Professional Skills for System Analysis

Abstract

In this report we have assumed a fictitious organization called ABCD Technologies. This organization is one of the most reputed organizations in Pharmaceuticals Industry. This organization mainly carries out the research and development in the Pharmaceuticals sector. Its major clients include glaxo smithkline, Biotech etc.

This assignment includes the details regarding of how the problem was identified in ABCD Technologies. The system analysis opportunity identified was to improve the internal order tracking system to keep a track of the inventory of medicines. The key challenges/issues faced in this process is the prolonged time in updating the inventory details in the company’s intranet portal due to a repetitive process involved in this exercise. The analysis revolves around understanding the issues with the process workflow and designing of solution framework to address this problem.

The employees of this inventory department of ABCD technologies were contacted in order to understand how the data was entered in the system. This phase also includes the different approaches adopted to collect information like interviews, documentation review etc. The analysis phase includes how work break down structure and task sequencing approaches are adopted to develop new system requirements.

Through the task sequencing approach technique adopted in this case we come to know that since this a repetitive and a set process it can be automated and robots can enter the details rather than any human resources involvement. Adopting the new techniques reduces a lot of time and effort of not only the employees who end up entering the order requests multiple times but also the back end inventory team who work on one request for multiple times in order to keep inventory details updated. Adopting automation improves the overall productivity of all departments involved.

Introduction

I have chosen a fictitious organization which is based on a real world Pharmaceuticals organization. I have named the organization as called ABCD Technologies. This organization is one of the most reputed organizations in Pharmaceuticals Industry. This organization mainly carries out the research and development in the Pharmaceuticals sector. Its major clients include glaxo smithkline, Biotech etc.

Coming to the problem that we have taken up in this assignment; we would like to enhance the order entering and inventory tracking process used by the internal stakeholders of ABCD Solutions. The key challenges/issues faced in this process are the repetitiveness in uploading the order details and an upkeep of the inventory.

This assignment includes the details regarding of how the problem was identified in ABCD Technologies, understanding the present process, understanding the issues with the process workflow and designing of solution framework to address this problem.

Time Management Plan

Work Breakdown Structure

("What is a Work Breakdown Structure - Workbreakdownstructure.com", 2017)

Activity No.

Start Date

Finish Date

Activity Name

Activity Description

Planned Action

Status

1

Day 1

Day 2

Meeting with ABCD Technologies Interns In charge

Meeting with Interns in charge is set up so that he could guide us to meet someone in ABCD Technologies who can help identify an area to carry out the assignment

To identify the business case and understand the current process

Closed

2

Day 3

Day 3

Understand business process

Meeting with an employee of ABCD Technologies in Order Management department who will help us go through the order management portal and explain us in detail of how an order details in entered by an employee

To understand the present order entry and inventory tracking process adopted by ABCD Technologies which will help us in analysis of that system

Closed

3

Day 4

Day 5

Fact finding

Facts are collected through various mediums like interview, questionnaire, documents about the process workflow of expense claim reimbursement

To collect data to understand process workflow issues

Closed

4

Day 6

Day 7

Research Analysis

To study various system analysis models and see which model best suits the present case in hand in order to improve the process workflow

Analyzing various system analysis models. Examine the same against the order entry and inventory tracking process workflow of ABCD Technologies and see which model can be used in this case

Closed

5

Day 8

Day 9                       

Report Preparation

Detailed report is prepared highlighting the case study, steps taken, recommendations and conclusion

To study and prepare a detailed report which will eventually help in understanding system analysis

Closed

Task Sequencing Approach

In this assignment, PERT chart is used to get a flow of activities/sequence of tasks that we will have to follow as an approach (Mindtools.com, 2017).

