Computer Information Systems 18417 Essay Example
Computer Information Systems 18417 Essay Example

Computer Information Systems 18417 Essay Example

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  • Pages: 10 (2542 words)
  • Published: September 20, 2018
  • Type: Research Paper
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Information Systems Case Study

Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company is a subsidiary of The Great-West Life Assurance Company, which is the largest stockholder-owned insurance company in Canada. It is also a member of the Power Financial group of companies.

We require a new enterprise system that can be implemented efficiently and without uncertainty. Our ideal system should have a structured approach to simplify and expedite the process. Specifically, we need a proven method with an expert system assistant to automate important parts of the process. This will help us quickly narrow down options, saving time and money while maintaining team momentum and facilitating stakeholder buy-in.

Today's fast-paced market presents challenges for executives who struggle to keep up with constant changes. New competitors, business models, technologies, and innovative methods emerge regularly, making it difficult for executives to stay on top. To increase efficiency


, many companies have reduced their management teams in the past decade. Consequently, executives now have limited attention spans and find it challenging to allocate time for planning, reflection, and taking a long-term approach to business. Our company offers consulting services tailored specifically to the needs of executive management in this dynamic environment. We aim to provide focused assistance to busy executives driven to lead their organizations successfully amidst these ever-changing circumstances.

Strategic thinking encompasses the capacity to assess and strategize for the future, taking into account multiple factors and making deliberate choices. This skill entails critical and creative thinking in order to devise effective strategies that lead to success. Strategic thinking holds significant value for both individuals and businesses, empowering them to anticipate, adjust, and accomplish their objectives by responding adeptly to environmental changes.

We ar

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seeking a strategic service to assist us in defining our current business model, core competencies, and industry trends. We also need help creating a strategic framework for new ideas that will shape our future plan. Additionally, we require an IS service to effectively communicate our strategy throughout the company. In summary, we aim to enhance our strategic and technical approach.

Process Improvement

Our main focus is to quickly evaluate our entire company operations and identify important opportunities. Alternatively, we can prioritize specific areas such as material planning, engineering change management, and order fulfillment. We can also concentrate on individual business functions like manufacturing, sales, or accounting. The overall objective of the company is to achieve growth by enhancing processes and improving quality, efficiency, flexibility, and customer service.

Enterprise Technology

There is a high demand for information technology in the marketplace, driven by new technology. We need an expert in various technological areas such as the Internet, Data Warehousing, supply chain management, advanced planning, and enterprise resource planning. The most important requirement for our executive manager, Jean O'Neil, is an IS service that can apply technology to achieve our business objectives, facilitate new business models, enhance business processes, and provide better customer service. O'Neil is searching for IS group management consultants with extensive experience in a range of industries including both large corporations and smaller firms.

According to a recent survey, more than half of enterprise system implementations fail to meet their objectives. Despite this, companies persist in implementing new systems with the mistaken belief that new software alone will deliver benefits. O'Neil asserts that for our IS consulting services to be successful, we require managers capable of identifying opportunities and

effectively utilizing information systems to capitalize on them. Additionally, our IS group should prioritize improving business processes rather than solely focusing on information technology.

The purpose of a business process assessment is to assist companies that desire to benefit from information systems. Its objective is to identify the specific areas with the greatest opportunities for enhancing business processes. Our company requires strategic business improvement through technology. Firstly, we need an assessment because it is crucial for companies like ours that are considering selecting or implementing a new enterprise system. It focuses on choosing and implementing areas with the highest potential for return on investment. Secondly, this service is valuable to us because we aim to optimize our existing system. In fact, O'Neil emphasizes that this is a worthwhile investment to ensure our company fully benefits from the already installed system.

According to O'Neil, the business process assessment plan is essential for the four step methodology in our three year business plan.

1. Preliminary Survey

Firstly, we require a brief survey to gather vital site information. This survey entails identifying the main business functions conducted and the functions currently supported by our existing system. This data aids us in determining the duration of the assessment and the specific areas that require investigation. Once we have evaluated the site, we can provide a fixed price proposal for the assessment. It is crucial to highlight that a well-designed plan is necessary, resulting in approximately one month being required to complete the entire assessment.

2. Structured Interviews

O'Neil proposes using a structured interview technique to interview managers and users. This method helps maintain focus and efficiency, ensuring we obtain necessary information without overwhelming our staff

with excessive time demands.

