Case Study Report On Information Management Systems - Martni College IMS100 - Case Study Report

2088 words - 9 pages

Case Study Report
IMS100 INformation management Systems
Assessment 3
Student Name:
ABC Timber and Hardware are a small chain of hardware stores operating out of 12 branches across the state. The current Information Management System (IMS) requires expert personnel to extract relevant information from the accounting system and therefore requires a longer period of time to progress down the supply chain. As a result, sales representatives are being presented with untimely and ineffective information. To resolve this problem a complete system overhaul is in place to replace the old information system with a completely new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Thus, providing all employees across 12 branches access to ‘real time’ data that is relevant to make effective and successful decisions to benefit the business.
Existing System’s Strengths and Weaknesses
ABC timber and hardware are operating a sophisticated computer network with a state of the art accounting system. The purpose of an Accounting Information System (AIS) is to collect, store, and process financial and accounting data and produce reports that managers can use for decision making. The issues with this system include limited accessibility for all personnel across the 12 branches. Limited access is resulting in untimely data preventing Sales Managers from making efficient and effective decisions. Company employees have been working for ABC Timber and Hardware for many years and the Board of Directors are concerned with the issue of ageing sales representatives retiring with expert and tacit knowledge.
Strengths of the current IMS
· Loyal employees and cliental who trust ABC Timber and Hardware
· Data on customers and sales are already stored in current IMS
· The current IMS does not show signs of security risks
· Sales personnel are already familiar with the current IMS and therefore minimal training is required
Weaknesses of the current IMS
· Ageing sales staff may retire with tacit knowledge that cannot be obtained from current IMS
· Data is not available to all sales personnel in real time
· Untimely data is resulting in inefficient and outdated decision making
· Limited accessibility
· System not up to date with current software and applications
Emerging Technologies Relevant to the Existing System
Operating System Questions
1. What software does your current accounting system use for processing data?
2. Where does the IMS store its data? If it is not stored in the cloud, what are your companies privacy policies on storing customer data in the cloud?
3. What is the company’s budget for implementing a new IMS? This cost would also have to involve additional training costs. Cloud based software reduces costs as updates are free and automatic.
4. Does the software require custom integration to meet mandatory business requirements? If so, costs and time integrating new IMS will increase.
ABC Timber and Hardware are currently operating two forms of Information Management Systems, including a computerized accounting system operated by the ABC Timber and Hardware Administration team and a manual reporting system, operated by the Sales Manager. The accessibility of both systems is very limited with no way for Sales Representatives within the company to access this data. Emerging technologies such as mobile cloud computing offer an unlimited resource that can be accessed anytime and anywhere from all branches of ABC Timber and Hardware, providing a solution for accessibility. Mobile cloud integrates cloud computing into the mobile environment and overcomes obstacles of mobile computing related to battery life, storage, bandwidth, privacy and reliability (Gheorghe, 2014). Thus providing ABC Timber and Hardware with a more affordable method of storing data that is accessible in real time and up to date.
Stakeholders and Relevant Personnel
Internal Stakeholders
ABC Timber and Hardware Sales Manager
Responsible for managing the sales representatives, ensuring they are reporting all activities back to management in report form as well as communication across all 12 branches.
ABC Timber and Hardware Sales Representatives
There are 12 sales representatives across all branches of ABC Timber and Hardware who are responsible for implementing the information compiled into reports generated by the current accounting system.
ABC Timber and Hardware Administration Department
Responsible for retrieving the data from the current computer network and accounting system and distributing reports to the Sales Manager.
ABC Timber and Hardware Board of Directors
A group of internal and external stakeholders who jointly oversee the activities of ABC Timber and Hardware ensuring fiduciary duty to shareholders and stakeholders are met, policies are followed and the company is operating profitably.
Senior ABC Timber and Hardware Sales Personnel
Sales staff who have been with the company for many years and gained a tacit amount of knowledge during their career.
New ABC Timber and Hardware Sales Personnel
Newly recruited sales staff who would be able to utilize the information system to gain the same level of knowledge as senior sales staff.
External Stakeholders
ABC Timber and Hardware Board of Directors
A group of internal and external stakeholders who jointly oversee the activities of ABC Timber and Hardware ensuring fiduciary duty to shareholders and stakeholders are met, policies are followed and the company is operating profitably.
Information Manager
The person responsible for developing and implementing a new knowledge management system that would allow new sales personnel to obtain the same level of knowledge as senior sales staff, provide relevant information to staff across departments and be used effectively and successfully.
Data Analysts
Translates data from the knowledge management system into information to help the company make more effective and successful business decisions.
ABC Timber and Hardware Customers
The people who purchase goods and services from ABC Timber and Hardware.
ABC Timber and Hardware Suppliers
The people who sell goods and services to ABC Timber and Hardware.
Planning Activities for Development and Implementation of the Information Management System
An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system integrates all departments and functions throughout an organisation into a single Information Technology (IT) system so that employees can make enterprise wide decisions by viewing enterprise wide information on all business operations creating an opportunity for effective and efficient decisions. An ERP system improves accessibility to quality data for operational decision making, improvement of work processes, standardisation of all technology and elimination of inefficient and outdated systems. An ERP system would make information accessible to all sales personnel across all departments and remotes areas due to cloud based information.
