This assignment consists of
The feedback sheet lists the assessment criteria. Look for it on the assignment’s webpage. Take note of which sections carry the most marks.
Note that this assignment’s word count is 2602without your answers, so
I suggest that you draw thediagrams by hand, photograph the drawings and insert the photographs in this file. If you prefer, you can use Word’s drawing tools (or some other drawing or modelling software) but you may find working with pen and paper is faster, easier to amend, less cumbersome and more reliable with respect to layout.
When referring to the exemplars on the course website, read the old assignment specifications carefully because the assignments differ every study period.
Recall: in the previous study period, students spent an average of 24hours on this assignment.
In addition to the instructions on the course website
You are encouraged to make assumptions where necessary. Scope for assumptions has been deliberately included in this assignment because it is often necessary to make assumptions openly when dealing with a client who is under-informed with respect to technology. Please label your assumptions clearly. Here’s an example from a previous study period,
Assumption: As the passengers of Titanic II may be from any nation, I have assumed a currency converter is required for the ticket-purchasing function.
You work at IT Foundry as a Systems Analyst.
Socrates & Co is a bookshop specialising in new, second hand and rare books. It is located on a busy shopping street, close to several university campuses and has been in business for a long time. Today, it’s managed by its owner, Joanna Diakou, but it was started in 1938 by Joanna’s father, Stefanos, who was a well-known local intellectual. When he established Socrates & Co, Stefanos gave a lot of consideration to the store’s interior design and location. It came to be well known as a place where people are welcome to escape the noise, rest their feet, and sit and read without being disturbed. There are comfortable armchairs between the shelves and people can have snacks if they are careful. Over time, Stefanos came to know many of his customers by name and Socrates & Co built a reputation and a loyal customer base almost entirely from word-of-mouth recommendations. Stefanos retired in 1974 and turned the business over to Joanna, who at the time was recently graduated with an honours degree in the humanities. She has maintained her father’s practices and has come to know her regular customers by name and people know they can come to Socrates & Co and find a warm welcome, insightful and witty conversation, or quiet solitude.
Although she draws a salary from Socrates & Co, Joanna doesn’t consider the time she spends there to be ‘work’ – instead it is simply her lifestyle. She goes to Socrates & Co every day except Sundays. Four other people work there: Kavya Amal works on Mondays and Thursdays; Adam Matchoss works on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays; Rajavel Sulake and Priyam Farrukh (store manager) both work on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Kavya, Adam, Rajavel and Priyam are postgraduate coursework students whose schedules change every semester. Priyam has worked at Socrates & Co for five years and is paid a higher wage because she manages the store on Sundays. All of the staff love the relaxed atmosphere and they deeply appreciate Joanna’s attitude because, as long the customers have what they need, Joanna doesn’t mind if the staff work on their assignments while they are at the store. The store’s opening hours are the same every day: 11am to 7pm.
However, Joanna has recently been unwell and has come to realise that perhaps Socrates & Co could afford her an additional afternoon off if she didn’t have to spend so much time on keeping track of inventory, sales, special orders, rosters and all the other little administrative tasks. Also, Kavya and Adam are students in an IT department and they both think Socrates & Co really ought to expand into ecommerce, with an app and a website. Joanna is not entirely sure what this would entail, but she trusts Kavya and Adam and she decides to investigate further.
One of Joanna’s regular customers is Andrew Frawley. He is one of your workmates at IT Foundry. When Andrew came into the store, Joanna asked him for advice. He immediately advised Joanna to work with you; you have more experience in ecommerce and publishing than Andrew. She agrees to a meeting, which Andrew arranges between yourself and Joanna.
You talk to Joanna about Socrates & Co and you realise its significance extends to the wider community: even people who never buy a book can enjoy reading in the peaceful atmosphere. You learn that Socrates & Co has long-standing relationships with thirty-four publishers and you know that seventeen of the publishers (the larger ones) offer B2B ordering, returns and invoicing. You talk about various business processes. For example, you discuss how Joanna sources rare books and you discuss the Socrates & Co text-book sales service (on a 5% commission) for uni students. You talk about the process for replenishing the second hand stock and the process for when a customer makes a special order. You are sure there are other business processes Joanna has not mentioned; payroll comes immediately to mind and you begin to identify other overlooked business processes. Joanna also tells you about a project she has had in mind for some time: she wants to start a small café in one corner of the store, for which she has obtained a licence.
