Wal-Mart is a multinational retailer organization based in the US. In 1962, it was founded by Sam Walton, who in 1969 saw it get incorporated, and in 1972, it could trade in the New York Stocks exchange. Moreover, Wal-Mart has become one of the world’s largest stores. In 2010, Forbes Global 2000 named it the world’s largest Public Corporation by revenue. Wal-Mart has ventured to install its China shops all over the world, having been extremely successful in the United Kingdom and South America; however, had to pull out of Germany and South Korea due to losses. Also, it has an established effect of a renowned reputation of a leading multinational Corporation.
In order to procure products from a larger number of suppliers directly, Wal-Mart, the US retail giant, has plans to employ information technology expertise. This means more integration between their systems and those of suppliers. Over years, Wal-Mart has largely invested in some state of the art technology, particularly, the supply chain technology. One of the main challenges that Wal-Mart is facing is to compel suppliers integrate their systems. When they made RFID compulsory, Wal-Mart expected that suppliers would meet the cost, but many did not get their money back.
Most often, information system development and implementation undertakings lead to failure. According to research, more than 40% of IS the development and implementation fail to complete. They are classified into failed projects, successful projects and projects that do not meet the deadline. A project is declared failure depending on the extent to which it has failed. There are different types of changes in information systems. One, there are those changes that are motivated by customer need’s evaluation. Such changes take place, because, at the commencement of the project, not clear requirements, as a result of technology change or changing client needs.
Challenges in IS Change Management
Resistance to Change
When coming up with and developing an information system project, one should expect to encounter resistance from the staff to such changes, since project managers never foresaw how the staff would respond to those changes occurring as a result of the introduction of the new system. While the work of project managers is mostly to look for and grasp new opportunities, main part of system users, usually see a threat in such adjustments and always attempt to resist their introduction. Depending on the impact of adjustments in information systems, staff can be classified into promoters, opponents, latent opponents and potential promoters. Promoters’ attitude towards changes is positive, and also their implicitly has a positive attitude towards adjustments that are brought about by the project (Cadle & Yates, 2008). This could be attributed to their seeing personal benefits emanating from changes, or changes that they could use to their advantage. On the other extreme end are opponents, who tend to have a general negative attitude towards any changes in an organization, while taking a view that is negative towards changes in organization.
These two groups of staff do not present the biggest problem to changes brought about by the project. Problems, however, emanate from potential promoters and latent opponents. The latent opponents happen to be the biggest cause of problems and distraction to changes that come up as a result of certain projects being undertaken. Such people support projects, though not whole heartedly, just on the surface. Potential promoters, on the other hand, support change; but, in addition, they need to be convinced concerning benefits to be accrued from the adjustments that come as a result of a project being undertaken. Latent opponents show passive resistance to adjustments from the norm. They may, for instance, agree to functionalities in the system, but the claim that the system is not functioning according to their expectations.
According to Cadle and Yeates, the staff usually shows early enthusiasm for adjustments. This enthusiasm declines gradually as problems arise. This is followed by the staff gathering new strength, and they can now consider living with changes. Initially, the staff feel challenged, hence, their denying new projects, and, hence, they are quite enthusiastic and demonstrate early enthusiasm for changes, which declines gradually as problems emerge, along by gathering strength for facing changes. Initially, the staff denies the new project, because they feel challenged, and are sensitive towards the implementation and development of the project. They still have the opinion that the existing knowledge can be applied successfully to the new situation, at this stage.
Eventually, as more awareness about the project is created, and the staff learns more information concerning the project, as they notice that adjustments surpass their expectations, and they start to resist. The resistance by the staff diminishes as time passes by, and now they want to deal with, and solve problems caused by changes. They gradually cope with the challenges that come up, through brainstorming with their colleagues, while searching for errors in the designed system.
Participants/ Stakeholders in a Project
Stakeholders in that project are of the importance in achieving fruition in change management in IS the development and implementation undertakings.. The work of individuals in a project is highly considerable. It is of the considerable essence for all the participants in a project to understand the scope of their tasks. Otherwise, they will attempt to do what they deem appropriate, and they probably may not finish tasks. Stakeholders in a project include; project managers, sponsors, team members, and change control board. (Baca, 2005)
Successful development and implementation of the project is the role of the project manager of the project itself. In addition to supervising the execution of the project in totality, project managers also ought to assist other participants. They should identify changes agents in organizations and guarantee their inclusion in the project. Financing of the project is the role of project sponsors, and must be sure that the project coincides with the vision that is to be accomplished. They must be sure that the development or improvement of an information system will assist to accomplish the strategic objectives of the organization. They supervise projects to ensure that they are done with in time, and within the planned budget.
