Posted on

3 Phases of Business Analysis Verification Testing

test, work, , business analysis, business, complete, system, strategic planning, software

The first thing you should do after buying a product for the business analysis solution is to verify if the software will work with your vision.  Will it do what it is supposed to do?  When it is being verified the testing team who can be anyone from developers, QA and business analysts work with the software to make sure that it really works for what it was bought and/or created for.  There are many phases to be completed in order to ensure the new product will work well with your system.

The Test Phases

The Smoke Test comes before anything.  It’s a pretest to find out if full testing can begin.  This test shows simple failures that could keep further tests from being executed in the next 3 phases.

  1. Unit Test: Here every unit is tested separately to find any possible bugs before moving on.  It’s another name for the smoke test.  Don’t just have the development team test it here, but others to so there will be unbiased testing completed.
  2. Integration Test: This part makes sure that all the individual parts can work together; either as a subsystem or linked units.  Here you would want to find problems with how components will work together in the software architecture design.  This includes multiple levels of integration where subsystems might be brought in to see if they would work, then attached to larger subsystems when in compliance.  The development team and possibly business analysists work here.
  3. System Test: Here is where problems are found with how the new system meets users’ needs.  It’s ran through the entire system, auditing everything from linear perspective’s.  It’s the last chance before turning over to a user acceptance test, and verifies if the software meets original requirements.  The business analyst works here for the most part.

Other Tests to Be Completed

There are numerous other tests that have to be completed during these 3 phases.

  • Requirements validation test: Verifies system logic, making sure that it supports system analysis.
  • Regression Test: Retesting to ensure changes don’t break what is working.  There’s usually more than one test completed to make sure all the applications work.
  • Dynamic Test: Testing of the software in different circumstances.  There are 3 tests completed here:
    • The Performance Test: How fast can the system complete functions?
    • The Stress Test: Push the software to its limits to see how it handles levels of users, rates of input and speed of response.
    • Volume Test: Can the new software handle growth projections?
  • Security Test
  • Installation Test
  • Configuration Test
  • Usability Test

Why Test and a Way To Help Implement

With all these tests completed it will help you to not have problems down the road.  There’s a need to make sure that everything will work before turning it loose for everyone to use in your company or sell online to your customers.  Click here to get an awesome partition assistant from AOMEI to help maximize disk space and improve the performance of your computer(s).  This will be needed when growing your system, implementing new programs and applications.  The best part of this is that it has the Windows to Go Creator which would help immensely in the long run too.

 

Posted on

3 Reasons to Use Strategic Plans

SCRUM, plan, planning, strategic planning, tasks, software, planning software, scrum management, scrum, task, task management,

What Are Strategic Plans?

Strategic plans are a type of formalized map that plots out and shows how a company is going to follow and complete the chosen strategy.  It’s how the business is going to improve a function in a department or throughout the entire organization.  It’s a management tool for C-level managers and business owners to learn how to master so that there can be more growth of the company.

  1. It helps build competitive advantage
  2. Communicates strategy to the staff if you have any, or helps keep you organized if you’re a sole proprietor
  3. It helps to give focus and direction in order to act

Assistance in Time Management

A good investment is time management software.  It helps to keep track of reports, task completion and sharing tasks between team members.  This software can improve both personal and professional productivity by 80%.  It can help so much in helping to keep the strategy up to date and completing tasks on time.  Here’s an affiliate link for software assistance in managing projects, automating business processes, getting notifications of what has been done or still has to be completed.  It can also add notes and comments for if someone is having trouble or finished ahead of schedule which is incredibly helpful.  Then you know where people might need to be added or taken away to assist on other tasks.

A Good Plan

Scheduling ahead is a good plan in order to be successful in project management and strategic planning.  You don’t have to worry about falling behind or having sloppy handling of tasks.  All you have to do is put the plan to action and the software does the rest if used right.  Make sure that the team members remember to update what they did for the day so you can keep tabs.  If using it personally it’s great for being able to keep track of your busy life.  You don’t want to miss an important event or appointment.

