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Morgan Stanley’s Return on System Noninvestment-Case Study Solution

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Morgan Stanley’s Return on System Noninvestment

Case Study Summary

Morgan Stanley was established in 1935, and in 1997 merged with retail brokerage firm Dean Witter Discover and Co. to become a global financial services organization that employed more than 53,000 people in over 600 countries including Australia. Institutional Securities, Asset Management, Retail Brokerage and Discover were the four segments of Morgan Stanley. The merger altered the working environment of Morgan Stanley and created a divide in employee acceptance of the Retail Brokerage segment. It did not integrate well with the firm partly due to the information systems being different to the rest of the company.

Under CEO Philip Purcell’s management, Morgan Stanley’s infrastructure and systems did not grow with the needs of employees and customers, nor did it apply future technologies to their current systems, its focus was reducing overheads to maximize profits in the short term. Many brokers resigned, taking with them valuable portfolios and profits. In June 2005 Purcell resigned, and John Mack provided new leadership. The firm then began to change its information systems and provide better services for clients, which saw stronger ethos and integrity within the employees.

The new leadership at Morgan Stanley instigated change, and the realization that the Company must grow to keep up with the competition in the financial services industry. Not only did technology need overhauling within all the segments, but management and organizational changes were also required. Some of these changes were the renaming the Retail Brokerage division to Global Wealth Management Group and hiring James Gorman with a budget in 2006 to invest over $500 million. It was also forced to make a significant upgrade to its website.

Prior to 2005 Morgan Stanley had no economical advantage, now with changes implemented in a competitive industry such as this Morgan Stanley's strength of employees, global product range and leading market share for Institutional Securities, Global Wealth Management and Asset Management has the firm making strong profits.

Case Study Questions & Answers:

I .Why did Morgan Stanley under invest in information technology?

To restore revenue, Morgan Stanley actually focused on management and organizational changes instead of focusing on investment on information technology. Also the unification of Morgan Stanley and Dean Witter introduced a digital, cultural and philosophical divide, as if they were not a single entity but separate entities. Dean Witter’s Retail Brokerage system could not actually manage to integrate with the Morgan Stanley’s Information Systems.
Again, Phillip Purcell, CEO of the firm focused his business strategy on maximizing profits. He failed to realize the importance of implementing latest technology in the company which could actually solve multitude of problems. He thought that the merger could be successful without the heavy investment into technology. Unfortunately, this caused other problems and tension grew among employees from Dean Witter about their job security.
I n addition, the company mainly focused on the rich customers and they think that investors who invest less than or equal to $100,000 require more technological platforms to be engage with the firm for updated information while rich customers directly contact to the brokers to obtain the required information. So they put less in the technological side of the firm and lose its importance.
Management team of Morgan Stanley underestimated the value of advanced Information Systems and latest technologies for achieving higher productivity and eventually faced many dramatic and far-reaching problems which brought tragic consequences for the company.

II. Why was the merge with Dean Witter disruptive for the company?

Merge with Dean Witter was disruptive for lots of reasons. The reasons are briefly discussed below: a) Merge with Dean Witter actually introduced a digital, cultural and philosophical divide in the company. This divide was so intense that the employees from Dean Witter never felt comfort working with others. They felt like disrespected outsiders after the merger.

b) Retail Brokerage division of the firm could not access the same technology already used by Morgan Stanley employees. They found difficulties to operate outdated desktop computers, which had not been upgraded in years and often crash in the middle of work. Printers caused paper jams if they were being used by more than two people at the same time. All these technological difficulties actually hampered the working environment and significantly reduced the efficiency and effectiveness of the workers. So eventually they failed to assist their clients properly.

c) The condition of company’s website was not up to the mark. Customers complained that the services available online is back to pre-2000 technology. It had several functionality problems and could not actually help the customers at all by providing brief report of their trade. Trade mechanisms were outdated; year- end tax reports were confusing because clients needed to manually add gains and losses with it.

All these technical difficulties and internal dispute among the workers of the overall firm made an unfavorable working environment which was extremely difficult to overcome. As a result, 1500 top brokers left the company, taking with them the portfolios of numerous important clients.

