Discussion Question

What is the purpose of Porter’s five forces model? Support your argument with an example of a strong force and an example of a weak force. Be sure to support your example by explaining why it was a strong force or a weak force using Porter’s five forces model as a guide. If you have personal experience related to Porter’s five forces model, please include that in your discussion as well. See this unit’s lecture and pages 84-85 of your textbook for examples. Or research the Internet and write an essay (250 words or less) on how the Porter model may be used in personal planning.


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Collaboration Information Systems and
Strategy and Information Systems
Course Learning Outcomes for Unit II
Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:
4. Explain how IS can be used to gain and sustain competitive advantage.
7. Discuss the requirements for successful collaboration as it pertains to Information Systems
Reading Assignment
Chapter 2:
Collaboration Information Systems
Chapter 3:
Strategy and Information Systems
Unit Lesson
Chapter 2 investigates ways information systems can support collaboration. The chapter defines
collaboration, discusses collaborative activities and criteria for successful collaboration, discusses kinds of
work collaborative teams do, identifies requirements for collaborative information systems, and examines
important collaborative tools for improving communicating content. Three different collaboration IS are
presented for student collaborations. The chapter ends with a discussion of collaboration in 2024!
Collaboration and Cooperation
Cooperation occurs when people on a project work independently from each other, by dividing the project into
separate tasks, and work without consultation with the other group members. Collaboration occurs when
people work together to achieve a common goal, result, or work product.
Feedback and iteration is involved so that the results of the collaborative effort are greater than could be
produced by any of the individuals working alone.
The author of your textbook further illustrates this point with the following:
Using feedback and iteration, one person will produce something, say the draft of a
document, and a second person will review that draft and provide critical feedback. Given the
feedback, the original author or someone else will then revise the first draft to produce a
second. The work proceeds in a series of stages, or iterations (Kroenke, 2015, p. 37).
The three criteria for successful collaboration are successful outcome, growth in team capability, and
meaningful and satisfying experience. The four primary purposes of collaboration are becoming informed,
making decisions, solving problems, and managing projects. Collaboration tools can be used to manage
shared content such as shared content with no control, shared content with version management on Google
Drive, and shared content with version control.
BBA 3551, Information Systems Management
In short, a collaborative group works together to achieve a common goal via a process of feedback and
iteration by communicating, sharing information, sharing knowledge, combining skills, and sharing time. The
qualities, attitudes, and skills of a good collaborator are shown in Figure 2.
Figure 1. Twelve Most Important Characteristics for an Effective Collaborator
(Kroenke, 2015, p. 38)
Many people are surprised to learn that 5 (in red) of the top 12 characteristics involve disagreement.
Most people think avoiding conflict and having similar ideas and opinions makes a group better. While social
ability is important, research indicates the importance of having different ideas and opinions expressed. Team
members must have the skills to accept critiques, criticism, and revisions of their work. In some student
teams, the focus is strictly on fulfilling a requirement and not necessarily producing the highest quality work
product possible through the collaborative efforts of the team members. The characteristics of an ineffective
team member will include lack of interest and commitment, unwillingness to give or take criticism,
unwillingness to listen, and indifference. Students are typically not too tolerant of ineffective team members,
but are not always willing to boot them off the team, preferring instead to just work around them.
Characteristics of collaborative success center on the output of the group being superior to the output that
could have been created by an individual working alone, including such things as being more productive,
more creative, and generating more and better ideas. When forming a collaborative group, it is useful to begin
with a discussion of critical feedback guidelines (Figure 3).
BBA 3551, Information Systems Management
Figure 2. Critical Feedback Guidelines
(Kroenke, 2015, p. 39)
Bottom line: The two key characteristics of collaboration are iteration and feedback.
Collaboration Information Systems
There are five components of an IS for collaboration:
Hardware: for participating, sharing, saving group’s work
Software: email, text messaging, Google Drive, Microsoft Web Apps, other tools that support
collaborative work
Data: project data, project metadata (Project metadata is data that is used to manage the project.)
Procedures: usually designed by the team
People: know how and when to use collaboration applications
Solving Problems
Figure 3. Problem-Solving Tasks
(Kroenke, 2015, p. 44)
BBA 3551, Information Systems Management
Define the problem: Problem definition varies due to differences in experience, education, training,
personal goals, or job responsibilities. Group needs to develop a shared definition of the problem
through research, discussion, and compromise.
