Hair for You: Business Information System Analysis

Table of Contents

Introduction 4

Effective Technical and Human Implementation of Computer-Based Systems (ETHICS) 5

Soft System Methodology (SSM) 13

Role of the Business Analyst 17

Agile Comparison 18

Conclusion 19

References 20

Executive Summary

Hair for You is a salon with three branches. The salon is faced with challenges ranging from human factors such as decision making and strategy development to technical issues such as adoption of new systems and ways of doing things. These problems, as you will find out in the paper, are not terminal but have the potential to cripple the business due the capacity they have when it comes to exposing the business to unrelenting competition. As such, my role as a business information systems analyst has been sought after and it has been established that something can be done. Through the application of SSM and ETHICS, the business can be handed a new lifeline through the development of a new business information system that is in fit with the business going concern. The new business information system developed for this business incorporates new systems that easily automate business functions and processes as well as bring in new technologies in terms of communication. The result of this new system will be a happy clientele, streamlined operations and heavier profits. 

Hair for You: Business Information System Analysis

Introduction

The business world is dynamic, complex, competitive, and unforgiving. Unforgiving especially if actions and/ or inactions of critical stakeholders are not in tandem with the strategic plan or environmental demands. Technological, political, ecological, social, and economic factors exert unimagined pressure to decision makers without relenting as well put across by Castaño et al. (2015). Decisions under such scenarios should be thought through and the process of decision making should be guided by a strategic plan supported by an efficient business information system that details where a business should be at any specific time. The decisions should be participative and inclusive of all necessary stakeholders. 

This paper will be structured with Hair for You, a company at cross roads, in mind. The company is facing challenges that emanate from both external and internal factors and the aspect of economics of money and time are at the center of each decision. The owner of the business, Mr. Bill passed on 5 years ago and the environment has changed considerably since then. For instance, technological changes have rocked the business especially on the aspects of automation, social media, and competition. All the issues facing the company, the proposed expansion in terms of factory and a new salon included, cannot be ignored for whatever reason. The problems that Hair for You is facing are technical as well as human related. To this end, communication using new technologies, leadership and manual information systems are contributing significantly to the woes of the business. 

The concepts of effective technical and human implementation of computer-based systems (ETHICS), soft systems methodology (SSM), and an agile comparison will be dissected and a means of integrating the same to Hair for You established in a bid to make the business realize its potential. The role of a business analyst will get attention and means of how he/she can contribute towards the implementation of the concepts as well as their role in ensuring that the businesses stays afloat amid tough competition and unrelenting external and internal forces.

Effective Technical and Human Implementation of Computer-Based Systems (ETHICS)

Information systems are engineered to address economic issues in a bid to achieve efficiency thus making a business competitive and sustainable. In addition, information systems enable humans to interact easily as well as learn and achieve meaningful experience at work. ETHICS in Hair for You should be exploited with the aim of addressing business needs and problems in terms of economics and human need without discriminating any side, helping a business to use information systems with gains, and prompting the users of a business information system to effectively use a system in a way that befits the IS. On this note, ETHICS will institute job satisfaction on the part of the employees since it helps in making an IS achieve compatibility and functionality in the organizational setting since it is user centered as explained by Ritter et al. (2012). If well executed, ETHICS often result in information systems that are endorsed by stakeholders as well as stimulating them since the systems are efficient and effective. 

To dissect how Hair for You can derive utility by applying the concept of ETHICS, we shall examine the eleven steps that constitute ETHICS. 

  1. Why change?

At this stage, immediate problems and opportunities likely to have an impact on the growth of the company are addressed. As well demonstrated in assignment preceding this one, Hair for You has two sets of problems, technical and human prompted problems. These two main problems are taking a toll on the company’s revenues as well as stockholder cohesiveness since from a distance, Sally has seen a conflict brewing. Clients are also observing inefficiencies in the business and are getting concerned. 

