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Target Corporation is arguably the largest retail store in the U.S, second only to the Walmart store. With its headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the corporation was initially named the Goodfellow Dry Goods. The retail store established its reputation as the best-selling and revenue generation division of the Dayton-Hudson Company- how it came to be known later. The store began expanding its operations reaching countrywide operability around the ’80s and thus leading to the introduction of innovative formats of the store under the umbrella of the Target brand. The company’s success can be majorly attributed to its operation in the cheap-chic (Brad, 2016).
The corporation’s vision since inception has always been; ‘Guided commitments to great value, the community, the diversity and the environment.’ Additionally, their mission is to make the Target store the most preferred destination for shopping for all its clients essentially by delivering the best value and non-stop innovativeness besides offering an incredible and exceptional experience to its clients by ensuring that the clients’ expectations are consistently fulfilled or by even surpassing their expectations. By paying less, the brand promises to deliver more. As a way of supporting their mission, Target is guided by the urge to stay committed to providing the greatest value, the drive to make the community around them a better place and also the responsibility of taking care of the environment (Kolk, 2010).
To offer products at affordable prices, Target Corporation is constantly on the look- out for the best ways to keep its costs of operation under control. Subsequently, the corporation’s department of IT looks for the most cost-effective technology that would help in easily delivering the anticipated value for the business. Target Technology Services is essentially the best strategizing and enabling element for almost every retail operation of the corporation. The technology used underlies the experience of the clients at all the Target stores. The level of the technology reliability which includes even the applications used at the Point-of-sale, play a very crucial and integral role in aiding the company to deliver to its clients.
The IT infrastructure at Target is highly distributed with 300, 000 endpoints or more. These endpoints include the kiosks, the terminal computers, the servers, the registers used at the Point-of-sale terminals and even the mobile devices used. The mobile devices used within the corporation are distributed among the corporation’s 1,755 retail stores. All the company’s retail stores operate independently and autonomously except for the corporation’s centralized authentication applications, the services for monitoring the endpoint activities and the domain name resolution. Every Target store has its own control room and its own network with the capability of computing its capacity within the store.
The major challenges experienced by the IT infrastructure model adopted by Target include the frequent sprawling of the servers and the consequent accompanying rise in the costs of electricity and the hardware requirements. Needless to mention, the rapidly increasing and highly distributed infrastructural elements with hundreds of thousands of retailing endpoints that need management also posed challenges that necessitated the corporation to find a more effective virtualization solution.
The use of virtualization for consolidating the hundreds of thousands of the corporation’s servers means that Target spends much less time and resources on the actual physical infrastructure of the corporation. This will leave the corporation with enough time and resources to dedicate to offering their clients with the most incredibly exceptional experiences when shopping at their stores.
Since all the applications at the Point-of-Sale terminals use the corporation’s integrated IT architecture, the company requires databases for storage. Ideally, having a swift and easy access to the platform of storage is advantageous in numerous ways. Additionally, the data stored in the corporation’s database is of utmost importance to the company in especially making decisions regarding marketability of the company’s products. Great performance and seamless operability of the database applications and availability of the information stored in the databases are therefore very crucial requirements to the corporation (Belikov et al., 2011).
The best example of data mining as applied by Target Corporation involves the collation of the clients’ billing information, their visits to websites, and all their customer services interactions among other kinds of metrics to give each customer the aptest probability score of being interested in the Target’s merchandise. Besides, the corporation’s other form of data mining is made possible by the retailing outlets of the corporation. The retailing stores compartmentalize the clients into groups, i.e., the ‘Recency, Frequency, Monetary’ subcategories. The retails then proceed to target their marketing and promoting their merchandise to those groups.
One of the most commonly used methodologies of network architecture is the strategy that is based on building an impenetrable and strong exterior, to only allow the users inside the system to freely access the resources in the network while simultaneously preventing unauthorized access of outside users. This strategy of safeguarding the system can be attributed to the fact that only the individuals inside the system can be trusted with the network facilities. This strategy of network infrastructure is adopted by the Target Corporation. Nevertheless, this strategy is not the most appropriate for security of a system. For instance, the Target breach of data was made possible because of the use of this strategy. If an attacker gains access to the security credentials of a third party that does business collaboratively with Target Corporation, they can as well have access to Target Corporation’s network system. Subsequently, they can then easily compromise the network’s resources using malware on any devices used at any point of sale terminal (Krebs, 2014).
As aforementioned, the security principle of allowing the internal users of the systems the rights to access all the network segments without monitoring leaves the system vulnerable to attack threats. This is because, once the attacker gains access to one of the network segments, it becomes much easier for them to attack more segments of the network. The network strategy of trusting the internal users of the network leaves it vulnerable to attacks from within the interior segments of the system. A good example of this network vulnerability goes back to the massive data breach experienced at Target. Additionally, Target Corporation never took the most appropriate methodologies for segmenting their network systems and thus failing to effectively isolate their most sensitive assets in the network system from the most easily accessible sections of the network. The VLAN technique used by the corporation is reportedly easy to bypass (Forester Research, 2013).
