Santorini Car Hire

Renting a car in Santorini can give you that extra security and freedom that will make your holiday to Santorini from being good, to becoming exciting.

Before you start your visit to Santorini, it is always important to decide on the places you long to see. If you are sure about which places you would like to see, it would be sensible to reserve your holiday previously, this also goes for hiring a car in Santorini. Many car hire agencies in Santorini offer cheaper bookings for travelers that book weeks in advance; you can even claim back up to 30% or even up to 50% if you are reserving during the weekend. Taking a trip during the off peak season means that you will be able to get a discount on your overall holiday, this also means that car rental during this period is at its cheapest.

If you are renting a car from Isl-Santorini Airport, there are many things you will need to think about if you want your rental to run relaxingly. One of the most important to remember to bring both your driving license (and of course your passport!) with you, you need to own a valid license and an International Driving permit (IDP). It is necessary that you keep your passport to hand and also your IDP with you at all times when you are on the road.

With a car rental in Santorini, you will be able to travel around the whole of this mini island, from its picturesque beaches, to the diverse settings especially the views of its volcano. Although the two popular beach towns of Kamari and Perissa are very close, the mountains between them means that you will need to drive around the mountain as there is no road connecting the two small beach towns. The small towns of Oia and Fira are unusually built into the side of a cliff! This, as well as the Minoan ruins in Akrotiri are all easy to drive to in your hired car.

If you are looking to hire a car in Santorini, there are many rental agencies spread along the islands, providing visitors many choices, from luxury range of cars to the more cost-effective cars. If you settle on hiring a car, you will have the freedom to create your own travel plans that suits you and your family. Even though a small Island, to enjoy you stay in Santorini, book with a car rental agency to make your vacation a more memorable experience.

Shopping For a Petite Body Frame

When it comes to fashion, a significant part of looking good has to do with dressing for your body type. After all, the most fashionable of clothing items simply won’t do justice if placed on the wrong body. However, while assessing one’s body type with relation to clothes shopping often has to do with specific features of the body – such as the width of the hips, or the length of the legs – some ‘body types’ can come to mean various things; the ‘petite’ body being one of them.

When people come across the word ‘petite’, they often immediately think of a person with smaller dimensions all over – whether it’s in their height and weight to the length of their limbs and torso. However, while the word generally refers to someone who is 5’4″ or shorter, many dimensions can still vary greatly. For instance, many petite people have long torsos and short legs, or vice versa. What’s more, weight can vary significantly from one person to another, with dimensions in features such as hips differing just as much.

For this reason, it’s often challenging for some people to find clothing that fit them well. A petite person will often have to shorten the legs on trousers or the seams on dresses due to their height. However, if they opt to shop for generally smaller sizes for height, they might end up with smaller clothing dimensions for features such as hip width – which isn’t always ideal. So what’s the best way to go about shopping for a ‘petite’ body frame?

It helps to seek out stores that offer specialised departments for petite sizes. Doing so can take a lot of the effort out of searching for sizes, and enable you to focus more on finding fashions that you like. Of course, even petite departments will have a lot of variance in sizes due to the fact that the term can apply to people of various body dimensions.

Once you’re shopping for the right sizes, it helps to keep a few tips in mind with regard to the look you’re trying to achieve. Therefore, try going for high-waisted, figure hugging trousers to elongate your legs; however, if you choose to wear low-rise trousers, ensure they’re not too short. Another way to make your legs look longer is to wear high-heeled boots (not too high though – 5 cm max will do) with short dresses and skirts that fall anywhere above the knee.

Wearing similar-coloured tops and bottoms – as well as wearing a belt that’s the same colour as your skirt or trousers – will help elongate your silhouette too. If you like prints then opt for small, vertical prints and motifs, particularly avoiding horizontal stripes. And don’t wear oversized accessories such as large jewellery pieces or sunglasses – you want to ensure accessories stay in proportion with your size. If you want to look taller, you can try wearing buttoned shirt dresses or tying long, skinny scarves loosely round your neck. You can also put your hair up in a bun or wear a headband to elongate your top half.

