Today’s organizations rely mainly on business information systems so as to gain strategic advantage over their competitors. These business information systems are part of the wider information systems, that are used to capture and manipulate data that is used within a given business process. This information system is used to drive the business agenda in various dimensions related to the processing of data and information (“The Three Fundamental Roles of Information Systems in Business”) so as to support the various areas of business operations. This topic will, therefore, help us to understand the nature of business information systems that have been put in place in large corporations. It will highlight how business information systems at Wal-Mart work in supporting the business operations.
Description of the information system technology (Wal-Mart):
The company has an elaborate IT infrastructure consisting of hardware, software running computing platforms, a datacenter that assists in the storage as well as a wireless network that helps the RFID technology to operate. The organization has heavily invested in the usage of IT in order to gain competitive advantage. This however, is attributed to the use of ERP systems in the organization, with the software products being supplied by Neo Vista, which effectively manages various areas such as accounting, transaction processing with all these being linked together to support the company’s seamless transactions. The company on the other hand also uses a mixture of data communication cables to route data within the company, and wireless technology such as the Radio Frequency Identification which is linked to the company IT infrastructure to monitor products that are in transit to various stores. The company uses this technology to track the products being bought by using RFI tags (“Wal-Mart Radio Tags to Track Clothing”), which connect to the company’s inventory system, by establishing a point of connection between goods that are being bought by customers, as well as the goods on transit in order to prevent instances of theft since this relay instant information when products are tampered with during transit.
The Radio Frequency Identification as a technology is connected to the company’s centralized system at the headquarters, where the movements of goods to various store branches are monitored from a centralized panel. Apart from this, the company also uses the retail link system, which plays a critical role in the supply chain network, by making the supply chain infrastructure more responsive and aggressive, in terms of establishing relationships between suppliers and buyers of the company’s products (“Retail Link, Wal-Mart and Point and Point of Sale”). The retail link system leverages the company store information by enabling the company to maintain low store levels, and on the other hand maximizing its inventory while preventing possible stock outs which could lead to product shortages in its various stores. This system connects all the branches and gives the company real time information concerning the inventory levels so as to maintain optimum levels at all branches at all times. The company on the other hand uses secure technologies in data transmission aimed at safeguarding data while on transmit.
While on the other hand, helps maintain security in the databases and customers especially after the 9/11 attack that led to the great damage of the company’s information system. The company has implemented various technologies aimed at securing its databases, with the most notable one they have done is to maintain the security of the company-wide network connecting various databases so as to secure credit card details, while on the other hand implementing strong access control techniques to control access to customer’s data. While the company secures its databases, it also secures its customer information through the use of chip technology, by establishing greater security by the use of the company intelligent MasterCard which is slightly intelligent and safer compared to other commonly used cards, so as to prevent data breach and security related attempts to account holders data.
I am from Silicon Valley, a BUSI 11 student at Foothill, doing research on Business Information Systems. I am very interested in learning the systems used that makes you company excel in its operations.
I would like to ask for some time please, if you don’t mind.
Yes, please… be precise (Jones, pers. comm..).
Sir, your company utilizes the best information systems, what functions do they play?
Sir, how critical are these information systems to the company’s operations?
Sir, do you think the company utilizes fully the information system in place?
The interview confirms that business information systems are critical to most companies operations. Wal-Mart uses its business information systems to conduct its core operations, however, the information system strategy is most of the time implemented with the senior management, and with other employees not being involved which tends to create operational gaps.
Business information systems play a critical role in the operations of Wal-Mart. This is because it facilitates the core processes, from the accounting, inventory, and supply chain system. It is important that businesses deploy business information systems in order to sustain their business and enhance efficiency. Businesses should, therefore deploy a myriad of systems and integrate them in order to help facilitate business operations. The company’s use of secure systems then outlines a key factor that will make me to be a regular customer at the store, due to its capability of safeguarding my personal credit card information.
It is therefore recommended that business information systems be deployed in various dimensions, from e-commerce, online analytical processing so as to sustain their processes.
Bustillo, Miguel. “Wal-Mart Radio Tags to Track Clothing.” Wal-Mart Radio Tags to Track Clothing. The Wall Street Journal, 23 July 2010. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.
Davoren, Julie. “The Three Fundamental Roles of Information Systems in Business.” The Three Fundamental Roles of Information Systems in Business. Demand Media. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.
Jones J, “The Role of Business Information Systems.” Personal interview. 11 Mar. 2015.
“Retail Link, Walmart And Point Of Sale.” Cheap Snapbacks Hats and Caps Impeiokccom Retail Link Walmart And Point Of Sale Comments. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.