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 Assignment 4 (Due: December 17, 2009, before 01:00pm)

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eyesee



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PostSubject: Assignment 4 (Due: December 17, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:37 pm

You were invited by the university president to prepare an IS plan for the university, discuss what are the steps in order to expedite the implementation of the IS Plan. (at least 5000 words)
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aeros salaga



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PostSubject: Assignment 4   Thu Dec 10, 2009 7:53 pm

You were invited by the university president to prepare an IS plan for the university, discuss what are the steps in order to expedite the implementation of the IS Plan.

Technology implementation is a continuous process that adapts to the organization's changing circumstances and includes ongoing evaluation. Effective evaluation will force planners to rethink and adapt objectives, priorities, and strategies as implementation proceeds. Continuous evaluation also facilitates making changes if aspects of the plan are not working.
Evaluating the implementation of a technology plan can be conducted by various means. Simple observations, both negative and positive, that have been made by students and teachers using the technology are the most helpful. Interviews and informal meetings with both instructors and students can draw out the lessons that both groups have learned from using the technology. A simple written survey can assist in measuring the extent to which the plan has met its original objectives and expected outcomes. The following questions should be addressed when planning the evaluation of the implementation of your technology plan:
1.How and when will you evaluate the impact your technology plan implementation has on student performance?
2.Who will be responsible for collecting ongoing data to assess the effectiveness of the plan and its implementation?
3.What windows of opportunity exist for reviewing the technology plan? (For example, the plan might be reviewed 4.during curriculum review cycles.)
5.How will accountability for implementation be assessed?
6.How will you assess the level of technological proficiency gained by students, teachers, and staff?
7.How will you use technology to evaluate teaching and learning?
8.What is the key indicator of success for each component of the plan?
9.How will you analyze the effectiveness of disbursement decisions in light of implementation priorities?
10.How will you analyze implementation decisions to accommodate for changes as a result of new information and technologies?
11.What organizational mechanism will you create that allows changes in the implementation of the technology plan and in the plan itself?

Implementing an IS Plan in such a wide scope of organization is very risky. Several risks will be encounter while working or just preparing an IS plan. As a student it is a hard time for me to implement a plan in a such organization bust still there are things to do overcome those risks and accelerate the implementation of the said plan, and we call that risk management. Every organization has a mission. In this digital era, as organizations use automated information technology (IT) systems1 to process their information for better support of their missions, risk management plays a critical role in protecting an organization’s information assets, and therefore its mission, from IT-related risk. An effective risk management process is an important component of a successful IT security program. The principal goal of an organization’s risk management process should be to protect the organization and its ability to perform their mission, not just its IT assets. Therefore, the risk management process should not be treated primarily as a technical function carried out by the IT experts who operate and manage the IT system, but as an essential management function of the organization. Risk is the net negative impact of the exercise of a vulnerability, considering both the probability and the impact of occurrence. Risk management is the process of identifying risk, assessing risk, and taking steps to reduce risk to an acceptable level. This guide provides a foundation for the development of an effective risk management program, containing both the definitions and the practical guidance necessary for assessing and mitigating risks identified within IT systems. The ultimate goal is to help organizations to better manage IT-related mission risks.In addition, this guide provides information on the selection of cost-effective security controls. These controls can be used to mitigate risk for the better protection of mission-critical information and the IT systems that process, store, and carry this information. Organizations may choose to expand or abbreviate the comprehensive processes and steps suggested in this guide and tailor them to their environment in managing IT-related mission risks. The objective of performing risk management is to enable the organization to accomplish its mission(s) (1) by better securing the IT systems that store, process, or transmit organizational information; (2) by enabling management to make well-informed risk management decisions to justify the expenditures that are part of an IT budget; and (3) by assisting management in authorizing (or accrediting) the IT systems3 on the basis of the supporting documentation resulting from the performance of risk management.

Below are the things that could possibly help expedite the implementation of IS Plan:

Lets discuss the importance of risk management in accelerating the implementation of IS Plan.

Importance of Risk Management:

Risk management encompasses three processes: risk assessment, risk mitigation, and evaluation and assessment. Section 3 of this guide describes the risk assessment process, which includes identification and evaluation of risks and risk impacts, and recommendation of risk-reducing measures. Section 4 describes risk mitigation, which refers to prioritizing, implementing, and maintaining the appropriate risk-reducing measures recommended from the risk assessment process. Section 5 discusses the continual evaluation process and keys for implementing a successful risk management program. The DAA or system authorizing official is responsible for determining whether the remaining risk is at an acceptable level or whether additional security controls should be implemented to further reduce or eliminate the residual risk before authorizing (or accrediting) the IT system for operation. Risk management is the process that allows IT managers to balance the operational and economic costs of protective measures and achieve gains in mission capability by protecting the IT systems and data that support their organizations’ missions. This process is not unique to the IT environment; indeed it pervades decision-making in all areas of our daily lives. Take the case of home security, for example. Many people decide to have home security systems installed and pay a monthly fee to a service provider to have these systems monitored for the better protection of their property. Presumably, the homeowners have weighed the cost of system installation and monitoring against the value of their household goods and their family’s safety, a fundamental “mission” need. The head of an organizational unit must ensure that the organization has the capabilities needed to accomplish its mission. These mission owners must determine the security capabilities that their IT systems must have to provide the desired level of mission support in the face of realworld threats. Most organizations have tight budgets for IT security; therefore, IT security spending must be reviewed as thoroughly as other management decisions. A well-structured risk management methodology, when used effectively, can help management identify appropriate controls for providing the mission-essential security capabilities.

The First thing to do in preparing an IS Plan is to Gather Information and the technique use on gathering data.

Information-Gathering Techniques

Any, or a combination, of the following techniques can be used in gathering information relevant
to the IT system within its operational boundary:
• Questionnaire. To collect relevant information, risk assessment personnel can develop a questionnaire concerning the management and operational controls planned or used for the IT system. This questionnaire should be distributed to the applicable technical and nontechnical management personnel who are designing or supporting the IT system. The questionnaire could also be used during on-site visits and interviews.
• On-site Interviews. Interviews with IT system support and management personnel can enable risk assessment personnel to collect useful information about the IT system (e.g., how the system is operated and managed). On-site visits also allow risk. assessment personnel to observe and gather information about the physical, environmental, and operational security of the IT system. Appendix A contains sample interview questions asked during interviews with site personnel to achieve a better understanding of the operational characteristics of an organization. For systems still in the design phase, on-site visit would be face-to-face data gathering exercises and could provide the opportunity to evaluate the physical environment in which the IT system will operate.
• Document Review. Policy documents (e.g., legislative documentation, directives), system documentation (e.g., system user guide, system administrative manual, system design and requirement document, acquisition document), and security-related documentation (e.g., previous audit report, risk assessment report, system test results, system security plan5, security policies) can provide good information about the security controls used by and planned for the IT system. An organization’s mission impact analysis or asset criticality assessment provides information regarding system and data criticality and sensitivity.
• Use of Automated Scanning Tool. Proactive technical methods can be used to collect system information efficiently. For example, a network mapping tool can identify the services that run on a large group of hosts and provide a quick way of building individual profiles of the target IT system(s).

System Characterization

In assessing risks for an IT system, the first step is to define the scope of the effort. In this step, the boundaries of the IT system are identified, along with the resources and the information that constitute the system. Characterizing an IT system establishes the scope of the risk assessment effort, delineates the operational authorization (or accreditation) boundaries, and provides information (e.g., hardware, software, system connectivity, and responsible division or support personnel) essential to defining the risk. System-related information used to characterize an IT system and its
operational environment. Information-gathering techniques that can be used to solicit information relevant to the IT system processing environment. The methodology described in this document can be applied to assessments of single or multiple, interrelated systems. In the latter case, it is important that the domain of interest and all interfaces and dependencies be well defined prior to applying the methodology.

System Related Information

Identifying risk for an IT system requires a keen understanding of the system’s processing environment. The person or persons who conduct the risk assessment must therefore first collect system-related information, which is usually classified as follows:
• Hardware
• Software
• System interfaces (e.g., internal and external connectivity)
• Data and information
• Persons who support and use the IT system
• System mission (e.g., the processes performed by the IT system)
• System and data criticality (e.g., the system’s value or importance to an organization)
• System and data sensitivity.4
Additional information related to the operational environmental of the IT system and its data includes, but is not limited to, the following:
• The functional requirements of the IT system
• Users of the system (e.g., system users who provide technical support to the IT system; application users who use the IT system to perform business functions)
• System security policies governing the IT system (organizational policies, federal requirements, laws, industry practices)
• System security architecture
• Current network topology (e.g., network diagram)
• Information storage protection that safeguards system and data availability, integrity, and confidentiality
• Flow of information pertaining to the IT system (e.g., system interfaces, system input and output flowchart)
• Technical controls used for the IT system (e.g., built-in or add-on security product that supports identification and authentication, discretionary or mandatory access control, audit, residual information protection, encryption methods)
• Management controls used for the IT system (e.g., rules of behavior, security planning)
• Operational controls used for the IT system (e.g., personnel security, backup, contingency, and resumption and recovery operations; system maintenance; off-site storage; user account establishment and deletion procedures; controls for segregation of user functions, such as privileged user access versus standard user access)
• Physical security environment of the IT system (e.g., facility security, data center policies)
• Environmental security implemented for the IT system processing environment (e.g., controls for humidity, water, power, pollution, temperature, and chemicals). For a system that is in the initiation or design phase, system information can be derived from the design or requirements document. For an IT system under development, it is necessary to define key security rules and attributes planned for the future IT system. System design documents and the system security plan can provide useful information about the security of an IT system that is in development. For an operational IT system, data is collected about the IT system in its production environment, including data on system configuration, connectivity, and documented and undocumented procedures and practices. Therefore, the system description can be based on the security provided by the underlying infrastructure or on future security plans for the IT system.


Threats On Implementing IS Plan:

The goal of this step is to identify the potential threat-sources and compile a threat statement listing potential threat-sources that are applicable to the IT system being evaluated. A threat-source is defined as any circumstance or event with the potential to cause harm to an IT system. The common threatsources can be natural, human, or environmental.
In assessing threat-sources, it is important to consider all potential threat-sources that could cause harm to an IT system and its processing environment. For example, although the threat statement for an IT system located in a desert may not include “natural flood” because of the low likelihood of such an event’s occurring, environmental threats such as a bursting pipe can quickly flood a computer room and cause damage to an organization’s IT assets and resources. Humans can be threat-sources through intentional acts, such as deliberate attacks by malicious persons or disgruntled employees, or unintentional acts, such as negligence and errors. A deliberate attack can be either (1) a malicious attempt to gain unauthorized access to an IT system (e.g., via password guessing) in order to compromise system and data integrity, availability, or confidentiality or (2) a benign, but nonetheless purposeful, attempt to circumvent system security. One example of the latter type of deliberate attack is a programmer’s writing a Trojan horse program to bypass system security in order to “get the job done.”

System Security Testing

Proactive methods, employing system testing, can be used to identify system vulnerabilities efficiently, depending on the criticality of the IT system and available resources (e.g., allocated funds, available technology, persons with the expertise to conduct the test). Test methods include
• Automated vulnerability scanning tool
• Security test and evaluation (ST&E)
• Penetration testing.6
The automated vulnerability scanning tool is used to scan a group of hosts or a network for known vulnerable services (e.g., system allows anonymous File Transfer Protocol [FTP], sendmail relaying). However, it should be noted that some of the potential vulnerabilities identified by the automated scanning tool may not represent real vulnerabilities in the context of the system environment. For example, some of these scanning tools rate potential vulnerabilities without considering the site’s environment and requirements. Some of the “vulnerabilities” flagged by the automated scanning software may actually not be vulnerable for a particular site but may be configured that way because their environment requires it. Thus, this test method may produce false positives. ST&E is another technique that can be used in identifying IT system vulnerabilities during the risk assessment process. It includes the development and execution of a test plan (e.g., test script, test procedures, and expected test results). The purpose of system security testing is to test the effectiveness of the security controls of an IT system as they have been applied in an operational environment. The objective is to ensure that the applied controls meet the approved security specification for the software and hardware and implement the organization’s security policy or meet industry standards. Penetration testing can be used to complement the review of security controls and ensure that different facets of the IT system are secured. Penetration testing, when employed in the risk assessment process, can be used to assess an IT system’s ability to withstand intentional attempts to circumvent system security. Its objective is to test the IT system from the viewpoint of a threat-source and to identify potential failures in the IT system protection schemes.

Here are data gather from wikibook.org, steps to help accelerate the implementation of IS Plan :

Implementation Plan

According to the wiki Directing Technology "Technology implementation starts at the inception of the planning development strategy. There are two distinct types of technology implementation: implementing developed technology and implementing developing technology projects. They are very similar in that the projects need a plan that has a schedule with clear GO/NO-GO decision points and a project team that has well laid out responsibilities. The technology department will be implementing developed technology(2006)".
Implementation of your technology plan will be the most complicated and time consuming part of the process. It is important to allow yourself at least one year before the actual implementation starting day to make all the necessary arrangements. Your plans will depend on many things including the size of your district, status of your existing technology program, skill set of your teachers and administrators and size of your technology staff. Your plan may need to be implemented all at once or over the course of several years, phasing in different stages.
Your technology plan has been accepted by the district. Its time to plan the implementation. At least six months to a year prior to beginning the implementation, several elements of the plan will be carried out simultaneously by several different groups.
The progress of the project should be documented in writing and communicated to all persons involved. A good checklist should be developed to organize the associated details.

A sample checklist:

Describe goals & objectives (as outlined in the Technology Plan)
Identify participant’s roles and responsibilities
Identify impacts
Design methods to deal with impacts
Identify resources needed and available
Identify the completion date desired
Identify the constraints
Break the implementation into steps
Identify milestones / decision points
Design project paths
Design tracking methods
Schedule team meetings
Design communication methods
Design technical support
Design professional development

The technical staff implementing developed technology must not only manage the deployment of the hardware and software, but they must also cope with the daily activities of the school district while they prepare for the transition to the new technology. Project management skills are necessary to provide as smooth a job as possible for all involved. Further information on project management: Sample list of project management organizational tools; Project Management Template
At the same time, the administrative team will have researched and decided exactly which laptops will be purchased and from which vendor. They will have determined necessary units and submitted purchase orders. They will include in their orders sufficient quantities of peripheral items like graphic tablets, mouses, headphones with mics, tables, chairs and extension cords.

Laptops for Students

The implementation is so important that students will be asked to return to school two days early to be introduced to the laptops. During these two days, students will be involved in induction classes that will take them through the essential concerns of using the new laptops in school. The students will complete two days of formal training with technology specialists and their presence is mandatory. At the end of the induction session, a test will be taken to identify students that can possibly receive further assistance during the start of the year.
The students will be assigned their laptops at before the start of the school year and will be asked to sign an acceptable user policy agreement form and encouraged to personalize their new laptops in case they get assigned laptops for the year. The administrative and professional development teams will assist teachers in introducing the students in understanding how the program will be run and what their responsibilities for using laptops will be.
In addition, parents will also be sent an policy agreement that covers all the necessary information about the consequences of mistreatment of the equipment. This document will also have insurance information. Parents are required to sign this docuemtn and send it back to school.

Staff Development

Teachers and administrators will be the first ones to have a chance to get familiarized with the equipment that will be introduced in their classrooms. It will be necessary to prepare comprehensive tutorials or manuals to allow a quick switch into using the new technology. The professional development group will have finalized their plans for training sessions and will have begun designing the instruction. This instruction will include specific information about the change of school structure as a well as content and grade specific methods for conducting student-centered classes. Teacher responsibilities and technology integration strategies for student-centered project-based units of study will be included.
The administrative team and the professional development team will be carrying out intensive, paid, summer training sessions to prepare teachers for the changes to come in the fall. Teachers will then be given time to restructure their lessons and will have support available when they have problems.
Numerous schools have found ways to adjust schedules and provide one hour of planning and inservice for teachers while maintaining state requirements for students contact time. In some schools teachers have agreed to start earlier and end later each day as well as give up some recess or duty time in order to develop a one-hour block of time per week for inservice and planning. A key is to make sure that at least one early-out per month is devoted to a technology inservice activity.
It is crucial that consideration be given to teacher learning well in advance of the arrival of computers in the classroom. The list that follows is a brief synopsis of beneficial staff development suggestions:
Formulate detailed plans for staff development and implementation.
Decide who will lead staff development programs and evaluate each stage of implementation.
Develop a working schedule for the staff development program.
Determine appropriate staff development activities for special services and support staff.
Identify who will lead and evaluate staff development for auxiliary staff members.
Identify in-house technical consultants who will help teachers deal quickly with problems that might arise.

Technical Support

Maintaining and servicing networked equipment continues to be a challenge for schools' effective use of technology. More states are now requiring that districts and schools have a technology specialist or coordinator who supports teachers in integrating instruction and technology before that district can receive state funding. Schools could also have in-house technical support to deal with all the technical problems that could arise. You should foresee a great number of incident reports that deal with student damaging display screen or damaging equipment because of negligence in carrying them.
The summer before the implementation, the same groups will be working to get things ready for the students in the fall. The goals are to have the technology in place to facilitate as smooth a transition as possible. The technology team will receive the laptops, inventory them and load them with the chosen operating systems and software. They will also check connectivity at each school and important points around the district to ensure that the laptops can work from the first day of school. Finally, they will create a yearly maintenance plan for cleaning and preventative care.
If staff or students need to use equipment like projectors, digital cameras or even cables, they can request the media center to facilitate the equipment and provide operational guidance.

Flexible Scheduling

They will also conduct public relations meetings for members of the community to inform them about the specifics of the program, including the change from a seven period isolated subject schedule to a more integrated block schedule that includes math-science-art blocks, history-literature-reading-writing-music blocks, world language-history-art music blocks and physical education-art-music-history blocks. They will explain the benefits of changing the school structure to a more constructivist, student- centered one by explaining the theory of how students learn best and demonstrating some proposed class exercises.
Flexible scheduling provides quality time either in the lounge or in the classroom for specific staff members to get together and share ideas about technology. A bonding often occurs between the mentor-teacher and the staff member needing encouragement. This new-found relationship helps solve technical problems and misunderstandings and opens the way for future inservice opportunities.

Local Internet

Data intranets are becoming commonplace in schools. Intranets give schools an unprecedented ability to manage their budgets, buy supplies, and analyze student data. For example, districts are using the data intranet to provide information on student records, text scores, attendance, and health information, to create student profiles.

Additional Key Points

The key to success with technology is allowing teachers to develop a sense of ownership of the school's technology. Once teachers develop a sense of ownership, they will be ready to move on to higher levels of technology use. When all is said and done, it will be teachers who determine the success or failure of a technology plan. They are the people who connect technology with curricular practice in a way that will enhance student achievement. In every class, teachers must contend with a variety of learners, such as the fast-paced learner, the less-motivated learner, students with learning difficulties, and the list could go on. With computers in the classroom, teachers have access to tools that have potential for providing learning experiences relevant to each of these unique learners.

Infrastructure

When speaking of infrastructure, one is generally referring to the basic facilities and mechanical and electrical installations found in a school. These facilities and installations form the foundation for proposed technology upgrades. The following points provide a brief outline of things to consider when reviewing infrastructure:
Decide how existing equipment and infrastructure can be integrated into the project.
Visit other schools to evaluate successful programs for structural adaptations that could be copied and, in particular, look for unique ideas to solve local problems.
Make sure that the network wiring satisfies the needs of the teachers.
Make sure to count with the necessary expertise to ready the infrastructure for implementation.
Make sure professionals are brought in order to handle remodeling and other infrastructure needs.
The technology staff will run diagnostics on the district to check for adequate connectivity and electrical resources and take action to fix any inadequacies or to bolster the already existing systems.

Teaching and Learning

When considering how technology will be brought into the classroom, both teaching and learning should be considered. Several points to remember when considering the effects of technology on teaching and learning are:
Evaluate hardware purchases and coordinate them to student needs. Consider features like user-friendliness, dependability, and speed.
Evaluate projected software purchases to determine which programs will best complement, support, and expand classroom teaching and learning.
Evaluate planned software purchases for comprehensiveness and user-friendliness. Comprehensiveness is important because ease of use flattens the learning curve and helps ensure that the programs will be used. When checking the software programs, all updates to versions and site licenses will also be completed.
Determine the simplest approach that will effectively bring computers into the teaching and learning environment. Simplicity aids understanding and allows stakeholders to support the process more readily.
Establish dialogues with teachers to evaluate classroom space and decide on computer locations withing each classroom.
Determine the amount of use teachers will make of the new technology.
Regardless of the size of the technology project, standardizing hardware and software are essential to maintaining control of the technology. Having a single configuration for all computers helps simplify maintenance. More time can be spent using the technology.

Leadership

Quality leadership must prevail at all stages of the project. Below is a list of important factors to consider when a technology project is being led:
Keep students' and teachers' needs at the forefront during the various stages of the technology planning process.
Consider how students and staff members will be affected by the technology changes and develop appropriate support structures like training, changes in classroom layout, and inclusion into curricula.
Review school programs to determine how course subjects may be adjusted to make use of technologies in the classroom.
Consider the possibility of having to modify school practices or upgrade regulations.
Envision what the completed project will look like and what it will do for teaching and learning.
Financial Management
Most determinations about finance, generally dealt with at middle and upper management positions, will have a critical impact to the success of the larger groups. Several points are listed below to provide a general overview of the financial management process:
Itemize equipment resources owned by the school. The goal is to look to reduce unnecessary duplication in new purchases. Create an inventory of all technology related items including desktops, laptops, printers and other peripherals, accessories such as mice, power cords, keyboards, all software programs and furniture used for tech purposes.
Determine if the proposed equipment will be purchased locally or from a national distribution company. Decide who will be responsible for handling the recommended purchases.
Review all costs to make sure the technology project is affordable in all its phases.

Community Awareness and Support

Community support is necessary during the planning stages of the technology initiative. It is also true that many parents want to be informed about the development of the project in their children's education. Take into account the following factors in order to provide general information to the parents:
Consider how you will be able to show community members how teachers are adopting this technological direction onto their curriculum.
Address parents' and community members' concerns over how technology in the classroom will enhance student learning and achievement.
Show parents and members of the community how they and their children can benefit from the process of networking technologies in district classrooms.
Develop guidelines for presenting information to the public. Be sure all news releases are verified with the public relations director before they go public.




"those are the possible things or steps that could help me implement properly the IS Plan of the University and most possibly the implementation will be accelerated according to the data gathered..."




References:

http://www.ncrtec.org/capacity/guidewww/eval.htm
http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-30/sp800-30.pdf
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Technology_Planning/Implementation_Plan


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Anthony Rigor Aguilar



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PostSubject: Assignment 4   Sun Dec 13, 2009 2:40 am

If I were to decide I would suggest these steps:


8-Step Implementation Model

http://www.webaim.org/articles/implementation/


1. Gather baseline information
2. Gain top-level support
3. Organize a web accessibility committee
4. Define a standard
5. Create an implementation plan
6. Provide training and technical support
7. Monitor conformance
8. Remain flexible through the changes

Every organization will need to adapt this model to it's own circumstances, but the general principles apply across organizations and circumstances.

1. Gather baseline information


The Need to Know
1. How bad is your web site?
2. How much of your web site is accessible?
3. How do you know?
4. How would you find out?

Even among people who are informed about web accessibility issues, many of them can only take a guess at how much of their web site is accessible. They don't have accurate data with respect to the accessibility status of their site. Some of them have never thought about formally analyzing the site. Many of them do not know how to do so. Without knowing this information, an organization will find it hard to effectively address the problem.

"My web site must be OK, because no one has ever complained about it."
Some people with disabilities actively pursue issues of equality by voicing their opinions and making their needs known. The majority, however, do not. Most of them are so accustomed to encountering accessibility barriers that they have become passive about the whole issue, figuring that it is more bother than it is worth to try to get others to accommodate their needs. Even if no one has filed an official complaint, this is not confirmation that the web site is accessible. The only way to know with certainty if a web site is accessible or not is to test it. In this workshop, we'll discuss how to perform those tests.

What to Test
The question of what to test depends largely on the type of web site to be tested. Small, uncomplicated web sites created by a single person are the easiest to test. The most difficult sites to test are large, complex ones, such as those at universities, where there are tens, if not hundreds, of developers. The testing strategies are similar, but there are enough differences that it is beneficial to distinguish between the strategies for testing different kinds of web sites.
First, however, we'll briefly discuss the "anatomy" of a web site, so that we can distinguish between the common components of web sites.

The anatomy of a web site

Home page
The home page is the top-most level of a web site, and is usually the "root" of the web address. For example, the home page of the main WebAIM site is www.webaim.org. All other pages have additional folder or file names after the root of the web address, e.g. www.webaim.org/howto/ or www.webaim.org/contact/. Sometimes, however, the home page of a site is not at the root web address. The WebAIM 2003 training site, for example, is found at www.webaim.org/training2003/. All of the main navigation links for the training site are confined to the "training2003" directory or lower (e.g. www.webaim.org/training2003/mingle).
All of the other areas of the web site are usually available from the home page, either directly or indirectly. For example, in the WebAIM training site, there are direct links to each of the three tracks, plus links to the mingle area, the live events, and the vendor booths. Users are able to access all areas of the training site by clicking on the home page links, and then, if necessary, on other links in subsequent pages.
If the home page is inaccessible, users will likely not get to any other part of the web site.

Top level pages
The top level pages of a site can usually be found by clicking on the largest, or the most noticeable links on the home page, such as the main tabs on the training site example. Top level pages represent the way in which the information of a web site has been categorized, meaning that all other pages are organized under these top-level "headings".

Most often, they are found at the top of the page or on the left side, but may also be found on the right side (as is the case in this example). If the top-level pages have been thoughtfully planned out, they represent the major conceptual areas of the web site. After the home page, these are usually the most accessed pages on a web site.
With this in mind, the pages that are linked from these top-level links are a high priority in terms of accessibility. If the top-level pages are inaccessible, users will likely not be able to get to the subsequent document pages, which probably contain the content that they're really trying to access.

Document pages
After the home page and top-level links, many web sites have at least one extra layer of document pages. These pages represent the actual content of the site, more than either the home page or top-level links. Usually the home page and top-level pages are merely gateways to the more detailed information on the document pages. On the WebAIM training site, the workshops are considered to be the document pages.
Users generally have to pass through the home page and the top-level links in order to arrive at the content that they want to access. Once they arrive at the document page, if that page is inaccessible, then they will not be able to access its content.

Simple web sites
In the context of this discussion, a simple web site is one that has fewer than about 50 pages, and which does not employ much scripting or multimedia content. Many personal home pages fit this profile, as do sites by some small businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and other organizations.
If a web site is small enough, it is possible to evaluate all of its pages in a relatively short amount of time. Our recommendation would be to do just that. Start with the home page, then proceed to each of the top-level links, then through all of the document pages. If the site approaches 50 pages, then it is probably not necessary to evaluate each and every page at first. Usually a pattern emerges, and the remedies become apparent after evaluating only a few of the content pages.

Large and/or complex web sites
Large and/or complex sites, such as e-commerce sites, university sites, large government agencies, and so on require special attention. The types of tasks that users perform on the site may extend beyond just reading text and viewing graphics. In many cases, complex sites are more accurately viewed as software applications, much like software that one would install on the hard drive. These sites (sometimes referred to as "web applications") can be quite sophisticated, presenting the possibility for even more accessibility errors and barriers.

