Thursday, April 4, 2019

Royal Selangor IT System And Cloud Computing

empurpled Selangor IT System And blur work turn out1. IntroductionThis report is commissioned by the request of princely Selangor International (RS) for the purpose of analyzing actual IT radical and draw out recommendations for RS to adopt to dapple cipher technology. The current IT infra coordinate that operates RSs business processes ar analyzed. info for the analysis be collected done interviews with RS centering representatives. Based on these data and comparison with operable obliterate figuring solutions, recommendation on the adoption of vitiate reckon argon derived for RSs considerations.1.1. BackgroundRoyal Selangors core business is retailing pewter artifacts and je intumesceeries. RS is a mysterious own comp whatever manufacturing and retailing fine theatrical role pewter artifacts harvest-times oecumenical and is now the largest pewter artifacts producer in the world. Founded in 1885 and found in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, RS has expanded leaps and bounds to multinational recognition and has won several prestigious awards. The company recently celebrated its 125 years anniversary. The homepage uniform resource locator of the Royal Selangor is http//www.royalselangor.comRS currently operates 3 snitchs beneath the company. RS on its own crafts and retails the pewter artifacts, Selberan which retails fine je swellery and Comyns, a brand that has 350 years old legacy in silversmiths. (Bernama 2011)RSs produces be marketed through 3 channels as followsRS owned flagship stores which ar located at prominent shopping districts nigh the world, including London, Tokyo, Melbourne and Toronto.Distri stillion entanglement to reputable retailers around the world.Online shop that serves both distributors and guests.The major part of RSs success is through the online retailing. RS are the pioneer in orbit up its business for online shopping. It has enabled RS to spread its business internationally to distributors and too directl y to end exploiters. RS was awarded the CIO award in 2001 which recognizes the genius is IT implementation and system. (International 2001) The online shop has in any case pass ond RS channel to communicate with the customer and improves its inspection and repairs. RS has also established world wide of the mark offices with wareho employ facilities in major markets such(prenominal)(prenominal) as Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Britain and North America.1.2. Corporate StructureRS is a family as descriptor business since it was first founded in 1885. Through 4 extensions, the business has been passed on to succeeding family members. RS organization structure for the manufacturing business is as per Attachment A. The Managing Director is back up by two General Managers, managing and overlooking the undefiled trading functionings from raw materials, employment, research and development, merchandising, e-commerce up to distribution and international market ing. Each section operates on its IT organization for reporting and thorough tracking of the raw materials up to storage and distribution. Further detail analysis of the IT arrangement of RS forget be captured in Part 2.RSs Company Policy states the ambition of the company to manage its lieu among the forerunners of the industry and to strive for rectitude by being a doubt of competition. In align with this policy, RS has adapted well with bran-new IT dodgings to make headway improve its services to the customers. This is proven when RS opened its online store 10 years past in 1996 while many industry players are still skeptical about online store. (Yee 2007)RS has structured its operations to run on a placementatic IT infrastructure. Business processes of the group include the followingFinancial incisionHuman resource centeringManufacturingDistributionMarketingWarehousingCustomer relation management.2. IT InfrastructureWith over 1000 distinct products to be manufacture d and distributed across local anesthetic branches in Malaysia and also to 20 about otherwise countries directly, RS requires a outline that could provide up-to-date and accurate info to the people involved. RS had embarked on various marketing strategies to expand the organisation and in the year 1996, ventured into the e-commerce with RS online shop and website promotion and advertising (International 2001). The subsequent business strategies, marketing, e-commerce organization and web development meet a bun in the oven since been developed in- abode to the detail emergencys of the organisation and RS wanting much have in its development and deployment. (Yoon Kit, Yong 2011, pers. comm., 1 April)Critical business processes especially for manufacturing and the retailing are being incorporated and streamlined for speedier processing and better performance for the organisation. For the manufacturing department, integration and real-time updating of information for raw mate rials, work-in-progress and last(a) goods are vital for the organisation to be leaner. endeavour maskings have the capability to provide accurate purchase trends of customers and the information gathered have translate into a better inventory management