CIS8009 - Management of Business Telecommunications - University Of Southern Queensland
Industry Research Paper
Describe the business communications and business systems relying on the network-related elements of these two organisations.
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The transmission and reception of signals and messages through the electromagnetic systems are constantly increasing in terms of volume and this has posed the need for enhanced communication model that imbibes quality security technique and network structure to ensure seamless dataflow. Two organizations - Sticker Giant and Lemon Tree Hotels located at two different countries are studied in this paper. The business approach and the backgrounds of both the organizations vary. Likewise, the network model also varies but both the firms are in their expansion stages which clearly implies that both of them need scalable and flexible data management structures to ease their processes and work on growth of the brands.
Secure communication entirely relies on the quality of networks and when both of these integrate, the business reaches a successful stage. There are two businesses discussed in this paper and both vary in terms of business communication strategies, internal network infrastructure setup and the business model. One of them works on the e-commerce model and communicates with its customers completely online. The branding strategy is restricted to its present demographics and the data transmission becomes easier as there is just a cloud-based server involved. On the other hand, the company that has employed over 5000 employees takes a formal approach to communicate with its stakeholders. Consequently, the network infrastructure is also complex and is influenced by many factors such as bandwidth, data volume and frequency.
In this industry research paper, the purpose is to identify the communication strategies followed by both the organizations and analyse their infrastructures to find out if there are loopholes in them. Further, the mission is to compare and contrast the telecommunication and network management in businesses that differ in terms of size, industry and location. At the end of the paper, there are a few suggestions offered for increased efficiency and utilization.
Background of small sized organization
The small sized organization taken for the study is Sticker Giant (2019). The firm is 18-year old and is based out of Colorado. It sells customized stickers to the customers and the goal of this firm is become the Amazon of stickers. Working as an online retail store, Sticker Giant expanded in 2010 to print custom labels in addition to stickers. Less than 50 employees, the company addresses at least 420 new customers each week fulfilling about 1,600 orders. The firm efficiently balances the needs of its employees and the surrounding community.
Sticker Giant is known for its excellent branding strategies. Back in the year 2016, the company attempted a Guinness record by creating the largest ball comprising of only stickers. This effort actually let the brand to gain recognition and the founder of the firm became a celebrity in no time. The orders kept coming in. Despite being a small sized firm, Sticker Giant never restricts the magnitude of work that it takes up week on week.
The vision of Sticker Giant for the year 2019 is to generate at least 16 million dollars in terms of revenue and the founder applies open book management style where every employee gains the opportunity to go through the financials and develop a strategy. Being a niche domain, it is the strategy building process of Sticker Giant that needs to be appreciated as it serves as the largest online warehouse to print the premade stickers.
Taking the election scenario as an advantage, the founder of the firm printed a bumper sticker with the text ‘He is not my president' that led to 3,000 sales (Strauss, 2018). Though the firm initially gained support of wholesale printing companies, the model changed in the year 2012 as a custom digital printing press was setup inside the organization premises to save money and maximize the use of the equipment.
At the moment, the company is not looking to expand its operations to other countries but is looking forward to multiply the revenues and improve the company's worth. Prominent magazines like Forbes have also featured the firm for its excellent business strategy.
Background of medium sized organization
The medium sized organization taken for this paper is Lemon Tree Hotels. As of January 2019, the company operates in 32 cities and has 54 hotels and comprises of more than 5000 employees. The primary country of operation is India. There are three brands under Lemon Tree to suit customers of varied economic levels - Lemon tree premier for leisure and upper midscale, lemon tree hotel for midscale and red fox for economy.
The mission of the firm is to enhance the self-worth and reward the stakeholders and build a community with maximum values. The major values adhered by the employees of Lemon Tree Hotels include integrity, teamwork, respect, excellence, spirited fun, empathy and ownership. Being in the hospitality domain, the requirements of the customers vary from time to time but the brand still strives to become the cost-effective choice for customers.
The sustainability practices followed by Lemon Tree Hotels (2019) have gained recognition among its customers and shareholders. Being one of the largest hotel chains in India, it is 16 year old company and is the 3rd largest company that owns/leases rooms as per Horwath report. Having covered all the major cities in India, it is currently on the lookout to expand to even remote locations so that all types of customers get the opportunity to experience the environment and work culture of Lemon Tree Hotels.
The operational practices followed by the organization have displayed leadership in terms of price, position and service offered. The business model of the hotel is inclusive and involves people from the weak segments to work at the organization and contribute to its success. The whole concept of this brand is refreshing and is of interest to the shareholders that it looks forward to establish new amenities and sustainability practices that will enhance the reputation of the brand and allow expansion to other regions within the country. There is no discussion on expansion to other countries at the moment.
