vermont Teddy Bear

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Teaching case

Peak experiences and strategic IT

alignment at Vermont Teddy Bear Janis L Gogan, Mark O Lewis

Bentley University, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence: JL Gogan, Bentley University, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. Tel: þ 781 891 2098; Fax: þ 781 891 2949; E-mail:

Abstract 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...