Scripted sites/ Web applications
Other than the home page, top-level links, and document pages, the first step with web applications is to determine where the important interactions take place. If users must fill in a form to access the web application, this is a critical component that must be checked for accessibility. An e-commerce site must ensure that the entire process of browsing, selecting and purchasing items is accessible. It is not enough to claim that the home page is accessible. The complete process must be accessible, so this is one of the first things that must be analyzed. Similarly, a tax preparation web site cannot claim to be accessible unless all of the procedures and instructions can be completed by people with disabilities. The key with web applications is to determine what the most important tasks are that the user will perform, and analyze the tasks in that order.
Decentralized sites
University web sites are the perfect example of decentralized sites. Universities have a main home page with basic information about the university, but there are also home pages for each of the colleges or departments, for the employee information, for student registration, and a host of other purposes. In essence, universities have multiple ancillary or secondary web sites that, although related, are often completely different from each other.
In situations like this, the ideal would be to evaluate the main university web site plus all of the ancillary web sites. Coordinators could prioritize a list of ancillary web sites that are most critical for accessibility (e.g. student registration), and evaluate these sites during the first phase of evaluation. Later phases could address other sites lower down on the priority list.
When evaluating each of these ancillary sites, the same basic procedure applies: evaluate the home page, then the top-level pages, then a sample of the document pages. This can be quite a time-consuming process if there are many high-priority ancillary sites, but it is necessary.
Test the home page first, then the top-level pages, then a representative sample of the document pages. This may need to be repeated on ancillary or secondary web sites that are related to, but separate from the main web site.

Software Validators

Choosing an evaluation tool
Several of the prominent accessibility tools are listed in the products and tools tab of the web site. Take the time to browse through the products listed there to get a feel for what is available. You may want to contact the vendors themselves for more details. We will not offer any specific recommendation here, because each tool is different, with its own strengths and weaknesses in comparison to the others. In many ways it is simply a matter of personal preference. Nearly all of the tools are available in a trial version, so you can check them out on your own time and decide which is best for you and your particular situation.

The usefulness of evaluation tools
Without a doubt, one of the quickest ways to get a feel for the accessibility of a web site is to run it through an evaluation tool. Some of these tools are free, some expensive; some only give a report, while others help the user to fix the errors; some analyze one page at a time, others crawl through entire web sites, saving time when evaluating large sites. Without this kind of software, it would take a person much longer to determine whether or not a page meets accessibility guidelines. These tools flag errors quickly and efficiently.

The limitations of evaluation tools
Software tools for evaluating web accessibility are useful when evaluating web sites in the same way that a spell checkers can be useful in evaluating written documents. Both of these also share some of the same weaknesses. For example, when preparing the materials for the WebAIM training event, the spell checker did not catch the fact that in a couple of places we had incorrectly referred to the "spinal cord" (the correct spelling) as the "spinal chord" (an incorrect spelling). In this case, the words "cord" and "chord" are both valid words, but only one is the appropriate word for the situation. Web accessibility evaluators may commit similar "errors." For instance, an image of a button that says "products" might have alt text that says "services." None of the tools will be able to catch this error. They all will notice that alt text is present, but all are incapable of determining whether or not the alt text is appropriate.

Recording the results
Most of the tools allow the user to choose which standard against which to evaluate the web pages. At a minimum, most tools allow the user to choose between the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0, Levels 1, 2, and 3, and The US Federal Government standard, Section 508. Some tools also let the user ignore certain types of errors, which can result in a more focused report. If there is no official web accessibility standard at an organization, it may be wise to generate reports based on more than one standard. To be considered accessible to any reasonable degree, all web sites should pass at least WCAG 1.0 Level 1, and Section 508, which is mostly a subset of WCAG 1.0 Level 1.
Don't be too surprised if few or none of the pages of your organization "pass" these software evaluation tools. Unfortunately, that's normal. In this case, though, normal is not desirable, but that's why you're performing this evaluation. You'll have ample opportunity to remedy the situation as you proceed through the steps outlined in this article.
But before you conclude that you really know how accessible your site is, it is best to perform a second evaluation, this time by a human being.

Human Judgment

The need for knowledgeable human judgment
Until a knowledgeable human being checks a web page for accessibility, there will always be doubts. It is entirely possible for a site to pass all of the standards and guidelines and still present significant accessibility challenges to some individuals with disabilities. There are at least a couple of reasons for this. First, the guidelines and standards themselves are imperfect. They do not contain every piece of advice that is necessary for all kinds of disabilities under all circumstances. Secondly, Sometimes the guidelines are misunderstood and misapplied. It takes a knowledgeable person to be able to identify this type of error.
That raises a question: where and who are these knowledgeable people? Hopefully you'll be able to qualify as a knowledgeable person after working with web accessibility, but sometimes the person in the role of coordinator is not the best person to judge web pages. If you are not technologically knowledgeable enough to design accessible web content, then you are probably not the best person to evaluate the accessibility of web content. Try to find a web developer at your organization who is familiar enough with the techniques of web accessibility to be able to identify errors that the tools do not catch. If you are the only one at your organization with any kind of knowledge in this area, then you'll either have to perform this task yourself (whether you are qualified or not), or hire a consultant who can perform this task.

What to judge
Automated tools are able to evaluate web pages more quickly than human beings are. It may not be possible or even beneficial to evaluate every single page of a web site this way, at least not while trying to establish a baseline. Pick some of the most important pages to evaluate, and then randomly pick a few of the less important pages. It would be ideal to evaluate all of the same pages that were previously evaluated with the automated software tool, but even a smaller sample of pages will be informative.

Interpreting the Results

Generating reports
It will probably be helpful to generate a few different types of reports. For example, it can be helpful to compare the pass/fail ratio of pages evaluated with the automated software to the pass/fail ratio of pages evaluated by human evaluators. You could also separate out the errors by type, WAI priority or other criteria.
When comparing the results of the two different methods of evaluation, you may find that the errors detected by the automated tools are not serious, and that they can be corrected quite easily. On the other hand, you may find that the automated tools could not detect the fact that all of the important content was presented in a video clip that did not have captions or a transcript. Human evaluation of the pages will reveal these potential discrepancies.

2. Gain top-level support


Why it's Important
Consider what happened in the United States in terms of awareness of web accessibility issues after the Section 508 requirements were published. United States Federal government web sites, which were previously among the worst of examples of accessibility, began to transform into some of the best examples. Sites such as www.firstgov.gov - external link and www.whitehouse.gov - external link have made obvious, identifiable changes that enhance accessibility (see the WAVE reports for the firstgov - external link and whitehouse - external link sites). This transformation occurred over a relatively short period of time. Web accessibility advocates were unable to make a large difference on government web sites as a whole over several years of efforts, but within a year after the release of the Section 508 requirements, a large portion of the most visited government sites had made significant strides toward greater accessibility.
What made the difference?
The difference was that they had some guided direction from higher up in the hierarchy. They had top-level support. The government made accessibility a priority, the spelled out their requirements, and made accessibility a requirement.
Despite the fact that the Section 508 requirements are a diluted version of the WCAG 1.0 guidelines, and the fact that some US Federal Government sites need to make further improvements, the experience in the United States is instructive for all large organizations. The impact of top-level support was noticeable and almost immediate.

When an organization at the top level commits to Web accessibility, this has three important consequences:
1. It increases the visibility of the issue
2. It provides the opportunity to dedicate necessary resources to the cause
3. It allows for systematic monitoring of compliance

Increased visibility
When an organization commits to web accessibility, it validates the issue. This gives it more visibility and verifies a commitment that other members of the organization can then look to in their own dedication. This top-down approach is a strengthening influence. Too often, progress may be stymied when the efforts are concentrated only at lower levels within an organization. Still, lower level efforts can be valuable to "light the fire" of interest, so to speak. Unless the leadership of the organization is attuned to this sort of need, accessibility may not be high on their list of priorities. Oftentimes, the leadership does not need much persuasion to recognize the fact that accessibility is a worthy endeavor. They may have a harder time moving accessibility higher up on their list of priorities though. In the business world, profits and investor relations tend to be on the front of the minds of leadership. Postsecondary education institutions are often similarly concerned with finances--budget cuts, campus maintenance funds, tuition increases and so on--but most institutions have already made a commitment to disability access at some level (e.g. by virtue of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act in the United States). By making web accessibility a higher priority, they are merely extending this commitment.

The need for resources
The need for resources is a many-faceted issue. Some organizations are reluctant to commit to web accessibility, fearing that they do not have the necessary resources to follow-through on the commitment. Other organizations casually commit to accessibility without any intention of supporting this commitment in any real way. The process of making an accessible web site is not expensive, but it takes time to learn the techniques, and some kind of training is usually necessary, whether in the form of outside consultants, courses, workshops, or books. Ignoring the need for this kind of support will likely lead to frustrated web developers who feel that they have received a mandate with no knowledge of how to comply with it.
In some cases, the development process can be expensive, as in the case of accessible multimedia. If no resources are set aside for this sort of task, chances are low that the developers will produce an accessible product. However, in the overall scheme of multimedia development, the cost of adding accessibility features is relatively low. The multimedia product itself is expensive to produce.
It is always difficult to procure the money and other resources for large projects, but if the top level of an organization commits to accessibility, this provides justification for adding any costs associated with accessibility into the budget of projects. The leadership of the organization could even require that accessibility be a part of web projects. This will work best, of course, if the leadership actually sets aside some money for this purpose. Nobody likes the concept of unfunded mandates. At the very least, the leadership should provide educational resources, because once people learn the techniques of accessibility, it becomes an integral part of the web development process, rather than an expensive add-on.
At WebAIM, for example, we strive to make all of our content accessible. We could not easily give an accurate estimate of the amount of "extra time" that is required to make our content accessible. This time is not extra. It is required time. It is part of the process which we cannot separate out from the whole. And the truth is that the time We spend incorporating the accessibility features of our web content is minimal.

The real cost, and the real time investment in the development process is the up-front time of learning accessible design techniques. If an organization invests in training resources, most of the other development resource needs will diminish if not disappear.

A mechanism for monitoring compliance
The other area that benefits the most from funding and resources is that of monitoring compliance. It is one thing for an organization to say that it is committed to web accessibility and quite another to actually follow-through on that commitment. Somebody needs to make sure that the web content really is accessible. Depending on the size of the organization, this can take an afternoon, or it can take several weeks.
Without top-level support, such monitoring may never happen, and it may never be seen as a priority. With top-level support, a person or a committee could perform periodic "accessibility audits" to determine whether the organization's web content meets the standards that it has set. The organization needs some sort of mechanism for monitoring compliance, and this directive ought to have top-level support.

Making the Case

Approaching the leadership of an organization
If your organization has not yet committed to web accessibility, you can take an active part in helping them to make this commitment. Sometimes all it takes is a brief mention of the concept to those at the top. Most of the time, however, it takes a more concentrated effort on the part of those who wish to see the changes enacted.
The first task is to talk to the right people. These "right people" will be different in every organization. Sometimes it is best to take the idea straight to the top, and talk to the president of the institution, the CEO of the company, or the owner of the business. Oftentimes, though, these individuals are less knowledgeable about this type of issue, so they may have delegated technology issues (or equal access issues, depending on how you approach the topic) to others, such as the Chief Technology Officer, Chief Information Officer, or perhaps a committee on equality or diversity. Sometimes it helps to bring up the idea to several indivuals or groups within the organization. The more visible you efforts are, the more likely leadership will pay attention to them. Just be careful to not force your message upon those at the top, because they could find your tactics offensive, even if they agree with your message.
Leadership is much more likely to accept and promote an idea that they not only like, but they feel that they have some ownership of. In other words, to the extent that you can, allow leadership to feel as if web accessibility is their idea, and allow them to promote it as such. You want your organization's leadership to continue to support accessibility over the long term. The more ownership they feel over the idea, the more likely they are to do this.

The other reasons for accessibility
The real reason why web accessibility is important is because it allows equal access to those with disabilities. All other reasons are less important and more self-serving, but sometimes the leadership of organizations responds better to the less important reasons than they do to the real ones. There are a few resources on other sites on the Web which present the case for Web accessibility in terms of these "less important" reasons.


3. Organize a web accessibility committee


"Lone Rangers" Don't Fare Well
Is it possible for one person at a large organization to implement a full-blown accessibility initiative? It is possible, yes, but this sort of "lone ranger" approach can backfire if other people at the organization do not share the vision or commitment that this one person has. Other people may resent the constant badgering of this individual, or, just as likely, this one person may tire of always trying to drag everyone else along for the ride.
Committees can be slower than the "lone ranger" approach, but their effect is usually longer-lasting because committee members have invested time and effort in the process, coming to agreement on important issues.
The key is to form a committee that is representative of all of the stakeholders in an organization, and to ensure that each committee member performs the tasks that correspond to them.

Identifying Stakeholders

Involving key groups
Once the leadership at your organization supports the importance of web accessibility, a group should be formed to draft accessibility policies and to see the process through its implementation. It is vital that this group be comprised of other key individuals at your organization. Those chosen should be respected in their individual fields and have the ability to influence change with their colleagues. They must also be able to commit the time necessary to see the process through. In some instances this could be a substantial 2-year commitment.
So, who should be part of this process? It is important to remember that every organization will need to approach this process in a slightly different way, thus membership of this committee should reflect these differences. It is important that this committee be constructed in such a way that all members will work constructively toward the goal of helping to create a fully accessible web for their organization. Please remember that these individuals will report back to the larger groups from which they came. As such, it would be helpful to the process if they were respected within their own groups. Representation and support by all parties is essential if implementation is to be widely accepted. The implementation of Web accessibility at your organization will be much easier and when all of these pieces fit together.

Questions to Ask Yourself
Take a moment now to select the members of this committee for your organization. Some questions you might take into consideration as you move through the selection process include the following:
• Is the selected member well-respected in their field of influence?
• Will others listen to them?
• Will the selected member help the committee address the concerns of their peers?
• Will the selected member devote the time and energy necessary?
Take a moment to write out a list of the persons you would consider viable choices for a web accessibility committee at your institution. When you have compiled this list, consider the following questions:
• What issues did you consider as you completed this process?
• What issues seemed key in your decision-making?

Postsecondary education as an example
Although this example is specific to postsecondary education, there are parallels to other types of organizations. Postsecondary institutions will want to involve the administration, faculty, students, the Section 504/ADA coordinator, and the webmaster. Businesses will want to involve upper management, marketing, customer service, the legal team, customers, programmers and developers. Government entities will want to involve agency or department leadership, individuals from the various focus areas of the entity, and the developers. Other types of organizations will need to adapt the recommendations presented here to fit their organizational structure and needs.
In postsecondary institutions, there are typically at least 5 groups of stakeholders who should take part in this process. These groups include: the administration, the faculty, the Section 504 and ADA coordinators, web designers, and students with disabilities. At least one member from each of these groups should participate in a web accessibility committee, although it may make sense to have more than one representative for certain groups.
It is important that all members of the committee understand their roles and responsibilities within this committee. The role descriptions below may reflect the needs and concerns your own committee will address. As you read each role, consider who will fill the respective role. Will they be able to carry out these duties successfully? What help and support could you offer to those on the committee in their respective responsibilities?

Roles of the administration:
• Oversee entire web accessibility process
• Break down the University into manageable chunks by forming a committee consisting of key players in the University: faculty, designers, students, Disability Service Center (DSC) coordinators and legal representation
• Oversee all administrative details of the committee including meetings, discussion, delegation, parley between committee members, holding members accountable for their responsibilities and meeting projected completion dates

Roles of the Faculty:
• Represent faculty concerns in committee discussion and planning
• Carry committee decisions to faculty and gather their support and cooperation in the process of web accessibility

Roles of the Section 504/ADA Coordinator and Students with Disabilities:
• Represent the student perspective and promote an understanding of their personal frustrations and concerns with the web for other committee members
• If necessary, explain in detail, assistive technologies which interface with the web and the problems which must be addressed in their effective use
• Assure that accessibility issues across the spectrum of disabilities are addressed appropriately

Roles of the Webmaster/Designer:
• Represent institutional designers by mediating their concerns, questions and frustrations with the accessibility committee
• Help institutional designers to better understand the issue of web accessibility; including both the concept as well as the specific techniques and strategies for effective coding and design
• Represent institutional designers in overseeing, creating or choosing web accessibility training methods and resources
• Carry out all delegated responsibilities of the web accessibility committee which may include; cataloging institutional web sites, conducting baseline studies of these sites, and learning the ins and outs of validators for purposes of evaluation, participating in monitoring of progress and accountability of institutional designers

Identifying Challenges
One of the first tasks of the committee will be to identify potential obstacles or challenges to maintaining a consistent accessible web presence. This task may be all too easy in some organizations, but here is a list of challenges that we've come up with, along with a few potential solutions.

Decentralization
Some large organizations are so decentralized that it is difficult to maintain any kind of control over all of the people and parts of the organization. Postsecondary education institutions are a prime example. Universities often have a main Web site, then several other sub-sites, such as the sites for the different colleges, for the school newspaper, for student registration, and so on. Rarely are these different sub-sites designed and controlled by a central person or team, though some institutions have a set of standards that must be adhered to in terms of "look and feel." At Utah State University, it would be a difficult task just to find out how many Web servers there are on campus. Any computer can be a web server, and many computers are. Sometimes faculty members create their own, semi-autonomous web servers for the purposes of their classes. University projects and grant initiatives often have their own sites as well, which may not even be hosted on university servers.

Potential solutions:
• Create an email list of all of the web developers of the important web sites of the organization. In educational settings, you may include faculty members on this list, but a separate list for faculty may also be appropriate.
• Send out a monthly email newsletter from the head webmaster to all other webmasters. Include tips on how to make a site more accessible, as well as other development tips.
• Hold monthly or quarterly meetings of all web development personnel across the organization, to inform them of what's happening in different areas of the organization, in terms of the Web.
• Create an accessibility monitoring team that periodically checks different sites for accessibility. You could enforce compliance by saying that all non-compliant sites will be removed from the organization's servers (this is a harsh approach that may end up harming the organization more than the individuals who don't comply, but such an approach may work for some organizations)

Lack of training
Many web developers are unaware of disability access issues at all. Even if they know that it is an issue, they may not know any of the techniques on how to design for accessibility. This is one of the biggest initial barriers.

Potential solutions:
• Designate a person or a group of people as web accessibility trainers. These people may already be a part of the organization, or it may be necessary to hire them.
• Hold quarterly workshops on different aspects of accessible web design.
• Buy books that teach web accessibility.
• Encourage or require individuals to participate in training events such as the WebAIM Online Web Accessibility Training Event

Non-professionals as web developers
K-12 schools often have teachers, secretaries, or students who are novice web developers post content to their web sites. Sometimes these individuals make the effort to learn the web skills necessary to prepare high quality web content, but more often than not, they never learn the technical aspects of web development, either because it does not interest them, or because they do not have the aptitude for it.

Potential solutions:
• Train inexperienced developers in all aspects of web design, including accessible web design
• Consider making web development a higher priority--hire a professional web developer
• Provide books or other training materials to those who develop web content.

Apathy
Outside of educational and governmental realms, the legal mandates are a bit more vague, and some businesses may feel that there is no need to make the extra effort to make their web content accessible, since there are no clear consequences. Even within education and government, there are many who do not see disability access as an important issue. They may think that it does not apply to them, or that it does not make sense to incorporate changes that benefit a minority of their site's visitors.

Potential solutions:
• Have an individual with a disability give a presentation to web developers, so that they can appreciate that person's perspective
• Train web developers in the issues and techniques
• Require compliance to accessibility standards by including it in performance reviews of staff. Many times, apathy and resistance are overcome as they learn more about accessibility

High turnover
How can an organization keep a consistent "look and feel" on their web site, let alone maintain a high level of accessibility when webmasters come and go ever few years, or even every few months? Educational and governmental entities are especially hard-hit by high turnover rates among their web development staff. Many times, students or interns develop the site, then they graduate or move on to more lucrative jobs. There is little continuity in the web development cycles over the years in situations like this.

Potential solutions:
• Provide incentives for web developers to stay, including competitive salaries and benefits.
• Consider consolidating web development responsibilities across organizations, so that the organization can eliminate one or more of the other positions and raise the salary of the main web developer position.
Other
Your organization may have a unique set of challenges not represented in the above list. Have the committee identify these challenges and their potential solutions. This will allow the committee to begin to implement the appropriate solutions.

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Anthony Rigor Aguilar



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PostSubject: Assignment 4 continued   Sun Dec 13, 2009 2:43 am




4. Define a standard


Do You Need a Formal Web Accessibility Standard?
Your first reaction may be to answer "yes," and perhaps this is indeed the case. Take a moment, though to think about the policies and laws under which your organization is already operating. A US Federal Government agency may decide that it does not need to write another policy about Web accessibility just for their agency. After all, Section 508 already spells out the minimum accessibility requirements that they must adhere to. Perhaps the agency can bypass the step of creating a policy and go straight to the task of deciding how to implement it.
Postsecondary institutions in the United States find themselves in a similar situation. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act already requires that they not discriminate against students with disabilities. Also, some US states have decreed that their state will adhere to the Section 508 guidelines, which could mean that all state entities, including state colleges and universities, are required to adhere to these standards as well.
On the other hand, it may be useful for an organization to adopt a formal policy statement as proof of their commitment.
It is not a decision to take lightly, and it is important to ensure that the committee seeks input from all relevant areas of the organization. Even if you think that your organization may not need a formal policy, you may find the ideas in this workshop to be useful in your situation.

Defining Web Accessibility
If, as a committee, you have decided that your organization needs a formal web accessibility policy, then it is time to draft the policy as a committee. There are 2 important components to the overall web accessibility policy. The first is the organization's definition of web accessibility--the standard against which to judge the accessibility of the organization's web content. Second is the implementation plan. Taken together, they form the complete policy. What follows is a description of the accessibility standard. Descriptions of the implementation plan will be discussed in a subsequent workshop.
One of the first responsibilities of the Web Accessibility Committee will be to draft a document that will be used to define what is meant by the phrase "web accessibility." Different individuals might define this in different ways. The importance of a clearly defined web accessibility policy cannot be overstated. This standard will enable everyone to understand the level of accessibility your organization will employ. It will also act as a planning guide for developers; they will know precisely what elements they must include in their design to meet the standard. Furthermore, this standard will serve as the template in any future monitoring effort. Determine then that the first task of this group is to develop the "specifications" of a web accessibility definition for the institution.

Questions
Perhaps the most difficult part of creating the web policy can be deciding on a standard. As you peruse the materials listed above, consider the following questions:
• What is your definition of web accessibility?
• What level of standards does the government hold?
• What level of standards do other institutions choose?
• What standards are feasible for your institution?
• What special features might you add to your standard, that you did not see at other institutions?

Composing a Detailed Accessibility Standard
It is important to make sure you compose a detailed accessibility standard. It does little good to announce that your organization will be "ADA compliant" (the Americans with Disabilities Act does not explicitly specify any web standards) or that "We will insure all our pages are accessible to people with disabilities." Ask yourself, what does this mean? Would others in the organization interpret this statement in the same way? If you were a web developer would you know if you had created a document that followed the organization's policy? If you were monitoring the accessibility progress of this organization, would you know how they are doing? In order to help those that will work with the policy you must first define the standard by which all will comply. Provided below are resources you can consult in forming your own standard. These are 3 sources that will provide you with detailed descriptions of web accessibility standards and guidelines. Remember that these guidelines are provided as models and references for you. There are no hard and fast rules to setting a standard and there is no right answer. But you must make sure the standard you choose, or create, suits your organization.

Existing Standards

WCAG 1.0
The most universally-recognized standard of accessibility is found in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Web Consortium (W3C). As explained in Topic 2 of Week 1, these guidelines have been organized into three priority levels. Priority 1 guidelines are a minimum standard. Priority 2 guidelines increase the accessibility of web content so that it is not only available but more easily usable. Priority 3 guidelines increase both the accessibility and usability of web content even further.
Because of the credibility and international scope of the WAI-- and because of their affiliation with the W3C -- the WAI guidelines have served as a basis for many organizations in setting standards for web accessibility. Nevertheless, the WAI guidelines, as they are currently written, may not necessarily fulfill all of the policy-setting needs of all organizations. It may be beneficial for some organizations to include in their standard other principles of web accessibility, which the WAI has not enumerated. For example, the WAI does not mention the timeliness of accessible content as one of their guidelines. In the case of online courses, it is important the online syllabi be made accessible to students with disabilities at the same time that they are made available to other students, to avoid disadvantaging the students with disabilities. Institutions may find other important considerations which the WAI guidelines do not address.
Full text of WCAG 1.0 - external link

Country-specific standards
Many countries have adopted WCAG 1.0 as their official standard. Others, such as the United States, have chosen to write their own standard. Entities which are required by law to abide by these country-specific standards would be foolish to ignore them, but sometimes these standards are insufficient. The Section 508 guidelines, for example, do not include any guidelines that would specifically help people with cognitive disabilities or learning disabilities. Whole segments of the population are excluded from this standard.
To make up for this, and other, deficiencies, an organization could choose to adopt both the 508 standard and, say, Levels 1 and 2 of WCAG 1.0. There will be some overlap between these two sets of standards since the writers of the Section 508 standard drew heavily on WCAG 1.0 during the writing process. To reduce confusion, the organization could publish a single checklist that represents a combination of both of these sets of standards.
More information about Section 508 can be found at www.section508.gov - external link.

Review and Revision of Your Accessibility Standard
Once you have a draft of an institutional standard for web accessibility, it is important that the initial draft of the accessibility standard be sent out for review by others at your institution. Including others in open dialogue will improve the likelihood of adoption and successful implementation of the standard. Institutional ownership that results from this feedback step is often a key to standard success. We would recommend the draft be seen by the groups who have representation on the committee, as well as those who will responsible for implementing it (i.e. designers and faculty). Finally, Committee members should assume the draft will be reworked after it has gone out for review, rather than assume that it will receive widespread approval. Most importantly, the members of the Accessibility Committee should insure that all feedback is strongly considered in any reworking of the draft for production of the final policy.
Remember to make sure that everyone has had an opportunity to review the initial definition! Have all member of the committee and all concerned parties had the opportunity to provide feedback? More importantly, has this feedback been taken seriously?

Announcing Your Policy
Here are a few ideas of ways to make your policy known, both internally and to the public:
• Provide a web accessibility overview which presents the reasons your institution wants to create an accessible web site and the regulations you will follow.
• List what is included in your accessibility policy. More specifically include web based information and services, hardware or software to be developed, purchased, or acquired by the University, environments specific to information technology, and what is exempt from the policy.
• Consider a handy comparison chart between the University policy, Section 508 and the W3C guidelines or other guidelines employed in the creation of your standard.
• Consider posting a list of your standards, as well as providing more detailed links to exactly how the standards may be interpreted, and in what contexts they do and do not apply.
• When revising your policy or standards, include proposed drafts on your web site so that others from within your institution may access it and provide feedback. When the drafts are complete, post the final product.
• Design a brochure or pamphlet outlining your policy. Have them readily available. Distribute them during training and provide them for your students and for the public.
• Make sure to include your university standards in any web training you create. It is imperative for employees to know what is expected in regards to accessibility.



