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Essay questions

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  • 1. Essay answers may be found from the book: Business Process Change, Second Edition byPaul Harmon © 2007 Morgan Kaufmann PublishersEssay answers may be found from the book: Breakthrough IT Change Management: How toGet Enduring Change Results by Bennet P. Lientz and Kathryn P. Rea © 2004 ElsevierButterworth Heinemann PublishersOn the essay questions, your answers should be succinct, fully address each part of thequestion, and demonstrate your knowledge and understanding in a concise but completeanswer. Most essay questions require answers that are a couple of paragraphs (not a couple ofsentences) that directly speak to each part of the question. Remember to always use propercitation when quoting other sources. This means that ANY borrowed material (even a shortphrase) should be placed in quotation marks with the source (URL, author/date/page #)immediately following the end of the passage (the end quote). Changing a few words in apassage does NOT constitute putting it in your own words and proper citation is still required.Borrowed material should NOT dominate a your work, but should only be used sparingly tosupport your own thoughts, ideas, and examples. Your work may be submitted to turnitin.com,an online plagiarism checking service. Please be VERY mindful of proper citation. 1. Why outsource? What are key indicators that selection of a vendor IT solution to implement business process reengineering may be the best decision? What are the potential pros and cons? Provide examples where possible. 2. State and discuss the key strengths of service-oriented architectures, especially as related to modern businesses. Support your answer(s). 3. Describe how environmental analysis, SWOT analysis, value chain analysis, and choice of business strategy influence business process reengineering. Provide examples. 4. Describe and rate the overall organization and information systems function in terms of scorecards and methodologies provided by standards such as Capability Maturity Model (CMM), Six Sigma, ISO 9000, and Balanced Scorecard. 5. Rate the organization’s ability to achieve its overall goals, including high customer satisfaction and superior return on investment, based on product and process innovation, customer focus, knowledge management, strategic systems, and motivated people. 6. Compare the organization and its systems and processes to the rest of its vertical industry, based on industry best practices and benchmarks, including revenue and profitability. 7. Based on the above indicators, predict the organization’s ability to conduct a successful information systems project that meets or exceeds its stated goals, including return on investment, appropriate functionality, successful implementation, and minimal reversion to old systems/processes 8. Analyze the changes in external (and internal) environment, such as changes introduced by the competition, regulatory changes in various markets, changing customer needs and demographics, and systems and products nearing the end of their life cycle(s). 1
  • 2. 9. Identify and analyze changes in business strategy that have to accompany the changes in the business environment.10. Identify and analyze changes in business process architecture that have to accompany the changes in business strategy.11. Evaluate key existing business processes and systems in order to distinguish the ones that are hard to duplicate and contribute directly to competitive advantage, versus the ones that are not necessarily unique but are essential to conducting business.12. Propose ways to ensure that these key processes and systems are not compromised in the information systems project.13. In conjunction with business process owners and a process change committee, develop workflow diagrams with swim lanes for each department/entity, documenting the current state (IS) of the processes.14. In conjunction with business process owners and a process change committee, develop workflow diagrams outlining the proposed (SHOULD or TO-BE) state of the processes, including possible variations (COULD).15. Develop use-case scenarios in Unified Modeling Language (UML), identifying the design of steps in the proposed processes that involve automation and interfacing with existing or new systems.16. Utilize design patterns for business processes and software where feasible, in order to reduce the project’s time-to-market.17. Make a determination regarding whether the system will be developed in-house or by using external resources.18. Answer these questions too:19. Is the organization in the business of developing information systems?20. Can the organization truly do a better job than software vendors who are dedicated to developing and implementing best-of-breed applications that already incorporate industry best practices?21. Can the solutions provided by software vendors be made to work for the organization? At what cost? Will key internal processes have to be changed or compromised dramatically? How difficult will it be to maintain modified code?22. In case there is no off-the-shelf application available that fits the bill, and the organization chooses to outsource the development to a software vendor, what methodologies will have to be adopted to ensure that outsourced development yields the desired results? What does the organization stand to gain or lose by outsourcing the development?23. Compare the costs and benefits, tangible and intangible, of each approach.24. Research software vendors who are industry leaders in the major enterprise applications in categories such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM (Customer 2
