Case ID: 191122
Solution ID: 914
Words: 516
Price $ 45

Burlington Northern The ARES Decision A

Case Solution

Burlington Northern's decision whether to invest in ARES, an automated train control system, is a ($350 million) strategic investment in information technology. Although set in a service industry (railroad) the issues around this decision arise in many organizations and require the company to analyze the project from many perspectives. ARES offers the potential to change the basis of competition in the industry through technology. The company must consider the value, if any, of being first in the industry to adopt a technology; the potential impact on customer services, quality, and reliability; and the role and value of information systems technology. Burlington grapples with how to quantify both tangible and intangible benefits, and deliberates whether investments that yield improvement in hard-to-quantify factors such as reduced delivery time and improved service reliability can be subjected to the same financial scrutiny as equipment replacement decisions such as new locomotives. Demonstrates thoughtful, creative approaches to measuring hard-to-quantify benefits.

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