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MasterCard International Case Study

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Updated: Jan 25th, 2020


In the present world, information technology (IT) is at the core of most business activities. It provides the foundation that enables today’s business enterprises to function and flourish.

Whether it is in procurement and production, manufacturing and maintenance, customer care and sales, communication and collaboration, tracking and measurement, or virtually any other business discipline, IT plays a critical role (Laube & Zammuto, 2003).

This paper provides a case study of MasterCard International and looks at how the company uses technology to enhance its business operations. A summary of the case is presented followed by a detailed discussion and finally, the main points are highlighted.

Case Study Description

In the process of carrying out its business operations, MasterCard International uses client/server architecture. This is an architecture that exists in a networked environment where there is a server dedicated to offering services to clients.

The clients send requests to the server and the server responds appropriately. In the case of MasterCard International, there is a computer that authorizes, clears, and settles each credit card transaction whenever a client interacts with the system.

With its massive data warehouse, MasterCard’s client/server system links 25,000 member banks spread out in different regions.

The client/server arrangement greatly improves the rate at which decisions are made and ensures that customers receive quality services.

MasterCard’s data warehouse was presented as a strategic move to give the company a competitive edge and improve its market share.

Using a combination of in-house developed and commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products, the company is able to identify customers’ buying trends, credit card fraud, and other useful information.

Presenting a Business Case for MasterCard’s Data Warehouse

In an environment that is characterized by reduced spending on IT initiatives, IT Managers are often faced with a tough challenge of selling concepts to top management. Rather than investing in new IT initiatives, top management would rather focus on cost cutting.

This is also due to the fact that most executives can not easily quantify the benefits associated with the use of IT services. The confusion always arises because many top executives see IT departments as nothing more than cost centers.

Regardless of the IT concept being presented to top management, the IT manager must provide a very convincing case for his or her ideas to be accepted. In the case of MasterCard, there is a very strong foundation on which an argument by the IT manager can be based.

As can be seen from the given model, and as explained in the case, MasterCard’s data warehouse has a number of strengths that make it appealing to any prospective user. First of all, the data warehouse is supported by client/server architecture which happens to be very reliable.

For most companies, client/server systems offer the best combination of features that help to meet critical business requirements. Among such features are scalability, power, and flexibility (Shelly & Rosenblatt, 2011).

Whether a business is expanding or downsizing, client/server systems enable a company to scale the system in a rapidly changing environment. As the size of the business changes, it is easier to adjust the number of clients and the processing functions they perform than it is to alter the capability of a large scale central server.

Client/server computing also allows companies to transfer applications from expensive mainframes to less expensive client platforms. They also help to reduce the network load, improve response times and allow communication to happen across multiple platforms (Shelly & Rosenblatt, 2011).

With emerging technologies such as cloud computing, client/server architecture has the advantage of being easily scalable and as such integrating it with new technology is greatly simplified.

Data and network security is a key requirement for any business that deals with sensitive customer details and the model given by MasterCard offers very strong security features. For a company to win and expand its customer base, it must be able to guarantee customers of secure transactions.

Any system with a weak security structure will simply keep customers away. In the case of MasterCard International, member banks must be assured of the security of their transactions. They must be made to know that their transactions will not be compromised by intruders.

MasterCard’s elaborate system requires all users to be authenticated before accessing the transaction and data warehouse servers of the company.

The use of a firewall ensures that any unwanted connections are blocked from entering the system. This further enhances the security of the system.

Implications of Banks using their own Analytical Tools

The marketing of MasterCard’s IT services will definitely suffer a big blow if member banks opt to develop and use their own analytical tools. By developing their own analytical tools, the member banks will put MasterCard in a very difficult situation that may lead to the system’s security being compromised.

This is because there will limitations on the design of applications developed by MasterCard as the company will be forced to develop applications that can easily interface with what the customers have. Certainly, this may not be an easy task and additional cost will be needed.

The same will happen with security implementation. MasterCard may not have the freedom to put in place any security features that will not work with the customers tools. The end result will be a compromised security environment that in the long run may drive customers away.

To deal with this concern, MasterCard may need to convince customers on the importance of using analytical tools provided by MasterCard rather than developing their own tools.

MasterCard should enlighten customers on the serious repercussions associated with member banks using their own analytical tools.

As pointed out earlier, MasterCard will end up with a very weak security structure if the use of analytical tools developed by customers is given a go ahead.

Applications and Tools that May be Attractive to Member Banks

Various tools and applications are available for use by member banks as well; as MasterCard to improve the quality of services. Applications such as Customer Relations Manager (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) can be used to create huge amounts of data.

Furthermore, the data generated by these enterprise applications is likely to be in demand all over the company and this will allow marketing, sales and service representatives to effectively respond to customer buying habits and sales trends.

The CRM application will enable member banks to interact well with staff at MasterCard for the benefit of the company and the customers. However, these applications will need to be used together with other tools such as storage resource management (SRM), storage network management (SNM) and storage virtualization tools.

SRM keeps a bird’s eye view of storage capacity on the network and allocates more capacity as needed. If SRM software sees that more storage is needed by CRM applications, it will locate and re-allocate some unused capacity.

SNM tool creates a map of all the devices on the storage network and monitors them for errors such as network or server failure.

Storage virtualization software enables a variety of proprietary devices to interface well and this increases interoperability among storage devices (Markantonakis & Mayes, 2007).

With these applications and tools, MasterCard will be able to offer improved services to member banks without compromising the quality of its services.


Based on the discussion presented in this paper, there is no doubt that the continued use of information technology will be a great boost to MasterCard’s business. As a result, the company will be able to keep its existing customers and attract more.

There are distinct advantages that are related to the use of information technology and MasterCard should continue to look for opportunities to use IT to strengthen its business operations. So far, the client/server architecture in use provides a secure operational environment and only needs reinforcement.

To address the concern of member banks using their own analytical tools, the company should continue researching and investing in services that will enable it to offer what the customer wants to see so as to remain competitive.

This case study has been particularly useful in understanding the importance of technology in business. Clearly, technology provides a wide range of services that can enable an organization to offer excellent services which will finally lead to customer attraction and retention. However, with increased competition, there is need for continuous technological advancement.


Laube, D. & Zammuto, R. (2003). Business Driven Information Technology: Answers to 100 Critical Questions for Every Manager. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

Markantonakis, K. & Mayes, K. (2007). Smart Cards, Tokens, Security and Applications. New York, NY: Springer.

Shelly, G. B. & Rosenblatt, H. J. (2011). Systems Analysis and Design. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

This case study on MasterCard International was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
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"MasterCard International." IvyPanda, 25 Jan. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/mastercard-international/.

1. IvyPanda. "MasterCard International." January 25, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mastercard-international/.


IvyPanda. "MasterCard International." January 25, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mastercard-international/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "MasterCard International." January 25, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mastercard-international/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'MasterCard International'. 25 January.

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