Farmers Friend – Systems Upgrade Project


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You are a system analyst brought in to the company to sort out a few problems. First you need to understand the company. To do this you need to gather a lot of information to help understand the problem area. Although there will be some in-class discussion, your team will need to develop a plan for how to get the required information.
(In Assignment-2 you will need to model the existing processes in the business area under consideration.)
Use the following case study comments as your starting point.
Farmers Friend – Systems Upgrade Project.
Introduction
Farmers Friend (FF) started as a mail-order company providing a clothing and personal items supply service to farmers living in remote areas. This service was converted to a web site in 2002, and since then the ranges and number of customers has grown so much that a system upgrade is now required. They have identified a need to improve their Customer Support Systems (CSS). The CSS is outdated and many current trends could be incorporated at this time.
(For comparison, you should look at the site of www.swanndri.co.nz )
• What does the company really do?
• Why is CSS so important to this company?
• You need to develop a description of the company processes and the business that they are involved in. What are the key issues in the information systems design and implementation that are related to success in this case? What interactions might there be with their other Information Systems?
The Approach
A project planner within the company is suggesting that they should follow an object-oriented (OO) approach to the project involving the CSS upgrade. Although some Web development work is expected to happen, the suggestion is that the OO approach does not need to be used.
• Do you agree? What are the alternative approaches they could follow? Is the OO approach a requirement?
• What is the impact on development staff training? Is it just a matter of using different programming languages?
• What methodology would be suitable for these projects? Would some form of iteration be useful?
Feasibility
There are potentially six feasibility studies that can be done before these projects start.
• Identify what studies should be done.
• Would a SWOT analysis be appropriate? What might it identify?
• What does your risk analysis identify?
Stakeholders
All stakeholders should be clearly identified before any project starts.
• Who are the stakeholders for the CSS?
• Clearly identify their likely involvement and at what stages of the project.
Business Activity
Within a business the activities are really known as processes, and need to follow specific rules for accuracy and control.
• What activities are involved in the running of the CSS?
• Who in the company is responsible for each of these activities?
Business Data
At this stage the DFD’s do not need to be drawn, but all potential data requirements must be identified.
• What are the major data files for each system? (Master data)
• What is the transitory data needed to support the events that happen in each system? (Transaction data)
NOTE: To report on the above two “business” topics (Activity and Data), you should use a table format, identifying the Business Activity in the left column and the related Business Data requirements in the right column.



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