Report on the Evaluation of Business Processes

Our final report of recommendations for the IS group, which will be the chosen IS consultant, will be prepared based on the data we gather.

Immediate action is necessary to improve our business processes. This can involve procedural changes, utilizing current system features, or providing additional training to users. Furthermore, there are significant opportunities to enhance our processes by implementing best practices, redesigning processes, suggesting organizational development strategies, or strategically applying information technology. Our recommendations will be practical, specific, and focused.

In the event that the cost of upgrading is equivalent to replacing our current system, we will also consider a replacement.

A strategic action plan.

After evaluating our business and industry, the next crucial step is to create a strategic plan. This plan consists of a series of interconnected actions that aim to achieve a specific objective. As stated by O'Neil, it is vital for our IS consultant to work together with us in envisioning how IS can be integrated into our business in the future. The main actions of an IS strategy can be classified into various groups. Some of these actions are quick wins that establish our presence on the IS platform. Our chosen IS consultant will help us develop our infrastructure, which has the potential to significantly enhance and transform our business. These important actions will then be integrated into a comprehensive plan that guides our progress step by step.

On one hand, O'Neil is seeking IS consultants:

Systems Consulting Services, Inc.(SCSI) was founded in December, 1986 by Kenneth L. Wayman and Anne D. Ostrom in Maryland. The company is currently headquartered in Ellicott City, Maryland. SCSI proposed

that our company should convert all systems to their database product, namely SCSI database. This conversion would be implemented using COBOL and CICS programming languages, making use of DB2 and/or VSAM structured files. Additionally, SCSI offers their Business Information Analysis System (BIAS), a powerful tool and database. They claimed that this would provide the following benefits:

SCSI was initially founded as a consulting firm. From the beginning and up until most of 1988, it functioned exclusively as a consulting business, serving clients such as Coca-Cola Enterprises, Martin Marietta, and Dun ; Bradstreet. Towards the end of 1988, however, the company's leaders acknowledged the unpredictable nature of consulting revenues and decided to alter their strategy. They began to concentrate on software development, providing distinctive software products targeted at specific markets. Consequently, SCSI already offers one-of-a-kind software that has been utilized by notable clients like Coca-Cola.

The company developed its flagship software product: Business Information Analysis System (BIAS). BIAS was initially created to enable mainframe and minicomputer users to access our company's information sources. Subscribers to the client's services SCSI gained the advantage of electronically accessing our data from their office workstations. BIAS has been enhanced to include access to Experian (formerly TRW) Commercial and Consumer, TransUnion, Equifax, ChoicePoint, and ISO, along with other information sources. Furthermore, BIAS has evolved into a comprehensive automated solution. BIAS users can now store retrieved bureau reports in a BIAS database, incorporate external financial information into the database, and analyze information using customized criteria. BIAS has become SCSI's primary source of income and is currently being streamlined to offer a standardized model for smaller businesses.

In 1996, SCSI and ChoicePoint formed a strategic relationship

to enhance SCSI and BIAS's marketing and visibility. This partnership establishes BIAS as the recommended online software solution for insurance companies to access and manage ChoicePoint's data. ChoicePoint dominates about 80% of the market and is widely regarded as the leading source for underwriting data.

SCSI's dedication is to deliver software products and professional services to corporations, such as ours, striving for access to diverse information sources for risk assessment. The company stands out due to the distinctiveness of its products and its expertise in integrating information seamlessly into the customer's back office operations. With over 11,000 licensed users, SCSI has successfully installed BIAS at more than 20 locations, earning a solid reputation and fostering trust.

BIAS is an acronym that stands for Business Information Analysis System.

The BIAS software system is a versatile tool used in various industries, such as Credit, Insurance, Leasing, Commercial Factoring, and Telecommunications. Our company operates within these sectors and greatly benefits from employing this system. With BIAS, we can leverage advanced technology to enhance the efficiency of what would otherwise be a labor-intensive and manual process.

BIAS offers a user-friendly and intuitive interface for automating complex business decisions. It can perform risk analysis, scoring functions, historical data analysis, create flags for further investigation, and generate acceptance or declination letters quickly and accurately.

BIAS provides instant online access to important information sources and also allows batch file import/export capabilities. Additionally, BIAS aids in controlling information expenses by enabling the request of specific data elements needed by decision makers.

BIAS is compatible with multiple computer environments such as IBM Mainframe, UNIX, OS/2, PC, PC/LAN, or Windows NT. The BIAS database can be installed on-site or accessed through

IBM's Advantis Network while being maintained off-site.