When it comes to shopping for petite clothing there are many ways to achieve the look you want. However, be sure to keep some specific shopping tips in mind in order to help you look your best in a wardrobe that’s right for you.

Some General Information On Car Rentals

If you are planning to take a vacation in the near future then you might want to consider driving down to the destination of your choice instead of having to spend a lot of money on air fare and other travel options. Driving down gives you a slight modicum of control over your travel plans. You can leave anytime you want to without having to keep to a specific schedule. You save money because the amount of money you spend on renting the car and on the fuel can be shared by all the people who are travelling with you. And, you don’t have to worry about ticket availability during peak season travel.

Renting a car can be a very simple process. All you need to really figure out is how many people will be travelling so that you can get a car that can seat everyone together and also accommodate the luggage that you will be carrying. Once you have this information and a certain budget thought out you can visit the local rental companies and ask around about the various vehicles they have as well as the fee that each charges. If you really want to enjoy you travel as much as your destination then you can opt for a large variety of RVs.

Comparing and contrasting the various quotes from different companies can allow you to make the most savings. If you decide to travel on weekdays and days that are not holiday dates then the prices can be desirably low. you can even get discount coupons and vouchers from printed media or off the internet to help you save a tidy sum that can be put towards activities when you reach your destination!

Easy Online Payday Loan Without Teletrak

These days, you can now obtain easy payday loans online without any Teletrak. This is because such loans do not require any credit checks that expose your credit history. Most banks and other financial institutions that offer different loan types utilize Teletrak to scan your credit history and flag any points that require further checks. However, this is absent during processing of payday loans. This is the major reason why people with bad credit histories are not exempted from these loans.

To give a little background on Teletrak; it is a financial institution that was established in 1989 with the sole aim of compiling the credit information of citizens and providing it to clients who need it for background check purposes. Banks and other loan lenders are the biggest clients of Teletrak and it is widely used across the United States. Information supplied by this service includes general credit history, bankruptcy, outstanding loan repayments and loan default among others.

Though, some payday loan companies use Teletrak for high amounts, you can always find a lender who will give you a cash advance without having to use Teletrak. Usually, having a steady job and a valid bank account with traceable transactions from your employer would be enough for them to give you a cash advance. Though, you address and some other information might be verified to ensure that you are really whom you claim to be. So, with a full time employment, valid account and traceable accommodation, you stand a good chance of getting a payday loan.

How to Apply
To apply for easy online payday loans without Teletrak, just go online and take a look at the different options available from several lenders. This will help you to get the best deal available for your needs. Fill out the application form, but be sure to read the applicable terms and conditions before submitting you application. Understand the repayment terms, interest rates and penalties for default, if any.

Be sure to fill out all the requested details correctly without any discrepancies as this can disqualify your application. Major details required would include your name, employer, bank account, residential address, phone numbers, driver’s license, social security number. If approved, you can get a direct deposit into your bank account with hours.

Speedy Approval
One great advantage with easy online payday loans apart from protection from Teletrak is the speedy approval process associated with it. Most times, you can get loans within a day and also processing takes place outside regular business hours, that is Friday evenings and weekends.

Cash Loans Until Payday – Do Not Wait for Payday

When you need cash in the middle or end of month having nothing left in your account then cash loans until payday is the best option to go for. Payday is the day you get your monthly wage. And when loan is given to you until your payday arrives, these are called cash loans until payday. These loans must be repaid on the arrival of your next payday. They act as a bridge in between two consecutive paydays.

Some people may think these loans are very risky to afford for because these are secured on your monthly salary. On your next payday loan amount will be deducted directly from your account. And if there is not enough left in your account, then you will be charged high penalty. But to avoid this situation, you have to decide the loan amount judiciously. You should take what you can repay easily. These should be enough amounts left for your regular monthly budget.