 

Posted on

The Internet Revolution for Business

business, internet, customer, work, product

The Internet has grown so much since its inception decades ago.  To the point that it influences our daily life, school and the work environment.  1/3rd of humanity uses the Internet presently.  Due to this the business environment has changed immensely due to how many people log on every day in order to communicate with each other.  The Internet has been implemented by business for marketing and promotion of products and services as people are leaning towards doing all their shopping online, or as much of it as possible.

Porter’s Five Force Model

This offers frameworks to measure industry competition and analysis, and helps to build business strategies.  What are threats from present and future competition and existing substitutes?  How much bargaining power do customers have and measures negotiating power of suppliers?

Threat New Entrants:  There is a lower entry barrier in being able to set up new businesses due to the Internet.  Increasing competition lowered margins too.

Threat New Substitutes:  There has been a reduction of the product life cycle due to the Internet.  Encouraging innovation and new shelf lives of products are now the norm for customer serving.

Bargaining Power Customers:  The customer is now well informed in what products do and what may be good substitutes.  In this businesses have to watch what they put out there dealing with differentiation and pricing.

Bargaining Power Suppliers:  Suppliers are in the same boat as the customer is now too except focusing on the industry they are in.

Threat of Competition It is now extremely important to be transparent and honest in order to become successful.  The customer knows more about the business, and the Internet lowered cost of searching for new products.

Internet and Business

How the Internet changed business can be measured in many ways.  The main thing is that it opened new avenues to be able to conduct business more smoothly, timely, and cost efficiently depending on the situation.

Communication:  There are now a lot of new ways to connect to others and disperse information.  Email, Instant Messaging, Intranet, Skype…

Collaboration:  There is no such thing as geographical boundaries as the Internet allows for ease of collaboration now.  The only thing that has to be considered is time zones as not everyone might be working in the same time zone.  Meetings would have to be scheduled around that…

Business Transactions:  There is now a culture of online businesses.  Many stores have been opened up online.  Now Internet banking and payment gateways are a normal part of supply chain transactions.

Work Flexibility Now it is possible to work from home or in remote locations.  Employees can now remain in touch with the company while away in order to know what’s going on at work.  They can also complete work from these locations through logging into the secure business Intranet.

Web Based Applications Here is where cloud computing comes to play.  It saves so much space and money depending on what the company buys into.

Conclusion

The Internet is both a good and a bad thing for business.  It’s good as the company can spread their products or services all over, or locally depending.  They can learn more about their competition, learn more about what their customers want, what their suppliers might suggest.  It makes communication a lot easier than ever.  On the bad side though it allows for hackers to find ways to attack them and steal information.  Security has to be high priority in order to make sure that this doesn’t happen.  Employees and customers don’t need to worry about identity theft to name one vulnerability.  The pluses outweigh the negatives though…

Posted on

4 Elements of Information Systems

customer, system, business, information, process

The use of information technology (IT) has dramatically increased in the business world in the past decade.  It has been acknowledged that information systems (IS) is a very important step to compete and grow.  There are four elements of IS that new systems need to work correctly.

4 Elements

  1. Customers – The main function of IS is to be able to better support the end user or customer. This is both internal and external.  Externally it could be an online shopper who wants to buy from a website.  Internal customers would be something like employees or one department in a company who needs supplies from another department.  IS was developed in order to better support external customers.  Also something to focus on is flexibility supporting internal customers.
  2. Products and Services – This deals in data transformation. The IS has to work well in any industry.  It helps prepare many types of services and/or products based on design.  Customer expectations have to be satisfied in order to be considered successful.
  3. Business Processes – Improvements to processes directly influence performance. It provides relevant information to the company.  This improves said company’s processes by adding or removing steps as needed.
  4. Communication Technology and Computers – This is the central piece of the information system. They have to be able to deliver efficient business processes and make the customers happy.  This is done through either delivery of product or services rendered.  Technology helps to improve communication through email and chat internally.  Externally it provides a good website that people will enjoy visiting.  Information can be accessed much more quickly which increases the competitive edge.

