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Abstract

Managers understand the need to have information aligned with their businesses - they see and feel its consequences every day. They also understand the goal of technology-based information systems (IS) delivers the right information to the right people at the right time so that both strategic and operational decisions can be made properly and quickly. This was the approach followed by the American subsidiary of a Japanese motor company. The firm implemented a single, unified, Web-based interface to centralize and synchronize data access to 12 stand-alone dealership sales applications. The implementation took less than six months and less than $500,000 was expended. Immediate results were that the sales managers became significantly more efficient with their time, the automobile division recognized a cost savings of $1.4 million through a more efficient use of employee resources, and there was an estimated $10 million savings corporate wide as a result of employee efficiency gains throughout the organization. Despite all of these benefits, the automobile division's chief information officer was faced with the decision of whether or not to return to fix the data integration and timeliness problems that remained among the division's autonomous sales applications. This case study series highlights the objectives, outcomes, and challenges that managers must address while implementing Web-based portals. This case series also provides a better understanding for identifying, leveraging, and improving operational efficiency within a firm.

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