for the organisation and also to the customers.As for the design team, IT is needed to speed up the design period and brook service of process to qualify new ideas into great products. Design information stop be functiond for quick and attract generation of manufacturing ready drawings and used for virtual(prenominal) prototyping. All this can offer distinct advantage to RS over their competitors such as new products were created in pewter with an additional animated storybook. (Bao Shan, Yip 2011, pers. comm., 3 April)Retailing provide pull up stakes benefit from the information on customers and also inventory to better serve the customer. Fast response and also deli actually scheduling can help the retail staff to close sales deal quicker. at any rate that, online marketing tools such as social networking are used to promote products actively. For RS, the strategic role of IT is very clear and it is for creating a competitive advantage over their competitors. (Yee 2007)2.1. Computer Hardware PlatformsFor the routine tasks, desktop computers and laptops from dell and HP data track on Intel or AMD processors are provided. For the design team, Apple IMac is used as it is much than suited for the modelling and designing purposes. The principal(prenominal)frames are located in-house and consist of HP and Dell hosts. These are utilize for the critical lotions such as the enterprise resource planning system (ERP), Storage Area Network, private automatic branch exchange (PABX) and the network systems between the offices and also the online shop. Cashiers at the respective branches are utilizing signalise of Sales (POS) Terminals connected to the main servers for daily transaction processing.2.2. Operating System PlatformsFor the general desktop computing or lymph node aim, RS is using Windows based operating system to manage the resources and activities of the computers. The Apple computers are supported with IMac OS X system. For the servers, RS is using Samba / Linux Server OS systems which are open sourced and it is good all-mains(prenominal) to different servers and software. Centralised updates and patches are provided in-house by RS IT staff.2.3. Enterprise software program ApplicationRS is currently using the Baan ERP system and it was deployed in the year 1999. The system is used mainly in manufacturing, finance, human resource and warehousing. The Baan Client is running on the Windows based operating system. The selection of Baan was based on the capability of the manufacturing module of the Baan ERP system.2.4. Networking / TelecommunicationRS requires a reliable network and telecommunications apparatus because of the global presence and extensive distribu tion channels to more than 20 countries such as Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada and United States of America. Locally, there are about 21 outlets nationwide. They are using Unifi fibre optics broadband services provided by Telekom Malaysia. This is for the standard activities such as net profit and correspondences and the network is managed via transmittance Control Protocol / profits Protocol (TCP/IP) suite.As for the dedicated leased line, it is connected to the offices and branches via the cisco Networks. Cisco Core Switch provides the entire organisation connectivity for their Enterprise Data Routing and with the switching capability of the Intelligent Bandwidth helps to meet optimum availability to their office and branches worldwide. Inter-office communication is using Lotus Notes as the integrated desktop client option for accessing e-mail and calendaring.The main office is utilizing PABX phone system which is able to support an enter prise wide phone and fax machines where as the branches are connected via standard public switched telephone networks.2.5. Data management and StorageThe Data management and storage for RS is quite large as it is to ensure that all product designs are archived and kept for future reference. The other requirement of the organisation is to provide a shared cusp running on the server as the depository of the new product designs in use by the organisation. The major usage of a 20 tetrabyte space is for the designs of the products and the accessibility of the information by various departments. Baan ERP application and database usage accounts for about 200 gigabyte space and the Lotus Notes application takes up about one hundred fifty gigabyte space.The physical computer ironware for the storage comes from various original equipment manufacturer (OEM) sources and the main supplier is Dell. The hardware components are Dell / EMC CX3 which is utilizing Small Computer System Interface ( SCSI)/Fibre hard disk for learn production system.2.6. Internet PlatformsThe come across internet sites for RS are the online shop/e-commerce and the visitor center homepage. The other sites under the group are Comyns and Selberan which is also under the support of RS IT department. The web site was built with customers in mastermind it is to be used as a two-way communication channel for customers, as well as a one-to-one marketing and fulfilment tool. The web hosting of these sites has been outsourced to CSC to ensure service availability and network latency. These webhosting