Peak Experience and Strategic IT Alignment at Vermont Teddy Bear.

Peak Experience and Strategic IT Alignment at Vermont Teddy Bear.

Paper details:
Please analyze Peak Experiences and Strategic IT Alignment At Vermont Teddy Bear: the case study should be double-spaced, 1-inch margin all around, 12 point font. Add headlines through analyzing the case study like introduction, ………, conclusion. Answer the following questions:

1. How would you describe Vermont Teddy Bear (VTB)’s business model (the products and services it sells, target markets to whom it sells the, the value proposition it offers, and its financial model?
2. How strong are VBT’s operational capabilities, given their chosen business model? What challenges do they face during so-called peak experiences?
3. How strong are VBT’s information systems, given their strategic and operational needs? If you were a member of the Board of Directors, what concerns would you have about the IT architecture?
4. At a time when cash reserves were quite limited, Bob Stetzel wants “an efficient, well organized enterprise IT architecture that could serve as a robust platform for the company’s changing business requirements.” Given your analysis in response to the previous questions, and any other aspects you consider important in this case, what specific, actionable and cost effective advice can you suggest?

Add any figure, graphics or table to highlight some point in the case study on non count it page or separate attachment.

use 5 sources, here are two sources:
1- the book. Austin, Robert D., Richard L. Nolan, and Shannon O’Donnell. The Adventures of an IT Leader. Harvard Business Press, 2009.
2- the case study I uploaded it.

Case Study Rubric

Criteria     Outstanding (3)    Above Average (2)     Average
(1)     Poor (0)
Main theme or idea is introduced    Stated clearly    is stated    illustrated    not stated
Relates to course content or discussion and Analysis    frequent use of relevant frameworks    Some critical review
rehashes data in case    Little or no use of relevant frameworks / analysis
Conclusion is made.    Stated clearly    is stated    illustrated    not stated
Exhibits    Correct and support & add to key points    correct    Poor    None
References    Quotes with citations    Used one outside reference    Used only case study    No references
Format    Answered all questions    Answered most
questions    Answered some questions    Did not answer questions
Grammar and Spelling    error free    errors do not interfere with meaning    few errors    Errors

Teaching  case
Peak  experiences  and  strategic  IT
alignment  at  Vermont  Teddy  Bear
Janis L Gogan, Mark O Lewis
Bentley University, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA
JL Gogan, Bentley University, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA.
781 891 2098;
781 891 2949;
In winter 2010 Bob Stetzel, the new Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Vermont Teddy Bear
(VTB), hopes to replace or modernize many of the company’s existing systems and invest
in some new applications. This catalog marketer (via online and print catalogs) offers three
separately managed brands: Vermont Teddy Bear (VTB), PajamaGrams, and Calyx
Flowers. Sales are highly seasonal, with peak volumes at Christmas, Valentine’s Day and
Mother’s Day. Stetzel has spent his first few months on the job cataloging systems and
databases, learning about the ‘spider web’ of middleware connecting various applications
and platforms, and locating employees with expertise to fix them. The company has
survived an economic downturn and several costly strategic missteps. The CEO is seeking
new sources of revenue and ways to leverage their well-known brand, while the CIO needs
to set Information Technology ( IT ) priorities: should they invest in a full-featured Enterprise
Resource Planning (ERP) package or take other steps that would more quickly yield
tangible results? Whatever choice he makes, Stetzel will have to convince the CEO and
the Board of Directors to provide the necessary resources. This case provides students
with an opportunity to place themselves in the shoes of a CIO wrestling with strategic IT
alignment challenges at a time when resources are severely constrained and competitive
rivalry is fierce.
Journal of Information Technology Teaching Cases

