MIS Secondary Practice Question
Business Case Required questions
The following set of question relates to the attached case description, “Hershey’s Enterprise System
Creates Halloween Tricks.”
1. Hershey’s implementation of the SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system created
significant operational problems for the company. What project risks did Hershey’s face in
this project. Consider which risks were specific to the Hershey Company, specific to its
industry, or endemic (common and widespread) to ERP projects. How well (or how poorly)
did the company manage these project risks? Explain your answer.
2. The rationale for adopting ERP as the information technology strategy for a company is
integration across functional areas, technology platforms, databases, and so on. What was
Hershey’s motivation for implementing SAP’s ERP application? Companies like SAP offer a
“one-stop-shopping” solution, that is, a comprehensive, integrated set of application modules.
What was Hershey's strategy regarding application integration? Did their strategy make sense
and was it (eventually) successful? Do you foresee problems for Hershey's, regarding systems
integration, given their strategy?
3. ERP implementation is much more than a technical implementation. It is a major
organizational change effort. Do you think creating the CIO position will make a significant
difference in future implementation efforts? Explain why or why not. What three
recommendations would you make to the new CIO, should Hershey undertake another major
IT initiative, to ensure a more successful implementation? Explain your thinking.
4. Can ERP create new strategic capabilities, or is it mostly a matter of improving existing
operations? In his article, "Enterprise IT at the crossroads," (CIO Magazine, March 15, 2002)
Tom Davenport claims:
“Enterprise IT has become—and perhaps was from the beginning—a commodity. Every
business has it, it works roughly the same way, and the only way to extract a drop of
competitive advantage from it is to install it for less or tailor it on the margins to fit your
company. The only real way to get advantage is to develop your own stuff. For the parts of
your business that are truly distinctive and core to your success, it makes sense to build your
own and interface it with the rest of your enterprise systems. Intel did it with manufacturing
and product design systems; Compaq with production forecasting and product configuration.
Every business ought to be thinking about some killer app that it doesn't want to share with
the rest of the world.”
Do you agree or disagree with Davenport’s perspective on ERP? Explain! Based on your
own opinion, what advice would you give Hershey’s management about areas for further IT
investments (that is, new functionality for the system) to build on their Enterprise 21 system?
What business value should, or could, they hope to achieve? Justify your answer in relation
to a business perspective such as value chain analysis.
MIS Primary Practice Question for Research Design
Over the last two decades, the rapid drops in communication and data storage cost have fueled a rapid growth in the use of data warehousing for decision support. Data warehousing promises to allow decisions to be made based on analysis of large amounts of heterogeneous data gathered from many sources. The decision making process would be supported with automated data mining systems, greatly enhancing our ability to analyze the data. Applications areas range from marketing to clinical decision support.
To date, there have been many more failed than successful data warehousing projects. A plethora of reasons for the failures have been mentioned including organizational issues, such as lack of management support, lack of expertise, and resistance to change, and technical issues, such as lack of data standards, incompatible systems, and inadequate data mining tools.
a) From the primary reading list for the ITM primary, or other IS research literature that you are
familiar with, chose a theoretical perspective that you believe would inform research on the
phenomena of data warehouse failure. Briefly describe this theory/perspective (including the
key researchers associated with the theory, the key concepts, constructs, etc. of the theory,
and so on.) and discuss why you believe it would be informative for this issue.
b) Based on this theoretical perspective, outline a research project you could undertake to
investigate data warehouse failures. Consider the following:
a. What aspects of the problem area you will focus on.
b. How the theory will guide your research design and methods.
c. How you will apply these methods in the study.
d. Your anticipated or possible findings
e. Limitations of your research proposal
f. The contributions you would make to IS research based on this research.