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Operations Strategy Guide for a Business

Applying the operations strategy framework as a guide, develop a presentation that outlines Evan's current business profile.

In the presentation, include the following:

- Address each major area of the framework (business direction, offerings, resources, discriminators, competitive analysis, performance, customer needs, and operational metrics).
- Provide recommendations as to the kinds of things Smith needs to consider to improve his overall business profile in each of the key areas of the framework.
- In the areas that lack detail or are unknown, provide him with some options as to how he might improve or better align those areas.

Business Info is as follows:
Scenario:

Five years ago, Jay Evan decided he wanted to start his own technology service business. He rented some office space, purchased some computer and network equipment, and installed a telecommunications circuit to the Internet. Almost immediately, he started to acquire customers who wanted him to host their business applications and for him to be responsible for the operational availability of the applications. In other words, Jay would provide the space, servers and local area network equipment, connectivity to the Internet, and an around-the-clock operational support staff. His customers would provide the business application software, and they would manage it remotely.

During the first 5 years, Jay's business grew substantially. He had to relocate his offices three times, add computer and network equipment, increase the bandwidth and connectivity to the Internet, and hire numerous administrative and technical support staff.

As Jay needed to add computer hardware, he would negotiate with local retail stores and purchase the lowest cost equipment. If he needed additional communication services, he would go to the local telephone company to add the bandwidth and connectivity he believed he needed.

Starting his sixth year in business, John has over 30 major long-term contracts, a 20,000 square foot data center, over 400 servers; and 100 full-time employees. Additionally, he hosts 50 major business applications for his customers.

The organization configuration is fairly simple. John has set up an extremely flat organization in which the majority (approximately 80%) of the staff are technical or operations support (network, server, applications, operating systems, and database). Additionally, there is one contract, five helpdesk, one project manager, and five administrative support staff. Jay does all of the marketing and sales and personally negotiates each contract.

The cost structure is set up as follows:

- Floor space (includes utilities, rent, water, and so forth): $100/square foot (John pays $25/square foot)
- Hardware (servers): Actual cost of each server as well as the number of servers required (customers reimburse John for parts)
- Labor: $25/hour as required for break/fix, updates, and so forth
- Internet connectivity: Cost per month spread across all contracts
Each month, hours are tabulated and additional costs are billed to each customer.

Over the past several years, Jay has been one of the few providers in this hosting business; however, competition is now starting to challenge his company from a cost, efficiency, quality, and the kinds of services provided. Additionally, existing customers are starting to complain about slow response times, degradation of services, poor quality, lack of communication, and rising costs. In the past, when a customer made a request, the organization has accommodated for that request. As of recently, Jay is taking responsibility for nearly half of the customer applications to include updates and changes.

A number of the customers have told John that they will have to reduce their effort with him if the service-related issues are not corrected. A couple of them have sent correspondence to John stating the following:

- Response times: When they provide updates and changes, the support staff is taking longer and longer to implement the changes.
- Service degradation: The availability of the hardware platforms is trending downward. Where the platforms were available around the clock, they are now suffering from some frequent and long outage periods.
- Quality: When updates and changes are implemented, they are often not installed correctly and have to be reinstalled.
- Communication: Whether changes to the platforms or coordinating outages, the support team does not notify the customers and the issues are beginning to impact their revenue stream.
- Costs: In the past, when additional equipment was needed, Jay purchased, installed it, and billed it back to the customer each month. Also, the cost of support over the past few years has been steadily increasing.

Jay is now beginning to wonder whether he should outsource or even offshore some of the functions and services he is offering to an organization that specializes more in a specific area. He has contacted a number of outsourcing organizations as well as an organization in India that might be able to run his service center help desk. The cost seems to be less expensive than what he is able to provide to his customers. Also, he thought it might be a good idea because he is starting to expand his company to global customers. He now has two smaller contracts with European customers, and this appears to be an area that is going to grow.

Your task starts with assisting Evan with an assessment of his current business situation. Then, you will assist him in developing an operations strategy that can be used to improve his operational performance and business profile. The overall goal of assisting Evan is to help him assess and determine how each of these areas impacts his business and recommend some solutions so he can optimize his operations and competitive profile.

Solution Preview

The response addresses the queries posted in 1231 words with references.

//Achieving efficiency in all the major areas of operation is one of the most important criteria for the purpose of achieving competitive advantage. All the operational tasks should be performed in a manner that helps in adding value to the products and services offered by the organization and ultimately benefit the consumer. For creating value in the operational areas, it is essential to have a proper framework of the operational strategy and it is also essential to have complete knowledge of all the major operational tasks that are being performed in the organization. The following section consists of a brief discussion on the current business profile of Jay Evan's business//.

Jay Evan is currently into the technology service business, which has ample of opportunities to grow in the coming future. Jay has been performing effectively in the technology line of business since past few years, but the increasing competition in technology line of business has created certain difficulties for Jay to operate effectively. As Jay runs a technology service business, the major offerings of the business include hosting the business application of the clients, providing them operational availability of the applications, providing servers and local area network equipment and Internet connectivity as well. In addition to these, providing operational support staff to the client is one of the major areas of operation of Jay's business. The performance of Jay's business was good in the first few years, but it started declining because of increasing competition from the customers. As such, the customers have started complaining about the services offered by him. In providing services of hosting the business application of the client, the major resources used include the technical staff of the organization that used to assist ...

Solution Summary

Achieving efficiency in all the major areas of operation is one of the most important criteria for the purpose of achieving competitive advantage. All the operational tasks should be performed in a manner that helps in adding value to the products and services offered by the organization and ultimately benefit the consumer. For creating value in the operational areas, it is essential to have a proper framework of the operational strategy and it is also essential to have complete knowledge of all the major operational tasks that are being performed in the organization. The response addresses the queries posted in 1231 words with references.

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