff member who will take on these responsibilities. If hiring a new employee specifically for this position, the certification should be a prerequisite.
– Five requirement statements for handling input, output and storage of data.
Technical Requirements – Nambo
– Five requirement statements setting out the system performance specifications.
Security Requirements – Nambo
– Five requirement statements covering various aspects of system, data, and transactional security.
Each requirement should be a full sentence and follow guidelines in the “Writing Good Requirements” –LINK– document in the Course Content
Chambers, A. (2022). FedEx to use Microsoft Dynamics 365 to provide logistics solution. https://www.technologyrecord.com/Article/fedex-to-use-microsoft-dynamics-365-to-provide-logistics-solution-128197
Denison, R. (n.d.). Our updated chemical safety law: The Lautenberg Act. https://www.edf.org/health/our-updated-chemical-safety-law-lautenberg-act#:~:text=The%20Lautenberg%20Act%20gives%20the,they%20can%20enter%20the%20market
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Dynamics Labs University. (n.d.). Your Essential Guide to Learning Microsoft Dynamics 365 & Power Apps. Retrieved from https://www.dynamicslabs.io/pages/your-essential-guide-to-microsoft-dynamics-365-training-power-apps on January 30, 2022.
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Background: Jerry Montgomery has been selling carpets for 20 years from his store, Trusty Carpets, which is located in a strip mall that, over the past few years, has become a busy shopping center. The location is in what had been a quiet town near a large city, but recent area growth has resulted in many new homes being built and the town council has started to consider ordinances to create zones to protect unique architecture, improve overall property condition, and protect the environment. Their focus is on creating an up-scale community attracting “clean” businesses to improve the quality of life and its tax base.
The current business model: Since he opened his Trusty Carpets store, Jerry has advertised in the local paper and done all of his business in his showroom where he has carpet samples on display. Jerry employs two sales people to serve customers in the store. One is his daughter Ann who he would like to take over the business when he retires. Since he has little storage space, Jerry’s inventory has been limited to overstock, end pieces from installations, and samples. When a customer makes a selection from the samples, the salesman checks the manufacturer’s information to determine the availability of the selected carpet and the current price. Jerry’s brother-in-law, Mike Baker, has a carpet installation business and has been sub-contracting the installation of the carpets sold by Trusty Carpets. The sales staff coordinates installation with the customer and with Mike.
Jerry employs an accountant (who has other customers and does his work at his own office) to keep track of his finances, pay bills, send invoices, collect payment and do payroll. Jerry’s finances are very straight-forward, and he uses the accountant only because he does not like to do the paperwork.
Jerry’s company sells about 250,000 square feet of carpet a year (70% of it is mid-grade carpet and padding) for sales of about $1.2 million. This results in a net profit of about $100,000. His current costs are in line with industry averages but his profits are below the averages. He attributes this to the fact that he keeps his prices low to be more competitive and grow his business.
Technology support: The Trusty Carpets store has a basic information technology (IT) infrastructure with an internet connection. There is a computer with a multi-purpose printer (scanner/fax/printer) in Jerry’s office. It is connected to a router supplied by the Internet Service Provider. The router also provides a wireless network within the store, and the 2 salesmen have tablet computers that they use to check carpet availability and price, and to enter and check orders. Order forms are simple Google document forms that are stored in the Google cloud and are shared among the employees and with the installer and the accountant. Jerry and his salesmen each have a Gmail account. One of the salesmen, Ben (who has been with Jerry 6 years), is studying IT at the community college. He set up the current technology in the store just six months ago. Jerry expects Ben to learn about any new technology that gets installed and help solve minor in-store IT problems.
Recent changes: Jerry has been quite successful and has recently acquired Metro Carpets, a store on the other side of town. Metro Carpets has a large showroom and an adjoining 20,000 square foot warehouse. The showroom contains two room displays, one a living room with their top line carpet and one a family room with mid-line carpet. The remaining display space is for samples and remnants, including a small area for closeouts. The warehouse is about 50% utilized. It contains rolls of the top line carpet in a wide range of popular colors for immediate installation. Although it is a relatively large business, the previous owner was not well organized, had no information technology at the store, and kept all of his customer records and carpet inventory in hand-written ledgers. Jerry plans to retain the three sales staff and two warehouse people at Metro, and he wants to continue to expand sales in his original store. Metro generates about $3 million in annual sales at a 12% profit. Costs are in line with industry averages. Carpet sold at Metro breaks down as follows: 10% bottom grade, 50% mid-grade and 40% top-of-the-line.
In addition, Jerry and Mike (the installer) have decided to combine their businesses into one carpet sales and installation business. They will do this after they have reviewed the impact of an EPA initiative, the WARM Program, to improve the rate of carpet recycling to lower greenhouse gas emissions. A description of the WARM Program is posted with the Case Study under Course Resources. Jerry feels recycling is important and wants to be able to make the appropriate business accommodations. Mike runs his business out of his home since all of the work is done in customers’ homes. He has two installation teams (2 people each) and installation equipment is stored in the trucks. Mike expects to increase the number of installation teams since Jerry acquired Metro Carpets. Mike’s wife Carol handles the bookkeeping, and while all of their work is paper-based, they are well organized. He earns about $1.50/square foot for his services.
The opportunities: With the expansion of his business, Jerry needs a way to be able to manage the two separate locations and the installation operation as one business. He is also looking at ways to increase his business through internet sales, establishing relationships with new home builders, and in-home sales where he believes that he could reach more customers if his salespeople could go to customers’ homes, take measurements and obtain orders. Jerry’s daughter Ann is studying interior decorating in college and he wants to reach out to the interior decorating community to expand sales as well. Additionally, Jerry wants to be environmentally responsible. To do this he will need to allocate warehouse space to accommodate recyclable carpet. The installers would bring the used carpet to the warehouse, and the carpet would then be picked up by a recycler monthly at no cost.
How your team will help: Jerry’s primary business objective is to continue to increase his profit margins, and he believes appropriate technology can help with managing his expanding business. He has hired your team to evaluate his needs and recommend which technologies he should acquire and to develop the Business Case for those you recommend. He will use the Business Case to decide whether he should invest in the technology solution your team is proposing. Through the Business Case, your team must convince Jerry that you have a well thought-out plan that meets his objectives and has the potential of increasing sales and profitability; your objective is to get Jerry to hire your team to develop and implement the solution you are proposing.
The assignment: Your team is to develop and explain a proposed technology solution for Jerry’s business. You will come up with some specific business objectives that could be supported by technology solutions, and then identify some IT solutions that could benefit Jerry’s carpet business. As a team, you will decide which technology or combination of technologies would benefit his business the most and should be implemented first. Your team will develop a Business Case to explain the solution and how it would be implemented.
The Business Case must be well written and be able to be understood by Jerry, with his limited technical understanding. It is to be written as a proposal to Jerry that explains and defends the solution your team is putting forward.
Your team will develop the Business Case, section by section, as we proceed through the class. The Business Case will be done as a series of documents prepared by your team that together form the full Business Case. The specifics for each section are in the weekly group project assignments, beginning with the Week 1 Group Assignment. The complete business case assignment is in the “Building the Business Case” document posted in the classroom.
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