Assessment of an Enterprise-Level Business System
This paper addresses relevant considerations for the assessment of an enterprise-level business system and starts with a discussion of which information-gathering methods can be used in analyzing the requirements for such a system. This is followed by a synopsis of business process mapping methods that should be used in analysis activities along with a discussion of which business process mapping tools should be used in documenting the analysis. Next, the paper tackles the problem of how the analyst can determine if these methods and tools were effective in understanding the requirements and end with an explanation of how prototyping tools could be used to confirm these requirements. INFORMATION-GATHERING METHODS
Relevant data must be obtained that can assist in helping assess the need, potential and effectiveness of an Enterprise-Level Business System. One of the most tested ways of gathering information for analysis is in the form of data obtained through survey. Such data can be collected by e-mail, telephone or online. Web surveys offer some real advantages over the more conventional approaches with the most obvious advantages being speed and low cost. However there are some drawbacks to the survey approach. For one you must be extremely careful about what questions you ask and how you ask them. In order to alleviate biases you may want to ask close ended questions that require a yes/no type of response. In those instances where you want to obtain objective opinions, an open-ended format may be better suited. It is important that the questions be devised to be as impartial as possible in order to prevent stake owner bias or having the results come to a preconceived conclusion. Another survey drawback consideration concerns the amount of respondents that will actually respond to the survey. It will go a long ways towards getting a high response rate if upper-management mandates that response to the survey is mandatory. Participation could then be tracked through some type of list, with reminders being sent out periodically to those who have not yet completed the survey. Another proven information gathering method is the interview. Interviews can be accomplished as either personal one-on-one types of interviews or with groups of people or departments. One-on-one interviews are great for those instances where you may have people who do like to talk in groups, but they can be very time consuming. For those instances in which time is of the essence a group setting may be more practical, but may not produce as much information as that which is divulged in the personal interview. A third method of information gathering concerns analyzing the standard operating procedures (SOP) of the process under review. This can be easily accomplished by obtaining best practices, screen shots, and personal observation of the processes and eliminates a lot of the personal biases that may result from the survey or interview methods. However, it must be noted that even though SOP’s are the approved method of performing a task, they may not always be indicative of the way in which the task is actually performed. This is why personal observation is important. It helps to determine just how closely the SOP’s are being followed or if other methods are being employed. In his white paper entitled Joint Application Development (JAD) for Requirements Collection and Management, Alan Cline states that Joint Application Development (JAD) is a technique that allows the development, management, and customer groups to work together to build a product. In essence the JAD group meets until all pertinent issues have been discussed and the needed information is collected (Cline, 2000). In an e-JAD meeting specialized software is used over a computer network that enables the participants to send their contributions and suggestions to...