Part 1: Business case analysis
The business case proposes the purchase of a network operation center-inside (NOC-Inside); an IBM product that will facilitate the complete automation and packaging of the IT infrastructure for the Network Operation center. The company will be able to deal with its key threats which are the competitors by offering fast and efficient services. The upgrade of the Network Operation center reports from the existing excel forms will enable the company to save $456, 500, in labor over a period of two years. This upgrade will enable the company to track the complete network system without the employment of costly technical experts.
This innovation will also provide dashboards and reports that are ready-to-use. It will facilitate escalation and instant alert as well as an additional portal based integrated view of the operations of the network system. The automation will increase the productivity of the firm through improved process. For instance, the productivity of the IT staff may go higher by almost 50 hours a year. Network operation center-inside (NOC-Inside) will cost $80, 600 in a period of two years; it will replace the use of excel forms for the network operation center reporting that cost to the company $40, 300 in two years. The payback for the network operation center-inside (NOC-Inside) investment in a period of two years will be 300%. The return period is about 1.6 years.
Opportunity: A-Z Company faces a business opportunity to save 360 hours of its office labor per year through the automation of the error prone tasks that are manual and time consuming. This automation will support the company’s mission statement of achieving maximum efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery. It will align the organization to its objective of growing effectively while devoting its finance and labor to other functions of generating revenue. Alternatives: On reaching the decision to propose the IBM based product, the company examined five leading network operation centers of automation of product. Four of the products were eliminated due to their cost of $100, 500 and $105, 600 in a period of two years. The four products had a potential to deliver similar benefits as the chosen product. However, due to their potential to scale better, they are viable for businesses that are larger than A-Z business.
Benefit: The product will highly benefit the company by providing higher capabilities than the current manual system. Ultimately, it will eliminate $40, 300 yearly of costs over the existing system. It will solve two main issues that involve the IT Support team for five hours weekly. Firstly, it will guarantee instant reports of the entire Network system. It will also eliminate errors that are prone to occur while updating the excel forms.
Purchase price: 40,300
Estimate life cycle: 2years
Fee for installation: $ 10,300
Total: 80, 600
Financial analysis: Cash flow statement (two years)
Costs Year 0 Year 1 Year 2
1-12-12 1-12-13 1-12-14
System purchase (40,300) 0 0
Installation (10,300) 0 0
Maintenance (10,000) (10,000) (10,000)
subtotal (80,600) (80,600) (80, 600)
Manual system 30,300 30,300 30,300
labor 10,300 0 0
Subtotal 40,600 30,300 30,300
Cash flow (40,600) (50,300) (50,300)
Sensitivity analysis: To realize the goal of solving human labor, the company hopes to decrease the IT staff labor by 360 hours per year. At present, the company hires 5 full-time IT support staff that spends a mean of 25 hours weekly. In 2011, the company employed a contractor to work 220 hours of the IT staff task hours. By eliminating the labor of the contractor, (220 hours saved) and reducing the full time IT support workers, the company hopes to save up to 360 hours of human labor. Project description: in the event of approval by the management, the IT support team will schedule the installation of the product over a weekend. IBM is expected to conduct all the installation starting with a test analysis. They will be assisted by the A-Z IT support team. IBM will provide training to the full-time IT support team for one day. The company management will carefully monitor the system to ensure that labor saving is achieved. The IT management is expected to hand in a monthly report on labor saving to the management. Implementation plan: the installation will take place over the weekend on 31st November 2012 and 1st December 2012. On Monday, the 2nd of December, the production of the equipment should be ready. Training will occur on the following weekend on 7th December 2012. The proposal recommends the purchase to be done on 20th October 2012 and not later than 25th October 2012. This project will facilitate the organization achievement of a net value of $3000, 000 by 1st December 2014.
Part 2: System analysis
Fact finding: In light of the problem, the company chose the system analyst to conduct an investigation of the company’s network operation center system. The system analyst interviewed the entire IT department in a bid to reveal the key issues underlying the problem. After the interviews the analyst identified two key problems. One of the problem involved the system vulnerability to error while the workers filled the excel forms. The analyst recommended a thorough investigation into the system. This recommendation was approved by the company’s manager. The system analysis phase began with the first step being the requirement modeling.