Fact-Finding

To determine the improvements in the order entry and inventory tracking process of ABCD Technologies following fact finding approaches have been adopted (Shah, 2017):

Personal Interviews

  • A sample population of the ABCD Technologies employees is selected. This includes sample size comprising of different levels of designation, age group, years of experience and gender in order entry and inventory tracking teams.
  • This sample is then interviewed in order to know their frequency of order entry and inventory tracking in the process, time taken by the employees in doing the same, the kind of details to be entered in the portal, the number of errors involved in the process, reasons for these errors etc.
  • After this data is collected from these interviews in order to understand the common reasons for error, challenges faced by employees in the system to raise order entry requests and inventory tracking etc.

Process Documentation Review    

  • ABCD Technologies has user manually created for each of its process workflow, policies etc. Therefore, order entry and inventory tracking process is also explained in one of the process workflow documents of the company.
  • This document explains in detail the workflow using flow charts of what is the sequence of activities involved in entering an order details and inventory tracking process.
  • The document includes the type of details to be uploaded along with the order entry request.
  • The document includes the stages of approval if required any, department from which approval needs to be given, SLA (service line agreement) for each of the stages of approval.

Findings

  • After conducting the interview of employees regarding their ease to use the process to submit and order entry and track inventory, a set of problem areas are identified.
  • After a detailed review of the document explaining the order entry and inventory tracking procedure, opportunities are identified for system requirements that would automate this entire process.
  • It is observed that the details that are required to enter for every order is the same and the inventory tracking also involves tracking of same type of data. Therefore, there is lot of repetition involved in this process leading to a mundane routine of tasks which is not exciting to the employees in the long run.

Questionnaire

  • After a thorough observation and analysis, a questionnaire is designed to verify the observation.
  • The questionnaire is an objective type questionnaire which includes multiple choice questions or True/False questions so that the outcome from the questionnaire can be easily translated to a problem statement.
  • A bigger sample size is selected for this stage as it is easy to involve more respondents while using a questionnaire rather than in an interview.

Study/Research

  • A thorough research is done first on what details are to be entered for order entry and what details need to be checked for inventory tracking (Staff, 2017).
  • A study is done on other organization’s order and inventory management system (Staff, 2017).
  • This will give an idea as to what are the best practices followed by other organizations, different approaches adopted by them for order and inventory management system
  • A study is done on different types of system analysis models to see what best fits the ABCD Technologies needs and requirements.
  • A feasibility study is carried out as to which system analysis model will give the most effective results and under what circumstances.

Organization Chart of ABCD Technologies

In the organization chart, only the management levels of robotics and automation department is detailed. This is because this is the department which is responsible for system analysis, design and implementation of tools and technical architecture. The online portal that the employees use to raise the order entry and inventory tracking module is designed by this particular department.

From the level of Chief Executive Officer to Chief Technical Officer is the Executive Management. From Assistant Directors till Managers is the Senior Management level. Senior System Executives represent the middle management and Tech Analysts are the junior level staff employees.

The list of individuals who are interviewed are as follows:

Tech Analysts

  1. The Tech Analysts at the junior level are the primary respondents of the interview as they are the prime users who will check the request raised by employees for order entry and inventory tracking.
  2. The objective to interview this level will be to understand the process workflow they follow to keep a track of the request raised by employees; check points to identify errors or reject the request at the initial stage itself.
  3. This will help us understand the data needed to automate the process and the various check points involved in the same.

Senior System Executives

  1. The objective of interviewing the senior system executives is to find out what logic drives the criteria that Tech Analysts follow to keep a track on the online system that is used by employees to raise order requests and the technicalities of system involved in tracking of inventory.
  2. The objective is to understand the underlying theory or concept behind the system design.

Manager

  1. The objective of interviewing the people at this level is to understand the overall workflow of order and inventory management process.
  2. To understand the reasons for using the online system that needs to be updated by employees.
  3. To understand the opportunities of system analysis to upgrade the system where in the human involvement in updating the details is to the minimal
  4. To understand the verification methodology used to verify the actual order with respect to the entry made by associates in the online tool.