Identify alternative solutions: Identifying possible solutions may involve investigative research and
Specify evaluation criteria: Determine the benchmark or standard measures to be used to evaluate
the problem.
Evaluate alternatives: Evaluating alternatives involves comparing test results to identify and eliminate
infeasible, substandard, or unacceptable solutions and to identify feasible, superior, or acceptable
Select an alternative: Selecting a solution may be based on majority vote, consensus, or compromise.
Implement solution: Implementing the selected solution includes monitoring and modifying as needed.
Shared Tools
Collaboration tools for communication enable and support team communication and are major functions of
collaboration systems. Tools depend upon ways a team needs or wants to communicate. For most class
projects, students should forego face-to-face meetings and use conference calls, multiparty text chat, screen
sharing, Webinars, or videoconferencing.
Egocentric Versus Empathetic Thinking
Egocentric thinking centers on the self. A person who is egocentric believes that their view is the only view
available and are often not able to think “outside the box.” Empathetic thinking is the ability to see more than
one view: the ability to understand the other person’s perspective. A person who is empathetic is able to
consider multiple view points and realize that people who hold a perspective different from their own are not
necessarily wrong (but you do not have to be wrong either). Using empathetic thinking is smart and results in
better relationships because you do not need to change your way of thinking to match the other person’s way
of thinking. Business is people working together in relationships. Better relationships equate to better
Negotiators, for example, need to know what the other side wants, what is important to it, what issues they
can give on, and which ones are nonnegotiable. Another example is a business meeting that appears to be
going nowhere. Whenever we find ourselves in such a meeting, is the problem due to different perspectives?
If so, one can sometimes find the root cause by engaging in empathetic thinking.
In Chapter 3, we will practice using Porter’s five forces model: competitive strategy is threatened by 3D
printing, learn the application of competitive strategy, consider the risks of changes in the market to
competitive strategy, understand that major changes in company operations (3D printing), necessitate major
changes in processes and IS, and analyze the five forces and the competitive strategy of AllRoad.
Figure 4 summarizes a planning process used by many organizations. Start with Porter’s five forces to
analyze industry structure.
BBA 3551, Information Systems Management
Figure 4. Organizational Planning Process
(Kroenke, 2015, p. 83)
Competitive strategy determines value chain structure by primary activities in the value chain, support
activities in the value chain, and value chain linkages. Information systems provide competitive advantages
via products and via business processes.
Let’s take a look at Case Study 3 (Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)) from the textbook. What is the competitive
strategy of AllRoad Parts? AllRoad Parts has chosen the differentiation strategy of having the largest
inventory of spare parts for the off-road cycling, dirt bike, and off-road vehicle markets.
What are the advantages and disadvantages for AllRoad Parts to sell items via Amazon.com? AllRoad Parts
could sell items via Amazon.com and gain access to the huge number of shoppers that use that site. It would
have to do business following Amazon’s rules, however. In addition, AllRoad Parts is “the place to go” for
spare parts for off-road cycles, dirt bikes, and off-road vehicles. So, AllRoad Parts might want to keep
customers coming to its web site rather than lose the customers to Amazon’s site.
For items that AllRoad Parts sells itself, AllRoad Parts’ cost of using FBA to process (Question 3-6, p. 107):
a. An order of 10 sets of bicycle pedals weighing a total of 25 pounds.
Order Handling (per order):
Pick & Pack (per item): $.60 * 10 items
Weight Handling (per pound): $.45 * 25 lbs
$ 1.90
$ 6.00
$ 11.25
$ 19.15
*Assumes no storage costs due to immediate repackaging and shipping after the order is received at the
Amazon warehouse.
BBA 3551, Information Systems Management
b. An order of a single set of bicycle pedals weighing 2.5 pounds.
Order Handling (per order):
Pick & Pack (per item): $.60 * 1 item
Weight Handling (per pound): $.45 * 2.5 lbs
$ 1.90
$ 0.60
$ 1.125
$ 3.625
*Assumes no storage costs due to immediate repackaging and shipping after the order is received at the
Amazon warehouse.
