Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pandora Reflection

TANK Consulting had many interesting alternatives in order for us to increase profitability. Pedal to the Metal Part 1 included some new ways for us to stream revenues such as expanding and leveraging our current advertising and market penetration. Using social media such as Facebook and Twitter, we can increase our brand awareness amongst a wide range of consumers. I do enjoy the idea of an interactive Open Mic Contest, and I think this can positively build our brand and consumer base. After building brand awareness and consumer base, I think that it would be beneficial to host something similar to an annual music festival. As Pandora grows, I think we can also host a concert with a number artists from different genres, and possibly some upcoming/independent artists, if appropriate. We can advertise through radio stations nationally, as well as satellite radio. We can sell tickets through Ticketmaster, TicketWeb, StubHub, and our very own website and mobile app. With the increase of concerts and shows thrown by Pandora, we can also sponsor music related events. Going viral with sponsorships, and festivals can increase our brand awareness and consumer base, which can hopefully lead to an IPO later on down the line.

I do not recommend liquidation at all because we are the first to introduce the internet radio and I am certain it will quickly expand with more users and competitors. If we aggressively promote our product, we can increase our consumer loyalty while gaining new users, which will play a key role in our execution and sponsorship of shows and concerts. Another suggestion from TANK Consulting that I found interesting would be offering tickets to these shows and concerts through our website and mobile app. This makes it easy for users to see when and where their favorite artists are playing and gives them the ability to purchase tickets with just a few clicks. Overall, TANK had many considerable alternatives to open and expand our revenue streams and I think we should keep looking forward into the age of technology and music fused together to make the experience of online radio more enjoyable.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Pandora Preparation

Problem Statement
Tim Westergren, founder and chief strategist of Pandora was struggling to balance the interests of investors while staying true to his dream for Pandora. As the company stood, they were going to run out of cash by the end of the following year and Westergren had to decide if he should pull back on growth and raise just enough money to stay afloat for long enough to reach an exit, or if he should go full throttle with viral growth and exploit the first mover advantage, raising a more significant amount of capital with the hopes of a possible future IPO?

Situation Assessment
Pandora was created by Westergren and two friends with the Music Genome Project, a music discovery engine designed to connect listeners with artists.  Each song was analyzed for its' "musical DNA" and entered into the music library. This analysis determined what songs This was how the Pandora team would be able to determine what users were listening to and recommend artists and songs based on each users' likes and dislikes. 

However, Copyright Royalty Board instituted a major increase in royalties to be paid by internet radio stations for streaming music during 2007–2010.  Westergren felt that the royalties would put an end to internet radio, including Pandora. Westergren sent a letter to all listeners, in response to the increase in royalties, requesting them to sign petitions to urge Congress to take action in order to save internet radio.

During this time, CD's were becoming obsolete because downloading music from the internet and iTunes was growing at a rapid rate. In addition, radio, satellite radio and iPods were becoming the main players in the distribution of music.

If Westergren and his team raise a sufficient amount of money, the risk will be worth the reward.  The industry is in the midst of transformation, listeners are no longer buying CD’s and they do not seem to be happy with their existing radio offerings.  An increasing amount of people are switching to satellite radio and internet radio. The internet radio offers a broad offering of music with customizable stations.  We are moving into a digital age where consumers want to be able to customize as much as of their consumption as possible, why not offer customizable radio? Pandora should find ways to generate money with more advertisements, subscriptions, concerts, shows and sponsorships in order to gain more capital.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Business Impacts of Microsoft Project

After experiencing Microsoft Project, I have come to realize that it is truly a valuable tool which can analyze and plan resources, budgets, timelines and what-if scenarios. It can also easily measure progress and anticipate resources needed. Because of the many moving parts, managing projects can be a difficult task. Tracking all of these moving parts is essential and enables the project manager to complete projects on time, and within budget.