Why Use IS?

Information systems helps improve relations between customers and the business, or business to business relationships.  The question is, which type of system does your company need?  A lot of questions to consider before making the leap to upgrading

Posted on

Enterprise Agility, Digital Options and IT

enterprise agility, digital options, measurement, information technology, IT,

Define Enterprise Agility

To be able to operate and be strategic, there are tons of factors to consider.  Hyper-competition, higher demands from customers, advances in tech and changes in regulations have to be considered when upgrading.  There’s something called enterprise agility.  It’s comprised of two things. Being able to sense what is going on and respond to it.  The timelier the response, the more likely the company will succeed in difficult times.  Dynamic capabilities are included here.  One has to consider how to build the new system that will respond to the new environment.  In order to keep up with competition capabilities have to be able to adapt to new changes.

Market orientation deals with market intelligence focusing on new and current customer needs.  The information gathered will be spread across all departments so there can be company-wide responsiveness to changes.  Absorptive capacity deals with how well the company assimilates, transforms and uses the knowledge gathered.  Strategic flexibility is how well the agency manages both economic and political risks to market threats.  It also looks for future opportunities.  The flexibility has to include both reactive and proactive approaches to problems.  Organizations need to be watchful for and respond to competitors’ actions.  They need to look at consumer preferences.  There has to be a focus on economic shifts.  The agency needs to look out for  changes in regulations and advances in technology too.

The Role of IT

The role information technology (IT) plays in this is very important.  Responses are completed through direct and indirect means of digital options.  Through direct means IT can anticipate and sense changes dealing with businesses.  IT systems help as sheer volume of information processed goes further than can be handled otherwise.  Indirect means are more pronounced though.  This is where product development, manufacturing and supply chains add to performance of the organization.

Digital options can be considered indirect too due to them being work processes and knowledge systems.  Knowledge reach is the comprehension and accessibility of codified knowledge available.  If the system is built correctly it can help companies to gather and use the knowledge gained.  Knowledge richness is when IT gives out high-quality information in a timely manner.  IT also reviews real-time pattern recognition and monitors data.  It helps create strategic scenarios assisting strategic decision making.  Process reach is when IT integrates customers, suppliers and partners internally.  The richness of these processes are improved by quicker timeliness of delivery.  They become more accurate and relevant.

Conclusion

Depending on how the new systems are deployed and managed, IT could hurt as well as help businesses.  The older the technology being used means responses could be limited by the range available.  Everything would have to be updated, not just programming.  Systems might restrict the ability to retrieve and interpret data being gathered for analyzing.  Or processes could be incompatible with new systems.  This would mean that they would have to be upgraded.  It’s up to the firm as to how well IT is going to work for them if at all.  Agility is the ability to respond quickly to change that comes up.  The company has to understand the updates in order to create and implement them correctly.  If not, they could fall behind from their competition even more.

 

 

Posted on

What are Information Systems? Why so Needed?

Define Information Systems

What exactly is an Information System (IS)?  Let’s look at the definition here…an information systems focus on networks of hardware, software that people and organizations use daily to handle their data and information.  These components are used in order to gather, analyze, store and disseminate information.  The information in turn helps to support strategic decisions being made for the agency.

Walmart Example

As for a competitive advantage, it can go either way. It seems that there’s an ongoing debate as to how much of an advantage IS gives, if at all.  But as an example, Walmart has used it to a great advantage.  One key to success for them was implementing a brand new supply-chain management system.  It’s unique for them only to where suppliers can go in and review how well their products are selling at Walmart, in any of their stores at any location.   Suppliers can petition them if they feel products are being sold to quickly so inventory levels can be increased for their products.  It’s pretty interesting how it all works…so Walmart can drive prices down and respond to the market more quickly due to this new management system.

The Main Goal

The main goal of IS is to be able to change data into information that can be used in strategic decision making.  Databases are what is considered collections of related information.  Examples of this are MySQL and Microsoft Access, where data is inputted and organized into records as one example.  A database has to be created in order for an IS to be built that will work correctly.  The question is, where can big data be collected, sorted out and put into reports?