The cost of a cycling shirt weighing 10 ounces.
Order Handling (per order):
Pick & Pack (per item): $.60 * 1 item
Weight Handling (per pound): $.45 * .625 lbs
$ 1.90
$ 0.60
$ 0.28
$ 2.78
*Assumes no storage costs due to immediate repackaging and shipping after the order is received at the
Amazon warehouse.
d. The cost of storing 1,000 sets of bicycle pedals for three months
Assuming a box containing a set of bicycle pedals requires one cubic foot of storage, 1,000 boxes would
require 1,000 cubic feet of storage space. For three months of storage, this would cost $1,350 (1,000 cu ft. *
$.45/cu ft. * 3 months).
If AllRoad Parts were to use FBA, what business processes would it not need to develop? What costs would it
save? AllRoad Parts would not need to develop business processes for receiving, repackaging, and shipping.
It would save on labor costs associated with these processes, plus it would no longer need warehouse space
for these processes. AllRoad Parts could use FBA’s systems for placing orders with its vendors and paying its
vendors for these orders; it would also not need to develop systems that interface with the shippers. AllRoad
Parts would save the costs of developing and supporting these systems.
Suppose AllRoad Parts were to use FBA, how would it integrate its information systems with Amazon’s?
(Google the term Amazon MWS.) Amazon’s integrated Web Service API (application programming interface)
helps Amazon sellers to programmatically exchange data on listings, orders, payments, reports, and more.
XML data integration with Amazon enables higher levels of selling automation, which helps sellers grow their
Does it make sense for AllRoad Parts to use FBA?
By no longer needing to have warehouse space set aside for the fulfillment of the customers’ orders, AllRoad
Parts could benefit greatly. Utilizing Amazon’s existing fulfillment capabilities and warehouse capacity should
deliver significant savings in AllRoad Parts’ cost structure.
What would happen if AllRoad Parts makes some of its parts using 3D printing? The major process changes if
AllRoad Parts decided to use 3D printing would be inserting a manufacturing step after the receipt of an order
for a 3D printed part. AllRoad Parts would not have to maintain that part in inventory any longer so it would
not be sorted in Amazon’s warehouses. However, AllRoad Parts would have to receive notification of the
order for the 3D printed part, then manufacture the part and arrange for shipment to the customer.
Let’s also take a look at Question 3-12 of MyMIS Lab (Please note that we will not be using the MyMIS Lab
for this course. We will be looking at this scenario alone for instructional purposes, and will not require access
to the Lab) on page 108:
Samantha Green owns and operates Twigs Tree Trimming Service. Samantha graduated from the forestry
program of a nearby university and worked for a large landscape design firm, performing tree trimming and
removal. After several years of experience, she bought her own truck, stump grinder, and other equipment
and opened her own business in St. Louis, Missouri. Although many of her jobs are one-time operations to
remove a tree or stump, others are recurring, such as trimming a tree or groups of trees every year or every
BBA 3551, Information Systems Management
other year. When business is slow, she calls former clients to remind them of her services and of the need to
trim their trees on a regular basis.
Samantha has never heard of Michael Porter or any of his theories. She operates her business, “by the seat
of her pants.”
a. Explain how an analysis of the five competitive forces could help Samantha.
By looking at the five competitive forces, Samantha can better understand how to achieve a profitable
performance in her industry. In this situation, the bargaining power of customers may be relatively strong with
the ability to select another tree service based on price and responsiveness. Customers will not perceive
differences in quality when removing a tree, other than judging response time and the thoroughness of
cleanup. With tree trimming for tree maintenance, quality work will be harder for customers to appreciate.
Samantha will have to sell her training and experience. The threat of substitution is a fairly weak force with
few alternatives available to customers who have a dead or damaged tree that needs removing. There is,
however, the option of doing nothing in terms of tree maintenance. Samantha needs to emphasize the
benefits of performing regular tree trimming for long-term tree health. The bargaining power of suppliers of
equipment is a weak force with many options available for machinery and equipment. The threat of new
entrants is somewhat strong because anyone with a ladder, saw, and no fear of heights could sell him/herself
as a tree trimmer. Samantha will have to sell her training and expertise. Finally, rivalry among existing firms is
probably strong. Samantha will have to work to make her company’s name well known, sell her professional
knowledge and training, be responsive, and keep her prices competitive.
b. Do you think Samantha has a competitive strategy? What competitive strategy would seem to make
sense for her?