[size=18]5. Create an implementation plan
[/size]

Planning for Success
So you've got a policy. Now what? Your policy won't be taken seriously unless you actually do something about it. In some ways, it is worse to have a policy and not follow it than to have no policy at all. By not following through on the policy, you would send the message that accessibility takes a back seat to other issues, and that you weren't serious about the policy in the first place. This can actually put your organization in a bit of a legal bind too. If you have a public policy which is clearly violated, this leaves room for undesirable press at the very least and undesirable expensive at worst.
But assuming that your organizations intends to follow through on its intentions, it is best to lay down a specific plan that will transition to a self-sustaining model of accessibility that will last beyond the immediate need to fix problems with the current site.
Let's read a few ideas on how to implement a web accessibility plan.

"Doing it Right"
A priori systems (systems formed or conceived beforehand) must be created to optimize the participation of all site users. In other words, it would not be sufficient to maintain an inaccessible site and then say to a blind person that you'll try to find someone who can read the site to them, especially if you don't have anyone in mind for this task. After-the-fact accommodations are inefficient for everybody. It makes more sense from the perspective of the user to have a site that is directly accessible, and it makes more sense from the perspective of the site's creators, because poor planning can make it extremely difficult if not impossible to provide after-the-fact alterations to inaccessible web content. It is much better and more efficient to create web content that is created from conception to be accessible.
It is imperative to create goals aimed at establishing coordinated systems that enable full access for all. The sooner an organization creates and implements sustainable solutions, the sooner ALL individuals can participate in their right to experience the power of the Internet for lifelong learning. The composition of an implementation plan can be accomplished in any environment wherever there are creative and resourceful individuals.
An essential part of creating an implementation plan is to thoroughly document the actions taken by the committee and organization at every step. The web policy you construct is not only a great way to lay the foundation for your organization's accessibility, but it also documents your good faith efforts for others to see. At every step, the policy should leave detailed and well-documented proceedings for others who may need to use it as a reference.
When you are constructing your web implementation plan, there are four areas to consider. They are:
• establishing timelines,
• setting priorities in terms of what standards to achieve and on what timeline,
• delegating responsibilities, and
• monitoring progress.

These tasks often do not occur in order, but should be addressed when needed.

Establishing Timelines
The first task in formation of your plan is establishing a time frame for implementation. Depending on the size and scope of change needed at your organization, this time frame may extend from weeks to years. It is important to recognize that this is a complex process. Establishing a timeline allows you to sequentially follow the tasks and duties you lay out for all of those participating in web accessibility at your organization. It also stimulates action and accountability in everyone involved by creating deadlines by which work must be completed. However, keep in mind that, although initial timelines are an aid in your travel toward web accessibility, compliance is an ongoing process and must be permanently established. Plans should be made for both initial changes and the long-term establishment of web accessibility as a priority at your organization.

Setting Priorities in Terms of Standard Achievement
Due to the complexity of the organizational reform process, setting priorities at the onset along with deadlines for observance is essential. These priorities outline which pages will be required to be compliant, as well as the minimum requirements for established deadlines. This process may also take place in phases. For example, one organization made pages that received the top 20% of hits their first priority. These pages, as well as training fell into their first phase, while obtaining further funding fell into a third phase in the reform process.

Questions to Ask Yourself
• Which pages must be fully accessible at the beginning of the process? Consider the home page and the top-level pages linking from it.
• Which pages can be partially accessible until those of first priority have been completed?

Delegating Responsibilities
Once standards and a timeline have been determined, the next step is to delegate responsibility for each of the tasks. This portion of the policy should include a breakdown of each work group's purpose and tasks. As tasks are delegated to specific members of the main accessibility committee, subgroups will form. Who will be included in these groups? When will they meet? A list of the organization's entities and what their responsibilities are to enforce the policy should be delineated clearly.

Monitoring Progress
The best implementation plan does no good if there is no accountability. Laying a foundation for monitoring progress and following through is the best assurance that reform will be successful and complete. It is very important that you develop a system by which to identify and maintain contact with individuals who have been assigned specific responsibilities within your plan. The administrators or managers can provide this leadership in monitoring and compliance, as well as delegating specific tasks and follow-up to others.
For example, the administration in some higher education entities require that web masters attend training on institutional policies, sign agreements to follow them, and are monitored over time for compliance. Of course such an endeavor would assume that the administration has a way to identify and track ALL individuals who place web content on an institutional server and monitor accessibility as one feature of broader institutional policies. The framework for these abilities must be laid early on.
There are many different methods emerging throughout organizations to monitor progress. Let us present a few for your consideration.
• The first is random checks. This is fairly self-explanatory, involving persons being hired to randomly test web pages for compliance to the standards.
• Another method is a yearly purge, in which all pages not declared compliant by the web team are swept off the system. This may help to clean rogue content off the system, however, it still does not verify whether the sites are actually compliant or not.
• Another method is the honor system, where those responsible for becoming compliant are not directly monitored, but it is assumed they will keep their sites fully accessible. This brings up the question "Why have a policy if we don't even know whether or not anyone is following it?"
• A final method is the peer system. In this system, a network of designers is set up to provide mutual feedback, support, and idea-sharing opportunities. This association has established policies and monthly meetings. Twice a month two sites are sent out for random checking by all members of the association. The sites are checked against the established policies of the group and feedback is returned to the webmaster as well as the designer of the given page. In this system it is imperative that feedback be supportive, as well as critical. Training may be required to facilitate the requirement of gentle, but firm, critiquing.


6. Provide training and technical support


The Importance of Training and Technical Support
It is not hard to make web sites accessible. If you know how to do it, it is usually quite easy. The problem is that the majority of web developers do not know most of the basic web accessibility techniques. They probably know how to make a web page work across browsers and platforms. They probably know how to write JavaScript code that can validate forms. They probably know all kinds of tricks of the trade to make web sites more attractive, more functional, and more impressive. They are less likely to have such breadth or depth of knowledge in disability access issues, however.
When starting to implement web accessibility policies at an organization, you can do it in at least two different ways. You can make it sound as if web accessibility is an issue that is completely separate from "normal" web design, or you can make it sound as if accessibility is just one of many web skills that developers must learn. You'll probably have more success with the latter approach. Web accessibility is not some strange add-on to Web design. It is not an annoying task on a list of chores. It is central to the whole concept of web design, just as much as HTML is, or graphical design, or JavaScript.
Web accessibility is similar to the concept of cross-browser compatibility. Think of web accessibility as cross-user compatibility.
Once you have support from the organization, policies and plans in place, as well as a baseline of your current situation, the next step is to provide training and technical assistance for those who place content on the web. Training is a critical element in the implementation and success of your coordination efforts. Web accessibility may be a brand new issue for many who will be responsible for its implementation. The training and support you provide will be absolutely necessary to help them fulfill the policies that have been established.

Identify your audience
It is important to identify those who place content on your organization's web site. As you design your training and support mechanisms, please be aware of the skills of these individuals. Situations can arise where anyone with web development skills or the desire to learn these skills are given responsibilities to create and post web content on the organizations web site. Some of these individuals may be professional web developers, such as in-house web design staff or outside design contractors. Some of these individuals may be less technically-savvy, such as faculty or other support staff in educational settings that wish to explore web design and, in return, provide a "free" service to their workgroup or department. Some may be students hired for a single term or for one year. Other individuals may be nephews and neighbors, friends and children. Anyone with skills to write in a markup language (e.g., HTML, or hypertext markup language, the language of the Internet), or understand authoring tools, or course management systems (e.g., Blackboard, WebCT, E-college) can be given the task to design and develop elements of a web site. In large organizations, it is difficult to organize the large number of individuals that develop and place web content onto the web servers. If the organization cannot easily identify these individuals, it is unlikely that it can provide the necessary direction, support, training, and monitoring for accessibility.
In addition, although accessibility fixes may not be a difficult task for those who are technically skilled, new techniques and content can provide some initial confusion. You will want to create a structure in your organization that is supportive of implementing these changes and not merely request change in the absence of support. The training and resources you provide must be as clear as the standards you wish your developers to follow. Web accessibility can be a complex process, but it is simplified with good training and ongoing support.

Questions to ask yourself
It's very important at this stage to know who needs to be included in all training and monitoring. Some questions to ask yourself include:
• Do you know all the designers who may be working on your institutional Web site throughout all departments?
• Who could get you a comprehensive list of these individuals?
• Once this list is formed, how could you keep it up-to-date?
• Will you require certification? If so, who will track the certification of all campus Web designers?
There are many other important questions to consider at this stage, once you know the demographics of your designers. For example:
• Will you conduct training in-house or will you outsource?
• Will your training be live or online?
• How long will the training be?
• How often will it be conducted?
• What specific groups and skill levels do you need to target?
• How will you form these groups and how will you know who fits where? Will you select them or will they place themselves?
• How will you be sure that all topics (including reasons for accessibility, standards at your institution, as well as specific coding and multimedia strategies) will be covered in this training?
• Who will be in charge of updating materials as standards change?

Areas of training
You should focus training in three primary areas; the issues of web accessibility, your institution's personal standards, and the coding and multimedia strategies and techniques.

Web accessibility issues
It would be reasonable to create a workshop that would focus merely on accessible HTML (or other code techniques) and multimedia. These are the techniques needed by designers to create accessible content. However, in order to help designers and faculty understand why they need to design and develop accessibly, it is valuable to help them first understand the broad issues of accessibility.
1. Understanding the perspectives of users with disabilities is critical. Often, if web designers really understand what these individuals face, the designers will embrace this perspective and internalize many of the changes at an intuitive level. Introducing staff to the personal stories of individuals with disabilities within your organization (if any) can be a powerful experience for Web developers as well. Simulations and videos, in combination with live interviews or panels can be another powerful aspect of your training. Help those involved answer questions such as; "What population is benefited by an accessible Internet? What problems do they face without it? How can these problems be overcome?" Having an experience with those who struggle with the Internet helps promote a greater desire to change professional practices.
2. Understanding the incentives for implementing web accessibility, the reasons of ethics, business and law, can also motivate them to initial acceptance and help them effect change.

The organization's standards
It is also essential that all parties involved understand, not only the reasons for accessibility in general, but your organization's choice of standards. When web developers clearly understand the exact regulations of compliance chosen for your organization, they are more likely to effectively fulfill their commitments to web accessibility. Consider training in the following ways:
• Include specific wording of the web accessibility policy of your own institution.
• Provide contact information for people so they can ask questions of those in charge.
• Make specific dates and schedules for training available on the current institutional policy or plan.

Planning Your Training
As far as an overall plan for training and technical support, many factors must be taken into consideration. Will you create the actual training in-house or will you outsource? Will you need separate training for designers and content developers (e.g. those who write the text that goes on the web pages as opposed to the HTML behind it)? In what areas will you specifically need to train? It is important that you consider the unique needs of each group. Even within groups, there will be different levels of need. Developers are more likely to need training in both multimedia and coding techniques, whereas most content developers will benefit more from knowing how to optimize the tools they use, such as PDF files, PowerPoint, or how to make accessibility workarounds for a content management system or course management system (such as Blackboard or WebCT).
One good place to start making plans for training is conducting a survey of the accessibility knowledge and skills among those who will be involved. Questions could address what they know about the issues, as well as specific coding techniques. These skills and knowledge might also be discovered as the baseline study is performed for your organization. Understanding the needs of your web developers and content developers is valuable to create and tailor training.
Other decisions to make with regards to training involve resources and methods of delivery, timing and accountability. Will the training be conducted face-to-face or online? Will online resources be provided that link to valuable, informational web sites? Will all content developers and web developers have a point-of-contact for answers that cannot be found in manuals or on the Internet?

General web accessibility concerns:
• Include a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page with common problems and solutions, as well as links to additional information and support

The concept or issue of web accessibility:
• Include a list of connected pages that go through all the reasons why a web site should be accessible. Cover business, ethics, and the law.
• Include articles and research on web accessibility
• Include a page listing all disabilities and also provides links for more information on the impact of web accessibility to those specific disabilities
• Include links and descriptions of relevant legislation, legal documents and publications pertaining to accessibility

Specific coding and multimedia techniques, strategies and concerns:
• Include a page of steps indicating a best method for how you can be sure your site is accessible
• Include a list of specific and valuable links pointing to specific solutions to specific coding or multimedia problems. Be certain the list is clear on what issues are being addressed
• Include a listserv option which sends out regular updates on accessibility
• Include before and after examples of some of their pages so they can see what needs to be fixed and just how easy some of these changes can be made
• Include a list of accessibility testing tools
• Include online tutorials or reference manuals to supplement training and to help in responding to questions and concerns


7. Monitor conformance

Plan for Sustainability
Here's a scenario to consider. A large software company realized that their web site was inaccessible to people with disabilities when one of the newly hired web developers pointed this out in one of their monthly full staff meetings. The company's management agreed to let this employee form a committee to plan for all aspects of the conversion over to an accessible web presence. They adopted the policy of conformance to WCAG 1.0 levels 1 and 2. They decided to participate in a series of training workshops provided by an outside consultant. Within 6 months, the company had completely redesigned their web site to take into account what they had learned. This design remained active for another year and a half, but during that time, the employee who started the whole accessibility process had moved on to another job. No one at the company took the initiative to ensure that accessibility principles would be applied throughout the new design, though some of the developers made their own respective parts of the web site accessible. The result is that parts of the site were accessible while others had prohibitive accessibility errors that prevented access to individuals with certain types of disabilities. Despite the "islands" of accessibility within the site, the site as a whole could not be accessed. Essentially, this company's web site had reverted back to its pre-accessibility days.
What went wrong? The company did not commit to a plan that encouraged long-term dedication to accessibility. For a year and a half, the site was accessible, but now it's almost as bad as it was before. The company failed to implement a plan to monitor conformance to its own standards.
Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common. When WebAIM consultants travel to other organizations to train them in web accessibility techniques, the results are immediate, but they are often only temporary, because the organizations do not implement systemic change.
Monitoring conformance to the standard is critical to the overall success of an accessibility initiative. If this aspect is neglected, none of the other aspects are likely to have enough of an impact on their own to compensate. The only way to maintain accessibility over time is to have a system in place that makes this possible

Persistence Pays Off
At this stage of the journey you are well on your way toward accessibility. The key now is persistence. Now is the time to execute the strategies you outlined for monitoring progress in your implementation plan. This is the time to make sure that all goals for implementation are being fulfilled. Find out where the problems lie and offer support and training to alleviate them. Take any steps needed to insure accessibility and make sure web accessibility becomes a permanent process at your organization.

Ideas for Sustainability
• Write the task of accessibility monitoring into the job description of the head webmaster, chief technology officer, or another relevant position
• Schedule yearly or quarterly checks of all web content, and send reports to the respective developers, as well as to their supervisors
• Hire an individual full or part time to be a permanent web accessibility consultant to all developers at the organization. This person could check pages with a screen reader, with automated validators, with screen enlarger software, with adaptive keyboards, and other assistive technologies. Consider hiring an individual with a disability, and ensure that the person you hire is a skilled HTML editor with knowledge of accessibility issues
• Contract with an external consultant to perform yearly or quarterly evaluations of the site. These evaluations could take into account other elements other than just accessibility. For example, if your organization has a style guide for the "look and feel" of the web pages, the evaluators could check to make sure that all pages comply with this style guide as well as with the accessibility policy.


8. Remain flexible through the changes

The Importance of Flexibility
What happens to your organization's web accessibility standard when a new version of the WAI's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines is released? Does your policy immediately become obsolete? Will your employees know how to incorporate the changes and new techniques into their design? What if you discover that your policy is inadequate to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities? What if you discover that you've set the standard too high (a much rarer ocurrence)?
The answers to these and other questions will depend on the situation within your organization, but one thing is consistent across all organizations: things change, and you have to be flexible to accommodate those changes.

Adapting to Change
Perhaps the most important concept to remember as you travel the road of institutional reform is that change is a dynamic and flexible process. There will be changes in staff, standards, and technologies. Your organization must have in place a system to handle these changes and a mechanism to update standards as new technologies emerge. You should also remember that there will be turnover of developers and new developers hired all the time. In that case, new training will be required, as well as retraining when standards change or work becomes sloppy. Your organization must always be at the ready for revamping and retooling as necessary. In fact, there should be allowances and provisions made for this in all policy plans.

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: December 17, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:30 pm

You were invited by the university president to prepare an IS plan for the university, discuss what are the steps in order to expedite the implementation of the IS Plan. (at least 5000 words)

When we talk about IS plan, we all know that it is Information System Planning. And IS plan is a process for developing a strategy and plans for aligning information systems with the business strategies of an organization. It is the step-by-step plan to be able to meet the needs of an organization and to reach its goal and objectives. Many enterprises do not have model-based information systems development environments that allow system designers to see the benefits of rearranging an information systems development schedule. Consequently, the questions that cannot be answered include:
Idea What effect will there be on the overall schedule if an information system is purchased versus developed?
Idea At what point does it pay to hire an abnormal quantity of contract staff to advance a schedule?
Idea What is the long term benefit from 4GL versus 3GL?
Idea Is it better to generate 3GL than to generate/use a 4GL?
Idea What are the real costs of distributed software development over centralized development?
If these questions were transformed and applied to any other component of a business (e.g., accounting, manufacturing, distribution and marketing), and remained unanswered, that unit's manager would surely be fired! We not only need answers to these questions NOW!, we also need them quickly, cost effectively, and in a form that they can be modeled and changed in response to unfolding realities. This paper provides a brief review of a successful 10-step strategy that answers these questions.
Too many half-billion dollar organizations have only a vague notion of the names and interactions of the existing and under development information systems. Whenever they need to know, a meeting is held among the critical few, an inventory is taken, interactions confirmed, and accomplishment schedules are updated.
This ad hoc information systems plan was possible only because all design and development was centralized, the only computer was a main-frame, and the past was acceptable prologue because budgets were ever increasing, schedules always slipping, and information was not yet part of the corporation's critical edge.
Well, today is different, really different! Budgets are decreasing, and slipped schedules are being cited as preventing business alternatives. Confounding the computing environment are different operating systems, DBMSs, development tools, telecommunications (LAN, WAN, Intra-, Inter-, and Extra-net), and distributed hard- and software.
Rather than having centralized, long-range planning and management activities that address these problems, today's business units are using readily available tools to design and build ad hoc stop-gap solutions. These ad hoc systems not only do not interconnect, support common semantics, or provide synchronized views of critical corporate policy, they are soon to form the almost impossible to comprehend confusion of systems and data from which systems order and semantic harmony must spring.
Not only has the computing landscape become profoundly different and more difficult to comprehend, the need for just the right--and correct--information at just the right time is escalating. Late or wrong information is worse than no information.
Information systems managers need a model of their information systems environment. A model that is malleable. As new requirements are discovered, budgets modified, new hardware/software introduced, this model must be such that it can reconstitute the information systems plan in a timely and efficient manner.
Characteristics of a Quality ISP
A quality ISP must exhibit five distinct characteristics before it is useful. These five are presented in the table that follows.
1.)Timely - The ISP must be timely. An ISP that is created long after it is needed is useless. In almost all cases, it makes no sense to take longer to plan work than to perform the work planned.
2.)Usable - The ISP must be useable. It must be so for all the projects as well as for each project. The ISP should exist in sections that once adopted can be parceled out to project managers and immediately started.
3.)Maintainable - The ISP must be maintainable. New business opportunities, new computers, business mergers, etc. all affect the ISP. The ISP must support quick changes to the estimates, technologies employed, and possibly even to the fundamental project sequences. Once these changes are accomplished, the new ISP should be just a few computer program executions away.
4.)Quality - While the ISP must be a quality product, no ISP is ever perfect on the first try. As the ISP is executed, the metrics employed to derive the individual project estimates become refined as a consequence of new hardware technologies, code generators, techniques, or faster working staff. As these changes occur, their effects should be installable into the data that supports ISP computation. In short, the ISP is a living document. It should be updated with every technology event, and certainly no less often than quarterly.
5.)Reproducible - The ISP must be reproducible. That is, when its development activities are performed by any other staff, the ISP produced should essentially be the same. The ISP should not significantly vary by staff assigned.
Whenever a proposal for the development of an ISP is created it must be assessed against these five characteristics. If any fail or not addressed in an optimum way, the entire set of funds for the development of an ISP is risked.

The information systems plan is the plan by which databases and information systems of the enterprise are accomplished in a timely manner. A key facility through which the ISP obtains its Adata@ is the meta data repository. Their role within an organization perform functions in the accomplishment of enterprise missions, they have information needs. These information needs reflect the state of certain enterprise resources such as finance, people, and products that are known to the enterprises. The states are created through business information systems and databases.
The majority of the meta data employed to develop the ISP resides in the meta entities supporting the enterprise=s resource life cycles , the databases and information systems, and project management.

The ISP Development Steps
The information systems plan project determines the sequence for implementing specific information systems. The goal of the strategy is to deliver the most valuable business information at the earliest time possible in the most cost-effective manner.
The end product of the information systems project is an information systems plan (ISP). Once deployed, the information systems department can implement the plan with confidence that they are doing the correct information systems project at the right time and in the right sequence. The focus of the ISP is not one information system but the entire suite of information systems for the enterprise. Once developed, each identified information system is seen in context with all other information systems within the enterprise.

1.)Create the mission mode - The mission model, generally shorter than 30 pages presents end-result characterizations of the essential raison d=etre of the enterprise. Missions are strategic, long range, and a-political because they are stripped of the Awho@ and the Ahow.@
2.)Develop a high-level data model - The high level data model is created in two steps: building database domains, and creating database objects. It is critical to state that the objective of this step is the high-level data model. The goal is NOT to create a low level or fully attributed data model. The reasons that only a high-level data model is needed is straight forward:1.)No database projects are being accomplished, hence no detailed data modeling is required,2.)The goal of the ISP is to identify and resource allocate projects including database projects and for that goal, entity identification, naming and brief definitions is all that is required for estimating. The message is simple: any money or resources expended in developing a detailed data model is wasted.The high-level data model is an Entity Relationship diagram created to meet the data needs of the mission descriptions. No attributes or keys are created. 2.1..) Create Database Domains- Database domains are created from the “bottom” leaves of the mission description texts. There are two cases to consider. First, if the mission description’s bottom leaves are very detailed, they can be considered as having being transformed into database domains. That is they will consist of lists of nouns within simple sentences. The other case is that the mission descriptions have been defined to only a few levels, and the lists of nouns that would result from the development of database domains have yet to be uncovered. A series of diagraming techniques created especially for data and the relationships among data is called entity-relationship (ER) diagraming. Within one style of this technique, the entities are drawn as rectangles and the relationships are drawn as diamonds. The name of the relationship is inside the diamond. Another style of ER modeling is to just have named lines between the entities. In this methodology, since the domain of the diagram is data, it is called the database domain diagram. The purpose of the database domain diagram is not to be precise and exacting but to be comprehensive. The goal is to have the reviewer say, “that's just the right kind of data needed to satisfy the required mission description.” When all the database domain diagrams are created, siblings are combined. Entities that are named the same are not presumed to be the same. Analysis must show that to be true. If not, one or both of the entities must have their name and definition changed. As the sets of sibling diagrams are merged from lower to higher levels, the quantity of commonly named entities on different diagrams diminishes. Diagram merger becomes optional when the use analysis of a common entity is subject to update (add, delete, or modify) in one diagram and is only referenced (read) in another diagram.2.2.) Define Database Objects - In today's parlance, a lucid policy-procedure pair is called a business object. When the policy procedurepair are completely defined within the language constructs of ANSI/SQL and is stored, retrieved, and maintained in an ANSI/SQL database through a sequence of well-defined states, the business object is a database object. The goal of database object analysis is to enable the definition of both the data structure and the data structure transformations that: a.)Installs a new database object in the database b.)Transforms a database object from one coherent state to another c.) Removes a database object from the database.Database objects are found by researching business policies and procedures. Database objects are however much more than just collections of policy-homogeneous entities. In fact database objects consist of four main parts: 1.Data Structure: the set of data structures that map onto the different value sets for real world database objects such as an auto accident, vehicle and emergency medicine incident. 2.Process: the set of database object processes that enforce the integrity of data structure fields, references between database objects and actions among contained data structure segments, the proper computer-based rules governing data structure segment insertion, modification, and deletion. For example, the proper and complete storage of an auto accident.3. Information System: the set of specifications that control, sequence, and iterate the execution of various database object processes that cause changes in database object states to achieve specific value-based states in conformance to the requirements of business policies. For example, the reception and database posting of data from business information system activities (screens, data edits, storage, interim reports, etc.) that accomplish entry of the auto accident information. 4. State: The value states of a database object that represent the after-state of the successful accomplishment of one or more recognizable business events. Examples of business events are auto accident initiation, involved vehicle entry, involved person entry, and auto accident DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs) involvement. Database object state changes are initiated through named business events that are contained in business functions. The business function, auto accident investigation includes the business event, auto-accident incident initiation, which in turn causes the incident initiation database object information system to execute, which in turn causes several database object processes to cause the auto accident incident to be materialized in the database.A database object is specified to the SQL DBMS through the SQL definition language (DDL). All four components of a database object operate within the “firewall” of the DBMS. This ensures that database objects are protected from improper access or manipulation by 3GLs, or 4GLs. A DBMS that only defines, instantiates, and manipulates two dimensional data structures is merely a simplified functional subset of the DBMS that defines, instantiates, and manipulates database objects. Database objects are completely defined within the database object column of the Knowledge Worker Framework. They are interfaced to the “outside world” by means of business information systems through SQL views. Each view represents the entire set of data, or some subset of a set of data that truly reflects a known value state of the database object. Culling out the database objects from 600 or so entities requires three simple questions:a.)Does the entity represent only a single value? For example, when the entity, Salary is really a business fact, it should be represented in the metabase as a data element, b.)Does the entity represent a collection of business facts from withing another context? For example, when the entity, Critical Contract Dates, represents multiple business facts, but within the context of the contract, the entity is a property class, and is stored in the metabase as such, c.)Does the entity represent multiple collections of business facts and is self-contained as to context? For example, when the entity, Contract, contains multiple property classes such as critical dates, signatories to the contract, terms and conditions, items and item quantities, and the like, the entity is a database object and is stored in the metabase as such.
3.)Create the resource life cycles (RLC) and their nodes - Resources are drawn from both the mission descriptions and the high level data model. Resources and their life cycles are the names, descriptions and life cycles of the critical assets of the enterprise, which, when exercised achieve one or more aspect of the missions. Each enterprise resource Alives@ through its resource life cycle. A mission might be human resource management, where in, the best and most cost effective staff is determined, acquired and managed. A database object squarely based on human resources would be employee. Within the database object, employee, are all the data structures,procedures, integrity constraints, table and database object procedures necessary to “move” the employee database object through its many policy-determined states. A resource might also be named employee, and would set out for the employee resource the life cycle stages that reflect the employee resource’s “journey” through the enterprise. While an enterprise may have 50 to 150 database objects, there are seldom more than 20 resources. Enterprises build databases and business information systems around the achievement of the life cycle states of its resources. Business information systems execute in support of a particular life cycle stage of a resource (e.g., employee promotion). These information systems cause the databases to change value-state of contained database objects to correctly reflect the resource’s changed state. The state of one or more database objects in the database is the proof that the resource’s state has been achieved. Resources become the lattice work against which database and business information systems are allocated. The table that follows presents the basic components of resources and their life cycles.
Resources and Resource Life Cycles
Resource - A resource is an enduring asset with value to the enterprise
Resource Life Cycle - A resource life cycle is the linear identification of the major states that must exist within life of the resource. The life cycle of a resource represents the resource’s "cradle to grave" set of state changes.
Precedence Vector - A precedence vector is a relationship between two nodes of different RLCs that indicates that the Target RLC node is enabled in some significant way by the Source RLC node.
RLC Matrix - The RLC matrix is the set of all resources, their life cycles and the precedence vectors among the nodes. Properly drawn the RLC Matrix resembles a PERT chart.
The ultimate goal of resource life cycle analysis is the identification and description of the major resources essential to the enterprise’s survival, and the ultimate goal of the ISP is the identification and accomplishment sequencing of the information systems projects required to implement the enterprise resources in the most effective manner possible.
3.1.)Determine the Resources - The enterprise’s product and/or service resources are defined; they may be either concrete or abstract. Ron Ross provides two guidelines to assist in resource identification: 1.Define the product or service that constitute the enterprise’s resources from the customer perspective.2. Define the resource as it is managed between the enterprise and its customers.
Characteristics of a resource are:
Basic - The resource must exist for the enterprise to exist
Complex - The resource requires development and management
Valuable - The resource must be protected, exploited, and/or leveraged by the enterprise.
Enduring - The resource exists beyond business cycles
Shareable - The resource is shared by different functions of the enterprise.
Structured - The resource can be described and organized
Centralized - The resource can be controlled and monitored centrally, even if distributed in creation or use.
Additional tests for resources are:
a.)The resource must be monitored and forecasted. By the time the resource is required, it is too late to be produced.
b.)The resource must be optimized. The resource is of such a cost that an unlimited supply is not possible.
c.)The resource must be controlled and allocated. The resource is desirable and necessary, and must be shared among functions of the enterprise.
d.)The resource must be tracked. Each stage of the resource is important to the enterprise, including its demise.
3.2Determine The Resource Life Cycles - The second step is to determine a life cycle for each resource. Each node in the life cycle represents a major state change in the resource. The state change is accomplished by business information systems and is reflected through the enterprise’s database objects (conformed into databases). The three figures below, developed in support of an enterprise database project for a state-wide court information system, shows the resource life cycles for Document, Case, and for Court’s Personnel.

