Vermont Teddy Bear (VTB) is an organization that exists on the market for several decades already. In a fast-developing world, a resilient focus on information technology plays a crucial role in the company’s performance and achieving established goals and objectives. After the world crisis of 2008, VTB had to cut the staff, which resulted in a total of seven employees responsible for IT operations (Gogan & Lewis, 2011). As a result, the IT division has its strong sides and promising prospects for the future, but it also holds numerous challenges.
One of the primary VTB IT department’s strengths lies in the expertise of the employees, with two new members recently hired by the CIO. All personnel in charge of various software problems, further development, customer experience, relations, and rigid maintenance of procedures are professionals who are skilled within their areas. Thus, VTB has a strong foundation in the face of its employees, who have worked with a company for several years, are familiar with the programs and applications, and can fix emerging problems efficiently.
Another critical strength of the business’ IT department is the sturdy base of recovery mechanisms. The system work in a way that if any element of the network fails, built-in structures would still allow the order to proceed (Gogan & Lewis, 2011). In such a way, password and emergency management in case of potential bugs or system failures make it possible for the purchases to go smoothly and for the orders not to get lost.
It is also crucial to mention that one of the IT strong sides is leadership in the face of CIO Bob Stetzel. Stetzel has vast experience in information technology, analytical skills, and the drive for innovation and development. A new influential leader is an integral figure in the effectiveness of the performance, subordinates’ motivation, and future growth, and can bring unique insights to the work of the department and the business in general.
One of the most challenging weaknesses of the VTB IT department is that its employees are experts in narrow areas and dedicate most of the time to troubleshooting, rather than progress and improvement. Stetzel discovered that if a company encounters some of the IT employees leaving, it will lose essential knowledge that has not been captured (Gogan & Lewis, 2011). Consequently, the organization needs to establish a skill-sharing system and design a catalog that will outline all hardware and shared applications. Hence, VTB has a feeble organization of work within the IT department, which needs additional attention and investment. Moreover, the lack of emphasis on development and improvements slows the company’s growth and limits the possibilities, which implies the necessity of proper allocation of human resources.
Another weakness of the IT department is that some of the software utilized with different purposes were present in old versions and require an update. Besides, some of the incorporated hardware and applications are complicated in use and can be incompatible with each other, which imposes obstacles for the efficiency of operations. The lack of structure within the existing IT systems can deter performance and have more substantial negative implications in the future unless carefully managed and resolved.
It is possible to say that one of the first opportunities for the VTB IT department is investing in the development of new applications and the implementation of new versions of the utilized software. Progress and growth of the IT division have a direct impact on customer retention and the expansion of the loyal customers’ base. Providing an extra focus on improving information systems can generate more excellent outcomes for the company’s image and profitability.
Another crucial aspect is designing an effective CRM system, which can bring new prospects for the business and enhance its operations. Successful CRM entails “interactive databases where the customers’ information is kept in order, significant, and useful format” (Torun & Tarakci, 2014, p. 2041). Therefore, it is the IT department’s responsibility to work towards establishing influential customer relations management tools and strategies to assess the clients better, carefully respond to their needs, and increase sales.
It is vital to notice that a highly-digitalized world and business sphere require every company to meet the rapid changes and new preferences of commerce, marketing, management, and operations’ maintenance. Thus, one of the threats for VTB will remain intense competition within the industry with numerous dominant players. Unless VTB implements innovation in its operations, it will face the slowdown of the sales and the loss of customers, who can turn to businesses that offer more innovative alternatives. Hence, the VTB IT department can find it challenging to respond to emerging customers’ needs and new interests. Carefully managed information technology systems, the integration of new features for e-commerce, and active investment in CRM and unique developments can become a positive contribution to the company’s success.
The IT department of VTB has numerous strong sides and entails various opportunities, but, simultaneously, has its internal challenges and potential threats. Information technology is one of the vital departments in the business’ success. It has also changed the perception of what “is required to sustain in the competitive environment” (Erdil & Erbiyik, 2017, p. 2). Consequently, VTB’s leadership, together with the CIO needs to work carefully to utilize its strengths and building on them to overcome the weaknesses and threats. Ongoing work with the existing resources and the attraction of additional funds can significantly improve It division work. The company possesses reliable, experienced staff, and with the acquired level of expertise and an emphasis on sustainable development and innovation, it can reach new heights.
Erdil, A., & Erbiyik, H. (2017). The holistic perception of information technology and the importance on the supply chain management. International Journal of Research in Business and Social Science (2147-4478), 6(3), 1-12. Web.
Gogan, J. L., & Lewis, M. (2011). Peak experiences and strategic IT alignment at Vermont Teddy Bear. Journal of Information Technology Teaching Cases, 1, 61-70.
Torun, B. U., & Tarakci, H. N. (2014). Customer relations and use of online shopping sites. International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 8(6), 2039-2046. Web.