Systems Analysis & Design Fundamentals
A Business Process Redesign Approach
Published by: Sage Publications
Authored by: Ned Kock
This Web site has been created to serve as a resource for readers in general, as well as for instructors adopting the book in their classes. All materials provided here may be used by readers of the book. Instructors adopting the book in their courses may also use these materials in their classes. Click on the links below to go directly to specific content sections.
Links for readers in general:
[ Table of contents ] [ Vendors' sites ] [ The Author ] [ Brief synopsis ] [ Corrections ] [ FAQ ]
Links for instructors adopting (or considering adopting) the book in their classes:
[ Request a review copy ] [ Sample syllabi ]
Ned Kock (Web page) is Professor of Systems, Management and Advanced Statistics in the Division of International Business and Technology Studies, in the College of Business Administration, at Texas A&M International University. He holds a B.E.E. in electronics engineering, a M.S. in computer science, and a Ph.D. in management information systems. Ned has been working as a systems analyst and organizational development consultant for more than 25 years, having provided consulting, training and systems development services to a number of organizations. Among those are: Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Johnson & Johnson, Rio de Janeiro State Construction Company, Westaflex, New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, True North, Day & Zimmermann, Lockheed Martin, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Texas International Education Consortium, and the European Commission.
This book has been designed to go beyond what one would normally find in a systems analysis and design text in terms of business process redesign, as well as related emerging trends in business. As such, it attempts to break new ground in the teaching of systems analysis and design, by preparing students to operate in work environments where rarely straight automation of business processes (i.e., without being preceded by business process redesign) leads to significant gains in quality or productivity.
The practical, or applied, flavor of this book comes from an attempt to illustrate all of the stages involved in improving a business process with the support of information technologies. These stages include business process modeling, redesign, and automation. The approach employed for business process modeling and redesign used in this book focuses on a communication flow view of business processes, and related techniques, some of which were developed by the author based on his research and consulting experience. The automation stage is illustrated in this book through coding examples utilizing a widely used Web-based software development technology known as Active Server Pages (ASP).
A CD accompanies this book. The CD contains a variety of multimedia materials. Among those materials are PowerPoint slides covering key systems analysis and design concepts and techniques, various examples of diagrams and tables, and annotated templates for course project reports. These materials should be useful to both instructors and students in courses employing traditional as well as online delivery methods. Also included on the CD are multimedia materials that can be used by instructors and students in courses employing traditional methods but that will be particularly useful for online courses. These multimedia materials include a few introductory video clips highlighting key aspects of the book, audio clips associated with each of the PowerPoint slides provided, and full-motion screen-captured demonstrations of the use of some of the tools discussed in the book. All of these multimedia materials are provided in nonproprietary formats, which can be played from most freely available multimedia players (e.g., Windows Media Player and RealPlayer).
Below you will find “.doc” (MS Word) and “.rtf” (Rich Text Format) documents containing sample syllabi for the following generic courses: systems analysis and design, business process redesign, and project capstone. Sample syllabi are provided for both “traditional” and “online” versions of the courses.
• Systems analysis and design (traditional): MS Word file, RTF file.
• Systems analysis and design (online): MS Word file, RTF file.
• Business process redesign (traditional): MS Word file, RTF file.
• Business process redesign (online): MS Word file, RTF file.
• Project capstone (traditional): MS Word file, RTF file.
• Project capstone (online): MS Word file, RTF file.
In a systems analysis and design course, it is assumed that students learn and apply conceptual and technical knowledge on traditional and emerging systems analysis topics.
In a business process redesign course, it is assumed here that students learn and apply conceptual and technical knowledge on business process redesign topics.
In a project capstone course, it is assumed that students apply conceptual and technical knowledge acquired during their entire program of studies to develop a complete IT-based solution for a client organization.
Some notes on the sample syllabi above:
• Following the main orientation of the book, the sample syllabi provided here have been designed with project-oriented courses in mind. As such, it is assumed for the systems analysis and design and business process redesign courses that the second half of each course will be primarily dedicated to project work, with close interaction between students and instructor. In the project capstone course, it is assumed that the entire course one will be dedicated to project-related work, with the book being used as a basis for all of the main phases of the project.
• The pieces of text in the syllabi that probably will have to be changed to meet the specific requirements of each institution and instructor (e.g., the code and name of the course) are highlighted in yellow. Other pieces of text that have not been highlighted may have to change as well. For example, the word “University” is used throughout the syllabus, and may have to change if the instructor is teaching the course for another type of institution that is not a university.
• I suggest that students be asked to target “one” singled business process in each main course project. This will limit the scope to something that is feasible as part of a regular semester course. When students ask me how broad the business process should be, I usually answer that it should involve 10 people or less in its execution.
• In the design of the sample syllabi, all courses have been assumed to be Web-supported, even the ones that are not online. That is, I assumed that some specialized Web-based courseware such as WebCT would be used by the instructors to interact and exchange files with the students. In the online versions, I assumed that nearly all of the interaction between instructors and students would be conducted online.
