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Explain systems thinking and how management information systems enable business communications.
-Systems thinking- way of monitoring the entire system by viewing multiple inputs being processed or transformed to produce outputs while continuously gathering feedback on each part. Page 12
-MIS enable business communications by moving information about people, products, and processes across the company to facility decision making and problem solving. Incorporates systems thinking to help companies operate cross-functionally
What is a competitive advantage? Why is it difficult to maintain? Give 3 examples of how technology be used to gain a competitive advantage (see lecture notes on this).
-Competitive advantage- a feature of a product or service on which customers place a greater value than they do on similar offerings from competitors
-Typically temporary because competitors often quickly seek ways to duplicate the product
-First mover advantage- being first into the market; itunes, amazon, facebook, etc
-Data mining- looking at large amounts of data for patterns, trends, or relationships; amazon “people who bought this book also bought this,” or company knowing what to sell during which month of the year
-Switching costs-with cell phone plans companies can charge for canceling plans, Microsoft providing free software to students provides the switching costs of having to relearn new products if you are to switch once you enter your career
How is Porter’s Five Forces Model used? What are the 5 forces?
-It analyzes the competitive forces within the environment in which a company operates to assess the potential for profitability in an industry
-Buyer power- the power of customers to drive down prices. Buyer power is high, competitors lower prices to compete.
-Supplier power- the power of suppliers to drive up prices of materials. If supplier power is high, influence industry by charging more, limiting quality or services, shifting costs to industry participants.
-Threat of substitute products or service- the power of customers to purchase alternatives. High when there are many alternatives, low when there is few to choose from.
-Threat of new entrants- the power of competitors to enter a market. High when its easy to enter a market, low when there are significant entry barriers to joining a market.
-Rivalry among existing competitors- power of competitors. High when competition is fierce and low when competitors are more complacent.
For each of Porter’s Five forces, give an example of how technology be used to impact the force.
-Buyer power- switching costs make customers reluctant to switch to another product or service. Loyalty programs reward customers based on their spending.
-Supplier power- using MIS to find alternative products is one way of decreasing supplier power. Increasing the size of the buyer power can influence the supplier power.
-Threat of substitute products or services- companies can reduce the threat by offering additional value through wider product distribution. Example- soft-drinks are made available through vending machines, gas stations, convenient stores, increasing the availability of soft drinks relative to other beverages
-Threat of new entrants-creating entry barriers for new companies, features of a product or service that customers have come to expect
-Rivalry among existing competitors- reduce rivalry by creating product differentiation, which is when they create unique differences in products or services with the intent to influence demand
What does Thomas Friedman mean when he refers to ‘ten forces that flattened the world?” What does he mean by the term horizontalizing? Describe 4 of the forces and their impact. (text / Thomas Friedman video clip)
-He means that the world has become flat due to technological advances connecting people in China, India, and the United States as if we were all next-door neighbors
-Horizontalizing- having to adapt our business processes, study habits, innovative approaches to this new platform
-Fall of the berlin wall- the events of Nov 9 1989 tilted the worldwide balance of power toward democracies and free markets
-Outsourcing- Migrating business functions to india saved money and a third world economy
-In sourcing- logistic giants took control of customer supply chains, helping mom-and-pop shops go global
-Wireless- wireless technologies pumped up collaboration, making it mobile and personal

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