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IT532 - SYSTEMS ANALYSIS - CLASS 2
ASSIGNMENT

To: (Problems)

READINGS (Top)

  1. Read chapter three and four in the Software Requirements text. These chapters are related to topics that were covered this week.

  2. Read chapter twelve in the Software Requirements text. This chapter is related to topics that were covered this week.

  3. Read chapters five thru eight in the Software Requirements text. These chapters are related to topics that will be covered next week.

  4. Read the attached article titled The Management Cycle: The Key to Control by Ryan.

  5. Read the attached article titled The Next Information Revolution by Drucker.

PROBLEMS (Top)

  1. Identify each of the following as data or information. Justify your answer.

    1. A report that identifies, for the purchasing manager, parts that are low in stock.

    2. A customer's record in the customer master file.

    3. A report your boss must modify to be able to present statistics to his boss.

    4. Your monthly credit card invoice.

  2. Can the general system model of the firm be adapted to include the ideas expressed in Drucker's information revolution?

  3. Refer to the Context Diagram of a Distribution System that was in the class handouts. Answer the following questions. Be prepared to defend your answers.

    1. How many system classes are represented on the diagram?

    2. Who are the actors to the distribution system?

    3. List the events that are triggered by a customer?

    4. Which responses from the distribution system are most likely generated by temporal events?

  4. Sketch a graphical model of the management cycle described in the article titled The Management Cycle: The Key to Control by Ryan.

  5. Why would a manager want to be bothered with an exception report that indicated that things were going better than planned?

  6. Consider a modern oil furnace heating system. Construct a general systems model for this physical system. Be sure you identify the input, transformation, output, information processor, system manager, and executive manager (standard setter). It what ways can this system fail? How does the manager determine that the system has failed?

  7. Consider the following mini-case:
    McCann Container Corp. is a manufacturer of metal and plastic containers such as motor oil cans, milk cartons, and juice cans. Ralph McCann, Jr., assumed the presidency of the family owned company upon graduation from college. One of McCann's first actions was to install a personal computer to compute payroll, maintain inventory records, prepare purchase orders, and handle the firm's accounts payable.

    In the inventory system, the computer maintains a master record for each inventory item, describing its balance on hand, reorder point, order quantity, quantity on order, lead time, and so on. Each time an inventory transaction is processed, the new balance is compared to the reorder point with allowance for any quantity already on order. When the balance drops below the reorder point, the computer prints a purchase order. The purchase orders are sent to McCann so that he can check them for accuracy, verify the need to make the purchase, and initial them. After his approval (which, due to his busy schedule, might take two days), the multiple-part purchase orders are separated. The original copy is sent to the vendor, the second copy is placed in the unfilled-order file, and the third copy is sent to the receiving department.

    Quite often the ordered materials do not arrive soon enough and production must be delayed. This results in missed deliveries and lost business. McCann is dismayed over the poor performance of the inventory system, especially after having made it one of his top-priority computer applications. If the situation does not improve, McCann is planning to revert to the manual system.

    To answer the following questions, you will find it helpful to compare the current inventory system to the general systems model of the firm.

    1. Is the personal computer properly positioned in the feedback loop of the inventory system? Explain your answer.

    2. Is McCann properly positioned in the feedback loop of the inventory system? Explain your answer.

    3. An obvious partial solution to the problem is to send the purchase orders as soon as they are prepared. But, the current delay in getting approval may not be the main cause of the problem. Identify other possible causes that a good analyst should investigate.


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Prepared by David L. March -- Last Revised on August 28, 2002
COPYRIGHT © 1998-2002 BY DAVID L. MARCH