(8 pages of text)
The case describes the selection of an information technology (IT) product to support the operations of 1-888-Junk-Van, a small waste-collection business. Marcus Kingo, the business owner, has five alternatives from which to choose: a database upgrade, contracting out development of a new software application, using Google Docs, using an online tool framed as Platform as a Service (PaaS), or implementing a small-business enterprise resource-planning (ERP) system. Each option presents strengths and weaknesses, and students are left to make a decision. The case exemplifies the IT deployment challenges faced by small companies.
The case supports three primary teaching objectives:
To develop an understanding of the links between industry conditions, company specifications, and the role of IT, particularly in the context of supporting operations with IT.
To consider the challenges of small start-up companies and the particularities of IT deployment.
To explore and assess different criteria and selection mechanisms that can be used for choosing among competing IT offers that are presented as potential solutions to a business problem.
These objectives are aligned with most information systems courses at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The case allows students to assess the impact of IT in doing business, to understand the role IT can play for leveraging organizational capabilities, and to grasp how important it is for today’s managers to be able to make well-informed IT decisions from business as well as technical perspectives. By focusing on a small, recently founded firm, the case addresses a growing interest by student audiences in entrepreneurship, without compromising IT management issues that are common to firms of all sizes.
Administrative, Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services
Canada, Small, 2009
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