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Introduction

Organizations face three types of decisions: Operational, Managerial and Strategic. In order to make the required decisions they are guided by information collected from different sources and that is the basis of information needs. Strategic Information Systems are systems that help policymakers, executives to decide on organization mission and strategies. The organization may make a decision consciously after carried out surveys or planning or the decisions may be made impromptu without conserving the strategic importance of the decision.

The systems mechanize operations for better efficiency, control and effectiveness rather than add on profitability. It is especially a challenge to meet the information needs of any Strategic information System and also to meet the expectation of the organization leaders. Information systems should not only focus on the needs of the individuals in this case the needs of the customer, and forget about the organization that is Gucci.

When it comes to the strategic information needs of an organization there are various things to look at. Our case in point is Gucci.com/uk, for instance one way to determine the information need of the organization is to hire a panel of internal leaders from different branches of the company like for instance from the design team to the finance team to the HR department and also employ some other external experts familiar with the fashion industry. The hired leaders then identify strategic issues that Gucci may face in the next 2-5 Years. The panel also comes up with the most likely to occur and most important issues, rating the issues in regard to their importance and lastly allocating resources to govern the collection and analysis of information on the basis of the priorities set.

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Hypothetically, some of the issues that can arise in future include the introduction of new methods for paying for the goods, emergence competition from a rival company. Other information needs include cost of operation. For the Gucci store these include running and maintain the website, manufacture of clothes and other accessories, paying the salary of all the people who are involved in running the website and the entire store at large. The panel may also list potential problems that are already present that may for instance it could be that the website menu is not user friendly and most customers find it difficult to navigate through it.

There is no way for an information system to collect and analyze data that will address every possible information requirement, it is therefore imperative to establish priorities on what information is to be collected and analyzed. Listing what information is needed by the Gucci store is not enough; further steps must be taken to specify how and when the information will be collected. For example in the Gucci store how will you get to know the number of personnel that work for the organization? How will you find out the number of Goods that are sold online?

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There are four categories of dividing information needs: Essential Information, Rapid collection items, Periodic collection items and Low priority items and from there one can then decide where the information falls and how it is shall be addressed.

The organization should pay attention to the needs that are to be addressed and keep in mind that the needs may change over time. In addition, there is the issue of distinguishing between needs and want. What does the client needs??  On their website they provide information of shipping and returns, how to buy, the information systems should give clients the information they need to know. Things to check for information needs include Input-output; is what you search for is what you find? And in the event you do not get what you are looking what happens?? Gucci store have a nice way of searching their products and in case you do not find they suggest something else that may be similar to what you are looking for.

Strategic Information Systems and E-Business

Strategic information systems help the organization decide on the way forward for them. It assists an organization in executing its business plans and realizing its business goals. E-business is all about business that an organization does over the internet or other media; it includes online shopping, ad campaigns on the internet and very many other ways that increase sales. One of the e-business strategies that Gucci uses is offering free shipping and free returns. These however do not apply to all orders but it is a step in growing the brad because it helps in attracting more customers. As it states on their official website “Deliver a product or service at lower costs. -Free shipping will be offered on all orders placed between October 29, 2012 and November 23, 2012 to destinations within the UK territory. This offer will only be applicable to purchases made on the UK Gucci.com website, is non-transferable, and is not valid on orders placed before October 29, 2012.

To estimate the total delivery time for your purchase, please allow 2/3 business days to process your order for shipment, in addition to the time needed for your preferred payment method. For a limited time, free return shipping will be offered for online orders placed between October 29, 2012 and November 23, 2012, shipped to, and returned from the UK territory. Merchandise must be returned within 10 business days from date of delivery. Returns will be accepted in their original conditions and accompanied by the original invoice.”

Delivering a product that is differentiated from your competitors is another way of staying ahead. The Gucci store offer personalized goods where one can buy an item of their website and have it branded by a name or logo before it is shipped. They also offer gift wrapping services for products bought form their gist shop or products specified as gifts while ordering.

 Focusing on a specific market segment gains an organization an advantage. Gucci store has specialized clothing for women, men and children. In each category they have all they then specialize even more for example in the kids section they have specialized clothing for baby boys (0-36 months), baby girls (0-36 months) girls and boys in their teens. These are some of the marketing structure gained from knowledge management.

There is need or the organization to consider various factors before implementing strategic information systems, because if the organization focuses on the wrong issues it could mislead the organization. There are various sources of information, computerized sources, reports, commissioned studies and expert advice. Computerized sources include social media sites like Face book, Twitter and many others. Through each of these the organization is able to interact with their customers and make decisions based on the findings. Gucci store has its own face book and Twitter pages. Sometimes these may not be very reliable because in social media the information gathered is not s specific and in that case the organization may decide to use commissioned studies to go out to their customers and ask specific questions that will help in the strategic planning of the organization, like for instance knowing the current fashion trends.

