Basic Concepts The Work Centered Analysis Framework
Processing Résumés Using Resumix CUSTOMER Manager who needs to hire an employee Applicant who receives responses about a job application Government agency that receives reports about compliance to equal opportunity guidelines PRODUCT List of applicants who fit the criteria Selected data items about each applicant Automatically generated rejection letters
Processing Résumés Using Resumix • BUSINESS PROCESS • Major Steps: • Define the criteria for selecting applicants • Receive résumés • Scan résumés and extract data • Select applicants meeting criteria and forward their résumés to the hiring manager • Send out rejection letters • Track the hiring process • Store applicant data for future searches • Rationale: • Instead of finding appropriate candidates by searching through paper résumés, extract the information on the résumés and do the search automatically.
Processing Résumés Using Resumix PARTICIPANTS Human resources employees Manager doing the hiring INFORMATION Description of job opening Scanned résumés converted into a database format List of qualified applicants TECHNOLOGY Résumix software Scanner Unidentified computers
DEBATE TOPIC • The technology is Resumix is designed to convert a resume into a series of fields in a database regardless of what the initial resume looks like. Statements that don’t match these specific fields aren’t recognized. Does the use of this technology imply that a company does not care about the individuality of the applicants?
INTRODUCTION • Framework - brief set of ideas about organizing a thought process about a concept.It helps by identifying topics that should be considered and shows how they are related. • Models - useful representation of reality. The describe or mimic reality without dealing with the details • They both help us understand complexity
A Classification of Models • Iconic Models • Analog Models • Mathematical Models • Mental Models
Iconic and Analog Models • Iconic (scale) models - the least abstract model, is a physical replica of a system, usually based on a different scale from the original. Iconic models can scale in two or three dimensions. • Analog Models - Does not look like the real system, but behaves like it. Usually two-dimensional charts or diagrams. Examples: organizational charts depict structure, authority, and responsibility relationships; maps where different colors represent water or mountains; stock market charts; blueprints of a machine; speedometer; thermometer
Mathematical Models • Mathematical (quantitative) models - the complexity of relationships sometimes can not be represented iconically or analogically, or such representations may be cumbersome or time consuming.A more abstract model is built with mathematics. • Note: recent advances in computer graphics use iconic and analog models to complement mathematical modeling. • Visual simulation combines the three types of models.
Mental Models • People often use a behavioral mental model. • A mental model is an unworded description of how people think about a situation. • The model can use the beliefs, assumptions, relationships, and flows of work as perceived by an individual. • Mental models are a conceptual, internal representation, used to generate descriptions of problem structure, and make future predications of future related variables. • Support for mental models are an important aspect of Executive Information Systems. We will discuss this in depth later.
Viewing Businesses as Systems • A business is a system consisting of many subsystems, some of which are information systems. • Definition: A system is a set of interacting components that operate together to accomplish a purpose. • Key ideas: purpose, boundary, environment, inputs, outputs. • Businesses can be considered as systems consisting of business processes. • A process’s value added is the amount of value it creates for internal or external customers.
The Value Chain • The set of processes a firm uses to create value for its customers is called its value chain. • The value chain contains both primary processes and support processes. • The value chain is important because the way business processes are organized in a firm should be related to the way the firm creates value for customers. • Understanding how the value chain is “supposed” to work is the first step in improving business processes.
The Functional Areas of a Business • Large subsystems of a firm related to specific business disciplines are often called the functional areas of the business. • Examples: Production, Sales and Marketing, Finance. • Most Businesses are organized around these functional areas. • Sometimes there can be organizational inertia where organizational members focus on the functional areas instead of the customer. • Functional areas are important, but they should not be the basis for studying information systems
Admissions Records and Registration Financial Aid Bursar Human Resources Accounts Payable Budget, Finance, and Accounting Parking Services Academic Department University Advancement Student Services Residence Life Public Safety Physical Plant Student Career Development Health Services Some Functional Areas in a Typical College or University
The System We Are Talking About…. • A work system is a system in which human participants perform a business process using information, technology, and other resources to produce products for internal or external customers. • The core of a work system is a business process, a related group of steps or activities that uses people, information, and other resources to create value for internal or external customers. • Work is the application of human and physical resources to generate outputs used by internal and external customers.
Information System vs. Work Systems Bar code scanners and computers identify the items sold and calculate the bill Work system supported by the information system: Performing customer checkout Aspects of the work system not included in the information system: Establishing personal contact with customers, putting the groceries in bags University registration system permits students to sign up for specific class sections Work system supported by the information system: Registering for classes Aspects of the work system not included in the information system: Deciding which classes to take and which sections to sign up for in order to have a good weekly schedule Word Processing system used for typing and revising chapters Work system supported by the information system: Writing a book Aspects of the work system not included in the information system: Deciding what to say in the book and how to say it
Information System vs. Work Systems Interactive system top managers use to monitor their organization’s performance Work system supported by the information system: Keeping track of organizational performance Aspects of the work system not included in the information system: Talking to people to understand their views about what is happening System that identifies people by scanning and analyzing voice prints Work system supported by the information system: Preventing unauthorized access to restricted areas Aspects of the work system not included in the information system: Human guards, cameras, and other security measures
Five Perspectives for Understanding a Work System • ARCHITECTURE • What are the components of the system that performs the work and who uses the work product? • How are the components linked? • How do the components operate together? • PERFORMANCE • How well do the components operate individually? • How well does the system operate? (How well is the work performed?) • How well should the system operate? • INFRASTRUCTURE • What technical and human infrastructure does the work rely on? • In what ways does infrastructure present opportunities or obstacles? • CONTEXT • What are the impacts of the organizational and technical context? • In what ways does the context present opportunities or obstacles? • RISKS • What foreseeable things can prevent the work from happening, • can make the work inefficient, or can cause defects in the work product? • What are the likely responses to these problems?
