Posted on

5 Steps for Strategic Business Upgrade Planning

upgrade, system, planning, business planning, business upgrades, company, work, upgrade system,

A very exciting time in your company might be when you realize that you have to upgrade your systems to keep with the times. It can be very frustrating and can take some time too depending on what needs to be updated. There’s a lot that has to go into the thought process before starting…

Two Approaches

  • The company in question always has to have the latest and greatest, who change their systems as soon as upgrades become available.
  • The company in question goes through more traditional means. Why change what they have when it’s working perfectly fine? These companies upgrade only when forced to do so.

The upgrade plan has to focus on future growth and changes forecasted by the company. The question that needs to be asked when looking ahead is, how will the changes affect upgrade needs in the future?

Five Steps to Planning Upgrades

1. Categorize and Prioritize: Categories include

i. Client Computer Systems
ii. Peripherals
iii. Client Software
iv. Server hardware and software
v. Security
vi. Network devices
vii. Network Infrastructure

Here items can be picked and chosen as to what the organization decides to upgrade. In this if needed subcategories can be created in order to create a more organized plan.

2. Set Priorities: Prioritize based on the costs and benefits ratio. What items need to be upgraded first? Is it an urgent need or a want? Make sure to not upgrade needlessly, make sure that it’s really needed.

3. Consider Dependencies: When the company is upgrading their systems they need to take into consideration what might be dependent on others. This might create more upgrades in order for the system to work with the new equipment. Or if applications are being upgraded, the system might need to be upgraded in order to work with them.

4. Phased Rollout: Don’t rush it. Testing and discovering of bugs need to be worked out before starting to use the new system. After the tests are completed use small groups of employees to test the upgrades in the production environment. If there’s a learning curve use the fast learners first as they can then learn the new system and assist/teach the others when it rolls out.

5. Keep it Scalable: Write out the plan. Get input from other departments and different levels to help create the plan. Plans for expansion of the company and any restructuring needs to be taken into account here too.

Proper Planning

If the organization follows proper planning with scalability included in the process, it can create a very smooth upgrade environment for the company. It would help immensely as upgrading systems can be very costly and stressful if not done correctly. Never rush the process and take time to consider all options before jumping in.

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

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 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…