McDonalds is one of the fast growing and wide available fast food chain of the world. It has developed a global recognition a competitive advantage all over the world. Technology is the new paradigm of assessing a business performance and success. In our discussion, we will discuss that how McDonalds is able to manage its computer systems. In the start, we will discuss the major component, subcomponents and performance requirements of computer systems. Then we will discuss the operating systems and suggest a compatible operating system to be used with an organization. Thirdly, there will be a discussion about how can we design a computer system keeping in view the end user requirements and organizational goals. Finally, we will test our designed computer system for example, it is properly designed or note keeping view the organizational goals, functional fitness and health and safety of end users.
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As we all know that McDonalds is one of the most growing fast food chains of the world. It has a very diverse system of operations and management. Today due to the recent advancements in technology, McDonalds has developed such a computer and information technology system to manage its operations which has now become a core competence for McDonalds against its competitors. Technology can be a great competitive advantage against competitors if it is used efficiently and correctly. In our discussion, we will try to view technology and computers as a part of operations strategically. First of all, we will investigate the computer systems of McDonalds.
Outcome 1: Investigation of Computer Systems
P1: Machine components or sub systems appropriate to given task:
If we see the operations of McDonalds, then we can easily analyze that due to wide spread and diversity of McDonalds operations, we need a complicated, complex and flexible internal computer database system. This system is needed in such a way that all the departments such as Marketing, Finance and Human Resources should record their operations and data in one database system for integrity and convenience. Talking about the sub systems, we need to develop such a strong subsystem to develop a strong integration in operations but with customer convenience and satisfaction. In terms of machine components, we need CPUs, Display Monitors, Networking Designs and Operating System Software.
On the customer side, we need to develop a convenient system to make customer experience better and to increase our sales. Due to the dramatic increase in internet and web users, it could be a powerful strategy to go online for selling merchandise. Unfortunately, McDonalds has not developed such a system yet to deliver goods to customers. They have developed a system of placing orders on phone in which goods like burgers are delivered directly to consumers. Finally, we should develop such a computer system which could provide us convenience, integration and better experience for customers.
P2: Evaluation of the Performance of Selected System:
The system above we have suggested for McDonalds has a large number of advantages which are as follows:
Integrity and Reliability
Speed of Operations
Enhancement of Customer Experience
Control and Audit
And the main disadvantages could be:
Complexity of Operations
But if we evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of selected system then we can see that advantages are more than disadvantages. The advantages of an enhanced computer system may easily overcome the costs of adopting such a system.
If we see McDonalds, they have already installed the complete system as we discussed above, but there is small discrepancy that they are not yet online to sell their products. If they add this thing in their strategy, it would be a source of competitive advantage. The reason for is that mostly the online shoppers are â€œYoungstersâ€ and these youngsters are the most frequent buyers of fast food than the population of other ages. (Associated Press, 2004) (Meena Kumari Rajani, M. S. Chandio, 2004)
Outcome 2: Investigation of Operating System
P3: Functions and features of different types of operating systems:
The different kinds of operating systems are Windows, Acorn Computers, Amiga, Apollo Computers, and Apple etc. The selection of a operating system purely depends on its efficiency, known quality and its compatibility with the organization systems. The different categories of operating systems are: technology, ownership, usage, working state and licensing etc.
Microsoft is one the most extensively and widely used operating system in the business world. We think McDonalds being a fast food chain must adopt Microsoft as its operating system due to its known quality, compatibility and integrity. The basic features and functions of Microsoft windows are:
Most Widely Used
Integrity and Reliability
Speed of Operations
Another important function of windows is that it is mostly compatible with latest World Wide Web. There is some news about the compatibility issues of other operating systems.
Another important function of windows is that it provides more network storage than any other operating system.
Most of the computer systems are designed only for Microsoft and it works easily with the older computers.
P4: How to customize operating systems:
There is a large number of operating software which can be used to customize our operating systems. For example for customizing windows we can use Microsoft word, excel, works etc. For Mac, there is also much software for customization. If we analyze the operations of McDonalds, then by adopting windows, we can customize this operating system and it can be made flexible to use. For writing reports about daily sales or new recruits, we can use Microsoft word. Similarly, for financial reporting, we can use Microsoft Excel. For enterprise resource planning there are a large number of options available. For example, we can use SAP for as an ERP system for McDonalds. For Customer Invoicing, we can again use Microsoft word or Microsoft excel. This customization has also an advantage for us because the numbers of windows users are much more in world than Mac or other operating system users.
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The McDonalds is operating through franchising system in almost all the countries of the world (McDonalds Official Website, 2007). There are a different operating systems being used in different franchises of McDonalds. It could become a problem and inconvenience to control operations. We think McDonalds, should develop a single operating system and a world wide database to better manage and control it s operations.