  1. System boundaries

At this level, those business factors that will be most likely affected, in this case, the following will,

  • Client appointment booking process, 
  • The payroll, cash register, and income report generating systems, 
  • The telephone calling method, 
  • Client reminding system, 
  • Customers and employees
  1. Description of the existing system
Operating activities Calling clients to remind them of appointments Attending to clients Development of the payroll, cash register
Problem prevention/solution activitiesNot specified
Coordination activities  Motivating the development of a new productCoordinating employees 
Development activities Development of a new product for sale to clients and other businessesSuggestions on loyalty program, and SMS system 
Control activitiesAccepting or rejecting investment decisions Monitoring daily incomes 
  1. Definition of key objectives, tasks and outputs 
Key ObjectivesProviding of quality hair care and general salon services to clients 
Key tasks Attending to clients to beyond their expectations Contacting clients to remind them of their appointmentsProviding income reports, developing and executing the payroll in time.Coordinating three salons
Outputs Happy clients Optimal profits Satisfied employees and owners 
  1. Diagnosis of efficiency needs
  • Profit levels are not hitting the desired levels 
  • Conflict resolution mechanisms are missing from the organization
  • Client need addressing systems need to be put in place
  • Competition surveillance and countering mechanisms are not developed 
  • No strategic plan that outlines where the company should be headed in terms of major investments 
  • No automated systems for payroll, cash register, and income reports
  • Employees not motivated 
  • No structured ways of doing business research and scaling it up
  • Decision making is limited to one person, yet the business is owned by three, creating consensus is difficult. 
  1. Diagnosis of job satisfaction needs 

There are two sets of people who need to be satisfied, employees and the three business owners.

  1. The employees need to feel secure in their jobs. Their jobs need to be fulfilling and with appropriate remuneration. 
  2. Each of the three business owners need to feel important and their suggestions taken seriously by the others. Their efforts need to be recognized and given the necessary credit. 
  3. Future analysis

Each of the business owners has been quoted mentioning the various improvements they would want in the business. Some of the proposals are realistic while others are subject to discussion by the shareholders. 

  • Jordan wants the business to have automated payroll and cash register for all the three salons. 
  • Jordan is also interested in expanding the business by establishing a new line of products. The proposal is already facing some resistance. 
  • Bill Jr. has been pushing for the development of an SMS system that will be prompting clients on their next appointment. The system is also a cost saving mechanism. 
  • Bill Jr. wants the business to develop along its traditional line and avoid diversification 
  • Sally has floated the idea of a customer loyalty system 
  • Sally has the ambition of having the business open a new salon since her daughter has acquired the necessary skills to run such a business, 
  • Customers want the business to engage them on social media as well as have an app developed by the business to help the clients book their appointments. 
  1. Specifying and weighting of efficiency and job satisfaction needs and objectives

Efficiency factors 

ItemWeight 
Improving Profit levels to hit the desired levels 5
Conflict resolution mechanisms are missing from the organization4
Client need addressing systems need to be put in place3
Competition surveillance and countering mechanisms are not developed 5
Strategic plan that outlines where the company should be headed in terms of major investments 5
Automated systems for payroll, cash register, and income reports3
Employees motivation5
    Structured ways of doing business research and scaling it up5
Decision making is limited to one person, yet the business is owned by three, creating consensus is difficult. 5

Job satisfaction factors

ItemWeight 
The employees need to feel secure in their jobs. Their jobs need to be fulfilling and with appropriate remuneration. 5
Each of the three business owners need to feel important and their suggestions taken seriously by the others. Their efforts need to be recognized and given the necessary credit. 5

Objectives related the future

ItemWeight 
Automated payroll and cash register for all the three salons.3
Establishing a new line of products. The proposal is already facing some resistance.3
Development of an SMS system to prompt clients on their next appointment5
Develop the business along its traditional line and avoid diversification3
Customer loyalty system5
Open a new salon since Sally’s daughter has acquired the necessary skills to run such a business3
Engaging clients on social media as have an app to help the clients book their appointments.5
  1. Organizational and technical design of the new system

Using the job satisfaction and efficiency objectives, employees and business owners can be requested to develop new ideas that can be incorporated into the new system. As previously mentioned, the company is facing two primary problems, first, technical problems and two, human related problems. Human related problems in this case emanate from the aspect of leadership. 

