ITEC 2050 System Design Interface Systems Design Case Study
ITEC 2050 System Design Interface Systems Design Case Study
TO PREPARE FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT
With the new system design coming together, you are assigned the task of designing the interface to the proposed system. Select one of the subsystems from the case study.
- Design a system interface to meet the requirements noted in the case study subsystem you selected.
- Document your design to include the following:
- A description of the interface’s functionality, explaining what the interface will allow the user to do.
- A description of the planned interface color scheme, font types, and other stylistic elements to enhance the user experience.
- A description or sample content to illustrate how the interface will look in different environments, including computers, tablets, and mobile devices.
- A rationale for your design decisions.
- Reference specific details in the case study to support your choices.
- Create a prototype of the interface using the recommended design tool.
- Submit a single MS Word document that includes both the documentation of the design of the interface and the interface prototype.
Acme AI, Inc. is a medium-sized software company, specializing in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Acme AI, Inc. has a main office that functions as the business headquarters in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. Most of Acme’s 250 employees work from other locations scattered worldwide. The company was established in 2018 and sells AI-powered chatbots to a variety of businesses, including hospitals, airports, and public utilities. The company has 40 customers. Those customers primarily use their chatbots for web-based, customer service interactions; however, the technology can be expanded into other areas where call centers are traditionally utilized.
The company is organized in six functional areas:
- Information Security
- Project Management
- Product Support
The leadership team at Acme AI includes:
- Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
- Chief Operations Officer (COO)
- Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
- Chief Information Security Officer
- A project management lead team consisting of four people: two sales managers (arranged by east and west regions), a product support manager, and a development manager.
Most of the team reports to the CEO. The CEO reports to the ACME AI, Inc. board of directors. Additional employees and support staff work in a variety of areas and report to one of the core functional areas.
ACME AI was informed several weeks ago by Jim Smith of Magnum IT Consulting, ACME’s IT partner that developed the current IT business support system, in 2018, that due to the recent growth of ACME AI, Magnum would be tripling the cost of ACME’s IT system maintenance and support. Although Magnum has not been involved in the development of the chatbot application, Magnum has provided the entire business IT services required for ACME to effectively run its business processes. ITEC 2050 System Design Interface Systems Design Case Study
The ACME board and CEO were quite upset by the news of the cost increase and decided for that price, they could afford to hire their own IT staff and fund the development of a new business process computer system. Once this decision was made, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Marilyn Hasan-Smith, was charged with creating a technology development plan to include a series of subsystems that could be phased in over time as the current system was phased out. ITEC 2050 System Design Interface Systems Design Case Study
As Marilyn looked into the options, she decided that she could use a cloud-based vendor to provide all of the hardware, networking, security, and development platforms necessary for the system to function effectively. This PaaS cloud-based service could be obtained at a very reasonable price and would allow ACME’s development team to focus on the development of the applications necessary to run the ACME AI business processes. What ACME AI would need to do is develop the software applications to support the information needs of the organizational users. ITEC 2050 System Design Interface Systems Design Case Study
Marilyn’s plan included several subsystems to be created as stand-alone units, with plans to merge them together as the subsystems became fully functional. She promised the board and CEO that by using AWS in the cloud to provide hardware, network, and development platform support, she could hire a team to develop the software and have it up and running in sixmonths. Marilyn contacted SCION Technical Staffing about providing both a temporary IT development team and one or two permanent IT staffers, who could work with the initial development team and then continue on fulltime as part of the ACME IT support group.
The SCION consulting group completed the system analysis in just six weeks. They followed a UML development methodology identifying stakeholders, defining user requirements, and creating use case, system sequence, activity, and class diagrams. They completed a project feasibility analysis, which was accepted by management with a recommendation to move the project forward.
The two regional sales managers, Sam Abrahams and Joanie Mitchell, are very concerned about Marilyn’s intention to bring the Sales IT application development in-house. Although they understand the financial concerns, with the recent growth in sales, and projections for sales to double every twoyears for at least the next four years, they are not sure a robust system can be built within the six-month time frame that Marilyn has laid out.
The customer- and order-tracking systems are of particular concern to Sam and Joanie. They provide a summary of information from the current sales system and explain that consultantswho work on a solution for Sales can have access to all company documents and talk with any members of the sales team. They leave it up to the consultants to “fill in the blanks” regarding any additional information the new system should provide. Their general comment for the consultants is: “It’s a sales system. It works just like any other sales system. You are the professionals.Once you complete your analysis and present the feasibility study, we will let you know what we think.”
