Information Technology through Web 2.0 at ULMS would mean to serve four main purposes.
- Website: The Website ulmsbikes.com and many others are meant for providing the customer’s access to basic company marketing information.
- Intranets: The Intranet in ULMS is meant for its employees. They are given access to online information. but behind the firewall.
- Extranets: The Extranet has been developed for business partners. Through this, they can access online information again behind the firewall.
- Marketplaces: The trading communities irrespective of their location have been linked with another one so that the whole business can also be conducted online.
The Semantic Web
The Semantic Web would make an impact on the supply chain; both in and outside of the company. It will help ULMS to have better efficiency and at the same time will allow better use of capital. It helps in the elimination of waste and enables it to build and deliver products to customer specifications. Information Technology services in ULMS would be made available at four centers (Nguyen and Jentzsch, 15). They are Application management Center, Application Services, Accelerated Implementation center, and finally in Accelerated Solution Center.
The strategy by ULMS to make the company’s information and knowledge repository accessible to its employees would make knowledge management feasible through information processing. The ULMS Systems Integration Center (USIC) has to be initiated to improve its communication and systems processes. These efforts explore options for all possible products and services that will enhance the work environment. With the intention of proper knowledge management, ULMS can make all knowledge and information accessible to its employees. For further improvement, real-time data conferencing over their corporate intranet have to be implemented and employees worldwide can have the option to work together over the corporate intranet as if everyone is in the same room. Now everything like application sharing, electronic whiteboard, file transfer, and text-based chat can be shared irrespective of distance and location (Nguyen and Jentzsch, 19). The multipoint data conferencing made workgroups collaborate without leaving their offices. The company can now effectively maintain communications among employees in offices with real-time data communication. The company now has the option to effectively communicate with team members at local and remote locations. The Architecture for Technology and Development (ATAD) summit can be organized by ULMS through multipoint data conferencing thereby causing an extraordinary reduction in the cost of holding the summit. The company’s wide area network can serve as their intranet with computers being connected to this network. The hosts at those places were responsible for making other locations connected to the main network. All this led to amazing results. Since there were no travel restrictions, more than fifty team members attended the conference (Nguyen and Jentzsch, 19).
Three forms of purposes
The connectivity factor in this case serves three forms of purposes. They are B2B, B2E, and finally B2C. B2B is meant for streamlining the supply chain while B2E is meant for engaging the ULMS workforce. Connectivity to these places can be achieved through VPN as well as a secure TCP IP model. The VPN technology or Virtual Private Network Technology is a private network communication technology used within the company with message transmission being confidentially or securely done over a publicly accessible network. Security in the network can be maintained through the authentication system. Any access to the network or server will require approval from the firewall. A firewall is a system that checks the access right of the user. The access rights are assigned by the system administrator and the firewall compares the access right of the client intending to get into the network with the list or database already provided to it by the administrator. This technology makes the network secure and also gives the option to authorized users to access the network through the proper channel at either end of the network (Macrini, Maggiore and Santagata, 8).
The ULMS needs to implement a common infrastructure for supporting Enterprise Application Integration and B2B. The new system architecture would provide space for both new and old technology. It would integrate itself with the existing applications present both inside and outside the ULMS Organization. This collaboration has been to develop the next level of Web services development and runtime capability. The whole new architecture will cater to common services for security and Web service management. The shortcomings present in traditional point-to-point cross-application data exchange interface strategies and tightly coupled application integration have been rectified and have evolved to the enterprise-wide real-time system (Nguyen and Jentzsch, 19).
The eRoom solution
The other thing which is making its round is the eRoom solution. The eRoom solution once implemented by ULMS would make it possible for the same to offer security and flexibility across the entire enterprise while integrating the latest technology with ULMS’ existing technology infrastructure. The room professionals under the supervision of USIC can design a self-service ASP model to deliver eRoom to the internal customers and the extended enterprise teams. This eRoom technology can also provide support to the organization in deploying collaborative applications for improving the quality of its product and finally can maximize the operational efficiencies and managing them cost-effectively.