Needless to mention, the corporation’s terminals of point of sale were not hardened enough and thus allowing for easy installation and subsequent configuration of unauthorized and malicious software into the system. The settings applied by the IT team led to the smooth spread of the installed malware and thus easily reading sensitive and private data from the clients’ cards from the point of sale terminals.
The first e-commerce site for Target was rolled out in 1999. Target launched Target.com website as a portion of the discount retail division. The website originally allowed the advertisement and sale of merchandise that brought out a clear distinction between the corporation and the competing stores. In early 2000, the company separated the already existent operations of the e-commerce unit from the retailing unit and subsequently combining the operations with Rivertown Trading direct marketing division, thus making it a subsidiary that stood alone independently. In August 2009, after parting with Amazon as business associates, Target independently built and managed a new Target.com platform. The newly unveiled platform is an entirely online retail experience controlled solely by Target. The online platform is more user friendly with a reinvention of the online environment of the visiting and prospective clients.
As part of Target Corporation’s initiative and efforts to make the clients choose their stores always for shopping, the company made a host of very powerful enhancements in technology to all the Target stores. Customers are benefitting greatly from the novel enhancements in technology. The cutting-edge technology used by Target makes the shopping experience at Target much easier, convenient and faster. For instance, if a client doesn’t find the item they want in the right size or color, they can place an order online using a mobile application and then have the item delivered to their houses, instead of leaving the store empty-handed. The “myChechout” app used by the Target Corporation is used on mobile devices for especially searching for the available merchandise on the stores’ catalogs and the most desired products (Target, 2017).
The core uses of web 2.0 and social media platforms were identified and conceptualized by the corporation’s data. Internally, the web 2.0 and other platforms of social media are majorly used for basic internal communication and the transfer of knowledge within the organization. On the other hand, social media platforms are used externally in enhancing communications that are related to the facilitation of better acuity of the corporation’s brand. Additionally, social media platforms are essential for communication with clients, in building communities with various groups of stakeholders while simultaneously enabling the engagement of the external parties with interest in the corporation for generation of ideas, besides providing a platform for seamless crowdsourcing.
Target has an enterprise system that tracks all the purchases made by a customer in the store or online. If a client calls the customer care services, they will be allowed to access the data in addition to all the notes available from all the other contacts. This is one of the most widely applied technical strategies used by Target to enable the effective and seamless provision of services to the customers while at the same time building its brand. The enterprise system used by Target allows for zero latency. This system strategy is whereby any information put into the system is immediately available to any system user. The primary application of this system strategy is to allow Target employees to easily obtain contact information about clients for fast responding to the questions or concerns.
Target also uses the information branded on credit cards, has gone to the extent of establishing programs of loyalty, and also developing the mailing lists in a bid to get a better understanding of their clients. This kind of enterprise system ensures client satisfaction. Besides, the real-time intelligence on customer information allows the corporation to efficiently carry out one-to-one advertisement and marketing. By establishing a system based on the customer information while integrating all the sources customers’ data, the corporation efficiently segments their market into subcategories of the customers shopping with them and thus marketing more appropriately to all the customer classifications (Roberts & Zahay, 2013).
All factors indicate that Target’s primary focus is on the consumer, from the refreshingly well-orchestrated programs of loyalty to even giving a boost to the personalized provisions in streamlining the accessibility of these offers. Target has seen unprecedented growth in their digital platforms. The corporation’s signature and popular categories are growing exponentially about thrice the rate of the growth of the overall business. This massive growth can be attributed to quality and differentiation. The company’s efforts around the fundamentals of the IT strategy are improving the operational performance.
The primary goal of the Target IT strategy and team is to provide shoppers with a hassle-free and enjoyable experience which entails ensuring that the whole inventory is readily available and easily accessible in the Target stores and on the company’s online site. The Target Corporation Sourcing Services sources the entire corporation’s products and merchandise from all over the whole world. The factors considered when sourcing merchandise from their vendors include the quality of production, the capacity they can deliver and the social responsibility.
Target Corporation has defined the best approaches to take care of any emergent issues in the course of business operations. The strategy put in place allows the company’s stakeholders to make informed decisions when endeavoring to find solutions to any ethically related dilemmas and other issues arising while doing business. Target Corporation mainly relies on the preset ethical principles in the corporate culture in making ethically-related decisions. The company’s integrative culture puts into consideration all the individuals that may have interest in the company’s businesses.
My choice to do a case study on the Target Corporation is because the company has a great reputation of providing the best services to their customers while at the same safeguarding the stakeholders’ interests and giving back to the community. Target has an excellent reputation as a positive impact on the communities it provides services to.
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