Essay does identify the two primary ways by which information systems projects get started and explains each method. Additionally, the essay provided an example or described how the method would be applied.CASE: Petrie Electronics
The Sources of Software
Jim Watanabe looked around his new office. He couldn’t believe that he was the assistant director of
information technology at Petrie’s Electronics, his favorite consumer electronics retail store. He always
bought his new DVDs and video games for his Xbox 360 at Petrie’s. In fact, he had bought his Blu-ray
player and his Xbox 360 at Petrie’s, along with his surround sound system and his forty-inch flat-screen
HD LED TV. And now he worked here, too. The employee discount was a nice perk1 of his new job, but
he was also glad that his technical and people skills were finally recognized by the people at Petrie’s. He
had worked for five years at Broadway Entertainment Company as a senior systems analyst, and it was
clear that he was not going to be promoted there. He was really glad he had put his résumé up on and that now he had a bigger salary and a great job with more responsibility at Petrie’s.
1 perquisite
Petrie’s Electronics had started as a single electronics store in 1984 in San Diego, California. The store
was started by Jacob Rosenstein in a strip mall. It was named after Rob Petrie, the TV writer played by
Dick Van Dyke in the TV show named after him. Rosenstein always liked that show. When he had grown
the store to a chain of thirteen stores in the Southern California area, it was too much for Rosenstein to
handle. He sold out in 1992, for a handsome profit, to the Matsutoya Corporation, a huge Japanese
conglomerate that saw the chain of stores as a place to sell its many consumer electronics goods in the
United States.
Matsutoya aggressively expanded the chain to 218 stores nationwide by the time it sold the chain in
2002, for a handsome profit, to Sam and Harry’s, a maker and seller of ice cream. Sam and Harry’s was
looking for a way to diversify and invest the considerable cash it had made creating and selling ice
cream, with flavors named after actors and actresses, like the company’s bestselling Lime Neeson and
Jim Carrey-mel. Sam and Harry’s brought in professional management to run the chain, and since Sam
and Harry’s bought it, the company added fifteen more stores, including one in Mexico and three in
Canada. Even though they originally wanted to move the headquarters to their home state of Delaware,
Sam and Harry decided to keep Petrie’s headquartered in San Diego.
The company had made some smart moves and had done well, Jim knew, but he also knew that
competition was fierce. Petrie’s competitors included big electronics retail chains like Best Buy. In
California, Fry’s was a ferocious competitor. Other major players in the arena included the electronics
departments of huge chains like Walmart and Target and online vendors like Jim knew
that part of his job in IT was to help the company grow and prosper and beat the competition—or at
least survive.
Just then, as Jim was trying to decide if he needed a bigger TV, Ella Whinston, the chief operations
officer at Petrie’s, walked into his office. “How’s it going, Jim? Joe keeping you busy?” Joe was Joe
Swanson, Jim’s boss, the director of IT. Joe was away for the week, at a meeting in Pullman, Washington.
Jim quickly pulled his feet off his desk.
“Hi, Ella. Oh, yeah, Joe keeps me busy. I’ve got to get through the entire corporate strategic IT plan
before he gets back—he’s going to quiz me—and then there’s the new help-desk training we are going
to start next week.”
“I didn’t know we had a strategic IT plan,” Ella teased. “Anyway, what I came in here for is to give you
some good news. I have decided to make you the project manager for a project that is crucial to our
corporate survival.”
“Me?” Jim said. “But I just got here.”
“Who better than you? You have a different perspective, new ideas. You aren’t chained down by the
past and by the Petrie’s way of doing things, like the rest of us. Not that it matters, since you don’t have
a choice. Joe and I both agree that you are the best person for the job.”
“So,” Jim asked, “what’s the project about?”
“Well,” Ella began, “the executive team has decided that the number one priority we have right now is
to not only survive but to thrive and to prosper, and the way to do that is to develop closer relationships
with our customers. The other person on the executive team, who is even more excited about this than
me, is John [John Smith, the head of marketing]. We want to attract new customers, like all of our
competitors. But also like our competitors, we want to keep our customers for life, kind of like a
frequent flier program, but better. Better for us and for our loyal customers. And we want to reward
most the customers who spend the most. We are calling the project “No Customer Escapes.’”
“I hope that’s only an internal name,” Jim joked. “Seriously, I can see how something like this would be
good for Petrie’s, and I can see how IT would play an important, no, crucial role in making something like
this happen. OK, then, let’s get started.”
Case Questions
2-16. How do information systems projects get started in organizations?
2-17. How are organizational information systems related to company strategy? How does strategy
affect the information systems a company develops and uses?
2-18. Research customer loyalty programs in retail firms. How common are they? What are their
primary features?
2-19. What do you think Jim’s next step would be? Why?
2-20. Why would a systems analyst new to a company be a good choice to lead an important systems
development effort?

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