4.)Allocate precedence vectors among RLC nodes - Tied together into a enablement network, the resulting resource life cycle network forms a framework of enterprise=s assets that represent an order and set of inter-resource relationships. The enterprise Alives@ through its resource life cycle network. A precedence between resources is created when a resource life cycle state, that is, a specific life cycle node, cannot be effective or correctly done unless the preceding resource life cycle state has been established or completed. A precedence arrow, renamed precedence vector, is drawn from the enabling resource life cycle state to the enabled resource life cycle state. The most difficult problem in establishing the precedence is the mind set of the analyst. The life cycle is not viewed in operational order, but in enablement order: that is, what resource life cycle state must exist before the next resource life cycle state is able to occur. This is a difficult mind set to acquire, as there is a natural tendency to view the life cycle in operational order. The test of precedence becomes: what enables what, and what is it enabled by what? For example, project establishment precedes the award of a contract. This does not seem natural, since a project would not operationally begin until after a contract is awarded. However, there must be an established infrastructure to create the project and to perform the work prior to the contract award. A workforce must be in place to perform work along with the ability to assign work to the employee on the contract, and the ability to bill the customer. Therefore, the project enables the contract. There are three possible meanings for enablement. That is, a resource life cycle state precedes another resource life cycle state because: 1. The accomplishment of the preceding resource life cycle state saves money. 2. The resource life cycle state leads to rapid development of another resource life cycle state 3. The resource life cycle state permits faster, more convenient accomplishment of another resource life cycle state.If one or more indicators exists, then a precedence vector should be created. Two alternatives exist relative to the existence of the enterprise: newly established or existing. Experience shows the preferred perspective is that of an already-existing enterprise. RLC states may or may not occur during a life cycle, or events may occur in parallel. For example, an employee may receive an award, but then again, may never receive an award. An employee may work before and after a security clearance is granted. The strategy to deal with parallel or optional RLC states is to create a single stream of RLC states in which none are parallel or optional by “pushing down” the parallel or optional RLC states to a lower level.
5.)Allocate existing information systems and databases to the RLC nodes - The resource life cycle network presents a Alattice-work@onto which the Aas is@ business information systems and databases can be Aattached.@ See for example, the meta model in Figure 2. The Ato-be@ databases and information systems are similarly attached. ADifference projects@ between the Aas-is@ and the Ato-be@ are then formulated. Achievement of all the difference projects is the achievement of the Information Systems Plan. Once the resource life cycle network has been created, it is stored into the metabase. Once there, its lattice can be employed to attach the databases and business information systems. Databases and their business information systems exist within a data architecture framework. The five distinct classes of databases are:a.)Original data capture (ODC) b.)Transaction data staging area (TDSA) c.)Subject area databases (SDB) d.)Data warehouses (wholesale and retail (a.k.a. data marts)) e.)Reference data
Most resource life cycle nodes contain at least one original data capture database application. The data from these ODC databases should be pushed to their respective TDSA databases. Once there, various subject area databases pull the data to build the longitudinal and broad subject area databases. It is likely that there is one subject area database for one or more resources. Data from the subject area databases, also called operational data stores by Bill Inmon, is again pulled to create one or more data warehouse databases. Most databases employ one or more reference data tables as standard semantics for selection, control-breaks and printing. Databases and business information systems exist in two forms: “as-is” and “to-be.” An “as-is” database or information system, as it’s characteristic implies, represents the existing state of the information technology assets. A “to-be” database or information system is a proposal for some technology improvement, functional enhancement, or an under-way project effort. 5.1 Allocate Existing (As-is) Databases or Files to Resource Life Cycle Nodes - Within the class of existing databases or files, there are three prototypical examples:a.)A file for every distinct process or purpose, b.)A single database for all reasons, c.)Multi-data architecture database classes.
Knowledge about these existing set of databases and files should already reside in the metabase. If their metadata is not in the metabase, these databases and files must be discovered. A good way is to research all the reports produced by the information systems department and allocate the file that was employed to produce the report to the RLC node that best fits the representation of the data. Once all the databases and files are allocated, reports can be produced by the metabase that show RLC nodes that have a “bountiful” quantity of databases and files (not a good sign). and those that have no allocated databases or files (also not a good sign). In the later case, there probably are databases and files but they are either “private” or undiscovered. Either case is “not a good sign.”sign.” In any case, allocating them to resource life cycle nodes is a matter of distilling the intended purpose of the database or file and then creating the relationship. It is likely that some files or databases will allocate to multiple nodes and even to different nodes of different life cycles. The quality of mapping relationships is inversely proportional to the encapsulation of the data to the resource life cycle node. For ODC databases or files, there should be few multi-node mappings. For data warehouse databases there will probably be many multi-node mappings.
6.)Allocate standard work break down structures (WBS) to each RLC node - Detailed planning of the Adifference projects@ entails allocating the appropriate canned work breakdown structures and metrics. Employing WBS and metrics from a comprehensive methodology supports project management standardization, repeatability, and self-learning.
7.)Load resources into each WBS node - Once the resources are determined, these are loaded into the project management meta entities of the meta data repository, that is, metrics, project, work plan and deliverables. The meta entities are those inferred by Figure 2.
8.)Schedule the RLC nodes through a project management package facilities. - The entire suite of projects is then scheduled on an enterprise-wide basis. The PERT chart used by project management is the APERT@ chart represented by the Resource Life Cycle enablement network.
9.)Produce and review of the ISP - The scheduled result is predicable: Too long, too costly, and too ambitious. At that point, the real work starts: paring down the suite of projects to a realistic set within time and budget. Because of the meta data environment (see Figure 1), the integrated project management meta data (see Figure 2), and because all projects are configured against fundamental business-rationale based designs, the results of the inevitable trade-offs can be set against business basics. Although the process is painful, the results can be justified and rationalized.
10.)Execute and adjust the ISP through time - As the ISP is set into execution, technology changes occur that affect resource loadings. In this case, only steps 6-9 need to be repeated. As work progresses, the underlying meta data built or used in steps 1-5 will also change. Because a quality ISP is Aautomated@ the recasting of the ISP should only take a week or less.
Collectively, the first nine steps take about 5000 staff hours, or about $500,000. Compared to an IS budget $15-35 million, that's only about 3.0% to 1.0%.
If the pundits are to be believed, that is, that the right information at the right time is the competitive edge, then paying for an information systems plan that is accurate, repeatable, and reliable is a small price indeed.

IT projects are accomplished within distinct development environments. The two most common are: discrete project and release. The discrete project environment is typified by completely encapsulated projects accomplished through a water-fall methodology.
In release environments, there are a number of different projects underway by different organizations and staff of varying skill levels. Once a large number of projects are underway, the ability of the enterprise to know about and manage all the different projects degrades rapidly. That is because the project management environment has been transformed from discrete encapsulated projects into a continuous flow process of product or functionality improvements that are released on a set time schedule. Figure 3 illustrates the continuous flow process environment that supports releases. The continuous flow process environment is characterized by:
Multiple, concurrent, but differently scheduled projects against the same enterprise resource
Single projects that affect multiple enterprise resources
Projects that develop completely new capabilities, or changes to existing capabilities within enterprise resources
It is precisely because enterprises have transformed themselves from a project to a release environment that information systems plans that can be created, evolved, and maintained on an enterprise-wide basis are essential.
There are four major sets of activities within the continuous flow process environment. The user/client is represented at the top in the small rectangular box. Each of the ellipses represents an activity targeted to a specific need. The four basic needs are: a.)Need Identification b.)Need Assessment c.)Design d.)Deployment
Specification and impact analysis is represented through the left two processes. Implementation design and accomplishment is represented by the right two processes. Two key characteristics should be immediately apparent. First, unlike the water-fall approach, the activities do not flow one to the other. They are disjoint. In fact, they may be done by different teams, on different time schedules, and involve different quantities of products under management. In short, these four activities are independent one from the other. Their only interdependence is through the meta data repository.
The second characteristic flows from the first. Because these four activities are independent one from the other, the enterprise evolves by means of releases rather than through whole systems. If it evolved through whole systems, then the four activities would be connected either in a waterfall or a spiral approach, and the enterprise would be evolving through major upgrades to encapsulated functionality within specific business resources. In contrast, the release approach causes coordinated sets of changes to multiple business resources to be placed into production. This causes simultaneous, enterprise-wide capability upgrades across multiple business resources.
Through this continuous-flow process, several unique features are present:
All four processes are concurrently executing.
Changes to enterprise resources occur in unison, periodically, and in a very controlled manner.
The meta data repository is always contains all the enterprise resource specifications: current or planned. Simply put, if an enterprise resource semantic is not within the meta data repository, it is not enterprise policy.
All changes are planned, scheduled, measured, and subject to auditing, accounting, and traceability.
All documentation of all types is generated from the meta data repository.
In summary, any technique employed to achieve an ISP must be accomplishable with less than 3% of the IT budget. Additionally, it must be timely, useable, maintainable, able to be iterated into a quality product, and reproducible. IT organizations, once they have completed their initial set of databases and business information systems will find themselves transformed from a project to a release environment.
The continuous flow environment then becomes the only viable alternative for moving the enterprise forward. It is precisely because of the release environment that enterprise-wide information systems plans that can be created, evolved, and maintained are essential.
Ref:http://www.tdan.com/view-articles/5262
ref:http://www.clarionmag.com/cmag/v3/informationsystemsplanning.pdf


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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: December 17, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:16 pm

The question was if I were invited by the university president to prepare an Information Systems plan for the university, discuss what the steps are in order to expedite the implementation of the Information Systems Plan. So in order for me to be able to come up with the IS plan I need some resources for it. Especially, the focus of creating the Information Systems plan is to expedite it. So to start, let me give you some definitions and overview of what is an Information Systems Plan.

Just to review I will just state some of the content of the Information Systems Plan of the university which was create in the year 2007. The university planned a 15-year Strategic Plan for the betterment of the said organization. The 15-year Strategic Plan of the University of Southeastern Philippines specifically aims to provide the University with a roadmap to reposition itself toward becoming more competitive and responsive to the needs of its stakeholders. Essentially, this would mean USEP achieving academic excellence in the future and the leader in research, development and extension in Southern Philippines and the rest of the country. The Strategic Plan covers the period 2007 to 2021. It consists of five parts containing the long-term directions and medium-term strategies for the University. The long-term directions which are found in Part I, include the vision, mission and goals of the University. This was formulated through a consultation conducted with the faculty, non-teaching personnel and students and take into consideration the existing challenges and potentials of the University. The medium-term strategies which are found in Part II of the plan, take into account the major final outputs of the university on instruction, extension, research and development, and production and how the same may be strategically improved to respond to the growing demands of the University and its stakeholders. The strategies to build up instruction, extension, and research and development give enough consideration to the desire of the university for program accreditation. The plan, as discussed in Part III, likewise, outlines university-wide strategies and defines specific strategies for each campus. Strategies for each campus of the University allow for the distinctive demands of the localities where it is located to be factored in. This is without disregard to the overall direction of the University in the medium-term. The plan implementation and communication are discussed in Part IV. It specifically contains the procedure for the implementation of the plan as well as the manner of communicating the plan to the university constituency and external stakeholders. The Institutional mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation of plan implementation are discussed in Part V. It contains the following elements: scope and focus; monitoring and evaluation process; accountabilities and responsibilities, deliverables and costs and timing. So basically, this was the Information Systems Plan of the university in order to expedite the implementation of the Information Systems Plan. It has five parts which is composed of the first one is Development Direction, the second part which is the Competitive Benchmark Analysis, the third part is the Strategic Actions, the fourth is the Plan Implementation and Communication, and lastly is the Monitoring and Evaluation.

The first part is composed of the ff:

• Introduction
• Vision
• Mission
• Goals

The second part is composed of the ff:

• Competitive Advantage of the University
• Current development Trends
• Challenges and Priorities

The third part is composed of the ff:

• Academic Programs, Curriculum and Instruction
• Research, Development, and Extension
• Administration and Institution
• Physical Plant and Facilities
• Human Resource Development
• Financial Resources
• Student Services
• Library Services

The fourth part is composed of the ff:

• Implementing Mechanisms
• Communicating Mechanisms

The fifth part is composed of the ff:

• Scope and Focus
• Strategies
• M & E Deliverables

So basically, this is all what’s inside the Information Systems Plan of the university. So enough of that I will now proceed to my own Information Systems Plan for the university in order for it to expedite the implementation of the Information Systems Plan. So first is I will discuss the steps in creating my Information Systems Plan. These are the following steps in creating my Information Systems Plan.

1. Gather Base Information
2. Create the mission model
3. Develop a high-level data model
4. Create the resource life cycles (RLC) and their nodes
5. Allocate precedence vectors among RLC nodes
6. Allocate existing information systems and databases to the RLC nodes
7. Allocate standard work break down structures (WBS) to each RLC node
8. Load resources into each WBS node
9. Schedule the RLC nodes through a project management package.
10. Produce and review of the ISP
11. Execute and adjust the ISP through time

Step 1: Gather Base Information

Interviewing the Client
Why interview the client? Good question. Well, who's the person that's going to build the database, and knows exactly what information is needed in order for you to gather all the necessary data?
You of course!
Sure, in the big, wide (and well-paid) corporate world, there mightn't be much chance of you, the fabled geek in the cupboard, actually meeting the client. But not everyone's in the corporate world are they? So perhaps your chances of interviewing the client will be higher. Make sure you're prepared for the meeting -- and by that, I mean prepared for the fact that the client won't understand much of what you do. Unfortunately for us, the majority of clients have a tendency of thinking visually: forms, Web pages and other user interfaces. As a general rule, the client won't really care how the data is structured or how it interacts with their system. Because changing visuals can usually be done easily and quickly, the client may often think this ease applies to every kind of change. So be ready to explain to them the importance of the schema in the overall development process, and the difficulty they'll experience in making changes down the track. Now, how do I get the right information out of a client? Well, I generally approach interviews with the following points in mind:

Interview Rule Number 1: Be nice to the client and don't make it seem like you're smarter than they are. The word is "interview", not "interrogate". The client doesn't have your technical expertise, but they have the information you need. It's your job to get to the data. So the best way to approach the interview is tactfully, and to avoid frustrating your client, overwhelming them, or making them feel like an idiot.

Interview Rule Number 2: Enter with an agenda and ask the right questions. Enter the interview with an agenda, making sure that you're going to cover the important areas, but always retain an open mind. The best opening question might be "What do you want from this project?" Asking this question first will give the client/interviewee the chance to tell you what they want from the project in a way that makes them feel comfortable. It also shows that you're attentive to their needs. Try to find out their initial ideas about the job, and how they'd like to achieve their goals. This should hopefully give you a clear idea of what they want. Be prepared to listen, and take notes -- lots of them.

Interview Rule Number 3: Talk to everyone who's involved with the project. Have you ever been in a situation where you're going to the movies with a group of friends, and one person decides what you're going to see? It's annoying, right? Well, this can also happen in the data collection process. If you only use the ideas voiced by the first (or loudest, or boldest) person you talk to, then you may not get the information you need to build a suitable database.

Interview Rule Number 4: Make sure you understand what the client wants. Making sure you know exactly what the client wants is important. If you don't, you may leave the interview with completely the wrong idea of their expectations. Make sure you thoroughly understand what they tell you. If in doubt, ask for clarification. And reiterate the important points with the client in your own words, to make sure you've grasped what they're talking about.

Interview Rule Number 5: Record what the client is looking for and any important data they provide. If understanding what the client wants is critical, recording this information is a necessity. Write down all the important points covered by the client. You might even go so far as to record or even video the interview, for a complete and more in-depth set of notes.

Interview Questions

As I mentioned above, it's imperative that you ask the right questions of your client. To me, identifying the right questions was one of the hardest things to do. So here are the questions I always ask -- make sure the client answers these fully, and be sure to include relevant questions tailored to your specific project as well:

Who will generally use the data?
In answering this question, the client might inform you of other people that you may need to discuss the project with. It will also tell you whether the database is to be used in-house or publicly.

How will the data be used?
Is your data simply to be used on the company intranet? Or will the same data need to be available in a different format on the public Website as well? Obviously the options will depend on the job -- make sure you ask!

Where is your data now?
Never in my work experience has a client handed me one database or one source that contained all the data. As you seek out data from the client, it will be handed to you in all kinds or formats! Spreadsheets, mainframe data, desktop databases, paper brochures and filling cabinets are just a few.

How much is the data worth?
It's important that the client knows the value of their data. Just because it's available doesn't automatically mean that it should be used. The client should always be informed of the value estimate for all the data available. This means that the client is able to make decisions that may save funds, and make your life easier!

What rules do you want to apply to the data?
Rules can be important for maintaining data integrity. Your client may want contact information in the database to include an email address, a valid street address or the contact's name, so that the information can be split into separate categories. This is something you must find out in advance, so that you can build the system to your client's requirements.

Rules

Like just about everything else, most businesses use rules to govern their data. Ever filled in a form that said it needed your email address? Or wanted your phone number broken into three? These are data rules, and they govern how the data should be formatted, what type of data it should be, etc. If the client says they want a first name, middle name and a last name for their contact database, then we consider this a rule. Rules are designed to maintain data integrity, and trust me, if you make them up instead of developing them in lone with the client's needs, you're asking for trouble!

Getting Rules
Ask your client what rules they have for their data and they generally look at you with a confused expression. It's never that easy! You're going to have to search for the rules yourself. Here are a couple of places I'd look:

1. Request for Quote or Request for Proposal
These two documents can be a goldmine for data -- they're generally used as a basis for determining the price of the project in, so they're usually packed with data
2. Old Systems
Having access to an older database system can be both a blessing and a curse. The information you gather from the old database can give you a good idea about what kind of data you can expect to find. However, unless the job simply involves tweaking this old system, then only use it as a reference point. It's often easy to think that simply editing the existing database and accommodating new code will finish the job. In a very small number of cases, this may be true, but usually it isn't.
3. Reports, Spreadsheets, Forms and Filing Cabinets
Just about every company can lay claim to asking customers to fill in forms, having tons of data in spreadsheets, and stacks of information in filing cabinets. It's guaranteed that the data will be scattered all over the place - but if it's needed to meet the project's objectives, then you must find it.

Finishing Up
Collecting data so you can develop an accurate schema and, eventually, a successful database that achieves your client's goals and meets their needs is no mean feat. It's an intense and often difficult task. But now you know how to interview the client and look for data rules -- often the toughest steps in the process. Good luck, and could the schema be with you!

Step 2: Create the mission model

Missions and mission descriptions are represented through hierarchically composed text. They are natural and are devoid of the effects from organizational structure stylistic effects. Missions from enterprises from the same “line of business” are very similar. In contrast, their function models may be quite different because of effects imposed by management styles and organizational structures. Simply stated, mission descriptions are goal and objective oriented and are best seen as characterizations of the idealized end-results, without any regard for “who and how.” It is important to distinguish between missions and functions. At first, missions and functions look very much alike. However they are not. The following table illustrates their key differences.

Missions are descriptions of the characteristics of the end result. Missions are noun-based sentences.
Functions are descriptions of how to accomplish an end result. Functions are verb-based sentences.

Missions are a-political. They are devoid of “who and how.” There should only be ONE mission description for a mission.
Function hierarchies are commonly tainted by organizations and styles. There can be any number of equivalent versions of a given function.

Databases and Business Information Systems are based on missions.
“Human” activities and organizations are based on business functions.
When you “Business Process Re-engineering (BPR)” functions you still have the same business.
When you “BPR” mission you have a different business.

Mission descriptions are strategic and long range.
Functions are tactical to operational, and medium to short range, and are organizationally sensitive
Building an information systems plan on the basis of functions is a 100% guarantee of failure.

Step 3: Build the High Level Data Model

The high level data model is created in two steps: building database domains, and creating database objects. It is critical to state that the objective of this step is the high-level data model. The goal is
NOT to create a low level or fully attributed data model. The reasons that only a high-level data model is needed are straight forward:

• No database projects are being accomplished; hence no detailed data modeling is required!
• The goal of the ISP is to identify and resource allocate projects including database projects and for that goal, entity identification, naming and brief definitions is all that is required for estimating.

The message is simple: any money or resources expended in developing a detailed data model is wasted.

Step 3.1 Create Database Domains

Database domains are created from the “bottom” leaves of the mission description texts. There are two cases to consider. First, if the mission description’s bottom leaves are very detailed, they can be considered as having being transformed into database domains. That is they will consist of lists of nouns within simple sentences. The other case is that the mission descriptions have been defined to only a few levels, and the lists of nouns that would result from the development of database domains have yet to be uncovered. The example on the next page presents the database domain for accounts payable.
Whenever a database domain describes complex sets of data, multiple levels of the database domain description may be required. These sub domains are expressed as additional paragraphs. A review of these paragraphs clearly shows that the text is “noun-intensive.” The “who and how” is clearly missing. That is the way it should be. If the “who and how” were contained in the database domains then they would not be independent of either process or organization. A series of diagramming techniques created especially for data and the relationships among data is called entity-relationship (ER) diagramming. Within one style of this technique, the entities are drawn as rectangles and the relationships are drawn as diamonds. The name of the relationship is inside the diamond. Another style of ER modeling is to just have named lines between the entities. In this methodology, since the domain of the diagram is data, it is called the database domain diagram.

Step 3.2 Define Database Objects

In today's parlance, a lucid policy-procedure pair is called a business object. When the policy- procedure pair are completely defined within the language constructs of ANSI/SQL and is stored, retrieved, and maintained in an ANSI/SQL database through a sequence of well-defined states, the business object is a database object. The goal of database object analysis is to enable the definition of both the data structure and the data structure transformations that:

Installs a new database object in the database
Transforms a database object from one coherent state to another
Removes a database object from the database
Database objects are found by researching business policies and procedures. Database objects are however much more than just collections of policy-homogeneous entities. In fact database objects consist of four main parts:

Data Structure: the set of data structures that map onto the different value sets for real world database objects such as an auto accident, vehicle and emergency medicine incident.

Process: the set of database object processes that enforce the integrity of data structure fields, references between database objects and actions among contained data structure segments, the proper computer-based rules governing data structure segment insertion, modification, and deletion. An example is the proper and complete storage of an auto accident.

Information System: the set of specifications that control, sequence, and iterate the execution of various database object processes that cause changes in database object states to achieve specific value-based states in conformance to the requirements of business policies. An example is the reception and database posting of data from business information system activities (screens, data edits, storage, interim reports, etc.) that accomplish entry of the auto accident information.

State: The value states of a database object that represent the after-state of the successful accomplishment of one or more recognizable business events. Examples of business events are auto accident initiation, involved vehicle entry, involved person entry, and auto accident DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs) involvement. Database object state changes are initiated through named business events that are contained in business functions. The business function, auto accident investigation includes the business event, auto-accident- incident initiation, which in turn causes the incident initiation database object information system to execute, which in turn causes several database object processes to cause the auto accident incident to be materialized in the database.
A database object is specified to the SQL DBMS through the SQL definition language (DDL).
All four components of a database object operate within the “firewall” of the DBMS. This ensures that database objects are protected from improper access or manipulation by 3GLs, or 4GLs. A DBMS that only defines, instantiates, and manipulates two dimensional data structures. The database objects are mapped in a many-to-many fashion within the metabase to missions. This provides the ability to know which databases support which missions and vice versa.

Step 4: Create Resources and the Resource Life Cycles (RLC)

As a short review, missions are the idealized characterizations of end results of the visionary state of the operating enterprise. Database objects, founded squarely on missions are the high- level declarations of the data required to reflect the achievement of the mission’s vision.
Resources and their life cycles are the names, descriptions, and life cycles of the critical assets of the enterprise, which when exercised achieve one or more aspects of the missions. Each life cycle is composed of RLC nodes. A mission might be human resource management, where in, the best and most cost effective staff is determined, acquired and managed. A database object squarely based on human resources would be employee. Within the database object, employee, are all the data structures,

Step 4.1
Determine the Resources
The enterprise’s product and/or service resources are defined; they may be either concrete or
Abstract. Ron Ross provides two guidelines to assist in resource identification:

• Define the product or service that constitutes the enterprise’s resources from the customer perspective.
• Define the resource as it is managed between the enterprise and its customers.
• The resource must be monitored and forecasted. By the time the resource is required, it is too late to be produced.
• The resource must be optimized. The resource is of such a cost that an unlimited supply is not possible.
• The resource must be controlled and allocated. The resource is desirable and necessary, and must be shared among functions of the enterprise.
• The resource must be tracked. Each stage of the resource is important to the enterprise, including its demise.

Step 4.2 Determine the Resource Life Cycles
The second step is to determine a life cycle for each resource. Each node in the life cycle represents a major state change in the resource. The state change is accomplished by business information systems and is reflected through the enterprise’s database objects (conformed into databases). The three figures below, developed in support of an enterprise database project for a state-wide court information system, shows the resource life cycles for Document, Case, and for Court’s Personnel.