servers are running on the latest iteration of Microsoft IIS Servers. The website are maintained with Linux / Apache / MySQL / Perl/PHP/Python package as it is open-source and it is easily adaptable to suit RS applications.2.7. Consultants and System Integrators intimately of the system integration work is done in house leveraging on the knowledge available.Currently, RS is getting external consultant sup port for the Baan ERP systems when required. The e-commerce system initially was out sourced but due to the specific needs of the organisation, it is now fully developed and maintained in house. Others system integrators or consultants are being appointed when necessary.Issues that were identified are as follows-To ensure interoperability between individually systems. RS have basically two systems to ensure its interoperability which are the CRM and the ERP applications. As for the other plans such as servers and data center, the software used are open source whereby customisation would be easier.Ensure constant communication and linkup between shared information worldwide. The need to access to data and inventory in real-time and reliably. oblige a well integrated and smooth supply chain especially for the online shop. It needs to be updated eer and best practices are to be employed and cascade down to the operation aims. Implementation will be a major stumbling block due to t he manufacturing processes being labour intensive.Maintenance of software and hardware systems 24/7. For storage, the scrap is managing the data and managing the systems that house the data. Software tools that track and manage storage resources efficiently are in high demand for these reasons.IT staff retention proved to be difficult. Internally, the IT department is supporting on hardware troubleshooting whereas the service or troubleshooting support will be provided by the external team of consultants.The current staff skill is sufficient to maintain and operate the system effectively. However, the staff education at the operator level is still lacking. unvarying training and retraining is required.Cost reduction is actively pursued whenever there is find oneself as budget is always constrained. Since data storage continues to grow at 40% to 60% per year, the challenge is amplified to try to get the most from any new storage purchase.Challenges that are constantly faced by RS are listed below and a few are being actively pursued by RS.To maintain operation excellence in the whole value chain design, manufacture, distribution and retailing not scarcely locally but also worldwide. Leaner production and shorter processing time and delivery schedules are give away focus area for continuous improvements. (International 2001)To innovate and re-invent the wheel for the retailing and marketing of the products by using IT. ever RS need to find ways to market their products as the current marketing channel in local and overseas retail shops, on-line shop, corporate customers and the visitor center / showroom is not adequate. Currently individually competitor in pewter ware has their very own website and they are promoting their products on line, retails shops and also at their main showroom (Tumasek 2011). RS have to look at the industry of premium giftware as well which would consider a worldwide market. Search Engine Optimisation programs, partnership with search engines and partnerships with other websites are areas to focus more in order to penetrate further into the international market. (Shankar 2003)To retain customers and to attract new customers are important. study competitors such as Tumasek, Oriental Pewter, Mariwasa and Pewter Arts are constantly challenging RS. New designs and faster production and roll-out of products would ensure a greater market share. Providing better and more personal touch to customer service will benefit in the long run as customers would have greater perception of the product not yet in footing of quality but also the service that comes with it. (Shankar, 2003)To constantly reappraisal the business strategies and if necessary upgrade or adapt the current system based on the specific needs of the organisation. The final call is that any new product or system purchased should move towards trim costs, better processes and common management.(Yee 2007) Strategies such as using setting up websites i n native languages of the republic they are going to market the product.Open source plays an important role with the servers in RS. (Yoon Kit, Yong 2011, pers. comm., 1 April) Most of the infrastructure servers are on Linux which gives flexibility in rolling out new servers as well as replicating our administration. RS uses a lot of the virtual machine ware so it is now easier to deploy new test and production servers on demand without having to submit capital disbursal and commission new machines. Constant updating of information and also skills related to open source would be vital for RS.3. Cloud computeCloud computing obtained its name from the metaphor for internet which represents an area on the network that resides outside ( deprave) but is required to make the network complete. The potency of the cloud is an external partys concern which is hosted and maintained by