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1. Prepare a diagram which will show the various IT tools used-(Answered)

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1. Prepare a diagram which will show the various IT tools used and their interfaces.?


NABISCO NET BRINGS SWEET SUCCESS*

 

To maintain 10 percent annual growth in a market that?s growing at only 2 percent,

 

Nabisco, Inc. the $7.7 billion processed-food company is putting intelligent software-gent

 

technology on more than 5,000 desktops. These ?agents? are programs that sort and sift

 

through mounds of data culled from diverse sources to provide their users with the

 

precise information they need. Moreover, many of these agents can track user behavior

 

patterns and proactively fetch the most sought-after data, analyze it and even recommend

 

appropriate courses of action.

 

?The amount of groceries and food people are buying is generally the same,? says Erik

 

Iversen, director of application development services at Nabisco. ?What changes is

 

the mix of what people buy and when they buy it. This means we have to know what

 

individual consumers and specific groups of consumers are purchasing in different

 

regions and different seasons.? So, how does the giant food processor go about providing its 300 business managers and more than 4,000 salespeople the latest, most

 

appropriate information on consumer-buying patterns?

 

The answer is NabNet, Nabisco?s corporate Intranet, which connects more than 300 sites

 

nationwide. The Intelligent agents are part of the IT retooling effort, which was needed to

 

support the cookie marker?s strategy to provide its managers, marketers, and sales people

 

with timely information about consumer buying patterns. These applications draw on a

 

series of interconnected databases, including Nabisco?s Integrated Sales In-formation

 

System (ISIS) decision-support system.

 

ISIS actually consists of two databases: the corporate data warehouse holds Nabiscospecific data, including the company?s sales and revenue figures, and a data mart that

 

stores general information about the food industry, such as daily national cookie and

 

cracker purchases broken down by brand.

 

Much of this data is purchased from Chicago-based In-formation Resources (IR). Barcode scanners located in stores across the country feed point-of-sale data to IR?s data

 

center, which, in turn, pumps the information to Nabisco?s system.

 

To identify exceptions and variances in consumer buying patterns, Nabisco uses, a sales

 

and marketing expert system from IR. Intelligent agents coupled with rules-based logic

 

let the expert system determine the average performance of different Nabisco brands and

 

calculate sales opportunities. It is also used to help the food company set pricing for

 

different brands. Nabisco?s corporate and consumer information are integrated using

 

Axsys, a suite of advanced business analysis applications from Information Advantage

 

Inc. Nabisco has added extensive agent technology to Axsys to integrate several sets of

 

data and utilize its networks more efficiently. This all comes together through an

 

Executive Information System. Using Microsoft?s MS-Mail electronic-mail system as the

 

transport, homegrown intelligent agents fetch business-related information from news

 

wires, sales and revenue data from ISIS, and consumer data from Information Resources.

 

The intelligent agents find, filter and automatically forward data in or near real time to

 

300 Nabisco executives.

 


 

A financial manager, for example, could choose to receive fast-breaking news on

 

Nabisco?s stock price, its competitor?s revenue figures, updates on Nabisco?s latest sales

 

figures and year-to-date revenue, plus any change in consumer buying patterns. The

 

smart agents provide a concise analysis of the data and its implications for a specific

 

decision-making process. In this way, Nabisco?s managers can get snapshots of the

 

business and are able to react very quickly to changes in the market.

 

Every rosy picture, however, has its thorns. Having intelligent agents fetch and deliver

 

data to thousands of desktops across WAN links can create network bottle-necks and

 

cause line costs to soar. To prevent network paralysis, Nabisco is storing key data as close

 

to users as possible.

 

Nabisco knows the rule that 20 percent of the data accessed by a given user typically

 

provides 80 percent of the answers he or she is looking for. Therefore, the IS department

 

Pre-stages that 20 percent of the information a sales-person is likely to need most of the

 

time, and moves it as close to him (her) as possible in the network, so the access of data

 

is localized. With an annual Information Systems budget of $100 million and 450

 

network specialists at its disposal,

 

Nabisco has the resources to pull off an application of this magnitude. The system is

 

based on Microsoft?s NT. Al-though NT on the desktop may not be right for many

 

businesses, it supports the intelligent agents that look like the wave of the future for

 

organizations attempting to cope with information overload. For those interested in

 

following Nabisco?s lead, the company offers words of encouragement?and also of

 

caution. Intelligent agents play a critical role in the company?s ability to respond to the

 

market by providing employees with pertinent information quickly, rather than a core

 

dump of fragmented data that could take hours to sift through. Another consideration is

 

that network and E-mail infrastructures to support the agent-based applications must be in

 

place first. ?It?s not for the faint of heart; you have to anticipate network-bandwidth

 

demands in building agent applications,? the company said.

 

The experts agree. Professor Marvin Manheim of the Kellogg Graduate School of

 

Management and the Transportation Center at Northwestern University, Evanston,

 

Ill., who headed the development of intelligent-agent prototypes for the steel industry in

 

the early ?90s, says Nabisco?s experience typifies that of other companies.

 

?Intelligent agents can work independently of the user and provide useful information

 

and even advice, but useful intelligent agents behave unpredictably,? Manheim

 

says. ?Therefore, there needs to be careful, thoughtful steps for developing, testing,

 

deploying and, especially, managing agents,? he adds. When such care is taken, managing

 

things such as cookie sales becomes a piece of cake.

 


 

QUESTIONS FOR CASE

 

1. Prepare a diagram which will show the various IT tools used and their interfaces.

 

2. What data mining activities are done by the intelligent agents?

 

3. How can the agents track user-behavior patterns?

 

4. Why is the system connected to the EIS?

 

5. What is the role of the expert system in ISIS?

 

6. What marketing decisions are supported by ISIS?

 

7. List all the different tasks that are performed by intelligent agents.

 

8. Discuss the role of the email and the importance of the networks.

 

9. Why is the network-bandwidth such a critical success factor?

 

10. How all this contributes to the phenomenal growth rate of Nabisco?

 

Can smaller competitors compete?

 


 

*Source: Extracted from Communications week, May 22, 1995.

 


 

 

Paper#9255962 | Written in 27-Jul-2016

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