Step 5: Allocate Precedence Vectors among RLC Nodes

After the resources and life cycles are complete, precedence vectors are established. There are actually two types of presidencies: Within the value chain and between resources. Presidencies within the value chain are established during the life cycle analysis. These are the lines that connect one node to the next. Precedence between resources is created when a resource life cycle state, that is, a specific life cycle node, cannot be effective or correctly done unless the preceding resource life cycle state has been established or completed. A precedence arrow, renamed precedence vector, is drawn from the enabling resource life cycle state to the enabled resource life cycle state. The most difficult problem in establishing the precedence is the mind set of the analyst. The life cycle is not viewed in operational order, but in enablement order: that is, what resource life cycle state must exist before the next resource life cycle state is able to occur. This is a difficult mind set to acquire, as there is a natural tendency to view the life cycle in operational order. The test of precedence becomes: what enables what and what is it enabled by what? For example, project establishment precedes the award of a contract. This does not seem natural, since a project would not operationally begin until after a contract is awarded. However, there must be an established infrastructure to create the project and to perform the work prior to the contract award. A workforce must be in place to perform work along with the ability to assign work to the employee on the contract, and the ability to bill the customer. Therefore, the project enables the contract.

Step 6: Allocate Business Information Systems and Databases to the RLC Nodes

Once the resource life cycle network has been created, it is stored into the metabase. Once there, its lattice can be employed to attach the databases and business information systems. Databases and their business information systems exist within a data architecture framework. The five distinct classes of databases are:

• Original data capture (ODC)
• Transaction data staging area (TDSA)
• Subject area databases (SDB)
• Data warehouses (wholesale and retail (a.k.a. data marts))
• Reference data

Step 6.1 Allocate Existing (As-is) Databases or Files to Resource Life Cycle Nodes

Within the class of existing databases or files, there are three prototypical examples:

• A file for every distinct process or purpose
• A single database for all reasons
• Multi-data architecture database classes

Step 6.2 Allocate Existing (As-Is) Business Information System to Resource Life Cycle Node

Within the class of existing business information systems, there are three prototypical examples:

• Monolithic mainframe with manual subsystems for workflow
• LAN-based, workflow and client/server systems architecture
• Commercial Off-the-shelf software (COTS)

Step 6.3 Allocate Future (To-Be) Databases to Resource Life Cycle Node

Within the class of existing databases or files, there are three prototypical examples:

• A file for every distinct process or purpose transformed to a single database for all reasons
• A single database for all reasons transformed to multiple databases fitting within the five database architecture classes
• A file for every distinct process or purpose transformed to multiple databases fitting within the five database architecture classes

Step 6.4 Allocate Future (To-Be) Business Information System to Resource Life Cycle Node

Any of these alternatives could be enhanced by either Internet or Intranet access. This type of access, if the proper software development environment is employed, is a paradigm shift only if the system is batch. If the system is intended to be on-line through terminals, PCs, or is client/server, the Internet or Intranet should only be a presentation layer shift. In any case, the high level metadata for the three components that comprise the future business information system must be collected and stored in the metabase. The first set of metadata should already be in the metabase as a consequence of Step 5.2. In addition, all future business information systems should be cast in terms of future databases.

Step 6.5 Configure ISP Projects

Configuring ISP projects consists of determining the full set of requirements and then selecting the first cut preferred alternative for carrying out the transformation from the “as-is” environment to the “to-be” environment. The considerations that must be reviewed and addressed are distinct for databases and for business information systems. The figures on the next two pages provide the three prototypical alternatives for each and then the assessment areas that must be addressed.
The final outcome is a full understanding of the proposed future project. This full understanding is then employed in the next step, Allocating Standard Work Breakdown Structures to Each Database and Business Information System Project. Thereafter, each proposed project is input to a project management system and scheduled.

Step 7: Allocate Standard Work Break down Structures (WBS) to Each Business Information Systems and Database Project

The key reason for having a well engineered check list for identifying the types of work involved in either a database or business information system project is the ability to then used canned work breakdown structures (WBS). When these WBSs are coupled with experience-honed metrics that are embedded in a project management system that “self-learns” from on-going projects, accurate, reliable and repeatable project plans result. The figure below presents a very high level view of how project management and the projects associated with RLC nodes are interrelated. There are five distinct classes of projects are:

• Administration and management
• Specification
• Implementation
• Operation and maintenance
• Multiple category

Step 8: Load Resources into Each Project

Once the WBS is selected, the WBS list and associated deliverables and metrics are automatically brought into the project. When the quantities for each deliverable type are computed, then the overall gross hours estimate for the project is created. The gross hours estimate is then finalized (either upwards or downwards) by the selection of work environment factors (e.g., nobody even knows who the users are (that’s a bad work environment factor)), and also by the specific persons assigned who have varying levels of capabilities in certain experience levels (e.g., someone is assigned to create the data model who doesn’t yet even know the meaning of the term, “ER diagram”). That’s a bad staffing factor.
The value in having highly engineered work environment and staffing experience factors that adjust the gross hours is that project managers can then relay back to management the exact reasons why a project will cost more or less than another project of even the same construct and size.

Step 9: Schedule through a Project Management Package

Project management systems like Microsoft Project, Welcom’s Open Plan Professional, or
Primavera’s P3e all require PERT (activity network charts) to effectively schedule an entire RLC network of RLC node assigned projects. When WBSs are brought into a project management system, they are treated as self- contained subprojects within the overall set of RLC node network of projects. The figure below shows a RLC network. The resource life cycles are depicted from their first to last node in a top- down fashion. The precedence vectors are shows from one node of a RLC to another node of a different RLC. Multiple precedence vectors do not exist between resource life cycles. When this
RLC network is turned on its side, as shown on the next page, it resembles a PERT chart. The chart naturally contains parallel sets of nodes that intersect. From this diagram it is easy to see that the network of RLC nodes can be traditionally scheduled.

Step 10: Produce and Review the ISP

When the resource loaded network of projects is scheduled through a project management system, normal results are produced. That is, the enterprise is faced with the requirement for:


• Infinite resources
• Infinite time
• Infinite computer capacity and speed, and
• Zero time allocated by “management” to accomplish all the work

Step 11: Execute and Adjust the ISP through Time

Enterprises, once they evolve beyond their first round of information systems, find themselves transformed from a project and package mentality to a release mentality. The diagram on the next page illustrates this new continuous flow environment. It is characterized by:

• Multiple, concurrent, but differently scheduled projects against the same subject area database or warehouse database
• Single-database projects that affect multiple subject area and data warehouse databases
• Projects that develop completely new capabilities, that can assess required changes to existing capabilities, and that can accommodate a variety of systems generation alternatives (COTS, package, and custom programming)

The continuous flow environment contains four major sets of activities. The user/client is represented at the top in the small rectangular box. Each of the ellipses represents an activity list to accomplish a specific need. The four basic needs are essentially:

• Need Identification
• Need Assessment
• Design
• Deployment

So basically, these are the steps that I would suggest to the university president in order for the implementation of IS plan in the university will expedite. The important thing is gather data, analyze the data, and solve the problem with all the data gathered.

References:
Google.com
http://articles.sitepoint.com/article/gathering-data-made/2

visit my blog @ franzcie.blogspot.com afro
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vanessa may caneda



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PostSubject: IS Plan..   Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:21 am

Technology has the power to transform the society. The society where people around make use of the evolving technology and thus, powerful tool for meeting environmental activities and promoting sustainable development. If we talk about technology, information systems popped up in our minds. Well large companies nowadays are dealing with such systems to lessen the burden of working manually and eventually help them be more competitive in adapting the changing environment. There involves some strategies in order for them to achieve the certain goals they are aiming for. Information has emerged as an agent of integration and the enabler of new competitiveness for today’s enterprise in the global marketplace. There is a growing realization that the application of information technology (IT) to a firm’s strategic activities has been one of the most common and effective ways to improve business performance. How can these organizations adapt the changing environment wherein by and by the technology updates or turn out to have a more flexible one? Well I guess good strategic planning plays the important role.

As what I’ve read, planning for information systems begins with the identification of needs. In order to be effective, development of any type of computer-based system should be a response to need--whether at the transaction processing level or at the more complex information and support systems levels. Such planning for information systems is much like strategic planning in management. Objectives, priorities, and authorization for information systems projects need to be formalized. The systems development plan should identify specific projects slated for the future, priorities for each project and for resources, general procedures, and constraints for each application area. The plan must be specific enough to enable understanding of each application and to know where it stands in the order of development. Also the plan should be flexible so that priorities can be adjusted if necessary. A strategic information system planning is a major change for organizations, from planning for information systems based on users’ demands to those based on business strategy. Although strategic information systems planning are a major concern, most organizations find it difficult to undertake it. It is possible that the advances in Information Technology and their applicability in organizations have outpaced all formal methodologies evolved in past years.

Moreover, Information-based enterprises must be planned in an integrated way whereby all stages of the life cycle are engaged to bring about agility, quality, and productivity. This integration is similar in nature to the integration of product life cycle for an enterprise. The existing methodologies, however, tend to support information planning as an island separated from the wealth of the enterprise’s information resources. A needed new approach would tap into these resources, which capture and characterize the enterprise to allow for integration of the planning stage with information systems development stages and support a shortened and adaptive
cycle.


If given a chance to prepare an Information System plan for the university, there are some characteristics of ISP to be considered. These characteristics are all helpful when implementation part is mainly the concern.

The Information System Plan is Timely:

An ISP that is created long after it is needed is useless. In almost all cases, it makes no sense to take longer to plan work than to perform the work planned. Since its timely, well I would be more critical in dealing the plan because it is for the good of the university the time the plans are put into action.

The Information System Plan is Useable:

The ISP is useable in a way that when the implementation part is in action, the system that is planned can be used as a means to achieve the concerns of the university.

The Information System Plan is Maintainable:

The ISP must support quick changes to the estimate technologies employed, and possibly even to the fundamental project sequences. Well this point takes place on the latter part when the plan system runs eventually.

The Information System Plan is a Good Quality:

The ISP must be a quality product since no ISP ever perfect on the first try. As the ISP is executed in the university, the metrics employed to derive the individual project estimates become refined as a consequence of new technologies, techniques, or faster working staff. As these changes occur, their effects should be installable into the data that supports the system implemented. In short, the ISP is a living document. It should be updated with every technology event, and certainly no less often than quarterly.

The Information System Plan is Reproducible:

The ISP must be reproducible. That is, when its development activities are performed by any other staff, the ISP produced should essentially be the same and can merely adapt to changes.

If we are talking about the how to expedite the plan to the university, there is also some steps to be considered. Some of them are the following.

Project Management

The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goalsand objectives while honoring the preconceived project constraints. In this step, the project must be well planned in order to have a harmonious flow when implementation takes place. It is likewise important to plan so that we can prepare and to make it much easier for us to handle the foreseeable and unexpected issues that would come up during the process.

Data Conversion

What data, if any, will need to be transferred to the new system? This is intended for organizations who have their previous system and want to replace it with a new one. All the data from the past system must be properly transferred to the new one. This requires skilled personnels that knows the previous system and persons that are also trained for the new system.

Training of Personnel

People is the basic equipment of an IS Plan since they're the one's using the systems or they're the one involve in the plan. They must be well trained so that they have the knowledge on how the system works and how to deal with the changes might occur.

Refences:

http://viu.eng.rpi.edu/publications/strpaper.pdf
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fatima paclibar



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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: December 17, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:35 pm

Subject: Assignment 4 (Due: December 17, 2009, before 01:00pm

You were invited by the university president to prepare an IS plan for the university, discuss what are the steps in order to expedite the implementation of the IS Plan. (at least 5000 words)

It’s an honor to be invited by the university of our beloved university which is the University of Southeastern Philippines to prepare an Information System Plan or the IS Plan. (I was in the middle of discussing the and identification of what is the most appropriate Strategic Information System Plan Methodology I suddenly stop and realized am doing what is ask in this assignment , now I am confused. Am I to propose an IS plan or there is an existing IS plan and I will just enumerate the steps on how to speed up the implementation of Information System Plan? Hmm… I will discuss both.)

The subject of our plan is our University’s Information System. We all know the importance of IS to attain our goal which is to be a premier university of Southeast Asia. In this fast changing world a good strategic information plan is a need to be more competitive and to have an edge over competitors. This plan must be flexible and have addresses all the need of the organization. Information System Plan is the process of assessing, developing, creating and implementing an Information System within a particular organization.

Planning an Information System specially our university there are numerous or constraint to be consider that may encumber or cause a delay to the success of the plan or worst failure. This is a high risk and costly plan. Before doing the plan make sure that you got the support of the entire organization and the project will be funded accordingly. Assuming that there is no problem with that, the project will be funded, be given enough time to conduct the feasibility study, assessment and entire duration of the plan, ensure cooperation of every member of the organization in the planning and all the resources is available.

Planning an Information System generally starts with identifying the organization needs or what we called system requirements. A good and effective In order to be effective, development of any type of computer-based system should be a response to need--whether at the transaction processing level or at the more complex information and support systems levels. Such planning for information systems is much like strategic planning in management.

Objectives, priorities, and authorization for information systems projects need to be formalized. The systems development plan should identify specific projects slated for the future, priorities for each project and for resources, general procedures, and constraints for each application area.

The plan must be specific enough to enable understanding of each application and to know where it stands in the order of development. Also the plan should be flexible so that priorities can be adjusted if necessary. Strategic capability architecture - a flexible and continuously improving infrastructure of organizational capabilities – is the primary basis for a company's sustainable competitive advantage. He has emphasized the need for continuously updating and improving the strategic capabilities architecture.

Steps to Develop Strategic Plan
1. Write Your Mission Statement
In the section labeled "Mission Statement" in the Framework for a Basic Strategic Plan Document, write a concise description of the purpose of your organization. Answer the question: "Why does our organization exist?" When answering this question, include the nature of your products and the groups of customer who buy your products. The mission statement should provide continued direction and focus to your plans and operation in your organization.
As stated above, the organizations have to identify the reason of their existence. A mission statement can resemble a vision statement in a few companies, but that can be a grave mistake. It can confuse people. The mission statement can galvanize the people to achieve defined objectives, even if they are stretch objectives, provided it can be elucidated in SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) terms. A mission statement provides a path to realize the vision in line with its values. These statements have a direct bearing on the bottom line and success of the organization.

Which comes first the mission statement or the vision statement? That depends. If you have a new start up business, new program or plan to re engineer your current services, then the vision will guide the mission statement and the rest of the strategic plan. If you have an established business where the mission is established, then many times, the mission guides the vision statement and the rest of the strategic plan. Either way, you need to know your fundamental purpose - the mission, your current situation in terms of internal resources and capabilities (strengths and/or weaknesses) and external conditions (opportunities and/or threats), and where you want to go - the vision for the future. It's important that you keep the end or desired result in sight from the start.
2. Write Your Vision Statement
A Vision statement outlines what the organization wants to be, or how it wants the world in which it operates to be. It concentrates on the future. It is a source of inspiration. It provides clear decision-making criteria. A Vision statement defines the purpose or broader goal for being in existence or in the business and can remain the same for decades if crafted well. Vision should describe what will be achieved in the wider sphere if the organization and others are successful in achieving their individual missions.
3. Write Your Values Statement
The values statement depicts the priorities in how the organization carries out activities with stakeholders. These are beliefs that are shared among the stakeholders of an organization. Values drive an organization's culture and priorities.
4. Conduct an External Analysis
In this part you write down your thoughts from an external analysis. An external analysis looks at societal, technological, political, and economic trends effecting the organization, e.g., trends in the economy, recent or pending legislation, demographic trends, rate of access to trained labor, and competition. In your external analysis, don't forget to look at stakeholders’ impressions of the organization, including bankers', customers’, community leaders’, etc. Some consider this as an environmental scan where you will study the outside environment that may effect the organization someday. It is important that an organization is a keen observer of his external environment specifically its demography to make sure if the company is located in a very suitable place where there is a good opportunity to gain more profit, economy for it dictates the value of the current market and if your company’s product is in demand or not and of course your competitors for they maybe more profitable than your organization, and by doing so you are conducting analysis of your outside environment that may give you some ideas on how to improve your organization for improvement and continue what are the good products/services you offers. Thus this helps you to be more competitive and gain an edge over other.
5. Conduct an Internal Analysis (SWOT)
In this part you write down your thoughts from your internal analysis. Write down the major strengths and weaknesses of your organization. Write down the major threats and opportunities regarding your organization. Consider trends effecting the organization, e.g., strength of sales, reputation of the organization, expertise of employees, facilities, strength of finances, strength of administrative offices and operations, etc.
Making a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) is use to assess the organization. Identifying the strength of the company will inspire the organization to continue it. Many organizations tend to hide their weakness which is a bad practice. Concealing if would not do any good to the organization; it will only worsen the organization situation. Identifying it would make a room for improvement and make some progress in terms of business processes. Opportunities are the good chances for the organization. It is said that every opportunities are also can e consider as threats, these are coercion to the company.
6. Identify Strategic Issues
Listing the major immediate and near-term issues of an organization must be address. New organizations, in particular, are often better off to first look at the major obstacles or issues that if faces, and next for example, current issues might be that sales are dropping, there is no research and development to generate new products, employee turnover rate is too high, etc. Developmental goals for a new organization might be, for example, build a board, do a strategic plan, do a market analysis to build a new product, hire employees, etc.
To identify the key issues identified from your strategic analyses, consider the following guidelines:

a) From considering the effects of weaknesses and threats that you identified, what are the major issues that you see? List as many as you can. Consider issues over the term of your strategic plan, but look very closely at the next year especially. Many organizations have stumbled badly because they ended up "falling over their feet" while being focused much too far down the road.

b) Consider each of issues. Ask whether it’s “important” or “urgent.” Often, issues seem very important when they're only urgent, for example, changing a flat tire is an urgent issue -- but you'd never put "changing a tire" in your strategic plan. Attend only to the important issues and not the urgent issues.

c) Deal with issues that you can do something about. Issues that are too narrow do not warrant planning and issues that are too broad will bog you down.
d) Issues should be clearly articulated so that someone from outside of the organization can read the description and understand the nature of the issue.
7. Establish Strategic Goals
The strategic goals use to address the above-identified issues and the more forward-looking, developmental goals. Consider goals over the term of your strategic plan, but look very closely at the next year especially. Design and word your goals to be "SMARTER", that is, specific, measurable, acceptable to the people working to achieve the goals, realistic, timely, extending the capabilities of those working to achieve the goals and rewarding to them. Don't worry so much about having to specify goals to be exactly "correct". Carefully consider whether the goals and strategies are closely aligned with your mission, vision and values.
As noted above, if you are developing a new organization, then you'll probably have goals to build a board, do a strategic plan, do a market analysis to build a product, hire employees, etc. You'll probably have organization-wide goals (for example, goals in regard to building and running your organization, for example, board development, staffing, getting a new building, etc) and product-specific goals (goals that are directly in regard to providing products or services to your customers.
It is recommended to have short-term goals, medium-term goals and long-term goals. Short term goal is easier to achieve, medium-term is a notch higher than the latter while long-term goal is difficult to attain or to extent of impossibility. These goals are use also as stepping stone and then advance to the higher level goal, in here the sequencing of goals takes place. A person or group starts by attaining the easy short-term goals, then steps up to the medium-term, then to the long-term goals. Goal sequencing can create a "goal stairway". In an organizational setting, the organization may co-ordinate goals so that they do not conflict with each other. The goals of one part of the organization should mesh compatibly with those of other parts of the organization.
8. Establish Strategies to Reach Goals
Write down the general approaches needed to reach the goals -- over the next year especially. Consider strategies over the term of the strategic plan, but especially over the next year. Carefully consider whether the goals and strategies are closely aligned with your mission, vision and values. Note that these strategies may become overall action plans for developing programs.
9. Develop Staffing Plan
Write a rough draft of a staffing plan. To do this, reference each of the strategies to reach the goals and consider what kind of capabilities are needed to implement the strategies. This might seem like a lot of guesswork, particularly if you don't have experience in supervision. However, don't worry so much about being exactly correct -- you will likely refine your staffing plan later on as you design and plan your products. If you are developing a new organization, you might think about including the following typical roles in your initial staffing plan (but again, consider these roles in terms of implementing the strategies in your plan): chief executive, administrative assistant and product managers for each of your major product goals.
With regards to Information System staffing is a very critical, choosing the right staff to the right position or team. Developing an Information System consists of different team there is planning team, development team, documentation team, implementation team as well as the maintenance team. Careful assignment of specific task to the every member of the team must be address to make sure that everyone will function properly and effectively. Staffing should be formalized to avoid conflict and communication between every member would not be a problem.
Hiring a system specialist and developers is very expensive. IS managers should expand the technical, business and managerial skills of their staff. Over time they become familiar with the organization's users and their applications. They would be expensive to replace. Those who develop a system are often also held responsible for its maintenance. It is economically wasteful for new analysts and programmers to expend time and energy learning the details of a system when its original developer s are available and have the necessary expertise. The paradox is that although development offers greater challenge and responsibility and analysts and programmers prefer development to maintenance, they are nevertheless burdened with maintenance responsibilities.

Furthermore, the storage of trained staff exacerbates the problem. To reduce the effects of staff shortages particularly during peak periods, many interviewees reported hiring contract programmers. Although interviewees would have preferred to assign contract programmers to maintenance tasks so that in-house staff could have the growth potential or systems development, contract programmers did not have the necessary background with existing applications to handle the maintenance tasks. Gaining this background requires time and is therefore costly. Hence managers often assign contract programmers to new development .The Incentives While the guideline suggests training analysts and programmers for greater responsibility, it is often less costly, at least in the short-run, to keeping-house IS staff assigned to maintenance . Thus the growth of the ISD staff is curtailed.
10. Conduct Action Planning (objectives, responsibilities and timelines)
For each strategy, write down the objectives that must be achieved while implementing the strategy, when the objective should be completed and by whom -- especially over the next year. As you identify who will accomplish each of the objectives, you might end up refining your staffing plan.
Planning involves setting objectives and policies to enable an organization or department to deploy its resource s effectively and efficiently to achieve its goals. The act o f planning requires making risk-taking decisions at the present time with the best possible knowledge of their outcomes. Clearly, without planning it is very difficult to achieve anything at all.
11. Develop an Operating Budget for Each Year in the Plan
List the resources you will need to achieve the goals in the strategic plan and what it will cost to obtain and use the resources. You don't have to be exactly accurate -- besides, you may end up changing your budget as you give more attention to product design and planning in the next learning module. You should do a budget for each of the years included in the span of time covered by your strategic plan -- but give particular attention to the first year of the time span.
Look at each of your product-related goals. Think about how much revenue the product might generate. Next, think about the expenses to produce, sell and support the product, such as human resources, facilities, equipment, special materials, marketing and promotions, etc. (Note that this budget planning often provides strong input to the overall budget. We'll likely convert your operating budget to a set of program budgets.)
12. Associate Strategic Goals to Performance Goals for Board and Chief Executive
Write down which board committees (in the case of corporations) will be addressing which strategic goals. The chief executive should be attending to responsibilities and goals that are directly aligned with the strategic goals of the organization (as should the responsibilities and goals of everyone else in the organization). Therefore, after strategic goals have been identified, it's timely for the board to update the performance goals of the chief executive (who, in turn, updates the performance goals of everyone else in the management and staff of the organization). (For additional information, see Performance Management, Board of Director's Evaluation of Chief Executive and Employee Performance Management.)
The IS department should attempt to achieve the organization's goals and must adhere to corporate policies (McFarlan, 1971 ; Pyburn, 1983) . By ignoring the goals and policies of the organization, it is impossible to deplo y resources efficiently to support corporate objectives (King 1978). Linking the IS plan to the corporate plan facilitate s an optimal project mix.

The link between the IS plan and the corporate plan ca n be achieved in three dimensions - timing, content an d personnel (Shank et al., 1973). For example, the IS plan can be developed before, during or after the corporate plan. While each of these options has advantages an d disadvantages, ideally the IS plan should be developed during the corporate planning process. Furthermore, if the Information Services Department

(ISD) is to support the needs of the organization, those needs should be reflected in the content of the IS plan. Conversely, the resources required by the ISD to meet corporate needs should appear in the corporate plan. Thus there must be a consistency between the content of the I S plan and that of the corporation.
13. Specify How Implementation of Plan Will Be Monitored and Evaluated
In Appendix H of the Framework for a Basic Strategic Plan Document, write down how the status of implementation will be monitored and evaluated. Consider, for example, weekly written status reports to the chief executive from employees, and monthly written reports to board members. Status will address whether goals and objectives are being met or not, current issues and any resource needed to implement the plan.
According to the system development life cycle approach, several months after a new system has been in production and has become stable, IS auditors should examine it to determine how ell it has realized the expected benefits (Davis, 1974 ; Scott, 1986) . The primary objective of this effort is to learn from previous mistakes so that they are never repeated. Also, developers should learn from their successes so they can be repeated. Furthermore, such audits may identify instances where small additional resource outlays for fine tuning can result in significant gains from the new system.

Auditing requires time, energy and people. These resources could be used for application development. Several interviewees flatly state that they do not audit new systems and therefore do not learn from their mistakes, and therein lies the paradox.

Interviewees indicated that their top managers and users had a backlog of projects which they are eager to implement. The rewards and the pressures for starting new projects exceed the rewards and pressures for completing and auditing old projects with the quality that many IS managers would like.
14. Specify How Plan Will Be Communicated
In Appendix I of the Framework for a Basic Strategic Plan Document, write down how the plan will be communicated. Consider distributing all (or highlights from) the plan to everyone in the organization. Post your mission on the walls of your main offices. Consider giving each employee a card with the mission statement on it. Publish portions of your plan in your regular newsletter.
On our MIS class, we had discuss something about organization game plan where all the employees are gathered together for a little talk regarding how will they are going to serve their costumer. This is a very well communicated plan, the manager post their game plan into a place where can easily be seen the all the employees.
15. Complete Rest of Strategic Plan Document
To complete your strategic plan document, update the following sections of the Framework for a Basic Strategic Plan Document
a) Complete the section labeled "Executive Summary" (guidelines are provided in the framework)
b) Gain authorization from your board (in the case of corporations) (they should sign in the section labeled "Board Authorization of Strategic Plan")
c) In the body of the plan in the section titled "Organizational Information", include descriptions, for example, of the history of the organization, its major products and services, highlights and accomplishments during the history of the organization, etc.
d) In Appendix B, provide description of the process you used to develop the strategic plan, including what worked and what didn't. This information will be useful to planners when they next do strategic planning.

A quality ISP must exhibit five distinct characteristics before it is useful. These five are presented in the table that follows.
Characteristic Description
Timely The ISP must be timely. An ISP that is created long after it is needed is useless. In almost all cases, it makes no sense to take longer to plan work than to perform the work planned.
Useable The ISP must be useable. It must be so for all the projects as well as for each project. The ISP should exist in sections that once adopted can be parceled out to project managers and immediately started.
Maintainable The ISP must be maintainable. New business opportunities, new computers, business mergers, etc. all affect the ISP. The ISP must support quick changes to the estimates, technologies employed, and possibly even to the fundamental project sequences. Once these changes are accomplished, the new ISP should be just a few computer program executions away.
Quality While the ISP must be a quality product, no ISP is ever perfect on the first try. As the ISP is executed, the metrics employed to derive the individual project estimates become refined as a consequence of new hardware technologies, code generators, techniques, or faster working staff. As these changes occur, their effects should be installable into the data that supports ISP computation. In short, the ISP is a living document. It should be updated with every technology event, and certainly no less often than quarterly.
Reproducible The ISP must be reproducible. That is, when its development activities are performed by any other staff, the ISP produced should essentially be the same. The ISP should not significantly vary by staff assigned.