Competitive Advantage

Competitive advantage is when said company can sustain profits over average for the industry they’re in.  Differentiation comes to play also.  The key is to learn how to use information systems to build competitive advantage.  This is where SISP comes to play.  The information system has to try to do one or more of the following:

  1. Deliver products or services at lower cost
  2. Deliver products/services differentiated from others
  3. Assist companies to focus on specific markets
  4. Allows for innovation

Examples of IS falling into this category are:

  1. Electric Data Interchange – Integrate supply chain electronically
  2. Collaborative Systems – Google Drive, Microsoft SharePoint, or Cisco WebEx
  3. Decision Support Systems – Helps companies to make strategic decisions

Increased Difference

It has been shown through studies that information technology (IT) has assisted in increasing differences between companies instead of reducing them.  Technology has sped up and heightened the amounts of differences.  It also helps with increasing good management abilities in organizations.  Through figuring out the right types of innovations to include with the upgrades, it can greatly increase competitive advantage in their industry.

Questions to Answer

What the company in question has to answer before upgrading anything though is, what exactly has to be changed in order to allow for competitive advantages?  Is it the hardware that needs to be upgraded?  CPU’s hard drives, devices?  Or does the software have to be upgraded?  Which new programs need to be implemented and to which department?  What languages do the programs need to be written in?  What kind of databases will be used?  Are they going to create all new programs tailored specifically for them and maybe suppliers like Walmart did?  These are just some of the questions that have to be answered before they begin anything, or there will be a mess of confusion at some point.

Posted on

What is the Role of Information Systems in the 21st Century?

information systems, business, IS, business information systems

Whether or not a company wants to believe it, information systems (IS) are a very important part of how the business runs now.  This includes how data is stored, transferred and understood by all the different departments in the agency.  The problem is, it seems that business owners are not really aware of how important IS to their companies in being able to be managed in designated systems.

10 Reasons to Have New Information Systems

10 reasons that it is so important for companies are:

  1. Control Creation and Growth of Records – Less paper wasted as everything becomes computerized
  2. Reduces Operating Costs – Storing inactive records in IS costs less per linear foot for the company
  3. 3. It Improves Both Efficiency and Productivity – Helps to upgrade record keeping so retrieval of information needed is vastly improved
  4. Assimilate New Records Management Technologies – Can be used in any area of the company, helps analyze manual recordkeeping and applied automation
  5. Ensures Regulatory Compliance – Companies have to be able to make sure that they are in regulations by having a good IS that is responsible for regulatory compliances
  6. Minimize Litigation Risk – The main reason IS is used is to reduce the risk of litigation and penalties. A newer system put in place will help to ensure this happens.
  7. Safeguard Vital Information – This is necessary in order to protect records and information as all agencies are susceptible to attack or natural disasters. This will provide backups and save the information in a safe place of the company’s choosing, for retrieval later.
  8. It Helps to Support Better Management Decision Making Capabilities – A newer system put into place will help managers and executives to better find information that they need when they need it to make critical business decisions. ERP systems would be perfect here instead of doing everything manually.
  9. It Helps to Preserve Corporate Memory – This is done through everyday activities and record keeping.
  10. Foster Professionalism in Running the Company – Neatness and cleanliness are key in running a smooth organization

Why Update at All?

Good, solidly built IS  means that companies that use it will be able to align their strategies together into a clear point of view as to where they want to go.  It also helps to find relationships that would be considered critical and gaps in their company culture and infrastructure.  Good information systems  find answers on how to gain competitive advantage against their competition by improving alignment to strategic decision making.

 

Posted on

Why All the Different Information Systems?

IS, DSS, EIS, TPS, MIS, information systems, organizations, senior management, junior management, executives, executive decisions, senior management decisions, junior management decisions,

This all started back in the day.  Someone would need a system made specifically for them to handle one problem.  Soon enough that it was discovered that different problems needed similar solutions, but not always in the same manner of getting them.  This is where defining of the information systems began and why it is still needed.   When the company in question decides that they need to upgrade, they have to go through a process in order to find the right applications and hardware to handle their data.  Classification comes to play here, so that categorizing information can be completed correctly.  This will help to make the data one unit instead of many.

