Creating a business plan is the primary activity of BA 499 Business Planning, the capstone course required for business majors. The purpose of this assignment is for you to think about 1) how your type of business could achieve competitive advantages through the use of technology and 2) how information technology can be used to support your core transaction processing. To do this, you will need to find and examine two different software applications that could be used by your business. (If you don’t have an idea for a business plan yet, that’s okay – just pick a specific type of business that you could potentially be interested in.)
Look for a software solution that is specific to your type of business. General applications are available for common business tasks (such as payroll and accounting), but there is also a wide range of “vertical software applications” that address the needs of specific types of businesses, such as retail management, service management, restaurant management, fundraising, etc. Often, there are even more focused solutions within an industry type – for example, there is retail software specific to bicycle shops, restaurant management software addressing the unique needs of pizzerias, etc. Try to find software that is customized as much as possible to your specific business type.
Formatting and Content Requirements: Your report must be at least two full pages and should be professional in appearance. Specifically, include a centered title at the top of the first page, and create a page footer with your name, date, and page number (In Page x of y format as shown in this document). The following four sections should be included with underlined headings, and paragraphs should be single-spaced with double- spacing between and no extra spacing between lines. Use a standard 10 or 12 point font.
Business Description: ? Provide a brief description of your potential business: products/services your business will provide, your target market, an estimate of the size of the business, and where your business will be located. Most people just need one or two paragraphs to describe their business. If you are proposing a unique type of business, be sure that your business model (how do you make your money) is evident.
Social Media and E-commerce Strategy: ? Discuss your social media and e-commerce strategies. Some possible questions to consider: What types of Web 2.0 strategies would you employ? Would you have a web site? What purpose(s) would it serve? Do you anticipate conducting any B2B or B2C e-commerce? How can you use social media to increase your competitive advantage? ? Your social media/e-commerce strategies do not need to be addressed with software solution that you choose below. This section provides you with the opportunity to think creatively about many of the strategies discussed in the book and how they could apply to your business.
Data processing needs ? Find and compare two applications (software to be purchased or a web-based “cloud computing” solution) that address your core transaction processes. For example, if your business is a retail store, focus on a system that streamlines point of sale (POS) and inventory processes. ? Create a table (sample table shown below) to compare your selected programs using the format shown below. In the first column, list at least eight software requirements for your business, and indicate whether the solutions that you are considering would meet these requirements.
Example of selected software requirements for a Property Management Company. Start each requirement with a VERB – each requirement should complete the sentence: “The system will be used to ____________.”
Page 6 of 6 BA 382 Homework Handout
Software Requirements
Name of Software A
Name of Software B Process Rental Income Yes Yes Calculate Management Fees Yes No Enter work orders for repairs Yes Yes Issue monthly owner statements Yes Yes Track tenant complaints No Yes Track security deposits Yes No Print 1099 forms Yes No
? Choose one of the two applications that you looked into and state why you would choose that application over the other. ? In narrative form, specifically describe two business processes that would be automated or streamlined through the use of your chosen software.
Operating Environment Your solution will determine your hardware needs. What hardware/operating system would you need to purchase to run your chosen software? Most web sites include specific information on system requirements. If your chosen solution is a web-based SaaS offering, you will still need to supply the hardware and operating system that the SaaS solution requires. If you cannot find the specific hardware and software requirements for your chosen software, then provide the hardware and software details of the device you will be using to access your chosen software

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