For this assignment, you’re a senior IT manager at Reynolds Tool & Die. You have been asked to write a 3-page plan detailing how you will create a culture of innovation in IT operations and integrate IT innovation into long-range strategic planning. Your proposal should include recommendations for specific technology innovations, and explain how you expect these innovations to drive business success over time.
This assignment requires you to analyze the company’s goals; analyze how IT innovation can contribute to those goals and how the current environment might be able to support innovation. After you have completed your analyses, you will synthesize all of this information into a long-range IT plan focusing on innovation. Specifically, your plan needs to address two things:
1. What IS innovations can you propose that align with the strategic long-range plans of both IT and the organization?
2. How can you create a culture of innovation within your IT organization?
Headings should be as follows:
I. Long-range, Innovative Solutions Planning
Consider this a wish list. What innovative technologies will you propose to help Reynolds accomplish its long-range goals? For example, does artificial intelligence have a place in the organization? Big Data? What about next generation cloud technologies? How will mobility (related to mobile devices) fit into your planning?
II. Creating a Culture of Innovation in the IT Organization
In order to implement creative solutions, you need an innovative team. Going forward, you’ll want to hire the right people and train them the right way. You already have staff who have been doing things a specific way, and you need to create a culture of innovation throughout the organization. How will you do that? Some areas to address are:
i. IT Staffing and Training
Does your current staff have the right skill sets? What skill sets will they need to add in order to be innovative? What are the potential budget considerations for ongoing training?
Can you make the case for research and development (R&D) within Reynolds’ IT organization? R&D isn’t synonymous with product development; it’s a function tasked with pursuing forward-thinking, innovative strategies, even strategies that the business doesn’t expect to pay off in the short term but hopes will pay off eventually in the long term.
“We are committed to providing our customers quality products with the highest engineering standards.”
“We are committed to achieving our goal of being a market leader for engineering solutions and will investment in technical innovation. Our desire is to continue to expand our markets, our technical competence, and our intellectual curiosity to serve our customers.”
Reynolds Tool & Die is an automotive component manufacturer supplying suspension pieces and technology to both other suppliers and major U.S. and foreign manufacturers. Annual revenue is around $50 million, and the company is profitable.
Reynolds has production facilities at their headquarters in Akron, OH; in Bloomington, IN; and in Memphis, TN. Approximately 300 people work for Reynolds, including 7 in IT. The IT staff is broken down as follows:
· IT Director
· 2 Help Desk personnel
· 3 Network Engineers
· 1 Software Engineer, primarily supporting the company’s ERP system
One network engineer works in Bloomington, one in Memphis, and the rest of the IT staff is located in Akron.
The three sites are networked via an MPLS circuit. In addition to SAP® software, the company uses Microsoft® Office 2010 for administrative work along with several specialized CAD programs for design. The SAP software is two versions behind, but not at end of its life. A data center is in Akron, while the other two sites have smaller hardware footprints consisting of Microsoft Exchange servers for email, a small file and print server, and redundant Active Directory servers. EMC Storage Area Network (SAN) devices are at each site. Redundant backup appliances are in Akron and Bloomington, and data can be cycled among the SANS for further redundancy. While some server virtualization has been achieved, only about 20 percent of all servers have been virtualized with the help of VMWare. All sites use Cisco® switches, routers, and firewalls. Servers, desktops, laptops and printers are all HP®, and are between 3 and 5 years old and the desktops and Laptops use Windows® 7 as the operating system. All servers are on Microsoft Server 2012.
There are no cloud applications. There has been a demand by administrative personnel and engineers for integrating mobile devices with Microsoft Exchange and other apps but to date the company has not implemented a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or a MDM (Mobile Device Management) solution.
The IT budget typically is between $1.2 and $1.5 million annually, depending on capital expense. Note that this budget ONLY covers hardware, software, services, and licensing. Personnel costs are not included, nor do you need to include them for the Week 4 budget assignment.
This year the company is embarking on significant expansion. A joint venture has been signed with a firm from Mexico Peraltada LLC in order to gain access to a new supplier market. Both companies will remain independent, but Reynolds will exchange engineering expertise for a percentage of sales in Mexico and there will be joint development of intellectual property.
Peraltada uses Microsoft Office 2016 and Oracle as their ERP solution. Desktop and laptops are HP, and they are running Microsoft Server 2016. They employ around 200 people with 5 in IT. The company provides key employees with iPhones for mobile access to their network.
In an effort to diversify, the company has purchased a small company in Vancouver, Canada that makes light aircraft landing gear components. P.T. Tracy, LLC employs about 80 people, with 3 in IT. They also use SAP for an ERP solution but one version newer than Reynolds. They use Microsoft Office 2013 and Windows 10 for their desktop OS. Their firewall solution is Palo Alto and they use Cisco routing and switching equipment. Servers, desktops and laptops are all Dell®. They also have implemented a BYOD policy, using the MDM solution VMWare AirWatch®, supporting both Apple® and Samsung® Galaxy phones. They are running Microsoft Server 2016.
All three companies in the scenario have a Microsoft Enterprise License in various stages of life; none will be up for renewal at the same time.
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