Introductory System Analysis and Design

Case Study
Information Systems supplies computer equipment and software to businesses. Information System’s business has grown and it has become difficult keeping track of customers’ equipment and software. The equipment, e.g. computers have various components. They are replaced at different times, have different warranty periods and must be tracked. All this information must be available to technicians when they are in the Information Systems office or in the field.

Whenever customers have problems with a piece of equipment supplied by Information Systems, they call or e-mail Information Systems. A service request is raised, the date, name of the person who raised the problem, and the work carried out to fix the problem needs to be recorded on the service request.

The director of Information Systems, Tim Lim, would like a system that allows technicians to maintain information about customer equipment, and where applicable its components and software installed on the equipment. He also wants the system to allow customers to enter their service requests and allow technicians to document the work carried out on those requests. An entry, i.e. a work record has to be created each time a technician works on a service request. It is possible that different technicians may work at different times on the same service request. Tim would like the system to show the history and status of the service request.

The consulting firm you work for has been contacted by Tim to analyze the problems described above and to design an appropriate business information system for them. Mitzi Hogan, a systems analyst from your consulting firm, has done some preliminary investigation (through interviews) with the staff at Information Systems and this is the information she has gathered so far:

Information elicited from interview with Tim

Information Systems needs to track all the types of equipment (computers, keyboards, monitors, printers etc.) they have supplied customers, the installation date and warranty period. Each piece of equipment has a nickname. Staff need to know how the computers are configured in terms of its components e.g. memory, hard drive, processor, CD/DVD etc., when each particular component was installed was installed and its warranty period. Each piece of equipment, component and software has its own unique serial number.

Information Systems staff keep that information for each customer but there are issues. For example, technicians sometimes go to a customer but don’t have the right equipment or components and have to make a trip back to get the right equipment. The trip back takes time which costs the company money. Tim indicated that technicians encounter a situation like that quite often. Also, as components change over time, Information Systems need to know what components were previously installed on each computer and when they were changed.

Tim was also thinking of a system where customers could submit service requests online. The system would also allow the technicians to record work carried out on those requests. Each time a technician worked on a service request, the work done, date and time spent needs to be recorded. With on-going problems, any technician could then access the history of the service request. An online service request facility would also save Katherine, one of the administrative staff, a few hours a week attending to calls from customers reporting problems and trying to pass the customer on to technicians.

Information gathered from next interview with Katherine and technician lead Don Leon

The following information was gathered by Mitzi in her first interview with Katherine and technician Don Leon.

Don said that they keep a file for each customer. Papers with information about the customer’s equipment and software, e.g. operating system software, MS office, Norton Internet Security etc. are kept in the file. There were problems with that. Firstly, the papers were not organized properly making it hard to locate the required information. Secondly, the information was often not complete because when technicians finished a job, they don’t have time to update the paperwork as they have another job to go to. Don said that technicians often took notes while on-site but the notes are sometimes illegible and the customer file does not get updated. The missing information makes it difficult for Information Systems staff to do their job. Customers also perceive Information Systems staff as not being prepared for the job. Customers have been complaining about the time it takes to fix problems and Information Systems have lost customers because of that.

Katherine said that when customers called in to report problems, she could sometimes transfer the call to a technician. Generally she had to send an e-mail when the technician was out of the office and it could take a few hours before the customer gets a response. Sometimes when the customer called again, she would transfer the customer to any technician who was available so the customer felt that something was being done. That’s when the confusion starts as a request sometimes gets duplicated and worked on by multiple technicians. Katherine thought that allowing customers to submit their service requests online was a good idea as it took up a fair bit of her time. But she felt that there should still be a way for her to enter service requests for customers if they called to report a problem. Also, Information System’s technical staff should be able to record service requests as customers sometimes report problems when they are on-site.

Information gathered from next interview with technician Dan Boyd.

Dan felt that keeping a history of work done on a problem, as suggested by Tim, was a good idea as technicians often follow-up on problems other technicians have worked on. They therefore need to know what work has been done. It helps them be more efficient. Dan also mentioned that when a problem was fixed, Information Systems staff sometimes forgot to follow-up with the customer to confirm that the problem was resolved and to update the service request as resolved. He felt that the system should automatically mark a service request as resolved if Information Systems staff do not hear from the customer after a certain time after the problem was fixed. Dan also thought that customers should be able to view their service requests and history.
Assignment Requirements

Unfortunately, Mitzi was unable to finish the work and you, as a trainee systems analyst, have been asked by your consulting company to finish the job.
By analyzing the information gathered from the interviews and using appropriate fact-finding techniques, prepare a Functional Requirements Report.

Your report should include a table of contents and the following:

  1. Needs and/or Problem description and proposed solution (system capabilities) of the proposed system (new system).

Needs and/or Problem description, and proposed solution (system capabilities) of new system
Statement of Need
Training in martial arts and self-defence is a rising market that have been overlooked in terms of technological development. Despite the rising interest to enrol for martial arts classes, which require physical presence by default, there are limited information systems to support the owners of such businesses. The methods used to manage classes, clients, revenue and cost of running the martial arts classes is manual, which is time consuming and involves a lot of paperwork. Therefore, there is need to automate all the operational processes of the martial arts academy to facilitate management and revenue allocation.
Problem Statement
Currently, the martial arts academy offers Karate, Jiu Jitsu, Judo and Self Defence classes but plans to offer a range of classes in the near future. However, the management lacks a clear view of the aspects of the academy that can generate revenue to support the expansion. Besides, everything is done manually, which involves lots of paperwork and labour hours. The management also have difficulties tracking class attendance, payments and processing salaries for instructors. The ultimate solution is an information system that aligns with the business processes and facilitate its operations.
Proposed Solution
The following are the key system capabilities of the proposed solution.
Include a biometric class attendance system
• Allow clients and instructors to sign in and out, before and after attending sessions respectively
• Integrate with the academy information system
• Track attendance of each client and instructors
Include comprehensive class scheduling capability
• Support creation of class sessions and assigning instructors
• Allow administrator and staff to register client for sessions
• Allow clients to enrol for many classes that are possible
• Notification when sessions are full, change in time or instructor
Provide clients and instructor accounts and billing capability
• Support electronic billing and many other payment options
• Provide personalized customer profile with contact person in case of emergency
• Compute cost depending on the rates for particular classes
Include functions for special clients and discounts
• Allow payment for a string of 12 sessions or for unlimited sessions for 6 months at reduced rates
• Enforce the above options for specific classes only
• Support daily payments for client don’t choose the two options at normal rates
• Allow clients to cancel sessions
Enforce non-attendance fee for clients who register but fail to attend sessions

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