Analysis – Business Process Models and Strategy Analysis
Two Business Process Models
A standard business modelling notation provides an opportunity to develop business process models that can be understood by all people who work in this sphere regardless of their location and personal characteristics. It also allows bridging the gap, which exists between design and implementation (White 2006). As a result, professionals receive a chance to generate a graphical model that reflects their operations in detail. The order of performance that is revealed ensures a better understanding and simplifies analysis.
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As a company that focuses on retail, Azzaz deals with a wide range of various business processes. One of the most important among them is the process of selling because it ensures the future of the organisation. Salesmen should provide the clients with the opportunity to define the payment method that is the most convenient to them. For them to remember the procedure and understand it better the business process model that describes the current sales procedure can be provided (see Fig. 1). It describes those actions that are to be conducted between the time a salesman receives an order and gives it to the customer. The gateway in this sequence flow is the decision made by the client, as it defines what exactly should be maintained further.
One more business process, that should be considered, deals with those actions that are to be undertaken, when the company resorts to e-commerce. It is a proposed intervention that is not yet implemented by the owner, Lewis, is willing to try it. Thus, he can refer to this model to see how his company and its employees should react if an error happens, and the product ordered by a customer is not available anymore (see Fig. 2). Of course, this situation is not likely to happen often and is an exception. Still, it means that the employees will not be ready to cope with it if it happens. So the proposed model is expected to minimalize misunderstanding and related risks. Just like the first one, this process focuses on the communication between a salesman and a customer. However, this model indicates two possible outcomes that depend on the decision made by the customer. One is free to decide whether the order should be just cancelled or maybe some similar product should be ordered. As a result, there is a necessity to consider two different end events and ensure that the company is ready to maintain each of them.
Strategic Analysis for Azzaz
Azzaz is willing to expand and enter the e-commerce market to improve its performance. It would be beneficial for the organisation to base its future actions on the SWOT analysis of the current situation.
- Products of different prices. Azzaz offers a wide range of products so that a diverse population of customers can find something appropriate in the framework of price and quality. Both phones and accessories can be substituted by cheaper offerings if needed, which allows working with an extended market that includes people of different economic layers.
- Well-educated and trained staff. The organisation provides training programs to be sure that its personnel are able to cope with all duties. It means that the occurrence of errors is rather rare as well as delays. Salesmen are also trained so that they know all information about the products they offer and can satisfy each customer.
- Barriers to entry. It is not easy for start-ups to enter the market and reach success in a short period of time.
- Resource-consuming training programs. Education and training provided for all employees to ensure that all operations are maintained decently. Still, they require funding and time. It is not always easy to allocate the required amounts of money to this segment because of other expenditures. What is more, training cannot be maintained during the working hours, and the personnel are not willing to learn in their free time.
- Unstable sales. This kind of business is rather difficult to forecast and control, which causes additional problems. Some days are busy, and lots of items are sold fast, but some so quiet that almost nothing leaves a shop.
- High transportation costs. The products are not manufactured in the places where they are sold and require transportation. Because of the increasing fuel prices, this ordinary operation becomes an obstacle on the way to success.
- E-commerce and expansion. The organisation can reach more diverse markets if it opens stores in other locations and starts selling products online. In this way, more people will know Azzaz and will have an opportunity to reach it.
- Cooperation with other organisations. Cooperation with other organisations can streamline business procedures such as integration in the new markets, especially online one.
- Stable position of the product. Phones are used by the majority of the world’s population, and they are not likely to be substituted by other digital products. Even though the sphere of technology continues to develop, phones are just improved.
- Repair services. For now, Azzaz offers phones and accessories. Still, it can also provide related services that deal with the repair of these products.
- Increasing the number of competitors. Today the representatives of the general public have access to various shops that offer phones and accessories that is why the chances that they will refer to Azzaz decrease.
- Similar products and services. Even though not all competitors have the same range of offerings, a lot of their products are similar to Azzaz’s ones, which means that they are not likely to be very loyal.
- Dependence on import. The products that are sold by the company are often transferred from other countries. Thus, if something happens during the import phase, the company can face problems. What is more, it can be affected by policy changes or economic situation of those countries, etc.
- High employee turnover rate. Azzaz spends many resources on its training programs, so it needs to keep working with the same employees. Still, the existence of other working opportunities that can be more beneficial to the workers can affect this situation adversely.
