Critique of AIS Using POS at Macys
Macy’s is an organization that sales a wide range of goods. The development of the system to support service delivery and the management of the data and information collected, an effective POS had to be developed. The seven phase system development cycle was found preferable for the organization as it would capture all the necessary aspects of the system to ensure it delivered according to the company’s expectations. The seven phase SDLC process was chosen over the five phase SDLC process for several reasons. To begin with, since the system being developed was large and complex, the seven phase SDLC was the development cycle that was considered best for such development. Furthermore, the fact that the seven phase SDLC allows the independent specification of requirements as stipulated by the project, it is possible for the developer to acquire a clear picture of what was required in order to come up with the system.
The development of the POS at Macy’s was strictly developed to suit the needs of the company. The company sought to develop a system that would enhance the delivery of service to the company’s customers. There was a strong need to develop a system that is able to manage effectively inventory and also link all the stores that are a part of the Macy’s business. This would ensure that all the stores have an idea of what other store has, and the lack thereof. This, therefore, would ensure that the entire organization is up to date on their customer needs, and their stores’ deficiencies. This knowledge is important in determining what is to be stocked to ensure optimum sales and profit maximization.
Systems Development Life Cycle Model
There is a strong need to implement an SDLC model that certainly meets the user requirements as described. The development of the POS at Macy’s was based on the seven phase model that was robust enough to encompass all aspects of the needs described by the client. The major goals for the use of the SDLC by Macy’s included proper management of customer information acquired during transactions, proper and up-to-date inventory management, as well as, rapid and swift development of the associated reports as would be required by the users, such as daily and monthly sales reports. Based on these requirements, the application of the seven phase, SDLC managed to produce a robust system for Macy’s that could perform all these activities. The system developed adhered to the specific steps of the development cycle to ensure it was consistent with the needs of the user and that it fulfilled these tasks without compromising the company’s information.
This was a fundamental stage of the system development that entailed collecting the needs of the user. In order to reinforce its usefulness, there was a need to seek the challenges experienced by the system users in order to acknowledge the needs that the system being developed was to fulfil. This stage was extensively carried out in order to ensure that all the necessary requirements were captured. Additionally, it was at this stage of the development that the team carried out the initial planning procedures. In order to ensure that this was completed successfully, it necessitated the involvement of the certain members of the company, such as the clerks and the managers. The potential risks that would have caused the system to fail were also considered at this stage. This was highly critical as Macy’s handles huge volumes of sensitive information regarding their clients and there was need for assurance that this would not be compromised.
This stage was also critically handled in order to ensure that the problems noted were to be efficiently solved by the new system. The process entailed conducting a survey of all the possible end users to be engaged by the system. Generally, this stage was properly conducted through the use of interviews and questionnaires issued to the potential end users. At Macy’s the process was rigorous and involved querying the clerks and the managers on the issues they had with the old system and their expectations regarding the new system. It was also at this stage that the perceptions of the end users regarding the new system were collected. This was necessary to ensure that the new system was not regarded negatively by the users and to avoid cases of sabotage of the new system.
The design phase of the system at Macy’s was the phase considered to bring to life the new system. It is at this stage that the system needs are initiated based on the findings of the analysis and planning stages. This stage was also effectively managed at Macy’s as it entailed the collection of the necessary input into the system and coming up with the expected output. It is at this stage when the objectives of the company were considered to ensure the system provided the expected output by the company. The connection to the Internet was also considered at this stage as a major factor for the achievement of connectivity among the various company stores and also as means of attaining the efficiency objective.
It is at this stage that the system was actualized. The needs of the business were put into the system according to the description of the users and the expected outputs. This stage was highly critical in the development of the system at Macy’s as it is the stage that focused on creating a system that could enhance the business processes. For the system at Macy’s this process entailed programming the software in a manner that it could generate all the necessary information. Furthermore, it entailed the detailed configuration of the company’s systems, making them compatible with the software and the general linking of the software to the internet.
This stage involved checking whether the output from the system matched the needs described by the user. It also involved the practical attempt to run the system and check on any operational challenges that could arise upon its commissioning for use in the company’s stores. This process was carried out with a high level of integrity at Macy’s. It involved interlink of the software among several stores located within a wide geographical expanse. These stores were then configured and the system tried in order to ensure that it met the required operational standards. Additionally, the integrity of the system was tested by making test purchases using credit cards. The information collected from the credit card was found to be secure and under no threat both internal and external. The necessary reports as required by the managers and other administrators were tested as the system proved to perform well.
From a critical perspective, the implementation of the system developed at Macy’s was also performed well. The implementation was considered highly important, as it is the stage that ensures the proper adoption of the system and whether it is accepted by the end user. In order to ensure that this was conducted, the system was installed in all the end user points within the company’s stores after it was considered to have satisfactorily passed all tests including security integrity tests and also operational tests. Furthermore, it was at this stage that all reservations from the end users regarding the system were observed and the necessary pacification processes set in place.
The maintenance of the system involved keeping the system up and running and ensuring that all aspects of the system performed as expected. The maintenance of the POS at Macy’s is held in high regard as it is the process that ensures the integrity of the information is constantly maintained. In order to do this, the process was contracted to the developer company since they were conversant with the entire process and how the system works.
Effectiveness of Initial Planning
Based on the proper functioning of the system and the satisfaction levels of the managers and the end users, it is evident that the initial planning was properly conducted. The application of the seven phase SDLC model proved to be effective as all the stages were carried out accordingly. Additionally, the low rate of incidences with regard to system failures and breakdowns is also an indicator that the system was properly done.
The risk assessment process is essential as it acts as an indicator of the potential problems that could face the system. In order to ensure that the system at Macy’s was always secure, risk assessment was carried out. The major noted risks the system faced included outside attacks of the system such as hacking and theft of credit card information. This was mitigated through the use of firewalls and anti-virus softwares. Additionally, it was also noted that internal threats also posed greater security challenges than outside threats. In order to deal with this, special user levels were assigned and constant reports all user activities were reported to the relevant administrators.
Use of Holism and Reductionism
Both holism and reductionism approaches to system thinking were considered in the development of the system at Macy’s. However, it was noted that reductionism was the most appropriate technique for system thinking in this case. This is because the system thinking type considers large and complex organizations through the reduction of the various aspects of the huge system into manageable modules. Considering that Macy’s has a link to more than 800 stores, it was the preferable thinking system. Consequently the system developers carefully and systematically considered the customer data and information to be collected as well as the vast company inventory.
From an organizational perspective, the implementation of the new system at Macy’s does not contradict other organizational policies. The system, seeks to enhance efficiency of operation while considering the welfare of the users. The system developed is user friendly, comfortable to use and makes work easier in comparison to the previous manual system of operation. Additionally, it assists in accountability and promotion of fairness among the users. Therefore, it does not infringe on the user’s operation or work process.
The adoption of a new system provides the leaders at Macy’s with a more inclusive management of the employees. Additionally, with the accountability of the new system, it is possible for the managers to measure definitively the tasks performed and the effort each employee puts in their work. This can serve as a clear analysis and indicator for consideration during promotion and awards for exemplary performance.
With the implementation of a new system, it was evident that several individuals needed training in order to implement the system properly. This was necessary to ensure the uniform operation of the stores. However, this was not an opportunity for sacking other staff. In order to assure the employees of their jobs, training was offered among those who felt they needed the opportunity to learn the system better.