How Do You Identify Different Types of Systems?

There is no simple answer to the question.  Every company builds an information system (IS) that is tailored to their specific needs.  There are many different types of IS that are used in some manner or another.  Classifying IS relies on how tasks are performed and responsibilities are divided in the agency.  This becomes a pyramid model as most companies are hierarchical, so classes of IS are categorized following the hierarchy going down.

To compare different information systems:

  1. Transaction Processing Systems (TPS)– These are operational level systems.  They are used by shop floor workers and front line staff.  Data is gained here through tracking of low-level activities and basic transactions.  They function as simple data processing systems only.  This is the system that produces information for other systems to use.  They are used internally and externally, are used by operational personnel and supervisors and are focused on efficiency.  Examples:  Payroll, Order processing, Reservations, Payments and Funds Transfers.
  2. Management Information Systems (MIS) – Management level used by middle managers. This system ensures smooth running of the company for short to medium terms.  Information is given out highly structured and helps managers to evaluate the company’s performance through comparison of outputs.  MIS is built on data given by TPS.  They are based on internal information flow, support structured decisions, but are inflexible with not much analytical ability.  Examples:  Sales Management, Inventory control, Budgeting, Management Reporting, and Personnel.
  3. Decision Support Systems (DSS) – Knowledge based system used by senior managers. They analyze existing structured information, allowing managers to estimate any potential effects on decisions they are thinking of implementing.  These systems are interactive and are used to solve problems.  They can access databases, offer analytical tools, allow simulations to be completed, and can support exchanges of information in the company.  This system can alter and build solutions provided by MIS and TPS, that can create insights plus new information to go off on.  DSS helps to support badly or semi-structured decisions already being built, and have analytical and modeling capacities.  Examples:  Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS), Computer Supported Co-operative work (CSCW), Logistics, and Financial Planning.
  4. Executive Information Systems (EIS) – Strategic level used by executives and senior managers. These systems analyze environments that the company works in, find long-term trends, and plan courses of action.  The information gathered is gathered from internal and external sources, and is weakly structured.  These systems are designed to be able to be used directly by the executives and are user friendly with the ability to be customized to whomever is using it.  EIS gathers and presents data from the MIS or TPS so senior management and executives can see what is going on a make decisions based off what they see.  The people who use this want ease of use and being able to predict what will happen to the company in the future.  It has to be effective, flexible, and support unstructured decisions.  Examples:  There are none.  These systems are tailored to individual wants of the user, in other words are custom made.  There are off the shelf packages that can be customized too.

The Importance of Planning

There is no easy way to explain why there are so many different types of information systems.  Every company out there is not the same, or runs their agency in the same manner as others.  This is why modifications are made to the systems in order for them to work specifically with what said company uses and the data they keep.  Also every level of the agency uses different systems.  Not everyone has to have a need to know of everything going on.  It is better to keep it at the level that the systems are going to be used at the most.  This is why planning for upgrades is so important.  If the wrong system is used, or the wrong programs…

Posted on

8 Types of Business Information Systems

functional, constituency, information, information gathering, data, data gathering, business information systems, information systems,

When upgrading what type of business information system you use at your company, everything has to be taken into account.  As the saying goes, no stone goes unturned.  If something is ignored or overlooked, it could potentially ruin the entire upgrade.  No system is the same and one system won’t provide all the information for one agency.

What Are The Different Systems?

There will always be a collection of systems in place to take care of different actions.  The different systems can be called either functional or constituency.  Functional perspectives look at systems by the business function that they perform.  Constituency perspectives look at systems through looking at the organization that they serve.

The four main information systems serving functional systems:

  1. Sales and Marketing –  They can improve how the company monitors sales transactions, can analyze sales trends and effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
  2. Manufacturing and Production – It provides information about numbers of items available in inventory so that they can build more product without interruption.
  3. Finance and Accounting – Provides accounts receivable system to track and store customer data.
  4. Human Resources – Maintains data on company data supporting HR functions.

