1. Explain the purpose of a business plan
A. Business plan helps in identifying business needs so that relevant steps can be developed to reach them. Business plans aligns with the vision and mission of an organisation and defines the target customers and their needs. To meet customer’s requirements and to attain business goals budgeting is done. Business plan demonstrates organisation’s objective and the path it will follow to achieve those goals. It comprises activities a company will perform for its investors, stakeholders, customers and employees. According to McKenzie (2015), well-devised business plan leads to greater stability, higher survival rate, profits, increase in sales and employment stability.
It is a blueprint of organisational operations which it will perform step-by-step. Business plan assists organisational leaders and management to follow the track to meet the objectives within the decided time frame. Business plan is based on the projections developed after conducting market researches which helps organisation to prepare them for the future. It enables organisations to overcome obstacles and exploiting available opportunities with well-planned business strategies.
2. What is the purpose of a budget? How are budgets allocated?<>
According to Di Francesco and Alford (2016), budget is a plan which is quantified in the monetary terms. This is generally prepared by the financial experts and approved by the top management. The plan reflects the planned income and sources where funds can be generated for various business operations. Budgeting in business management has a main aspect of forecast of income and expenditure. By planning different phases of business operations effective control can be maintained. The top management in an organisational setting develops their future goals in accordance with the market projections, changing trends or available opportunities. Their objectives are then conveyed to the financial experts who analyse the possibility of inflow of funds and expenditure.
To maintain the favourable gap between the two budgeting is required. Coordinated activities in budgeting help in determining the profitability, budget resources and firm’s future financial condition. Meticulous budget planning minimises the possibility of business loss. While preparing budget, organisations anticipate future financial condition for which funds need to be arranged, hence availability of funds at a reasonable cost needs to be ensured. Once sources of funds are identified and budget allocation is done then efficiency of business operations increases. Budget gives an outline of future activities which paves a path for business operations. It is a key component of business plans an organisation has. After drawing critical information based on the strategic plans, budgeting ensures that financial position will remain consistent. It helps top management to take decision and monitor business performance as well.
3. Identify the methods used to successfully engage with the customer
Customer engagement is getting involved with customers to know about their perceptions about the organisation, its products and services. Engagement provides solutions for the customers’ questions and concerns in a convincing way so as to increase maintain their satisfaction. This also helps an organisation to identify customer’s requirements and expectations from the company, and convert the information into opportunity. In order to increase customer engagement, companies provide various channels of communication such as customer care number, e-mail address, and website where company-related information is provided. Company information updates customers about latest products, offers and discounts which it is offering.
Complaints and queries are also addressed on the company website. Majorly content strategy is adopted to serve most of the goals. According to Vivek, Beatty and Morgan (2012), content strategy is all about focusing on customer’s need and converting their requirements into organisational benefits. It fulfills most of the marketing requirements to persuade customers for buying a product or service. Content marketing or strategies comprise product information, feedback of existing customers, reviews by marketing professionals, and advertisements in print or broadcast media channels. All these methods influence customer’s decision and persuade them to buy a particular product. Customers are also convinced through marketing strategies to promote the product by spreading word of mouth and influence other to purchase their favourite brand.
4. Explain the purpose of a Management Information Systems (MIS)
Management Information System (MIS) is a system which gathers information from various sources and compiles it in a presentable form. The compiled data helps managers in taking decisions by referring to the information collected. MIS should be effective so that managers can easily understand and interpret the data as information useful to them. As per Laudon and Laudon (2016), it is a single database comprising all sorts of data and information required by the managers to take decision. Taking an example of financial data, managers can easily track daily revenues and expenses which help them to control cost. Performance analysis of each department helps managers to delegate work and fasten the results. Availability of employees assists manager in creating monthly roisters and managing deadlines. MIS is an effective tool with an objective to streamline managerial activities.
5. What are the benefits of using a Management Information System (MIS)?
According to Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart and Wright (2017), a MIS has all the information required by a manager to take decision. Every possible information, which is of use and a manager should know can be found in the MIS. MIS can be used in different departments to compile relevant data at one place. Human resource department compiles all the information related to the employees, their key responsibility areas, previous experience, professional experience, education qualification which can help the organisation to delegate them a new role or opportunity.