This program can positively impact businesses because of its' many abilities. It has two clear schedules, including the original and forecast schedule. The original schedule is a set of static deadlines and the forecast schedule is a way of identifying slippages relative to the original schedule. The dates are constantly recalculated and re-forecasts when information regarding progress is entered. This schedule helps make problems more visible so corrective action can be taken as early as possible.

As opposed to Excel, Microsoft Project can help businesses project staffing needs, funding and work load,  all while saving the project manager time that would otherwise be spent on scheduling, making progress more efficient. Project also allows the user to identify which tasks depend on the completion of others. Determining this relationship amongst tasks enables the user to better plan out when each task needs to be done before the next. Businesses can use this valuable tool with little to no training and it will prove apparent that its' simplicity and key features will pay off.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bombardier Reflection

After our consultants' presentation on Tuesday night, I have realized the importance of ERP and the benefits of for our implementation to our third roll-out. I do agree with their suggestions of informing our users of the importance of KPIs and using as well as discussing the benefits of KPIs' customization. Our users encountered many items that they considered "non value added" and felt that they couldn't measure their contribution to projects. Another issue we have encountered was the gap between the business knowledge of the support staff and what was really going on in the business environment. For our third implementation, we need support personnel before, during and after, as well as the support of upper management. In addition, there needs to be better communication amongst the project team. The scorecard evaluation by a third party is a great idea. This will provide us with an objective opinion and can help us evaluate what needs to be done to improve performance. Lastly, we need to invest more in training and change management. Many users complained of excess beginner pre-training and not enough advanced training post implementation as well as an insufficient amount of trainers. We must modify the training schedule and include more support after the new system has been implemented. Overall, I think the Calm Consulting had many good suggestions that we should take into consideration to ensure that our next implementation runs smoothly and hopefully we will have the plan bulletproof after this next implementation.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bombardier Case Preparation

Problem Statement
With increasing competitiveness in the aerospace market, senior management at Bombardier felt that moving to an ERP system was necessary. This new integrated system would allow efficiency and effectiveness throughout all operations.

These large systems are very complex and often result in a performance that is below expectations. In the early 2000's, Bombardier underwent multiple rounds of ERP implementation, the first of which, was thrown out mid-way after $130million had already been spent. Bombardier then hired a consulting team  to help get senior leadership on board and create a project plan, which was wen Bombardier Manufacturing Information System (BMIS) was born and soon after, successfully implemented the integrated manufacturing system in two plants.

With the improvements of the Mirabel and Saint-Laurent plants, Bombardier would like to further analyze their implementation efforts and look at a Best Practices approach to ERP implementation in order to enhance their project. Understanding how a Best Practices approach could assist with an even more successful round of ERP implementation will help senior management evaluate their situation.

Situation Assessment
The first work in order in a Best Practice approach to the ERP implementation would be to define clear goals and objectives. A new ERP system will affect many different departments and business processes in many different ways. It is vital to establish goals and objectives, along with a strong management support, if Bombardier would like to achieve the overall goal.

The second best practice is ensuring that you are choosing the right software. Software must match the organization's informational needs, process, functional requirements and workflow. After much consulting, Bombardier chose to use SAP and implement the BMIS system for manufacturing facilities as management felt it was the best option for the organization.

Another best practice is to prepare for business transformation. Completely changing the way information flows throughout an organization is going to, in turn, change the roles of employees and business processes. During the ERP implementation, Bombardier must dedicate time and resources to change management. They must establish a clear process to help workers though the ERP implementation.

In order for business transformation to go smoothly, there must be training and support resources. A new ERP system requires highly qualified consultants  who are experienced in implementation and training at any time when a problem or question arises.

Bombardier will also need to create a concise implementation plan and timeline. A critical part of implementing an ERP system is deciding the steps and when and how to overcome each step. Deciding to switch over to a new system during critical periods of business may be detrimental to the organization.

Lastly, Bombarier will need to allocate the necessary resources financially, managerially, and with training and change management.

