Cisco Systems Architecture Pt. 3

IV. Strengths and Weaknesses of Cisco’s Systems Architecture

Being a network and web based system, Cisco’s System Architecture provides internal and external users an effective and efficient means of navigating and interacting.  By creating a global intranet, Cisco employees located worldwide are able to communicate with each other to address business issues and customer needs.  Through the company’s Cisco Employee Connection (CEC), its 40,000+ employees have centralized access to information, tools and resources needed to improve productivity.  This allows employees to communicate within the company and outside of the company.  Provides for easier workflow and allows for collaboration on projects within the company as well as outside the company with collaborative partners.  This system also allows the employee to use services that are easy to reach and easy to implement.

Strengths:

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Web-enable-it systems enables real-time visibility for important decision-making by allowing companies to be better connected. This allows for better responsiveness and management across business enterprises.

Share real-time data from different segments of business operations as well as business partnerships at significantly increased rates of speed allows for continuous flow of data transfer that decreases waiting time as well as order implementation and delivery.  The real-time data may be viewed from its point of origin and subsequently used for implementation in supply chains within the company.  Outside the company it helps in the narrowing of gaps between the time of implementing the plan and the time of plan execution.  ERP systems allows an evenly flowing connection between the planning side of business and the day to day production side without disruption of daily business needs.

Weaknesses:

  • The ERP system is only as good as the information inputted, decision making relies on the accuracy of the customers who request orders. Cisco has not real pulse on the industry to forecast future demand. At the time just before the tech bubble burst, most of the orders were inflated due to low supplies.
  • There is an inefficient use of the supplier relationship to create a pull type order fulfillment system. Instead, Cisco relies on push type system based on inflated customer orders (bullwhip) which causes large inventory requirements and higher risk of obsolescence.
  • Cisco system architecture does not use customer data effectively to identify shifts in demand to automatically reallocate resources and inform suppliers of the changes. The current system practically provides the customer with zero cancellation risk which leaves Cisco retaining all the receivable exposure.
  • The ERP system relies on a strong IT system.  If problems occur they must be repaired quickly and efficiently.  Down time in the IT system must be minimal.
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