Open Source Software Comparison Table
|Name||Description and Purpose||Advantages||Drawbacks||Functional Alternative||Usage (for Azzaz)|
|Paint.net||This is an image and photo editing tool. It is meant to allow the users to edit photos and other images so that they meet their expectations and needs.||It allows working in different layers. |
This tool has a complete plug-in system.
It allows to add various image effects.
It works with various file types.
|It has poor TWAIN scanner support. |
There are limited brush options.
Text manipulation is limited also (Kennedy 2009).
|Adobe Photoshop and |
Paint Shop Pro.
|It is possible to use this utility when there is a necessity to create images of products for e-commerce.|
|FileZilla||It is a file management tool. It provides FTP access to the Web site’s server. |
It can be used to transfer files over the Internet.
|It has an intuitive graphical user interface. |
This tool gives an opportunity to update various remote Web sites.
It processes large sets of files.
It is easy to use because of the drag-and-drop approach utilisation.
The tool has a wide array of configuration parameters.
|This tool operates well but it is a bit dated, which affects its interface mainly (Smith 2011).||Windows 3.x-era toolbar.||When starting an e-commerce, the company will face the necessity to open a Web site and upload it with relevant data. This tool was created for such purposes.|
|OpenOffice.org||It is a full-featured office productivity suite. It provides an opportunity to work with text and spread sheets. |
It is meant to create presentations and graphics.
In addition to that, it can be used when generating databases and working with them.
|This suite includes all software tools that can be found in its charged alternatives. |
It has an interface that is not complex and is easy to use.
Regardless of its simplicity, this tool can cope with the advanced tasks.
|It is rather sprawling. |
Poor possibility of import/export for Microsoft-formatted files (Allen 2016).
|Microsoft Office.||This suite is extremely advantageous for Azzaz because it allows to prepare all documentation that is needed in the framework of retail business. It can be used even if the company is not starting e-commerce business as it ensures a wide range of different custom-tailored solutions.|
|Mozilla Firefox||It is a web browser for the users of the Internet.||It has browser extensions, plugins and themes. |
Opportunity to access any Web site, keep tabs on Gmail, etc.
Numerous security features (Spidle 2011).
|Poor ActiveX controls. |
|Internet Explorer.||It provides an opportunity to get access to the Internet, which is critical for e-commerce and opportunity to obtain new knowledge, receive customer feedback, advertise products, etc.|
|7-Zip||It is a utility for archives manipulation. Allows to store information in a compressed form and work with it (Wu 2012).||It compresses files of different types. |
Has powerful command line version and File Manager.
|Decompresses only files of particular types (Jones 2009).||WinRAR and WinZip.||Working with large amounts of information, Azzaz can use this utility to store data that is not currently used but is still needed.|
Azzaz is a mobile phone and accessories retailer organisation that operates in this sphere for a short period of time but is willing to achieve stability and success. The company is based in England but is expected to reach other locations and populations. It is owned by Lewis, who intends to develop Azzaz brand and make it recognisable all over the world. The company appeared as a single shop but has grown into a chain of eleven, which proves that Lewis is able to control its operations and promote future positive changes. He already has several considerations regarding the ways his business can be improved within a limited period of time. This paper will focus on the current situation that is faced by Azzaz so that it can be assessed as a basis for expected alterations. What is more critical, the most advantageous business changes will be discussed, considering the way they can benefit the company. SWOT analysis of Azzaz as well as advantages and disadvantages of the proposed initiatives will be mentioned. Finally, recommendations for successful implementation will be identified along with possible challenges so that well-grounded conclusion can be made.
Azzaz turned from a single shop into a chain in January 2014, as Lewis bought PhoneBits. This group of three outlets operates under the Azzaz brand, providing more clients with the opportunity to know it, as two of the new outlets are in Norway. The acquisition is a significant step towards the expansion that is targeted by Lewis. It is likely to make Azzaz closer to the European market, a stable position in which tends to ensure the success of business. In order to simplify product transportation and storage that became more complex as a result of the expansion, the owner is going to open a new warehouse in the East of England. Lewis also believes that it can be advantageous element when he develops his business and reaches e-commerce market. Such opportunity is likely to capitalise on the success of the Azzaz brand and will not require many additional expenditures if everything is maintained properly. However, a range of alterations is to be maintained to meet this goal as Azzaz and PhoneBits have different IT systems. There is the need to add a business to consumer (b2c) e-commerce functionality, as it will allow customers to get and return stock via the stores and courier (Eid 2011).