Some important feature:

These are short term loans meaning money is not provided to you for long period of time. No security will be asked from your as collateral. Because of this lenders are somehow exposed to high amount of risk. Os they may charge you high interest rate. But at maximum it will be up to 25% of the amount taken. You can secure an amount up to £2000 through these loans easily.

Eligibility and availability:

All adult and legal UK citizens are eligible to apply for. You need to produce your income and residential proof in front of the lender. You must have a monthly salary of at least £2000 to secure these loans easily. It will act as a security against the money.

These loans can be secured from online lenders. While going online you should act judiciously. Go through the terms and conditions carefully to find out any hidden charge. Compare all rates available and go for the best one.

Rhino Off-Road To Produce Rough Terrain Vehicle

The Rhino Outdoor International, Inc. (ROI), a leading outdoor activity based business, including Rhino Off-Road Industries, Inc., its entirely owned subsidiary, earlier announced that the company has formed a strategic alliance with the Arizona Emergency Products (AEP), a famous provider of emergency equipment to government agencies.

The alliance is aimed at designing and producing a specialized Rhino Off-Road Industries RTV to meet the unique needs of first response and search and rescue groups. The “Rapid Response” Rough Terrain Vehicle (RTV) is inspired by the innovative Rhino Off-Road Industries RTV design platform, which is now being produced for both the competitive and recreational off-road marketplace.

In producing the RTV, refinements were entertained to enhance the capabilities of the vehicle for the first response activities in rugged off-road terrains that are inaccessible at present to most vehicles. The main design considerations include increasing the wheelbase to accommodate extra passengers and equipment.

Other considerations include expanding the battery capacity so as to support communications and lighting, creating space to allow for emergency equipment accessories like tool boxes, winches, medical equipment and poly-tanks for fire retardants. These retardants can be refilled by a helicopter.

The AEP is known in the manufacture of vehicles for law enforcement, Homeland Security, fire departments and search and rescue organizations. “The Rhino Off-Road RTV is unlike any other vehicle now in use by the emergency response industry,” said Mike Chamberlain, the owner of Arizona Emergency Products. “It’s designed to go anywhere – and when outfitted to meet the needs of firefighters, police, border patrol, and others – it will allow for rapid response access to areas previously only accessible by horse, foot or helicopter.”

In the past couple of months, the AEP has field-tested the Rhino Off-Road RTV with its customers. This is done to get feedback from them. “Without exception, the response has been very positive”, continued Chamberlain, “everyone who has seen the RTV in action has requested a follow-up demonstration of the prototype and is interested in placing an order.”

ROI and AEP are sharing the cost of development for the prototype version of the RTV. The final design of the RTV is expected to be completed in a matter of 90 days. ROI will be the one to deliver the vehicle. AEP, on the other hand, will install the necessary accessories to meet the needs of emergency response groups. The vehicle will also be given a simple manual which could be likened to Nissan repair manuals.

“Mike Chamberlain and AEP have brought a tremendous amount of expertise to the design table,” said Howard Pearl, the CEO and the President of ROI. “We created the RTV to go just about anywhere. The fundamental design platform is ideal for first responders needing access to backcountry and off-road terrains.”

He added, “The strategic alliance with AEP allows us to learn directly from professionals in emergency response who use this vehicle in search and rescue and rapid response situations. ROI and AEP are creating a specialized RTV that will carry emergency personnel and equipment to and from the most remote locations. This is a fantastic application for the RTV and is a growing, untapped market. You can’t imagine how excited we are to be making a contribution in this important market space – this is the type of opportunity for growth we are constantly seeking.”

The Benefits of E-Cigarettes and Where to Find Them

Considering the fact that many people try everything to quit smoking, it’s no wonder that smokeless cigarettes are becoming a popular method of addiction treatment. These revolutionary new devices actually mimic real cigarettes. However, they do not contain all of the harmful chemicals inside of them and they do not give off that tobacco odor that is so known to cling to fabrics and hair. Those who choose to Buy Smokeless Cigarettes will definitely benefit from taking a more Uncategorized approach to quitting as opposed to using harsh patches and pills.

