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Why Business Need Information Systems

11 Mar

Many businesses today do not make use of internet which is very important in this day. Upgrading the computer information system is not an option in this technology-driven era, it is essential. The follow are reasons why businesses need to use information systems.

Operational Excellence:
In order for a business to achieve high levels of profitability, they need to improve the efficiency of their operations. Information systems is a tool that is used in order to achieve high levels of efficiency and productivity in business operations.

New Products, Services and Business Models:
Information systems can be used to create new products and services and also an entirely new business model. A business model describes how a company produces, delivers and how they sell a product or service to create wealth.

Customer/Supplier Intimacy:
When a business provides a good product or service customers tend to return and purchase more frequently which raises revenue and profits. The more a business engages with its suppliers, the better the supplier can provide vital inputs which can lower costs.

Improved Decision-Making:
Many managers who operation in an information bank may never have the right information at the right time to make an informed decision. This can raise costs and lose customers. However, information systems allow the managers to use real-time data from the marketplace when making decision.

Competitive Advantage:
When a firm achieved one or more of these business objectives (operational excellence, new products, services and business models, customer/supplier intimacy and improved decision-making), they may have a competitive advantage. By performing better than competitors, charging less for superior goods and responding to customers and suppliers, higher sales and profits can be made.

Day To Day Survival:
Businesses must invest in information systems and technology as they are essential to doing business. This necessity is caused by the industry level changes and firms need to use information systems and technology in order to provide the capability to respond to these.

Information systems enables companies to react, respond, cater, store, retrieve, disseminate and control their new valuable asset that is information. In the future, a good information system in a business will no longer be an option, it will become a compulsory in determining success.

Reference:
http://www.bukisa.com/articles/20243_the-importance-of-information-system

Even Agile can fail!

11 Mar

There is no doubt that Agile software development is an improvement on traditional development methods, but is it perfect? Does every team to implement agile techniques and practices suddenly learn to move mountains, part the ocean? Unfortunately not. While project fail rates have been reduced from the catastrophic pre-Agile rate of 60%, about 40% of projects still fail, and still cost the economy tens of billions of dollars per year, a fact that is not widely reported.

I hope to show in this blog post that in most, if not all cases, when Agile fails it is due to poor implementation of methods rather than any fundamental flaws in the Agile methodology itself.

In a way, Agile ideals are the cause of its problems. The most well-known benefit of Agile is an exponential increase in the speed at which actual working iterations of software are created. Unfortunately (and this will become a pattern throughout this post), in many cases those who chose to implement Agile methods read about them and took away “It’s fast. Software will be finished quickly if we have a lot of meetings and don’t waste time documenting everything.” Job done, right? Wrong. Agile has never placed an emphasis on speed. The truth is that it’s founders know that if you try to do the right thing the right way every time, more than likely once it’s done, it’s done. No changes, patches, bug fixes, and definitely no scrapping the whole project and starting again. This will result in finished, fully functional software that satisfies the needs of the end user and does add value to a business, and the team will get there faster than if they barrelled through for two years, only to find out upon completion
that the end users hate the UI and that the program cannot perform it’s intended function.

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Agile methods are so well documented, intense, and focused on participation and communication that it is quite easy for a team to focus more on how stringently they are following their chosen method than on the ideas being generated, or work being produced. The Agile concept is derived from a very organic situation; Some programmers that work together by choice on a project, and discuss what they are working on very regularly, purely out of interest. The benefits of this organic process are obvious, and while it does take effort to replicate processes such as Agile, in truth, it was never meant to be applied to every software development project or every team in the same way. Agile was created by ‘star’ programmers, those who love what they do. The aim of Agile is to replicate the enthousiasm for a project that creates great software, by highlighting problems affecting a team, like a mother in law constantly pointing out shortcomings. The secret to success is to respond well to these red flags. For example, a team’s work may be affected due to not gathering enough information on business requirements. After their first iteration of working software is released, feedback from the shareholders will show that their requirements were not sufficient, and will help to further define them. This results in an improved performance in the second sprint, and so on. To sum up, good feedback reduces the timeframe of a project, as things will not have to be repaired, or started from scratch. Do the right things, do them right, do them now.

