ISM3004 Computing Portfolio Project, 2007

James K. Rigney, Jr.

Part 1 - Webpage

Costa Rica Blog
James Rigney Home Page

Why a website is essential to business:

A web site is essential tool for a business. It is a "presence" on line, a way of reaching customers and it legitimizes a business in the eyes of customers. It should not be only an ad.

For non-retailers, a web site can help make the company legitimate. It should provide most, if not all, of the information a customer could receive by calling the company. Not only does this impress more tech-savvy customers, but it can also save money on mundane customer service calls.

The best sites allow customers to interact with the company and its products. Amazon is a perfect example of an e-commerce site that empowers the customer. Even traditional retailers like Wal-Mart and Target host customer praise and criticism on their web sites.

For examples of good business sites, check the America Association of Library’s list or the PC World list.

My resume (requires Microsoft Word or equivalent)

Part 2 - Podcast

Paprika podcast

Podcasts can be an inventive way for companies to interact with their customers. In today’s over-marketed environment companies have to care/cater to their customers’ interests, or at least pretend like they do. A company should NOT use a podcast as an advertisement. No one wants to spend time downloading an advertisement – unless it’s a compelling advertisement.

Some companies will be able to use podcasts more than others. Technology/web companies will obviously be more apt to create useful podcasts than traditional bricks-and-mortar retail stores.

The most important aspect of podcasting for a company is having compelling content that allows customers to identify with your brand. Remember that podcasting, like the internet itself, can facilitate interest and dialogue with existing and potential customers.

Some companies will be able to use podcasts more than others. Technology and web companies will obviously be more apt to create useful podcasts than traditional bricks-and-mortar retail stores.

A few of the better business podcasts:
BMW Audiobooks
IBM Viewpoint

Part 3

Why secure email is essential for businesses (and everyone else)

Secure email is essential to business. With a moderate level of sophistication, it is easy to make an email appear as if it comes from someone else. Phishers/scammers do this all the time with fake Wachovia, Bank of America and Paypal messages. Unfortunately many users, including business users, do not have the internet sophistication to realize these legitimate looking emails are nothing but attempts to steal user information.

Email programs use Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) to ensure your mail gets to its intended recipient. David MacQuigg, of the University of Arizona, writes “…[the SMTP] that handles most email today was designed in an era when users of the Internet were mostly honest techies who expected others to be equally honest.”

Anyone who has received an email from a rich Nigerian who needs help to transfer a dead man’s fortune knows the internet community is no longer so trustworthy. The Nigerian scam has also hurt legitimate Nigerians as many email servers delete any email containing the word “Nigeria”.

There are a number of websites that will verify addresses so that the sender and recipient can make sure their mail is handled properly. Two of the most well known are Thawte and Verisign. These services also offer encryption so that sensitive email contents can be hidden from prying eyes. This is especially important in a business environment where economic espionage is already on the rise. It will be even more important in the future.

Part 4

Collaborative Computing

Gator Football Ad (requires Microsoft Word or equivalent)

Collaborative computing is the use of shared virtual environments by team members to collaborate on a joint project. It is the new version of the office team. Now team members can contribute to the project from anywhere with internet access.

Collaborative computing can take many forms. Sometimes it is more formal, like in the case of a business, or it can be more relaxed like Wikipedia.

In the case of business, collaborative computing can save time and money for the employer. Employees don’t have to travel as often if they can share files online. Also, employees can work on the project whenever is most convenient for them. Collaborative computing will be an important part of business culture in the future.

Part 5

Excel 2003 Skills

In this project I used Excel 2003 to manipulate a small database of DVD store rentals.

First I separated out the State and Zip Code from a jumbled column of information.

Next I used Excel’s powerful text-data management tools to assign a region to each store.

Next I made a pivot table to show the average DVD rentals per region. The pivot table feature makes data easier to understand and manipulate.

Last I used the ‘goal seek’ feature to discover how a change in rental price or volume rented can lead to a target net sales.

At first I was annoyed with the project. It seemed tedious and boring but I understand why we did it.

My mom owns two small card and gift stores in southwest Florida and I plan on showing her what I learned so that she can make better decisions on inventory and sales price.

Screen shot of Excel 2003 file.

Part 6

Access 2003 Skills

In this project I used Access to create a database from prmade data about movies and DVD outlest.

First I made two seperate database files named Outlet and Movies. These databases were then linked together and I used the relationships tool to make the data mean something.

I then used the query tool, as instructed, to make a query about what movie stores had PG rated films.

Screen shot of Access 2003 relastionship window.