The sales subsystem currently tracks both prospect and customer information including demographics, current sales status, employee(s) managing the account, credit rating, and any other information that is pertinent to maintaining a strong customer relationship and supporting sales. The subsystem needs to track all orders, back orders, shipments, delivery dates, return items, sales commissions, product promotions, customer feedback, type of sale (e.g., phone, internet, in-person), and all other sales-related information.
The subsystem will eventually link to the Purchasing/Inventory, HR, and General Accounting subsystems.
Product Support Subsystem
Ahmed Eman, the product support manager, has a very strong team of product support specialists with expertise in customer relations, technical support, and bug/version tracking. Ahmed has been with the company for a little over one year. He was hired away from Microsoft, where he had worked for almost a decade, starting as a technical support person and working his way up to a team leader. The opportunity to head up product support in a growing company like ACME AI was a great opportunity and something he was really excited to do. He provides the following information about the product support subsystem.
The product support subsystem is an integral piece of the organizational structure. Once the sales team has brought a new customer on board, the product support team begins to work with the customer. Their primary function is to determine the exact needs of the customer, customize the chatbots to meet those needs, provide technical support, and share information with the ACME AI development team when any bugs are found in the chatbot software or hardware. In addition to detailed information regarding the services the customer offers, product support team members must provide in-depth technical support in the event that the customer has problems with the chatbots. They must track the chatbot versions each customer is using; update the chatbot hardware as customer needs expand; update the chatbot database as customers find new ways to use the chatbots to support their business model; and track all product support time spent working with each customer.
When customers purchase the services of ACME AI, they sign a contract that includes upfront costs and ongoing technical support. The first payment is due prior to product support staff beginning to work with the customer; the second is due once the system is installed and fully functioning. A technical support monthly fee is included in the contract that covers a pre-specified number of technical support hours. Any additional hours required to support the customer are billed at a rate of $150 per hour. Customers are not charged for time required to fix bugs; however, there is an upgrade fee charged if customers choose to upgrade to a newer version of the chatbots as the development team adds new features. Any bugs that are found by customers and verified by a product support agent must be recorded, sent to development, and tracked for completion. All customer contacts, bugs, upgrades, dates, versions, etc. must be maintained in a customer history file with enough detail to respond to any customer concerns about the quality of product support services.
The subsystem will eventually link to the Product Development, HR, and General Accounting subsystems.
Product Development Subsystem
Nora Jones, the product development manager, has been with the company since day one. She and the CEO are considered the founders of the company. It was her AI work from her days as a graduate student in computer science at MIT that led to the development of the entire product line of chatbots. She was offered the CTO position before Marilyn was hired. However,Nora turned it down because she prefers to be leading the development process rather than having to spend time addressing the administrative chores required of the CTO.
When ACME AI launched in 2018, the chatbot had limited functionality. Nora had two other developers working with her to refine the original design she developed at MIT. Since releasing version 1.0, the functionality of the chatbot has expanded and Nora has great plans to continue adding to the application. Although development of the chatbot application is not included in the IT system to be developed, product development does require a significant amount of business support.
Nora was never satisfied with the support she received from Magnum and is very excited to have an in-house support system developed to meet the specific needs of product development.
The product development subsystem must track all of the functionality provided by the chatbots; which versions provide what functionality; the hardware components required to support the difference chatbot versions; the release dates of all software and hardware components; and the development time and cost of each upgrade to the software. She requires information regarding which customers are using which software version and hardware components, the date they began using it, and other pertinent customer related information.
Nora needs a way to record and track the progress of any software or hardware issues (bugs); which customers are impacted by the bug; when the bug was reported, including a description of the problem; the specific software modules that appear to be impacted; the date the bug was noted; date it was repaired; date the patch was sent out to customers; which customers received it; and any general feedback from the product support team on the effectiveness of the patch.
She also needs to track which members of her development team are working on or have worked on which software and/or hardware components of the system. She would like to track the time spent on each component, including the version number, date started, and date completed. By linking this information to the salary of each member of the development team, Nora can track roughly how much it costs to develop and maintain each component of the system. ITEC 2050 System Design Interface Systems Design Case Study
The subsystem will eventually link to the Product Support, Purchasing/Inventory, and HR subsystems.