The ISP Steps
The information systems plan project determines the sequence for implementing specific information systems. The goal of the strategy is to deliver the most valuable business information at the earliest time possible in the most cost-effective manner.
The end product of the information systems project is an information systems plan (ISP). Once deployed, the information systems department can implement the plan with confidence that they are doing the correct information systems project at the right time and in the right sequence. The focus of the ISP is not one information system but the entire suite of information systems for the enterprise. Once developed, each identified information system is seen in context with all other information systems within the enterprise.
Information Systems Plan Development Steps
Step Name Description
1. Create the mission model.
The mission model, generally shorter than 30 pages presents end-result characterizations of the essential raison d=etre of the enterprise. Missions are strategic, long range, and a-political because they are stripped of the Awho@ and the Ahow.@
2. Develop a high-level data model
The high-level data model is an Entity Relationship diagram created to meet the data needs of the mission descriptions. No attributes or keys are created.
3. Create the resource life cycles (RLC) and their nodes
Resources are drawn from both the mission descriptions and the high level data model. Resources and their life cycles are the names, descriptions and life cycles of the critical assets of the enterprise, which, when exercised achieve one or more aspect of the missions. Each enterprise resource Alives@ through its resource life cycle.
4. Allocate precedence vectors among RLC nodes

Tied together into a enablement network, the resulting resource life cycle network forms a framework of enterprise=s assets that represent an order and set of inter-resource relationships. The enterprise Alives@ through its resource life cycle network.

5. Allocate existing information systems and databases to the RLC nodes
The resource life cycle network presents a Alattice-work@onto which the Aas is@ business information systems and databases can be Aattached.@ See for example, the meta model in Figure 2. The Ato-be@ databases and information systems are similarly attached. ADifference projects@ between the Aas-is@ and the Ato-be@ are then formulated. Achievement of all the difference projects is the achievement of the Information Systems Plan.

6. Allocate standard work break down structures (WBS) to each RLC node Detailed planning of the Adifference projects@ entails allocating the appropriate canned work breakdown structures and metrics. Employing WBS and metrics from a comprehensive methodology supports project management standardization, repeatability, and self-learning.

7. Load resources into each WBS node Once the resources are determined, these are loaded into the project management meta entities of the meta data repository, that is, metrics, project, work plan and deliverables. The meta entities are those inferred by Figure 2.

8. Schedule the RLC nodes through a project management package facilities. The entire suite of projects is then scheduled on an enterprise-wide basis. The PERT chart used by project management is the APERT@ chart represented by the Resource Life Cycle enablement network.

9. Produce and review of the ISP The scheduled result is predicable: Too long, too costly, and too ambitious. At that point, the real work starts: paring down the suite of projects to a realistic set within time and budget. Because of the meta data environment (see Figure 1), the integrated project management meta data (see Figure 2), and because all projects are configured against fundamental business-rationale based designs, the results of the inevitable trade-offs can be set against business basics. Although the process is painful, the results can be justified and rationalized.

10. Execute and adjust the ISP through time. As the ISP is set into execution, technology changes occur that affect resource loadings. In this case, only steps 6-9 need to be repeated. As work progresses, the underlying meta data built or used in steps 1-5 will also change. Because a quality ISP is Aautomated@ the recasting of the ISP should only take a week or less.

Two things to be remember:
1) The planning process is at least as important as the planning document itself.
2) The planning process is never "done" -- the planning process is a continuous cycles that's part of the management process itself.

References:
• Information Systems Plan: The Bet-Your-Business Project by Michael M. Gorman Published: September 1, 1999
• www.wikipedia.com
• Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Copyright 1997-2008.
• INFORMATION SYSTEM PLANING:INCENTIVES FOR EFFECTIVE ACTIO N by:Albert L . Lederer, Oakland University and Aubrey L . Mendelow, Kent State University




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AlyssaRae Soriano



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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: December 17, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:14 pm

If I were invited by the university president to present my IS (Information System) Plan for the university in which I would really feel flattered for, and to discuss what are the steps to expedite or accelerate the implementation of my said IS (Information System) plan, I would first explain the foundation and grounds of an Information Systems Plan.


Any organization especially the university must be aware of the rationale of an Information System. In almost all the organizations in the world, they spend 5% of their gross income on information systems and their supports. If the corporation has $300-700 million dollar every year, $15,000,000 to $35,000,000 will be spent for the IS support which makes us think how on earth will our university have this lots of money just for an IS support, excluding of course the planning stage but then even planning costs a lot especially in a government organization.


Even though an information system costs from $1,000,000 to $10,000,000, and even through most chief information
officers (CIOs) can specify exactly how much money is being spent for hardware, software, and staff, CIOs cannot however state with any degree of certainty why one system is being done this year versus next, why it is being done ahead of another, or finally, why it is being done at all. I am referring to a million dollar company. But in case of USEP, I still find it hard to propose or much especially to have IS plan because of this one factor, BUDGET. I am sure that the university won’t spend lots and lots of millions just for an innovation. Well, it’s just what I think though.
Too many half-billion dollar organizations have only a vague notion of the names and interactions of the existing and under development information systems. Whenever they need to know, a meeting is held among the critical few, an inventory is taken, interactions confirmed, and accomplishment schedules are updated.


Rather than having centralized, long-range planning and management activities that address these problems, today's business units are using readily available tools to design and build ad hoc stop-gap solutions. These ad hoc systems not only do not interconnect, support common semantics, or provide synchronized views of critical corporate policy, they are soon to form the almost impossible to comprehend confusion of systems and data from which systems order and semantic harmony must spring. Not only has the computing landscape become profoundly different and more difficult to comprehend, the need for just the right--and correct--information at just the right time is escalating. Late or wrong information is worse than no information. Information systems managers need a model of their information systems environment. A model that is malleable. As new requirements are discovered, budgets modified, new hardware/software introduced, this model must be such that it can reconstitute the information systems plan in a timely and efficient manner.


There are five distinct characteristics of a QUALITY ISP (information Systems Plan) as according to Whitemarsh. A quality ISP must exhibit five distinct characteristics before it is useful. These five are presented in the table that follows.

Timely. The ISP must be timely. An ISP that is created long after it is needed is useless. In almost all cases, it makes no sense to take longer to plan work than to perform the work planned.

Useable. The ISP must be useable. It must be so for all the projects as well as for each project. The ISP should exist in sections that once adopted can be parceled out to project managers and immediately started.

Maintainable. The ISP should be maintainable. New business opportunities, new computers, business mergers, etc. all affect the ISP. The ISP must support quick changes to the estimates, technologies employed, and possibly even to the fundamental project sequences. Once these changes are accomplished, the new ISP should be just a few computer program executions away.

Quality. While the ISP must be a quality product, no ISP is ever perfect on the first try. As the ISP is executed, the metrics employed to derive the individual project estimates become refined as a consequence of new hardware technologies, code generators, techniques, or faster working staff. As these changes occur, their effects should be installable into the data that supports ISP computation. In short, the ISP is a living document. It should be updated with every technology event, and certainly no less often than quarterly.

Reproducible. The ISP must be reproducible. That is, when its development activities are performed by any other staff, the ISP produced should essentially be the same. The ISP should not significantly vary by staff assigned.
Whenever a proposal for the development of an ISP (Information systems Plan) is created it must be assessed against these five characteristics. If any fail or not addressed in an optimum way, the entire set of funds for the development of an ISP (Information systems Plan) is risked.


It is very difficult to obtain consensus on a functional decomposition for any one application, much less across all the information systems within the entire corporation. That is because functional analysis requires identification and codification of how activities are performed. In short, the codification of style. This type of analysis leads to conflicts, power struggles, and endless nit-picking. In the end, nobody likes the results. Once, or if ever completed, both IBM and Martin use the resulting ISP as a foundation for identifying information systems. Building the ISP on top of such a foundation of discord cannot possibly result in stable, enduring information systems.


Finklestein's methodology requires the development of a fifth-normal form data model for the entire enterprise. Such an extraordinarily detailed effort certainly embraces three to five thousand entities, all the appropriate attributes, full definitions for entities and attributes, and a full exposition of every relationship among all entities. While development of such a edifice is a valuable final shrine once all the identified information systems have been implemented, it is totally unnecessary for the ISP.


Whitemarsh’s ISP: A Difference in Kind
Whitemarsh’s ISP approach was built directly on the strengths and designed-out the weaknesses of the three traditional approaches. The Whitemarsh approach employs:

! A mission based foundation for the ISP rather than the extremely politically charged function modeling.
! A data driven approach for the formulation of all databases, but only at a high level. That is, database objects.
! The Whitemarsh metabase to store, evolve, report and analyze all collected analysis products.
! Project, deliverable, and metric templates to make project estimation accurate and reproducible.
! Ron Ross’s interrelated resource life-cycles as a lattice upon which all ISP proposed projects are cast.


As a consequence of this difference in kind, the Whitemarsh ISP (Information Systems Plan) exhibits these characteristics:

Timely - Creation of the Whitemarsh ISP is timely because it can be created in less than three staff years. This is an order of magnitude less than IBM’s BSP, Martin’s SDP, or Finkelstein’s SMP. The time is even less if components already exist.

Useable - The Whitemarsh ISP enables its users to make both strategic and tactical decisions regarding business information system and database project sequencing based squarely on business fundamentals.

Maintainable - The Whitemarsh ISP is maintainable because it mainly uses metadata
already essential for enterprise database. Metadata that should be readily
available in the metabase.

High Quality – The Whitemarsh ISP is a quality product because it is accomplished through common-sense-based techniques that have been proven over 20+ years.

Reproducible - The Whitemarsh ISP is reproducible because at each review, the resources can be re-examined, new technology set into place, basic RLC precedence vectors re-cast, and then the whole plan regenerated.


The end product of the information systems project is an information systems plan (ISP).
Once deployed, the information systems department can implement the plan with confidence that
they are doing the correct information systems project at the right time and in the right sequence.


The focus of the ISP is not one information system but the entire suite of information systems for
the enterprise. Once developed, each identified information system is seen in context with all other information systems within the enterprise.


The following steps are involved in ISP development (Whitemarsh):

1.Create the mission model
2.Develop a high-level data model
3.Create the resource life cycles (RLC) and their nodes
4.Allocate precedence vectors among RLC nodes
5.Allocate existing information systems and databases to the RLC nodes
6.Allocate standard work break down structures (WBS) to each RLC node
7.Load resources into each WBS node
8.Schedule the RLC nodes through a project management package.
9.Produce and review of the ISP
10.Execute and adjust the ISP through time.


CREATE MISSION MODEL. Missions and mission descriptions are represented through hierarchically composed text. They are natural and are devoid of the effects from organizational structure stylistic effects. Missions from enterprises from the same “line of business” are very similar. In contrast, their
function models may be quite different because of effects imposed by management styles and
organizational structures. Simply stated, mission descriptions are goal and objective oriented and
are best seen as characterizations of the idealized end-results, without any regard for “who and
how.”

For many organizations, the mission description document often represents the first
overall statement of their raison d’etre. The table that follows contains the overall mission
description of the mythical Systems Engineering Corporation, and then the subordinate mission
description for its human resources mission.

It is important to distinguish between missions and functions. At first, missions and
functions look very much alike. However they are not. The following table illustrates their key
differences.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Missions are descriptions of the characteristics of the end result. Missions are noun-based
sentences
Functions are descriptions of how to accomplish an end result. Functions are verb-based
Sentences
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Missions are a-political. They are devoid of “who and how.” There should only be ONE
mission description for a mission.
Function hierarchies are commonly tainted by organizations and styles. There can be any
number of equivalent versions of a given function.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Databases and Business Information Systems are based on missions
“Human” activities and organizations are based on business functions
When you “Business Process Re-engineering (BPR)” functions you still have the same
business.
When you “BPR” missions you have a different business.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mission descriptions are strategic and long range
Functions are tactical to operational, and medium to short range, and are organizationally
Sensitive
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


BUILD THE HIGH LEVEL DATA. The high level data model is created in two steps: building database domains, and creating database objects.


It is critical to state that the objective of this step is the high-level data model. The goal is
NOT to create a low level or fully attributed data model. The reasons that only a high-level data
model is needed is straight forward:
- No database projects are being accomplished, hence no detailed data modeling is required
- The goal of the ISP is to identify and resource allocate projects including database
projects and for that goal, entity identification, naming and brief definitions is all that is
required for estimating.

The message is simple: any money or resources expended in developing a detailed data model is
wasted.


CREATE DATABASE DOMAINS. Database domains are created from the “bottom” leaves of the mission description texts. There are two cases to consider. First, if the mission description’s bottom leaves are very detailed, they can be considered as having being transformed into database domains. That is they will consist of lists of nouns within simple sentences. The other case is that the mission descriptions have been defined to only a few levels, and the lists of nouns that would result from the development of
database domains have yet to be uncovered.

Whenever a database domain describes complex sets of data, multiple levels of the database domain description may be required. These subdomains are expressed as additional paragraphs. A review of these paragraphs clearly show that the text is “noun-intensive.” The “who and how” is clearly missing. That is the way it should be. If the “who and how” were contained in the database domains then they would not be independent of either process or organization.

A series of diagraming techniques created especially for data and the relationships among data is called entity-relationship (ER) diagraming. Within one style of this technique, the entities are drawn as rectangles and the relationships are drawn as diamonds. The name of the relationship is inside the diamond. Another style of ER modeling is to just have named lines between the entities. In this methodology, since the domain of the diagram is data, it is called the database domain diagram.

The purpose of the database domain diagram is not to be precise and exacting but to be comprehensive. The goal is to have the reviewer say, “that's just the right kind of data needed to satisfy the required mission description.”

When all the database domain diagrams are created, siblings are combined. Entities that are named the same are not presumed to be the same. Analysis must show that to be true. If not, one or both of the entities must have their name and definition changed. As the sets of sibling diagrams are merged from lower to higher levels, the quantity of commonly named entities on different diagrams diminishes. Diagram merger becomes optional when the use analysis of a common entity is subject to update (add, delete, or modify) in one diagram and is only referenced (read) in another diagram.


CREATE RESOURCES AND THE RESOURCE LIFE CYCLES (RCL). Missions are the idealized characterizations of end results of the visionary state of the operating enterprise. Database objects, founded squarely on missions are the highlevel declarations of the data required to reflect the achievement of the mission’s vision. Resources and their life cycles are the names, descriptions, and life cycles of the critical assets of the enterprise, which when exercised achieve one or more aspects of the missions. Each life cycle is composed of RLC nodes.

A mission might be human resource management, where in, the best and most cost effective staff is determined, acquired and managed. A database object squarely based on human resources would be employee. Within the database object, employee, are all the data structures, procedures, integrity constraints, table and database object procedures necessary to “move” the employee database object through its many policy-determined states. A resource might also be named employee, and would set out for the employee resource the life cycle stages that reflect the employee resource’s “journey” through the enterprise. While an enterprise may have 50 to 150 database objects, there are seldom more than 20 resources.

Enterprises build databases and business information systems around the achievement of the life cycle states of its resources. Business information systems execute in support of a particular life cycle stage of a resource (e.g., employee promotion). These information systems cause the databases to change value-state of contained database objects to correctly reflect the resource’s changed state. The state of one or more database objects in the database is the proof that the resource’s state has been achieved. Resources become the lattice work against which database and business information systems are allocated.


ALLOCATE INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND DATABASES TO THE RLC NODES. Once the resource life cycle network has been created, it is stored into the metabase. Once there, its lattice can be employed to attach the databases and business information systems. Databases and their business information systems exist within a data architecture framework.

Most resource life cycle nodes contain at least one original data capture database application. The data from these ODC databases should be pushed to their respective TDSA databases. Once there, various subject area databases pull the data to build the longitudinal and broad subject area databases. It is likely that there is one subject area database for one or more resources. Data from the subject area databases, also called operational data stores by Bill Inmon, is again pulled to create one or more data warehouse databases. Most databases employ one or more reference data tables as standard semantics for selection, control-breaks and printing.


ALLOCATE STANDARD WORK BREAK DOWN (WBD) STRUCTURES TO EACH INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND DATABASE PROJECTS. The key reason for having a well engineered check list for identifying the types of work involved in either a database or business information system project is the ability to then used canned work breakdown structures (WBS). When these WBSs are coupled with experience-honed metrics that are embedded in a project management system that “self-learns” from on-going projects,
accurate, reliable and repeatable project plans result.

The figure below presents a very high level view of how project management and the projects associated with RLC nodes are interrelated. In actuality, there are many more tables within the Whitemarsh project management software. But, from this perspective, when the assessment checklist is compiled, the specific WBSs that are applicable are selected from the project template table.
The five distinct classes of projects are:
! Administration and management
! Specification
! Implementation
! Operation and maintenance
! Multiple category


LOAD RESOURCES INTO EACH PROJECT. Once the WBS is selected, the WBS list and associated deliverables and metrics are automatically brought into the project. When the quantities for each deliverable type is computed, then the overall gross hours estimate for the project is created.

The gross hours estimate is then finalized (either upwards or downwards) by the selection of work environment factors (e.g., nobody even knows who the users are (that’s a bad work environment factor)), and also by the specific persons assigned who have varying levels of capabilities in certain experience levels (e.g., someone is assigned to create the data model who doesn’t yet even know the meaning of the term, “ER diagram”). That’s a bad staffing factor.

The value in having highly engineered work environment and staffing experience factors that adjust the gross hours is that project managers can then relay back to management the exact reasons why a project will cost more or less than another project of even the same construct and size.

The resources are then exported to a text file that is able to loaded into a project management system such as Microsoft Project. This is necessary because the purpose of the Whitemarsh project management system is to support the planning of projects on an enterprise wide basis rather than the scheduling of individual projects.


SCHEDULE THROUGH A PROJECT MANAGEMENT PACKAGE. Project management systems like Microsoft Project, Welcom’s Open Plan Professional, or Primavera’s P3e all require PERT (activity network charts) to effectively schedule an entire RLC network of RLC node assigned projects. When WBSs are brought into a project management system, they are treated as selfcontained subprojects within the overall set of RLC node network of projects. The resource life cycles are depicted from their first to last node in a topdown fashion. The precedence vectors are shows from one node of a RLC to another node of a adifferent RLC. Multiple precedence vectors do not exist between resource life cycles.

PRODUCE AND REVIEW THE ISP. When the resource loaded network of projects is scheduled through a project management system, normal results are produced. That is, the enterprise is faced with the requirement for:
! Infinite resources
! Infinite time
! Infinite computer capacity and speed, and
! Zero time allocated by “management” to accomplish all the work.

The ISP produced by this technique is thus no more able to be accomplished on the first pass
than is any other information systems plan. Now, where the Whitemarsh starts to become very
different from other ISPs is that the Whitemarsh ISP is fundamentally data within a database. Because the Whitemarsh ISP is “data,” it can be reported, queried, updated, recalculated, and reprinted any number of times with only reasonable effort.

A second key distinction is that the data that supports the ISP is primarily contributed by and thus supported by management. After all, it is their missions, their database domains, their database objects, their resources, their resource life cycles, and their precedence vectors between the resource life cycles. The only parts that are truly owned by information technology are the proposals for IT projects that transform an “as-is” database or information system to a “to-be” database or information system.



EXECUTE AND ADJUST ISP THROUGH TIME. Enterprises, once they evolve beyond their first round of information systems, find themselves transformed from a project and package mentality to a release mentality. The diagram on the next page illustrates this new continuous flow environment. It is characterized by:
! Multiple, concurrent, but differently scheduled projects against the same subject area
database or warehouse database
! Single-database projects that affect multiple subject area and data warehouse databases
! Projects that develop completely new capabilities, that can assess required changes to
existing capabilities, and that can accommodate a variety of systems generation
alternatives (COTS, package, and custom programming)

The continuous flow environment contains four major sets of activities. The user/client is represented at the top in the small rectangular box. Each of the ellipses represents an activity list to accomplish a specific need. The four basic needs are essentially:
! Need Identification
! Need Assessment
! Design
! Deployment

REFERENCE:
informationsystemsplanning.pdf
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sharlyn joy pines



Posts: 53
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Join date: 2009-06-19
Location: Philippines

PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: December 17, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:41 pm

Why is Planning important?

- Systematic approach in dealing with future uncertainties.
- It focuses efforts and resources on long-term, general objectives and yet provides a foundation for short-term activities
- Provides a framework for action.

Planning involves thinking ahead and designing future action.

Having the privilege to work for the university’s Information System Planning team and the chance to prepare an IS plan, lets have first some definition of the term.

Definition:

Information System Plan (ISP) is the planning of information systems for an organization. Information system planning is assessing the information needs of an organization and defining the systems, databases and technologies that best satisfy those needs.

Strategic Information System Planning (SISP) is the process of deciding the objectives for organizational computing and identifying potential computer applications which the organization should implement.

The primary objectives of information system planning were to:

- improve communication with users
- to increase management support
- to better forecast resource requirements and allocate resources
- to determine more opportunities for improving MIS Department
- to identify new and higher payback computer applications.

ISP Planning Type

Top-Down Planning: A generic information systems planning methodology that attempts to gain a broad understanding of the information system needs of the entire organization.

Bottom-up Planning: generic information systems planning methodology that identifies and defines IS development projects based upon solving operational business problems or taking advantages of some business opportunities.

Components of ISP

- The Process of Information Systems Planning
- Strategic Alignment of Business and IT
- Selecting Systems to Invest In
- Project Management Issues

Why do we need to plan for IS?

- To ensure that IS both complements and assists in the achievement of our business goals.
- To ensure that the use of scarce resources are maximized within a business.
- To maximize the benefits of changing technology.
- To take account of the different viewpoints of business professionals and IT professionals.


To improve SISP is the most critical issue for the information system executives nowadays. This is because the purpose of SISP is to identify the most appropriate targets for automation and to schedule their implementation or installation and it has the potential to make huge contributions to business and even other organizations. Also, an effective SISP can help organizations use information systems to reach their business goals which is the major objective of an IS executives. However, failures to carry out this plan can result in both lost opportunities and the waste of expensive IS resources.

ISP Key Activities

1. Describing current situation

Before going to the core plan, evaluate first the current situation of the university especially in terms of its information system. We have to consider the current status and described it so that the planning will come up a very good result for the university’s need.

It includes a listing of the manual and automated processes, listing of manual and automated data, technology inventory and human resources inventory.

2. Describing future situation

If the evaluation of the current situation and status of the university’s need has been done, let’s not forget to foresee the future situation after we will implement the plans. Describing the future will help us to balance whether our plans suits or address the needs of the university.

Includes blueprints of manual and automated processes, blueprints of manual and automated data, technology blueprints and human resources blueprints.

3. Describing scheduling of the project

The scheduling of the project is very important because of an obvious reason. Of course, the project should be done on accurate time depending on how big or small the project is. And all the necessary scheduling must be done.
Includes scheduling of manual and automated processes, scheduling of manual and automated data, technology of scheduling and human resources scheduling.

Planning Implementation

Strategic planning implementation is at the heart of how to make change of any kind happen in your organization. Start by answering why your organization might want to embark on a strategic planning process and implementation.
The following are the keys to effective strategic planning implementation for your business.

• Full and active executive support
• Effective communication
• Employee involvement
• Thorough organizational planning and competitive analysis and
• Widespread perceived need for the strategic planning.

If you are implementing your strategic planning in an organizational environment that is already employee-oriented, with a high level of trust, you start the strategic planning implementation with a huge plus. An additional plus is an organization that already thinks strategically.

Unfortunately, the implementation of strategic planning most frequently occurs as an organization moves from being traditionally reactionary to strategic. So, often, learning to think strategically is part of the strategic planning implementation learning curve.

Successful strategic planning implementation requires a large commitment from executives and senior managers, whether the strategic planning is occurring in a department or in a complete organization. Executives must lead, support, follow-up, and live the results of the strategic planning implementation process. Or, simply, the strategic planning implementation process will fail.

Without the full commitment of the organization’s senior executives, don’t even start strategic planning. Participants will feel fooled and misled. A vision statement and a mission statement, along with this year’s goals, filed, unimplemented in a cabinet or computer is a serious source of negativity and poor employee morale.
Senior leaders can do the following to create a successful strategic planning implementation process.

1. Establish a clear vision for the strategic planning implementation process. Paint a picture of where the organization will end up and the anticipated outcomes. Make certain the picture is one of reality and not what people “wish” would occur. Make sure key employees know “why” the organization is changing.

2. Appoint an executive champion or leader who “owns” the strategic planning implementation process and makes certain other senior managers, as well as other appropriate people in the organization, are involved.

Executive Support for Strategic Planning Implementation

Executive support in strategic planning implementation is critical to its success. Executives must lead, support, follow-up, and live the results of the strategic planning implementation process. These are additional ways executive leaders can support the strategic planning implementation process.

- Pay attention to the planning occurring. Ask how things are going. Focus on progress and barriers for change management. One of the worst possible scenarios is to have the leaders ignore the strategic planning implementation.

- Sponsor portions of the planning or the strategic planning process, as an involved participant, to increase active involvement and interaction with other organization members.

- If personal or managerial actions or behaviors require change for the vision statement, mission statement, values, and goals to take hold in the organization, “model” the new behaviors and actions. (Senior managers must walk the talk.)

- Establish a structure which will support the move to a more strategically thinking and acting organization. This may take the form of a Steering Committee, Leadership Group, Core Planning Team or Guiding Coalition.

- Change the measurement systems, reward, and recognition systems to measure and reward the accomplishment of the new expectations established through the strategic planning process.

- Develop a performance development planning process within your performanc management system to communicate, reinforce, and provide a structure that supports the articulation and accomplishment of the strategic planning goals.

- While every person in your organization cannot make their voice heard on every issue within the strategic planning, you must solicit and act upon feedback from other members of the organization. Integral in the strategic planning process must be the commitment of each executive to discuss the process and the plans with staff members. Too often, I have experienced executives holding information closely and consolidating their own dysfunctional power within the organization at the expense of other company employees feeling – and acting – excluded. (And then they ask: how can I get my staff to “buy-in” to these new expectations?)

- Recognize the human element inherent in any change – the change from reactionary to strategic thinking is a huge leap. People have different needs and different ways of reacting to change. They need time to deal with and adjust to change.

- If training is part of the strategic plan, senior leaders must participate in the training that other organization members attend, but, even more importantly, they must exhibit their “learning” from the sessions, readings, interactions, tapes, books or research.

- Lastly, and of immense significance, be honest and worthy of trust.
Throughout the strategic planning process, treat people with the same respect you expect from them. And you will enjoy the 29 percent greater return than non-strategic planning companies, predicted earlier. With your vision statement, mission statement, values, strategies, goals, and action plans developed and shared, you'll all win, both personally and professionally.

