Information technologies enable key divisions of an organization such as HR, Training, Operations, and Legal, to achieve operational efficiency. In addition, IT can and must be used to enhance the company’s strategic positioning, by “socially” engaging an ecosystem of stakeholders: employees, suppliers, and customers. For this, the company’s back-end IT infrastructure must be linked up with the front-line, so that information can flow smoothly, and important decisions can be taken in real-time. In this context, we make a distinction between Systems of Record and Systems of Engagement. The latter category of IT is now emerging, and will change the business landscape in substantial ways. This case is about one such platform of engagement called Wooqer, which business heads can harness to tackle a variety of problems. Wooqer facilitates communities of users to function independently, without requiring constant assistance from IT. The case begins by describing the information systems that drive business at Madura Fashion & Lifestyle, India’s largest apparel retailer. In a rapidly expanding retail environment, Madura’s Strategy Head has to decide between implementing point solutions to different technology problems, and rolling out a system of engagement.
The case exposes students to general issues of IT infrastructure, and helps them examine the consequences of poor systems integration. A second objective is to demonstrate how social mechanisms can enable groups to fully collaborate within a business context, and bring about a resolution to these problems. Along the way, students will also understand the aspects of strategic decision-making by IT heads.