Question 1: UPS
One way that UPS uses technology to gain a competitive edge is by providing its clients with solutions that would enable them to easily and quickly manage their shipping needs, especially if they regularly ship in bulk. These tools automate the supply chain management process such that the gathering, tracking, and maintenance of the different logistics necessary for delivering the output no longer need to be performed manually. This results in the faster and more efficient delivery of products and services, which in turn results in increased customer satisfaction (UPS, 2012).
Examples of these solutions are the UPS Import Control, WorldShip, and EDI/XML. Import Control enables clients to better manage their billing and commercial invoice information, as well as import their shipments. WorldShip enables clients to easily manage regular or routine tasks such as weekly shipments or daily collections. It enables clients to access UPS’ portfolio of shipping services. It also enables them to ship documents, print labels, and track shipments. Finally, EDI/XML allows clients to manage their UPS transactions using their own systems.
Question 2: Twitter
1. Although Twitter’s business model remains a mystery, their business model is quite similar to Wikipedia’s community-based model in that Twitter largely depends on users to keep the site going, that is, to constantly provide content to the site. Incidentally, content can be considered as Twitter’s main product as it allows its users to communicate with each other and read about what’s going on in each other’s lives. Twitter offers this service for free where users need only to sign up, after which they can immediately begin tweeting or posting messages where these messages can also be posted and read using mobile devices. A user can also follow other users, which means that they will receive all of the tweets that the person they’re following posts. In the same manner, they can also be followed by other users.
Since Twitter users are responsible for providing for the content, the Twitter staff is responsible mainly for maintaining the application. For funding, it seems that Twitter has outside sources for funds, which include mutual fund companies, previous investors, and equity firms.
2. The revenue models that could work for Twitter include advertising, promoted trends, @earlybird accounts, partnerships with search engines, providing market research data, and getting commissions from sales.
Heavy Twitter users are very mindful of Twitter trends, so allowing companies to pay for promoted trends will be a good way for them to easily communicate something to the public. Asking companies to pay for @earlybrd accounts may also work. A lot of companies already do this, that is, promote their products and services or special promotions via Twitter. This has already proven to be an effective means for them to sell their products or services, so they would probably consider being charged for such a service as being reasonable. In the same manner, companies who would like to sell some products via Twitter probably won’t mind paying some sales commission to Twitter. After all, if a company had only 50 pieces of a product to sell, advertising such on Twitter would still be more cost effective than advertising elsewhere. In addition, with data being Twitter’s main asset, companies would probably be very interested in accessing Twitter’s database to gain a better understanding of their target market.
A partnership or business agreement with search engine companies would also be viable as Twitter is one of the social media sites that produces the most content. Such content would in turn greatly benefit these search engines and their users.
However, among all of these revenue models, I think that the best would be advertising. After all, most Internet businesses earn from advertisements. Even free services such as web mail and Facebook have advertisements so it won’t be something new to Twitter users.
3. Content or information is Twitter’s greatest asset as Twitter users willingly and freely provide this. This data can be monetized by allowing companies to access this data for their market research and by also allowing search engines to gain real-time access to tweets.
Another asset of Twitter is its larger number of users. More users mean more data for market research and search engine results. More users would also mean a bigger audience for advertising campaigns.
4. A high churn rate will discourage advertisers from advertising on Twitter. For them, an investment in advertising becomes worth it only if they are assured of a high number of people viewing the advertisement. However, with a high churn rate, this number may fluctuate; hence, providing no assurance that the required number of people will be able to view the advertisements. Moreover, this would imply that this number can even decrease.
MIS in Action
1. Apparently, not all car manufacturers have a Twitter account or perhaps their accounts were just not correctly created. For example, I searched for BMW and Toyota and didn’t find their accounts. However, I was able to find the official account and website of Cadillac.
The search was not very efficient, as the search results included not only the Twitter accounts that contained the keyword (e.g. “Cadillac”), but also all tweets that contained the keyword. Similarly, if more than one Twitter account had the keyword in their Twitter name then these, too, would get displayed on the search results.
This would prove to be ineffective for companies as there’s no assurance that users would be able to pick the right account to click or follow, considering that the results displayed are not properly filtered. If there were more than one Twitter account containing the keyword, it would also be difficult for users to identify the official account for the company. Aside from the risk of them not picking the right account, they may also lose patience and just abandon the search altogether.
On the other hand, if Twitter can fix this then it can be rewarding for companies as Twitter users will be able to easily find their accounts and promptly get information about the company.
2. It may help for Twitter to provide special accounts for companies. These accounts would be exclusively for companies and they will be distinct from regular accounts. This way, users will be able to easily identify the official company accounts. Another suggestion would be for the Search function to accept parameters. For example, the user should be provided with an option for whether they’re searching for tweets or Twitter accounts. If they’re searching for Twitter accounts, they should be provided with an option on whether they’re searching for regular Twitter accounts or company accounts. A third suggestion would be to have categories for company accounts. For example, there can be categories for Entertainment, Automobile, and Technology among others so users can easily find company accounts. This will also assure companies that users can find them.
3. The Twitter users I’ve asked have been using Twitter for about 2-3 years and they use it mostly to communicate with friends or to follow their friends and their favorite celebrities. They mentioned that they no longer use Twitter as much, although they did say that they’ll continue to use it. All but one of them also said that they will continue to use Twitter even with the banner ads.
Laudon, K. C. & Traver, C. G. Management Information Systems (12th ed.). Prentice Hall.
UPS. (2012). UPS solutions. Retrieved from http://www.ups.com/