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. Business process reengineering is the process which involves the rethinking and remodeling of the processes within the business for the purpose of attaining an enhancement in the strategic and key sectors of a particular business, such areas include the quality of products, the cost of the products as well as the qualities of the services offered and the speed of delivery of those services (Hammer & Champy, 1993: 46). There exists several factors that can be used as potential indicators to show that the selection of a vendor IT solution could be the best option in the implementation of the business process reengineering. To begin with, dis-functionality of the current system components is a major indicator for the implementation of an IT solution. Shortfalls constantly recorded in particular portfolios are noted as being the worst performing will need reengineering. Secondly, the importance of the particular process and its influence on customer satisfaction. It is noted that the process that least provides proper customer satisfaction is substituted with an IT solution that increases the speed and the quality of services offered. Finally the feasibility of the reengineering process also plays a fundamental role in the reengineering process. The organization considers which portfolios can be successfully reengineered and hence helps in the decision to acquire a proper vendor IT solution for the particular reengineering process. According to Meyer Richard(1998), a business process refers to a specific predetermined set of steps that are intended to produce a product or service, comprising all of the services required to satisfy a particular customer’s request.
2. State and discuss the key strengths of service-oriented architectures, especially as related to modern businesses. Support your answer(s). Service oriented architectures are a complete and specific set of methodologies and processes that are implemented in the development of business software’s. Service Oriented Architecture is an architecture that serves to eliminate redundancies as well as enhancing the delivery of services in the business organization. It mainly achieves this by consolidating and reusing the services involved within the particular organization .Such kind of architecture has proven to have several advantages over the other normal set of architectures available for software development. To begin with SOA enables the business functions to be able to be self reliant and dependable. This in turn will enable the entire business process to be self reliant. In addition, SOA offers the required functionalities in the form of an interface that is relevant to the offered services. This offers the consumer an easy method of interacting with the system as well as acquiring the products and services offered by the business organization. It also sets itself aside as the architecture that a consumer involved with other application functionalities may find useful to employ with another preferred application or service. SOA is able to separate the implementation of the service from its actual interface. The service provided is viewed as the endpoint which is support of a given contract or format. SOA are also self bound dynamically as well as being discoverable. This is because it supports service discovery concept. In this mode of service execution the consumer is not required to know the request message format, until the particular service is actually needed. It is also has modular and self-contained services in its structure. Its modular
decomposability allows the application to be split and divided into smaller more manageable components.3. Describe how environmental analysis, SWOT analysis, value chain analysis, and choice of business strategy influence business process reengineering. Provide examples. SWOT is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It is an analysis tool that is used for understanding different situations that may arise within the business organization; hence it can also be used in decision making for a wide range of situations within the organization. SWOT analysis is used in the development of the business, evaluation of the competitors within the market, marketing, as well as the development of product reports and research reports. Prior to conducting a SWOT analysis the organization carries out the PEST (Political, Economic, Social and Technological) analysis. This helps the organization’s potential within the market as well its potential basing on the external factors affecting the organization. SWOT analysis can be effectively used in business process reengineering where it can be used to determine a particular business position in the market, such as its commercial viability, it could also be used as a method of distributing sales as well as used to offer invaluable information on strategic options that may involve entering new markets or even the timely launch of a company’s product. On the other hand environmental analysis involves the careful considerations of all the external factors that affect an organization in its activities of production. Bearing in mind that the typical BPR projects include a cross-functional cooperation, it becomes highly necessary for the organization to consider the impacts of the environment and changes that occur within its environment. This in turn will serve as an impetus for the ongoing reengineering
process as it will enable proper establishment of guidelines during the reengineering process.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. The balanced score card is a business management methodology that offers an approach to strategic management of an organization. It offers an insight into what companies should put into consideration in order to measure and balance their financial obligations as well as “perspectives”. The ISO-9000 is an international standards organization rating of an organizations performance and quality of management in industrial organizations. Six sigma is a process that offers help on focusing in the production and delivery of high quality services and products. It is based on deviations from the required standards where the management considers the shortcomings and defects in their organizations products and services and tries to eliminate them systematically in order to come up with a near-perfect product. These standards of rating an organizations performance ensure high standards and quality of goods and services offered while ensuring that the best managerial skills and principles are employed in the business organizations processes. They serve to boost the consumer’s confidence in a particular company’s products and or services that have been rated by these standards. Such promotes the returns of the company as well as increasing its profitability. It also extends to maximal utilization of the organizations resources ranging from the labor to cost reduction while not compromising on the high degree and levels of performance expected.