Planning failures must to avoid

In my own personal experience, I find strategic planning as uninterested planning. It is because our organization was failed to implement our plans and thus ended with nothing. When I heard about what many companies call strategic planning, I have mixed feelings. It when I realized that creating an overall direction for your company, office, or work group is necessary for success. People need to feel as if they are part of something bigger than themselves. At the same time, they need clear direction to know what "bigger thing" they are part of.

My doubts and odd feelings result from the fact that strategic planning is rarely strategic and most frequently results in pages and pages of plans that sit unused in desk drawers. From the fact that I have my own experience, it’s true to number of clients who fail at implementing their supposedly strategic plans over the years. Here are some reasons that I found from browsing the internet that says why a company or organization failed to implement their plans:

1. In a fast moving, fast changing industry, you can create an overall compass for your direction. You can put together operational plans. You can set goals. But, sales, your industry, your competition, upgraded products – yours and competitors, your ability to fill growth created positions, and more, make strategic planning, in the traditional sense, ineffective.

2. In a client company I participated in a strategic planning meeting that felt a lot more like the prioritization of to-do lists. But, at least, the to-do lists were yielding clear priorities for the company's success. I met with the participants a week later to find that their senior manager had determined the prioritization of objectives as A, B, or C, was great. However, "all of the stuff" was important and had to get done. Thus, priorities were wiped out and each employee made baby steps on each of the too many objectives. And, when everything is a priority, nothing is really a priority.

3. When strategic planning sessions are facilitated by consulting companies, the consultants frequently recommend and request 50-60 pages of research about competitors, markets, and current company measurements. While such a systematic approach is to be lauded, companies rarely have all of this data collected nor do they have the ability to utilize it effectively in planning. Thus, they render all of the work hours as meaningless.

4. Many companies lack the ability to execute strategy. For whatever reason, they make great strategic plans and then, fail to create the specific framework necessary for strategic planning follow-up. Without a follow-up framework and accountability system, action items and follow-up plans and actions that make the execution of the strategic plan a success, don't happen.

Six Steps to Implementation

Many organizations have invested a great deal of effort in educating and informing consumers about health care quality. The most ambitious of these sponsors have embarked on multi-year projects to measure quality of care at various level of the health care system and report their findings to the public. Others with more limited resources and expertise may adapt publicly available materials to their own needs or recommend alternative sources of information for their audiences.

Although no two projects are exactly alike, successful sponsors generally follow the following six steps. Understanding what is involved in implementing a quality measurement and reporting project from start to finish is especially important for those sponsors that do it all themselves. But even sponsors that borrow as much as they can from others need to be aware of these steps so that they can make a conscious choice to skip those that do not apply.

Step 1. Getting Started

The first step in a consumer information project is to lay the foundation for the project—financially, politically, and organizationally. While this may sound obvious, many projects fail because sponsors do not take the time to prepare. They dive right into the process of collecting and reporting data, only to be taken by surprise when someone objects to the project or the money runs out.

On the other hand, some projects never even get off the ground because the sponsors can't move beyond the planning process. The key to moving beyond the organizational stage is to develop and stick to a schedule that will force decisions and push the participants forward in the process.

Critical elements of the planning process include the following tasks.

• Assess Your Local Environment.
• Profile Your Target Audience.
• Clarify Your Objectives.
o Identify the Focus of Your Report.
o Choose Quality Measures.
• Identify Potential Partners for the Project.
• Agree on a Message.
• Find Sources of Financing and Establish a Budget.
• Agree on a Schedule (and Stick to It).
• Establish a Management Structure.

Before launching a project to share information on health care quality, take the time to evaluate the circumstances in which the project would take place and the likely implications of the project for the organization and for its audience. Even a quick review of the local marketplace can keep you from getting into a situation that is either politically inadvisable, financially infeasible, or simply a waste of time.

Step 2. Collecting and Analyzing Data

The source of quality information depends on the kind of data you need, which depends on the nature of the project you undertake. For some projects, particularly those involving health plans, standardized information is readily available, with little need for additional analysis. For projects involving provider groups, on the other hand, it may be necessary to collect and process raw data that can be turned into useful information.

Step 3. Presenting the Information

Presentation—or how you say what you have to say—plays a critical part in ensuring that your efforts to convey quality information are successful. One of the most challenging aspects of a performance measurement project is figuring out how to present the data in a way that helps consumers interpret the information and apply it to their health care-related decisions. Many sponsors have struggled with this question, only to find themselves making the same mistakes as others before them. One of the key objectives of this site is to support project sponsors in learning from the experiences of their peers as well as from the findings of researchers regarding the best ways to discuss, format, and display information on quality.

Making Sure Your Materials Work for Your Audience

No matter how limited your resources may be, do what you can to test the materials as you develop them to make sure they are suitable for your audience. This approach allows you to identify and remedy trouble spots along the way rather than waiting until the information has been disseminated to discover any problems. Specifically, sponsors can conduct ongoing testing to assess:

• Whether consumers can read the information easily.
• Whether they can understand it.
• Whether the content is appropriate for your audience.
• Whether people are interested in your content (i.e., its salience).
• Whether consumers can use your materials for the purpose for which they are intended.
• Whether they can navigate through the materials to find the information they want.

Techniques for this kind of iterative testing include one-on-one interviews as well as focus groups.

Step 4. Disseminating Information

Long before you have the information to distribute, you need to be thinking about how and when to get it into the hands of consumers. Sponsors should ask themselves:

• What can we do to ensure that our audience is aware of our information and motivated to use it?
• When is the best time to make the information available? Is this timing realistic?
• What channels can we use to distribute the information to our audience? How can we make sure they see it?
• How should we package the information? Should it stand alone or be incorporated into other information?

The answers to these questions will affect how much time you have to produce the report as well as the kinds of measures and depth of content that you can include.

Step 5. Supporting Consumers

For many sponsors of consumer information projects, the job ends once the reports have been distributed. But both experienced sponsors and researchers testing consumer behavior have demonstrated that it is not enough to give consumers data. They need help in interpreting the information on quality, integrating it with other relevant data (such as costs), and using it to make decisions. Without this help, many simply ignore the information they have, or worse, use it inappropriately.

Strategies for providing "decision support" include the following:

• Refer consumers to consumer advocates and other "information intermediaries" who can help your audience understand and use the information you provide. You may need to provide those intermediaries with training, scripts, and documents they can share with consumers. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), formerly the Health Care Financing Administration, funds a Nationwide program called SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Programs) to help seniors work through insurance issues and answer their questions.

• Offer consumers a worksheet that guides them through the process of evaluating their options. Worksheets help the reader keep track of the information needed to make decisions. While they can be too complicated for some consumers, they are a valuable tool for the information intermediaries who may assist consumers in reaching decisions.

• Design computer-based systems that facilitate decision making by allowing the user to weight different factors or by ranking the available choices based on the user's response to a set of questions.

To determine which strategy will work best for your audience, you may want to consult with representative consumers and/or appropriate intermediaries. Also, be sure to evaluate your support strategy once it is implemented to find out how well it is serving the needs of your audience and how you can improve it.

Step 6. Evaluating the Project

Finally, the last step for sponsors is to evaluate the extent to which the project achieved its objectives. This could be as simple as asking whether consumers are aware of the information you produced or as complicated as finding out whether and how consumers used the information to help make decisions.

Evaluations are important for internal purposes because they enable you to determine how effective your project is and how it can be improved. But they are equally critical for external reasons. First, being able to demonstrate that the project has had a positive impact will help you secure political support and continued funding. In addition, an evaluation allows other sponsors to learn from your experience.

The following methods are commonly used to evaluate projects:
• Focus groups.
• Surveys.
• Usability testing.
• Analysis of changes in enrollment patterns.


Sources/Reference:

http://humanresources.about.com/cs/strategicplanning1/a/strategicplan_3.htm
http://humanresources.about.com/od/strategicplanning1/a/implement_plan_2.htm
http://humanresources.about.com/od/leadership/qt/strgc_plan_l3.htm
http://www.talkingquality.gov/docs/section1/1_2.htm#Step%201
http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~nkm/sisp/CONTENTS.html

still need to be modified...


Last edited by sharlyn joy pines on Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:48 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Assignment # 4   Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:31 am



We are to invite by the university president to prepare an IS plan for the university, and discuss what are the steps in order to expedite the implementation of the IS Plan. Before to give the process and how to implement information system, let me first discuss briefly what Information System Plan is.



Hire by the president of the university to make an information system plan is indeed an overwhelming to everyone, knowing that it’s not easy as 1+3 to make a good and powerful information system plan for the improvement of the university. Since I don’t really know what are the parameters in making and implementing information system plan, let me first provide a meaning to each word.

The term information system refers to information technology that is used by people to accomplish a specified organizational or individual objective. The technology may be used in the gathering, processing, storing, and/or dissemination of information, and the users are trained in the use of that technology, as well as in the procedures to be followed in doing so. The specific technologies that collectively comprise information technology are computer technology and data communications technology. Computers provide most of the storage and processing capabilities, while data communications—specifically networks—provide the means for dissemination and remote access of information.

The term plan refers to A draught or form; properly, a representation drawn on a plane, as a map or a chart; especially, a top view, as of a machine, or the representation or delineation of a horizontal section of anything, as of a building; a graphic representation; a diagram. A scheme devised; a method of action or procedure expressed or described in language; a project; as, the plan of a constitution; the plan of an expedition. Or it can be to scheme; to devise; to contrive; to form in design; as, to plan the conquest of a country.

To most effectively support knowledge workers, the enterprise should strive to create object oriented environments. These two concepts, knowledge worker and object oriented environments are brought together into technology architectures since both uniquely characterize the ideal working environment. The knowledge worker’s environment involves both automated and non-automated activities. Some non-automated activities involve the use of automation, for example, once a patient receives a treatment from a clinician (non automated activity), the characteristics of the treatment, and the clinicians observations about the patient’s reaction to the treatment are typically recorded in some automated system. A knowledge worker’s framework must therefore address manual and automated activities.

Knowledge workers perform groups of functions to accomplish their designated job or to accomplish some aspect of the enterprise’s mission. Knowledge workers may perform these function groups in different combinations depending on the enterprise’s organization. For example, if an organization is highly distributed into multi-functional units, there may be staff that performs diverse groups of functions. Conversely, a highly centralized organization may have certain staff devoted to specific and highly specialized functions. The knowledge worker is therefore a complex multifaceted person who performs diverse functions of different complexities for one or more organizations. Enterprises commonly create computing supports for knowledge workers under the assumption that the functions they perform and the organizations through which they act are fixed and seldom change. Not only are these assumptions wrong, but when the functions and organizations do change, computing environment changes seldom keep pace because they are time consuming to specify, difficult to implement, and slow to accomplish. Slow-to-react computing environment changes, therefore, become the very reason why information technology support to business functions and organizations cannot keep pace with the demands of change. What is needed are computing environments that are object oriented, sensitive to knowledge worker functions and organizations, and that can react to the demands of change in a timely fashion.

Strategic Information Systems Planning Methodologies


The task of strategic information systems planning is difficult and often time organizations do not know how to do it. Strategic information systems planning is a major change for organizations, from planning for information systems based on users’ demands to those based on business strategy. Also strategic information systems planning changes the planning characteristics in major ways. For example, the time horizon for planning changes from 1 year to 3 years or more and development plans are driven by current and future business needs rather than incremental user needs. Increase in the time horizon is a factor which results in poor response from the top management to the strategic information systems planning process as it is difficult to hold their attention for such a long period. Other questions associated with strategic information systems planning are related to the scope of the planning study, the focus of the planning exercise corporate organization vs. strategic business unit, number of studies and their sequence, choosing a strategic information systems planning methodology or developing one if none is suitable, targets of planning process and deliverables.

Timely
The ISP must be timely. An ISP that is created long after it is needed is useless. In almost all cases, it makes no sense to take longer to plan work than to perform the work planned.

Useable
The ISP must be useable. It must be so for all the projects as well as for each project. The ISP should exist in sections that once adopted can be parceled out to project managers and immediately started.

Maintainable

The ISP must be maintainable. New business opportunities, new computers, business mergers, etc. all affect the ISP. The ISP must support quick changes to the estimates; technologies employed, and possibly even to the fundamental project sequences. Once these changes are accomplished, the new ISP should be just a few computer program executions away.

Quality

While the ISP must be a quality product, no ISP is ever perfect on the first try. As the ISP is executed, the metrics employed to derive the individual project estimates become refined as a consequence of new hardware technologies, code generators, techniques, or faster working staff. As these changes occur, their effects should be installable into the data that supports ISP computation. In short, the ISP is a living document. It should be updated with every technology event, and certainly no less often than quarterly.

Reproducible
The ISP must be reproducible. That is, when its development activities are performed by any other staff, the ISP produced should essentially be the same. The ISP should not significantly vary by staff assigned.

The ISP Steps

The information systems plan project determines the sequence for implementing specific information systems. The goal of the strategy is to deliver the most valuable business information at the earliest time possible in the most cost-effective manner.

The end product of the information systems project is an information systems plan (ISP). Once deployed, the information systems department can implement the plan with confidence that they are doing the correct information systems project at the right time and in the right sequence. The focus of the ISP is not one information system but the entire suite of information systems for the enterprise. Once developed, each identified information system is seen in context with all other information systems within the enterprise.

Information Systems Plan Development Steps

Create the mission model

The mission model, generally shorter than 30 pages presents end-result characterizations of the essential raison d=etre of the enterprise. Missions are strategic, long range, and a-political because they are stripped of the Awho and the Ahow.

Develop a high-level data model

he high-level data model is an Entity Relationship diagram created to meet the data needs of the mission descriptions. No attributes or keys are created.

Create the resource life cycles (RLC) and their nodes

Resources are drawn from both the mission descriptions and the high level data model. Resources and their life cycles are the names, descriptions and life cycles of the critical assets of the enterprise, which, when exercised achieve one or more aspect of the missions. Each enterprise resource Alives@ through its resource life cycle.

Allocate precedence vectors among RLC nodes
Tied together into a enablement network, the resulting resource life cycle network forms a framework of enterprise=s assets that represent an order and set of inter-resource relationships. The enterprise Alives@ through its resource life cycle network.

Allocate existing information systems and databases to the RLC nodes

The resource life cycle network presents a Alattice-work onto which the Aas is business information systems and databases can be Aattached. See for example, the meta model in The Ato-be@ databases and information systems are similarly attached. ADifference projects between the Aas-is and the Ato-be are then formulated. Achievement of all the difference projects is the achievement of the Information Systems Plan.

Allocate standard work break down structures to each RLC node
Detailed planning of the Adifference projects entails allocating the appropriate canned work breakdown structures and metrics. Employing WBS and metrics from a comprehensive methodology supports project management standardization, repeatability, and self-learning.

Load resources into each node

Once the resources are determined, these are loaded into the project management meta entities of the meta data repository, that is, metrics, project, work plan and deliverables. The meta entities are those inferred. Schedule the RLC nodes through a project management package facilities.- The entire suite of projects is then scheduled on an enterprise-wide basis. The PERT chart used by project management is the APERT chart represented by the Resource Life Cycle enablement network.

Produce and review of the ISP

The scheduled result is predicable: Too long, too costly, and too ambitious. At that point, the real work starts: paring down the suite of projects to a realistic set within time and budget. Because of the Meta data environment the integrated project management Meta data and because all projects are configured against fundamental business-rationale based designs, the results of the inevitable trade-offs can be set against business basics. Although the process is painful, the results can be justified and rationalized.

Execute and adjust the ISP through time
As the ISP is set into execution, technology changes occur that affect resource loadings. In this case, only steps 6-9 need to be repeated. As work progresses, the underlying meta data built or used in steps 1-5 will also change. Because a quality ISP is automated the recasting of the ISP should only take a week or less.

Executive and Adjusting the ISP Through Time

IT projects are accomplished within distinct development environments. The two most common are: discrete project and release. The discrete project environment is typified by completely encapsulated projects accomplished through a water-fall methodology.

In release environments, there are a number of different projects underway by different organizations and staff of varying skill levels. Once a large number of projects are underway, the ability of the enterprise to know about and manage all the different projects degrades rapidly. That is because the project management environment has been transformed from discrete encapsulated projects into a continuous flow process of product or functionality improvements that are released on a set time schedule. Figure 3 illustrates the continuous flow process environment that supports releases. The continuous flow process environment is characterized by:

• Multiple, concurrent, but differently scheduled projects against the same enterprise resource
• Single projects that affect multiple enterprise resources
• Projects that develop completely new capabilities, or changes to existing capabilities within enterprise resources.


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brian c. namuag



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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: December 17, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:36 am



It is precisely because enterprises have transformed themselves from a project to a release environment that information systems plans that can be created, evolved, and maintained on an enterprise-wide basis are essential.
There are four major sets of activities within the continuous flow process environment. The user/client is represented at the top in the small rectangular box. Each of the ellipses represents an activity targeted to a specific need. The four basic needs are:

• Need Identification
• Need Assessment
• Design
• Deployment

The box in the center is the meta data repository. Specification and impact analysis is represented through the left two processes. Implementation design and accomplishment is represented by the right two processes. Two key characteristics should be immediately apparent. First, unlike the water-fall approach, the activities do not flow one to the other. They are disjoint. In fact, they may be done by different teams, on different time schedules, and involve different quantities of products under management. In short, these four activities are independent one from the other. Their only interdependence is through the meta data repository.

The second characteristic flows from the first. Because these four activities are independent one from the other, the enterprise evolves by means of releases rather than through whole systems. If it evolved through whole systems, then the four activities would be connected either in a waterfall or a spiral approach, and the enterprise would be evolving through major upgrades to encapsulated functionality within specific business resources. In contrast, the release approach causes coordinated sets of changes to multiple business resources to be placed into production. This causes simultaneous, enterprise-wide capability upgrades across multiple business resources.

Through this continuous-flow process, several unique features are present:

• All four processes are concurrently executing.
• Changes to enterprise resources occur in unison, periodically, and in a very controlled manner.
• The meta data repository is always contains all the enterprise resource specifications: current or planned. Simply put, if an enterprise resource semantic is not within the meta data repository, it is not enterprise policy.
• All changes are planned, scheduled, measured, and subject to auditing, accounting, and traceability.
• All documentation of all types is generated from the meta data repository.

Information systems strategy planning is the process through which organizations identify a portfolio of IT applications to achieve their business objectives. It starts from identifying IT applications and underlying technologies for the present and future needs of the business. In a competitive business environment, effective information system planning is important because it shapes and changes the way a company does its business. The essence of IS strategy not only encompasses issues concerning technology management but also involves a broad range of organizational and human factors. IS research in developing countries such as India has largely focused on social and developmental issues. Existing literature focuses on the weaknesses in national setting and the contextual factors, including state of expertise, availability of technology and infrastructure, lack of financial and human capital, and constraints imposed by social contexts.

With increased usage and impacts of IS, the company started following a formal, systematic approach to defining, identifying and executing its IS projects. We have to meet the steering committee met periodically and ensured the appropriateness of the initiatives. The outcome of these efforts was a detailed IS objective and IS strategy documents that were approved by the top management committee. These two
documents were circulated among the key departments across the organization. One IS senior manager said “we have placed the two documents along with the vision and mission statements of the organization, the organization, being a privately held one, was very selective in disseminating information within as well as outside the firm.

Even the IS-related deliberations were not disseminated to organizational members at large. Further, since formal business planning system was not in place, IS strategy too was not formalized in terms of process and documentation. However, according to a senior IS executive, the very nature of ownership of the organization is the reason for the less formal planning systems. There was no formal steering committee or any other type of top management involvement that was found. Both IS and functional managers were only made aware of the less formal IS strategy of the organization. A consulting firm was used as part of the business and IS planning. Though IS strategy process was
formalized, IS strategy was less communicated to various functions of organizations. This was primarily due to the fact that top management wanted to try a suitable approach for implementation of IS strategy and kept the lower level IS and functional managers less informed.

As part of the IS strategy, the organization should include the responsibility for implementation along with detail and time dimensions. The implementation responsibility was rested with the steering committee unlike the previous periods during which IS function was responsible. Specific application areas along with appropriate technologies were identified along with approaches for implementation for the first time.
As part of the strategy the IS function was reorganized by diving the IS function with each having clear focus.

Specific technologies or approaches towards implementation were not part of the strategy. The implementation responsibility was with the steering committee headed by the director of IS. Implementation plan contained a time frame of three years and applications were defined as part of the strategy. As part of the implementation plan we have to decide to outsource key development and implementation projects to another company from the group.

We have to provide a descriptive account of IS strategic planning experiences of the university and also to evaluate the critical parameters that affect the ultimate performance of the IS. Examining the scenario, we have to identified and discussed the importance of the five important IS planning parameters that contribute to the IS implementation success in the developing university context. That management of IS planning parameters should undergone major changes in developing a certain plan. The changes witness high degree of linkage of IS planning with business planning, increased top management’s participation in planning process, evidence of formal processes for documentation and dissemination, redesigning IS governance structures and specifying details for plan for
implementation.

Organizations have to realize the need for linking the IS plans with business plans. Changing the mindset of the top management to realize the role of IT for achieving competitive advantage will lead to the participation of the top management in the IS planning process. Formal structures for SISP and dissemination of plans to key stakeholders would guide in achieving the organizational readiness for implementation. Many organizations have problems in evolving matured IS function due to several economic and organizational factors. Transforming the nature and role of IS function from a technical to managerial focus through suitable tactical approaches would lead to successful SISP.

The research has many implications for theatrical development. Firstly, we have to contribute to the understanding of IS planning practices in developing settings, a relatively new area in IS research. Secondly, the study also revalidates some of the earlier researches on IS planning that have largely been conducted in the developed country contexts. Thirdly, we have to identify critical factors that are likely to contribute to effective IS planning in an organizations. Future research could examine findings using field surveys in developing country settings. Further, we have to use retrospective case studies, based on interviews after the events had occurred. Future researchers could employ action research to examine the issues as they happen.


Sources:
http://www.tdan.com/view-articles/5262
http://viu.eng.rpi.edu/publications/strpaper.pdf


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PostSubject: Assignment 4   Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:49 am

javascript:emoticonp('afro')If I were invited by the university president to prepare an IS plan for the university, and discuss what are the steps in order to expedite the implementation of the IS Plan. First I must explain to him the trend of technology nowadays and how important is technology in implementing the said IS plan for the University.

Technology according to the Wikipedia is defined as:

Technology deals with human as well as other animal species' usage and knowledge of tools and crafts, and how it affects a species' ability to control and adapt to its natural environment. The word technology comes from the Greek technología (τεχνολογία) — téchnē (τέχνη), 'craft' and -logía (-λογία), the study of something, or the branch of knowledge of a discipline.[1] A strict definition is elusive; technology can be material objects of use to humanity, such as machines, but can also encompass broader themes, including systems, methods of organization, and techniques. The term can either be applied generally or to specific areas: examples include "construction technology", "medical technology", or "state-of-the-art technology".

The human species' use of technology began with the conversion of natural resources into simple tools. The prehistorical discovery of the ability to control fire increased the available sources of food and the invention of the wheel helped humans in travelling in and controlling their environment. Recent technological developments, including the printing press, the telephone, and the Internet, have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a global scale. However, not all technology has been used for peaceful purposes; the development of weapons of ever-increasing destructive power has progressed throughout history, from clubs to nuclear weapons.

Technology has affected society and its surroundings in a number of ways. In many societies, technology has helped develop more advanced economies (including today's global economy) and has allowed the rise of a leisure class. Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products, known as pollution, and deplete natural resources, to the detriment of the Earth and its environment. Various implementations of technology influence the values of a society and new technology often raises new ethical questions. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity, a term originally applied only to machines, and the challenge of traditional norms.

Philosophical debates have arisen over the present and future use of technology in society, with disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it. Neo-Luddism, anarcho-primitivism, and similar movements criticise the pervasiveness of technology in the modern world, opining that it harms the environment and alienates people; proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and techno-progressivism view continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the human condition. Indeed, until recently, it was believed that the development of technology was restricted only to human beings, but recent scientific studies indicate that other primates and certain dolphin communities have developed simple tools and learned to pass their knowledge to other generations.

According to the doit.org Implementing an Information System Plan has two types the:

1.Direct- With this method of implementation the users stop using the manual system and start using the computer system from a given date.

The advantage of this method is that it is less costly in effort and time than any other method of implementation. The disadvantage of this method is that if problems occur the users do not have any alternative apart from returning to a manual system which may prove difficult if it has been discontinued.

2. Parallel Running- With parallel running, the new system is introduced alongside the existing system. With parallel running both systems (manual and computer, or old computer and new computer system) will be in operation at the same time. This has the advantage that the results from the new system can be compared with those of the old system.

However, it has the major disadvantage that each job is done twice and therefore it means a lot of extra work for the users.

javascript:emoticonp('afro')Then I’ll be explaining to the president the Softwares and Hardwares that will be used in the said Information System.

What are Softwares?

Computer software, or just software is a general term used to describe the role that computer programs, procedures and documentation play in a computer system. It's the intangible part of the computer system, meaning it cannot be touched.
The term includes:

Application software, such as word processors which perform productive tasks for users.

Firmware, which is software programmed resident to electrically programmable memory devices on board mainboards or other types of integrated hardware carriers.

Middleware, which controls and co-ordinates distributed systems.

System software such as operating systems, which interface with hardware to provide the necessary services for application software.

Software testing is a domain dependent of development and programming. Software testing consists of various methods to test and declare a software product fit before it can be launched for use by either an individual or a group.
Testware, which is an umbrella term or container term for all utilities and application software that serve in combination for testing a software package but not necessarily may optionally contribute to operational purposes. As such, testware is not a standing configuration but merely a working environment for application software or subsets thereof.

Software includes things such as websites, programs or video games, that are coded by programming languages like C or C++.

"Software" is sometimes used in a broader context to mean anything which is not hardware but which is used with hardware, such as film, tapes and records.

What are Hardwares?

Hardware is a general term for the physical artifacts of a technology. It may also mean the physical components of a computer system, in the form of computer hardware.

Hardware historically meant the metal parts and fittings that were used to make wooden products stronger, more functional, longer lasting and easier to fabricate or assemble.[citation needed]

Modern hardware stores typically sell equipment such as keys, locks, hinges, latches, corners, handles, wire, chains, plumbing supplies, tools, utensils, cutlery and machine parts, especially when they are made of metal.

Types of Computers:

Analog Computers

Analog Computers and Digital computers are the two kinds of computers, the combination of which is responsible for the invention of the modern Hybrid computers. The analog systems carry out arithmetic and logical operations by manipulating and processing data which you input such as the weight, temperature, voltage, power density, etc. But unlike the digital computer that changes all inputs to binary digits of “1” and “0”, the analog computer does not change inputted data to any such sign language.

The analog computer has become obsolete type of computer these days. It is different from a digital computer as it can perform numerous mathematical operations simultaneously. The digital computers, however could not operate the more complex operations. The Analog System is also unique in terms of operation as it utilizes continuous variables for the purpose of mathematical computation. It utilizes mechanical, hydraulic, or electrical energy or operation.

Desktop Computers


Desktop computers are the most widely used Personal Computers which still claim a fair share of 46% of the total world market. In spite of the fact that PCs are now dwarfed to Laptops and Palmtops, Desktop machines rule most homes and business institutions because of their durability and cheapness. Desktop Personal Computers are found almost every where – almost in all middle class Indian homes, cyber cafes, shopping malls, business institutions, offices, etc.