The following modules will be integrated into a centralised ERP system to provide information and resources for all personnel, including human resource, inventory, sales and marketing, purchase, finance and accounting, customer relationship management and supply chain management. The process of implementing a completely new ERP system will require large costs and extensive training to ensure its success. To assist in the implementation process, a full-time executive will need to be assigned to manage the project as well as the appointment of an experienced and independent resource to provide project oversight and validation of system performance. Training and promotions will be a focus for all current and new sales personnel during the integration process as senior sales staff may find it difficult adapting to change. While training and implementation of a completely new ERP system will be challenging, the new system would eliminate old legacy systems allowing the company to remain competitive within their industry and replacing them with a single integrated set of application that the entire company will have access to. The benefits of implementing an ERP program into an organisation such as ABC Timber and Hardware is it can increase access to timely data, improve decision making and efficiency across all departments.
Reasons for Conducting a Training Needs Analysis/Learning Needs Analysis
A Learning Needs Analysis LNA assists basic and expert personnel to identify their learning needs, plan their learning objectives and evaluate their training progress. This will be vital in the training and progress of all staff working at ABC timber and hardware. Methods of training will include:
· Outsourcing from other companies
· Recorded training workshops
· Hard and soft training manuals
· Training metrics to show existing skillsets
Identifying learning needs, planning learning objectives and evaluating training progress are all essential in the successfulness of implementing a completely new IMS system. A LNA needs to be conducted to understand and recognize the training requirements of the new ERP system, identify the gaps in training and implement a plan for the company to close those gaps with relevant training.
Human, Financial and Physical Resources
The following subheadings identify the human, financial and physical resources required to implement an ERP system.
· Information Manager overseeing the implementation project
· External auditors
· Expert personnel conducting training workshops for new and current employees
· Data engineer employed to conduct data mining
· Third party overseeing cloud network ABC Timber and Hardware will use to store data
· Initial cost of new ERP system
· Customization cost of new ERP to align with ABC Timber and Hardware business requirements
· Physical implementation of ERP system
· Training costs
· Third party vendor costs for cloud based ERP
· Promotional costs to incentivize current staff to adapt to change
· New hardware
· Workshops for training
· Training manuals
Promotional Activities
Promotions are activities designed to encourage ABC personnel to adapt to change and utilize the new ERP system by becoming actively involved in training.
· Incentives
· Education, further studies to further educate employees
· Exclusive memberships to organisations like gyms and libraries
· Employee awards for performance
Education and incentives are two key promotional activities to better involve and train employees to use the new ERP system. Engaged employees are those who are given the opportunity to adequately use their skill sets and are encouraged to expand their current skill set. Incentives and development opportunities in education for personal growth allow employees to feel appreciated, valued and foresee a higher purpose.
Monitoring Programs
Involve stakeholders
All relevant stakeholders must be engaged for monitoring, review and evaluation activities to be successful.
Monitor progress
Successful monitoring delivers timely and relevant information that allows you to track progress towards outcomes and adjust implement arrangements as necessary.
Review regularly
Factor in reviews as part of your planning process to assess progress of implementation, focusing on operational issues, policy outcomes and project management structures. Findings and recommendations from reviews should then be used to improve implementation.
Evaluate outcomes
The success of an initiative is determined by the extent to which intended and unintended policy outcomes are achieved and how they have affected stakeholders.
Policies and Procedures for System Effectiveness
Ensure all staff are aware of obligations in relation to selection, use and safety when utilizing the ERP system.
· Legal, statutory, regulatory, contract or privacy obligations of company
· Operational work instructions, training manuals
· Policy for use of software including purpose of the policy and procedures
· IT Security Policy provides guidelines for the protection and use of information technology assets and resources within the business to ensure confidentiality.
Legal Requirements and Ethical Issues
The book Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making & Cases defines ethics as “behaviour or decisions made within a group’s values” (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2015). Business ethics are organisational principles, values and norms that may originate from individuals, organisational statements, or from the legal system to primarily guide individuals and organisational behaviour within a business (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2015).
· Privacy laws of users and employees
· Monitoring systems in place
· Privacy laws for sharing company information
· Conflicts of interest
· Corporate culture
· Corporate Governance
These are all important policies, procedures and principles within the organisation designed to guide employee behaviour within the business.
Replacing the current IMS with an ERP system will completely restructure the framework of ABC Timber and Hardware allowing it to be much more centralized, easily accessible and provide all sales personnel the opportunity to be making more effective and efficient decisions using relevant data in real time. Ultimately, increasing customer satisfaction and business profitability.
Australian Government. (2015). Cabinet Implementation Unit Toolkit . Canberra: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Colmenares, L. (2009). BENEFITS OF ERP SYSTEMS FOR ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT. Allied Academies International Conference, 3-6.
Ferrell, O. C., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L. (2015). Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making & Cases. Canada: Cengage Learning.
Gheorghe, M. (2014). Mobile Cloud Computing for Telemedicine Solutions. Informatica Economică, 50-60.
Page, S. B. (2002). Establishing a System of Policies and Procedures. Ohio: Process Improvement Publishing.
Thomas Tribunella, M. P. (2005). Emerging technologies and the future of the accounting profession. RIT Scholar Works, pp. 1-26.
IMS100 Assessment 3

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