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Business communication of both the organizations
For any business to get recognized among the targeted audience, it is essential to formulate a solid business communication strategy that will allow the business to choose the right information medium to convey information and create the desired impact. An efficient business communication strategy will focus on community impact, reputation, and engagement of employees, event management, advertising and public relations. In the digital age, people have adopted new forms of business communication techniques like web based communication, face to face meetings, presentations, video conferences and forum boards to reach its stakeholders and take their feedbacks.
For the chosen business communication strategy to be successful, the desired message has to be clear, consistent, properly structured, and relevant and the right medium has to be chosen. There are different techniques or modes that can be used to communicate and these include written communication, verbal/ non-verbal and visual strategies. The popularity and sustainability of the businesses entirely depend on the efficiency of the business communication strategy. There are two organizations taken in this paper - small sized handling large orders and large sized handling customers from varied segments. Both have different business communication techniques to reach their customers.
Sticker Giant, for instance, uses verbal communication method and visual communication through social media portals to gain brand recognition. Since stickers are supposed to be visual elements that are created to convey a particular message or brand, the founder has taken advantage of its product to create powerful messages during different events that happened in USA. Perhaps, this idea clicked and brought in more businesses than ever. The largest sticker ball that the firm created for its Guinness record visually communicated its purpose, deliverable and potential to the audience. This indirectly promoted the founder's profile to the audience. The whole idea was effective to bring out the desired effects.
On the other hand, Lemon Tree Hotels (2019) involved a number of communication types like interpersonal, written and formal communication to reach its stakeholders. Through its community building activities and the appointment of underprivileged people in its businesses, it was possible to appeal to the shareholder segment to highlight the potential nature of business. The formal appointment letter communicated the mission of this organization. On the other hand, the firm had a strong PR presence and this was the sole reason for the quick revenue growth and the seamless internal communication improved the corporate culture and brought people closer.
Both the organizations, Sticker Giant and Lemon Tree Hotels, made the best use of social media platforms to promote its presence geographically and strategically. Likewise, Lemon Tree had a strong PR while Sticker Giant's founder did PR for the brand and himself. The latter actually improved the connectivity and people were able to understand the business concept rapidly. With advertisements and influencer marketing campaigns, Lemon Tree Hotels grabbed a bigger share in the hospitality segment of India. Consequently, Sticker Giant acquired its customers through word of mouth and brand association strategies.
Networks used by the organizations
The network infrastructure of an organization ideally refers to the devices, hardware, services and software that are used to connect and communicate information to its customers. Both the firms have different network infrastructures to communicate with the stakeholders.
Let's take Sticker Giant for instance. The website is the primary source through which customers place orders and receive the products at the end. The infrastructure is quite simple as all the transactions happen through its e-commerce portal. Here are the major components involved.
• The communication link used by this site involves ISDN and VPN to test latency and bandwidth and allow the customers to proceed further.
• There is a central server maintained by Sticker Giant that deals with a separate host name and follows domain name system techniques to sustain the domain membership. The permissible IP addresses are prefixed in this server so any malware or fraudulent entry can be restricted by blocking the IP address.
• Since the firm follows an open book model where every employee gets a chance to assess the records, there are individual hubs, a common modem and router assembled with a proxy server to transfer the data without delays.
• There is also a physical communication link setup here in the form of cables to connect between the systems and the central server.
The users of Sticker Giant can place orders through desktops or mobile phones or tablets. Hence, the bandwidth of the server is set such that it can address the needs of the customers at any instant.
After these basic arrangements, it is important to look at the internet setup. When we deal with data, security becomes the primary concern and this is when firewalls come into the picture. Further, it is also important to protect the server with a trusted network and configure router to pass information via firewall so dangerous IP addresses are blocked in advance.
As the orders arrive from external sources, the configuration of extranet is extremely important. The internet protocols involved in the communication transactions need to be capable of load balancing. This extranet setup is responsible to share the product catalogs available at Sticker Giant. Secondly, this extranet enables access to applications. Since Sticker Giant deals primarily with the B2C segment, the data assessment followed by implementation of security protocols to validate the safety of data are important. The network infrastructure is also linked to a separate database that will store the order details and customer information. This database is used to communicate any details in the future about announcements and events.
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Lemon Tree Hotels
The network infrastructure of Lemon Tree Hotels is extremely large and needs constant maintenance. Unlike that of Sticker Giant which can be quickly configured and maintained with simplified controls, Lemon Tree Hotels has a physical space and the communication reaches the firm from different sources. There is a feature where customers can book rooms on the web and directly check in. The same feature is available for those who reach the helpdesk to book a room. The virtual private networks (VPNs) of each branch are combined into one MPLS network that is managed by Tata communications (2014).
