The increased internet usage and technological advancements have resulted in a majority of businesses engaging in e-commerce. Rakuten is a Japanese company that has ventured into e-commerce. It started as e-commerce business with business to consumer model. It created a portal, where stores sold their products online. The global nature of the internet allows Rakuten to gain global exposure and build strong e-commerce emphasis because of the ease of reach and access. Firms dabbling in e-commerce deal with large volumes of information from suppliers, employees, customers, manufacturers and the government. As such, they must organize themselves in a way that they will utilize this data to function effectively as well as efficiently. It is of great importance that businesses adopt effective information systems to make execution of its activities easier (Shipsey, R. 2010, pp. 18). This paper will identify what information systems are employed by Rakuten, how the information system is managed and recommendations on what improvements to make, analyze how Rakuten uses its information system and lastly, how it manages and develops knowledge.
Rakuten information systems
An information system can be defined as a set of associated and linked software and hardware components that are used to gather or regain, process and store, and then dispense the information (Shipsey, R. 2010, 6). These data are useful in decision-making processes and offer the pathway through which a firm bases its operations on.
Rakuten has a couple of information systems that help it go about its business. Enterprise Resource Planning Systems ERPs) is one of the systems. ERPs provide the foundation for an extensive variety of e-commerce centered processes comprising of web-based ordering and order outlining, portfolio management, and built-to-order goods. Rakuten Merchant Services (RMS) allows Rakuten affiliates to interact with the portal. The RMS allows for online merchants the ability to edit their online stores. ERPs also provide customer security through buyer protection and money back guarantee.
To manage its human resource, Rakuten employs the Human Capital Management (HCM) and the Application Tracking System (ATS) systems. This system helps the firm to manage people, policies, procedures, talent management, and capabilities such as multicurrency and localization.
Information System Support and Management
The information system can be defined as "a set of related and connected software and hardware components that are used to collect or retrieve, then process and store, and finally to distribute, information" (Shipsey, R. 2010, 6). This data is used to support decision-making processes and offer to reign in of the business process an organization embarks on. Rakuten is a fully internet-based company that runs not only e-commerce platforms but also offers credit card services, online banking, among others.
Information system support incorporates suppliers of hardware and software, the business firms making the investment and the managers and workforce in quest of business value (Shipsey, R. 2010, 13). The information system support answers questions on the integration of a new information system, in what way to design an fitting information system, and how the installed information system is managed. Rakuten employs state-of-the-art supplier, middlemen, and customer data through its Application Tracking System (ATS) to coordinate the purchase of products on its e-commerce platform and transactions on its banking services.
A major component of management is leadership. This leadership not only extends to managing what already exists but also taking the lead in creating new products and services. Managers must be creative, knowledgeable, and flexible. Information systems consist of management, technology and organizational dimensions (Shipsey, R. 2010, 8). At Rakuten, information management systems on management enable the executive to make decisions on their products and services, to supervise transactions on their platform, and perform accounting tasks.
Another important function of the management is the 'formulating action plans to solve business problems and ensuring that these plans are executed in an efficient and effective manner' (Shipsey, 2010, 10). The role of management is to perceive business challenges and to set the organizational strategy for meeting these challenges. Managers must also allocate resources and coordinate work. Information systems can play a key role in helping managers meet these objectives. Managers must be continually reviewing and adapting the way their companies use technology in order to keep up the pace with the fast-paced changes in the technological part of the information system. Rakuten maintains a highly dynamic management staff that is constantly seeking out new areas for growth through mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, and new investments (Internal Consulting Group, 2014).
As an online-based company, Rakuten recognizes that technology is a critical arm of their business operations without which they would be incapable of operating (Rakuten, 2018). Failure to align IT initiatives with business goals will lead to the organization being inefficient and making losses. Rakuten managers are equipped with the perfect understanding of the structure of the industry the company operates in, and are able to marry the IT in the company with the business policies and objectives of the company. The competence is achieved through responsible hiring, training, and seminars organized for all senior managers from time to time (Rakuten, 2017). Managers also need to know technology is not the alpha and omega of information systems- at the core of every organization are employees and deprived of their co-operation and understanding, information systems will not be effective (Shipsey, 2010, 41).
The information system in E-commerce
As mentioned earlier, information system makes it possible for businesses to operate in a virtual (digital) form. Businesses that incorporate this form of business includes advertising agencies, marketing, customer support, payment services, and delivery services (Shipsey, R. 2010, 27). E-commerce needs a sound information system to be efficient in its order processing, receiving payments, and shipments while protecting the privacy of the consumers. When a customer makes an order, there needs a system to generate the order, hand in the order, check and approve the credit/ generate invoice, collect the product and arrange for its shipments. In such a case, the organization will need different types of software and support in order to fulfill that order which covers several business areas (Shipsey, R. 2010, 19).
Processing systems provide data to information systems and decision support systems. Both of these systems then provide material to managerial support systems that are used by senior management. Sometimes management information systems directly feed decision support systems information. In order to ensure a coherent sharing of information, enterprise applications are used (Shipsey, R. 2010, 23).
Enterprise application consists of enterprise system, supply chain system, customer relationship management systems, and knowledge management systems. Enterprise systems are used to close the communication gap between the units in a company. They do this by collecting data from the key departments and storing it centrally in a single software system (Shipsey, R. 2010, 23). An enterprise system automatically informs other departments of information that will have an impact on them (Shipsey, R. 2010, 23).
Supply chain system aids a company in its management of the relationship with the suppliers. handling this system correctly ensures that the goods and services get to the customer in a timely manner and in a cost-effective way.
Customer relationship management systems facilitate companies to uphold working relationships with their clients. A customer relationship management system provides end-to-end customer care from the instant a customer place an order until the product is provided. Lastly, we have the knowledge management system. It enables firms to improve their management and use of knowledge and expertise. It promotes the creation of knowledge and its assimilation into the business. (Shipsey, R. 2010, 25).
Knowledge development and management
As mentioned earlier in the paper, information system has a segment known as the knowledge management. Knowledge is the justified personal belief (King, W.R. 2009, 3). Knowledge management is the forecasting, organizing, inspiring, and guiding of people, procedures, and structures in an organization to ensure that its knowledge-related assets are improved and effectively utilized (King, W.R. 2009, 4).
The processes of knowledge management involve acquisition, creation, fine-tuning, storing, transmission, distribution, and consumption (King, W.R. 2009, 4). It is usually an organizational effort on what managers can do to enable knowledge management goals to be achieved. How they can motivate individuals to participate in achieving them and how they can create social processes that will facilitate knowledge management success. Knowledge management processes are quite people-intensive and less technology-intensive. A modern knowledge-enabled enterprise (Knowledge Management System- KMS), however, must support knowledge management with appropriate information and communications technology (King, W.R. 2009, 5). Knowledge development involves support organizational processes involving improvement, personal learning, joint learning, and decision-making. The expected outcome of knowledge development and management is improved organizational culture, assessments, goods, services, procedures, and interactions that allow the company to improve its whole performance.
Shipsey, R. 2010. Information systems: Foundations of e-business Volume 1. University of London.
King, W.R. 2009. Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning. University of Pittsburgh
Ekweume, A., Akagwu, A., And Akoji, N., 2017. The Influence of Online Marketing of Jumia and Konga on consumer purchasing Behavior among Kogi State Residents of Nigeria. Global Journal of HUMAN-SOCIAL SCIENCE: Arts & Humanities - Psychology. Volume 17 Issue 6
Internal Consulting Group (2014). Rakuten CCS 001 - Certified Case Study Rakuten (2017). Corporate Governance Report. Osaki: Rakuten Inc.
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