The transition with the ERP implementation at the Saint-Laurent plant went significantly smoother than the transition at the Mirabel plant. This is because Bombardier made the necessary changes with process, management, clearer goals, and better training. The mistakes made during Maribel were corrected and executed smoothly at Saint-Laurent, and with each implementation, the process can constantly be improved.

Some were not as eager to implement the new project as the VP of Operations at the Maribel plant. Attendance at meetings were dwindling and IT was complaining about the lack of information for training materials. When implementing at the Saint Laurent plant, Bombardier plant managers were much more involved. Their intense involvement resulted in a clearer vision and increased motivation and understanding. Employees were provided with visual aids/presentations that convinced employees that there was a need for change and should be used at during every implementation from this point forward. These presentations described how Bombardier was doing in relation to its' competitors and how the new ERP system will improve the company and its' profits.

The proper training was also not implemented during the Maribel implementation. Training was insufficient too far in advanced prior to implementation and employees could not remember everything they had learned when the BMIS system was launched. At the Saint-Laurent plant, training was re-vamped and employees were more satisfied, however, both plant employees felt that support left too soon after implementation. For the next implementation, Bombardier should ensure support to be available for an extended period after the system goes live.

I think gaining the employees trust and agreeance is vital to the success of any project and should not be taken lightly. Keeping them up with training and changes will only positively contribute to the bottom line, morale, and work ethic.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Puerto Rico Education Project Reflection

After Jagr Consults presented their recommendations on possible solutions to remedy the problems associated with cost, time efficiency, language and cultural barriers, employee morale and positive impacts of future projects, I would have to stick with my original recommendation of keeping the current employees and doing what needs to be done to make them happy and productive. If we send the unhappy employees back to the United States, we can not promise them the same positions because of the lack of projects. This can lead to a breach of contract and may result in employees taking legal action, which can negatively impact employee morale, reputation and integrity of USCO.

Also included in the negatives of sending some or all of the unhappy employees back home and hiring local Puerto Rican contractors can still lead to a significant language barrier because this recommendation is based off of the assumption that we will find the "right" employees for the job and that these employees will be fluent in both Spanish and English. If they are not completely fluent in English, the new contractors may run into issues with communication amongst our American USCO employees.  We will also have to invest the time and money into training the new programmers, and time and money is something that we do not have to spare. I think understanding why some employees are unhappy and coming up with solutions to remedy their concerns is more beneficial financially and morally as opposed to going back home and hiring brand new employees. There are cost efficient alternatives to help the families feel more comfortable for their temporary stay in Puerto Rico while keeping our valuable employees and getting our project on or close to the three year timeline.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ubuntu for Montclair State University?

After our discussion on Ubuntu, I started to think about whether or not it would a beneficial to install this operating system on all workstations, computer labs and laptops throughout the university. Ubuntu reminded me about the services provided by Google Docs. Ubuntu, as well as Google Docs, is initially, a free service. Google Docs does start to charge for more Gigabits of memory if needed, and Ubuntu charges for Ubuntu Advantage, which provides efficient systems administration, fast problem resolution and access to Ubuntu and OpenStacks experts as and when needed. Depending on the network and number of nodes, these services can run up to $350,000.

Aside from saving Montclair State University a significant amount of money, Ubuntu seems very easy to navigate and operate. Similar to Mac's operating system, Ubuntu looks and feels very much like same, which will make the learning curve for Mac users not as severe as it would be for Window users, and since more and more of Montclair State University's students are conducting their schoolwork on Macs, Ubuntu would be easy for those students to transition over to.

The only thing that concerns me is the use of Ubuntu in the "real world". After all, college is supposed to prep students for working in the "real world" and most companies work in the Windows operating system. I think it is important for students to be able to navigate and operate and many operating systems as possible in order to make them more marketable to future employers. I recommend that Montclair keep Windows as their main operating system while offering Mac computers and other computers that run Ubuntu as well. This way, students can get the best of all worlds without MSU investing millions of dollars into transitioning to completely different operating systems.