When you Buy Smokeless Cigarettes and fill them up with the designated E-Juice, you can literally smoke your cigarette anywhere. That’s because it does not give off any odors, so you won’t have to worry about people complaining about the smell. The electronic cigarette only gives off a steam vapor, which looks like real smoke without any of the harmful side effects. You will even be able to Buy Smokeless Cigarettes and use them while shopping at the mall or going out to eat in a restaurant. It truly is a fantastic way of kicking the habit while also enabling you to still feel like you are a smoker, despite lacking all of the health problems.

Once you Buy Electronic Cigarettes you will need to fill the device with E-Juice. This E-Juice is what aids in your quitting. Despite the fact that the e-cigarette looks and feels like the real thing, it also tastes like the real thing with the specially formulated E-Juice that is added to it. There are many different flavors of E-Juice that are all tempting in their own nature and you can choose whichever flavor you would like in order to get that same euphoric feeling that you are so used to when you use electric cigarettes.

E Cigs come in a variety of different starter kits that will get you going on the path of being a nonsmoker. What’s more, when you Buy Smokeless Cigarettes you will also be able to look for e-liquid and refill cartridges for them. The best way to kick the habit is to still feel like you are doing it on a regular basis, and that is why smoke-free cigarettes are so popular worldwide. Choosing to Buy Smokeless Cigarettes will enable you to begin living your life healthier and it will also protect the health of people who happen to be around you on a regular basis who may have been affected by the second hand smoke. E Cigarettes open up new possibilities within your life.

If you’ve tried everything imaginable to quit smoking or you know someone who has you may want to buy some smokeless cigarettes. Many consumer reports show e-cigarettes fill a gap where other products fail. Dr’s are recommending them to clients more than ever and people are quitting easier than before. E-cigarette510.com is also filling a gap where consumers can safely buy smokeless cigarettes without fear of being over charged or have bait and switch tactics used like so many other websites.

Best Electronic Cigarettes Vs Electronic Cigarettes

People do have bad habits, but what matters is getting rid of them for one’s good. Smoking is one of them. Smoking is an addiction for many people. You can get addicted to smoking without taking much time, but quitting this activity can be a little difficult for you. Generally you would find it very difficult to find an alternative to harmful smoking.

But what if you find one? That would be the best gift for you.

Electronic cigaret give you the privilege to smoke without harming your health. They do not contain tobacco. Electronic cigarettes give you the same feeling of smoking an actual cigarette without harming you. You can use electronic cigarett in a non-smoking arena as well. Generally, passive smoking is considered more harmful than active smoking, so you can get yourself the best electronic cigaret in the market and not only avoid falling ill yourself and also allow people around your vicinity take in fresh air.

Monotony creeps in when you smoke cigarettes of the same taste and brand every time. If you smoke one of the best electronic cigarete available in the market, you get ample flavors of your choice and along with that you can also vary the amount of nicotine per cigarette from high to low. So that?s where the difference is. When are you opting for the best ele cigarettes available at the stores?

Generally cigarettes emit a smell which is not welcomed by the non-smokers. For that particular reason electronic cigars are welcomed by most of the smokers as these ensure a healthy and a smokeless atmosphere without any offence to anyone.

The cheapest cigarettes come with low quality batteries. Therefore, you have to be tactful while choosing one for yourself. The best electronic cigarette in the market have high-density lithium ion batteries which would easily last for a long time without failure. The best ones in the market also give you an extra battery just in case the first battery gets exhausted.

Please remember! While purchasing these devices be careful of the Chinese imports which are not of the best quality. To get the best of the electronic cigarete you need to be aware of the good brands that are available in the market. So be wise and choose the best of the lot available and happy smoking!

