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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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.).
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
· : 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.
· : 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.
· : 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.)
· : With its intuitive and easily identifiable data points, sales and customer service representatives can proactively engage with customers in effective and personalized ways.
· : 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.
· : 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.).
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.
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.
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.
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