Moving to the Cloud
What is the cloud? Where is the cloud? Are we in the cloud now? These are all questions you’ve
probably heard or perhaps even asked. The term “cloud computing” is everywhere. The ‘cloud’ is a
current tech buzzword, but what is it? How does it impact what you do, and is it anything really new?
Southwest Michigan Medical (SWMM) is a locally based medical equipment manufacturer that makes
and distributes a wide range of highly specialized medical devices and supplies worldwide. The company
also sells directly to several major customers (mostly large hospital systems). After eighteen years in
business, SWMM is experiencing strong sales growth thanks to its unique products and exceptional
As you might imagine, communication is key for a company like this, and maintaining accurate records is
a highly complex process. Keeping up to date with overseas customers, tracking orders in numerous
languages, processing payments in domestic and foreign currency, dealing with strict insurance
regulations, meeting complex customs documentation requirements (the list seems endless), all while
continuing to meet the demands of its customers, both large and small. Clearly, information
management and security are both vital to this company’s very existence.
In spite of (or perhaps because of) its recent growth, SWMM’s “back office” has become a jumbled mess
of outdated computer equipment and unreliable technology in urgent need of upgrading. To keep things
secure, the company’s information systems have always been handled internally on its own equipment
by a small but capable IT staff. Thanks to their hectic schedule, however, system backups are only done
occasionally, and if the old equipment should fail, important company and customer information could
be lost. Not a good situation.
Equipping and supporting a growing organization with new technology will be no small undertaking, so
SWMM’s IT managers are considering a new cloud based document management system for their
operation as an alternative to owning and maintaining their own equipment. But cloud based systems
are expensive, too, and you don’t even own the equipment, so what is there to gain? Will the cloud
indeed become an established business tool or another passing fad? Who knows? There has been so
much news lately about hackers and information security (or lack thereof) so putting all your customers’
vital information “out there” seems risky. Will a cloud-based system be secure? Will it be worth the
investment? How can SWMM management sort through the hype and find real answers? They need
help, so they’ve hired your team to shed some light on their dilemma.
Team Research Report: As a paid team of business consultants, you’re being asked to prepare a short to
medium length analytical business report for the IT managers at SWMM that compares the advantages
and disadvantages of cloud based information systems for small companies, and offers suggestions
about whether or not SWMM should implement a cloud-based system to manage company information.
Use your imagination to fill in the details about the company, its background, and its requirements.
BCM 3700 Team Research Report (a “10%” assignment)
Team Presentation: In addition, your team will be asked to give a brief 8 to 10-minute presentation “to
company directors and other interested parties” (in class) that highlights your findings and
recommendations. All team members must participate in the team presentation to receive full credit.
How your team handles the presentation duties and format is up to you, but everyone needs to be
present and participate. Use whatever visuals you feel are necessary, including (but not limited to)
PowerPoint, handouts, etc. Professional (business casual) attire is expected.
Parameters: Your business report will be single-spaced, 9-12 pages in length overall (4-5 pages of textual
content, not counting figures, appendices, title page, tables, etc. ) Use headings and subheadings in your
report as discussed in class. Use APA format for your sources.
Your report will consist of…
ï‚· Cover page
ï‚· Table of Contents
ï‚· Executive Summary (Abstract)
ï‚· Body: Discussion of the Problem
ï‚· Appendices (optional)
Textbook support: Chapter 2 (Teams) and Chapters 11, 12 & 13 (Reports) (Excellence in Business
Communication, 10th or 11th Edition) offer solid information about collaborative and report writing. You
will need to do some work on your own to identify and incorporate proper report style (APA)
Academic Honesty: Any evidence of plagiarism or fictitious sources will result in a failing grade for your
report (for all team members) and possible further consequences. Ask first if you are concerned about
avoiding plagiarism in your report.
Evaluation: Because this document is longer, organization is essential. Be conscious of what information
is appropriate for the audience.
Grading: This report and presentation is one of your 10% assignments (7% for the paper, 3% for the
presentation). All team members receive the same grade on the report, so every group member should
examine the final copy before it is submitted.
Communication: Given everyone’s busy schedules, in-person team meeting are sometimes difficult.
Unfortunately, very little if any class time will be available for this project, so you’re going to need to
explore different ways to communicate and collaborate effectively. Use whatever means your team
prefers, and don’t be afraid to set up “virtual teams” using document sharing systems (Google Docs,
|Due By (Pacific Time)||12/01/2015 11:00 pm|
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