Outcome 3: Designing a Computer System
P5: investigation and identification of the key components for a computer system for a particular user:
The key components required for an individual totally depends on the usage and responsibility of a particular user. We can take an example, for example at the front desk needs a complete Central processing unit plus some accessories such as printers for printing invoices. Similarly the accounts department needs to have almost all computer accessories and components because they need to do financial recording and reporting. Similarly the marketing managers need laptops because they to analyze the consumers taste and habits. The higher management needs some extra system software to monitor the activities of the organization.
Now will try to develop and investigate the key components for a marketing manager at McDonalds. A marketing manager needs to travel to different areas for making strategies about market segmentation and product positioning. Moreover, McDonalds is also operating in a whole world with diverse cultures and tastes. It has to face the challenges of different cultures and marketing managers need some research work to be done. Thirdly, they need to manage and direct their subordinates. Also, marketing managers need to communicate with the higher level management. Keeping all the function in mind, a marketing manager needs a LAPTOP with wireless internet connectivity for convenience and flexibility. Laptop is helpful because it will not affect the works of a manager while he is shifting places or travelling. Secondly, through internet connectivity, it can guide and manage subordinates through emails.
P6: Complete computer system to suit a given task:
Let us elaborate more on designing a special computer system for a special task. We will take human resources for McDonalds for our point of attention. McDonalds is a global organization and it operates is different parts of the world. Due to its operations in diverse parts of the world, it needs to hires from local countries to lower its cost and better operations.
Human Resources Department of McDonalds has to face different kind of challenges to meet this objective. For example, interviewing candidates from different parts of the world is nothing more but a challenge. They need a computer system with complete components plus accessories such as printers and faxes etc. They also need internet connectivity. This will help them to interview candidates from different parts of the world and their efficient screening. Moreover, they can email candidates or can communicate with them online through internet connectivity. Moreover, they can publish their reports using Microsoft word or excel. They also need projectors and video conferencing to train their employees and subordinates. A proper internal database system must be designed to develop integration and convenience of operations. For example, Human resources department can access personnel information through anywhere in the world. This can help them in efficient personnel planning and employee database. Today, McDonalds is using the Human Resources Information system for this purpose. It is easy for the operation managers again to send reports to the human resources department for internet connectivity. Moreover, employees can easily report back to human resources department in all their organizational problems.
Outcome 4: Testing the Computer System
P7: Planning that check system hardware and software components using standard techniques:
We can adopt systems development lifecycle for managing and checking the computer components just like McDonalds does. We can divide this checking and audit in three sections: Initiation phase, Planning Phase, Designing Phase.
In the initiation phase, we can firstly assess the strategic business objectives and can have useful insights about our business. This step involves strategic business objectives and technology goals, expected benefits from adopting a computer system, expected and potential organizational changes, and business regulations and laws. Then we can move to the functional requirements and checks such as end user requirements, information and internal security requisitions, operating systems compatibility and adoption, and internal or external interface requirements. Thirdly, Project management and risk management must be considered. Finally, while selecting a computer system, alternative solutions must be considered.
In the Planning phase, we need to plan about the rules and regulations and compatibility of technology with the organizational culture. In this phase, we can check and plan that if a computer system is compatible with the organizational culture or not? Secondly, based on the roles and controls of end user, we can analyze the functional fit of particular computer hardware or software requirement and availability.
In the design phase, we can design or REDESIGN a computer system after considering the organizational requirements and end users convenience and efficiency. In our example of McDonalds, we can easily analyze that although McDonalds has a good computer system and management but a lot more needs to be done to avoid any future threat from competition. (www.ffiec.gov, 2009)
P8: User Documentation for Computer System:
User documentation is the process of discussing and experimenting during a project or in an organization. This system is really important to implement. It includes goals, theories, roles, method, mechanics, and benefits.
Goals involve the target assigned to each user in documentation. Well in case of computer sytem, it is the target of a user which he has to achieve using a system. For example, in the example of McDonalds, a sales officer need to properly use computer systems to reach potential sales. Theories involve the purpose or organizational objectives and visions. Users should work under the theories of organization. While roles, method, mechanics and benefits are all associated with user and all these things are important. (Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference, 1991)
P9: Security Policy for the System:
The Computer system can be secured by installing proper antivirus software like Norton Antivirus. Proper internet security applications software must be used to prevent the systems from any threats. Moreover, the email monitoring or screen capturing of emails is also practiced by some organizations but it can give rise to a large number of ethical issues like the privacy of employees. Moreover proper firewalls can also be installing to overcome this issue. All these practices are adopted by McDonalds.
P10: Health and Safety Requirements of Systems:
Proper measures should also be taken while implementing a system. For example, sitting long time against computers can damage the eyesight end users. So proper rays blocking screen must been used with display monitors to prevent employees from the threats of eyesight. McDonalds is doing well in this area by offering its employees a proper balance between work and home. (McDonalds Official Website, 2009)
From the discussion above, we can see that McDonalds is a global organization and it has developed a strong computer and information technology system in its operations but there are also some defects in it. All the things we discussed above are important for having a powerful and successful computer system. For a Global Organization like McDonalds, A proper consideration and attention must be paid to I.T Section to meet global challenges.
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