other parties and does not need the interference of the internal parties (Velte et al. 2010, p. 3).Examini ng the Cloud computing, it is basically a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources. These resources include networks, servers, storage, applications, and services that can be provided to the customers to serve up its daily operations. As explained in NIST document, Cloud computing consists of five essential characteristics, three service models, and quaternary deployment models (Mell Grance January 2011, pp. 2-3).The 5 Essential CharacteristicsOn-demand self-service. Services are available to the customer at all times and without any need for intervention by the service provider.Broad network access. The system is web based and can be accessed from any internet enabled device such as through mobile devices, thin or thick client platforms.Resource pooling. The provider of the cloud computing services uses physical or virtual resources to serve multiple customers with different needs. The customer generally has no affirm or knowledge over the exact location of the provided resources.Rapid elasticity. Customers can scale up or scale down concord to their own requirements. Additional services can be purchased at any time.Measured service. Customers accessing the system are easily tracked and controlled by means of storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts.The 3 Service ModelsCloud Software as a Service (SaaS). The provider offers an application that the customer can be accessed by different client platforms such as a normal client computer. The software is web based and does not reside in the customers computers. The devices only need to interface via a thin client interface such as the Web browser. The consumer does not need to physically install the software.Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS). The capability provided to the customer to develop applications using the programming languages and tools provided by the provider. The customer will only have control of the applicatio n developed using the platform provided.Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The provider only provides the infrastructure to the customer. The customer controls its own software and applications but has no control over the cloud infrastructure.The 4 Deployment ModelsPrivate cloud. The cloud services are provided to only one organization. alliance cloud. The cloud services are shared by few organizationsPublic cloud. The cloud services are made available to the general public or a large industry group and are owned by an organization selling cloud services.Hybrid cloud. The mixture of two or more cloud deployment models which runs on a standard or propriety technology.To summarize the definition of cloud computing, it is where software, platform or infrastructure services that are made available to the customers at all times. The customers have improve itself from the concerns of operating and maintaining the physical persuasions of the system and enable them to focus on its core competencies.Before exploring the adoption of Royal Selangor with cloud computing, the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing will be explored in following chapters below to examine further the key positives that will help the company. Figure 3.1 illustrates the advantages and disadvantages of Cloud Computing.3.1. Advantages of Cloud Computing3.1.1. Financial BenefitsCloud computing provides new solutions for all sizes of businesses and industries. When modern businesses looks for ways to cut operating cost without losing much productivity, cloud computing serves to be a key part to assist the business to achieve the target.By improving server utilization and decreasing the number of servers, significant cost reductions can be seen and additionally, future capital expenditure can be controlled. Normally servers are designed to have redundancy as well as spares for future expansions. This translates to capital expenditures spent for facilities that are not utilized. Clo ud computing provides enables the customer to only chip in the amount of usages utilized which translates to cost reductions.Also, theres a reduction in physical server depreciation cost. As pointed out above, fewer servers maintained by the company means less depreciation costs. In addition, it also directly reflects to expertness consumption and facilities cost. Reduced servers require less energy to operate and smaller facilities.When a true comparison is done, using a fully cost model, the decision weighs more favourably towards cloud computing. And when the other advantages are taken into account then cloud computing can really stilt up as a viable option (Group 2009, p. 6) .3.1.2. Technological benefitsCloud computing has the ability for the system to expand and contract automatically based on the demand of the customer. For software, new users can be depute to the system and start using almost immediately without much complications. The resource platforms such as storage, networks and servers are available on-demand and again do not require much intervention or effort by the customer to prepare the system. More significantly is the redundancy and back-up system