CIS498 IT Capstone Scenario
You have been made the Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer (CIO / CTO) of an innovative e-Commerce start-up company that a venture capital group has funded. The CEO has given you sixty (60) days to deliver an information technology project plan in anticipation of the company locating to a new facility. Since this is a start-up company, there is currently no building or technology infrastructure to support the business. All information technology (hardware and software) must be implemented in either a hosted solution, on-site solution or a hybrid model. The CEO is expecting you to integrate different technologies from different partners and incorporate industry best practices in connection with the development of technological systems. The new facility is a two-story stand-alone building. The company currently consists of ten (10) employees with revenues of $5 million but is expected to grow to thirty (30) employees with revenue of $30 million over the next two (2) years.
Information Technology Project Plan For a Start-up Company – CIS498 IT Capstone
Owing to technological advancements, e-commerce has achieved massive success in the 21st century. In 2019, globally, ecommerce recorded sales of approximately $3.5 trillion (Mohanty & Nanda, 2020). According to Mohanty and Nanda, this was an increase of roughly 18% from the previous year. Projections show that ecommerce is expected to nearly double by 2023, with total global sales of more than $6.5 trillion. This sector’s immense success is mostly attributed to the ability of ecommerce businesses to integrate information technology in their operations whereby they collect user data and analyze it to inform their strategies. Data collection comes with substantial responsibility for ensuring security from theft and breach. Regarding ecommerce businesses, this document explores the business requirements of a start-up ecommerce company, particularly how it can ensure effective data security and management.
The opportunities within the scope of an ecommerce company engaged in providing services on the online world through information technology are numerous. In recent years, the ecommerce industry has become one of the leading customer preferences as per the current market trends. This pattern has induced a series of innovations in information technology, with these technological advancements mainly focusing on customer behavior and transactions process (Mohanty, M. S., & Nanda, D. B. (2020). The bloom of the ecommerce in recent years has led the company to benefit from the many opportunities presented by fast-growing domains in the online commerce realm. Implementation of the transactions process has considerably yielded positive results as most customers have embraced it and provided positive feedback. Most customers have stated that they prefer online transactions to the traditional offline processes due to its heightened security and the enhanced customer experience as it is hassle-free. Moreover, the customers have established that they prefer to order services from their home’s comfort rather than visiting a physical store (Dachyar & Banjarnahor, 2017). These customer preferences create a significantly broad scope for the ecommerce company to establish a competitive advantage.
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The undertakings of the company also provide it with room to expand its scope in the ecommerce industry. The opportunities stem from the presence of protected databases of the customer market, which the company has prioritized. With the proper utilization of innovative features of information technology, the company under consideration focuses on buffering protection of its customer data through the use of cloud solutions. This entails the use of high-end security approaches, including incorporating firewall, antimalware software, et cetera. Such a process will also create latitude for the company to establish a competitive edge in the ecommerce sector. According to Dachyar and Banjarnahor (2017), customers prefer to transact with a company that guarantees that their sensitive information is well secured. Thus, the scope of the ecommerce company is significantly vast with the presence of such features and the increasingly growing ecommerce sector. However, it is worth noting that the company’s scope is mainly dependent on its ability to increase the number of internet users who perceive its online stores as easy and safe to access and, most importantly, effective in satisfactorily meeting their needs. Therefore, the company must establish itself as the best option in its respective market by strategically considering the identified factors.
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The company under consideration is a start-up with about 25 employees working in its two-storied premises. An effective communication framework is paramount to the success of the business. Having an advanced networking system as part of the infrastructure undergirding the communication framework can provide the company with much-needed efficiency in communications and, as a result, facilitate competitive advantage. The networking system should entail device locations, server information, links, et cetera. The components are essential to facilitating effective staff-customer interactions (Dachyar & Banjarnahor, 2017). Consequently, this will lead to improved customer satisfaction, which helps the company retain its existing customers and attract new ones due to a good reputation.
Achievement of the described scope is possible through maximization of the available opportunities and having a growth mindset that will see the company turn challenges into opportunities. With such an approach, the start-up has a fair probability of maintaining steady growth and profitability to grow to become an industry leader. In fact, such an approach will see the company expand its scope.
