The use of cloud computing for data storage makes teleworking easily possible from any location, provided that there is an Internet connection available. In some cases teleworkers have to attend work at the office on occasions, which is nrmally termed core time, so that some face-to-face meetings and briefings can take place. Therefore Aqua-Inflatables can have teleworkers all over the country and they will not have to relocate to suit the job or commute to work every day.
- Open Source Software
Used by the home worker for personal use, such as:OpenOffice to word process, or Paint.Net to manipulate photographs.
- Proprietary Software
Supplied by the company for the home worker to carry out company business, such as: computer-aided design functions, modification and maintenance of company database and online catalogue.
- Bespoke Software
Specialist programs developed for the company, such as: project management software.
Language Translation Software
Aqua-Inflatable's workforce will need to communicate with many different manufacturing companies in Chine; it is most likely that very few of thees workers will be able to speak both English and Chinese and so language translation will be a necessary part of any written communication.
CAD and CAM software
Aqua-Inflatables designers would create design drawings that could be used by the small specialist manufacturing companies around the world. The boat designs would be designed in a 3D format. The siles could be stored on disk for backup or future edits and the files could be emailed to the manufacturer for printing or to control a machine to produce the final product.
CAM is used by Aqua-Inflatables who create the designs in the UK for production by small specialist manufacturing companies around the world.
Cloud Computing and Thin Client Networks
Cloud Computing to Store Data
It is possible for them to keep their data in the cloud so that it can be accessed by the manufacturers throughout the world. They could supply technical drawings and computer-aided manufacture control programs to manufacturers that could be downloaded to create the various parts of inflatable boats.Data and specialist software could be supplied to teleworkers for use at home. Transferring data to the cloud allows other workers to view the files created. Teleworkers may have low specification computers that are not easily capable of running complex software, so that could access this software using a thin client approach where the cloud server does the majority of the processing.
Thin Client Networks
Aqua-Inflatables could make use of a thin client network in their design offices in the UK; the advantages of which have already been discussed above.Although most workers operate from home, there will be occasions when they will attend the office and so it would be possible to keep a range of low-cost computers to work on for these occasions.
Aqua-Inflatables need a professionally designed website so that they can improve customer interaction with the business.
Typical content for the inflatable boat company would include:
- Boats available for sale
- Ecommerce shopping trolley and secure payment
- Engine slaes
- Terms and conditions
- Boat care and repair methods
- Patching instructions
Benefits to Aqua-Inflatables:
Gaining a competitive advantage, customers will find you on the Internet, Cost effective, Using memorable website addresses makes it easy for customeres to find you, can place a product catalogue on the website and the website presentation shows the business in a good light.
"Aqua-Inflatables is a boat manufacturer that uses blogging to display and promote their latest products and to display and promote their latest products and to give details of special offers and promotions."
The Aqua-Inflatables blog must contain dynamic and up-to-date content that cahnges on a regular basis, for example, there could be an article on the problems a reader might face when doing boat repairs.
Benefits for Aqua-Inflatables include:
The business can get more members, increase site ranking, users are notified of special offers, cheaper than tv, press and magazine advertising, customer loyalty is improved, dynamic advertising with the use of video and audio content embedded and sales are increased due to loyalty points being given.
Aqua-Inflatables could make use of a forum to involve users.
They might make their own blog with a range of topics, such as:
- Details of latest models
- Instruction on how to carry out repairs
- Boat shows
- Navigation technology.
Aqya-Inflatables can create a forum on a popular social networking site like Facebook where the business will be promoted and sales increased as it becomes more widely known and popular.
Aqua-Inflatables use Online Catalogues on their website, they are useful to them as they rduce the cost of having to print and post paper catalogues and they have lots of useful features which normall catalogues don't have. Customers can see and buy the products much more quickly and easily on an Online Catalogue which increases the business' sales and its popularity.