available to the customer, ensuring that the data are secure and protected.3.1.3. Operational benefitsIn terms of operations benefits, this can be referred as outsourcing the IT system and delegating the insecurity management. Service providers have to ensure that the system is available at any time and redundancy provided. The problems that have been concerns for companies running physical hardware, servers and data centers can now shift the perils to the service provider. Access to the system is also improved as it can be accessed from anywhere through an internet enabled device. This improved operation excellence as data are always available at anywhere, anytime to the users of cloud computing.3.1.4. Environmental BenefitsBy using lesser servers through servers consolidation, energy con sumption of the IT system is drastically decreased. This translates to lower and more efficient energy consumption.3.1.5. Competitive AdvantageBusinesses can be more competitive by adopting to cloud computing. Cloud computing provide a quick and efficient start up for any small or strength size businesses. This enables them to have almost similar capacity as larger established companies in terms of IT systems. Also, with data easily available, it enables businesses in general to be more agile and response quicker to market.3.2. Disadvantages of Cloud ComputingWhile the advantages of cloud look promising, there are also disadvantages to the cloud services such as below-3.2.1. Security issuesThere is a need to look at the security aspect for cloud. The security risks that come with cloud computing ranges from user access, recovery, regulatory compliance and long term viability. polished data processed/stored externally brings with it an inherent level of risk, because outsourced ser vices bypass the physical, logical and personnel controls from in-house programs. The controls of user access and also content management access would need to be transparent and clear so customers are not worried about their data being compromised. (Brodkin 2008)3.2.2. Lack of controlFor cloud computing, the hardware and software could be based in multiple locations all around the world compare to in-house systems. The control on the storage and security of the data will be the under the jurisdiction of the cloud vendor and users do not have much control over it. Performance and upgrading of the applications and data protection will be relying on the timeliness or scheduling of the vendors to update their software.3.2.3. Lock-in to cloud vendorsUsers should be aware of the risk of lock-in to the cloud vendors. The consideration will be on whether in the future there is the need for changes or replacement of the software/platform/infrastructure selected initially and thus switching cost will be incurred. Based on the three types of cloud computing, the service and platform will have some sort of impact and difficulty if there is a need to change vendors. Selection of vendors that provide minimum lock-in should be preferred. (Petri 2010) There is also the need to ensure that the data that is held with the vendor will remain available until now if they have been acquired or merge with other larger vendors.3.2.4. Reliability on cloud functionalityCloud vendors based their business on providing high up-time and downtimes should be kept to a minimum. Overall hardware and network reliability from cloud vendors are considered to be at par or above par comparing to the medium data center. However, there are instances when there is downtime and this would be considered to be unacceptable if it is too long and economic losses are being factored in. A few vendors will have strict service level agreements (SLAs) that provide themselves with a method of controlling the downtime. (ENKI 2011) Besides the downtime from servers, we need to look at the downtime created due to non internet service such as link and bandwidth availability. There might be problem when the internet connection is not available or not sufficient to support the functionality of the applications. This would exclusively render the cloud application a total failure.3.2.5. Data segregationData stored in the cloud is generally in a shared environment and it is placed within the same location as other users. There is the need to ensure that the data is fully secured and only the authorised user can access it and the cloud provider should proof that encryption schemes were designed and tested by experienced specialists. Data can be totally unusable if there is complication during the de-cryption procedure. (Brodkin 2008)3.2.6. Recovery of Data and ServicesThere would be difficulty in accessing the data and service provided in the cloud as the user would not have any information on where the data is or how it is being stored. In the horizontalt of disaster, the cloud provider would need to setup a proper data recovery or restoration. There would be question on when can be data be ready for use once they initiate the recovery process. (Brodkin 2008)4. Recommendation of cloud computing adoption/adaptionThe findings from above are analyzed against the factors that forms the Competitive Forces Model for IT Infrastructure (Laudon Laudon 2010, p. 223). This will provide