The other aspect affecting the timeframe of a project is the level of craftsmanship or expertise of those involved. This is comprised of two elements: Domain knowledge and expertise. Domain knowledge refers to each team members knowledge of WHY they are developing this project.

‘Everyone should clearly understand what we are doing,

why,

and why it is important at this very moment in time.’

It is hardly surpsising that developers know more about writing code than about, for example, the processes of the insurance providers they are writing a program for, and vice versa. However, in order for good programmes to be written, it is important that developers learn about the business that their software will be supporting. WHY must our program fulfill these requirements? Likewise, the shareholders would benefit from learning a little about the workings of the programs they demand, as this would result in clearer, more understandable requirements. Finally, the project manager must understand why he is implementing agile methodologies. Many ‘Scrum Alliance’ courses offer to certify managers as scrum masters in as little as two days, which is not possible. Managers with this level of experience should consider themselves apprentices, and seek out further guidance. Issues that may otherwise result include too little emphasis on documentation, incorrect sequencing of tasks, or too little emphasis on how problems are solved.

Documentation should be produced as and when it is needed. In waterfall methods, documentation is produced upfront at the beginning of a project. Many teams feel with Agile that documentation is an unnecessary waste of time, which is not the case. It should merely be done at appropriate times, where the cost of producing it is less than the benefit it gives.

Though less effective than face to face communication, it is a key principle that will give Agile scalability, and aid it in overcoming the issue of large or distributed teams.

Regarding task sequencing, while Agile emphasises adjustment over static plans, a general architecture of the project must be maintained, with sprints sequenced correctly to allow feedback, comparison to the overview, and finally, the adjustments that make Agile what it is. This is the main purpose of the project manager, to choose the specific times new or different requirements and feedback are incorporated into the original plan. Agile does NOT mean forgetting about the big picture.

TRIZ is a problem solving methodology which is highly applicable to Agile, and will aid the production of effective software, as it can be used to solve problems with applying Agile methods, problems with developing software, and answering the question of what software to produce. TRIZ is a very detailed idea and so I will provide a link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRIZ

The main issue affecting Agile is how different it is. In order for it to reach full potential, many large organisations would have to make drastic and costly changes such as allowing their basic information support systems to be updated continuously, only working in small, localized groups, and most importantly, being more open and less suceptible to mediocrity. If a team or team member is underperforming in an Agile situation, it is obvious very quickly. The need for excellence at all times may never be achieved. Managers in general do not like this idea. Agile’s supporters (mainly software developers) do not attempt to understand the barriers to changes of this scale in large organisations that are already profitable. It is the gap and resultant lack of understanding of each of these opposing mindsets, one could say a lack of domain knowledge, that stands in the way of Agile reaching it’s potential, and the value that it could add to business as a whole. Perfection is a direction, not a destination.

Supply Chain Management

11 Mar

This is a key aspect of new product development today. The supply chain has shifted greatly toward a more technological approach with new advances in hand held devises such as PDAs for deliveries as well as orders within a supply chain. The ordering of goods can be done quickly and efficiently on-line, whether it be by an everyday consumer or even a big delivery by a multinational company. Also, all paperwork from the orders does not need to be on paper; it can simply be held safely on a disk and stored efficiently. The most important this about the supply chain is that it is timely and efficient. This has begun with the removal of paper from the system but has still a long way to go. And so, advances continue to be made toward this with a supply chain.

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Here we can see the general overview of the supply chain process. Efficient Supply Chain managment systems will be needed here to make this system work as quickly as possible whicle getting the job done correctly. Advances have been made by companies such as Inditex and IBM to make their SCM extremely organised. 

Link to IBM supply chain solution.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAe1dxIf_Kk

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Here we can see just how many links their may be in order to make a supply chain work.

Final Blog!!