III. Why was Dean Witter and Retail Brokerage a good place to increase spending on information systems?

Business firms invest heavily in information systems to achieve six strategic business objectives: operational excellence; new products, services, and business models; customer and supplier intimacy; improved decision making; competitive advantage; and survival. So now we will discuss in brief about how information system will actually help Morgan Stanley to achieve this six business strategy. a. Operational Excellence: We have seen that the Retail Brokerage Division was not having the facility of using latest technology and equipments. Due to technical Difficulties, It could not provide the best customer service to the potential clients. Implementation of advanced information system and latest equipments could actually improve the efficiency of their day-to-day operations and eventually would take the firm one step ahead to achieve higher profitability.

b. New products, Services, and Business Models: Stanley Morgan’s online services were not up to the mark. Its Website was outdated and had several functionality problems. A developed website with all the relevant information online gives the clients easy access to the database which allows them to gain and exchange information within a blink. This would definitely be appreciated by most of the clients and lead the firm towards prosperity. Again, Morgan Stanley could make a business model that would show when and how new products would be implemented to make their Retail Brokerage department more effective and efficient in the services to their clients.

c. Customer and Supplier Intimacy: If Morgan Stanly establishes an advanced Info. Systems which are integrated into both firm’s Intranet and external online services (Internet news feed, website etc.), customers can easily get online services as well as respond of their queries more quickly. It will enable the firm to monitor customer’s demands and to know the way they want to be served which will eventually raise revenues and profits.

d. Improved Decision Making: An information system powered by latest technology can provide managers with precise real-time information on customer complaints, queries, demands and so on through which managers can take wise and proper decisions in no time. Due to lack of information, Morgan Stanley’s poor response and outcomes raised costs and eventually lost its potential customers. This would not happen if there was a smooth flow of information throughout the overall firm.

e. Competitive advantage: When Morgan Stanley achieves one or more of these business objectives-operational excellence; new products, services, and business models; customer/supplier intimacy; and improved decision making-chances are it has already achieved a competitive advantage.

f. Survival: Morgan Stanley badly needs information system and latest technology to survive in the market. As its competitors are heavily investing on new systems, it is necessary for her to bring latest technological changes into the system to compete with them. The firm has already lost 1500 brokers and a great number of portfolios of numerous important clients. Clients were also not satisfied with the way they were being served. Introduction of wrong business strategy caused jobs elimination and raised dispute among the management team. All these actually happened as a result of lack of investment in technology.

Unfortunately, if Morgan Stanley is not investing in such technology, many companies would prevent her from staying competitive. By Morgan Stanley not investing in information technology like they should from the start; it would eventually cost them millions of dollars in revenue and profits.

IV. If you were James Gorman, the new head of Global Wealth Management Group, what information systems would you invest in? Why? Do you think Morgan Stanley’s plans for an integrated client information system are worthwhile?

As James Gorman, I would first invest in a Decision Support System, which helps management strategically make decisions by providing information, models, and/or analytical tools. This information system allows the user to control the input and output information.
Another system that I would consider using would be the Executive Support System. It provides executive information in a readily accessible, interactive format. An ESS usually allows the summary of an entire organization. It also uses the information of middle-managers data to gain more insight of the organization as whole. This would be a great information tool for the executives of the Global Wealth Management Group so they could get a better understanding of the company's strengths and weaknesses and work towards improving the deficiencies.
I think that with the use of these systems effectively and efficiently, they would substantially help their company in many different areas.

V. Aside From new systems, what changes in management and organization are required to restore revenue and profit growth at the Global Wealth Management group?

Except for new systems, there are some changes required in management and organization in order to return revenue and profit growth at the Global Wealth Management Group. Without such changes SM will continue to decline relative to its competitors. This case study states that the Chief Executive John Mack brought in a new boss for the Global Wealth Management Group, this change in the senior level of employees follow the theory which is expressed by Kenneth C. & Jane P. as people is one of the key elements of an organization. Additionally as a number of productive brokers left the company, the firm should try to fix the problem by addressing the issue of a “one-firm culture”. The “one-firm culture” is badly needed to unify Institutional Securities, Asset management, Retail Brokerage and Discover Card services. Now the current CEO should try make others overcoming the perception that former Dean Witter employees are not equal compared to former Morgan Stanley employees. To do this the manager should first eliminate the technological divide to remove the disparity and integrate the different systems among all the divisions to foster friendship and brotherhood.
Global Wealth Management Group should also have a wise, experienced and efficient management team which will monitor all the problems and create proper business strategies to overcome them. Former CEO Phillip Purcell’s wrong perception brought tragic consequences for the whole firm. So in future, the firm should carefully recruit adroit people in the right place who can use his analytical potentiality to find out what is best for the firm, thus eliminating wrong decisions and perceptions
Generally Morgan Stanley’s position in the competitive market is weak. There are many strong competitors, new market entrants, many substitute products and services and a lessening client base. Changes are required in all areas to gain competitive advantage.…...

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