Systems Management Overview

Assignments 1 and 2 are presented together as they are closely related. Note carefully their different due
dates (refer to Academic Calendar for the current term).
These assignments require you to apply research skills and information systems theory to a case study.
Read the “Assignments Brief” section first to get a general idea, then complete the tasks detailed for
each assignment. Submit the reports specified by their due date.
Assignments Overview
In Assignment 1, you will undertake a literature search to gather appropriate references to support your
answers, arguments and recommendations for the Case Study Questions. You must submit your
proposed list of references in the prescribed report format. You must do this assignment on your own,
not in a group.
Note that Assignment 1 is NOT a formal literature review, that is, you are not describing, summarising,
evaluating, or clarifying the literature on the topic. You are only justifying the use of individual
references for Assignment 2.
Assignment 1 will be assessed on the appropriateness of your choice of references and sources.
In Assignment 2, you will write a non-technical report in which you provide answers to the Case Study
Questions in detail. You will use the references chosen previously, adjusted appropriately according to
assessment feedback if applicable. You must submit your report in the prescribed format. You may do
this assignment in a group – see Group Work Requirements document for rules about working in groups.
Assignment 2 will be assessed according to criteria listed in the downloadable marking criteria sheet.
The detailed assignment requirements (presentation, formatting etc) follow directly on from the Case,
and the Case Study Questions.
Correct Referencing
For both assignments, use HARVARD referencing style for in-text referencing and for the References
List. Check the course web site for links to help with referencing and the Harvard referencing guide.
Copy detection/plagiarism process
On submission, assignments are scanned by the copy detection software, Turnitin. Your assignment is
checked against all submitted assignments from current and previous terms for this course and other
courses as well. Any copying found in the process of running this software may be investigated. On
Using case FixItNow Revised 28/5/2013
Marking spreadsheet revised 28/5/13
investigation, marks can be deducted for any part of the work that is categorised as plagiarism, and
further, any student identified in the copy detection process may be subject to penalties up to and
including failing the course or expulsion from the University. Full details of the University’s plagiarism
policies are available from the CQU website.
The Case: ‘FixItNow’
‘FixItNow’ (FIN) is a SME owned and run by Adam Smith and his younger brothers Ian and Paul, in the
regional town of Shockhampton 210 kilometres away from the state capital city. FIN is a supplier for
building, plumbing and gardening businesses and home clients.
Ten years ago, when Adam, Ian and Paul were working for a local hardware store, they decided to start
their own business to take advantage of a booming home market. Adam was working in building, Ian
was in plumbing, and Paul was in gardening section. The three opened a store for building, plumbing
and gardening supplies. Initially it was a bit slow but soon the business started to grow as the brothers
used their local contacts to get more orders. Being a fair business and with competitive prices, FIN soon
became a household name.
Adam, Ian and Paul did not have any formal qualifications so to help with office and admin work they
hired Gillian Cole, a former employee of their previous workplace, as office manager and left her to
organize the office functions as she saw fit. Gillian did not have any formal education in Accounting or
Business but it was felt that her 20 years experience from the previous job in a hardware store gave her
the essential skills required to run a small business.
FIN had simple operations. Individual customers shopped at the shop front and business clients placed
their orders via telephone or fax to the FIN office. EFTPOS facility was available to everyone, with
cheque payments available to business clients only. Deliveries were available at extra charge.
Gillian did everything manually – at first, being a small business with a low number of clients this was
easy to manage but soon she realised that the accumulating information about customers, suppliers,
products plus bookkeeping was becoming more difficult to manage. Gillian was the only one in the
office, on the floor there were the three brothers plus 10 fulltime and a similar number of casual staff.
There were two mobile salespeople always in the field. All in all, payroll included around 26 staff.
With written orders and invoices, manual bookkeeping became a nightmare. Managing the supplies
inventory and keeping track of what is in store and what was on order and scheduled deliveries was
becoming very difficult. Often customer orders were not delivered on time, as supplies were not ordered
in the right quantities from the suppliers. Scheduling casual staff and managing their manual claim
forms posed quite a challenge. The customers’ details were in a manual register but there was a big
question mark on currency of the information.
Adam hired a part time person to help Gillian with the administration, but this did not solve the
problems. So a personal computer with some essential business and Accounting software was purchased
to transfer all of the manual records and information to electronic files including products, customers,
suppliers and Accounting including payroll. Using a computer proved helpful and they started to input
information about customers, suppliers, employees, jobs, schedules, payroll, pricing information, other
overheads, invoices, and other financial figures.
The three owners worked very hard and after ten years, the business had grown significantly. They now
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Marking spreadsheet revised 28/5/13
had a total of 57 employees including 3 more mobile sales people. Gillian has 3 staff in the office now to
help her with the office work. But now another challenge emerged. Having some of the information on
the only PC in the office and most of the remaining information stored in the filing cabinets, created
certain problems. For instance, it became difficult to make decisions about some business matters as
relevant information might or might not be complete, correct, and/or current. Therefore, more time was
required to validate and verify data between the computer and the filing cabinets.
With their problems in managing the business, profits began to dive. Adam called a business meeting to
try to work out the problems of recent months. The following issues emerged:
1) Accounts payable and receivable suffered due to incorrect invoicing.
2) Inventory problems — no correct information about what was available, what was on order,
delivery times from suppliers, what has been ordered by business clients and delivery schedules,
back orders etc.
3) Supplies — not ordered in a timely manner, supplies ordered which were not in demand, or were
ordered in more than required quantities.
4) Customers and business clients had problems tracking their orders.
5) Communications — Incorrect contact details meant that clients could not contact FIN staff.
Invoices were often sent to wrong addresses. Mobile salespeople did not have up to date
information about products, available inventory or delivery lead times to provide to the
prospective clients.
6) At the shop front, employees had problems accessing policies and other work related information
to complete their tasks. Employees also found it difficult to communicate with each other as
most of the time staff were not at their stations for a variety of reasons.
7) Lastly, casual staff often received incorrect pay or pay went into the wrong bank account due to
incorrect and delayed processing of their claim forms and timesheets.
Adam, Ian, Paul and Gillian realised they had significant problems. Gillian knew that computers and IT
could help in managing the business, including a mobile sales force, and play a role in acquiring new
business and competing with their market rivals. A decision was made to introduce IT in the business
and use it to support business operations, information management, decision making, and making
strategic plans, including an intention to create an online presence to provide a better service to their
customers and suppliers.
To initiate this project, Adam contracted you, an IT consultant, to prepare a report that addresses the
following concerns of management.
Case Study Questions
1. Given the list of identified problems at FIN, discuss what you think needs to
change in business and technology terms.
2. To help FIN management, define what information systems are and briefly explain
the importance of information systems for the business. You may like to include
the roles information systems play to explain the importance.
3. What are the information requirements of FIN? How does this information support
the strategies for competitive advantages? (hint: refer to Porter’s five forces). What
business processes should FIN consider computerising? Why?
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Marking spreadsheet revised 28/5/13
4. Which information system(s) can help FIN in managing the problems and fulfilling
the business requirements? How will they help?
5. How will the business decision making at FIN be supported by the information
systems that you are suggesting?
6. Explain how FIN may utilise IS/IT to collaborate and communicate with the key
stakeholders. Explain the strategic use of computer networks (intranets and
extranets) and the Internet to serve their needs.
7. For customers, employees, and FIN, what are some of the security and ethical
issues that may arise with the introduction of information systems and online
presence? How should these issues be addressed?
8. How
Assignment Requirements and Report structure details

