Apply what you have learned in the course to a real world example.
Analyze an existing company, office or non-profit. Identify areas where they have sound practices as well as areas for improvement.
Your project will be submitted as a Wikidot wiki.
- You should set this up no later than the end of session 3.
- You should send your instructor an invitation and make him an assistant admin to your site
- Make sure you submit your own portion to the project while logged in as yourself, otherwise, the wrong person will get credit for the work.
- Add forum section to your site and use this for online collaboration and organization of the wiki.
- I would recommend putting a Comment (forum) section on each page so that I can make comments on your final project
- Finally, link your wiki to and from the bua581 wiki [http://bua581.wikidot.com]
- system:recent-changes page (for all wikis) shows who is contributing what content. Make sure your contributions are balanced. For this reason, let people responsible for certain pages, create the page.
- TIP - If you use FireFox, you can turn on embedded spell checker from within your browser.
Final Project Outline
Follow the outline below (expand upon if necessary) and provide both an assessment as well as recommended changes to improve the overall business process. Your point of view should be as a paid consulting firm who has been contracted to assess both the legal and operational efficiency of a business from an Information Systems point of view. You will earn your pay if you mitigate legal and operation risks as well as recommend changes that will result in increased profit.
Section I – Business Description
Provide a succinct description of the business. If possible, include relevant financials.
Section II – IT Environment
Review the current environment — the following list is a good place to start, but you can probably think of others…
- Workforce Location
- Mobile Workforce
- Remote Access
- Software Infrastructure
- Operating Systems
- Email / IM
- Accounting & Payroll
- Engineering / Production
- Hardware Infrastructure
- Backup Storage
- Backup Power
- Wiring / Wireless
- Physical Security
- Internet Access / VPN /
- PBX / Telecom / Long Distance
- Intranet / Extranet / Internet Web Presence
- Content Generation
- Risk Management
- Off-site storage and emergency operations
- Disaster Recovery Plan
- Insurance / Warranty / Service Agreements
- Consider importance of system location and fire prevention (water and computers do not mix)
- Knowledge Management
- Knowledge Survey
- Description of Current Management Practice
- Process Management
- Legal Practices & Compliance Strategy
- Applicable Laws (HIPPA, etc.)
Section III – Observations
- In this section, you will note those areas that are missing or poorly implemented as well as point out areas of excellence. Remember to remain positive; providing criticism in a constructive manner.
Section IV – Recommendations
- Given the results from section III, make recommendations as appropriate to improve overall business performance.
- NOTE – The presentation is designed to demonstrate that you have done comprehensive research and can justify all of your decisions based on a cost / benefit analysis with its next best alternative.
For example, if you are talking about Internet access, you would want to show a matrix of two or more options, demonstrating the relevant features that weigh into your decision. Remember, for some of these considerations, the more expensive commercial options may end up with lower total cost of ownership when compared to what you may be used to with home or consumer products. Your criteria must include factors beyond just cost: maintainability, reliability (Service Level Agreements), upgradeability, compatibility, scalability (number of users). Do not forget to consider the impact of certain choices on staffing. Some choices may require that you retain someone on staff with certain skills
Section V — Summary
Summarize the previous 4 sections, providing a balanced and positive recommendation and motivation for action.
Important – Avoiding Common Pitfalls –
Course-relevant learning is the primary objective. With this in mind, I hope the following makes sense:
• Do not spend any effort on ‘showmanship’ – Fancy names, business cards and other non substantive efforts should be avoided.
• Do not divide the work up so that people work on their current areas of expertise. If your group has your CPA do the books, and the IT person doing the network, chances are the learning is less than if the roles are reversed. The ‘bar’ will be set based on your expertise coming into the course, so a mediocre output may receive a higher grade if it represents a more significant level of learning and effort than that of a higher quality but low effort / learning output.
• An actual choice of hardware, software, management paradigm is less important than the decision making and research that goes into it. Show the research done, field of choices considered and criteria used to make your decision. All too often, I see choices made by merely going to a Dell site and picking something that looks good. Why Dell? Do they have the best value ratings? Use trade journals and websites to determine which vendors offer the best value and show these results. When picking hardware or software, reference trade journals, blogs and other sources which compare and contrast competing options. In short, spend the effort explaining the decision making process, and less on the actual decision.
• Presentations will be graded on both visual and spoken factors. Take the time to provide good, clean (large font, not too busy) slides and practice delivery to hit the projected time window. A good presentation will have pictures and bulleted text or phrases, not paragraph or sentence text that you merely read off of the screen. Face and engage the audience: use hand gestures, eye contact, tonal inflection and interaction to keep the audience listening.