Safer Smoke Supply is a company that produces affordable and high-quality e-cigs that last for quite long.

How to Stretch Your Travel Budget With a Discount Car Rental

A self-drive holiday may sound hopelessly exorbitant if you’re on a tight budget. People tend to be discouraged by the idea of renting a car for a long period of time, imagining that it will eat up their entire travel fund. However, it’s actually easier to obtain a discount car rental than some people would imagine, especially in these financially-conservative times.

Car rentals are a business, after all, so making a smaller profit by renting out unpopular cars is better than making no profit at all. Most of the time, discounts can be found online. As such, the internet is a good place to start when looking for affordable rentals and a car rental discount code or two, but print media shouldn’t be discounted either. Prices may vary between different agencies, so it’s prudent to compare the finer details of each deal before settling on a particular one.

Timing can be everything when it comes to obtaining a discount car rental. As with some airlines in Asia, car rental agencies offer early-bird discounts if you book a car much earlier in advance of the actual date of your pick-up. Additionally, cancellation of the booking if you find an even better deal elsewhere will not incur extra costs either as long as it’s done early enough. Conversely, the shoulder period of a travel season, that is, just before or after peak travelling time, often sees car rental companies competing to outdo each other in their attempts to rent out any remaining cars. It’s possible to obtain a good rental deal at this time, but the choice and quality might be limited.

While car rental discount codes are extremely useful is helping you obtain a more affordable rental, although this might be subject to questionable quality. You might also want to consider the size of the car you want, especially if your group is a small one. Smaller cars tend to cost less to rent, and you’ll probably pay less for fuel too. As an added bonus, you’ll definitely have no trouble parking a small car.

The Strategic Use of Information Technology

TEACHER: Hello, Student. What do you know about Information Technology (IT)?

STUDENT: Well, I know that most software is full of “bugs”! By the way, why are these errors in programs called “bugs”?

TEACHER: Computer “bugs” have been around since malfunctions in a 1945 Mark II were blamed (facetiously) on a moth trapped in a relay. Nowadays the term refers to programming flaws -commands that don’t accomplish the desired result. But I am sure you must know more about IT than the fact that programs have bugs!

STUDENT: Recently I read an interesting article written by John Diebold years ago. Allow me to quote from it:

“Information technology . . . is becoming increasingly the key to national economic well being, affecting virtually every industry and service. One would be hard-pressed to name a business that does not depend on the effective use of information: to design products and services, to track and respond to market demands, or to make well-informed decisions. Information technology will change the world more permanently and more profoundly than any technology so far seen in the history and will bring about a transformation of civilization to match.”

TEACHER: Interesting. There is no doubt that information technology is currently a major force with the potential to affect a range of organizations in fundamental ways.

The impact of information technology on business operations has been enormous and will increase substantially.

There is no doubt that a shift from an industrial economy to an information oriented service economy is under way; and no one knows when the process will slow down.

In essence, scale and the conventional dimensions of time, space, and mass will no longer be constraints on the products of the information age. Unlike the standardized product created for the mass market of the industrial age, the electronic delivery of banking services, for example, is scale-independent and intangible, provides instantaneous service, and is not bound by the physical location of the bank.

STUDENT: AmbaiU’s online courses are a good example! Students from all over the world can instantly access the courseware. The dramatic growth of the Internet’s WWW service has Uncategorizedly been an important factor in the growth of IT in general.

TEACHER: True indeed. Environmental trends like globalization and heightened international competition are speeding the movement toward increased IT use by corporations. The exigencies of worldwide coordination of operations and the need to react rapidly to global competitive threats have emphasized the importance of IT in the current business context. Dramatic technological developments in hardware, software, databases, and telecommunications have simultaneously pushed the utilization of IT further along.

STUDENT: So, is the sky the limit for IT?

