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IT and Management Strategy Planning Assignment -

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Question 1 - Write a well presented report for the above outlining the business operation to the CEO of Cut Short. Provide any three recommendations that are well substantiated with journal literature and referenced correctly to support this service. (You may use the reasons/justifications above or use your own - that support this service).

Answer -

Preface -

Strategy planning is an important aspect that decides profitability of the organization in general. Better the strategic planning better will be the outcomes and profitability of the organizations. The following report is about a Hair dressing chain which wanted to take up innovative measures to improve customer experience in the organization. The key focus areas of the hair dressing chain included providing quick service to the customers visiting the hair dressing chain and also it has also focus on to include better customer satisfaction enabling services to the let the customers retained and to improve its current competitive advantage in the market. Recently the hair dressing chain has come out with a proposal to drastically change its profile of operations by taking up IT enabled services for customers. Customers can book their appointment online, they can choose their preference online and also they can order few hair dressing related equipment from the organization website. Keeping all these aspects in mind, the current report is presented with few recommendations to improve the current IT operational planning and execution for better profitability. This is presented in the first part of the report. The second part of the solution is about the recent decisions taken by the organization to improve customer satisfaction. There is considerable focus made on the customer satisfaction improvement programmes taken up by the organization in the recent years. Critical evaluation of the current practices and further suggestions to improve the profile of the customer satisfaction improvement strategies are presented in the current report. This makes up the part 2 of the report.

Overview of innovative IT strategies proposed for the organization:

The new innovative strategies proposed by the organization include developing IT based platform to propagate the services in offer by the organization (hair dressing chain). The following are the four significant domains where there is considerable focus and initiatives taken up the organization to enhance its service efficiency. The following details the same,

Pre-booking Appointments

Pre-booking appointments are enabled for the customers through the usage of website. They can able to select the type of service they want in the organization. They can either select the trimming service, re-styling or blow waving as per their taste and requirements. Once they select a particular type of service, it is possible for them to book their slot. Slot includes the date as well as the time, where service is considered to take-up. When the customer taken -up the slot for his service needs, he can be immuned from unnecessary time loss by going and waiting at the hair dressing stall for his turn. He can comfortably attend for his slot which is reserved for him. This saves a lot of time for the customer in seeking the service from the chain. Also there is no need for the customer to inform once again the service provider about the type of service he is looking for, automatically as his preference is recorded on the site, the professional with specialization in that particular service will be availed for the customer and he will be ready with all the relevant tools and equipment for the service selected by the customer. As the service provider is prepared for the type of service selected as well, as he is ready for the service, the quality of the service outcomes will also be better.

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Payment for the service - Booking cancellation and discounts on the payments

Pre-booking also has an option to let the customer pay for the booking via online channels like credit card, debit card and internet banking channels. He will pay for the booking and will be relieved from carrying paper cash at the time of actual service delivery. This is advantageous for the customer in the sense they can even avail about 10% of discount on the payment which he will be paying for the service. Also the organization does have certain benefits while providing these services to the customers. At the outset, they will eliminate the unnecessary booking cancels in the last moments. Since the bookings which are unpaid till 24 hours prior to the service will get automatically cancelled, the organization can keep the slot reserved for the customers for another prospective customer. Also there won't be loss to the organization if a paid customer did not turn up for the service. This is beneficial and convenient for both the customer as well as the organization.

Levy for the customers who did not arrive on time

It is possible for some of the customers not actually attending the service in right time, in such instances the customers will take up more time for the service and this inturn will affect other customers who booked the slots. Hence organization needs to depute other service providers for smooth flow of the traffic. Hence in order to ensure these things to happen conveniently, a levy will be imposed on the customers who did not arrive the service delivery location intime.

Analysis and Recommendations

As each of these 4 innovative measures taken up in the IT enabled service delivery do add value to the service of the organization, they can be included as part of the IT strategy of the company in customer service. At the same time, Cut short hair dressing service chain can focus on different other aspects of the service which can be of use for it in enabling even better service delivery.

IT-Enabled service capabilities can be made both dynamic as well as improvisational too. IT enabled services can work on to keep the integrity of the IT services of the organization, through better IT architecture and recognizing the capability as a potential capability for transformation of the organization towards dynamic and impoverishing capabilities(El Sawy& PAvlou,2008). Hence it is required for the organization to prepare internal capabilities to adapt to the transformation and for adapting the same for the sake of sustaining the dynamic capabilities on long run. Typical measures include establishing IT strategic team for evaluation of the strategies and to make decisions from time to time. Rahimi et al (2016) indicated that there is need to integrate the business capabilities with the business process improvement. There is need to align the business improvement strategies with the IT enabled services and the strategies. Typically establishing a robust and flexible frame work of business operations to take up the IT inputs and developing the strategies to extend the services in turbulent and off-peak business conditions as well makes up another important implication for the organization. Lee et al (2015) made in-depth insights on the relation between the organizational agility with IT ambidexterity. IT ambidexterity does have immediate implications to the operational ambidexterity and the environmental dynamism does act as moderator in this case. In any ways, strategies need to be developed to tap the advantages of the IT ambidexterity to shape the operational ambidexterity. Following are some of the recommendations that can further add value to the IT enabled services and also can build up capacity for the organization to further improve the versatility of the IT enabled service capabilities.

