Currently, most organizations get into various applications through which they get to deliver or even obtain information from their clients and supply information to stakeholders who have direct or indirect contacts with the organization in question.
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Internal stakeholders are quite crucial to an organization as quite a significant proportion of them are the organization’s key financiers.
Therefore, to ensure efficiency when dealing with conveyance of information, most organizations establish a department to deal with matters concerning the collection and dispatch of any type of information while ensuring efficient communication within the organization (Barroso & Hölzle, 2009).
In this paper, our learning team was dealing with a fictional company to undertake an evaluation of an approach used to deliver e-mails and instant messaging applications to its internal users.
The decision to take the evaluation emerged after the company’s performance failed to meet user expectations and coupled with the continued rise in the operating costs.
After a careful evaluation of the challenge at hand, various recommendations would be presented to the executive management of the company to decide on the way forward.
For instance, there was a suggestion to retain the existing data center and ownership of applications due to various benefits attributed to it. However, the management could also outsource the service to a third party or even experts working within the organization.
In essence, all these recommendations have both negatives and positive impacts to organizations, thus calling for careful consideration before choosing what to implement.
The current situation is a mixture of telephony, instant messaging, conference call, and email capabilities using multiple vendors. We currently use Lotus Notes for emails based on our historical relationship with IBM.
We use yahoo IM for instant messaging, we have AT&T as our telephony provider, and we use Verizon for mobile phone capabilities. However, the company has failed to meet expectations of various users when it comes to emails and instant messaging.
In addition, the organization also failed to cut on costs; on the contrary, there was a continued trend on the increment of costs in relation to emailing and instant messaging.
The trend was predicted to be on the continued rise even in the near future, which should not happen since in the field of business, every business looks into improving its financial position.
Moreover, it is crucial to increase shareholders wealth through various ways with reduction of expenses and costs being one of the ways.
However, an organization can choose to increase revenues through increasing unit prices of various products while holding their expenses constant, but this move could drive clients to the company’s competitors (Hemmatfar, 2010).
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In the quest to ensure efficiency, a company can adopt various strategies to ensure that the approach applied aligns with expectations of users, while at the same time maintaining the desired level of expenses. According to Gawarzynska (2010), it would be imprudent to overhaul the entire organization’s data center.
The most crucial fact about a data center is that it houses various telecommunication facilities and applications, data communication applications, and security devices among others.
Retaining a data center and ownership of the applications has various benefits; for instance, fewer skills would be required to maintain the existing data center and ownership of the applications. Retention of the current data center ensures security of confidential and delicate information linked to the organization.
Various security measures and controls put in place can be upgraded to ensure protection of the available information.
Despite various advantages of this strategy, it comes with some negative attributes; for instance, the technique would be quite expensive for the organization especially where it is being applied for the first time. Numerous costs will be incurred in the construction and equipping a fully, but functional data center.
However, these costs would be incurred in the short run, but it would decrease with time although maintenance costs would still be existent.
However, the maintenance costs would not be as high as the initial costs incurred while constructing a data center. In addition, in case of poor maintenance of the system, confusion is likely to arise (Lucas, 2005).
It was also suggested that the organization could outsource the e-mail and IM compute and applications completely to a third party. Another organization would enter into a contract with the organization to ensure the provision of e-mail and IM applications.
This strategy comes with numerous benefits where a company can start small and increase its hardware resources with time and when necessary (Gupta, 2011). This aspect would eliminate the need for the organization to plan for the provision of computing resources, hence considerable savings on costs.
The outsourced provider would assist in developing and implementing the organization’s email security and compliance policies. In addition, it would also come up with a program that would ensure an archiving solution to the organization to help the firm retain its compliance requirements.
On cross-examination of some companies, it was established that it would cost the organization approximately $50 to run and maintain a single mailbox monthly on the Microsoft Exchange.
However, email and compliance services only contribute a small fraction to these costs, which means that it can be quite expensive for the organization. Through outsourcing theses services to another provider, the organization can avoid these expenses (McKeen & Smith, 2009).
Migration to cloud computing enables wide visibility and rapid responses when it comes to treating new threats and installing security mechanisms. With contrast to the traditional security technologies, cloud computing ensures immediate protection of data with or in the absence of security definitions (Pallis, 2010).
Protection from cloud computing is made available to all connected users, even to mobile users who are not covered with the traditional package. Cloud computing can also enable protection of information as a measure to mitigate rising threats, without replacement or even upgrading the existing equipment.
Another option would be to outsource the email and instant messaging services to internal users.
