Information Technology at Starbucks

Posted on January 8, 2012

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Primarily, Starbucks is a company which seeks to build upon its status as an international company while preserving its grandeur. Starbucks wants to increase its coffee sales, not necessarily by bringing a customer to Starbucks more frequently, but just by bringing in more of the target demographic and by increasing the quantity demanded at every visit. Currently, Starbucks has a sophisticated Management Information System that has assisted in the growth process by selecting locations based on Starbuck’s target demographic (Washington School Faculty). Furthermore, this operational management system enables Starbucks quality management. In the next fifty years, Starbucks must anticipate its conception and growth as a Business-to-business e-commerce, the implementation of an extranet and the advancement of its management information system.

Currently, Starbucks is ahead of the trends with their iPhone, iPad and Facebook applications [3]. In the future, Starbucks will need to be aware of newer trends and be able to produce compatible services. Currently, applications work with phones. In the future, Starbucks may need to invest in media format from companies, such as RealD, a newer 3D company than IMAX or Sony. Another example of expanding existing technologies is, in China where there is currently a new “grid” system which revolutionizes the use of smart-cars and street sensors in place of, or near the parking meters. People can see the availability of parking spaces from their phone or computer. Similarly, management information systems can allow more visibility of Starbucks traffic. In the next 20 to 30 years, when the “grid” is advanced in New York, Starbucks will want to own its information of customer presence. Currently, people “check-in” to places through Foursquare and Facebook. With the grid, more companies will want to use Foursquare and grid-like technology to check-in. Starbucks has to keep track of more information to decrease business analytics costs as well as to compete with such companies [2].

The computing power of technology is increasing. Computers are generating company names and sports news articles. Websites use algorithms to give people unregistered company names, when given an input of a company description or a certain number or letters. News briefs can be written by computers within a minute of the end of a game, including a friendly personal, sports-like tone (Lohr, New York Times). Computers are capable of accounting and of simplifying legal documents. In the next 30-40 years, these technologies will be used to serve the public. Currently, Starbucks information technology is used to track which product each customer buys [3]. Within the next 10 to 15 years, Starbucks needs to use the information collected to decide product-composition, formulas and sugar content.

Information systems are also related to social networking. Individuals on social networking sites relinquish their information, their preferences, shopping habits and internet activities, for free. Currently, companies are cashing in on Facebook’s large following. Within the next 10 years or so, as Facebook expands and increases advertising costs, companies will be collecting information from their own social networks. Starbucks should expect to link coffee culture to a more exclusive, cultured social network for Starbucks’ loyal customers.

Extranets, or shared information between large interrelated companies, are used today. In the future, with products similar to WiMax, internet range will increase and the internet will be much faster. Extranets with the suppliers of coffee beans will increase efficiency. Extranets between farmers and Starbucks will increase accountability and honesty.

The next fifty years of expansion may distort Starbucks’ appearance. The exclusive community of coffee drinkers may become too large to sustain Starbucks cozy charm. Emerging business-to-consumer internet businesses will provide delivery, eliminating the need for in-store coffee in our future faster paced society. Starbucks may have to open a new line of coffee which is sold only in mass, only online, for large corporations. Starbucks can use its prestige to bring sophistication to corporate coffee.

Starbucks will need to increase its staff within information technology to adapt to the increase of extranet, ecommerce, and sophisticated management information systems. Starbucks will need to increase partnerships with companies such as IBM or Google. Like many companies, Starbucks is the carrier of iTunes, and wireless fidelity. Starbucks needs to possess knowledge of future technologies so that it can compete by providing services compatible with newer technology. Management information systems will expand to possess data regarding the technological services Starbucks is providing and the correlated profit or loss.

Works Cited:
1. Starbucks Corporation: Competing in a Global Market faculty.bschool.washington.edu/skotha/…/starbucks_Intl%20copy.pdf. Web. 10/11/11
2. Howard P. Behar; with Janet Goldstein. It’s Not about the Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks. Portfolio. 2008.
3. Karen Blumenthal. Grande Expectations: A Year in the Life of Starbucks’ Stock. Crown Business. 2007
4. Lohr, Steve “In Case You Wondered, a Real Human Wrote This Column.” New York Times 10 September 2011, Business Day.

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