Discuss ways in which applications can support business processes of World Wide Publishing Co. Ltd

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1.0 Introduction

Within an organization, a range of business processes are functional at operational, tactical and strategic levels within the business structure. Some business processes are quite simplistic, especially at the operational level where routine, non-complex decisions and tasks are undertaken. However as you advance through the levels of an organization, the strategic levels, more complex business processes and decision making is required that may need support from more automated, on-demand information systems and solutions.
Providing office solutions to support a range of business functions and decision making process can range from the implementation of a simple rule or macro, through to the design of a more complex piece of code or program to support different end users. This unit is designed to build upon existing skills and knowledge previously gained from using different types of application and design software. Learners will be expected to demonstrate more advanced skills in terms of data manipulation, configuration, application and implementation of software packages to enhance a given business processes or processes.
On completion of this unit the learner should be able to use design application software at an advanced level of proficiency. Learners will engage with a range of software, and select the most appropriate application(s) to offer feasible and working business solutions.
1.1 Aim:
To equip learners with the knowledge and skills needed to develop application solutions that can be used to automate business processes.
1.2 Objectives:
On successful completion of this unit a learner will:

  1. Understand how application software can support business processes
  2.  Be able to design and implement office solutions
  3. Be able to demonstrate that business processes have been enhanced/improved.

2.0 Unit Content:

1 Understand how application software can support business processes

Applications software: Types e. g, spreadsheets, database, presentation, graphics, desk-top publishing, word processing
Business processes:management e. g, supporting decision making, problem solving; operational eg sales, purchasing, Marketing;
Support eg accounting, technical
Supporting processes: Improving the efficiency of a business process e. g, forecasting, decision making, and predictive reasoning;
Automating processes e. g, print runs, salary slips
supporting the user: User requirements e. g, accessibility, usability, clarity, help

2 Be able to design and implement office solutions

Solutions:  supporting a business process e.g, end user requirements, systems requirement, application to automate procedures, designing a tool, program or package that can perform a specific task to support problem-solving or decision-making at an advanced level, creating ane-Commerce function for a website to support a specific business process, designing a program for a specific end user that will support another application or process.
Design: considerations e.g., addressing the user or system requirement; user-friendly and functional interface; consideration of user engagement and interaction with the designed solution; customization of the solution to satisfy the user and system requirements Advanced tools and techniques: tools e.g. analysing data with interactive PivotTables and Pivot Charts, linking Excel spreadsheets with SharePoint, team collaboration and document management with Windows SharePoint; techniques e.g. creating decision-making macros, programming Access objects, building intuitive user interfaces with VBA, building ASP.net web applications Testing:
Functionality: e. g, checking against requirements, error handling, documentation

3 Be able to demonstrate that business processes have been enhanced/improved

User engagement: engagement through e. g, meetings, questionnaires, interviews Enhanced/improved:
Comparisons e. g, more efficient, faster results, more user friendly, improved compatibility with other systems and processes, improved management information

Case study
World Wide Publishing Co. Ltdpublishes road Atlases which are sold by three different methods:

  1. To wholesalers, who in turn sell them on to retailers (Bookshops etc.)
  2. To retailers such as bookshops, service stations, shops specialising in Car accessories;
  3. To individual members of the public who order directly by phone or mail in response to advertisement.

World Wide Publishing Ltd uses a specialised Accounts package to enter orders, prepare invoices and keep records of Customer accounts.  Each day they accept orders by phone, fax, email or regular mail and prepare invoices accordingly.  There are normally about 5-15 orders each day.  These invoices together with an extra copy of each one, are then mailed the same day to Oxford Warehouse, a separate organisation which stores large quantities of books for hundreds of different publishers.
Oxford warehouse packs and dispatches the books, enclosing one copy of the invoice with the books and keeping the other copy for their records.
A “Picking List” report has to be enclosed with the invoices sent daily to Oxford Warehouse, telling them the total number of each title that has to be dispatched that day.  The Warehouse covers several acres and a forklift truck driver has to be sent to collect the correct number of books from the specified bins and take them to the dispatch area where they are packed and collected for delivery by Securicor.
The end of each month World Wide Publishing Ltd receives an invoice from Oxford Warehouse for their services, based on the sales value of books dispatched that month.

The Current System

The user (Mrs. Joanne Bernard, the owner of World Wide Publishing Ltd) was interviewed to ascertain how the current system of producing Picking Lists works, and exactly what are the requirements of the new system.
Mrs. Joanne Bernard does not want any changes to the current method of recording customer orders and printing invoices using the software package sage sterling.  However, the Picking List as described above cannot be generated by this system in the format required by Oxford Warehouse, and producing this by hand is time-consuming and prone to error.
At present the Picking List is prepared by adding up the total quantity of each book from invoices and entering the figures on to a photocopied form.  Sometimes the Sales clerk uses a spreadsheet as a calculator just to make sure the addition is correct.  But there is no set method of preparing the report. Mrs. Joanne Bernard would also like to be able to get instant information on total monthly sales, which is not available from Sage Accounts system in the format in which she would like it. Samples of an InvoiceOutput from Sage but used as input document for the Picking List, and a copy of the Picking List are as shown below:

Source Document1: Invoices

    Office Solutions Development

Source Document2: Current Picking List Report

    Office Solutions Development

Objectives of the new System:

The new System should be able to perform the following:

• Allow data from the invoices (Quantity of each book and total invoice value) to be recorded quickly and accurately;
• Calculate totals and produce a picking list from this automatically
• Produce monthly sales summaries
• Produce a chart showing monthly sales over the past year, and indicating predicted sales based on these sales figures
• The system must be robust and easy to use

You have been appointed as a Systems Analyst and Software Developer.
For the purpose documentation you are required to adhere to the following procedure:

  1. You must draw a Context Diagram preceded by a table of catalogue of requirements
  2. You must draw a Data Flow Diagram (Level 1) outlining the process of ordering, invoicing and dispatching books
  3. On this DFD(Level 1) clearly show the boundary of the system with dotted lines
  4. Implement the system for the given case study.

Include performance indicators as follows:

  • It should not take longer than 30 seconds to enter each invoice
  • Data entry should be made so simple that the resulting Picking List is 100% accurate
  • The Picking List will be produced in one operation by the user – for example selecting from a menu or clicking a button on a customised toolbar
  • The monthly sales summary and chart will be produced in a similar way, using a menu item or button.
  • The system must cater for any number of titles to be added at a future date as the company expands
  • It must be impossible to accidentally erase formulae, headings etc..
  • The System should be easy to use for anyone with rudimentary knowledge of Excel

Based on your analysis of the requirements, you should be able to recommend the type of computer system to use both Hardware and Software.
There are two users of this system namely Mrs Joanne Bernard who is not involved in the Data entry and Mrs. Nicholson who will be extensively involved in entering data together with a new recruit, James Sunday.
In terms of the choice of software, you are restricted to using Excel and MS ACCESS and MS Word.
Worksheet Design
The System will be based on two workbooks:

  1. A Products workbook containing details of all products
  2. A Template containing a number of separate worksheets for data entry, reports and summaries( Detailed design next)

At the beginning of each year the user will be able to open a new workbook based on this Template and enter daily invoice data which will be accumulated day by day over the year.  Reports and charts will be produced from this accumulated data by means of options on a Custom Menu stored in the template.  In addition a front end menu

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