Developing An Information Systems Framework Computer Science Essay

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ABC Complete Kitchens will need to develop an information systems framework that can support the strategic objectives of management. "An information system (IS) can be any organized combination of people, hardware, software, communications networks, data resources and policies and procedures that a store, retrieves, transform and disseminates information in an organization." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 2, para. 5}} The IS framework is organized in the following areas: management challenges, business applications, information technologies, development processes and foundation concepts.

"Information technology (IT) refers to the various hardware, software, networking, and data management components necessary for the system to operate." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 5, para. 4}} IT is comprised of various computer-based information systems that incorporate the following: computer hardware, computer software, telecommunications, and data resource management. ABC Complete Kitchens will create an IT infrastructure in order to utilize each of the computer-based information systems components. The selection of a mainframe or computer based servers will provide the data storage and application platforms for software. Computer software will need to be evaluated to make sure it meets the demands of ABC Complete Kitchens data processing needs. Telecommunications will need to be established for wire-based networks, wireless access for both internet and intranet. In addition, conferencing capabilities need to be planned so proper communication can be maintained for ABC Complete Kitchens operations in foreign countries. "Data resource management technologies, including database management system software for the development, access and maintenance of the databases of ABC Complete Kitchens, will need to be planned for as well. " {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p.5, para. 8}}

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"Three vital roles that information systems can perform for a business enterprise are: support of business processes and operations, support of decision making by employees and managers and support of strategies for competitive advantage." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 7, para. 1}} Management support systems will provide ABC Complete Kitchens managers with information and support for decision making from the IS applications that focus on providing information and support. {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 13, para. 2}} ABC Complete Kitchens will use a several systems to help run the business. Examples of these systems include: management information systems (MIS), decision support systems (DSS) and executive information systems (EIS).

MIS provides information in the form of reports and displays to managers. "This information consists of pre-specified internal reports emphasizing detailed current and historical data comparisons that support structured responsibilities in day-to-day operations." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 92, para. 2}} A DSS gives direct support to a manager to run what-if scenarios. This may be of great benefit to the managers of ABC Complete Kitchens. For example, a marketing manager can run various what-if scenarios to forecast sales which will have a direct impact on the production manager who will have to plan for raw materials and the staffing to meet production schedules. "EIS will provide critical information from a wide variety of internal and external sources in easy-to-use displays for ABC Complete Kitchens executives and managers." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 14, para. 1}} The use of "dash-board" technology that provides real time statistics on a web-based display will help the executive team of ABC Complete Kitchens make decisions in a timely fashion instead of waiting for weekly or monthly reports that may not provide enough time to react to a situation.

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"Developing successful IS solutions to business problems are a major challenge for business managers and professionals. ABC Complete Kitchens will have the challenge of developing new or improved uses of information technologies within the company." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 17, para. 2}} Hiring competent staff for the design and development of these systems is crucial to meeting the needs of the end-users. Another consideration is to hire a consulting firm that is an expert in the field of system design and understands how to develop a system based on an analysis of the business requirements of ABC Complete Kitchens. Once the system has been designed, software selection, implementation and training will need to be performed either internally or by the consultant.

"Foundational system concepts underlie all business processes, as well as providing an understanding of information systems and technologies." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 23, para. 1}} "This includes fundamental behavioral, technical, business and managerial concepts like system components and functions, or competitive strategies." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 33, para. 1}} System concepts are comprised of: technology, applications, development and the management of information. ABC Complete Kitchens' IS staff will need to understand the total environment that the systems operate in and how systems will communicate with each other, i.e. using interfaces from subsystems. "Establishing clearly defined boundaries for systems of all the interrelated components will work together to achieve a common goal by accepting inputs and producing outputs in an organized transformation process." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 27, para. 2}}

Many challenges face ABC Complete Kitchens to successfully develop and implement an information system. Some of the business challenges include:

Speed and flexibility requirements of product development, manufacturing, and delivery cycles.

Reengineering and cross-functional integration of business processes using internet technologies.