Aqua-Inflatables provide a helpline to their customers; the helpline workers are non-specialist and make use of an expert system to respond to the various customer queries they recieve.
The expert system interacts with the helpline workers:
- The terms of the problem are inputted into the system by the helpline worker.
- The system responds with advice based on a knowledge database of facts.
- The expert system explains the reasoning behind its particular response.
Online Communication Methods
Aqua-Inflatables need to commuicate with their homeworkers and their worldwide manufacturers on a regular basis for the following reasons:
- To supply design drawings
- To answer technical queries
- For contract communication with manufacturers
- To discuss new products and pricing
- To download and modify documents.
In order to communicate Aqua-Inflatables could use:
- Fax- to send documents.
- VoIP- to communicate with speech.
- SMS- for short, informal messages.
- Instant Messaging- for quick messages with almost instant replies.
- Videoconferencing- for face-to-face business meetings with other organisations of the manufacturers.
Intranet and Extranet
Aqua-Inflatables could use their intranet for secure communication between the workforce using email, instant messaging and even Internet telephones. It could also be used to share policy documents, standard company forms and computer files.
The various manufacturers in China can access the relevant product design details from the Aqua-Inflatables extranet.
Global organisations such as Aqua-Inflatables need to have database systems that are accesible by users throughout the world. One methos of providing this service would have been to use a single database accessed by a wide area network (WAN)
The normal operation of the partioned distributed database is as follows:
- The required part of the central database is downloaded to the remote sites for local use.
- Changes will be made to the data at the remote site each day.
- The central database is then updated on a regular basic to include these changes.
- The remote sites can communicate by telecommunication links or via the Internet.
Project Management can be used to organise Aqua-Inflatables' projects and help complete individual tasks more easily by:
- Breaking down tasks into sub-tasks so that it is easier to manage and get back on track if there is a problem.
- Allocating teams so that members of the team will be allocated tasks that suit their individual expertise and members that work well together as based on previous experience may be put together.
- Scheduling an estimationof the time time required to complete the project and the associated manpower needed. Used to create a work schedule and Gantt Charts.
- Monitoring and reporting to make sure that each task is on schedule and is being performed as specified, this is achieved by having regular meetings and by looking at Gantt charts. You can then find the appropriate action to get it back on track if not.
Project Planning Methods and Software
There are many project management software packages available which can help Aqua-inflatables workers with project planning and managing the production of boats.
- Planning- Breaking down task, allocating the correct people, allocating milestones and payments, finding dependencies.
- Progress- The team must be aware of the progress of a project so that they can make adjustments if the project gets behind schedule; the software helps in the following ways:
- Teams enter their progress and time spent on a task into the software
- The project manager can get email alerts for any task that is running late.
- The actual project progress can be viewed against planned progress so that the project management is aware of whether the project is ahead or behind schedule.
- Tracking- The team needs to track the use of resources:
- Track the individual task and the overall project budgets.
- View how much of the project that has been completed at any time.
- Identify any risks at an early stage.
In a modern business such as Aqua-Inflatables there is a need for documents to be shared and transferred digitally between workers and even companies.
In the modern workplace business documents are often written collaboratively by a number of people. They review it on-screen and make changes if necessary, making sure than the modified document is saved by a slightly different name so that the previous document can be used if necessary.
Tracking changes is useful to Aqua-Inflatables as workers or even customers can view or modify documents from home or their respective workplace.
Web sharing is where you can share files privately with other businesses; in this case Aqua-Inflatables can allow their manufacturers to have access to or download the files that they need.
It is a secure and more reliable methos than using email to transfer files. Note that web sharing can be carried out from the company server as well as from the cloud.
Survey Data Relevance
Survey data is relevant to Aqua-Inflatables if it increases the chances of achieving their goals.
Their surveys have to be accurate, relevant and up-to-date.
Aqua-Inflatables could do a survey on customers likes and dislikes about their products, about their favourite types of boats, colour preferences, styles, any common problems that they have had with their boats ect.