Sales and marketing department has the information related to the sales team, their target, what have been achieved and what are the areas of improvement, who is performing well and who needs to improve, which marketing tools are effective and should be used continuously and what should be improvised. Inventory control also has a compiled data which show the quantity available in the inventory, which stacks has scope to store product and which does not have. Similarly, accounts department also has complete information about employees’ compensation, leave balance, incentives, perks and employee benefits which needs to deliver at the end of the month. Without using MIS, keeping a record of such data would be difficult and may lead to erroneous decisions.
6. How would you identify transaction/interaction patterns and other activities in the Management Information Systems (MIS)?
Interaction in the MIS is done through various connections such as Web 2.0, texting, instant messaging, email, blogging, virtual worlds and social networking. With the advent of technology, use of social media and e-mails have increased which is an effective way to get connect with customers. Transaction is identified with various touch points used by the customers to make purchase. It could these touch points would not be same and differ with the point of sale.
7. Using the Internet, research and identify an MIS used to capture customer engagement data. Outline the key features of this MIS
MATE Desktop Environment is a successor of GNOME 2. The software has been developed to provide an attractive desktop environment by using operating systems such as Linux or UNIX. MATE is developed to support upcoming technologies while keeping traditional desktop features intact. MATE has several applications which are used in the organisational settings for enhancing performance and productivity. CAJA, PLUMA, Eye of MATE and ATRIL are some of the applications MATE provides. Each one has its own set of characteristics beneficial in managing information. CAJA is an official file manager for Mate Desktop. It gives browsing directories, previewing of files and launching applications along with them. CAJA also handles icon in the desktop and can work on the local as well as remote file systems.
Another application of MATE is Pluma. This is a text editor which allows user to edit multiple files on a single window. It completely supports all sorts of texts through its UTF-8 enabled encoding in the edited files. Auto indentation and print preview is also available with Pluma. Eye of MATE enables graphic viewer for large images. While zooming it does not distorts the view and maintain the standard and quality of the image. Atril is also an effective multi-page document viewer. It displays PostScript, Encapsulated PostScript, DJVU, DVI, XPS and PDF files. The application support searching of the text, copying, navigation and adding bookmarks in the file. These features provided in the software make most of the work of the users easy and saves their valuable time.
8. Explain what methods are used to evaluate the effectiveness of your measures for customer engagement
Multiple Metrics are applied to measure the success and check the feasibility of the environment. According to Ingram (n.d.), MIS enables manager to measure their performance and take decisions on the basis of the information gathered. To measure the customer engagement and evaluate the effectiveness, it is important to identify goals and metrics first. However, this cannot be ensured that all sorts of data and sources will be available to the marketer. Therefore, it is required that the marketer should first audit the measurement capabilities.
In order to perform the measurement, taking stock of all the existing data is required. Audit engagement capabilities such as definition of each metric, input of each metric and sources of host of these inputs are required by the marketers. All these steps are important while auditing measurement capabilities because defining engagement metric will help in identifying the gap. Gap would further identify the input determining profitability. Assessing value of each metric is also important as it helps the marketer to interpret the innate value of each metric. All metrics are not easily accessible and their assessment requires managers to quantify financial cost, people skills and customer engagement. Assessing valuing of each metric is challenging, however, very crucial to perform.
1. Explain various data collection methods and the systems you would use
There are various data collection methods available and these are selected on the basis of the study to be conducted. There are surveys, interviews, and focus groups from which data can be collected. Surveys are a preferred way to collect data when the research on a broad perspective is to be done. It is a self-reporting way where participants are asked questions and they have to give their suggestions, feedback or reply. This includes closed questions, open-ended questions and multiple choice questions. Interview is a face to face or telephonic interaction between participant and the researcher. Both having their advantages and limitations for example, face to face interaction may make interviewee uncomfortable when the issue is sensitive and they are time consuming as well. Lastly, there are focus groups where a targeted group is involved in research. Data collection through focus group is effective when a broad view is required on the perspective, perception or behaviour of a particular group of people, or community.