Integration of e-business and e-commerce into the organization's strategies, processes, structure, and culture. {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 15, para. 3}}

The goal of ABC Complete Kitchens is to maximize their customer and business value by using information technology to support their employees in implementing cooperative business processes with customers, suppliers, and others. {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 15, para. 2}} Ethical responsibilities will need to be considered by management to ensure customer data can only be accessed by those who have authority. Actions by irresponsible employees can damage the reputation of ABC Complete Kitchens and would also violate the policy of corporate social responsibility that was developed for the Board of Directors.

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ABC Complete Kitchens will utilize an enterprise application architecture that incorporates the following:

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) which concentrates on the efficiency of its internal production, distribution and financial processes to meet its strategic objectives.

Customer relationship management (CRM) that focuses on acquiring and retaining profitable customers via marketing, sales and service processes.

Supply chain management (SCM) that focuses on developing the most efficient and effective sourcing and procurement processes with suppliers for the products and services needed by a business. {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 43, para. 1}}

ABC Complete Kitchens will utilize "e-commerce (part of e-business), which involves the buying, selling, marketing, and servicing of products, services and information over the Internet and other networks. " {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 40, para. 1}} Sales through the Internet will capture data that is used for CRM to develop an up-selling or cross-selling approach to fulfilling customer requirements. Up-selling will help a customer find a better product than they are currently looking for. Cross-selling will provide a customer with accessories that may be related to the product they have purchased. CRM will also utilize a customer service and support system. "This will help customer service managers create, assign, and manage requests for service by customers." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 46, para. 2}}

"Supply chain management (SCM) goal is to create a fast, efficient, and low-cost network of business relationships to get a company's products from concept to market." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 54, para. 1}} SCM software can help ABC Complete Kitchens improve interenterprise coordination among the supply chain process to create an effective distribution and channel networks among business partners. {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 54, para. 3}} In addition, using an electronic data interface will expedite quotes and vendor information in order to streamline the supply chain process which is part of the e-commerce initiative that will be used by ABC Complete Kitchens.

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"Manufacturing information systems support the production/operations function that includes all activities associated with the planning and control processes that produce goods or services." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 72, para. 5}} ABC Complete Kitchens will use a system that will help managers monitor operations so inventories, purchases and production schedules can be implemented and maintained. The implementation of a computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) system will accomplish that task. "The goal of using CIM is to create flexible, agile, manufacturing processes that efficiently produce products of the highest quality. Implementing such manufacturing concepts enables a company to quickly respond to and fulfill customer requirements with high-quality products and services." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 73, para. 2}}

A component of CIM that will aid ABC Complete Kitchens with planning the types of material needed in the production process, which is called material requirements planning (MRP). MRP is also integrated with production scheduling and shop floor operations or manufacturing resource planning, which is part of the enterprise resource planning model. {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 73, para. 4}}

Computer-aided manufacturing systems are those that automate the production process. ABC Complete Kitchens can use this automation to accomplish monitoring and controlling the production process in the factory, a machine or the use of robots for some production functions. {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 74, para. 1}}

Another component of CIM is the manufacturing execution system (MES) which is a performance-monitoring information system for factory floor operations. The system monitors, tracks and controls five essential components involved in a production process: materials, equipment, personnel, instructions and specifications, and production facilities. MES includes shop floor scheduling and control, machine control, robotics control and process control systems. {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 74, para. 1}}

ABC Complete Kitchens will utilize this system to plan for different production runs by allocating the appropriate materials, staffing and machinery involved to produce the high-quality equipment that is expected from the customers.

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ABC Complete Kitchens will need to implement an accounting information system that will contain six basic components: order processing, inventory control, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll and general ledger. The additional module for fixed assets will be helpful to incorporate into the system because ABC Complete Kitchens will have a substantial amount of capital equipment and software that should be properly depreciated (subject to capital thresholds). A proper system will also have standardized reports for balance sheet and income statements, in addition to the ability to produce forecasts of future conditions or comparisons of actual to budget.

Another vital component to the accounting system will be a cost accounting component. ABC Complete Kitchens will manufacture various products, it will be important to track the raw materials through each stage of production in order to account for the cost of each product. Additionally, labor and overhead costs will need to be allocated to the cost of these products so a price per unit can be established.