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. Every organization has set goals and targets that are to be achieved within certain boundaries of time and resources available. Regardless of these boundaries, the organization is always expected to provide high quality output that considers the customer satisfaction and exceed their expectations in terms of quality. High customer satisfaction involves meeting the needs and requirements of the customer up to the expected levels and standards that have been set. It involves producing products and services that are of high quality and within the reach of the customer in terms of price friendliness. In addition to that, an organization will be highly rated if it has a high level of innovativeness and can be able to reinvent its product so as to always appeal to the customer as well as be able to match the ever changing needs of the customer base. Ina addition, it should always be able to meet the new requirements without compromising the quality of the product. Knowledge management of the organization also plays a fundamental role in ensuring that an organization is up to speed on the developments within the markets and hence enabling it to appropriately adapt and be able to compete with its competitors within the same field of production. Having strategic systems within the organization involves having the appropriate managerial and production systems that enable the organization to meet its demands and obligations to the client satisfactorily.
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. A vertically integrated organization is one which encompasses more than one single- output process production in which there is an option of all the output from an upstream process is utilized as a part of or of the whole quantity of one input intermediates in a downstream process. In addition it is the “is the ownership and control over neighboring stages of production or distribution”(Perry, 1989). Industry level specialization is a major practice which is enhanced by advances in technology as well as standards. This leads to the emergence of a group of producers as well as the division of industrial processes into modular components, where the equipment is split and reorganized to enhance the division of labor. Consider DIS markets which the most successful as well as largest firms were initially vertically integrated (Schlueter-Langdon 1999).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 By implementing the vertical industrial processes, an organization will be able to conduct with great chances of success, an information systems project that will be able to meet the organizations fundamental goals and also act as a means of implementing its fundamental targets. The organization will be able identify strategies by which their
emerging industries can operate. The various settings with different levels of industry concentrations could be created with the purpose of reflecting the prevailing and the emerging conditions of the competitive market that the organization is in. this will give the organization a competitive edge over its rivals.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). In the constant endeavors by business to enhance their business processes and improve the customer experience, many organizations have had to face a variety of challenges, both from the internal and external environments of the organization. To begin with there are changes that are competitor oriented which necessitate an organization to reorganize its processes, for instance when a company’s costs become higher than those of the competitors, they will be force to reorganize their business processes. In addition to that, there could be an increase in the number of competitors in the market, to cope with such changes the organization will be forced to reengineer its processes. Apart from these changes in the economic environment also proves to be a bottleneck to the organizations processes. Changing customer or consumer needs will also pose a challenge to the organization for it to reorganize and remodel it processes. Internal challenges such as over ambitious managers , found in company’s which are in their peal conditions, will face the challenge of ever struggling to be way ahead of their competitors, in order to maintain their market dominance over their competitors while satisfying their consumer’s needs.
9. Identify and analyze changes in business strategy that have to accompany the changes in the business environment. For a business organization to remain competitive, it must identify and suitably adapt to the changes that are constantly occurring within its environs. For instance trade offs are a major change that businesses have to consider when faced with a situation that challenges the company’s existence. Pursuing of sustainable development strategies is also a change in the business strategy that business organizations must always consider in order stay afloat with the stringent rules of development while cost cutting on their operational costs. Internal changes in the business strategy include; increasing the accountability of the business firms to nontraditional stakeholders as well as encouraging the habit of continuous internal reporting. This increases the accountability of the management as well as enhancing governance within the organization.10. Identify and analyze changes in business process architecture that have to accompany the changes in business strategy. Changes in a company’s business strategy ultimately lead to changes in the business process architecture of the business. Some of the changes that will be experienced in the business architecture include changes in the baseline business context. This will cause a reverting from one source of input into the system to other more reliable sources of input. There will also be a change in the Target Business Architecture where the organization will be required to describe its products and services in a new and fresh manner.
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. There exist several business processes which are essential for the fundamental being of a business. These processes ensure the smooth running of the business. To begin with there is the management process. This process oversees all the system operations; such management systems include strategic management as well as corporate governance. There also exists the operational process of the business. These are at the epicenter of the business as they comprise the core business activities. These contribute directly to the business competitive advantage against the business rivals. Such operational processes include advertising, purchasing, supplying as well as marketing of a company’s product and services. This process is fundamental and quite difficult to duplicate from one instance to another. Finally there are business support processes which are subsidiary processes that facilitate and enhance the occurrence and success of the other core processes. Despite the fact that such processes are easy to duplicate and replicate their effect , they play a fundamental role in ensuring the smooth flow of the other business processes.
