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The benefits of having an information systems …..!!!

9 Mar

so as this is my final blog …..i have decided to go through why businesses would even consider developing and purchasing information systems …..what is in it for them i.e. how they will benefit from the information systems they develop or purchase.

as has been proved through the series of these blogs …there is both an argument for both the developing and purchasing of  I.S , however whichever one you decide to pick the organisation will receive the same benefits.

below are 6 benefits or roles of information systems in organisations

Operational Efficiency  

Information systems i.e. TPS or MIS can help make a business more efficient and can help improve and make business processes quicker. faster and more efficient processes use resources in a more effective way and therefore can decrease costs hence increasing profitability for the organisation. information systems are vital for businesses, especially managers if they want to improve efficieny and productivity. Example is Wal-Mart that uses a RetailLink system , which digitally links its suppliers to every one of Wal-Mart’s stores. as soon as a a customer purchase an item , the supplier is monitoring the item , knows to ship a replacement to the shelf.

New Products, Services and and Business Models 

Information systems are a vital tool for aiding a buisness to create new products, services and even completley new business models. a business model describes how an organisation produces, delivers and sells a product or service , and therefore it is very important that it is as efficient as possible and information systems help businesses do this. Example Apple inc transformed an old business model based on its iPod technology platform that included iPod, the iTunes music service, and the iPhone.

Customer and Supplier Intamcay 

the more a business serves a customer well, the more likely they are to come back and purchase products again and again, this would raise revenue and therefore profit. it is therefore important for an organisation to know its customers well. Likewise with a businesses suppliers , the more they engage with suppliers, the better suppliers can provide vital inputs. Example: The Mandarin Oriental in Manhattan and other high-end hotels exemplify the use of information systems and technology to achieve customer intimacy. they use computers to keep track of guests’ preferences, such as their preffered room temperature, check-in time, television programs.

Improved decision making 

businesss often are in an environment where information is limited and they never have the right information at the right time to make an informed decision. as a result of this bad decisions can be made and therefore bad outcomes happen, these bad outcomes result in raised costs and loss of customers. information systems have enabled real-time data get to the right people and therefore have greatly improved managers ability to make decisions Example: Verizon Corporation uses a Web-based digital dashboard to provide managers with precise real -time information on customer complains, network performance.. Using this information managers can immediately allocate repair resources to affected areas, inform customers of repair efforts and restore service fast. 

Competitive Advantage 

when firms acheive one or more of the above ( imprved decision making, operational efficiency, new products services. customer supplier intimacy) chances are they have already gained competitive advantage. All these things allow a business to do things better than its competitors i.e. charge less for a supierior product, have a better performance and also have better responses to customers and suppliers. these all add together to result in higher sales and therefore higher profits Example Dell Computer is an excellent example of an organisation that gained a comeptive advantage because they made their internal operations more efficient

Survival 

Businesses often invest in information systems because they are a just a neccessity in order to survive in an ever changing and evolving business environment. Businesses need to keep up with their competitors or new regulations and developing or purchasing information systems can help do this. Example Citibank introduced the first automatic teller machine to attract customers through higher service levels, and its competitors rushed to provide ATM’s to their customers to keep up with Citibank. providing ATMs services to retail banking customers is simply a requirement of being in and surviving in the retail banking business.

These all prove that to operate and be successful in the business world today information systems are a MUST!!!! …..This is why organisations will go to the trouble of developing information systems specific to them or purchase systems if it is appropriate for them.

References 

http://cathaldoyle.com/lecture-13-how-organisations-use-is/

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_are_information_systems_so_important_in_business_today

hope you have enjoyed my blogs 🙂

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Different Types of information systems. !

7 Mar

so far alot has been covered on developing  I.S. e.g. advantages, disadvantages, traditional methods, agile methods etc. Also purchasing I.S. benfits, disadvantages etc have been covered. ( obviously as this blog topic is developing and purchasing I.S. lol). but i thought although all the information covered is useful ……should we not look at the different types of information systems that can be developed or purchased ……hence the inspiration for this blog …:)

So we have established that I.S. is extremely important for business today, that is why it is vital to develop or purchase the systems that are going to enhance your business the most. There are a many types of systems out there

  • Executive Support System (ESS)
  • Knowledge Management System (KMS)
  • Transaction Porcessing System(TPS)
  • Management Information System (MIS)
  • Decision Support Syetem(DSS)

Executive Support System

this kind of system is directed towards senior management.it aids them in making decisions and provides them with relevent data that they require.  An ESS can supply the summarized information executives need and yet provide the opportunity to drill down to more detail if necessary. ESS are able to take data form both internal and external sources and condense it down to provide senior management with information they will find useful. ESS rely alot on graphical presentations as this helps executives grasp the information more quickly. it is important that in an every adpting environment that Executive Support Systems are flexible and easy to manipulate.