Samantha probably has not thought about a competitive strategy. Many small business owners have not
stepped back from the hectic pace of just keeping the business going to consider this issue. For Samantha,
given her forestry education, a differentiation strategy with a focus on the tree health and maintenance
industry segment may make sense. Her education will clearly distinguish her from many others in the field,
and she should be able to capitalize on that with residential and commercial properties requiring regular tree
How would knowledge of her competitive strategy help her sales and marketing efforts?
Samantha should not try to be all things to all parts of her market. She should focus her efforts on making her
company’s name well known, selling her professional knowledge and training, being responsive to customer
calls, and keeping her prices competitive but not necessarily rock-bottom.
d. Describe, in general terms, the kind of information system that she needs to support sales and marketing
Samantha needs several things from an information system. She needs to be responsive to customer calls,
so she needs a system to help her track and respond to calls in a timely way. This system should also build
her database of customer prospects so that she can target her follow up and ongoing tree maintenance sales
efforts. The system should allow her to keep good notes about each customer’s trees so she can provide
helpful information and services as needed to combat diseases that might threaten tree health.
Kroenke, D. (2015). Using MIS 2014 (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
BBA 3551, Information Systems Management
Suggested Reading
Chapter 2 Presentation
Chapter 3 Presentation
Learning Activities (Non-Graded)
Course Flashcards:
From the Textbook:
Ethics Guide, I Know What’s Better, Really, pp. 56-57
Ethics Guide, Yikes! Bikes! pp. 86-87
Security Guide, Securing Collaboration, pp. 68-69
Security Guide, Differentiating on Security, pp. 100-101
Guide, Egocentric versus Empathetic Thinking, pp. 70-71
Guide, Your Personal Competitive Advantage, pp. 102-103
Using MIS InClass 2, Does AllRoad Parts Need Microsoft Office? Do You? pp. 60-61
Using MIS InClass 3, Competitive Strategy Over the Web, p. 94
Using Your Knowledge, p. 73
Using Your Knowledge, p. 105
Case Study 2, Eating Our Own Dog Food, pp. 74-77
Case Study 3, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), pp.106-107
Non-graded Learning Activities are provided to aid students in their course of study. You do not have to
submit them. If you have questions, contact your instructor for further guidance and information.
BBA 3551, Information Systems Management
Chapter 2
Collaboration Information Systems
AllRoad Needs Better Processes for Organizing and
Conducting Meetings
Group to determine feasibility of 3D printer.
Tough for everyone to attend meetings.
Time is wasted in covering past ground.
Cell phone calls interrupt meeting.
Not all members read group email postings.
Interpersonal conflicts evident.
Copyright © 2015 Pearson Education, Inc.
Study Questions
Q1: What are the two key characteristics of collaboration?
Q2: What are the three criteria for successful collaboration?
Q3: What are the four primary purposes of collaboration?
Q4: What are the requirements for a collaboration information system?
Q5: How can you use collaboration tools to improve team communication?
Q6: How can you use collaboration tools to manage shared content?
Q7: Which collaboration IS is right for your team?
Q8: 2024?
Copyright © 2015 Pearson Education, Inc.
Q1: What Are the Two Key Characteristics of
1. Two or more people working together to achieve a
common goal.
2. Feedback and iteration
• Cooperation lacks feedback and iteration.
Copyright © 2015 Pearson Education, Inc.
Important Characteristics of a Collaborator
Copyright © 2015 Pearson Education, Inc.
Not Important Characteristics of a Collaborator
Copyright © 2015 Pearson Education, Inc.
Guidelines for Giving and Receiving Critical Feedback
Copyright © 2015 Pearson Education, Inc.
Q2: What Are Three Criteria for Successful
Criteria for judging team success:
1. Successful outcome
– “Did we do it within the time and budget allowed?”
2. Growth in team capability over time
– Develop better work processes, improve task skills,
gain knowledge, provide perspective to each other.
3. Meaningful and satisfying experience
– Recognition, rewards, camaraderie.
Copyright © 2015 …
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