  • 3. Relationship Management), and LOB (Line of Business). Examine their offerings for companies of various sizes and industries.25. Document functional requirements focusing on the support of key business processes (utilizing process diagrams of the proposed processes). Break down the requirements into categories such as “mandatory” and “optional.”26. Document technology considerations, including interfaces to pre-existing systems, technology standards, and constraints of the IT infrastructure.27. Identify reports, input forms, and other screen-shots needed by users at all levels of the organization, and by users outside the organization.28. Identify and make public the evaluation criteria and the precise formula that will be used to compare proposals from competing vendors.29. Develop detailed implementation timelines that the vendor will have to work with, based on internal business cycles, customer service needs, and regulatory standards (if applicable).30. Research articles and Web links regarding best practices and trends in outsourced software development.31. Research available case studies on companies that have successfully managed or completely failed at outsourced systems development, whether domestic or off-shore.32. Focus on the challenges and critical success factors relative to managing and participating in geographically dispersed software development projects.33. Rate the outsourcing organization’s capability maturity using CMM and its ability to handle clients and projects of a size and industry similar to the case study at hand. a. Conduct capacity planning for the new system. b. Develop and implement a plan for conducting unit testing on each system component, and load testing and integration testing on the overall system. c. Develop and execute a plan for data migration and parallel operation of old and new systems. d. Focus on key business processes. e. In the case of having to test system(s), component(s), and/or code from external sources, the challenge is to create effective test plans that can uncover underlying, hidden “problems.” How will this be addressed? f. Address changes to management systems, job descriptions, organizational structure, and performance measures. g. Develop a plan to ensure that managers get evaluated using new metrics based upon the redesigned processes. 3
  • 4. h. Develop ways of predicting and dealing with the challenge of possible reversion to earlier processes.i. Examine and apply Critical Success Factors of change management.j. Discuss best practices and case studies relative to successes and failures in managing change in systems projects.k. Discuss the importance of marketing the change to management and end-users.l. Address the involvement of upper management in ways that are appropriate to the success of the project.m. Discuss why people comprise the most important and complex aspect of change in system implementation projects.n. Explain the role of politics in process analysis and system implementation projects.o. Explain the need for, and appropriate role definition of, project champions.p. Determine strike force creation and management. Discuss who is best suited to be part of the “strike force” and if there is a need for multiple committees outside of the strike force to conduct “public relations” and “selling” activities with employees and stakeholders at all levels of the organization.q. Discuss best practices and case studies relative to successes and failures in managing the people aspect of change in systems projects.r. Discuss ways to build and sustain project momentum by using “quick wins” while continuing to engage unwieldy, complex problems that require longer-term change management efforts.s. Discuss ways in which facilitation can be provided to help end-users and managers affected by system changes to come up with their own home-grown strategies to deal with the changes. Contrast this with the approach in which, not only is the change imposed from above, there is also no help provided to the employees in the area of developing coping mechanisms.t. Discuss how e-business applications may be more complex than internal applications and involve multiple constituencies and stakeholders outside of the organization.u. Discuss protocols and standards in business-to-business applications, including legacy approaches such as EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and newer approaches such as XML-enabled Web services (utilizing other standards such as SOAP, UDDI, and WSDL).v. Discuss the role of XML and its subsets that are optimized towards certain vertical industries for creating, transmitting, and receiving business transactions.w. Discuss the role of emerging technologies such as WAP (Wireless Access Protocol) and WML (Wireless Markup Language) that can be used to create new applications for serving the customers in the e-business context. 4
  • 5. x. Discuss the complexity of achieving real-time and batch interfaces with systems owned by other entities, including customers and suppliers.y. Discuss how IT/IS organizations within companies can serve a role in strategic planning.z. Discuss how IT can be an enabler toward positive change versus how it can be a drain on corporate and societal resources.aa. Discuss why IT/IS personnel ought to think of themselves as facilitators and problem-solvers in service to the stakeholders, process owners, and end-users. Contrast this with a more adversarial situation where IT sees itself at odds with the rest of the enterprise, or even with certain parts of the enterprise.bb. Discuss ROI models and total cost of ownership metrics in use in the industry. Explain why ROI metrics are essential to the success of any IT/IS project or application.cc. Brainstorm ways in which IT personnel and managers can collaborate with functional managers and process owners to help create new business models and revenue sources, and realize improvements in competitive advantage, employee satisfaction, and customer satisfaction. 5

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