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Possible Risks, Constraints, and Assumptions
The success of an ecommerce business is largely dependent on how well it utilizes information systems and technology. Balzer, Bollig, and Binckebanck (2017) illuminate that information technology systems monitor and manage databases, ensure data security, and facilitate data analysis. It also entails computer infrastructure and incorporates accounting and networking within an organization. An efficient information technology system also outlines web-designs, employee-customer relationships, and human-computer interactions; thus, it is imperative to identify underlying assumptions, risks, and constraints associated with an ecommerce start-up.
One of the factors that may constrain the company is the newly implemented information technology system. The constraints associated with this factor stem from security, privacy, technical limitations, sustainability, and legal issues. However, by identifying and implementing strategies to address these limitations, the start-up under consideration overcome the limitations. One of the consumer market’s primary concerns when it comes to online businesses is the data theft or disclosure of sensitive personal information such as their credentials (Patro, Padhy, & Panigrahi, 2016). Hence, ecommerce businesses must secure their online stores as well as their online transactions process. To address this issue, the company under consideration will emphasize data encryption to ensure data privacy and security (Praveena & Smys, 2017). Thus, the company will adopt robust firewalls, antimalware software, and security plugins to ensure data protection. Notably, this will be implemented as an ongoing process to ensure that the said software and plugins are always up to date as well as make sure there are no loopholes for data theft or breach.
The ecommerce industry is highly dependent on data collection, analysis, and interpretation to make informed customer decisions. As already mentioned in this document, the organization will gather useful information to enhance the customer experience. If an organization is not able to protect its database, it risks loss or leakage of confidential information. However, while data collection is essential to the success of ecommerce businesses, they must comply with established rules and regulations regarding user data collection. Legal compliance with cyber laws and data management laws can, therefore, act as a constraint to the start-up as it limits the data that the company can gather ((Praveena & Smys, 2017). Besides the legal limitations, technical factors can also constraint the business as it largely depends on online technology. For instance, an erratic server or internet connection can halt ecommerce business. As such, it is important that the start-up adequately invests in the technological aspect of its operations to ensure that its business runs seamlessly.
Apart from the constraints, it is also essential to consider potential risks when planning for a business venture. One of the notorious risks in the ecommerce realm is credit card fraud. This poses a significant threat to the start-up because if it happens as a customer is transacting with the company, it can adversely affect its reputation. Without trust, ecommerce is bound to crumble. If such an incident occurs, it can significantly hurt the trust the company has established with the customers and, as a result, cause it to lose its customer base. It would also adversely impact the company’s ability to attract new customers due to the negative image (Kaushik, Gupta, & Gupta, 2020). It is, therefore, crucial that the company under consideration implement measures to prevent such occurrences. Another risk is a system failure. For instance, if the internet service provider (ISP) experience technical hitches such as a crash, the entire transaction process can be at risk. The start-up should, therefore, have a mitigation plan to deal with such risks. Lastly, product damage can occur during shipment. If the damaged product reaches the customer, then it hurts the company’s reputation. To restore the damaged trust, the company will have to change the product at its cost or refund the customer. Therefore, such events can cause the company to incur losses and negatively impact its ability to retain existing customers and attract new ones.
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Integration with Other Systems and Infrastructure
Staying up-to-date with technological advancements can help the start-up company improve its success in the ecommerce sector. Notably, this includes buffering its information technology by integrating it with other systems and infrastructure. This section explores how the company under consideration can integrate databases, systems, security, networking, and interface design to gain a competitive advantage.
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The protection of user information and confidential company data is essential to companies operating in the ecommerce realm. The company under consideration, can utilize a cloud-based data management system to reduce data burden and heighten security. There exist several database software at the disposal of the start-up company. The company can also source the services of SaaS service providers in the digital marketing space. Besides direct marketing, this can also help with data analysis to provide useful information that the start-up can utilize to its advantage. Some of these functions relate to:
- Transactional information.
- Stable internal core business structure.