With e-business comes with it innovation which plays a big role in any organization. For that reason Gucci have integrated with ipad and android apps that help and ease the customer shopping experience and make shopping accessible to more people through their mobile phones wherever they are. 

Strategic Information systems deals with what are Gucci are doing to gain competitive advantage. Some of the ways they are doing so is being in premier shows like movie award where there are celebrities who dress in their collections for their customers to see, they hold their annual Gucci awards which is also another platform to expand their brand, holding fashion shows to show their latest designs and newest collections. They also have specialized campaigns e.g. during winter they specialize in selling more of winter attire and accessories. They run the seasonal campaigns and maximize on selling specific collections at specific times. Gucci have a section for their ads called this season that focuses on the current season e.g. winter .autumn, spring and under that section are various categories e.g. women’s clothes, men’s clothes, fashion shows that detail that season’s newest collections.

 Being innovative and coming up with new ideas to be more interactive like Gucci stores have videos on their websites that show their different collections. They also have podcasts that are available free on the internet for their customers to be able to follow and keep up to date on the latest products and the latest trends in the fashion industry.

There are three categories in Strategic information services; Financial, operational and strategic. Financial deals with for instance knowing how many people work there? How much are they paid? Which departments are failing? Operational information is on inventory, how many goods were sold in a week? What is the number or remaining items in each category? Ways to undertake their operations long term and short term? Technology involved like money transfer methods. (The above is an assumption of what they might find out) 

Knowledge Management and Customer Relationship Management

According to Thomas Bertel “Knowledge management is the management of the organization towards the continuous renewal of the organizational knowledge base - this means e.g. creation of supportive organizational structures, facilitation of organizational members, putting IT-instruments with emphasis on teamwork and diffusion of knowledge (as e.g. groupware) into place.”

In knowledge management, they have to interact with their customers though various ways. They should have ways to allow feedback, and making sure that they work towards bettering their services in regard to the kind of feedback they get. Another way can be to give customers evaluation forms and asking how they find the services offered.

Customer relationship management asks the question how to help serve customers better? How to improve on customer satisfaction? Gucci store have implemented a service where they allocate a personal shopping assistant for their customers. The assistant’s work is to assist in getting a certain product, telling you if a product is available and also helping in the buying of items.

Customer relationship management (CRM) is model for managing a company’s interactions with customers and clients. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes, principally sales activities. The overall goals are to find, attract, and win new clients, service and retain those the company already has, entice former clients to return, and reduce the costs of marketing and client service.

Customer relationship management describes a business strategy including customer-interface departments as well as other departments. Measuring and valuing customer relationships is critical to implementing this strategy.

Gucci store try to gain long-term relationships with customers by providing servicer like gift-wrapping and free shipping, improving customer satisfaction by allocating personal shopping assistants. Customer satisfaction is measured by giving feedback and there is also an assistance email address that one can enquire about anything if the find themselves not knowing what to do.

One can create a personal account that manages your preferences; one can choose to receive emails about special offers and ongoing campaigns. Other ways to improve on customer satisfaction is by making it easier to place orders for a certain product. The customer is able to see the order number, order date status, which addresses you, specified to be shipped to. This makes the transaction safe and one can easily monitor what one has ordered. Once one has an account, you are able to track what they have ever bought, you can put items in your shopping bag that is a virtual shopping bag and after adding items into the bag once simply checks out. On checking out there, are various ways to pay for the goods giving the customer the option to choose a convenient method. The various ways one can buy items is through visa, MasterCard, American express, wire transfer and switch. A customer receives email communication from Gucci with information on special offers and new

Getting involved in initiatives like the UNICEF ‘schools for Africa’, where they donated 1.15 million dollars is another way of expanding the brand and also getting to improve on customer relation.

They designed exclusive products that target awareness or to contribute to an initiative like the ‘Gucci for UNICEF ‘sukey bag whose 25% of the retail price went to the’ Schools for Africa’ initiative.

Customer satisfaction can be measured through various means whether directly or indirectly. One way is to see how the organization is ranked among its other competitors.

Some of the categories Gucci is ranked include  Best global brands in which Gucci ranked no 38, Luxury Brand Web Presence in China they were ranked No. 5 and World Luxury Index handbags  they came in at No. 4.

Conclusion

Strategic information systems are very vital for any organization, in order to prosper and grow the business there are many issues that should be addressed. The issues to be addressed are all covered with a Strategic information system. It involves collection information about how best to run the organization, which departments need to improve, how are the other players in the market fairing? and many more aspects. At the end of the day each organization also needs a knowledge management system so as to know how to plan for the future and also customer relationship management ensures that the organization can retain, add and expand on their customer base.

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