First, read the Case Study and the questions carefully. Next, you must identify a minimum of six unique
references that will help you to answer the Case Study Questions in the next assignment. Your list of
proposed references must include at least three academic (scholarly) references and at most three
general references. This means you can use more academic references and fewer general references, but
not vice versa.
Some websites are not acceptable as reference sources in research tasks. These include general
encyclopedic sites such as Wikipedia, and the numerous student study sites that publish papers in
various school or university study categories. Likewise, general printed encyclopedias, popular
magazines and newspapers are not considered to be scholarly references.
Using multiple quotes or material from different pages in the same reference is only counted as one (1)
reference. You may use your prescribed textbook as one reference so you can include this as one of your
general references.
In the body of the report, in your own words, write a justification for each reference selected,
describing how each reference is relevant to the Case Study. Use in-text referencing to support
your explanations. Each justification would therefore include at least one in-text reference.
At least six credible references must be used and at least three of these must be from academic
(scholarly) journals. The maximum three general references may be from industry magazines or books.
The references can be from printed or online sources and must be current (i.e., within the last five (5)
years). You can use material from organisational web sites as an example to support your arguments but
these will not be counted towards the references’ quota (i.e., 6 references). A library guide has been
prepared for this course that you can access via the link from the course Web site. This guide
walks you through using scholarly databases to locate suitable reference sources, and by using this guide,
you will find it much easier to locate suitable sources and you will also be able to observe the types of
references that are acceptable as academic research sources.

As the consultant, your brief is to advise your clients on the possibilities that would best suit their
requirements. You do this by writing a non-technical report that addresses the questions raised in the
Case Study Questions and making full use of the references you identified in assignment 1 plus four
more scholarly references, making a minimum total of ten references.
Note that your use of the references should fully incorporate any feedback received from assignment 1
assessment. For example, if a reference was marked as inappropriate in assignment 1, then that
reference cannot be used in assignment 2. You must select a new reference to replace the inappropriate
one. Assignment 1 will not be marked again so do not re-submit it – the replacement reference(s) will
be marked on its merits in assignment 2 with no further opportunity to change it.

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