2. What are qualitative & quantitative data? How would you monitor them?
Qualitative and quantitative are two main methods to analyse data. Quantitative analysis is used when standard questions are provided to the sample and their response can be quantified with the help of tools such as SPSS or mathematical model. In marketing, quantitative method is commonly used. Generally, market researchers ask consumers to rate a particular product or service, how they perceive a value of a product they use, and do they buy a product watching an advertisement or after reading a review. Such questions in a survey help in collecting information which later can be quantified to assess the percentage of customers and their preference on each perspective. On the other hand, qualitative analysis is more of a subjective analysis.
Factors affecting consumer’s behaviour, purchase pattern, and which brand they prefer buying are few qualitative analyses performed by a market researcher. Data collection in qualitative analysis is generally gathered via face-to-face interview; it may not have a sequence of the questions and provides greater flexibility to the researcher. Qualitative data are descriptive and sometimes difficult to analyse because the data are collected verbally or written narratives. However, quantitative data are a data collected in numerical value. They can be represented in charts, graphs and table format. Quantitative data are collected from resources such as annual reports and experiments. On the other hand, qualitative data are collected from journal articles, newspapers, and interviews.
3. How would you analyse data, collected to ensure validity and quality?
For quantitative data collected from interviews, surveys, and focus groups, it is important to select the appropriate sample size and sample technique in order to avoid biasness and to make the research fair. While selecting the participant, there should be any sort of preference given to any group of people or an individual. Doing so will limit the effect the results. According to Kees, Berry, Burton and Sheehan (2017), there are chances when researchers select sample as per their convenience. In such scenario, they are required to mention that they selected this group for a particular reason and they are aware of the impact of the selection on the research. For qualitative data, researchers should select the data by conducting critical appraisal tool on each article. The tool evaluates the research on various elements essential for the validity and quality of the study.
4. What is the best methodology to use for data analysis?
There are several ways that can be used for data analysis. Qualitative and quantitative data have different tools to analyse the data collected for the research. Quantitative analysis is considerably reliable and accurate to interpret data. Regression analysis, hypothesis testing and Monte Carlo simulation are most common ways to analyse data in a quantitative study. According to Belgrave and Seide (2019), regression analysis is done to predict future trends. It determines the relationship between a dependent variable and independent variable. Hypothesis testing compares the data against the hypothesis and assumptions made by the researcher. Monte Carlo simulation uses probability modeling in order to predict risk and uncertainty. For qualitative analysis, content analysis and narrative analysis are done. Content analysis identifies most important area for improvement is identified and narrative analysis helps researchers to understand the way a story of an organisational culture or customer experience is communicated to the researcher.
5. How would you present the data to management?
The data presented in front of the management holds value as they take their decisions based on them. It is important that the data should be presented in a presentable form which can be easily read and understood by them. The information will have a less impact if it is not presented in an apposite manner. It should not be raw and every information, data and number should infer or conclude something which adds to the relevance of the information that has been collected. It can be presented in a PowerPoint Presentation; data visualisation and graphical representation also add value to the information collected and make the data easy to understand for the management.
Belgrave, L. L., & Seide, K. (2019). Grounded theory methodology: Principles and practices. Handbook of Research Methods in Health Social Sciences, 299-316.
Di Francesco, M., & Alford, J. (2016). Budget rules and flexibility in the public sector: Towards a taxonomy. Financial Accountability & Management, 32(2), 232-256.
Ingram, D. (n.d.). What is a management information system? Retrieved from https://tinyurl.com/yavvngmm
Kees, J., Berry, C., Burton, S., & Sheehan, K. (2017). An analysis of data quality: Professional panels, student subject pools, and Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Journal of Advertising, 46(1), 141-155.
Laudon, K. C., & Laudon, J. P. (2016). Management information system. Delhi: Pearson Education India.
McKenzie, D. (2015). Identifying and spurring high-growth entrepreneurship: experimental evidence from a business plan competition. Washington: The World Bank.
Noe, R. A., Hollenbeck, J. R., Gerhart, B., & Wright, P. M. (2017). Human resource management: Gaining a competitive advantage. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
Vivek, S. D., Beatty, S. E., & Morgan, R. M. (2012). Customer engagement: Exploring customer relationships beyond purchase. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 20(2), 122-146.
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