ULMS has always believed in product development through extensive collaboration among engineers and other members from many departments across ULMS’ technical team as well as a network of suppliers. The application of eRoom is in the development of a vehicle control system. This project would lead to the involvement of engineers from a list of engineers not only ULMS but also from all major suppliers across the world. Through eRoom essential activities like sharing and collaboration on product documents and project history management and conflict resolution can be made possible just with one click of a button. This eRoom also eliminated the need of updating the project website for making the development process available for others to access. These things are now available through a 2-way communication process and in case of emergency will be done during real-time data transfer. Some of the basic features associated with this technology are cost-saving, time-saving, reduced IT costs, and finally reduced Co-location costs. The increased data sharing and process data flow integration and speed of accessing documents can save several Man-hours. The ULMS’ departmental websites and applications will now be replaced by eRooms. This will cause a considerable reduction in the overall cost of ULMS’ expenditure in IT deployment and maintaining the same. The Co-location costs are greatly reduced with a reduction in travel costs and less need for relocation costs. Finally, the auxiliary expenditures in form of printing of documents, audio and video-conferencing, and information transmission can now be reduced to the minimum possible range.
B2C is meant for taking the business to the customer. The customer will have to use the Internet for accessing information. The ULMS’ B2C approach would depend on web technologies based on XML, JAVA, DRDA, and CGI (Intervise Consultants Inc, 15). This Internet is a distributed network system. The main feature of this system is that though it is a network and a collection of wired computers with the clients being independent computers. But still, the whole system appears as a single coherent system. And the concept of the World Wide Web is that the whole information and data it possesses has been made public in form of documents. Things can be accessed through a website. The website is being connected through servers to reciprocate according to the need of the user or client. A web page can be active as well as passive. Passive web pages just contain information while the active ones are interactive. Web pages like that of e-mail service providers are active.
ULMS’ decision to get into e-business is to use the potential of the internet to energize its production and sale. Through this virtual market the members or participating companies linked themselves to almost all suppliers of components. This technology would also help the same to build excellent communication and relationships with customers, dealers, and suppliers. The customer was given an option to customize bike features through its site and use of the mouse. The Internet revolutionized the working of the whole auto industry and introduced the world to radically new ways of planning, manufacturing, and selling bikes. This business model is very much similar to that of Dell. It is the customer who is more aware of his requirements and choices and instead of just providing what the company can, it should focus more on how a model can be made so that the customer can the most out of his investment. Once the model has been developed and implemented, it would be delivered to their doorsteps.
The IT-based customer knowledge system plays a very important role in proper communication between the company and the customer and at the same time perfect product delivery. The customer data is being taken through different channels. It can be through a dealer or call center or internet or any other means. The Customer Knowledge System stores this data in an interactive database. This data is again transferred to the analytical database. The data is then analyzed through customer analysis tools and expert analytical resources. This results in the production of new products and is considered as an FMC bundled with services and then marketed accordingly. The adherence to customer demand is quite necessary so that the customer can be retained for further buying (Intervise Consultants Inc, 16).
In conclusion, ULMS has a history of innovating new ways to improve its performance and customer satisfaction but the same techniques have become a revolution. Initially, it was assembly line production, and now it uses information technology for its business processes. The use of IT would cause a remarkable change in the production technique and supply chain management. It will also stretch its utility to proper management of its workforce. The company is now near to both its employee and its customer. The development of IT and its application in ULMS being a continuous affair has changed not only the firm but also the IT structure over which the company is changing its way of conducting business.
Intervise Consultants Inc. The Semantic Web: Information with Knowledge. 2009.
Macrini, D., Maggiore, A., and Santagata, A. Semantic Web in the Automotive Industry: a case study. 2005.
Nguyen, Duc M., and Jentzsch, A. Semantic Web technologies in the Automotive Industry. 2005.