TEACHER: Not exactly. At the same time, several factors are militating against the rapid deployment of IT. Among these are the still-slow development of appropriate software, long-standing difficulties in quantifying IT benefits (for justifying IT investment), issues of database integration, and the lack of standards (for the purposes of inter-organizational connectivity).

STUDENT: I also think that there was “over-investment” in IT in the last decade of the 20th. century and even at the beginning of the 21st. And what about IT and Strategic Management?

TEACHER. True, we are primarily concerned with the likely impact of information technologies on the practice of strategic management. The reason for adopting such a perspective reflects a fundamental belief that information technologies can potentially influence the core of a firms activities: Choices pertaining to products, markets, and technologies (the corporate strategy level), as well as competitive methods within each of the product-market segments (the business strategy level).

STUDENT: I assume this is why the role of information technology is becoming broader than that of the traditional Information Systems (IS) function, and is becoming a general management concern and challenge.

TEACHER: Good observation. We will consider three linkages that interconnect three important concepts -strategic management (SM), information technology (IT), and the management information systems (IS) function.

* Link 1: Management Information Systems with Information Technology

According to the traditional view, IS is a service function (just as accounting, human resources, or industrial relations) which is charged with the task of efficient data processing and administration of the management reporting and control systems. According to such views, systems are designed to cater to the informational requirements of different managerial roles and are identified using standard informational requirements assessment methodologies. In consequence, systems are evaluated using criteria such as timeliness, format quality, and reliability, reflecting the technical capability of the system. The implication is that the role of IT was conceived largely as the technical core of the MIS function.

Consequently, the important characteristics of this linkage were hardware and software support for the information architecture, and flexibility of design to support minor modifications in the information requirements or to respond to the fast-changing technical core of the system’s hardware.

The strategic planning level, by virtue of its unstructured nature of decision making, received minimal support from the traditional conceptualizations and role definitions of IS.

Link 2: Strategic Management with Information Systems

The description of Link 1 reflects a view that the charter of the IS function was derived directly from the informational resource assessment and had no explicit linkages with strategic choices at the corporate and business levels. This view was representative of the actual situation until the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the need to tailor the design of MIS to the requirements of the organizational strategic context gained currency. In 1968, McKinsey & Co. published a report titled Unlocking the Computer’s Profit Potential that called for a formal link between the design and implementation of MIS and the firms strategies and objectives. This publication urged managers to visualize the role of computers in business organizations as something beyond a data processing resource at the operational level of the organization and more as a mechanism that supports their strategy.

STUDENT: Even before that McKinsey report, William King proposed that the “IS-strategy set (composed of IS objectives, IS constraints, and IS design strategies) should be derived from the “organization’s strategy set” (composed of organizational mission, objectives, and strategies).

TEACHER: You are a well read student, indeed!

STUDENT: You might remember that I come from an “IT family.” And I keep hearing a complaint from my IT relatives: while there is concern within the MIS discipline to ensure that MIS is designed in accordance with the strategic contexts of the firm, the link in the other direction, from the corporate strategic context to MIS, is still largely ignored.

TEACHER: True, but this is changing rapidly. Also, several authors have called attention to the possibility of exploiting information and information systems for strategic advantages. As William King noted in an editorial comment in the Management Information Systems Quarterly,— Information (and IS) has the potential to be a primary source of (competitive) advantage in the marketplace rather than merely as a resource to be efficiently managed or a service that is periodically turned on and off as needed.

STUDENT: Can we then assume that many see the link between strategic management and IS today as a bi-directional, mutually interconnected link, implying a strategic role for the IS function?

TEACHER: Certainly, and it was about time. In a transition towar
d a strategic role, the goals and tasks of the management information systems function undergo an important transformation. The systems are no longer viewed in terms of informational support for operational decisions, but rather in terms of the realization of the organization’s strategic objectives, especially the achievement of competitive superiority in the marketplace.

