Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Titan Business Plan

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Titan Software


May 15, 00


Scott Graves


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Jesal Mehta


Sarpay Oner


Tony Yan


Table of Contents


I. Introduction


II. Strategy


Target Market


Product 4


Price 5


Place 5


Promotion 5


SWOT Analysis 6


III. Technical Specifications and Requirements


Server 7


Client


Development Tools


IV. Website Design


Needs Analysis 10


Technical Design Considerations 11


V. Company Organization


Management Structure 1


Organizational Structure 1


VI. Conclusion 14


VII. Supplemental Material


PowerPoint Presentation Slides 15


Project Timeline 16


Website flow diagram 17


Database Schema (ER diagram) 18


Titan Software Organizational Chart 1


Bug Testing Procedures 0


I. Introduction


Titan Software was created in the spring of 00 with the goal of providing effective and affordable Application Service Provider (ASP) services to small and midsize businesses (SMB). The products of Titan Software are designed to be effective to a wide range of companies in various industries by streamlining the business processes that are similar within each industry. This streamlining allows SMB’s to take advantage of ASP services that were previously only affordable to larger corporations. Our business report consists of four main areas Strategy, Technical Specifications and Requirements, Website Design, and Company Organization. At the end of the report is also a compilation of all supplemental material for the business.


II. Strategy


Target Market


Titan Software’s target market is the largely untapped SMB segment that has been ignored in favor of the more lucrative Fortune 1000 companies. The SMB market includes 10 million companies, accounts for 8 percent of U.S. businesses, represents 50 percent of the U.S. Gross National Product, and spends $45 billion annually on IT. Currently only 4 percent of the medium-sized businesses utilize a wide area network. Spending will increase if more attractive pricing for Internet and information technology (such as ASP services) can be offered to SMBs and because of this, we have recognized the SMB market as the prime market for hosted applications. Enterprise customers have largely deployed Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), and communication/collaborative applications yet they do not have an immediate need for an ASP-model offering these applications. SMBs, however, represent a significant market opportunity since they do not usually have a wide portfolio of these applications available to them due to costs associated with purchasing and deploying these applications. Our eCommerce strategy will center on the four P’s of marketing (product, price, place, and promotion).


Product


We are offering five different kinds of application solutions


• Titan Inventory Management (TIM)


• Titan Point of Sale (TPOS)


• Titan Database Management (TDM)


• Titan Supply Chain Management (TSCM)


• Titan Project Management (TPM)


Traditional software vendors sell ERP applications to enterprises and these enterprises in turn hire system integrators and business process consultants to integrate business processes into the applications. Customization, large initial outlay, and an extended deployment period characterize a traditional application implementation process. We, as an ASP, however, operate in a different fashion. We have opted for standardized application templates for our solutions that capture the most prevalent business processes. Minor customization may be required, and customization services can be provided through in-house expertise or they can be outsourced to a system integrator. We will streamline system integration and business consulting in an application deployment process in order to take advantage of economies of scale.


Price


We will charge an Upfront fee plus Monthly charges. Upfront fees will be charged for integration, consulting, and/or customization. We will give the option of transferring software and hardware assets to customer after a defined period. Monthly fees are based on usage, number of names users, or number of concurrent users.


Place


Place is not of prime concern to us, since all our software packages run on our servers. We own and manage all the hardware and software assets and offer the applications as a service to a customer. We supply these services from a central location, over the Internet or a private network, as opposed to running on the customer’s premises.


Promotion


Marketing the software is crucial to the sustained growth of Titan Software. The most cost-effective means of promoting the software will come through regional and national tradeshows. Additional marketing strategy will encompass direct mailings, print advertising, broadcast fax, customer referral promotions, and public relations.


SWOT Analysis


We have undertaken a SWOT analysis to help us identify our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that face us. Carrying out an analysis using the SWOT framework helps us to focus our activities into areas where we are strong and where the greatest opportunities lie.


STRENGTHS OPPORTUNITIES


More than 40 years of combined expertise between us.


Current/Powerful technical infrastructure.


Our solutions opt for standardized application templates that capture the most prevalent business processes requiring minimal integration.


End-to-end customer care and service guarantee


Largely untapped mid-size market.


Networks are becoming content- and application-aware.


