Case Summary and Analysis
- Quality Assurance at Daimler AG
This is a case involving business intelligence. The company addressed is Daimler, a German manufacturer of automobiles including Mercedes-Benz cars. This company is credited for its customer-centeredness nature. At the heart of its operation, Daimler has customer satisfaction as a priority; as it highly embraces quality assurance. Normally, for customer satisfaction to be achieved there must be effective communication between the service provider and the customers, including feedback. In order to enhance customer satisfaction, Daimler realized that communication is essential. Quality assurance will ensure customer satisfaction when feedback after communication is considered and incorporated in the company operations. Daimler set out to collect quality assurance data from its clients in order to ensure their satisfaction. However, a major problem emerged in the case of data storage. Diversified means of data storage led to confusion, subsequently resulting in distortion of data, rendering the data less useful for the company.
This is a case of Information Technology, which needed a solution in order for the objective of customer satisfaction to be realized. The multiple data storages needed to be fused to allow for a harmonized data access. Though it took three years to merge these data sources, this was an achievement on the part of Daimler. The harmonized data source named Advanced Quality Analysis (AQUA) was beneficial as it cut on company costs, and helped it meet the customer satisfaction goal. This has also boosted effective communication and feedback between Daimler and its customers over the last two years. The adoption of a different business software AQUA miner has been instrumental also in addressing the repair cases of customers, thereby making Daimler act immediately on the repair needs of customers, as well as incorporating these in the manufacturing process of vehicles. Therefore, information technology played a big role in turning Daimler around, and can do the same to other businesses (Tsai 10-11).
- Norfolk Southern
This is yet another case addressing an Information Technology problem of Norfolk Southern, and how it evolved to become the first company to develop a high technology customer self –service business intelligence. Norfolk Southern is one of United States’ biggest freight railroads companies. Due to the previous high restrictions for freight companies in America, Norfolk Southern made its profits by effective cost management. Due to many business dynamics in the market, Norfolk Southern became a scheduled railroad, requiring it to adopt complex systems in its business operations. The problem, which presented itself was how the company, having changed to a scheduled railroad could use statistical methods to determine the best routes and connections in order to ensure high performance and effective business operations.
By adopting a 1-terabyte data warehouse in 1995, Norfolk Southern partly solved their IT solution. By allowing different users to access the data warehouse, the company makes it easy for its customers to get information about the services offered. For instance, a client will know the status and history of their shipment, and when it will arrive, customers also schedule for their trips on trains. Generally, this has boosted the effectiveness of the operations at Norfolk Southern. Additionally, by allowing customers to access the warehouse data, it enhances a sense of belonging in customers, further boosting rapport between the customers and the company. This has also enabled the company to cut down on costs that would have been incurred in employing customer care representatives, since this is handled online. The data warehouse is very flexible and alleviates restrictions on the customers’ side as they can use the data to determine what kind of service they will choose, and when they will go for it.
The data warehouse of Norfolk Southern can also be used to develop a customer satisfaction application. Here customers can post their views about the company performance, including any problems they have experienced while dealing with the company. This will help the company in its self-assessment and rating for better performance.
Conclusively, these two cases are real examples of how information technology can turn around business performance and profits. The two companies highlighted are successful today because of the IT solutions they adopted to address their biggest problems. Therefore, the link between business and information technology is crucial. If most businesses discovered and applied this, they would be the next success stories in future.
Tsai, Hui-Liang. “Information Technology and Business Process Reengineering: New
Perspectives and Strategies.” New York: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003.
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