Considering the necessity to implement changes, it is beneficial that for now Azzaz has a wide range of products because it means that no crucial alternations will be needed in the framework of products. Moreover, customers from the online market are rarely less diverse than those who visit shops, which means that many of them are likely to be satisfied with the offerings (Collier & Bienstock 2006). Still, education and training segment may require more investment because of the necessity to higher new personnel and ensure that they are able to work in the sphere of e-commerce (Docebo 2014). Fortunately, general weakness of phone shops that deals with unstable sales can be minimalized through e-commerce. However, the fact that clients will be located in distant territories can turn into a challenge because of the transportation costs and possibility of order loss or damage (Syam & Bhatnagar 2010; Verheyen 2016). Before moving forward, Azzaz should consider how likely it is to win the competition and in what way it can attract clients and personnel so that they remain loyal for a long time.
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With the help of recent acquisition of PhoneBits, Lewis receives an opportunity to reach its resources and customers (Slack, Chambers & Johnston 2010). It would be more difficult for Azzaz to open a brand-new shop because it would be critical to prepare a building and wait before the population recognises it. Moreover, the company would then compete with PhoneBits, which is one more disadvantage. But it cannot be denied that the company can face problems connected with personnel, as there is a necessity to allocate more money for training.
What is more, because of the cultural peculiarities, the staff can face difficulties while making decisions or sharing significant information (McKelvie, Dotsika & Keith 2007; Rasmussen 2016). This framework should also be considered. Lewis can encourage his workers to interact more outside of working environment and provide them with digital opportunities to communicate and share best practices (Gröschl 2016). A set of critical for the organisation values should be outlined so that all workers know what is expected of them. In addition to that, Lewis should consider various transportation opportunities. Mutual advertising, for example, can reduce these costs and give an opportunity to spend them on other business elements (Sperdea, Enescu & Enescu 2011).
Expansion to the online market and utilisation of the b2c approach is likely to benefit Azzaz greatly. It is a great opportunity to reach new clients regardless of their location (Hajli, Sims & Shanmugam 2014). Still, much time will be needed to engage many buyers (Abebe 2014). Lewis should pay attention to marketing and advertising. It will be advantageous if he refers to the best practices of other online retailers, such as Amazon, because their experience in the sphere can already be assessed. It is significant to receive clients’ feedback because it is the best way to get to know what improvement is needed (Elmorshidy 2013).
In addition to that, such intervention strengthens loyalty. The b2c approach can be rather helpful in this framework because it educates clients on business features and options (Swatman 2001). What is more, it improves brand awareness, facilitates payment and can be used for after-sales service (Barreda et al. 2013; Wei-Tsong & Hui-Min 2012). A new team of employees consisting of those professionals who have experience in e-commerce should be hired to maintain related operations. Finally, it is significant to prepare a Web site and ensure that the company is able to work with it (Pavlovsky 2016). An effective search system should be available for customers as well as personalised access, connection with e-mails, etc.
Azzaz and PhoneBits operate with the help of different IT systems, which can be an obstacle not only for e-commerce but also for interactions that are maintained between the shops (Habibi & Hajati 2015). Currently, the company can face problems because some documents may not be opened using different software. As a result, the interaction between the shops worsens greatly. The possibility to share important knowledge is adversely affected in this way. To reduce expenditures but align IT systems, Lewis should consider the utilisation of open source software because it is free but effective. First of all, the company should implement OpenOffice.org and Mozilla Firefox. These two tools tend to fulfil basic needs of the organisation, as they provide an opportunity to work with texts, numerical data, images, presentations and the Internet. In this way, all significant documentation can be prepared and shared. 7-Zip can be used to develop a knowledge database. In addition to that, it streamlines information sharing. When having a personal Web site, Azzaz’s employees can use FileZilla to manage it. Finally, they can refer to one of the OpenOffice.org tools or Paint.net to prepare appealing product images that can attract clients.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Thus, Azzaz can improve its performance and achieve success in the European market if it considers the implementation of changes to expansion activities. First of all, the company should make sure that all its employees are loyal and share the same views and beliefs so that no misunderstanding occurs among them. It should think of the most advantageous transportation opportunities because this process is to be maintained routinely. To make the b2c e-commerce beneficial, Lewis should focus on the first impression. It is significant to create an interesting but easy to use Web site and gather customer feedback. IT systems should also be aligned, because otherwise a lot of errors may occur. It can be done with the help of open source software.