Technology advances in server- and network-based computing


High demand of hosted applications.


Businesses want faster deployment of new applications as well as timely upgrades to their current applications to stay competitive. We can offer a viable alternative to in-house deployment.


There is tremendous market momentum in developing applications that can be hosted over the Internet.


WEAKNESSES THREATS


High demand and limited resources.


Reliable network connectivity. Competing Services( KPMG, Interpath)


New Technologies


Obsolescence/old technologies


Security (both authentication and intrusion detection) is a major requirement for successful content networking.


III. Technical Specifications and Requirements


Server


The Titan Software website is to be hosted (rented) through a reliable outsource company, which would provide the following essential tools


• A dedicated web-server with AMD Athlon 1800+ and 51MB of RAM


• A dedicated mail-server with 100GB/year of data transfer and 50GB of ROM


• 4/7 live support line and Ping (ICMP) Monitoring


• Updates on new and usable technology via email


We will need all the capabilities of a dedicated IP because in many cases we would not be able to get by with a shared IP. Most importantly, renting a dedicated server would allow Titan Software to host not only the e-commerce website but also our ASP-based software products. In addition to this, the dedicated option would also come with greater customization options, more bandwidth, and security.


To ensure maximum uptime, ping (ICMP) monitoring is critical. If one of our servers fails to respond to the automatic ping request, tech support should attempt to contact Titan Software via telephone and email. If they cannot be reached within 0 minutes, the hosting company should go ahead and reboot the ill server(s).


Start-up installations and components should include


• Windows NT 000 or higher


• Internet Information Server 5.0


• Mail-Server (SMTP, POP, and IMAP)


• Web-based Email Application


• Firewall Software (maintained)


• SFTP Service with SSH software


• ASP Classic .0


• Remote Control Solution (PCAnywhere, Radmin etc.)


• Urchin Web Stats


• All Microsoft Data Access Components � constantly updated


• FrontPage Server Extensions


• Dynamic PDF Writer Component for back-end reporting


Titan Software enjoys the flexibility to add more components because the server will be strictly dedicated to our company.


Each sale of our products will be finalized with a confirmation email including the login information of the customer. It is therefore crucial that the email server is secure, maintained well, and 100% configurable. Titan Software administrators will be able to create email accounts, set up auto responders, forwarding and aliasing. Security of the emails sent out can be assured with the purchase of Digital IDs, which will encrypt email contents and attachments, protecting them from being read by unauthorized parties. Each transaction will also be authentic and encrypted with an SSL certificate in order to keep our users’ personal information such as their credit card numbers and addresses private.


Developers and administrators will be constantly updating files on the server. If a regular FTP program is used, the ftp port 1 will be used frequently and eventually it will be “sniffed” by intruders. Just setting up a separate FTP listener does not provide enough security according to network experts because the data is still sent with a clear text protocol. However, creating an SSH tunnel between the client and the server would encrypt everything sent across the network. Even though SFTP is slower than FTP, it is the most secure way of transferring sensitive files.





Client


TitanSoftware.com and Titan Solutions will perform best when


• HTTP Client is MSIE 5.0 or higher


• rd party cookies are accepted


• SSL .0 option is enabled


Development Tools


Page standardization is to be done with included CSS files. For simple image, table, and form formatting, FrontPage is useful with the addition of its server extensions. ASP developers prefer to use Dreamweaver and GoLive since both provide efficient tools to reduce redundancy and an FTP connection client can be used in conjunction with third-party Secure Shell (SSH) programs.


IV. Website Design


Needs Analysis


Prior to creating our website layout, we performed a needs analysis to prevent wasting resources on building a site that ultimately does not provide our customers and internal users what they need. In addition, our website deployment strategy also considered the strategic objectives of our business, the behavior of potential online visitors, and the alternatives offered by competitor organizations, otherwise Titan Software will likely fail in all or many of its performance measures.


Our project team allocated approximately 5% of its resources towards needs analysis, competitor research, website specification, and mockup design. While it is very tempting to rush these important processes and move quickly into the programming and implementation phases, patience and solid project management will yield substantially better results.


As a software company that offers a full range of products to small and mid-sized companies, Titan Software made several important discoveries during the needs analysis phase


• Customers expect the website to serve as an extension of the company with respect to customer support and account management.