You can see potential for supporting Socrates & Co business processes and for supporting Joanna’s plans for a small café, both without disrupting the Socrates & Co reputation. However, as you are a seasoned professional, you don’t rush in. Instead you suggest that Socrates & Co funds a preliminary investigation of a potential future IS project. Joanna agrees to the cost, your manager approves, and when one of your existing projects closes, you begin the Socrates & Co preliminary investigation.
Recall: you can make assumptions in this assignment (as noted above). Also, you can use the course forum if you have any questions.
Given below is the business profile for Socrates & Co.
Business Profile: Socrates & Co.
Socrates and Co. is a legacy bookshop set up in 1938, engaged in retail sales of text books, rare books and new books in fiction and non fiction categories. The company’s mission is to expand its operations into the e-commerce space and provide services through a mobile app and a website.
|The company is engaged in following activities:
· Retail sales of books (text books, fiction books, second hand and rare books)
· Sourcing/procurement of books from its network of publishers (currently has 34 with some of them offering returns)
Some of the internal functions of the company are:
· Payroll management (manage payouts to its existing staff, salaries etc.)
· Inventory management (manage stocks of books and handle new purchases)
|Business Organisation||From its current scale of operations, Socrates & Co. can be categorized as a small scale business. The business is organised as:
· The company is headed by Joanna, the owner of the book store who manages the overall functions.
· There are 4 staff members who work part time—Kavya Amal, Adam Matchoss, Rajavel Sulake and Priyam Farrukh.
· The company has engaged an external IT solutioning firm called IT Foundry to do a preliminery investigation for the implementation of an Information System.
|Resources||The company’s key resources are:
· Human Resources
o 4 part time workers taking care of the retail sales, inventory management and administration work.
· Financial Resources:
o Cash Deposits of 0.5 million AUD
o Antiques having estimated net worth of 2 million AUD
o Bills receivables of 50,000 AUD
· Other Resources:
o Antique furniture
o Victorian era building (of monument value and tourist attraction)
o Rare collection of victorian era books (original copies)
|Customers||· Strong existing customers base, which stems from the popularity of the original establisher Stephanos, a renowned intellectual of 1930’s.
· Customers include tourists and walk-ins who come to visit the building to enjoy the ambience and architecture.
· Also includes university students who come for text books (the building being in close vicinity to universities).
|Suppliers||The company has a strong supplier base comprising of 34 publishers with whom it has long-standing relationship. Amongst the 34 suppliers:
· 2 are special vendors dealing in rare books
· 17 are B2B publishers who offer easy returns of unpurchased books
· 15 are text book publishers
|Future Direction||· The company plans to foray into e-commerce and online sales by establishing a website and a mobile app.
o The online presence will create wider presence and expand the scale of operations for the company.
o It also wants active presence on the social media and increase the word-of-mouth customer base by way of online reviews and polls.
· The company wants a mobile app which will perform similar functions as the website.
· In addition to the above, the business also wants to set up a “reading café” to generate revenues from walk-in tourists who only wish to explore the architecture and ambience of the building.
The current organisation structure for the business is as follows:
The company currently handles all its processes manually and does not have an automated system to capture inventory, sales, orders or the administrative activities.
The key business processes and sub processes are:
|· Invoice processing
· Maintaining cash registers
· Customer checkout
|· Prepare purchase orders
· Handle returns and publisher invoices
|Inventory management||· Replenish stocks
· Update records
|Finance||· Payments to suppliers
· Payments to internal staff (payroll processing)
Given below is a functional decomposition diagram (Systems Analysis and design, ninth edition, Ch. 4. Requirements Modelling, Pg. 150) summarizing the key business processes.
The business process models have been described below for:
No the current business processes alone are not sufficient to support the future objectives of the company. We need additional processes to support the future business objectives:
You now have outlines of the Socrates & Co business processes but you need another meeting with Joanna to double check some details and to discuss project constraints. At the meeting, you sketch diagrams on the whiteboard outlining four of the main business processes. Then you ask Joanna if the processes share data, and if not, could they share data in the future.