strategic IT alignment; IT governance; IT planning; e-commerce
Bob Stetzel, Vice President of Information Technology (IT)
at Vermont Teddy Bear (VTB), walked a tranquil path from
his car to his Shelburne, Vermont office early one morning
in mid-February 2010. The landscape outside his office, and
the White Mountains beyond, were blanketed in a coating of
fresh snow. Just a few days before, the scene was not tranquil
at all; a small army of nearly 2000 temporary employees had
descended on the company’s multi-building campus to help
process and pack gifts ordered by tens of thousands of
customers for delivery to their sweethearts for Valentine’s
Day. Bob and his seven person IT organization had worked
feverishly behind the scenes, ensuring that the company’s
information systems could handle the surge in orders for
pajamas, custom teddy bears, flowers and other gifts, placed
via telephone, mail-order, and the Web. There were a few
tense moments when the system – comprising a mix of
homegrown and packaged applications from a variety of
vendors, and knit together with middleware – occasionally
‘paused’ when its capacity was strained. Fortunately, his
team – veterans of past Valentine’s Day ‘peak experiences’ –
helped patch things together and ensured that nearly all
orders were processed and delivered on time. Recognizing
that customer retention was an important goal, Stetzel was
relieved that most customers were happy with the service
they received during the Valentine’s rush.
Stetzel had been hired in November 2009 – just in time
for a Christmas rush which included several tense moments
as the systems struggled to handle a surge in orders. He
hoped that before winter 2011 rolled around, his team could
tame the complicated middleware and make progress
toward an efficient, well-organized enterprise IT architec-
ture that could serve as a robust platform for the company’s
changing business requirements and support their long-
term strategic and operational needs. Meanwhile, Stetzel
knew he could expect another frenzy of activity in early
Journal of Information Technology Teaching Cases (2011) 1,
2011 JITTC Palgrave Macmillan All rights reserved 2043-8869/11
For the exclusive use of o. Bahkali, 2015.
This document is authorized for use only by omniah Bahkali in IT 580 SUMMER 2015 taught by Schaeffer, Marymount University from May 2015 to August 2015.
May, when orders would peak just before Mother’s Day
(second Sunday in May). Software bugs that had been
identified during the Valentine’s rush needed to be fixed by
members of his team before this next peak experience.
Stetzel also wanted to carve out time in March and April to
sort out his priorities for the IT organization so that the
relatively calm days between June and November (when
there were no major holidays to cause orders to suddenly
surge) could be put to good use modernizing the aging and
complex systems on which the company relied.
What project to do first? Should he oversee the selection
of new enterprise software to replace the accounting
systems responsible for order-entry, sales, and inventory
management? This would replace a lot of problematic
middleware, but at a high cost. Would it be better to focus
on  building  or  buying  new supply-chain  software  to
enhance operational capabilities, enabling raw materials
and finished goods to be more efficiently procured from
vendors around the world? Should the company acquire or
build a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) pack-
age that would help them serve customers well across
multiple product lines (bears, pajamas, flowers, other gifts)
and channels (stores, mail-order, web, telephone)? Stetzel
also wanted to build a new data warehouse and beef up the
business analytics capabilities that were needed for effective
marketing. Clearly, his team could not possibly accomplish
all these things in one 6-month period. Besides, the
company’s cash reserves were quite limited in this tough
economic environment. Difficult choices would need to be
made soon, and a plan devised to get the job done.
As Bob Stetzel mulled over these concerns, CEO
John Gilbert tapped on his door. ‘Do you have a moment,
I learned some interesting things at last week’s Toy Fair
(American International Toy Fair, held in New York City)
that might affect our business – and perhaps your
information systems.
Vermont Teddy Bear company background
: VTB was founded by John Sortino, who sold teddy
bears from a pushcart in a Burlington, Vermont open-air
mall. The company nearly went bankrupt around 1990, but
recovered when Sortino introduced a ‘Bear-Gram’ service,
promoted via radio advertisements in the New York City
area.  Customers  (mostly  men  buying  for  wives  or
girlfriends) phoned 1-800-829-BEAR to order a ‘persona-
lized’ bear (choosing from several colors of bears and about
100 costumes such as tutus, wedding gowns, fire fighter and
doctor or nurse outfits). The bear was shipped in a
decorated hatbox with ‘air holes’ and a note from a ‘Bear
Counselor.’ The market response to this promotion was
impressive; revenues grew from less than $2 million in 1990
to $17 million in 1993, allowing VTB to raise $10 million in
an initial public offering and earning it a ranking of number
21 in
Inc. Magazine’s
listing of American’s fastest-growing
public companies.
Despite the initial success of the Bear-Gram service,
numerous challenges threatened the company’s survival.
Although radio advertising and a toll-free phone number
generated lots of orders for teddy bears as gifts for
Valentine’s and Mother’s Day (80% were purchased by
adults for other adults), it was less cost-effective at other
times of the year. In an attempt to induce adults to buy
teddy bears for children throughout the year, the company
began to sell through high-end toy stores such as FAO
Schwarz, department stores such as Bloomingdales, and
more than 200 gift shops. VTB also opened company-
owned stores in New York City and Freeport Maine.
Unfortunately,  these  expensive  moves  combined  with
construction of a new company headquarters in Shelburne
Vermont,  entailed  high  expenses  (leasing  space  for
company stores cost $600,000 a year), which were not
sufficiently offset by sales.