In the interview, the system analyst observed that the process was time consuming. The contractor spent many hours inputting data into the excel forms. One of the full-time IT workers spent a lot of time attaching and consequently emailing copies of the forms to higher management. Another full-time IT expert is employed to constantly check the system for any changes in status or rate of network. Two different forms were used: the network master form and the network status/rate change form. This laid the basis for the introduction of a new system.
The output requirements for a new system were the following: the system must issue an automatic report every 30 minutes of the network status. In case of any errors, the automated system must give specifications that are instant and up-to-date. The automated system must produce hourly reports that show any changes in the network operation. In regard to the input requirements, one of the full-time IT employees must input data into the system terminals to enable the system to record the network efficiency. The process requirements of the new system will involve the daily calculation of network rate, an annual process of updating the company on the operation efficiency and the interface of the system with the entire IT infrastructure and an analysis of daily network orders. The performance requirements will involve instant and automatic operation of the system 24 hours, 7 days per week and the system must respond to changes within 3 seconds. For security reasons, the application and operation of the system must issue logon security. The system must offer a different level of security to the administrator and to the other users.
Object modeling: The system will utilize the COM object model. This model will encompass various technologies ranging from OLE, OLE Automation, com+, ActiveX and Dcom (Wiesfeld, 2003). The model will enable the reuse of the objects without the knowledge of their inner implementation to form a basis for well-defined interface which will be different from their implementation. Casting of the separate interfaces will be obtained through the use of Query Interface ( ) function. The COM object model will be used in all the .NET languages.
PART 3: System design
Input design: The Input instructions and information involves what the users want in order to go into the system (Fowler, 2006). The user interface in the automated system will not only involve the input screen but a two way communication between the system and the users.
The Input instructions and information involves what the users want to go into the system (Fowler, 2006). The user interface in the automated system will not only involve the input screen but a two way communication between the system and the users. The system will reply with the output: messages, feedback, warning, functions and even help. In the system, the design will also involve the different means through which the users will navigate the system e.g. through links, menus and commands that guide the user. While the flowcharts and DFDs are the programmers’ viewpoint of the system structure, the input and out design will be the structure of the system from the users’ viewpoint.
The input design will originate with the users who are the people in the organization. In regard to this, the input design will incorporate human factors. It will be as simple as possible to reduce the system vulnerability to error. All commands will remain consistent e.g. ESC for regression and ENTER for progression.
It will utilize organization metaphors and terminologies. Obvious actions such as login will remain default on the system. While deciding the input design for the system, the programmers will provide a variety of options. Below are two types of input design; after careful examination, the organization opted for the first design due to the simplicity.
To enable easy movement and access into the system, the automated system will provide windows that have various navigation options.
The automation systems will involve batch input method which is one of the oldest input methods. In this method of input, reports will be collected by the system and periodically forwarded to higher management. The IT team will input the data into the system using an entry device that eventually transforms the data into a machine-readable format. The system will derive the data through business codes with two formats: serialized (based on time of arrival) and sequential (based on an ordered table) (Lippmann, 2008).
A sequential business code that sorts by the first name then assigns numbers
Output refers to information that comes to the users from the system. The users of the system are the external entity and even internal (boundary between the manual system and the computer system). The automated system will have two types of outputs: the external output that comes from the system to confirm user actions and trigger other actions from the users. The internal output will stay inside the system and will support the system managers and the users; below is an example that demonstrates the systems external design, and the line represents the boundary between the system and the users;
Output will be the most observable component of a working system. They will be justifications of the system. The key objectives while designing the output components of the system will be a system that automatically and instantly provides output, a system that will correctly serve its purpose, and a system that will release the appropriate quantity at the appropriate place. The system will be programmed to release two types of outputs: exceptional reports and detailed reports. The exceptional reports will report information that is exception to some standard and will filter data before its presentation to higher management.
On the other hand, the detailed reports will comprise documents that will confirm the successful transaction of the system processes and will aid in audit trials before the management inquiry. Some detailed reports from the system will be historical in nature and will give few or no restrictions. The main output medium for the automation system will be a screen medium. It will provide the user with easy access to the information. Information on the screen will only be temporary i.e. at the time the images disappear from the screen, the information will get lost unless redisplayed. Due to this limitation, the system designers will also enable the users to get the output information/data on paper by simply pressing the print option. The outputs will be in tabular formats.