Joanna says, “Well, no, they don’t share data … wait, what do you mean exactly? Because I know what sales are made when I check the day’s transactions and when I know the sales, it helps me figure out if I need to order more stock. There are other things that overlap too, like the rosters and the payroll.”
You explain that’s exactly what you mean and you ask her to describe more ‘overlaps’ in the Socrates & Co business processes.
“Well, the cash sales determine the next morning’s bank deposits, but the POS transactions just happen automatically. Also, you know how the sales tell me what to order? Well, I also use a bit of knowhow, like when Michael Sandel’s latest book came out, I knew it was going to sell quickly so I ordered quite a few. Actually, I can say the same for several other authors, like Sam Harris. He sells quite well these days. Hmm … come to think of it, if the new system knows how quickly an author sells, then it could keep those authors in a special list, couldn’t it?”
You agree that’s one of the functions a system could provide. But you point out that it wouldn’t be able to figure out whether to stock new authors because they wouldn’t have a sales history.
Joanna says, “Oh, that’s ok, the publishers know the store so well, I can usually rely on their recommendations. Then I just order a few copies of what they recommend, unless I think the author wouldn’t work at all. It’s especially easy if the publisher takes returns of unsold stock.”
You say, “Like Fractal Publishing? They do that for one of my other clients.”
You recall that Fractal Publishing is one of the B2B publishers and that they are going to upgrade the security of their B2B system next year; as are Continuum, MUP, OUP and Stanford Law Books.
“Yes, we’ve had an account with Fractal for ages! Do you know Jane Berne? She’s my account manager.”
“No, but let’s stay on track. If you email me a list of publishers that take returns and a description of the important ‘overlaps’ we can look at some other things. About the app… do you want it to offer the same transactions as the website? Or do you have something else in mind?”
“I’m not sure. What do you recommend?”
“To keep costs down, let’s keep the transactions the same for now and if you need to review that decision in future, you can do so. But, transactions aside, the website can have other features if you want it to. It doesn’t have to be only sales.”
“Really? That’d be great. We can advertise our different Writers’ Week events. I need to talk it over with Kavya and Adam, they’re bound to have some suggestions. Oh! Can the customers review the books they have read?”
“Sure. But let’s be a little cautious with respect to budget and schedule. So perhaps we ought to …”
The discussion carried on for another fifteen minutes before you shook hands and estimated that you would finish the preliminary investigation within a week.
Described below are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of this solution.
By establishing a transaction processing system,an online portal, and mobile app, Socrates & Co. can expand sales, supplier network, and walk-in customer base, besides generating word-of-mouth publicity through active online presence.
The two fact-finding techniques that we would use are:
Interview: Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why
Since a new inventory system is being developed, we will need more information regarding the sales history besides other elements from the past history of the bookshop, as proper sales information is not being maintained currently. Also, the first download of information given by Joanna regarding the business might have missed supporting details which will be captured during interviews and help us in documentation of the facts and figures. The details can be captured by conducting series of interviews with the owner of the bookshop as well as the employees working as part time.
What processes are being followed?
How is a procedure performed?
Where are the operations being performed?
Who performs each of the procedures within the system?
When is a procedure performed?
Why are the processes important to the business?
Observing the ongoing operations
Socrates and Co. does not maintain a record of its day-to-day activities thus observing ongoing operations will help in providing an accurate picture of the sales process and the workflow.By close observation, we will be able to understand the roles and responsibilities accurately, which will later help us in allocating the tasks and roles in the new information system.
We will evaluate the Economic Feasibility of the project, which means:
We will also perform a Schedule Feasibility Analysis to understand:
This information is not enough to make a decision on the project’s economic feasibility. To get a clear picture of the economic feasibility, we need clear calculation of:
A project is considered economically viable if the benefits exceed the incurred costs. We will have to deep dive into the intangible and tangible benefits to ascertain the exact worth of the project.
Consider the Socrates & Co case study.
Explain how your amendment will achieve these two outcomes.
One amendment to Socrates & Co that would deliver long-term benefits to the wider community and foster growth in a related or relevant industry would be:
The above two amendments will not cost any additional money, but will generate goodwill and thus better word-of-mouth publicity for the company. Goodwill is an intangible asset to a company, which provides long-term benefits by way of generating positive customer outlook.