• Like the book, the syllabi assume that business process redesign projects achieve optimal (or quasi-optimal) results when the redesign is focused on the flow of information and knowledge in business processes. That is, the business process redesign approach taken here is focused on the redesign of the communication flow in business processes, as opposed to a focus on the flow of activities.
• The sample syllabi for the capstone courses are very similar to those for
the system analysis and design courses. My assumption was that someone using the
book for a capstone course would have used a different book (and orientation)
for the systems analysis and design course; perhaps an orientation that focused
less strongly on business process redesign. Some instructors may want to use the
same book for both the systems analysis and design, and the follow-up project
capstone course, but require the students to complete different projects using
different system development tools for each course. This way the students will
likely complete more professional projects in the capstone course. They will
also be happy to not have to buy a new book for the capstone course.
On page 3, 3rd paragraph, the text:
Couger also recognized that Taylor’s techniques placed emphasis on the flow of materials through business process …
Couger also recognized that Taylor’s techniques placed emphasis on the flow of materials through business processes …
On page 97, last paragraph, the text:
CASE tools often allow one to move from business process representation to software development with mining coding.
CASE tools often allow one to move from business process representation to software development with minor coding.
On page 210, 2nd paragraph, the text:
The independent variable is set as “Satisfaction” (abbreviated …
The dependent variable is set as “Satisfaction” (abbreviated …
On page 255, 3rd paragraph, the text:
… the empirical literature on business process redesign suggests that most of the problems left in a redesign process are quality …
… the empirical literature on business process redesign suggests that most of the problems left in a redesigned process are quality …
On page 255, 3rd paragraph, the text:
This is one of the main reasons why customers should be involved in a business process redesigned project.
This is one of the main reasons why customers should be involved in a business process redesign project.
On page 294, under “Chapter 4”, the correct answer to question 8 (which is spelled out on page 77) is indicated as:
It should read:
Q: What is the point of discussing several business process redesign topics in a book on systems analysis and design?
Traditional systems analysis and design courses are often seen as courses focused on the development of computing solutions to business problems. This emphasis on the development of computer applications is inconsistent with one key business reality. Business process redesign should usually precede computer-based automation for optimal return on the investment in automation.
In some cases, business process redesign alone, without any computer-based automation, leads to significant productivity gains for organizations. This inconsistency is addressed through this book, which includes a robust business process redesign learning component. This also makes the book more business-oriented than most systems analysis and design books. The reader is exposed to systems analysis and design concepts as a basis for practical business improvement.
Q: Why does the book provide such a detailed discussion of data, information and knowledge?
Chapter 2 defines and discusses three central concepts of the book – data, information and knowledge. The concepts are presented as related but fundamentally different from each other, which is important to emphasize for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is that exchanging a lot of data does not mean the same as communicating a substantial amount of information. The second is that information cannot be effectively processed without knowledge. The discussion of these three concepts sets the stage for the methodological arguments made throughout the book.
Q: Why does the book focus on the flow of communication in business process redesign?
The reason is hypercommunication, a concept that is introduced in Chapter 2. Hypercommunication is characterized by the excessive exchange of data and information in business processes. It is argued in the book that hypercommunication is one of the main problems facing businesses today.
Chapter 2 discusses the main underlying reasons for this excessive exchange of data and information in business processes, which are: (a) a high data / information ratio in the exchanges; (b) a high fragmentation of knowledge among different organizational functions (e.g., manager, inventory supervisor, computer support specialist); and (c) an insufficient degree of knowledge sharing across different organizational functions.
Q: I want to use the programming code in Appendix A as a basis for my own work. Can I do that?
Yes, if you purchased the book, permission to use that code is automatically granted.
Q: Will the programming code in Appendix A work on my computer?
The programming code in Appendix A includes ASP code examples for the Little Italy Restaurants Web System Menu, which had been discussed earlier in the book together with an introductory discussion of ASP as a basis for the implementation of redesigned business processes. The code is preceded by screen snapshots illustrating the features implemented through it. Necessary HTML elements (e.g., <form> ... </form>) routinely used with ASP code are also included.
The code will not work without certain elements being created first. For example, certain pieces of the code manipulate a database that is assumed to exist in a Web server. So, those pieces of code will not work if you do not have the database and the Web server properly setup beforehand. I suggest you carefully read the introductory discussion of ASP as a basis for the implementation of redesigned business processes, provided in Chapter 13, before you start using the code in Appendix A.
Q: How can I copy and paste the programming code in Appendix A without having to retype it by hand?
The CD that accompanies the book has links to files (in different formats) with the programming code shown in Appendix A. Open one of those files and cut and past what you want.
Q: Do you have some full-motion examples of the tools discussed in the book being used?
Yes, the CD that accompanies the book has links to several files containing full-motion screen captured demonstrations of the following tools or technologies: PowerPoint (for diagramming), MS Access (for database creation), ODBC (for creating Web-database links), SPSS (for data mining), and FrontPage (for Web-based programming).
The full-motion screen captured demonstrations are made available as AVI files, where AVI stands for “Audio Video Interleaved”. An AVI file (usually saved with the extension “.avi”) is a sound and motion picture file that conforms to the Microsoft Windows Resource Interchange File Format (RIFF) specification. AVI files are generic media files that can be played with most free media players.