The structure is as follows:
The MPLS allows the data to be stored or retrieved to/from the data centre. All the services here are linked to the internet. The central server and data centre manage the data associated with Lemon Tree Hotels. These are linked to the application interface on the web and also at the helpdesk. In addition to these, high bandwidth data transfer incurs additional costs due to extra cables and long distance data movement.
The present Ethernet of Lemon Tree Hotel is linked to VSDL technology and there is a device installed in each technology that permits WiFi and allows data sharing. The voice communication happens through the phone wire which is further sent via Ethernet to the control centre. As already mentioned, the firm caters to leisure travellers who tend to expect state of the art infrastructure. To cater to these expectations, high performance system is used(Pandey, 2011). A better example to display the network connectivity of Lemon Tree Hotels to its guests is mentioned here.
In addition to the WiFi infrastructure that is deployed at the hotel, there are many amenities such as the smart surveillance systems that are also stored to the data centre. Connectivity plays a major role in this case. Right from the guest area to business centre to hotel IT centre to independent rooms, the network infrastructure suitable and is deployed today uses cloud technology. The central cloud links to the data centre and the cloud internet passes via the router and reaches the firewall where malicious data are eliminated. The headquarters has direct access to the data stored in the cloud while other regions mentioned above retrieve data through a switch.
The system varies for the employees and the guests. As there are over 5000 employees working in Lemon Tree Hotels in different locations, the unique employee ID serves as the primary key to control the data sharing process (Pandey, 2011). The central access controller screens the access request and permits those that are approved by the server. It is quite interesting to note how the individual modems also influence efficient data sharing and quick integration without data loss.
This figure talks about the mesh network deployed at the hotel.
So when comparing both the infrastructures, it is clear that the latter is scalable and flexible though it is expensive while the former is in its initial stages where the need of telecommunication and efficient network infrastructure are limited. When the brand expands further and takes in more orders, the network infrastructure gets widened too.
Challenges and suggestions
The primary challenge that both the organizations are likely to face is security. Despite firewalls and other security infrastructure implemented, there is still scope for security threats and data loss that can lead to alteration of existing data or complete misuse of data (McClure et al, 2009). Since both the organizations value the data of customers and are customer-centric, it is mandatory to tighten the security further. Sticker Giant does not seem to have taken steps to address this issue while Lemon Tree Hotel appears to maintain backups and enhance the security mechanisms.
The secondary challenge lies in the migration. Since the servers are all fixed, it is extremely difficult to migrate to another infrastructure when the present network faces a trouble. In the case of Sticker Giant, this problem does not persist. The other challenge is inter-enterprise integration. Due to the support issued to multiple protocols and automatic message routing is already enabled, integrating them can be tedious.
The final challenge that a large organization like Lemon Tree Hotel can face is capacity of the staff. To train every employee to access the data and use it efficiently, it does incur additional costs and to transform them into a productive staff can again be a tough task. With the rapid growth of Sticker Giant, this challenge can exist there as well.
Here are certain suggestions to manage network infrastructure efficiently(Pandey, 2011).
- Apply reliable infrastructure that automatically takes backups and engage experts to handle the network
- The feedback loop in the network can be slightly delayed at times and this can lead to poor data quality. The best option to address this problem is to monitor everyday.
- As Sticker Giant is on the growth phase, it is preferable to shift to cloud based servers rather than physical servers as the latter can consume space, time and money. This will ease migration and management at the later stages.
Network infrastructure plays an important role in adding ease to the business communication. When the infrastructure lacks in terms of quality, data management gets hectic and communication becomes nearly impossible. These suggestions can actually simplify the usage and access of data.
The volume of orders handled by Sticker Giant every week is huge and it clearly implies the productivity and efficiency of the employees associated with it. On the other hand, the business approach of Lemon Tree Hotels is totally different. It follows a formal, systematic and consistent approach to convey its messages to its stakeholders and the telecommunication process is extremely crucial for both the businesses. Sticker Giant totally relies on telecommunication to accept orders and process the same while Lemon Tree Hotel has an internal and an external system to communicate with employees, shareholders and end users/ customers respectively.
If both the network models are compared, one can see that Sticker Giant follows a simplified approach to ease the communication. It takes advantage of the social media and other communication platforms available for free to transfer information. This is contrary in Lemon Tree Hotel even though it has a strong PR presence nationwide. The infrastructure is vast and incurs efforts of experts to maintain it on a regular basis. The paper has remained as an eye opener to understand how networks play critical roles in success of a business.
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