: A new CEO, Elisabeth B Robert, closed the
company stores (except the factory store in Shelburne) and
launched a ‘Make-a-Friend-for-Life’ venture with retailer
Zany Brainy: in-store machines assembled and stuffed
personalized bears (similar to Build-a-Bear Workshops, a
competitor). 1999 sales reached $21.5 million.

: 2001 sales reached $37 million. Retail partner
Zany Brain filed for bankruptcy, but Robert was not
worried by this development, since ‘we’re not a retailer;
we’re in the gift delivery service business (Helmich, 2002).
She re-focused VTB on direct marketing via telephone and
website  (55%  of  Bear-Gram  orders  originated  online,
44% by phone). Producing about 450,000 bears per year
in Vermont, VTB continued to target both children and
annual sales for Valentine’s Day (February 14). Their biggest
customer was ‘Late Jack,’ an internal moniker describing
men who ordered bears at the last minute instead of buying
flowers or chocolates for girlfriends, wives, or mothers.
To increase sales to women and to generate orders at
other times of the year, VTB developed Gift Bag Boutique
(handbags and gift baskets of food, accessories, and/or
pajamas). In 2003, the company acquired high-end florist
Calyx & Corolla (renamed Calyx Flowers).

: VTB reverted to private ownership. Revenues
reached $66 million (Bears led at $31 million, followed by
Flowers at $17.5 million and Pajamas at $14.5 million.
Corporate sales, TastyGram, and other sources contributed
the rest). Pressures intensified from strong competitors
like 1-800-Flowers (which also sells gifts). The marketing
VP expressed concern about demographic trends such as a
drop in the number of young adult males (Exhibit 1). VTB
dropped several product lines. Three remained: Bears,
PajamaGrams, and Calyx Flowers.
Right after Valentine’s Day, 2008, 15 employees were laid
off. In September Elizabeth Robert resigned, a month
before an October stock market crash that reverberated
worldwide. Interim CEO William York, a veteran of LL
Bean and Dell, served during a time of further retrench-
ment. 2008 sales totaled about $75 million.
: A January press release announced VTB laid off 35
more  employees.  VTB  retained about  200  employees;
during three peak seasons (Christmas, Valentine’s Day,
Mother’s Day) temporary employees were hired.
In March 2009, John Gilbert joined VTB as its new
CEO, having previously served as Chief Marketing Officer
for TJX Companies and in marketing positions at Dunkin
Donuts, Pepsi, Coca Cola, and elsewhere. In a press release
Peak experiences and strategic IT alignment
JL Gogan and MO Lewis
For the exclusive use of o. Bahkali, 2015.
This document is authorized for use only by omniah Bahkali in IT 580 SUMMER 2015 taught by Schaeffer, Marymount University from May 2015 to August 2015.