A team of internal experts working for the company would be established to provide the email and instant messaging applications (Pearlson & Saunders, 2010), which comes with various benefits attributed to this option that include security of information and messages sent to various users.
The information dispatched is retained within the organization and can be secured through security logarithms generated within the organization (Pearlson & Saunders, 2010). At the same time, the organization will be at a position to archive various applications for the regulatory purposes.
Moreover, this strategy does not require the organization to adjust its technology for the emails and instant messaging services.
Since the in-house IT department is well versed with the needs of the organization, it is in a position to get custom-designed solutions to fit the needs of the organization and stakeholders (McKeen & Smith, 2009).
Consolidation of services where possible would be necessary to improve efficiency of various applications.
There were suggestions to move all services to Microsoft and AT&T corporations for organizations aim at cutting a considerable proportion of costs due to savings on operating costs, reduced rates, and increased operational effectiveness (McKeen & Smith, 2009).
Benefits accrued to this option include a simplified instant messaging that would be controlled, as all activities would be behind a firewall. Instant messaging activities would be linked to an email to ensure all activities are saved for future reference when need be (American Psychological Association, 2010).
A discussion would also take place between the organization and AT&T to convince the corporation to consolidate the company’s accounts at a cost favorable to the organization.
Services rendered by the Microsoft Lync would allow long distance and toll calls at no additional costs, hence creating lower telephony charges while at the same creating a user-friendly environment (McKeen & Smith, 2009).
However, there exist uncertainties as to whether the providers will be in a position to provide their services at the cost levels required by the organization. Any change would cause some disruption of service that would need to be managed carefully as a law enforcement organization.
There may be resistance to change, which would need to be managed. Our relationship with IBM in other areas may be put at risk, and this element should be considered.
The organization should outsource the provision of emails and IM applications from a third party. Benefits attributed to this option outweigh all those other options, especially where costs are involved.
For instance, the organization will only bear the cost of outsourcing those services, but saves on costs that would be spent on purchasing computer hardware and software, installation, and maintenance of the systems. All these costs would now shift to the outsourced service provider.
Risks associated with the recommended solution
- Issues of security: how to keep sensitive data safe, efficient, and cost-effective (is a big challenge to this recommendation (Alge, 2012)
- Handling of data: many customers prefer on-premises solutions to maintain control to data including user activity, system logs, and other threat data. While cloud services vendors typically have both policies and technologies designed to protect customer data, many customers still prefer to maintain control.
- Potential latency or additional costs: mostly, cloud security solutions require that data be directed to a different location from either the traffic source or the traffic destination. This additional ‘hop’ of the data to the security data centre may introduce extra costs or latency.
- Shared tenancy: Denial of service to a shared system may affect victims other than the original target (Alge, 2012).
- Exposing hidden costs: while many organizations may not evaluate either soft costs (for example, management overhead) or shared costs such as real estate, power, and bandwidth associated with on-premises systems, cloud providers have to bring out these costs, which may appear higher to potential customers.
The paper addresses communication challenges facing the organization. The organization found it necessary to reexamine its email and IM applications after allegations that they failed to meet various needs of customers. In addition, there were allegations that costs on these services were on a continued rise.
However, outsourcing to an external provider has the risk of the organization’s databases and other crucial information being handled by a third party. There may also emerge possible impersonation of users as depicted by most researchers.
Since various decisions are vested upon the service provider, the provider can easily lose some sensitive and useful data regarding the organization as well as complete denial of some services.
The option may be cost-effective at first, but may overrun the existing budget with time. However, these challenges can be overcome through stringent provisions during the time of entering into the contract.
Alge, W. (2012). Email in the cloud: the challenges and benefits. Computer Fraud & Security, 2012(7), 10–12.
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: APA.
Barroso, A., & Hölzle, U. (2009). The datacenter as a computer: An introduction to the design of warehouse-scale machines. San Rafael, CA: Morgan & Claypool.
Gawarzynska, M. (2010). Open innovation and business success. Hamburg, Germany: Verlag.
Gupta, G. K. (2011). Database management systems. New Delhi, India: Tata McGraw Hill.
Hemmatfar, M., Salehi, M., & Bayat, M. (2010). Competitive advantages and strategic information systems. International Journal of Business Management, 5(7), 158-169.
Lucas, H. (2005). Information technology: Strategic decision making for managers. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
McKeen, J., & Smith, H. (2009). IT strategy in action. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Pallis, G. (2010). Cloud Computing: The New Frontier of Internet Computing. IEEE Internet Computing, 14(5), 70–73.
Pearlson, K., & Saunders, C. (2010). Managing and using information systems (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.