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Question Thread #3A: Alignment in Reverse

We have discussed the concept of 'Aligning Information Technology to an Organization's Strategy'. This is essentially more often a prescriptive goal than a reality for most organizations.

However, alignment can also be considered descriptively as well: namely that an organization's critical business processes can generate (over time) an IT infrastructure(s) which (for better or worse) parallel the processes.

Based on what the VTB organization did until 2010 lead to having an IT infrastructure that was such a mess (in terms of many different applications and middle ware)?


Question Thread #3B: Steps for Business Process Improvement at VTB

Do you think that there are business processes at VTB that could be improved? In considering the steps for achieving business Process improvement (see pp. TBD) which would be the most important for VTB?

For example, it is obvious that production of the bears is high-cost? So why doesn't VTB just outsource bear production to some plant in China or Vietnam?


Question Thread #3C: The competitive landscape for Vermont Teddy Bear

Let's now consider VTB from the standpoint of the 5 Forces Model (see pp. TBD) - in terms of its competitive position in the "gift delivery service" industry sector:

1) As of 2010 (or even now) does VTB have a lot of competitors?

2) Do its customers have a lot of options for finding custom-crafted Teddy Bears?

3) Are there substitute products that can fulfill the customers' need?

4) Is it easy for a new company to enter this business to compete with VTB?

Let me suggest that each of you may want to address just one of these questions - that way you are not all piling on the same ideas. But you may also want to (politely but factually) challenge others if you think they are wrong.

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