an outline of RSs requirement to adopt cloud computing as its IT infrastructure.4.1. Market demand for organisations servicesInternet sales have always been the principal business of RS. 80% of RSs sales are from the online shop. (Yee 2007) Considering future trends, the e-commerce will keep on expanding and improving. The market demand is and has proven to be in abundance for RS to venture. With cloud computing, RSs operation can be more streamlined and improved and meet customers demands.4.2. R S business strategyRS strive to be the best pewter manufacturer in the world and maintain its competitive edge over competitors. (Khay Chong, Saw 2011, pers. comm., 5 April)4.3. RS IT strategy, infrastructure and costRS plans to use IT to gain competitive edge over their competitors and to maintain their market position. The strategy has proven to be useful as it was acknowledge by the CIO Asia Award in 2001 and Intelligent Enterprise Asias Intelligent 20 award for the E-commerce operations.(International 2001) Ventures into social media marketing and web collaboration with overseas online shop have provided the exposure and advertising advantage for them such as partnership with John Lewis (http//www.johnlewis.com) or Wesell Royal Selangor (http//www.wesellroyalselangor.co.uk/).4.4. RS entropy technology assessmentCurrent setup is very centralized and all located within the main HQ. From the IT infrastructure study, we find that the hardware and software used within the organizati on are considered to be commonsensible and commonly used in all industries. The use of open source have also help in ensuring that the system can be modified and be made better as they use it with constant upgrading. However the weakness could lie with the staff availability.With cloud computing, it is a perfect IT infrastructure for RS to adopt. fracture to cloud computing provides a feasible solution for RS to maintain its businesses outside of Malaysia with the same IT infrastructure.4.5. Competitors IT ServicesIn evaluating RSs competitors IT services, two main competitors namely Tumasek Pewter and Oriental Pewter are analyzed. Both Tumasek Pewters (http//www.tumasek.com/home.htm) and Oriental pewters (http//www.orientalpewter.com.my/home.htm) website does not have online shop. RS is the loss leader in pewter industry as its main competitors are not having the same IT services as RS. This is even more a reason for RS to adopt cloud computing. As the start-up of IT system are faster through cloud computing, the competitors will definitely offer the same services in the near future. By adopting cloud computing first, RS can be ahead of competition.4.6. IT infrastructure investment in pewter/retail industryFor retail industry, capital spending in 2008-09 at John Lewis (RS partner) was 404m, compared with 363m in the previous year. About 30m represents investment in efficiency projects such as new Oracle finance systems recently implemented in Waitrose and the firms head office, and investment in maintaining and modernising its IT set-up. (Mari 2009)Investment into IT for manufacturing is continuing to grow for Asian manufacturer and focus is on cloud based applications capability to increase the efficiency of the organization such as gaining insight on customer behaviour, improve efficiency and productivity of manufacturing operations and in the supply chain from supplier and also to customers. (Yap 2011). under the Malaysias Economic Transformation Progra mme, the wholesale and retail and tourism industry are place in the forefront of Malaysias economic development. Few key areas were earmarked for development and the key area with IT investment would be the globalisation of our products by means of virtual retail platform or malls. Investment of about RM 1.3 billion will be spent on this area which can help competitors of RS to develop their online shop. (PEMANDU 2010)RS is well aligned to adopt to cloud computing. Moving into cloud for an established firm like RS requires a strong management vision asseveration and support for the migration. Strategies had to be developed to enable the migration to be completed flawlessly and most important, without hampering any existing business processes.Strategies to be taken by RS are as followsBusiness ReviewTo establish the key objectives, tools that can be use is SMARTA objectives which is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely and Agreed. ( Williams 2010, p. 102 )Project Mana gementTo setup a Project management team to manage the migration and keep all stakeholders satisfied. An Implementation plan will provide the necessary clear procedures for the migration. ( Williams 2010, p. 113 )Adoption to cloud system shall be done according to recommended solutions as belowFor the routine communications and content management, RS would be wise to look at the various applications offered from cloud computing. This would probably relieve some of the bottleneck for support currently faced by RS IT departments staff.Part of the RS marketing channel to corporate users would be beneficial if there was an application similar to what is being offered by Sales.Force.com. The sales value chain from i

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.