Fighting cancer with information | Biology homework help

This case shows how one organization used a CRM solution to solve information issues.


“The mission of the American Cancer Society (ACS) is to cure cancer and relieve the pain and suffering caused by this insidious disease,” said Zachary Patterson, chief information officer, ACS.


The ACS is a nationwide voluntary health organization in the U.S. dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by supporting research, education, advocacy, and volunteer service. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with 17 divisions and more than 3,400 local offices throughout the U.S., the ACS represents the largest source of private non- profit cancer research funds in the U.S.


To support its mission, the ACS must perform exception- ally well in three key areas. First, it must be able to provide its constituents—more than 2 million volunteers, patients, and donors—with the best information available regarding the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer. Second, ACS must be able to demonstrate that it acts responsibly with the funds entrusted to it by the public. “Among other things, that means being able to provide exceptional service when someone calls our call centre with a question about mammography screening or our latest anti-smoking cam- paign,” said Terry Music, national vice-president for Infor- mation Delivery at the ACS. Third, ACS must be able to secure donations of time and money from its constituent base. Its success in this area is directly related to providing excellent information and service, as well as having an inte- grated view of its relationship with constituents. “To suc- ceed, we need to understand the full extent of each constituent’s relationship with us so we can determine where there might be opportunities to expand that relation- ship,” Music said.


The ACS was experiencing many challenges with its current information. “Our call centre agents did not know, for example, if a caller was both a donor and a volunteer, or if a caller was volunteering for the society in multiple ways,” he said. “This splintered view made it challenging for American Cancer Society representatives to deliver personalized service and make informed recommenda- tions regarding other opportunities within the society that might interest a caller.”


The ACS chose to implement a CRM solution to solve its information issues. Critical to the CRM system’s success was consolidating information from various databases across the organization to provide a single view of constituents and all information required to serve them. After an evaluation process that included participation well as to position cellphones as an even more useful and, thus, essential device for consumers. Retailers envision eas- ier transactions also leading to more sales.


Mastercard Worldwide is currently using this technology in its PayPass option, and in the U.S. the Bank of America and Citibank have teamed up with Mastercard to place PayPass chips on mobile devices programmed with the user’s credit card information. Consumers can simply tap their cellphone on a special device at a checkout counter equipped with a receiving device. At the time this technology was being pio- neered, Betsy Foran-Owens, then vice-president for Product Services at Mastercard International, commented that with this technology, “You don’t even have to get off your phone to pay. You can just tap this thing down at the register.” She also noted, “If you’re not going to carry cash around, what are you going to carry? Your mobile phone.”11




1.      Using Porter’s Five Forces describe the barriers to entry and switching costs for this new technology.


2. Which of Porter’s three generic strategies is this new technology following?


3.      Describe the value chain of using cellphones as a pay- ment method.


4.         What types of regulatory issues might occur due to this type of technology?