Information Technology for Customer Relationships

The business benefits of using information technology by General Electric

The adoption of information technologies has enabled General Electric (GE) to provide better support to their customers. In particular, we need to speak about remote servicing and monitoring of the equipment. They can optimize the equipment sold to the customer and this is beneficial for both sides. On the other hand, GE can charge more for their services, while customers, mostly power utilities, can continuously rely on their support and ensure that there are no equipment failures.

The same rule can be applied to health care organizations that cooperate with GE. For example, information systems allow them to test and calibrate the magnetic resonance imaging machines, update the software, and so forth. According to the new business model, GE provides full support to the customer, and this creates new sources of revenue for them. In their turn, medical institutions have fewer problems with their equipment.

Strategic uses of information technology implemented in General Electric

This case identifies several strategic uses of information technologies; one of them is value creation. In both situations, information technologies play a crucial role in post-sale service which is the final element of the value chain. Remote monitoring and servicing are very convenient for the customers, and this is the reason why they are ready to pay more. Another strategic use that we can identify is to support the functioning of the supply chain. Information systems enable GE to monitor the stores of its customers and replenish them when it is necessary.

Other companies’ benefits from the use of IT to build strategic customer relationships

Other companies can also benefit from the adoption of information technologies. For instance, large retail stores can create websites that would enable customers to make online purchases. On the one hand, it will open new distribution channels for these companies and increase their profitability; on the other hand, the customers will find it more convenient to buy goods on the Internet. In this case, the adoption of IT will be equally beneficial for both sides. Another strategy is to establish an online customer service department that will be available round the clock. Such an approach will allow the company to serve customers from different countries and continents. The key benefit for the customers is that IT helps to reduce the costs of communication.

GE Energy and EG Healthcare expanding their use of IT

Overall, GE has expanded its use of IT to build customer relations: their website contains a great number of applications that optimize the functioning of the equipment, for instance, outage optimizer, oil and gas witness systems, shipment tracking systems, etc (GE Energy, unpaged). This is one of those situations when the manufacturer bears responsibility for the maintenance of the equipment. In turn, GE Healthcare offers asset management solutions to its customers. However, the major offering is remote monitoring and diagnostics of the equipment. The major advantage for the customer is the reliable functioning of the equipment.

Other companies managing their products at customers’ sites

Among other companies which offer remote monitoring and diagnostics services, we can single out CISCO systems, the leading designer and producer of network equipment. Software developers have also adopted this approach.

One of the most common examples is the developers of anti-virus software which is usually updated and monitored via the Internet. On the whole, such an approach can be adopted by companies that manufacture products for large industrial enterprises. The companies that sell air-conditioners, humidity sensors, or refrigerators to other enterprises can rely on remote monitoring of the equipment. For example, the Bosch Group or Siemens can emulate the strategy of General Electric.

Business control and security concerns of a GE’s business customer

The most common concern, expressed by the customers is that remote controlling and monitoring can give too much control to the manufacturers. One may argue that they can get access to information about the company’s performance, the volume of output during a certain period. This is the main rationale for these concerns. To resolve this controversy, the manufactures of equipment need to design a user interface that will show what kind of processes will be controlled by the manufacturers. Moreover, these applications must ensure that the customer has full control over the functional characteristics of machinery and equipment.

Information technologies and Saudi Arabia

Information technologies can have a profound impact on the economy of Saudi Arabia. Many of the domestic companies, especially those representing the oil industry work with many international partners, and the use of IT may help them to create a better supply chain. Additionally, many Saudi businesses, particularly power utilities may take advantage of IT, because they will be better able to maintain the equipment that they purchase from foreign suppliers.

However, one should bear in mind that the implementation of such technologies is a very time-consuming and costly process. However, the most crucial obstacle is the political situation in the country. At the moment, the country is not fully open to foreign companies and investors, while the implementation of new technologies requires close cooperation with these organizations. Finally, the adoption of information systems can entail potential risks for the security of confidential data. This is why some of the managers may not accept this innovation with readiness.

Works Cited

GE Energy. Official Website. 2011. Web.

GE Healthcare. Official Website. 2011. Web.

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