Information systems with a charter to achieve competitive superiority are called “strategic information systems” and differentiated from the more operationally focused MIS. Indeed, MIS has been traditionally concerned with the operational control systems for relatively structured decisions based on readily available, internal data. In contrast, strategic information systems are designed to support relatively unstructured decisions, especially those that are intricately tied to the activities of the market-place.

STUDENT: I hear that usually such decisions require a combination of internal and external data that: are neither well structured nor completely specified.

TEACHER: Exactly. Although a perfect demarcation between management information systems and strategic information systems cannot always be made, the conceptual distinction is important enough to be recognized just as the conceptual distinction between strategic and operational decisions.

Let me mention some examples of strategic information systems operating at real companies:

American Airlines : SABRE reservation System -installed in most travel agents for booking airline, hotel, and rental car reservations.

American Hospital Supply Co.: ASAP-order entry system-installed in over 4500 medical establishments to order supplies on-line. The system is internally interconnected to several supporting systems

Citicorp Extensive use of automated teller machines and global transaction network. Several systems that support their strategies for electronic banking services.

McKesson Corp. Economost -order entry system that supports customers with inventory control and analysis of sales.

United Airlines APOLLO-Travel agency reservation system with several augmented services installed in about 7700 agencies.

Student, can you think of specific strategic objectives any of these companies have achieved through IS?

STUDENT: Well, I am sure that SABRE provides American Airlines with critical operating data that can be used for strategic decisions; travel agents hooked on to SABRE are likely to book on American more than other airlines.

TEACHER: Yes, some much so that the US government has stepped in and put some limit’s on SABRE’s propensity to favor AA!

Strategic information systems achieve their objectives through several mechanisms, but two deserve special attention. These are: (1) the reconfiguration of the information flows within an organization to provide competitive advantages relative to competition, and/or (2) development of inter-organizational systems that extend beyond the traditional boundaries of a single focal organization.

STUDENT: Are these modes are mutually exclusive?

TEACHER: No, but we will discuss them independently.

Reconfiguration of Information Flows

Let us consider the case of an airline that uses timely data to increase its load factor -perhaps the single most critical factor for achieving success in the airline industry. By developing a strategic information system designed not only to continually collect data on flight bookings, but also to compare current sales against historical patterns, the airline can instruct its own ticketing agents (as well as travel agents) to modify the number of discount seats available on a particular flight depending on the current level of advance bookings.

STUDENT: By the same token, I guess that similar benefits can accrue to a hotel, where a key determinant of competitive performance is the occupancy ratio.

TEACHER: Correct. And the basic notion of timeliness of information can be extended from the context of the service sector to the manufacturing sector. Consider the case of an oil company which is able to communicate with its dealers directly and instantaneously as oil prices change to ensure minimum delay between the setting of prices in the headquarters and its realization at retail outlets.

STUDENT: But in these illustrations IT does not influence the fundamental strategic business choices.

TEACHER. Correct. However, the implementation of such decisions through organizational hierarchy and channels is facilitated through the use of IT, leading to improved strategic results.

Inter-organizational Systems Inter-organizational IT applications highlight the potential to achieve competitive success that extends beyond intra-organizational informational flows to the deploying and exploiting of information-based links with diverse actors in the marketplace.

STUDENT: Your are using rather complicated phrases today! In simple terms, what you mean is that an inter-organizational strategic information system is a system that extends beyond the boundaries of a single focal organization to link multiple organizations.

TEACHER: Glad to see that you understood! The potential todevelop such links (and the consequent benefits to achieve competitive advantage) is perhaps the single most important reason for the, increased attention to informational systems from a strategic management point of view.

The railroad industry, which has one of the highest levels of “penetration” of electronic data interchange (EDI) among all industries, displays several levels of inter-organizational systems use. And relatively new industries such as couriers (FedEx, UPS, etc.) are good examples too.

