Assignment: Developing Business Information System Solutions
Description: Students are to form a group of four to six people. Using the case study provided below you will analyze and describe the business information systems required for this a small to medium size business. Using knowledge gained in this subject, your group will be required to analyze the key information system needs required for the business to successfully operate. The information systems identified will need to support the various aspects of the business (e.g., inventory, sales, maintenance, delivery, and accounts).
problem: Prepare an individual report outlining the information systems recommended for the case study business. This report should identify: (a) the key external and internal business requirements that the selected information systems need to address, and (b) how the recommended systems provide the core information required to successfully operate the business. The case study for this assessment is provided below. Your report should be no longer than 2,000 words excluding references and appendices. Please ensure you provide a coversheet for your assignment. The coversheet should also show the word count for your assignment (i.e., excluding appendices and references). The report should be written in 12 point font with 1.5 line spacing. Kaplan Business School uses Turnitin software. If your lecturer has any concerns that your report includes material that has been inappropriately copied from another source or student, then we may ask for a Microsoft Word version of your report to run through the Turnitin program.
Feedback: Comments and a mark will be returned to you within two weeks of submission.
Case Study: EquipHire
EquipHire is a commercial and domestic equipment hire company with 11 branches across metropolitan Sydney, Newcastle, and Wollongong. The family owned business was started 18 years ago by two brothers. The company employs 78 staff in a variety of fulltime and part time roles. EquipHire recorded turnover of just over $18 million for the financial year ended 2012. About eight years ago the company invested in a sales and hire system (HireIT). Unfortunately the HireIT system is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. The HireIT system has proved also difficult to modify for the changing business environment. Moreover, the business wishes to take equipment hire bookings and payments via the internet and the HireIT system does not readily support online transactions.
Approximately 70% of the sales are to the commercial sector (i.e., construction, engineering, and building trades), although home DIY sales are now the fastest growing part of the business. EquipHire hire a range of building and engineering tools (e.g., concrete cutters, chainsaws, nail guns, wielding gear, and dumpy levels), plant (e.g., compressors, mobile platforms, generators, small excavators, and trenchers), and other equipment (e.g., glassware for party hire, tables and chairs, high capacity heaters, and marquee tents).
The costing for large and long term hires is carried out on an ad hoc basis using spreadsheets. Managing the company’s inventory of plant for hire is a particular challenge. The company finances most of its large plant with third parties, thus it needs to ensure high equipment utilization rates (i.e., sales) to service this financing. The company is struggling to make good decisions around how much plant they should hold (in total and by location) to meet the demand for hire. The demand for plant and equipment hire is seasonal and also affected by fluctuating construction activity. The company has recognized that the quality of equipment checking and maintenance is not consistent enough to ensure good levels of ongoing repeat customer business.
The business uses QuickBooks to run their accounts and equipment maintenance is run through an Access database. The delivery and pick up of equipment is carried out manually using carbon-copy receipt books. This data is then manually transferred into HireIT. For general computing the company operates desktop and laptop computers operating Microsoft XP and Office 2007.
The company directors recognize that a review of the EquipHire’s business information system needs is required, especially given that the HireIT system is getting to the end of its useful life. You have been asked by the EquipHire’s directors to prepare a preliminary report that: (a) outlines the company’s business information system (BIS) requirements, and (b) makes recommendations on the core systems that would meet these BIS requirements.
Key problems to address:
1) What are the main activities that the business undertakes?
2) Where in the business are the crucial decisions made?
3) What types of information does the business require to operate successfully?
4) What are the requirements for the:
• Transaction processing system?
• Sales and customer relationship management (CRM)?
• Planning and scheduling?
• Decision support and management information systems?
5) What are the different types of business information systems could be used to effectively meet these requirements?
6) What core information systems do you recommend the business adopt?
problem Part A: Your group presentation should be no longer than 15 minutes and should include:
1) A brief description of the business and its activities
2) The business information system needs
3) Recommended information systems and how these will meet business requirements
problem Part B: A suggested structure for this report follows. You are of course free to structure the report as you see fit. Your aim should be to produce a report that follows a logical order taking the reader from a situational analysis to your recommendations and the rationale for these.
2) Description of the business.
3) The key information required to successfully operate the business.
4) BIS requirements.
5) Recommended information systems and how these will meet business requirements.