“AS IS” Process

(Visual-paradigm.com, 2017)

The above given “AS IS” representation displays the process workflow of order management and inventory management process. The system analysis and development is required through the process workflow as for every entry the data that needs to flow in the system is of the same fields. Using a strong technical architecture the entire process workflow can be automated and the order entry and inventory modifications can be done by a Robot using Robotics.

Report to Top Management

Objective

The objective of this report is to highlight the repetitiveness involved in the system entry done by employees for order and inventory management process. This gives a lot of scope for system up gradation and creating a technical architecture that will completely automate this system. Robots can be used to enter the order details and inventory details of the products manufactured or bought by the organization.

Background

(Hice, Turner and Cashwell, 1985)

A thorough analysis is done to see the sequence of activities than an employee needs to perform in entering the new order details and inventory management. A template is filled by the employees for raising bulk requests. This template carries the product name, manufacturer name, date of manufacture, date of expiry, manufacturing location etc. Once all the details are filled, this template is uploaded by the employees in the system. The system gives an error pop up if the template deviates from the usual data entry fields. Now this is the task that the employee will have to rework to see the miss. The data fields will be same for each order entry and inventory check. However, errors are bound to happen since the template is manually updated by the employee.

After system analysis it was found out that the process workflow is actually very simple for order and inventory management system which can be automated by modifying the technical architecture of the tool used for order and inventory management requests.

Processes Undertaken

Different processes that were undertaken at different stages are given as follows (FACT-FINDING, 1965):

Stage 1: Planning:

  • Meeting with Interns in charge is set up so that he could guide us to meet someone in ASCD Technologies who can help identify an area to carry out the assignment. This is to identify the business case and understand the current process.
  • Meeting with selected few employees of ABCD Technologies who will help us go through the order and inventory management portal and explain us in detail of how a new order entry is raised by an employee. This is to understand the present order and inventory management process adopted by ABCD Technologies which will help us in analysis of that system.
  • To set up target dates to complete each of the activity with clear cut objectives to be achieved at each stage.

Stage 2: Analysis

  • Facts are collected through various mediums like interview, questionnaire, and documents about the process workflow of order and inventory management process. This is to collect data to understand process workflow issues.

Interviews

  • A sample population of the ABCD Technologies employees is selected. This includes sample size comprising of different levels of designation, age group, years of experience and gender in order entry and inventory tracking teams.
  • This sample is then interviewed in order to know their frequency of order entry and inventory tracking in the process, time taken by the employees in doing the same, the kind of details to be entered in the portal, the number of errors involved in the process, reasons for these errors etc.
  • After this data is collected from these interviews in order to understand the common reasons for error, challenges faced by employees in the system to raise order entry requests and inventory tracking etc.

Documentation Review

  • ABCD Technologies has user manually created for each of its process workflow, policies etc. Therefore, order entry and inventory tracking process is also explained in one of the process workflow documents of the company.
  • This document explains in detail the workflow using flow charts of what is the sequence of activities involved in entering an order details and inventory tracking process.
  • The document includes the type of details to be uploaded along with the order entry request.
  • The document includes the stages of approval if required any, department from which approval needs to be given, SLA (service line agreement) for each of the stages of approval.

Observations

  • After conducting the interview of employees regarding their ease to use the process to submit and order entry and track inventory, a set of problem areas are identified.
  • After a detailed review of the document explaining the order entry and inventory tracking procedure, opportunities are identified for system requirements that would automate this entire process.
  • It is observed that the details that are required to enter for every order is the same and the inventory tracking also involves tracking of same type of data. Therefore, there is lot of repetition involved in this process leading to a mundane routine of tasks which is not exciting to the employees in the long run.

Questionnaire

  • After a thorough observation and analysis, a questionnaire is designed to verify the observation.
  • The questionnaire is an objective type questionnaire which includes multiple choice questions or True/False questions so that the outcome from the questionnaire can be easily translated to a problem statement.
  • A bigger sample size is selected for this stage as it is easy to involve more respondents while using a questionnaire rather than in an interview.