Let me also mention the McKesson Drug Company. The case of McKesson is frequently quoted as one of the most successful examples of business transformation using information technology capabilities. McKesson is a US national pharmaceutical distributor that receives close to 100 percent of its orders electronically from drugstores through its Economost systems. A customer orders by making a single pass through the store with a hand-held order entry device, keying in a product identifier or using a bar code scanner. Reorder quantities are indicated on shelf tags. When the complete order has been entered, it is transmitted to the data processing service.

McKesson clearly achieved operational efficiency benefits to improve its profitability. Although the company apparently did not gain share relative to its major distributor competition, it achieved significant strategic benefits in sales and market share gains relative to its larger competition. The system also achieved “increased tying of the customer to McKesson” which is a substantial strategic advantage. Moreover, McKesson offers a number of other services based on the data it obtains from the order entry system.

The company also provides other firms in the health care business with specialized strategic systems. The following announcement is a good example:

In May 2003, McKesson Corporation announced that LibertyHealth in Jersey City, N.J., signed an eight-year, $47 million agreement for products and services designed to transform the use of clinical information to support patient care in its three-hospital system. LibertyHealth contracted for McKesson’s Horizon Clinicals(TM) suite (of programs) to enhance patient safety, reduce medication errors and increase patient referrals by providing physicians and other caregivers with better access to information.

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reinvent the use of IT to support patient care and enhance quality as we open our new hospital,” said Dr. Jonathan Metsch, LibertyHealth’s president and chief executive officer. “To create the best environment of care, it’s a given that we must provide the latest medical equipment. But, just as importantly, we must provide the most advanced clinical IT solutions to support our 900 doctors and nurses as they provide healthcare for this community of 600,000 people. That’s why we’ve
partnered with McKesson — we get superb, advanced clinical applications.”

Link 3: Strategic Management with Information Technology

Over the last years, several new and powerful forces in the technological and market environment compel one to recognize the link between strategic management and information technology in terms of the fundamental role played by IT in influencing the formulation of a firm’s strategy rather than merely supporting its implementation.

The potential for innovative modes of competing as well as new products and services made possible through IT provides managers with an entirely different spectrum of opportunities and threats. Given the general explosion of computing power and communications capabilities (integrated voice and data, the Internet), several new business applications can be (and have been) developed in those areas that directly enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the market-place.

Example: Merrill Lynch Merrill Lynch’s strategy demonstrates the potential offered by information technologies to develop superior substitute products (or services) as well as altering the definition and domain of business operations. The introduction of Cash Management Account (CMA) by Merrill Lynch represented a revolution in terms of redefining the concept of financial services in a marketplace that was dominated by the traditional banking institutions. The new business concept was built around integrating diverse financial instruments under one common umbrella such that the individual investor is able to enjoy the convenience of moving money across them as well as benefit from the “float” that the banks traditionally enjoyed. This account permitted the integration of four basic services to investors: (1) automatic investment of cash and dividends in a money market account, (2) credit through a standard margin account, (3) cash withdrawal by check or debit card, and (4) investment advice in managing and diversifying the account.

The strategy could not be implemented without the use of information technology, for it requires daily swaps across different accounts to post the credit card charges, checks, securities, and deposits, as well as to develop a daily updated credit limit for each account holder. This complex data processing operation is not incidental to the business concept but is fundamental to its conceptualization and operation. The importance of IT in this strategy is perhaps best emphasized by the fact that Merrill Lynch obtained a patent for the cash management account system. The annual fees generated by this product for Merrill Lynch were quite substantial.

Although several variations (circurnventing the patent protection) of this basic concept have appeared in recent years, none has so far matched the success of Merrill Lynch’s product.

Other firms which have utilized IT to break down traditional industry borders in the services sector include Sears, now an integrated financial services provider; Citicorp, now an investment and realty firm as well as a bank; and American Express, always strong in the travel business, now making a play in international banking, insurance, and securities, in addition, to becoming a financial and information supermarket. Indeed, the entire industry is being transformed due to parallel but related forces: deregulation and technology.