In future, as the company forays into online sales, many aged customers might feel “left out” due to lack of technical knowledge. In the online forum on the course website, a fellow student has said “people of old age still prefer person-to-person contact and they need personal attention. They wait on long holds just to talk to a person and get their query answered. This could either be due to difficulty in using the system or they don’t rely and don’t trust the automated system with certain things like making payments.”
Old people may not be able to make the purchases and for them, coming to the store and renting out old books would be a boon. Also, students from weaker sections of the society will find it extremely beneficial, to be allowed to rent some of the books. All these services will generate positive customer impact and a sense of social responsibility by the company.
Joanna is very happy with the project plan you produced and has almost decided to move on to systems analysis with you and IT Foundry. In her enthusiasm, she shows your project plan to Kavya and Adam, who are delighted to view a professional project plan and very keen on the project, especially as some of the ideas they had for the website have been included in the planning.
A week later, Kavya and Joanna are working together and during a quiet moment, Kavya suggests that Joanna can save money by giving the project plan to Kavya and her friends so they can do the project as part of their masters program. That way, Joanna would get the technology for free and Kavya and her friends can work on a real-world project. Kavya says the finished product will be just as good as what IT Foundry can produce.
In responding to the questions below, consider Grodzinsky, Miller and Wolf (2012). This reading can be located on the course website.
With reference to ‘The rules’ the main ethical issue is that Joanna might be influenced by Kavya’s idea and breach Rule 2 (Rule 2: The shared responsibility of computing artifacts is not a zero-sum game, Grodzinsky, Miller and Wolf, 2012, Pg. 16) by withdrawing the project from IT socrates and providing it to Kavya and her friends. The company IT Foundry (Creator) trusts Joanna (User) and will honour the relevant licensing agreements and will not use the information provided by them in an unpredictable way. Also, if Joanna is willing to give the project to the graduates, she should seek IT Foundry’s permission and then proceed with the projects with Kavya and her friends. In this case, Joanna is ignoring her moral responsibilities and knowingly committing an action that is unethical and a breach of trust.
As per the model of trust(Grodzinsky et al., 2011, Pg. – 17),Joanna might breach the principle number 2 – Trust is a decision by a to delegate to b some aspect of importance to a in achieving a goal in order to reduce cost for the development of the project, which is a main ethical issue. Thus, when Joanna and IT Foundry were almost planning to move on with the IT Foundry for the analysis of the project, out of enthusiasm, she shares the plan with Kavya and Adam. Kavya suggests that there can be some savings done on the cost by giving the project plan created by IT Foundry to her friends who are pursuing master’s and can use that as a part of their project work. Also, Kavya and her friends are eager to work on the project since it will be a real time application.
There are chances that Joanna may change plans of engaging IT Foundry with the project since she will benefit with Kavya and her friends implementing the plan as a part of their Master’s program for no cost.
Also, Joanna might lose trust of the IT Foundry which might also hamper the relationship which was built by her and her father with few of the publications that she deals with like Fractal Publications, Continuum, MUP, OUP and Stanford Law Books etc. (Assuming that IT Foundry will be handling their future security upgrade of their B2B system)
From Joanna’s point of view, the options she has are as follows:
From the options above, the best option from Joanna’s point of view is option 3, where she can get IT Foundry and Kavya and her friends to collaborate on the project and work on it as a team.
Consider the Socrates & Co case study and the systems planning you have completed. You may have completed the planning tasks with a lot of care. If so, your planning is more likely to be effective in supporting future project activities.
Consider a situation in which the planning tasks were conducted in a carelessmanner.
Note: future assignments will ask you to reflect on the answer you give.
Tworisks from the above question are:
The risks mentioned above highlight the need for attention to detail while calculating the budget and defining the scope of the project. We need a detailed analysis on economic feasibility to mention what all costs are going to be incurred. The owner of Socrates and Co. is looking at accommodating additional services like opening a caféwithin the current budget. If we don’t look into the details of what it would entail, it will create of shortage of funds, and risk the project before the scheduled end date, thus forcing the owner to withdraw the project prematurely.
How many hours did you invest in this assignment?This information will be provided to future students in this course.
We have invested the following effort in compiling the answers:
Thank you for the time and effort you have invested. I look forward to reading your submissio
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