11 Mar

Summary of Traditional Software Development:

Waterfall Model

V Model

Spiral Model

Systems Development Life Cycle.
What is the difference between Agile and Traditional Software Development Methodology?
Although Agile method is based on iterative development as some of the traditional approaches, Agile and Traditional methodologies have key differences. Traditional approaches use planning as their control mechanism, while Agile models use the feedback from the users as the main control mechanism. Agile can be called a people-centric approach than traditional methods. Agile model delivers a working version of the product very early compared to traditional methodologies so that the customer can realize some of the benefits early on. Testing cycle time of Agile is relatively short compared to traditional methods, because testing is done parallel to development. Most traditional models are very rigid and relatively less flexible than the Agile model. Because of all these advantages, Agile is preferred over the traditional methodologies at the moment.

I hope by reading my blogs i have helped you more clearly understand The traditional methods of software development. Although it is not preferred when compared to Agile methods it is still extremely important. Best of luck in the exams.

Information Systems Aiding Innovation

10 Mar

Cross Functional Expertise

It is very important that there is a cross functional information system within a business for NPD (new product development). The importance of this, stems from the need for a strong communication system within business. There should always be a link between the various departments off a company in order for them to discuss different aspects of the new product.

For example ;

The financial department should always have access to the product management and process management departments and within them, they should hhave access to sales and marketing as well as supply chain management. This is very important as without that connection budgets can be badly broken and products could fail.

This has become more of a growing issue with more and more finance required in order to get a new product on its feet and selling well.

Supply Chain Management

With NPD some say the most important thing is how timely your production is and how efficiently the process is done. This is why an effective supply chain is vital. Orders need to be specific and close attention must always be kept towards delivery times and production deadlines. Without this your whole production line could fail and you may end up over paying employees or other areas of your supply chain may suffer.Image

Internal and External Knowledge of Markets

A marketing information system (MIS) is intended to bring together different types of data related to a certain product or service and evaluate it to get to know various aspects of your chosen market. This has become a very important part of NPD as it can give companies strategic advantage on their product, the prices they should sell at, place where they could sell and how they should promote their product. Information systems play a vital role here as all areas of the marketing department need to be kept up to date on the research findings.

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More methods used by Systems Analysts to Gather Information- Modern Methods

10 Mar

In my last blog I discussed several traditional methods used by systems analysts to gather the information they need to design an effective information system. As I discussed, information is vital to systems analysts! They require relevant, accurate information in order to design a system that effectively and efficiently carries out the function that it is required for. And now in this blog I will discuss the modern methods that are being used by analysts today.

Modern Methods

1. Joint Application Design (JAD)

This process involves collecting system requirements simultaneously from key people & reviewing system design. Many people take part in a JAD session; session leaders, users, managers, IT staff and of course systems analysts. Their role in these sessions is mainly to listen and take on board all the information they hear from end-users and managers.

2. Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS)

GDSS are an electronic meeting system, designed as a collaborative platform, it allows users to interact via a computer rather than speaking. It allows for anonymity which results in systems analysts gathering more information.

3. Prototyping 

A systems analysts converts requirements to working version of a system, this leads to users seeing the requirements, and then asking for modifications, or new ones. This is a very useful method as when user requests are not clear, they can become clear after the prototype.
These are a few of the modern methods used by systems analysts to gather information in order to create systems for their clients. I hope you found it interesting 🙂 thanks for reading!
10 Mar

Eternal Sunshine of the IS Mind

Now that we are at the end of the six weeks, we all agree that we have learnt a lot about information systems and have a much better understanding of how they are used for decision making.  

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To understand the topic, Using I.S. for Decision Making, in its entirety, there were many sections we had to research and grew knowledge on.  Such sections we learnt together about include

  • What is an information system
  • Types of decisions
  • Stages of decision making
  • Levels of organizational decision making
  • Types of information systems that aid decision making, and details on each one;
    • DSS
    • MIS, including the faults
    • ERP
    • CRM, including Tesco case study
    • GDSS

If interested in learning more information on any of these topics, check out the blog usernames of the members in our group, each providing interesting and well…

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