ABC Complete Kitchens will also use a financial management system to support business managers in decisions regarding the financing of the company and the allocation and control of financial resources within the company, such as: cash and investment management, capital budgeting, financial forecasting and financial planning. {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 78, para. 2}} The system will analyze the financial impact of different financing options, as well as planning for capital expenditures and the development of ABC Complete Kitchens' annual budget.

ABC Complete Kitchens will implement a human resource information system (HRIS) that is designed to support the following: planning to meet the personnel needs of the business, development of employees to their full potential, and control of all personnel policies and programs. {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 74, para. 5}} "Additionally, an HRIS should support: recruitment, selection, hiring, job placement, performance appraisals, employee benefits, training and development, health, safety and security." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 74, para. 6}} ABC Complete Kitchens HRIS should also be made available on the intranet of the company in order to provide continuous support to its employees. Examples of items to consider include changing of exemptions for taxes, electronic copies of paystubs and various forms for benefits, retirement etc. that human resources publishes to the intranet.

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ABC Complete Kitchens will use a decision support system (DSS) to strategic (executive), tactical (self directed) and operational management (production). Information should be viewed as three dimensional: time, content and form. {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 88, para. 4}}

DSS are computer-based information systems that provide interactive information support to managers during the decision making process. DSS use: analytical models, specialized databases, decision makers' own insights and judgments, and an interactive, computer-based modeling process to support semi-structured business decisions. {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 94, para. 6}}

ABC Complete Kitchens can use this modeling base to rank and trend various products it manufactures or perform a productivity analysis in order to staff to production volumes in order to control costs. DSS will provide ABC Complete Kitchens with quick response analytical basis for making strategic decisions.

Management information systems (MIS) produce information that supports many day-to-day decision making needs of managers. Four reporting alternatives provided by MIS are: periodic schedule reports, exception reports, demand reports and responses and push reporting. {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 97, para. 2}} ABC Complete Kitchens' managers can use the periodic scheduled reports to monitor production volumes and receive a department performance report that shows operating expenses for the month. Exception reports can be used within the credit department for ABC Complete Kitchens to show which customers have exceeded their credit limit or are late in paying their invoices. {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 97, para. 4}} Both of these reports can be pushed to a manager by a process that links the report to their email and is run by a set schedule for efficiency. Another option is to provide managers with demand reports, in which they can enter the data parameters, for example, the number of units produce for a specified date range compared to the number of staff that were working. These types of report will give ABC Complete Kitchens' managers more flexibility to manage and will not be reliant on IS to provide them reports.

ABC Complete Kitchens should implement an online analytical processing server. This will provide additional dimensions of data analysis such as: consolidation, drill-down, and slicing and dicing. The benefit to the sales managers would be to view data on a consolidated basis or rolled up version for a sales region, or by product, with the ability to drill-down into the individual components that are accounting for the bulk of sales in a certain region. The slicing and dicing of the data can be used for rank and trend analysis along a time line to find time-based patterns in the data. {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 98, para. 7}}

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"The use of a decision support process involves four basic types of analytical modeling activities: what-if analysis, sensitivity analysis, goal-seeking analysis, and optimization analysis." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 102, para. 8}}

ABC Complete Kitchens' marketing and financial managers would utilize a what-if analysis to see how changes in production may impact customers' orders and the bottom line. In addition, financial managers may wish to run a what-if scenario when developing the fiscal budget to estimate revenue and expense impact on the overall profit percentage for the company.

A sensitivity analysis involves repeated changes to only one variable at a time, this is helpful when key assumptions are either unknown or may not have enough support to substantiate the decision. ABC Complete Kitchens can use this type of analysis for an addition of a new product line, but the managers may be uncertain of the exact demand, in which other variable components may be changed one by one, such as raw materials, number of units and pricing in order to achieve target profitability for the product.

A goal-seeking analysis reverses the direction of the analysis done in what-if and sensitivity analysis. {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 104, para. 2}} ABC Complete Kitchens can use this type of analysis if the managers already know what the target product profitability should be, but do not know how many units or how large the demand needs to be to add an additional product line.