Also, in a project are team members, who ought to be made aware of their roles and objectives in a reasonable time. Change control board’s role is to determine whether changes being under taken under the project are necessary or not.
Goals that are set to be achieved in the development of an information system for Wal-Mart are; to develop a system that will predict future customer wants and needs for the competitive advantage, and also develop systems and applications that will ease and make efficient online buying of goods. This will lead to the improved efficiency.
Concerning its use of information technology, the company has a core competence to support its international logistics system. IT supports its efficient procurement and monitoring how individual products are performing countrywide. Through IT, Wal-Mart has employed diverse workforce, hence, its competency in service delivery. This is done through training and recruitment with advertisements being put online for a vacancy in the company. E-commerce involves carrying out transactions online. This is where customers buy goods online.
`Walmart has not an elaborate e-commerce system, despite its success in normal retailing. Wal-Mart also needs to understand the nature of the market, especially customers, in an effort to formulate working policies in the UAE market, if it seeks to design a working strategic plan, successfully. By this, the organization has to understand and appreciate the culture and customs of customers it intends to serve. In this case, local strategists come in handy, as well as research and observation. The organization has to make policies that are consistent with the culture and traditions of its customers in an effort to reflect their values in its image. For instance, Wal-Mart cannot use skimpy dressed women or blondes it uses in the local outlets in making a policy on advertisement in America. This is because the UAE characteristics of women are traditionally conservative, and to draw the disdain the corporation should use decently dressed women in order to sell their products. In establishing a business in UAE, Wal-Mart has to recognize factors of the environment of the international business to increase benefits of globalization and decrease negative influence of the global market on the business.
Moreover, the need to understand the country’s political situation in which one wants to establish a business is strongly beneficial, because the political situation of the host country will be reflected in the business pursuit for policies and licensing with which businesses should align themselves to avoid conflicting with laws of the host country. The political setting should be conducive, thus ensure stability to warrant establishing of business in the country. UAE is located at the center of an extraordinary region, the Middle East; due to its history, it is less prone to instability that characterized this region by offering politically favorable business environment. When establishing an international business in UAE, Wal-Mart needs to understand trade requirements of the world market and viability of setting the business.
Close analysis most of the most successful organizations in the world alludes to the fact they achieved the successes mostly due to their ability to apply Information technology to Supply the Chain Framework. Improving efficiency and effectiveness in large or small companies that are highly competitive falls among the biggest priorities in today’s world. Supply Chain Framework plays a vital role in order for organizations to achieve the competitive advantage.
High speed access of Internet allows close collaboration between suppliers through plan-sharing, sharing forecasts and consumer data. Sharing such information eases the real time analysis of information about orders, sales and market trends, foresee and swiftly react to adjustments in demand, as well as improve efficiency. Accurate information about stock implies that only the needed supply is ordered. Sharing spreadsheets and using e-mail, through E-collaboration can be easy, while sharing information in real time forms the greatest benefit. This calls for sophisticated technology, such as making use of forecasting systems or inventory planning, Online Analytical Processing and Enterprise resource planning. Inventory planning involves using inventory records to predict the market demand for the organization’s product or service. Online analytical processing systems analyze the performances of past sales and compares forecasts from different suppliers. Enterprise Resource planning systems have capabilities of planning and scheduling an organization’s entire business. If an order and the purchasing system get connected with suppliers’, an organization can automatically issue an invoice. ERP systems are notably expensive, and could be rented from an Application Service Provide,- though that means that the company will incur some extra costs, for instance, training staff.
Among factors that will lead to above goals being achieved is the increasing integration of information technology to almost every aspect of human lives. People nowadays have computers and Internet in their homes and would prefer to buy goods from home, and have them delivered, instead of travelling to stores to pick them. People can also do ‘window-shopping’ online. It is, therefore, paramount for an organization like Wal-Mart that deals with goods supply to have the most up to date information technology installed in as many parts of the world as possible. Also, through teleconferencing, employees can be trained, making them competent, hence, leading to improvement in service delivery.
Efficiency in service delivery can be achieved by ensuring that employees of an organization get equipped with the most updated skills. Also, employees need to understand and be well furnished with knowledge on information technology; if it is to be fruitful in efficiency improvement, in an organization. Information systems come in handy, so that record keeping can be as accurate as possible, and make sure that customers do not get inconvenienced. This way, the organization becomes the company of choice to customers worldwide. Through efficient information systems, customers worldwide have access to any store of Wal-Mart. This leads to increased customer base, hence, increased earnings for the organization. This means that increased customer base serves as the biggest motivation towards achieving goals, to improve Wal-Mart information systems.
Change management for an Information System requires one to identify challenges, set goals, and formulate ways overseeing the implementation of those goals.