Online trading started in 1987, but it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the Internet emerged as a popular tool for investors to gather information, research companies, and trade stocks. Merrill Lynch ignored this trend toward online trading until new competitors, such as Ameritrade and E-Trade, emerged and were eating away at their client base with free research, access to up-to-the-minute trading information, and a price advantage—a small fraction of the Merrill Lynch price. To deal with this online move of their customer base, Merrill Lynch created a financial portal—a one-stop shop for investing, shopping, information, and even auctions.
In this week’s case study, you will be investigating how they managed the change to an online portal with the switch to distributed systems. Major focus should be given to the e-business applications they incorporated in the portal. There is one specific reference given for this case study to provide some background information to help you in your research. It is suggested that in your research you pay particular attention to their deliverables and what their competition offered.
Your deliverable this week will be a completed case study (3–5 pages) submitted on the issues Merrill Lynch faced and what their approach to them was. A sample template for the case study is available in Files.
In this step, you need to find out the questions “why” and “how” of Merrill Lynch’s issues. Start with reading what has been written about it. In this week’s reading assignments, one of the references gives an introduction to the issue Merrill Lynch faced:
Use this as a start to give you an overview of the issues. This article, along with others you will find in your research and on the Web, should allow you to answer the “why” and “how” of the situation and their actions in handling it.
Don’t forget to proof and fact-check your case study. If you are using quotes from sources, or data from an unreliable source, you should attempt to find a better source, or remove them. This is sometimes called “establishing rigor.” Make sure your case study is credible, transferable, verifiable, and dependable.