The optimization analysis is a more complex version of goal-seeking analysis that finds the optimum value for one or more target variables, given certain constraints. {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p.104, para. 3}} ABC Complete Kitchens' managers will use this type of analysis to project revenue "given limited capacity of a production process or limits to available financing for the purchase of new equipment." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 104, para. 3}}

"Data mining and data warehouses are vital tools for organizing and exploiting data resources of a company. Data mining's main purpose is to provide decision support to managers through a process referred to as knowledge discovery." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 105, para. 1}} "Data mining software may perform regression, decision tree, neural network, cluster detection, or market basket analysis for a business." {{57 O'Brien-Marakas 2008, p. 105, para. 2}} ABC Complete Kitchens' marketing department could use this to find customer buying trends for example, what products and associated products from cross-selling. In addition, analysis can be performed on the customers' preferences of buying, i.e. if e-commerce is preferred over faxing or calling an order in.

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"Executive information systems (EIS) are information systems that combine the features of management information systems and decision support systems. The goal of EIS is to provide executives with immediate and easy access to information about a company's strategic objectives." {{57 O'Brien 2008, p. 107, para. 2}} EIS information is usually configured to the user's preference, which may include graphics displays and drill-down capabilities that access data down to a detailed level. It is recommended that ABC Complete Kitchens' provide the upper management with a "dashboard" type of reporting tool, that is web based for ease of access from multiple computers and can be customized to provide immediate results for each manager's area of responsibility. This tool should also be able to export data into a spreadsheet program so that further analysis can be completed with re-keying the data.

ABC Complete Kitchens will use some components of artificial intelligence (AI) to provide support and efficiency to its manufacturing processes. "The goal of AI is to develop computers that can simulate the ability to think, as well as see, hear, walk, talk and feel." {{57 O'Brien 2008, p. 112, para. 3}} "The technology of engineering and physiology has produced robots machines with computer intelligence and computer-controlled, humanlike physical capabilities." {{57 O'Brien 2008, p. 115, para. 2}} ABC Complete Kitchens will use some robots on the production line to automate some tasks that might be boring or that could potentially cause a repetitive motion injury. Additional benefits of robot use would speed up production, and consistency in manufacturing; down time would be limited by machine failure and not sick time. ABC Complete Kitchens' management will have to balance the use of robots to hiring employees so as not to create a moral problem.

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ABC Complete Kitchens' management will develop methods of measuring different statistical units that will help determine trends, problems with customer satisfaction, or production issues. Management will need to identify a measurement of a certain value of the population that is to be sampled. An example would be to identify number of units produced to show volume, or number of productive hours worked divided by number of hours in a pay period to identify full time equivalents (FTEs). These variables can be referred to as quantitative, i.e. how much or how many. Customer satisfaction surveys that will be used are an example of a categorical variable.

A census of units produced will be determined by each production shift. This measurement will be used to determine and monitor production volume. In addition, an analysis of FTEs will be conducted and compared to the census of units produced so management can appropriately staff to production volumes in order to control labor costs.

ABC Complete Kitchens' marketing department will use statistical surveys to analyze trends or to identify a demand for a new product line. The definition of a target population will limit the survey to a select group of users within the restaurant industry. A phone survey conducted with current customers will provide the fastest response with the best clarification of the questions asked. Open ended questions will be asked of each customer in order to get an un-biased opinion.

Customer satisfaction surveys will be conducted over the internet to a randomly selected population from a random number table. An open-ended survey will be implemented because it provides the most honest and complete information without suggested answers that may divert or bias a person's response. {{58 Bowerman 2009, p. 156, para. 4}} The results of these surveys can be used to interpret the quality of a product and if a product line should be continued, discontinued or improved based on the results.

Employee satisfaction surveys will be conducted at kiosks that are connected to ABC Complete Kitchens intranet. These surveys will be in multiple choice format start with a strongly disagree choice progressing to a strongly agree choice. The surveys will be offered to any employee who wishes to participate. The results will be collected by human resources and then shared with management for review and addressed via management training.

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