My Case Study

Running Head: GE, H.B. Fuller Co., and Others
“Individual Case Study:
GE, H.B. Fuller Co., and Others: Successful Implementations of Software-as-a-Service”
Gerardo Vela
Walden University
MGMT-3005V-1, Information Systems in Enterprises
Jesus Borrego
March 09, 2014
GE, H.B. Fuller Co., and Others
In this Case Study, I will analyze the case of General Electric’s problem with their
supplier’s software and also how H.B. Fuller made it to get really complex software that
meets all of his requirements. I will also compare and contrast the difference between:
buying an application from a vendor, making it and going the SaaS (Software as a System)
GE, H.B. Fuller Co., and Others
Individual Case Study:
GE, H.B. Fuller Co., and Others: Successful Implementations of Software-as-a-Service
General Electric is a company that “works on things that matter, the best people and the
best technologies taking on the toughest challenges, finding solutions in energy, health and
home, transportation and finance, building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not
just imagining, doing. GE works”. [1] By starting with this quote I am trying to say that
General Electric is an enormous corporation, this company has a very big and varied list of
products, clients and suppliers around the world.
To be more specific General Electric´s supply chain consists of “500,000 suppliers in more
than 100 countries that cut across 14 different languages.” [2] So when we talk about a
corporation as big as this one we need to realize the need of a really complex software with
a lot of requirements involving lot of money to make it work.
So when the CIO of General Electric Gary Reiner saw that they were having a really big
problem in this area he had to make a decision, does he need to create his own supply chain
software? Or does he have to buy an existent one? Or should he go for the SaaS way?
Talking about a big project like this one means a lot of responsibility because this is going
to define the way that General Electric and it’s supply chain will work from that moment
GE, H.B. Fuller Co., and Others
At first, Reiner realized that creating his own application would cost a lot of money that the
company would not invest in that project so this means that he would have to buy the
required software for the company.
With this on his mind, Reiner realized that the software needed some requirements like:
having Multilanguage capabilities and making the suppliers able to manage their own data.
Then Reiner realized what he really needed, General Electric needed to achieve one
common view of its suppliers base; they needed that if they had suppliers in Mexico and in
Japan they could see the same information, and access to it, configure it and manage it.
This also meant that they needed Software as a Service, but what does SaaS means? “Short
for Software as a Service, SaaS is a software delivery method that provides access to
software and its functions remotely as a Web-based service. Software as a Service allows
organizations to access business functionality at a cost typically less than paying for
licensed applications since SaaS pricing is based on a monthly fee.”
With this answers appearing to be the right one, Reiner decided to go for the SaaS way but
General Electric bought the application from a not famous SaaS vendor, which was a high
risk to take.
This software was untested but still, General Electric decided that it was a good risk to take
because they trusted Aravo because there was no other vendor that offered what Aravo
offered them.
GE, H.B. Fuller Co., and Others
The results were as expected and Aravo solve the problems that General Electric had, they
used its SaaS for 100,000 users and 500,000 suppliers in six different languages, and this
was a major breakthrough in the area because it made General Electric a company that had
a trustable data transparency and a software that made easier their transactions with their
suppliers, it also created a common view of their supply base. We also have to emphasize
that is operation is the largest SaaS deployment known today.
GE, H.B. Fuller Co., and Others
1. What factors should companies take into consideration when making the decision
between developing their own applications, purchasing them from a vendor, or
taking the SaaS route, as discussed here?
First, they need to take in consideration the cost that they are willing to take for their
application, and then you have to check the requirements needed because when you
purchase from a vendor it could be really difficult to find what you truly need.
2. What risks did GE take on when they contracted with a small and less experienced
vendor? What contingencies could have been put in place to prevent any problems
from arising?
They took the risk of inexperience because it is not normal that a company as big as
General Electric contract a small vendor, but I think that finally they made the right
choice because he had a great product and he didn´t need the experience to make a
good product.
3. What should companies do if none of the “configuration options” perfectly fits with
their needs? Should they attempt to customize, or select the least-worst alternative?
When would they do each?
If it was my company I would go for the customize option because that way you have
what you need, but if you are low on capital the best option is to select the least-worst
GE, H.B. Fuller Co., and Others
1. General Electric. (2013). About GE. Retrieved from
2. O’Brien, J. (2008). Introduction to Information Systems (15th Ed.).
3. SaaS - Software as a Service Retrieved from