Organizational OptionAdvantages Disadvantages 
1. Adoption of new automated systems Eases the business processesThe cost of installation is significant
 Proper record keeping Might require training which is expensive and requires time
 Increased time efficiencyRisk of technology becoming obsolete before the business realizes its benefits 
2. Developing an expansion strategyGives clarity on the next cause of actionIf followed to the latter, it might make the business lose on emerging opportunities 
 Eases conflicts Might inhibit innovation
 Enables business owners to focus on selected core business.  
3. Adopt modern communication channels Reduction of the personal feel. For instance, a call is more personal than an SMSMight lock out clients that are not tech-savy 
 Saves on costs Probability of misuse by clients and employees
 Reaching many clients at once, for instance on social media 
 Can be used for marketing  
4. Development of a client loyalty programAttracts clients for repeat business. Expensive to install and redeem
  1. Implementation

At this stage, the business owners will team up with the business system analyst to come up with training modules for the employees and the owners themselves. Through following of the set budgetary targets, the businesses will purchase the necessary software and hardware as well as set up the necessary social media accounts. The team leader will also shop for a software development company to develop the said app. The team should be aware of the time constraint. Time is critical since competition is creating a gap. A business loyalty program should be designed in such a way that it encourages clients to shop in the business. 

  1. Evaluation 

Once the system is installed, the business need key performance indicators that will be useful in evaluation of the business’s progress. They can include;

  • Profit increase as compared to the past in percentage, 
  • Number of clients on the loyalty program
  • Time saved through the automated systems
  • Number and/ or amounts of investment in capital project, for instance, new salons opened, new products lines 
  • Number of clients who book and follow appointments on the app. 
  • Number of followers and likes on Facebook and Twitter

Soft System Methodology (SSM)

Stage 1 &2 Consolidated Rich picture

Stage 3: Formulating root definitions 

This stage involves the transfer of the analysis System Thinking to the Real World (Mabin, 2015). To do this, the CATWOE analysis is put to use and will be discussed in detail in this section. CATWOE is an acronym that eases the process there mentioned above.

Customer Clients, employees, owners 
Actors Owners, clients, employees 
TransformationShifting of business process from the old chaotic systems to a new and better one
WeltanschauungThe shifting will help to create a more responsive business that is interactive with the client as well as create seamless processes that are cost effective and use friendly.
Owners The three business owners 
Environment Environmental factors with a negative effect to the system include resistance from employees, boardroom wars, unfamiliarity of users with the new systems thus taking time to learn the new trade.  

Stage 4: Building Conceptual Models 

The new business information system is conceptualized as follows 






Stage 5: Comparing the model with reality 

This is the stage that allows the model to be compared with happenings in the real world. 

The behavior of the system is gauged based on the how such similar concepts and systems function in the real world. The comparison will be as follows, 

Core Activity/process/conceptDoes it exist in the real worldHow does it behave?How is performance identified and measured?Is the process better?
Development of an APPyesIt serves clients by allowing them to book appointments onlineDetermining the number of downloads, and successful appointments done using the APPIt ensures efficiency in times of time and client management
Development of an SMS systemYes It reminds clients of their appointment with the salonDetermining the number of clients that honor their appointment after receiving an SMSThe process reduces receptionist workload  
Development of an investment and decision making strategy Yes It sets out major achievables that should be pursued and within what timeframes. The decision making process is also outlinedThe number of decisions made and number of actual projects or milestones achieved. This concept reduces common fights among owners and helps to achieve focus
Automated systems Yes The systems help in processing data into information that can be represented in terms of reports and statements Number of reports generated and time saved They ease the process of delivering quality reports in terms of time and effort. 

Stage 6 and 7: Defining Changes and Taking Action

Hair for You is a business that has immense potential in the market if it is handled in a professional way with a means to leverage on its rich background, market presence and new technology. The business need to be made ready to embrace change otherwise the business might collapse. The suggested changes are outlined as follows, 

  • Change from the use of manual payroll, cash receipt and income reports to automated ones. These systems have respective on the shelf software that should be made operational in the business. The action in this case is purchasing the software, installing it and training users.
  • The SMS system is taking over from the phone calls. The system is able to send reminder texts to clients. Implementing the systems requires the use of bulk SMS provider who will provide the business with an online portal where they can be customizing messages and sending them to clients. 
  • The proposed APP is taking over from un-streamlined appointment booking system. This system is making the use of modern gadgets like smart phones and computers. To execute the concept, the business needs to get an APP developer who will guide the business on how the app should be developed and develop it. Once deployed, Hair for You will request its clients to download the app and book appointments using it. 
  • The business need to change from haphazard decision making and investing without a plan. To do this, the three owners need to have a meeting that will result in a strategic plan and a decision making process that is of satisfaction to each of the members. 

