Louis Dreyfus Company is a merchant company that was founded in 1851. It provides products and services in agriculture, finance, and international shipping. As stated on the company’s website, their portfolio includes “Grains, Rice, Freight, Finance, Coffee, Cotton, Sugar,… Fertilizers & Inputs and Metals” (“Louis Dreyfus Company 2015 Annual Report” 2). The key strength of the company is its thorough understanding of the market combined with strong management practices. Louis Dreyfus employees believe that providing the right product at the right time is the key organizational objective of the company. The company is operating more than in 100 countries, including the USA, the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, etc. The geographical reach of the company is so wide that it can help the administration to obtain data concerning various global trends. Since the founding of the company, this allows Louis Dreyfus Company to make the best use of the fundamental market tendencies and their occurrence within the framework of the industries in which Louis Dreyfus operates. The notion of a rich value chain is characteristic of Louis Dreyfus. As of today, the company has $557.7 billion in net sales (“Louis Dreyfus Company 2015 Annual Report” 2). Moreover, because Louis Dreyfus operates in a vast number of different business platforms, the company can showcase the scalability of its business and help people worldwide.
The processes and activities that define the company are the following: to originate and produce, the company purchases farms and plantations, as well as engages joint ventures and forms partnerships. The company also controls quality and supply products that are delivered to the company’s merchandising network. Another process is the shipping and transporting of products; to complete it, a wide and complex management system is used by the company. To support their work, the company analyses and researches the data that will help its merchandise more efficiently. Moreover, this diagnostic information also helps the company’s platforms and offices to ensure the responsive supply and customer support (Cramm 2). Other processes are customization and distribution that ensure the company is capable of supplying all customers with all ordered products. The key focus of the company’s operating model is to support the essential needs of its employees and customers. This is why Louis Dreyfus Company elaborated on an IT system that complies with the world-class standards of development (Cramm 2). The strategy is to come up with a highly technological approach that will be beneficial and efficient at the same time. The operating model of Louis Dreyfus Company is based on several processes. These processes include maintaining market leadership and identifying new strengths that could be utilized to improve the performance of the company’s processes. The company is also interested in boosting its network reach and increasing the scalability of its business (Applegate et al. 22).
Information Management Practice
The information management practice at Louis Dreyfus Company utilizes a conventional approach to the business. The IT department concentrates its efforts on the development of special competency centers. In perspective, this practice assists the company in fulfilling its mission and gathering a professional IT team that possess definitive IT skills (Davenport 3). The information management practice applied at Louis Dreyfus company complies with the mission of the company and carefully utilizes a custom-designed IT structure. As a result, the company can provide its employees (especially from the IT department) with several special opportunities (Davenport 6). The current information management practice presupposes a serious involvement of the employees in the core processes of the company. These processes may include starting a new project or exploring new business opportunities. On a bigger scale, this involves modern technologies (for instance, big data) and the IT department is responsible for the deployment of these technologies (McAfee and Brynjolfsson 5). Louis Dreyfus Company is carefully tracking the effectiveness of its information management practice to gain extensive insight into the core business processes. The system recognizes the complexity of the market. Moreover, the information management practice employed at Louis Dreyfus Company mitigates the risks of negative outcomes and monitors the company’s rivals.
Based on the facts above, some competitive advantages of this information management practice can be identified. First, Louis Dreyfus Company can evaluate the information technology requirements and schedule critical updates taking into consideration the core business needs of the company such as eminent customer service, high-quality products, and the ability to manage data efficiently. This is an important point because the company will be able to boost its performance and increase its competitive advantage in comparison to its competitors (Weill and Ross 31). Second, the current information management system at Louis Dreyfus Company allows the IT department to deploy critical updates with no harm to the complex components of the multi-layered system. These components include the database, the hardware, network reach, and security protocols. The IT department is committed to certifying that hardware idle time is lessened to an appropriate level. Third, the current information management system allows the IT department to respond to incoming requests.
The managers of the IT department can also easily manage the budgets of the projects and monitor the outflows. Therefore, the information management system at Louis Dreyfus Company serves as a coordinator that can control business operations (Weill and Woerner 124). The fourth advantage is connected to the ability of the IT department to respond to a crisis. The system features a technological perspective that enables the integration of new departments and businesses. The information management practice employed at Louis Dreyfus Company may also be considered a powerful audit tool designed to help the IT department to evaluate the security and performance of the system. The last advantage of this information management system is the ability to expand knowledge concerning hardware and software and build relationships with numerous technology providers. The company can elaborate on long-term plans and take advantage of the latest IT developments.
Weaknesses of the Current Setup
Even though the current setup at Louis Dreyfus Company possesses several advantages, several critical weaknesses should be promptly evaluated (Nohria 2). First, the existing information management system features a feeble online presence strategy. In the 21st century, powerful advertising campaigns are as important as high-end hardware and a motivated team. The IT department of Louis Dreyfus Company should research the market and create opportunities for the companies to grow its customer base and establish a reliable connection with their loyal clients (Nohria 4). Another weakness is the unwillingness of the team to divide complex and resource-intensive projects into smaller clusters. Ultimately, this results in stagnation and the inability to finish the project successfully. Nonetheless, this weakness can be mitigated easily and does not represent a serious threat to the company. The last weakness of the current setup at Louis Dreyfus Company is the fact that it avoids the use of cloud technologies. This negatively influences the overall state of affairs in the department and increases the risk of critical failures and data loss (McAfee 6). If the company decides to use cloud technologies, they will be able to protect the personal data of the employees and information about important projects and developments of the company by creating numerous backups and mirror copies of the data.
Applegate, Lynda, et al. “Bonnier: Digitalizing the Media Business.” Harvard Business School, vol. 9, no. 73, 2012, pp. 1–26.
Cramm, Susan. “The Truths About IT Costs.” Harvard Business Review, vol. 3, no. 13, 2009, pp. 1–3.
Davenport, Thomas. “Spotlight on Making Your Company Data-Friendly.” Harvard Business Review, vol. 14, no. 2, 2013, pp. 1–9.
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McAfee, Andrew. “What Every CEO Needs to Know About the Cloud.” Harvard Business Review, vol. 5, no. 18, 2011, pp. 1–10.
McAfee, Andrew, and Erik Brynjolfsson. “Big Data: The Management Revolution.” Harvard Business Review, vol. 3, no. 11, 2012, pp. 1–9.
Nohria, Nitin. “Feed R&D – Or Farm It Out?” Harvard Business Review, vol. 5, no. 14, 2005, pp. 1–5.
Weill, Peter, and Jeanne Ross. “A Matrixed Approach to Designing IT Governance.” MITSloan Management Review, vol. 46, no. 2, 2005, pp. 25–35.
Weill, Peter, and Stephanie Woerner. “Optimizing your digital business model.” IEEE Engineering Management Review, vol. 43, no. 1, 2015, pp. 123–131.