IT Infrastructure Discussion Questions
1. Think about a company you know well. What would be an example of IT architecture at that company? An example of the IT infrastructure?
2. What, in your opinion, is the difference between a decentralized architecture and a centralized architecture? What is an example of a business decision that would be affected by the choice of the architecture?
3. From your personal experience, what is an example of software as a service? Of BYOD?
4. Saab Cars USA, with its network of 212 dealerships and 30 service centers, dedicated itself to providing its customers a level of service reflective of the high quality of its cars.
To improve productivity and reduce costs, Saab wanted to facilitate dealer access to corporate information and applications through the Internet using Web browsers. Saab knew it needed to leverage both its legacy hardware and code to make it a cost-effective e-business initiative. It outsourced to IBM Global Services to build its Intranet Retailer Information System (IRIS). IRIS is written in Javausing IBM DB2 Universal Database running on Saab’s existing IBM AS/400 server. Lotus Domino is the middleware that leverages the existing infrastructure. Using a standard Web browser, any authorized employee at a Saab dealership or service center in the United States has access to enterprise applications stored on the AS/400 server at the Saab U.S. headquarters. The applications make use of a consolidated repository of vehicle, customer, warranty, sales, and service information stored in DB2 Universal Database. Says Director of IS, Jerry Rode, “DB2 Universal Database has demonstrated incredible scalability and reliability as the data management solution for our IRIS system.” Lotus Domino, residing in another logical partition on the AS/400 server, is the middleware that mediates between the back-end applications and the front-end Web interface. For example, if a customer walks in and asks for a black model 9-3 Saab with a tan leather interior; a sales associate logs into the IRIS menu created by Domino and initiates a search. Domino queries DB2 by location, model, and color and puts the results of the query into an HTML form for the dealer. Upon locating the customer’s vehicle, that dealer clicks to another vehicle distribution application and orders the car to be brought on site. 14
a. Use this case to describe how Saab went from vision to infrastructure.
b. What criteria did Saab use in selecting its infrastructure?
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