I believe that I received an opportunity to make several significant contributions to the topics that are tightly related to retail, business expansion, e-commerce and open source software. As I started writing this paper, I generated two business process models. The first one was made on the basis of the example found in the materials provided by White (2006). Using it, I was able to develop a model that reflects the actions that should be maintained by professionals when the product ordered is out of stock. For now, there was no sample of such a model based on standard business modelling notation (see wiki article or a business Web site).
When developing a SWOT analysis for Azzaz, I combined those elements that discuss this organisation from various perspectives, identifying it as a retailer and as a company that sells mobile devices and accessories. Those existing samples of SWOT analysis tend to focus only on one of these features or have a range of contradictions, which prevents them from discussing all significant topics (see wiki SWOT analysis or discussion prepared by Chu and Cai).
Developing an open source software comparison table, I identified why such organisations as Azzaz need them and for what purposes they can utilise them. Currently, available information discusses only software features (see the article on open sources prepared by Kennedy) or identifies the purpose but fails to reveal detailed characteristics (see blog discussion on marketing automation). Thus, I believe that my work can be rather useful due to the mentioned contributions.
|Quality of contributions||Made several good contributions and one or more outstanding contribution.||Made several good contributions.||Made a few good contributions||Made a few valid contributions||Made 1 or 2 postings, of poor quality||Did not contribute.|
|Attribution of references||Clear referencing of well-chosen and highly relevant sources||Clear referencing of all sources, some relevant..||Clear referencing of all sources.||Sources generally referenced.||Used ideas/ words of others without attribution.||Cut and paste or absent contributions.|
|Evidence of collaboration/ facilitation skills||Skill shown in weaving contributions into the discussions and wiki, and following up on contributions of others.||Skill shown in weaving contributions into discussion and / or wiki, or following up on contributions of others||Some evidence of links to contributions of others.||Basic recognition of contributions of others.||Little or no recognition of contributions of others.||None|
|Reflection on onlinecontributions (in reflective summary)||Deep reflection shown, with clear and substantial evidence from online discussion and wiki||Good reflection, with clear evidence from online discussion and / or wiki||Reflection and evidence offered, limitations in one of these||Reflection and evidence offered, limitations in both of these||Superficial reflection, very limited evidence||Very little or no reflection/evidence.|
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Barreda, A, Nusair, K, Bilgihan, A & Okumus, F 2013, ‘Developing a brand structure pyramid model for travel-related online social networks’, Tourism Review of AIEST, vol. 68, no. 4, pp. 49-70.
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Collier, J & Bienstock, C 2006, ‘How do customers judge quality in an e-tailer?’, MIT Sloan Management Review, vol. 48, no. 1, pp. 35-40.
Eid, M 2011, ‘Determinants of e-commerce customer satisfaction, trust, and loyalty in Saudi Arabia”, Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 78-93.
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Docebo 2014, E-Learning market trends & forecast 2014 – 2016 report, Web.
Gröschl, S 2016, Diversity in the workplace, Routledge, New York.
Habibi, R & Hajati, Z 2015, ‘Trust in e-commerce’, International Journal of Innovation and Applied Studies, vol.10, no. 3, pp. 917-922.
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Pavlovsky, B 2016, 5 Biggest challenges for launching an e-commerce marketplace, Web.
Rasmussen, L 2016, Cross-cultural competence: engage people from any culture.
Slack, N, Chambers, S & Johnston, R 2010, Operations management, Pearson, London.
Smith, F 2011, All you ought to know about FileZilla.
Sperdea, M, Enescu, M & Enescu, M 2011, ‘Challenges of managing e-commerce’, Economics, Management and Financial Markets, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 194-199.
Spidle, J 2011, Advantages & disadvantages of Mozilla Firefox, Web.
Swatman, P 2001, eCommerce/eBusiness education: pedagogy or new product development.
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Verheyen, W 2016, ‘Stuck between consumer protection and carrier’s limited liability: the recourse gap in the case of e-commerce’, Zbornik Pravnog Fakulteta u Zagrebu, vol. 66, no. 2/3, pp. 185-222.
Wei-Tsong, W & Hui-Min, L 2012, ‘Factors influencing mobile services adoption: a brand-equity perspective’‚ Internet Research, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 142-179.
White, S 2006, Introduction to BPMN – IBM, Web.
Wu, J 2012, Comparison of 7-Zip, WinZip, and WinRAR, Web.