Knowledge Management System

this is a kind of system that supports the capturing, organising and dissemnation of information. it is essentially a system which allows a business to create and share information. It is very useful in a business enviroment where employees are encouraged to express their ideas and knowledge. A KMS  can take information of any form e.g. powerpoint word etc. and share it e.g. on an intranet or on a corporate knowledge directory/repositry. it can be very beneficial in creating new ideas for the business however everyone must be willing to share the information they have.

Transaction Processing System 

As the name suggests this system records and processes accuratley and effeciantly daily business transactions. Examples include

  • sales order entry 
  • payroll
  • shipping
  • stock control
  • billing

This type of system allows managers to track the flow of transactions through the organisation, it also supports operational level employees in an organisation. TPS reduce costs through the automation of paperwork, serve predefined structured goals and decision making. Example: a TPS for payroll processing captures employees payment transactions data (time card). system outputs then include online and hard copy reports for management and employee paychecks. 

Management Information System

MIS mainly serves middle management and is concerned with internal sources of information. it provides reports on firms current performance based on data from TPS ( transaction processing system). MIS reports provide answers to routine questions and have a predifined procedure for answering them. For example, an MIS might provide a middle manager with current sales figures, and indicate whether they are on track to meet the months quota. 

Decision Support System

these systems are specifically designed to help management with non routine decision making e.g. where there is uncertainty about the possible outcomes of the decision. ( essentially “what- if” analysis.). DSS comprise tools and techniques to help gather relevant information and analyse the options and alternatives. Example : what is the impact on production schedule if sales in december double. These systems often use external information, however also take information from TPS and MIS.

Here is a small summary of the different systems (sorry i know its a bit small)

info systems 2

References: 

Extreme Programming (XP) method of developing I.S.

4 Mar

As my last blog was all about where agile development came from, this blog will focus on the extreme programming method of agile development. it will look at the different phases and hopefully give you a comparison between traditional methods and agile methods. enjoy 🙂

Extreme programming is probably the most prominant of the agile methods. the very first extreme programming project was started March 6th 1996 . Extreme Programming or XP focuses on customer satisfaction and teamwork, everyone is an equal partner i.e. managers, customers and developers all collborate together.

Extreme programming improves software development in 5 essential ways

  • Communication– XP developers constantly communicate with customers and fellow developers
  • Simplicity– They keep their design simple and clean so as to avoid any complications.
  • Feedback – they receive feedback by testing at every stage.
  • Respect – they respect customers and deliver the system as early as possible so that changes can be made if neccessary. Also because everyone is equal and in a collaborative team, opinions are respected by all members.
  • Courage – XP programmers respond courageously to changing requirements and new technologies

lifecycleXPProjectBeck

the XP  life cycle consits of 5 phases – Exploration, Planning, Iterations to release, production, maintenence and death

  • Exploration phase -involves 2 stages
  1. initial requirements modelling –  customers and users meet with the development team to create “user stories”. user stories are extremely important in XP as they provide high level requirements for your system and are a critical input into your planning process.
  2. Initial architectural modelling –  identify a metaphor that describes how you intend to build the system. The metaphor acts as a conceptual framework, identifying key objects and providing insight into their interfaces.it does not matter when exactly you develop this metaphor once it is at the beginning  of the project
  • Planning Phase 

       It is during this phase that developers paln a date with the customer for the first set of user stories to be implemented. Modelling is an important part of this phase. Normally a task card is drawn up, this is a written list of what needs to be done to complete the task. however sketches can also be drawn up  and then they are transferred to an index card so to have a record of your design to base your coding efforts on during the next iteration.

taskCardSketch

example of a sketched task card .

  • Iterations to release Phase

this is where your major development efforts including modeling, programming, testing, and integration occur. In Iteration planning  the focus is on the user stories assigned to the current iteration.  When you are working on iteration  you will find that new user stories, ones that have not been estimated, have been added in therefore you need to go through the effort of identifying tasks so you may accurately estimate each user story.  After estimating the new stories, and perhaps revisiting the other stories just to be on the safe side, you may find that you have too many or too few stories for the iteration and will need to move stories to/from other iterations.

Pair programming – this is a big part of the XP development. people work in pairs. throughout the production of the system 2 programmers sit side by side at the same machine, this ensures that everything is gone over by not 1 but 2 programmers and it is provent that pair programming produces better codes than programmers working on their own.

  • Production phase 

during this phase it is essential you slow down the rate at which ypu evolve the software because it is extremly important that the right things go into the next release. the system is tested and the performance of the system is checked before release. New changes may be introduced here , however they would have to be implemented quickly. it is also a good idea during this phase to look at ypur documentation and clean it up for users if needed.

  • Maintenance phase 

this phase is to ensure that the system is being used correctly and that is works well. an effort for customer ssupport has to be made here, it is vital that a system is maintained and to do this users need to know what they are doing – this is why documentation and also user involvement during development is crucial. if a system is not maintained then the development of it was a waste of time.