Research

  • A thorough research is done first on what details are to be entered for order entry and what details need to be checked for inventory tracking (Staff, 2017).
  • A study is done on other organization’s order and inventory management system (Staff, 2017).
  • This will give an idea as to what are the best practices followed by other organizations, different approaches adopted by them for order and inventory management system
  • A study is done on different types of system analysis models to see what best fits the ABCD Technologies needs and requirements.
  • A feasibility study is carried out as to which system analysis model will give the most effective results and under what circumstances.
  • To study various system analysis models and see which model best suits the present case in hand in order to improve the process workflow. This is for analyzing various system analysis models. Examine the same against the order and inventory process workflow of ABCD Technologies and see which model can be used in this case. A task sequencing approach is done to see the activities that are interconnected and how best activities can be interconnected to save time and complexity by automating the entire process (Papadopoulos, 2008).

Scope

  • The scope of this system analysis study is the employees of order and inventory management department of ABCD Technologies. This is because at some point of their association with ABCD Technologies almost all the employees will raise at least one order and inventory entry request.
  • The scope also includes the Tech Analysts at the junior level who check these order and inventory details requests at the back end and approve or reject the requests based on the information and documents uploaded by the employees
  • The scope includes all geographies where ABCD Technologies has its offices. This is because the same portal is used by all employees across all offices for raising order and inventory management request.
  • The scope also includes the technical team involved in setting up and designing the internal portal for raising order and inventory management request.

Recommendations

After a detailed study of system analysis of the process workflow of order and inventory management process, I would like to recommend the following main points that can be considered for further improving the process workflow

  • Through the task sequencing approach technique adopted in this case we come to know that there is a lot of scope to automate the process workflow of order and inventory management with the help of Robots.
  • A thorough system analysis presents with lot of opportunities to complete do away with the repetitiveness involved in the process and by using robotics automate the entire process of order and inventor management.
  • Adopting the new techniques will reduce a lot of time and effort of not only the employees who end up raising order and inventory management requests multiple times but also the back end team who work on one request for multiple times in the event of rejection of such requests. This improves the overall productivity of all departments involved.

Conclusion

This assignment helps us in having a clear understanding of overview of principles, methods and techniques of systems development and system analysis. The tasks involved in meeting the objective of this assignment presents lot of learning from a development project in which a specific development method is used. In ABCD Technologies we come to know that how task sequencing approaches can help identify the repetitiveness involved in process workflows and also to identify the most effective and efficient process workflow with greater simplicity and ease of use.

References

Workbreakdownstructure.com. (2017). What is a Work Breakdown Structure - Workbreakdownstructure.com. [online] Available at: http://www.workbreakdownstructure.com/  [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].

Shah, B. (2017). Fact Finding Techniques. [online] Systemanalysisanddesign.blogspot.in. Available at: http://systemanalysisanddesign.blogspot.in/2008/11/fact-finding-techniques.html  [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].

Visual-paradigm.com. (2017). Process Improvement with As-Is and To-Be Analysis. [online] Available at: https://www.visual-paradigm.com/tutorials/as-is-to-be-business-process.jsp  [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].

Techwalla. (2017). How to Create an As-Is Process Flow | Techwalla.com. [online] Available at: https://www.techwalla.com/articles/how-to-create-an-as-is-process-flow  [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].

FACT-FINDING. (1965). The Lancet, 286(7405), p.226.

Papadopoulos, G. (2008). Information system development. New York: Springer.

Hice, G., Turner, W. and Cashwell, L. (1985). System development methodology. Amsterdam: North Holland.

Mindtools.com. (2017). Critical Path Analysis and PERT Charts: Planning and Scheduling More Complex Projects. [online] Available at: https://www.mindtools.com/critpath.html  [Accessed 4 Apr. 2017].

Staff, I. (2017). Order Management System - OMS. [online] Investopedia. Available at: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/o/oms.asp  [Accessed 6 Apr. 2017].

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