There are numerous databases in the market that the start-up can adopt, including API Databases, Value Databases, Cloud Databases, et cetera (Patro, Padhy, & Panigrahi, 2016). The start-up must make sure to use a database that aligns with its needs and operations. As a recommendation, the company can utilize Cloud Databases Management. The database offers various benefits, including massive data space, reliable security, user-friendliness, and other features geared towards enhanced customer experience.
Ecommerce has revolutionized the way businesses conduct their businesses. According to Patro, Padhy, and Panigrahi (2016), the ecommerce stands out as a platform that allows multiple business operations within a single infrastructure such as shopping, financial transactions, product delivery, and consumer feedback. Therefore, transparency in ecommerce is vital to the success of a company operating in the ecommerce sector. Therefore, the start-up needs to emphasize transparency in all its operations to ensure that it establishes robust trust with customers and other stakeholders. Inclusion on grid security infrastructure (GSI) can improve communication between the company and the consumer market, thereby improving its reputation (Patro, Padhy, & Panigrahi, 2016). System analysis leads to various benefits to businesses, including:
- Efficiency and flexibility.
- Informs technological considerations.
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As earlier emphasized in this document, data security is essential to ecommerce businesses. The start-up can buffer its data security installation of security software, including firewalls and antimalware. The company also needs to encrypt its data and protect it with passwords. Moreover, it is crucial to cultivate an organizational culture that emphasizes data protection through best practices and maintains business ethics regarding data management (Patro, Padhy, & Panigrahi, 2016). Some of the threats that the security measures should seek to address include, ecommerce security threats, phishing, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and payment gateway security. The company can outsource these services or hire online data management experts to ensure heightened security of data gathered and stored. Apart from improving data management infrastructure, enhancing human-computer interaction through ongoing training can significantly improve its security system. According to (Praveena & Smys, 2017), data breach or loss often occurs due to poor human-computer interactions.
The ecommerce company seeks to acquire networking efficiency facilitated by improved network infrastructure that will see a seamless flow of operations. As an ecommerce business, the company is entirely reliant on networking systems. Therefore, the start-up needs to consider factors such as physical communications, serve information, device location, links, and the number of customers visiting its website/online store. Objective consideration of these aspects will allow the company to establish high standards regarding the quality of its networks (Praveena & Smys, 2017). The company also needs to acquire a robust network infrastructure incorporating components such as load balancers, firewalls, domain name system (DNS), et cetera to ensure the business runs smoothly (Patro, Padhy, & Panigrahi, 2016). In establishing the networking system/infrastructure, the company should consider the various underlying threats, including malware threats, online frauds, bad bots targeting networks, and data breach and theft threats. To avoid the mentioned challenges, the start-up will implement specific security changes to avoid the mentioned challenges. To start with, the company will secure the server and admin panels to ensure network reliability. Secondly, it will protect the switches and routers from unauthorized third parties through the use of passwords. Lastly, the company will train the staff regarding security measures.
For businesses operating in the ecommerce sector, interface design plays an integral role in determining a business’s ability to attract potential customers. Having this in mind, the company under consideration will emphasize having an interface design that will allow the consumer market to get attracted to the company’s website and explore the various commodities the business has to offer. The user interface will be designed to ensure user-friendliness by allowing visitors to interact with the website easily. According to Patro, Padhy, and Panigrahi, (2016), an effective website is one that places the customer at the center of interface design as it allows visitors to enjoy an enhanced customer experience. Consequently, this allows a company to attract new customers while retaining existing ones.
To sum up, technology plays a vital role in the ecommerce sector. A key reason that has seen the industry grow is its ability to learn consumer behavior through data collection and consequently work towards customer satisfaction. Data collection comes with great responsibility, as ecommerce businesses have to ensure they keep the data they gather safely. As a result, ecommerce businesses need to have effective data security and management systems. As demonstrated in this document, it is imperative to approach data security and management from a holistic perspective that considers risks, constraints, and assumptions and further integrates database, interface design, security, and networking. Effective consideration of the requirements discussed in this document will see the start-up company under consideration steadily grow to become a market leader in the ecommerce sector.
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