Jack Seilheimer, the director of HR,is responsible for all information, policies, and procedures related to the ACME AI company employees. HR currently reports to the Chief Operations Officer (COO). Jack was only recently hired by the company and is not heavily invested in the current HR system. Although he has some specific processes he would like to see changed in the existing system, his attitude is similar to that of Sam and Joanie in Sales. “It’s just an HR system,” says Jack. “It needs to do what every HR system in the country does.”
Jack provides with an overview of the existing system and recommends that consultants should research what HR systems need to report, and then get back to him with any questions about what to include in the new design.
The HR system will track all employee information including demographics, salary type (e.g., hourly, annual, or commission), health insurance carriers and costs, 401K options, and all other benefits available to employees. It must track employee vacation, sick, and family leave, both used and accrued. HR will need access to reports showing past and projected payroll figures to provide to management for planning purposes. The subsystem will link to the Sales, Product Development, Product Support, and General Accounting subsystems, to primarily provide salary and commission information on employees.
In addition, Jack would like to have a way of maintaining all the current HR policies, procedures, and guidelines in a searchable database, so if an employee needs access to a particular company policy, it can be easily retrieved and reviewed. He would like to include a keyword search function within the database in case an employee does not know the name of a document but knows what it is related to (e.g., travel, gifts, smoking, alcohol use, 401K, etc.).
The subsystem will eventually link to the Sales, Product Support, Product Development, Purchasing/Inventory, and General Accounting subsystems.
General Accounting Subsystem
Accounting is currently within the Operations area of ACME AI and reports to the Chief Operations Officer (COO). The accounting processes are currently the responsibility of Sally Elm, a CPA hired last year to oversee the accounting functions of the organization. Sally providesan overview of the accounting system. She also recommends thatin case any questions arise, to first research accounting systems to see how these systems generally work. She is available for questions otherwise and also provides a copy of the current accounting procedures and policies that she would like available in a keyword searchable format through the new system. This is similar to the keyword database search engine Jack in HR has requested. If employees do not know the name of a document but know what it is relates to, they can type in a keyword and get a list of documents.
The general accounting subsystem will include accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll. The subsystem must track the purchase amount, amount paid, and amount owed on all customer sales; and purchase amount, amount paid, and amount owed on all vendor/product purchases. Payroll information includes salary rates, both hourly and annual; sales commissions; timecards; and other specifics needed to track all financial transactions within the organization. All banking deposits and withdrawals also must be tracked and reported.
The subsystem will eventually link to the Sales, Product Support, Product Development, Purchasing/Inventory, and HR subsystems.
Purchasing/Inventory/Property Management Subsystem
Purchasing is currently within the Operations area of ACME AI and reports to the Chief Operations Officer (COO). Kayla McGowan, the purchasing manager, has been with the company since shortly after it contracted with its first customers. Kayla had extensive experience as a purchasing manager with a Fortune 500 company but wanted to work in a smaller scale, less stressful environment. She took a large salary cut but received a 4% share of the company stock. She is very committed to the success of the company and has done a great job at locating the best vendors and keeping the inventory levels low using a just-in-time approach to all items.
Since the chatbots are primarily a software application with very limited hardware inventory needs, most of Kayla’s work is related to maintaining the organizational inventory and property management. As ACME AI expanded, Kayla organized the move to a newer, larger Santa Fe facility, and has found office space for employees located in several small satellite offices around the globe. Several employees work from home, so for them she only needs to keep track of the computers and office-related products they use to get their work done. She has accounts set up to allow employees to order what they need and when they need it. Kayla and her staff must currently approve all purchases, so she needs a system to track who purchased what, at what cost, and when. She has a similar setup for employees who work in the Santa Fe main office or any of the satellite offices. Kayla also handles all leasing payments, utilities, and maintenance for the Santa Fe office and all satellite offices.
In addition to supporting employee and general building costs, the purchasing subsystem must track product, supplier, and accounts payable information. This information will include product descriptions; pricing and quantity on hand; minimum reorder point; purchase orders; purchase dates; costs; back orders; expected delivery dates; supplier address, phone, contacts; which products are provided by which suppliers; amount paid and amount owed to each supplier; and any other information pertinent to maintaining the Purchasing/Inventory subsystem.
The subsystem will eventually link to the HR, Product Development, and General Accounting subsystems.
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