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  • Organization can improve its current IT service capabilities by developing an IT strategy team to look into the big data analysis of the data captured by the software (Amado et al, 2018). Typical focus can be on the trends in the customer trends, traffic trends etc. These aspects will further improve the service by providing service providers as per the traffic and styles in demand; this can further reduce the time wastage and contribute to the competitive edge of the organization.
  • Apart from levying on the customers turning late to the service, the customers arriving in time can be provided with an incentive of few more discounts by way of awarding points to them. This can be achieved by recording their check in and checkout times online in the software. Software can be updated to provide these additional features to the customers and the maximum advantage of the software system can be availed. There is also scope to extend the service of the product delivery to the customers. All customers who purchased the products online can be provided an option to take the delivery of the products to their home directly.
  • There can be appreciation of the customer loyalty and this can be taken care by providing additional points to the customers who are recurrent visitors to the organization. IT system can be programmed to take up their service orders and automatically can be programmed to provide the necessary discount on the service charges that they pay for the organization. Alternatively loyalty cards or subscriptions can be issued, where they can be provided discounts and loyalty points.
  • Also, hair dressing chain need to focus on in-house capabilities building, they need to shape internal capabilities to take up the IT services turbulence. Typical focus on aspects like developing internal IT experts, training the cross section of the employees for IT service enabling, developing and linking system capabilities with the IT capabilities etc will provide both the short term and long term benefits to the organization. There is need to keep the security of the website intact, chronically updating the security aspects, updating the hacking proof characteristics are essential to keep the customer trust (Bilgihan, & Bujisic, 2015) on the organization and the payment channels through the site.

Conclusion:

As a whole the new IT system can improve the customer experience by reducing the time it takes for them to take up the service in the organization and also it will help them to avail discounts and convenience of paying online. Hence the new proposal can be supported, however the recommendations provided based on analysis can be considered for further improving the quality of the service possible from the organization and to sustain its business advantage.

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Question 2 - Provide any two suggestions into improving business service/operation offerings substantiated with current literature. These two items have not been mentioned above. An example could be customer service training.

Answer -

Business operations of the organization can be improved further by taking up variety of measures. Some of them ofcourse is taking up training to the service providers in the latest styles and the tastes of the customers. Based on the online feedback obtained from the customers, the current service capabilities of the in-house professionals can be evaluated. Detailed and critical insights into the pros and cons of these professionals can enable identification of the areas where there is need for further improving the capabilities of the service providers for the betterment of the customer experience. Also it is possible for applying the data analytics over the customer interests to take up the trend analysis and the forecasting of the customer demands and tastes. Accordingly it is possible to develop in-house capabilities to improve the customer service trends. It will be possible to develop new capabilities and also is possible to develop resources to cater the high demands in the peak time by data analytics obtained from the IT services. This includes developing new training strategies and new methods training to the existing professionals. New training methods can be obtained by benchmarking the services from the market both locally as well from international domains. Also improving the service outlets to cater the demands in the peak times can work on to reduce latency and to improve the customer satisfaction by providing services as per their needs and expectations. Preparing and developing services in this direction can improve further the business operations. Taking up the feedback from the customers to improve the services continuously further is another important aspect that should be considered for better impact on customer satisfaction (Gummesson, 2017).

Apart from business improvement based on customer interests, there is need to improve the customer outreach as well. This can be enabled by improving advertisements as well as by developing strategies to outreach much wider and broader customer markets. Also using strategies like online promotions, coupon based discounts, circulated from social media. Referral bonus or discounts will add upto to improve the revenues and there by to improve the current business processes of the organization. Also there is considerable scope for the organization to employ social media marketing to improve customer turn-up. Another innovative strategy can be providing mobile outlets to cater the demands at peak times, where a mobile service entity(like a mobile van) can be employed to reach the locations of the customers to render them service directly at their locations, this reduces not only the time, the customer satisfaction will be improved. However more strategic planning and cost-benefit analysis need to be done to improve business processes in this direction.

Conclusion:

IT enabled service delivery quality improvement and improving customer turn up to the organization are two important aspects that need to be focused on to improve the organizational performance and business processes at present. At the outset, it is required for the organization to take up the feedback of the customers and need to take up observations from the data analytics to improve the quality of the services and the business processes. Secondly, it needs to focus on web based advertisement through diverse strategies to enable more customer loyalty and more customer retention to the organization. These aspects will contribute to the organizational process improvement and development further.

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