The Bead Bar is company that has three divisions: (1) studios, (2) franchises, and (3) Bead Bar on Board. The studio division oversees the company’s six bead bar studios. Along with the original, there are now two
studios in New York City, one on Long Island, one in Washington, D.C., and one in Boston, Massachusetts. The franchise division sells a complete beading supply package to businesses that want to open their own bead studio. The division is responsible for fulfilling franchisees’ supply requirements. The company still uses paper-based forms. The Bead Bar is now large enough that the paper-based system is inefficient and has caused some problems, including lost orders, incorrect invoicing, and fulfillment delays (Malaga, 2005).
Information systems allow globalization. If the Bead Bar were to establish a website where people could purchase beading products, they could end up with larger profits. People from all over the world can purchase beading products easily and conveniently because the role of information allows the possibility to convert currencies and languages over the Internet. Information systems also allow each franchise to interact with each other or clients conveniently, as well, via email and/or teleconference, etc. Also, information systems allow for networking so that each franchise can share information with each other in a short amount of time. Information systems could also stop the Bead Bar from losing business. Since the Bead Bar is growing and yet still using a paper-based system, they will run into organization problems. The loss of orders, incorrect invoices, and delayed fulfillments will definitely cause unhappy customers.
These unhappy customers will then tell others about their less than satisfactory service they received with the Bead Bar. Thus, giving the Bead Bar a bad reputation. Information systems allow a more organized and efficient way to handle customer orders, in a timely manner none-the-less. Information systems will also make it easier to handle finances and accounting, as well.
DBMSs perform many functions for the business community. One of these functions is to manage data storage. Databases can hold a large amount of data, for companies. Companies use DBMSs to store all information on their customers, and their suppliers, as well. Databases can also manage inventory, which is essential to companies, so that they know when to order new products. This will allow companies to know which products are used most, or in retail, which product are best sellers. It will also be able to tell one which products are not selling enough to make a profit. This will tell the person who orders inventory what not to order again in the future. DBMSs also allow us to access this data relatively quickly, which is important. People want things done quickly, and they want their information retrieved quickly (Malaga, 2005), and DBMSs allows this to happen. Databases are imperative to the business community. I can only imagine that as businesses receive more and more information, they will need more and/or bigger DBMSs.
Since the Bead Bar is going to be global they should use an enterprise DBMS. This will allow Bead Bar executives to hold a large amount of various data, provide security so that data cannot be compromised, and allow other Bead Bar executives to access the database and view data that they need to be aware of. The Bead Bar should use a distributed enterprise database since they have 5 franchises (especially if they plan to build more) and are about to start an online store. A distribute enterprise database is more reliable, and much faster than a centralized database. They will also permit each store to automatically know the prices that the main store sets. The local databases report their sales, inventory levels, and so on to the main store, which then sends price changes and the like to each database (Malaga, 2005).
The Bead Bar should use a relational model database. The relational model is flexible and much easier to use than the network model (otherwise, I would have recommended the network model instead). I think that the relational model is best because each executive of the Bead Bar has a different use for a database, and the relational model will provide the tools they need for each of their uses. The relational model can also handle multiple tables and actually relate the tables to each other. This will prove to be a huge convenience for the Bead Bar.
The Bead Bar is just beginning to really go global, and before they know if their business will really take off on the World Wide Web they should keep costs at a minimum. Therefore, I believe the Bead Bar should use a bus topology. In a bus topology, all of the devices on a network are connected to a common central cable called a bus or backbone. A backbone is the main portion of a computer network that is capable of carrying the majority of traffic on the network (Malaga, 2005). The backbone is commonly used to connect large networks or companies together. The major advantages of the bus topology are that it is relatively inexpensive and it is easy to add new devices to the network by simply connecting them to the bus. If the main cable fails, however, the entire network will shut down, and it may be difficult to determine why the cable failed. Due to its low cost and simple configuration, the bus topology would be the appropriate choice for the Bead Bar.
I recommend a client/server type of architecture for the Bead Bar. It will help to control that can operate what feature, and will allow organized information from clients to be sent. In networks with a client/server architecture, certain computers act as providers of services, or servers, and others act as requesters of services, or clients. A server is a powerful computer with a fast processor and a lot of memory that is capable of handling simultaneous requests from clients. Some servers may be set up to provide shared data for clients, some handle only printing, and others might provide a variety of services (Malaga, 2005).
Networking can be extremely complex. It takes a lot of planning and configuration, and the Bead Bar has a chance to make huge profits by going global. However, the Bead Bar executives cannot get ahead of themselves. They should invest in information systems, databases, and network topologies that are of low cost, and yet do the job that needs to be done. As the Bead Bar becomes more stable, and brings in a secure income then the Bead Bar should upgrade to more reliable information systems that would not fail as consistently, yet however, cost much more. If the Bead Bar waits for the stable income, they will be able to afford the upgrades without any financial troubles.
Malaga, R. (2005) Information systems technology. Prentice Hall. Pearson Education.