The BIAS system is flexible and can be tailored to match the operations of your organization. It can seamlessly integrate with your existing systems and incorporate various decision-making factors to automatically assess risk.

The BIAS modules include Information Request/Retrieval, Electronic Folder, Portfolio Management, Workload Management, Application Processing, Monitoring, and Point-of-Sale System. Information Request/Retrieval module electronically retrieves account information from multiple on-line information providers. The Electronic Folder module allows users to enter information from additional sources and combines it with retrieved information in a common database. Portfolio Management module uses data to analyze and develop a score for any case. Workload Management module allocates work assignments and routes alerts between system users. Application Processing module accepts entry of an application for risk or credit evaluation, automatically retrieves and scores necessary decision making data, and provides a decision as the end product. Monitoring module automatically replaces specified client's data and provides alerts when significant updates are received. The Point-of-Sale System provides agents with controlled, remote access to BIAS functionality via either an Internet or an Intranet connection. The technologies used for BIAS include SCSI foundation product written in COBOL and CICS, using DB2 and/or VSAM structured files.

However, O'Neil is in search of another IS consultant.

ISPA, or Information Systems Planning and Analysis, Inc., is an up-and-coming firm in the field of information technology services. They offer specialized services in advanced IT and management. The company was established in Atlanta, Georgia and currently operates from offices in Atlanta and Warner Robins, Georgia. ISPA has been honored with the "Pacesetters Award" by the Atlanta Business Chronicle for being one of the top fifty small businesses

in Atlanta.

ISPA presented a data warehouse methodology that provides a complete Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) solution. This technology is exceptionally potent, giving our company an edge by assisting with all aspects of data warehousing and EPM systems.

EPM technology enables the retrieval and integration of data from various sources, including platforms, applications, internal and external databases, data warehouses, websites, sales and customer service centers. It facilitates the cleansing, organization, analysis, and presentation of information similar to a proficient data warehouse. EPM technology offers a more accessible and intuitive approach to accomplish these tasks without significant reliance on IT staff.

Companies have discovered that EPM systems offer simplified deployment, operation, and maintenance. Additionally, authorized users can access necessary information in significantly less time and at a lower cost compared to traditional data warehouses. The return on investment (ROI) for EPM systems can be achieved within as little as six months.

EPM provides targeted, up-to-date information and analysis to individuals across the organization. The best part is that they have the capability to generate this information on their own and the software can also provide regular updates or alert them to new patterns and opportunities.

Traditionally, only large corporations with ample resources, such as extensive and costly IS departments, could fully capitalize on data warehousing. However, even for these companies, challenges arose. Analyzing data from the data warehouse required someone in the IS department to create a query. This method resulted in a backlog of unfinished queries and a lack of timely information for decision-makers. IS departments struggled to meet the demand, leading to postponed or uninformed business decisions without the valuable insights buried within the depths of the data warehouse.


had invested significant resources in compiling a vast amount of information, only to discover that they were unable to effectively utilize it. Consequently, data warehousing did not fulfill their expectations.

Currently, corporations are utilizing EPM systems to maximize their data and enhance their understanding of operations. While some still retain their traditional data warehouses, they have realized the benefits and efficiency of integrating the analytical applications of an EPM system into their existing structure, rather than developing these tools from scratch. This approach saves costs and resources as the best analytical tools are readily accessible without reinventing the wheel.

To conclude, O'Neil has selected ISPA (Information Systems Planning and Analysis, Inc) over Systems Consulting Services, Inc. (SCSI) and their Business Information Analysis System (BIAS). The reason for this decision is that ISPA has access to various information sources for risk evaluation and can customize their services to fit our organization's operations. Additionally, ISPA can interface with our systems and utilize multiple decision-making criteria for automated risk evaluation. However, the most significant factor influencing our choice is that our insurance company already has a data warehouse installed. Therefore, ISPA uses EPM (Enterprise Performance Management) to help us maximize the benefits of this existing infrastructure, resulting in significant cost savings for our company. Alternatively, if our insurance company, Great-West Life, does not have a data warehouse, ISPA will provide a comprehensive EPM package that enables us to centralize and analyze all of our company's information in various ways. Regardless of the scenario, this advanced EPM technology empowers authorized users through user-friendly controls. With these tools at our disposal, we will gain unprecedented insights into our business, fostering new connections,

ideas, and opportunities.

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