The four categories of constituency are:

  1. Transaction Processing Systems (TPS) – Basic systems serving at the operation level of companies. They record daily routine transactions needed to conduct business like sales receipts.
  2. Management Information Systems (MIS) – Support middle managers’ interests. Support through giving historical performance information to perform decision making actions at the management level.  MIS and TPS data work together to build reports of basic operations.
  3. Decision Support Systems (DSS) – The business intelligence system. Helps managers with unique, fast changing and not easily found decisions that have to be made.  For example, they might be used to help the manager to develop a bid on contracts.
  4. Executive Support Systems (ESS) – Used by senior managers to find answers to strategic issues and long-term trends in both the company and their environment. This type of system pools data from both internal and external sources, consolidating the data found into a form that is easy to use.

Integration and Implementation

In order for these systems to work correctly it is good to use them with others.  For example, TPS is a major source of data for other systems while ESS is a recipient of data from external sources and lower systems.  They all work together interdependently in some manner or another.  But as it is, most businesses are starting to use new technologies that they create themselves.  This better combines information from all the different systems mentioned beforehand, therefore making the said company more competitive.

Posted on

Information Systems and Effective Management

systems, types systems used, evaluation of data, data, data gathering, data analysis, SISP, IT, IS, strategic information systems planning,

Information technology (IT) is a huge part of effective management that managers have to know.  They have to as they build and put into place new decisions every day.  The information systems (IS) are for the most part completely built from scratch.  The main purpose of strategic information systems planning (SISP) is to create implement new systems to use for the agency that the managers work for.  This is something that has to be worked from the top on down or it will never gain fruition.  There are complications to building these new systems, but if done correctly, it can be a godsend.

SISP Research and Implementation

Steven L. Alter did some research into which agencies have the most success with SISP through adapting to it correctly and optimally.  He has found that applications being created and used now are now built to support the managers who have to make decisions, instead of replacing them.  This is called decision support systems and are used to greatly improve managerial effectiveness.  The problem is that there is a restriction of knowledge as to what kinds of systems are used now.    This means that information systems are out there that the manager and their superiors have not built it themselves, so they don’t know what these systems do.  Don’t just focus on the technical aspect, focus on how the new system will work with the agency in question.

6 Types of Systems

The types of systems used are:

  1. Used to retrieve isolated data
  2. Uses mechanisms for ad hoc analysis of data
  3. Gathers aggregations specified beforehand in standard reports
  4. Can estimate consequences of all proposed decisions
  5. Can propose decisions based off of data gathered
  6. Can help to make strategic decisions based off of the data gathered

Examples of SISP Being Used

Some examples of how SISP is used are:

  • For retrieval of information only – shop floor IS
  • Retrieval and analysis – portfolio analysis system
  • Multiple data bases and analysis – sales IS
  • Eval of decisions using accounting models – source-and-application-of-funds budgeting
  • Eval of decisions using simulation models – marketing decision system
  • Proposing decisions – optimize raw materials usage
  • Making decisions – insurance renewal rate system

Questions to Ask Yourself

There is a huge range of approaches that can be taken here that would be helpful depending on what is needed for said company’s business model.  What do they do?  What needs to be fixed that they would bring this up?  What improvements are going to be implemented?  What do they want the company to strive towards?  What systems are they going to use in order to implement their changes?

Build the System

These are just some of the questions that have to be answered before the company goes forward.  If there’s no clear vision on what is going to be done SISP can be a complete failure instead of being a bonus.  Build small prototypes first of specific areas in order to find where the bugs are.  Then they can be fixed with little or any cost before the big implementation begins.  Just remember as the author points out, building an IS makes sense when it is clear that changes are needed in how decisions are made in the company.  That and everyone learns what the role is of computers are in their workplaces, and helps managers to make decisions dealing with administration and competitive strategies against other companies in their industry.