  • Death phase 

This occurs when customers have no more stories to implement, customer needs are met. all neccessary documentation is written in this phase. this phase may also occur if a development has to be abandoned because of it being too expensive to further development or desired product is not being delivered .

so those are the 5 phases of the XP model …….below is a video on the strengths and weaknesses of extreme programming , i just thought it might be helpful ….hope you like it 🙂

references 

            

Why Agile Development came about …..!!!

28 Feb

so my last blog was on the traditional spiral model of developing information systems. as previous blogs have gone through what traditional development is and most traditional methods i.e. SDLC, Waterfall and Spiral , i thought i would do my next blog on agile development. so below you will find all you need to know about Agile development ……hope you enjoy 🙂

what is Agile development …? why do we need it ..?

well when a system is being developed obviously the users give their requirements to the developer, the developer goes away and makes the system and you would think thats all there is to it.

however what if the users come up with new requiremements to put into the system …..the traditional methods of developing I.S. do not allow for change during the process and therefore costs of adding in requirements after the system is already developed are huge.

users want a system specific to them and often they do not always know what they want from the very start …..therefore learning causes change and we cannot avoid it, to combat the cost of change Agile development allows users to change their mind mid-build and still produces an effective system at the end

Agile software development promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change.its aim is to develop software in iterations which last1-4weekAgile_Software_Development_methodology.svg

Martin Fowler, Kent Beck, Ward cunningham, ken schwaber and jeff sutherland are just some of the 17 developers,system analysts etc who were known as the agile alliance that in 2001 challenged the typical ideas of systems development and so the Agile Manifesto was created.

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

they were aware that although there is value in the items on the right, the items on the left are far more valuable.

Individuals and interactions. 

when developing a system human interactions are much more important than proccess and tools. if you put people together they will form a close team relationship and figure it out themeselves.

Working software

this is the notion that it shouldn’t take 8-9 months to release a system, instead if everyone works together a prototype could be developed in 1month. there needs to be a frequent ouput of working software, its needs to be simple and the less documentation the better

Customer Collaboration

customer collaboration is essential when developing I.S. after all these are the people who at the end of the day need to be able to use the system. instead of having strict contracts co-operate with customers, deliver software quickly so users can use it ,see it and decide if they want anything else.

Responding to change 

Contracts must allow for change because in any development project change is inevitable. customers are part of the team and so they must be involved in changes.

so overall they principles of Agile Software development are

  1. Providing rapid feedback
  2. adopting simplicity
  3. changing incrementally
  4. embracing change
  5. encouraging quality work.

From this blog i hope you get a better understanding of agile development and why it came about …..just as Agile development was a new and more innovatie way of developing I.S.  people will continue to come up with new ways of developing …….my next blog will go through an extreme programming (XP) which is an agile method of developing …….:)

 

 

Spiral Model approach to developing Information systems

19 Feb

As we have seen in previous blogs in this category, there are many ways to develop an information system. There are the traditional methods e.g SDLC, Waterfall,Spiral and also there are Agile methods e.g XP etc.

As both SDLC and Wterfall models have been covered ….i have chosen to show how the spiral model approach to developing information systems is used.

the Spiral model was first created by Brry Boehm in 1986. the spiral model combines iterative development (prototyping) with aspects of the waterfall model. One of the major advantages of the spiral model is that is incorporates risk assesment. The four stages of the spiral model are

  • Planning – setting project objectives 
  • Risk Analysis – analysis of alernatives and identification and solution of risks
  • Engineering – equivilant to build phase of SDLC with coding and testing
  • Evaluation – testing product with customers

spiral_model

  1. Project Start: this is in the 1st quadrant (blue) – determine objectives , consider alternatives and constraints.
  2. if project is moved on it goes into the 2nd quadrant (purple) – strategy is analysed from the viewpoint of risk and solutions to minimise these risks are investigated.
  3. 3rd quadrant (pink) – a solution to achieve the goals set out in first quadrant is put into place
  4. 4th quadrant(yellow)  – The results of the risk-reduction strategies are assessed, and if all risks are resolved, the next phase is planned and started.

After each round (iteration)  of the spiral model a decsion is made whether to carry on or not. This allows for mistakes and changes to be made without major disturbance and it also ensures that the project that goes forward will be the best.

there are many advantages of using this model to develop information systems …

  • ability to detect high risk projects and the option of continuing or not at each iteration 
  • includes the best features of the both the SDLC and the prototyping approach
  • adds validation of requirements and design together with risk analysis
  • Users get to see and experience the system quite early because of prototyping tools 

Overall the Spiral model is very good as it almost incorporates all other traditional methods e.g SDLC , Waterfall and prototyping while also having risk management built in. It is not the cheapest option however in my opinion is the best way to go when developing your own information system.

Sources :

 

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