Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Southeast Sporting Goods: Application of Information System Purchasing principles.(Instructor's Note)

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Southeast Sporting Goods: Application of Information System Purchasing principles.(Instructor's Note)

Article excerpt

CASE DESCRIPTION

The primary subject matter of this case concerns information systems. Secondary issues to be examined include identification of technology issues for a small business and the design of a new system. The case, when used for a RFI and RFP exercise, has a difficulty level of five. The case is designed to be taught in three class hours and is expected to take approximately fifteen hours of outside student preparation.

CASE SYNOPSIS

The company president, to whom Eric reports, gives him his first assignment, "You've got a budget of $230,000 to upgrade our old computer system. We want a fast, flexible network. And we want to move some of our marketing effort to the Internet. We'd also like to move toward having our salespeople use laptops or PDAs to enter orders directly from customers. Make a list of what we need in the way of hardware and software. Include everything--"

Students are presented with a business scenario in which they need to have a new information system installed for a small company where a recent graduate has just started working. Students are asked to review the scenario, create an organizational overview to be used as part of a Request for Information (RFI), create a functionality list for a new information system, create an internal memo to justify the expenditure on the new system, and outline what the possible responses to a Request for Proposals (RFP) might be. Included in the instructor's note are guidelines for the use of RFIs and RFPs, complete directions for an assignment, and a completed response. Graduates in the Information Systems area or with MBAs are expected to have an immediate impact on their new company. Many times the graduate is in a newly created position with little guidance from a mentor or more experienced worker. This is especially true for small and medium sized corporations, the very ones that are creating the most new jobs. This case and instructor's note fills a specific void in the field of applying information systems education. Although aimed at small business situations, the knowledge gained through this exercise is equally or more important to graduates who take jobs in government and non-profit agencies or supplying those offices.

INSTRUCTORS' NOTES

Case Overview

A new graduate is expected to "hit the ground running" with his first job. The company desperately needs to have a new information system installed. He has been hired by a small company that has fallen behind in the technology field. The current situation is presented as a typical small business that has been doing things in an informal and unsystematic method for several years. The technology is a patch-work quilt of hardware and software systems.

Students are asked to review the scenario, create an organizational overview to be used as part of an RFI, create a functionality list for a new information system, create an internal memo to justify the expenditure on the new system, and outline what the possible responses to an RFP might be.

Recommended Teaching Approach

This case has been used to reinforce the concept of a structured approach to information system development/acquisition for a graduate course taken by Master of Business Administration (MBA) students. While all MBA students are exposed to problem solving, this case is designed to have them apply their problem solving skills to getting a new information system for the company. This case forces the student to follow some of the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) concepts to solve their problem.

A general instructional approach should include a review of the SDLC, general problem solving skills, and the principles for preparing RFIs and RFPs. This discussion should take approximately three in-class hours. The instructor should give examples of the SDLC steps, general problem solving skills, and well written RFIs and RFPs. A description of the SDLC can be found in Essentials of System Analysis & Design (Valacich, George, and Hoffer, 2006). …

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