Role of the Business Analyst

A business analyst is a professional tasked with the responsibility of analyzing a business as well as its processes to identify business and user needs, prioritization of the requirements (needs) so identified, coming up with verified project and business deliverables, locating business re-engineering process opportunities, and streamlining the communication processes as well as the process workflows in a business. A business analyst is more inclined to streamline strategies as well as make the strategies enhance their potential to increase the value of a business. 

According to Gregorio (2012), businesses make use of analysts in their bid to justify investments especially when developing plans and scope of projects. It is the work of the business analyst to spark the interest of users to come up with their requirements, conduct the analysis of the enterprise, communication and management, as well as conducting of solution assessment without forgetting monitoring. A business analyst delivers a number of benefits to the firm they are analyzing. A firm is able to accrue advantages of having a clear business strategy that has working estimates of resources. A business analyst in a firm is able to keep the project in question on track as a result of their engagement with monitoring activities. A business analyst is able to fuse the concepts of ETHICS and SSP into the normal day to day running of a business. In short, according to Hass et al. (2007), a business analyst should assume the roles of a diplomat, an intermediary, a change agent and a process improver.

Agile Comparison 

An agile methodology is often characterized by some factors. They include, a high affinity to response to change, it encourages collaborative relationships especially with the clients, the methodology advocates for functional software, and lastly it works with individuals and interactions (Bustard, 2012). Compared to SSM, the Agile methodology has some outstanding similarities. For instance, both methodologies are interactive, both emphasize on persons and interactions and both opt to maximize on change.

There above, I have portrayed Agile and SSM as similar concepts which is not entirely the case. The concepts have differences stemming from their functionality and techniques. To begin with, SSM aims to develop working systems (Hindle and Vidgen, 2017) while Agile is aimed at achieving efficiency when pursuing some specific and known goals. Second, the techniques and tools employed by the two methodologies are different. Agile is fond of Object-Oriented designs and the Unified Modeling Language which is used to visualize designs. On the other hand, SSM, as shown in this paper, is fond of rich pictures and root definitions which are part of the seven steps.  

Conclusion

It is clear that Hair for Your is a business that is facing numerous challenges which are unique to the business. The existence of such challenges notwithstanding, the business still has a bright future since the problems so far identified have solutions which are engineered to cover even future problems to some extent. The business has problems ranging from technical to human related problems. Through the application of the concepts of SSM and ETHICS, it has been found that the problems rocking Hair for You are not terminal. The business has been advised to come up with proper structures to handle conflicts and capital investments. Recommendations by clients and other business stakeholders have been found to be important and have been taken on board in the development of a new business information systems in the case. 

Word Count – 3,139

References 

Bustard, D. (2012, April). Beyond mainstream adoption: from agile software development to agile organizational change. In Engineering of Computer Based Systems (ECBS), 2012 IEEE 19th International Conference and Workshops on (pp. 90-97). IEEE.

Castaño, M. S., Méndez, M. T., & Galindo, M. Á. (2015). The effect of social, cultural, and economic factors on entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Research68(7), 1496-1500.

Hindle, G. A., & Vidgen, R. (2017). Developing a business analytics methodology: a case study in the foodbank sector. European Journal of Operational Research.

Gregorio, D. D. (2012). How the Business Analyst supports and encourages collaboration on agile projects. In Systems Conference (SysCon), 2012 IEEE International (pp. 1-4). IEEE.

Hass, K. B., Vander Horst, R., Ziemski, K., & Lindbergh, L. (2007). From analyst to leader: Elevating the role of the business analyst. Management Concepts Inc.

Jackson, M. C., & Keys, P. (1984). Towards a system of systems methodologies. Journal of the operational research society, 473-486.

Mabin, V. (2015). Goldratt’s” Theory of Constraints” thinking processes: A systems methodology linking soft with hard.

Ritter, F. E., Baxter, G. D., & Churchill, E. F. (2014). User-centered systems design: a brief history. In Foundations for designing user-centered systems (pp. 33-54). Springer London.

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