12. Propose ways to ensure that these key processes and systems are not compromised in the information systems project. In the creation and development of a viable system, the system developers should always bear in mind that the business process and systems should not be compromised to ensure a smooth transition and flow during the implementation of the new system. Consequently, by observing certain factors and procedures, this can be ensured. To begin with , the system developers must set down clearly their missions and goals expected to be attained by the new system to be created, in view of this, the system can be broken down into modules which can be developed separately without majorly interfering with the management and day to day running of the organization. The different modules enhance the system development as each has its own attributes as related to the whole process of creating a new system. In addition to that the system developers should always consider a variety of techniques for modeling the system. Such techniques as the business process modeling notation could be employed whereby the developers represent the business process using tools known as workflow diagrams.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. Make a determination regarding whether the system will be developed in-house or by using external resources.
17. Is the organization in the business of developing information systems?18. 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?19. 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?Solutions provided by software vendors can be incorporated into the organization andmade to facilitate the enhancement of the functionality within the organization. Suchsolutions provide the organization with reduced redundancy and there is no duplicationof roles within the organization. The software vendors will be required to developprogram solutions that are able to tackle problems encountered by the organizationsmembers and also promote the organizations delivery of services and products to theend user. Depending on the level of functionality required by the organization, the costof implementation of the software vendor solutions will vary from one organization to theother. Organizations that heavily rely on manual systems and processes and require a
complete overhaul of the system will require more intense and cost intensive softwarevendor solutions. With regard to such changes, the internal processes of theorganization will be changed to a varied degree, in the sense that deeper and moreintense vendor solutions implemented will result in more and intense and considerablechanges in the internal processes of the organization. The maintenance of the code willhighly depend on the participation of the end user and their interaction with the newsoftware installed or recommended by the software vendor.20. 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?
21. Compare the costs and benefits, tangible and intangible, of each approach.22. Research software vendors who are industry leaders in the major enterprise applications in categories such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM (Customer Relationship Management), and LOB (Line of Business). Examine their offerings for companies of various sizes and industries.
23. 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.”24. Document technology considerations, including interfaces to pre-existing systems, technology standards, and constraints of the IT infrastructure.
25. Identify reports, input forms, and other screen-shots needed by users at all levels of the organization, and by users outside the organization.26. Identify and make public the evaluation criteria and the precise formula that will be used to compare proposals from competing vendors.27. 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).
28. Research articles and Web links regarding best practices and trends in outsourced software development.29. Research available case studies on companies that have successfully managed or completely failed at outsourced systems development, whether domestic or off- shore.
30. Focus on the challenges and critical success factors relative to managing and participating in geographically dispersed software development projects.31. 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. 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?
e. Address changes to management systems, job descriptions, organizational structure, and performance measures.f. Develop a plan to ensure that managers get evaluated using new metrics based upon the redesigned processes.g. Develop ways of predicting and dealing with the challenge of possible reversion to earlier processes.h. Examine and apply Critical Success Factors of change management.i. Discuss best practices and case studies relative to successes and failures in managing change in systems projects.j. Discuss the importance of marketing the change to management and end- users.k. Address the involvement of upper management in ways that are appropriate to the success of the project.l. Discuss why people comprise the most important and complex aspect of change in system implementation projects.m. Explain the role of politics in process analysis and system implementation projects.n. Explain the need for, and appropriate role definition of, project champions.o. 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.p. Discuss best practices and case studies relative to successes and failures in managing the people aspect of change in systems projects.q. 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.r. 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.s. Discuss how e-business applications may be more complex than internal applications and involve multiple constituencies and stakeholders outside of the organization.t. 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).
u. Discuss the role of XML and its subsets that are optimized towards certain vertical industries for creating, transmitting, and receiving business transactions.v. 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.w. Discuss the complexity of achieving real-time and batch interfaces with systems owned by other entities, including customers and suppliers.x. Discuss how IT/IS organizations within companies can serve a role in strategic planning.y. Discuss how IT can be an enabler toward positive change versus how it can be a drain on corporate and societal resources.z. 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.aa. 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.
bb. 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.32.