• The look and feel must be clean, professional, and on par with competitive websites.


• Colors, fonts, and images should reflect a company that is highly capable with respect to technical software development, but not too “techie.”


• New website must be optimized for 800x600 screen resolution… More than 65% of visitors to the company’s previous website used screen resolutions set at 800x600


• Potential visitors are not interested in bells & whistles… Instead, want solid content, professional graphics, and no broken links.


• Navigation should be fast, simple, and highly intuitive.


The overriding message that resulted from our needs analysis is to deploy a website that serves the needs and expectations of the users, reflects the objectives of the organization, and balances form and function.


Technical Design Considerations


To meet our design objectives, Titan Software enlisted a project team that included both programmers and graphic designers. Our past experience has led us to conclude that programmers tend to design unattractive websites while designers tend to focus too much on look & feel. To make sure we don’t fall into this trap, we designed the website using a variety of best-of-breed applications including Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe GoLive. By using the Adobe suite of products, we were able to achieve seamless compatibility and extremely efficient file sizes.


The key to professional website images is to start with very high quality, professional photography. Most of the original images and photography used throughout the website were provided courtesy of www.gettyimages.com. Getty is one of the largest distributors of licensed and royalty-free photography on the Internet. The database of available images is so extensive, we were able to specify a particular look & feel for each image need and identify an image that matched that need exactly.





By specifying a website that fit neatly within a Windows browser with a screen resolution of 800x600, we were able to layout tables accordingly. All tables, images, and text are nested within a main table sized at 70 pixels wide. The objective is to fill most of the user’s screen with content without the need for horizontal scrolling.


Design and editing are made easy by using “include pages.” The idea is to generate many separate pages that contain individual elements of the displayed page. For example, any given page has a header, a navigation bar, a main image, and a copyright notice. Rather than programming each of these elements for every single page, we programmed each one just once. When a page needs one of these elements, a table in the displayed page calls for one of the include pages to be inserted. This way, the programming becomes much more efficient and the result is transparent to the end user.





Navigation is accomplished using a Javascript menu bar. Again, we programmed a single instance of the menu bar and “included” it in an empty table located on the top of each page. The result is a menu system that is fast, simple, and easy to use. It is compatible on nearly all browsers and accommodates a balanced combination of text and graphics.


V. Company Organization


Management Structure


Based on the nature of our industry and the products/services that Titan Software will provide, we have chosen to utilize a functional structure within our company. A functional structure is one that groups employees into departments based on similar job functions. A functional structure is ideal for small companies because it allows for specialization and efficient use of resources. Specialization within our application development department could prove to be highly beneficial, as it would allow us to more easily satisfy customer requirements as well as give us a potential technical advantage over our competitors.


Our company would also develop and foster a culture that would allow for high delegation and internal entrepreneurialism. Since the requirements within the industry are rapidly changing, high delegation allows for quick responses to environmental changes. In addition, an entrepreneurial emphasis encourages employees to think “outside that box” which could ultimately lead to new ideas that could be converted into competitive advantages.


Organizational Structure


The organizational structure of Titan Software will consist of an Executive Management department at the top, with four other departments below. The four lower departments are Application Development, Technical Support, Sales and Marketing, and Operations.


The Executive Management department will be responsible for all the strategic and some of the operational plans. They will also create the mission statement, goals, and objectives and create/monitor their strategies to be aligned with these goals.


The Application Development department is responsible for creating new applications, and improves, debugs, and patches existing applications.


The Technical Support department will have roles comparable to a customer support department. This department will interact with existing customers and resolve any technical problems they may be having with their applications. This department will also serve the internal organizations technical needs such as installing new hardware and software, maintaining internal and external network security, and maintaining a stable network.


The Operations department is responsible for all utility duties such as those duties that support the other departments. Some of these duties include new hires, employee relations, secretarial, sales, marketing, and administrative.


VI. Conclusion


Our business report attempts to utilize eCommerce strategies that have succeeded in the past as well as standard business practices for eCommerce. The strategies in this report will be used to create a solid foundation for the start of Titan Software as well as provide solutions for foreseeable problems and opportunities that may arise during the short and long term future of the company.





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