Important Point • Improvements in a work system are usually related to the links between the architecture and the performance perspectives. • Customer satisfaction is largely determined by product performance. • Product performance is determined by a combination of product architecture and the internal work system performance. • Note: efficiency vs. effectiveness
Detailed Discussion of the Five Perspectives: Architecture Performance Infrastructure Context Risks
Architecture, Perspective #1 • Architecture is a summary of how a work system operates. It focuses on the components of the system and how those components are linked, and how they operate together to produce outputs. • It is not merely a technical issue; IT and business professional involved with a system need to understand how it operates. • It is impossible to build an information system without detailed documentation of information and technology components of the architecture. • We use successive decomposition for documenting and summarizing architecture. • Process operation and process characteristics
Architecture, Perspective #1 CUSTOMER Customer’s entire cycle of involvement with the product Requirements Acquisition Use Maintenance Retirement PRODUCT Components Information content Physical Content Service content (more in Chapter 6)
Architecture, Perspective #1 • BUSINESS PROCESS • Process operation: • Processes providing inputs • Sequence and scheduling of major steps • Processes receiving the outputs • Process characteristics: • Degree of structure • Range of involvement • Level of integration • Complexity • Degree of reliance on machines • Linkage of planning, execution, and control • Attention to exceptions, errors, and malfunctions • More to be covered in Chapter 3….
Architecture, Perspective #1 PARTICIPANTS Formal and informal organization: Job responsibility Organization chart INFORMATION Major data files in the database: Data organization and access TECHNOLOGY Major components: Hardware Software
Performance, Perspective #2 • Performance - How well the system operates. • A complete analysis involves qualitative and quantitative measurements. • Consider some performance variables….
Performance, Perspective #2 CUSTOMER Customer Satisfaction PRODUCT Cost Quality Responsiveness Reliability Conformance to standards and regulations
Performance, Perspective #2 BUSINESS PROCESS Rate of output Consistency Productivity Cycle time Flexibility Security
Performance, Perspective #2 PARTICIPANTS Skills Involvement Commitment Job satisfaction INFORMATION Quality Accessibility Presentation Prevention of unauthorized access TECHNOLOGY Functional capabilities Ease of use Compatibility Maintainability
Comparing Vague Descriptions, Measurements, and Interpretations ACCURACY OF INFORMATION Vague description: The information doesn’t seem very accurate. Measurement: 97.5% of the readings are correct within 5%. Interpretation:This is (or is not) accurate enough, given the way the information will be used. SKILLS OF PARTICIPATION Vague description: The sales people are very experienced. Measurement: Every salesperson has 5 or more years of experience; 60% have more than 10 years. Interpretation:This system is (or is not) appropriate for such experienced people. CYCLE TIME OF BUSINESS PROCESS Vague description: This business process seems to take a long time. Measurement: The three major steps take an average of 1.3 days each, but the waiting time between the steps is around 5 days. Interpretation:This is (or is not) better than the average for this industry, but we can (or cannot) improve by eliminating some of the waiting time. QUALITY OF THE WORK SYSTEM OUPUT Vague description: We produce top quality frozen food, but our customer’s aren’t enthusiastic. Measurement:65% of our customers rate it average or good even though our factory defect rate is only.003% Interpretation: Our manufacturing process does (or doesn’t) seem O.K., but we do (or don’t) need to improve customer satisfaction.
Infrastructure, Perspective #3 • Infrastructure: Essential Resources shared with other systems. • Infrastructure failures may partially be beyond the control of people who rely on it (e.g. power outages). • Evaluation is difficult because the same infrastructure may support some applications excessively and others insufficiently. • Critical mass, having enough users to attain desired benefits, may be a key infrastructure issue. • Distinguish between infrastructure and the supporting technology (laptops used in the sales process vs. used for company e-mail).
Infrastructure, Perspective #3 • Technology can be infrastructure if it is outside the work system, shared between work systems, owned and managed by a central authority, or when details are largely hidden from users. • Business professionals are often surprised at the amount of effort and expense absorbed by human infrastructure.
Infrastructure, Perspective #3 CUSTOMER Technical and human infrastructure the customer must have to use the product PRODUCT Infrastructure related to information content Infrastructure related to physical content Infrastructure related to service content
Infrastructure, Perspective #3 BUSINESS PROCESS Infrastructure related to internal operation of the process Infrastructure related to inputs from other processes Infrastructure related to transferring the product to other processes
Infrastructure, Perspective #3 PARTICIPANTS Shared human infrastructure INFORMATION Shared information infrastructure TECHNOLOGY Shared technology infrastructure
Context, Perspective #4. • The organizational, competitive, and regulatory environment surrounding the system. • The environment around the system may create incentives and even urgency for change. • The personal, organizational, and economic parts of the context have direct impact through resource availability. • Even with enough monetary resources, context factors ranging from historical precedents and budget cycles to internal politics can be stumbling blocks. • Incentives • Organizational Culture • Stakeholders