The History of Desktop computers being produced at amass scale dates back to around the late 70s of the 20th century. When you come across a typical desktop computer, note that the PC that includes the following parts is visible to you:

-Visual Display Unit (VDU)
-Keyboard
-Central Processing Unit (CPU)
-Mouse

Digital Computers

Digital Computers are that kind of computing machines which work on the principle of binary mathematics. Digital computing machines when clubbed with Analog computers produce Hybrid computers. The digital systems work on the principle of binary mathematics. In binary mathematics all calculations are represented through “0” and “1”.

You have often heard about the word “Byte”, “Mega Byte”, “Kilo Byte”. But what is a Byte? A single Byte is a group of 8 numbers or bits represented through a code series comprising of “0” and “1” .The combination of the digital signal can solve a number of mathematical operations. It is interesting to note that the fundamentals of mathematics applied are addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. But the chief problem is that though it can solve mathematical problems at a tremendous speed, it cannot perform bulk operations simultaneously. For this purpose, digital systems by themselves cannot give very precise results. Hence, for greater efficiency, the Digital systems do not find much application.

Embedded Computers

Embedded computers are not just computer systems where you can input new programs, the embedded devices are preprogrammed. All you can do is make the most of the services that the embedded computer systems are capable of providing. Ever thought of how your digital camera or cell phone, or washing machine works? Sure they work with the support of electricity or may be they are battery powered but the functions that they execute is entirely because of the embedded systems.

Laptops

Laptops or Notebook computers are a type of personal computers which are portable devices. The special feature of laptop computers is that it is far lighter than a Desktop PC. Being a wireless system, you can use it even when there is a power cut or you are away from home where electricity is not available.

Laptops or Notebook Computers are different from a desktop computer not only in terms of size and portability but the following factors count for the basic difference:

In laptops, the mouse, keyboard and sound box is integrated with the main system itself.
A notebook computer is not powered by electricity but by a battery.
Nowadays networking features like Intel Centrino mobile Technology is installed within the laptop computers itself.
In most laptops with the exception of a few like Alienware, the internal parts cannot be updated once you have bought the Laptop.
And to say the least it is far more fragile than a Desktop PC.

Mainframes

Mainframes are computers that are the most bulky types and with the advancement of technology, they have almost become extinct. Computers are of three types – Mainframe computers, Minicomputers and Microcomputers. Mainframe computer systems can be called the predecessor of servers because they could actually support multi users though as efficiently as the servers. Usually, a main frame would occupy an entire room and could cost over million dollars.

Used for the purpose of research, engineering works, meteorological calculations, graphics and the likes, mainframes today constitutes Unix, Linux, and IBM's z/OS, OS/390, MVS, VM, and VSE. Mainframe systems were manufactured extensively throughout the 1950s and were marketed by IBM, Control Data, General Electric, NCR, UNIVAC, Honeywell, RC, and Burroughs.

Minicomputers

Minicomputers, what exactly are they? If supercomputers and mainframes are considered to be the best in terms of mathematical operations then minicomputer systems succeed them. Previously, minicomputers were considered to be superior to personal systems. But these days, advancement in technology has made minicomputers almost obsolete because the PCs today are highly advanced.

The Minicomputers were first built in in 1960s and they immediately became a huge success as 40,000 of the minicomputer systems were immediately sold of making the computers hugely available to the general public. With such a successful market possibility many companies stepped in to venture in the minicomputer market. The most successful among these two hundred companies was DEC that launched the minicomputer models PDP-11 and VAX 11/780.

Personal Computers or Micro Computers
Personal computers or Microcomputers are the most widely used computers which have found application in everyday activity of the modern world. The speed and accuracy of processing of the personal systems account for their high popularity. Think of a world where share market trading had to be carried out manually and the times when the fastest means of communication was but for the telephones were the telegrams. Those days are not even past 50 years, yet you cannot imagine life without the aid of personal computers or “PCs” as you abbreviate them.

Personal computers remind us mostly of Desktop computers or at the most Laptop computers. But actually Personal computers refer to:-
Desktop computers – Desktop Computers are those Personal computers that one comes across in business institutions, ATM s, Offices, etc. They have the second largest market among all kinds of PCs. They are unportable and long lasting.
Laptop computers – Laptop Computers are a personal system sub-type. As the name goes, it is a portable computer which is usually a light weight PC. The special feature of course, is that it is far lighter than a Desktop PC and being a wireless system, you can use it even when there is a power cut or you are away from home where electricity is not available.

javascript:emoticonp('afro')Then, I’ll tell the president that we might hire some outsource personnel to do this job and to implement this system.

Outsourcing is subcontracting a service, such as product design or manufacturing, to a third-party company. The decision whether to outsource or to do inhouse is often based upon achieving a lower production cost, making better use of available resources, focusing energy on the core competencies of a particular business, or just making more efficient use of labor, capital, information technology or land resources.[citation needed] It is essentially a division of labour. Outsourcing became part of the business lexicon during the 1980s.

javascript:emoticonp('afro')Then hire personnel to maintain the said system.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology
http://doit.ort.org/course/devinfosys/18.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_software
http://www.mapsofworld.com/referrals/computers/types-of-computers/desktop-computer.html
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janraysuriba



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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: December 17, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:21 am

The question was if I were invited by the university president to present my ISP (Information Systems Plan) for the university, identify and discuss the steps to expedite or speed up the implementation of the said Information Systems Plan.

Building an ISP (Information Systems Plan) might sound like an overwhelming task for a smaller organization, but it need not be. Since time and other resources are limited in any organization, it is important that you use resources wisely. One way to do this is by preparing and following a simple, effective plan. Fortunately, you can build on the experiences of other organizations that have already implemented an ISP.

As the case for USEP, though we may not be that techie neither of the facilities and the students can be called techie enough except for their exceptional talents, planning for an Information Systems may seem relevant. We all know what an Information System is already, I assumed, but to recall, The goal of an information system is to provide users with high-quality information so they can make effective decisions. An information system supports daily, short-term, and long-range activities of users. Some examples of users include store clerks, sales representatives, accountants, supervisors, managers, executives, and customers. The kinds and types of information that users need often change over time.

As I browse the net, I saw an article, no not just an article but rather a file of a 15-year Strategic Plan of our beloved university. As we all know, information systems planning is a part of a strategic planning in an organization or corporation, its other half is the business planning, as I assume. The 15-year Strategic Plan of the University of Southeastern Philippines specifically aims to provide the University with a road map to reposition itself toward becoming more competitive and responsive to the needs of its stakeholders. Essentially, this would mean USEP achieving academic excellence in the future and the leader in research, development and extension in Southern Philippines and the rest of the country. Well, I do hope something better will be notice soon enough.

Since an organization's or any corporation's business strategic plan contains both organizational goals and a broad outline of steps required to reach them, the business strategic plan affects the type of system an organization needs. Deciding which new systems to build should be an essential component of the organizational planning process. Organizations need to develop an information systems plan that supports their overall business plan and in which strategic systems are incorporated into top-level planning.

The information systems planning refers to the process of the translation of strategic and organizational goals into systems development plan and initiatives. For example, part of the information systems plan for a luxury car company might be to build a new product tracking system to meet the organizational goal of improving customer service. Proper information systems planning ensures that specific systems development objectives support organizational goals. One of the
primary benefits of information systems planning is that it provides a long-range view of information technology use in the organization. The information systems plan provides guidance on how the information systems infrastructure of the organization should be developed over time. The plan serves as a road map indicating the direction and rationale of systems development. Another benefit of information systems planning is that it ensures better use of information systems resources, including
funds, information systems personnel, and time for scheduling specific projects.

Overall objectives of information systems are usually distilled from the relevant aspects of the organization's business strategic plan. Information systems projects can be identified either directly from the objectives determined in the first step or may be identified by others, such as managers within the various functional areas. Setting priorities and selecting projects typically requires the involvement
and approval of senior management. Once specific projects have been selected within the overall context of a strategic plan for the business and the systems area, an information systems plan can be
developed. The plan contains a statement of organizational goals, identifies the project objectives, and specifies how information technology supports the attainment of the organizational goals. When
objectives are set, planners consider the resources necessary to complete the projects including equipment (computers, network servers, printers, and other equipment and devices), software,
employees (systems analysts, programmers, users and others), expert advice (specialists and other consultants), and so on.

The information systems plan lays out specific target dates and milestones that can be used later to monitor the plan’s progress in terms of how many objectives were actually attained in the time
frame specified in the plan. The plan also includes the key management decisions concerning hardware acquisition; structure of authority, data, and hardware; telecommunications; and required organizational change. Organizational changes are usually described, including management and employee training requirements; recruiting efforts; changes in business processes; and changes in authority, structure, or management practice. The manager's toolkit in gives the guideline for developing an information
system plan.


As part of translating the corporate strategic plan into the information systems plan, many companies seek systems development project that will provide a competitive advantage. This usually requires creative and critical analysis. Creative analysis involves the investigation of new approaches to existing problems. By looking at problems in new or different ways and by introducing innovative methods to solve them, many firms have gained a competitive advantage. Typically, these new solutions are inspired by people and things not directly related to the problem. Critical analysis requires unbiased and careful questioning of whether system elements are related in the most effective or efficient ways. It involves considering the establishment of new or different relationships among system elements and perhaps introducing new elements into the system.

The impact a particular system has on an organization's ability to meet its goals determines the true value of that system to the organization. While all systems should support business goals, some systems are more pivotal in continued operations and goal attainment than others. These systems are called mission-critical systems. An order processing TPS, for example, is usually considered mission-critical. Without it, few organizations could continue daily activities, and they clearly would not meet the goals.

Regardless of the particular system development effort, the development process should define a system with specific performance and cost objectives. The success or failure of the systems development effort will be measured against these objectives. Performance objectives measure the extent to which a system performs as desired. Is the system generating the right information for a value-added business process? Is the output generated in a form that is usable and easily understood? Is the system generating output in time to meet organizational goals and operational objectives? Cost objectives attempt to balance the benefits of achieving performance goals with all costs associated with the system. Balancing performance and cost objectives within the overall framework of organizational goals can be challenging. Systems development objectives are important, however, in that they allow an organization to effectively and efficiently allocate resources and measure the success of a systems development effort.

In establishing a good information systems plan, PROJECT MANAGEMENT plays a vital role. There is a very high failure rate among information systems projects because they have not been properly managed. The Standish Group, which monitors IT projects success rates, found that in 2007 only 29
percent of all IT investment were completed on time, on budget, and with all features and functions originally specified. Firms may have incorrectly assessed the business value of the new system or were unable to manage the organizational change required by the new technology. That is why it is essential to know how to manage information systems projects. Project management refers to the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to achieve specific targets within specified budget, and time constraints. Project management activities include planning the work, assessing risk, estimating resources required to accomplish the work, organizing the work, acquiring human and material resources, assigning tasks, directing activities, controlling project execution, reporting progress, and analyzing the result. As in other areas of business, project management for information systems must deal with five major variables: scope (defining what work is included in a project), time (defining the amount of time required to complete the project), cost (calculating the total cost of hardware, software, human resources, and work space), quality (specifying an indicator of how well the end result of a project satisfies the objectives), and risk (estimating the potential problems that would threaten the success of a project).

To plan and schedule a project effectively, the project leader must identify the following components of the project:
• The goal, objectives, and expectations of the project, collectively called the scope of the project
• Required activities
• Time estimates for each activity
• Cost estimates for each activity
• The order in which activities must occur
• Activities that may be performed concurrently

When these items are identified, the project leader usually records them in a project plan. A popular tool used to plan and schedule the time relationships among project activities is a Gantt chart.

Information systems development consists of phases, referred to collectively as the system development life cycle. The system development life cycle (SDLC) is a very formal approach to building information systems and refers to all the activities that go into producing an information systems solution to an organizational problem or opportunity. This methodology assumes that an
information system has a life cycle similar to that of any living organism, with a beginning, a working period, and an end. SDLC partitions the system development process into distinct phases and has an organized set of activities that guide people through the development of an information system. Some activities in the SDLC may be performed at the same time, while other activities are performed sequentially. Each activity involves interaction with the organization. Depending on the type and
complexity of the information systems being developed, the nature and duration of the specific activities vary from one system to the next. The activities of the SDLC can be grouped into the five major phases:

1. Planning
2. Analysis
3. Design
4. Implementation
5. Operation and maintenance.

Each phase in the system development cycle consists of a series of activities, and the phases form
a loop. Information systems development is an ongoing process for an organization. The phases in the SDLC form a loop, because when the information system requires changing, which may happen for a variety of reasons such as information requirements of users has changed or hardware and software become obsolete, the planning phases for a new or modified system begins and the system development life cycle starts again. The goal of the SDLC is to keep the project under control and assure that the information system developed satisfies the requirements. In theory, the five phases in the system development cycle often appear sequentially. In reality, activities within adjacent phases often interact with one another--making the system development cycle a dynamic iterative process. Members of the system development team follow established guidelines during the entire system development cycle. They also interact with a variety of IT professionals and others during the system development cycle. In addition, they perform several ongoing activities during all five phases of the system development cycle. The following sections discuss each of these phases.

PLANNING PHASE. The initiation of a system development project may begin in many different ways. A system user requests a new or modified information system for a variety of reasons, some external and some internal. An external reason is competition. For example, once one bank offers Internet access to account information, others will have to follow suit, or run the risk of losing customers. One internal reason for modifying an information system is to improve or enhance it. For example, if a school wants to provide students with the ability to register for classes via the Internet, the school would have to modify the existing registration system to include this enhancement. The most obvious internal reason for changing an information system is to correct a business problem. For example, the stock-on-hand listed on a report may not match the actual stock-on-hand in the warehouse.

The planning phase for a project begins when the steering committee receives a project request. As mentioned earlier in this chapter, the steering committee is a decision-making body for a company. This committee typically includes a mix of vice presidents, managers, nonmanagement users, and IT personnel.

During the planning phase, four major activities are performed:
(1) review and approve the project requests;
(2) prioritize the project requests;
(3) allocate resources such as money, people, and equipment to approved projects; and
(4) form a project development team for each approved project.

ANALYSIS PHASE. “What do we want the system to do for our business?” This phase identifies business objectives, system functionality, and information requirements. System functionalities are a list of the types of information systems capabilities you will need to achieve your business objectives. The information requirements for a system are the information elements that the system must produce in order to achieve the business objectives. You will need to provide these lists to system developers and programmers so they know what you as the manager expect them to do. The key
here is to let the business decisions drive the technology, not the reverse. This will ensure that your technology platform is aligned with your business.

Once you have identified the business objectives and system functionalities, and have developed a list of information requirements, you can consider how all these functionalities will be delivered. System analysis is the analysis of the problem that the organization will try to solve with an information system. This analysis consists of two major tasks:
(1) conduct a preliminary investigation and
(2) perform a detailed analysis.

When the steering committee discusses the system proposal and decides which alternative to pursue, it often is deciding whether to buy packaged software from an outside source, build its own custom software, or outsource some or all of its IT needs to an outside firm. Packaged software is mass-produced, copyrighted, prewritten software available for purchase. Vendors offer two types of packaged software: horizontal and vertical. Horizontal market software meets the needs of many different types of companies. If a company has a unique way of accomplishing activities, then it also ma require vertical market software. Vertical market software specifically is designed for a particular business or industry. Horizontal market software tends to be more widely available and less expensive than vertical market software. You can search for vertical and horizontal market software on the Web.

Instead of buying packaged software, some companies write their own applications. Application software developed by the user or at the user's request is called custom software. The main advantage of custom software is that it matches the company's requirements exactly. The disadvantages usually are that it is more expensive and takes longer to design and implement than packaged software. Companies can develop custom software in-house using their own IT personnel or outsource it, which
means having an outside source develop it for them. Some companies outsource just the software development aspect of their IT operation. Others outsource more or all of their IT operation. Depending on a company's needs, outside firms can handle as much of the IT requirements as desired. Some provide hardware and software. Others provide services such as Web design and development, Web hosting, sales, marketing, billing, customer service, and legal assistance. A trend that has caused much
controversy relates to companies that outsource to firms located outside their homeland.

DESIGN PHASE. Information analysis describes what an information system should do to meet information requirements, while information systems design shows how the system will fulfill this objective. The design of an information system is the overall plan or model for that system, which consists of all the specifications that give the system its form and structure. You must have a
system design specification--a description of the main components in the system and their relationship to one another. These specifications should address all of the managerial, organizational, and technological components of the system solution.

The design phase consists of two major activities: logical design and physical design. Logical design lays out the logical model that describes the components of the system and their relationship to each other as they would appear to the users. It describes inputs and outputs, processing functions to be performed, business procedures, data models and controls. Controls specify standards for acceptable performance and methods for measuring actual performance in relation to these standards. A logical design usually is a data flow diagram.

During program design, the systems analyst prepares the program specification package, which identifies the required programs and the relationship among each program, as well as the input, output, and database specifications. Many people should review the detailed design specifications before they are given to the programming team. Reviewers should include users, systems analysts, managers, IT staff, and members of the system development team. One popular review technique is an inspection. An inspection is a formal review of any system development cycle deliverable. A team of four or
five people examines the deliverables, such as reports, diagrams, mockups, layout charts, and dictionary entries. The purpose of an inspection is to identify errors in the item being inspected. Any identified errors are summarized in a report so they can be addressed and corrected.

One again, the systems analyst reevaluates feasibility to determine if it still beneficial to proceed with the proposed solution. If the steering committee decides the project still is feasible, which usually is the case, the project enters the implementation phase.

IMPLEMENTATION PHASE. When you have both the logical and physical designs for your system, you can begin considering how to actually build the system. The implementation phase converts the system specifications established during systems analysis and design phases into a fully operational information system. The purpose of this phase is to construct the new or enhanced system and then
deliver it to the users. Five major activities are performed in this phase:
(1) acquire necessary hardware and software;
(2) develop computer programs if necessary;
(3) install and test the new system;
(4) train and educate users; and
(5) convert to the new system.

According to the specifications in the system design, the system analyst sends either a request for quotation or a request for proposal to prospective hardware and software vendors. A request for quotation (RFQ) is used when you know which products you want. The vendor quotes prices for the specified products. A request for proposal (RFP) is used when you want the vendor to select the products that meets your requirements and them quote the prices. Systems analysts have a variety of ways to locate vendors. Many publish their product catalogs on the Web. These online catalogs provide up-to-date information on and easy access to products, prices, technical specifications, and ordering information. Another source for hardware and software products is a value-added reseller. A value-added reseller (VAR) is a company that purchases products from manufacturers and then resells these products to the public--offering additional services with the product. Examples of additional services
include user support, equipment maintenance, training, installation, and warranties. Instead of using vendors, some companies hire IT consultants; that is, they outsource this task. An IT consultant is a professional who is hired based on computer expertise, including service and advice. IT consultants often specialize in configuring hardware and software for businesses of all sizes.

OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE PHASE. After the new system is installed and conversion is complete, the system is said to be in production or operation. The information systems specialists maintain the information system and provide its users with ongoing assistance during its operation
period. This phase consists of four major activities:
(1) conducting a post-implementation system review;
(2) correcting errors;
(3) identifying enhancements; and
(4) monitoring system performance.

One of the first activities the company performs is to meet with users. The purpose of this meeting, called the post implementation system review, is to discover whether the information system is performing according to the users' expectations. Both users and technical specialists will review the information system to determine how well it has met its original objectives and to decide whether any revisions or modifications are in order. If the system is not meeting the users' expectations, the systems analyst must determine what must be done to satisfy the users--back to the planning phase.

Sometimes users identify errors in the system when the program does not produce correct results. Problems with design (logic) usually are the cause of these errors. For example, the total of a column might be incorrect on a daily order summary. These types of errors require investigation--back to the planning phase.

If the users would like the system to do more, that is, they have additional requirements, the system analyst must decide how to enhance the existing system to satisfy the users. System enhancement involves modifying or expanding an existing information system--back to the planning phase.

The system analyst monitors the system to determine if the system is inefficient at any point and if the inefficiency is causing a problem. Changes in hardware, software, documentation, or procedures to an existing system to correct errors, meet new requirements, or improve processing efficiency means that we begin planning all over again. Thus, the loop forms in the system development life cycle.

REFERENCE:

http://www.flint.umich.edu/~weli/courses/bus181/notes/chapter3.pdf
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Stihl Lhyn Samonte



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PostSubject: Assignment 4   Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:44 am

You were invited by the university president to prepare an IS plan for the university, discuss what are the steps in order to expedite the implementation of the IS Plan.


Information System Plan

In a very broad sense, the term information system is frequently used to refer to the interaction between people, processes, data and technology. In this sense, the term is used to refer not only to the information and communication technology (ICT) an organization uses, but also to the way in which people interact with this technology in support of business processes .
Some make a clear distinction between information systems, ICT and business processes. Information systems are distinct from information technology in that an information system is typically seen as having an ICT component. Information systems are also different from business processes. Information systems help to control the performance of business processes .
Alter argues for an information system as a special type of work system. A work system is a system in which humans and/or machines perform work using resources (including ICT) to produce specific products and/or services for customers. An information system is a work system whose activities are devoted to processing (capturing, transmitting, storing, retrieving, manipulating and displaying)information .
Part of the difficulty in defining the term information system is due to vagueness in the definition of related terms such as system and information. Beynon-Davies argues for a clearer terminology based in systemics and semiotics. He defines an information system as an example of a system concerned with the manipulation of signs. An information system is a type of socio-technical system. An information system is a mediating construct between actions and technology .
As such, information systems inter-relate with data systems on the one hand and activity systems on the other. An information system is a form of communication system in which data represent and are processed as a form of social memory. An information system can also be considered a semi-formal language which supports human decision making and action.

A business application of the computer. It is made up of the database, application programs and manual and machine procedures. It also encompasses the computer systems that do the processing.

Processing the Data

The database stores the subjects of the business (master files) and its activities (transaction files). The application programs provide the data entry, updating, query and report processing.

The Procedures

The manual procedures document how data are obtained for input and how the system's output is distributed. Machine procedures instruct the computer how to perform scheduled activities, in which the output of one program is automatically fed into another.

Transaction Processing

The daily work is the online, interactive processing of the business transactions and updating of customer, inventory and vendor files (master files).

Batch Processing

At the end of the day or other period, programs print reports and update files that were not updated on a daily basis. Periodically, files must be updated for routine maintenance such as adding and deleting employees and making changes to product descriptions.

Strategic Information Systems Planning

Strategic information systems planning, or SISP, is based on two core arguments. The first is that, at a minimum, a firm’s information systems investments should be aligned with the overall business strategy, and in some cases may even become an emerging source of competitive advantage. While no one disagrees with this, operations management researchers are just starting to study how this alignment takes place and what the measurable benefits are. An issue under examination is how a manufacturer’s business strategy, characterized as either “market focused” or “operations focused,” affects its ability to garner efficiency versus customer service benefits from its ERP investments.
The second core argument behind SISP is that companies can best achieve IS-based alignment or competitive advantage by following a proactive, formal and comprehensive process that includes the development of broad organizational information requirements. This is in contrast to a “reactive” strategy, in which the IS group sits back and responds to other areas of the business only when a need arises. Such a process is especially relevant to ERP investments, given their costs and long-term impact. Seegars, Grover and Teng (1) have identified six dimensions that define an excellent SISP process (notice that many of these would apply to the strategic planning process in other areas as well):
1. Comprehensiveness
Comprehensiveness is “the extent to which an organization attempts to be exhaustive or inclusive in making and integrating strategic decisions”.
2. Formalization
Formalization is “the existence of structures, techniques, written procedures, and policies that guide the planning process”.
3. Focus
Focus is “the balance between creativity and control orientations inherent within the strategic planning system”. An innovative orientation emphasizes innovative solutions to deal with opportunities and threats. An integrative orientation emphasizes control, as implemented through budgets, resource allocation, and asset management.
4. Top-down flow
SISP should be initiated by top managers, with the aid of support staff.
5. Broad participation
Even though the planning flow is top-down, participation must involve multiple functional areas and, as necessary, key stakeholders at lower levels of the organization.
6. High consistency
SISP should be characterized by frequent meetings and reassessments of the overall strategy.
The recommendations found in the SISP literature have been echoed in the operations management literature. It has been suggested that firms should institutionalize a formal top-down planning process for linking information systems strategy to business needs as they move toward evolution in their management orientation, planning, organization, and control aspects of the IT function.

The Steps in Order to Expedite the Implementation of the IS Plan

Step 1.Getting Started

The first step in a consumer information project is to lay the foundation for the project—financially, politically, and organizationally. While this may sound obvious, many projects fail because sponsors do not take the time to prepare. They dive right into the process of collecting and reporting data, only to be taken by surprise when someone objects to the project or the money runs out.
On the other hand, some projects never even get off the ground because the sponsors can't move beyond the planning process. The key to moving beyond the organizational stage is to develop and stick to a schedule that will force decisions and push the participants forward in the process.

Step 2.Collecting and Analyzing Data

During the planning stage (Step 1), sponsors choose what types of quality measures to share with the audience.
For guidance, go to Choose Quality Measures.
For many sponsors, the next step in a consumer information project is to gather that data and conduct the appropriate analyses so that these measures have meaning for consumers.
For more information on this step, choose one of the following topics:
Where You Can Get Information on Quality.
How to Know When You'll Need Help.
How to Skip This Step.
Making Sure Information Is Credible.

Where You Can Get Information on Quality

The source of quality information depends on the kind of data you need, which depends on the nature of the project you undertake. For some projects, particularly those involving health plans, standardized information is readily available, with little need for additional analysis. For projects involving provider groups, on the other hand, it may be necessary to collect and process raw data that can be turned into useful information.

How to Know When You'll Need Help

You are not likely to need help if the information you want is available from a reliable, trustworthy source that has already processed the data. In that case, you need only request or purchase the data and prepare it to meet the needs of your audience. For instance, several State agencies use the HEDIS® results (including averages and benchmarks)
provided by the NCQA's Quality Compass database to create a quality report on all the plans in the State.

Analysis Needed? Consider Some Assistance

If the data exist but require additional analysis to be useful to your audience, you may need assistance from a vendor qualified to conduct the type of analysis you need. For example, a purchasing coalition that offers five health plans to its members' employees could use HEDIS® results to calculate benchmarks or averages for those plans only. While some sponsors can handle an analysis of quality data on their own, others would benefit from expert advice and technical know-how.

Doing Your Own Data Collection and Analysis? Hire Help

If you want to collect and analyze quality data yourself, you would be well-advised to contract with a knowledgeable, experienced vendor. Few sponsors have the technical know-how, the manpower, or the clinical knowledge to generate their own data and do their own analyses. If, for instance, you want to use the CAHPS® survey kit to gather data on your employees' experiences with care, you have to rely on an outside contractor.
The CAHPS® protocol recommends that the survey be conducted by an independent vendor that will take responsibility for collecting the data, analyzing it, and presenting the results in a manner consistent with the CAHPS® methodology.
Sponsors may also need outside help when they combine measures into categories, calculate summary scores, or show relative performance; consultants with statistical expertise can ensure that the sponsors don't misrepresent the performance of competing plans.

How to Skip this Step

Of course, not all sponsors want to or can gather quality information on their own. While you may start out with the intention of doing everything yourself, it is not always practical or affordable to obtain the data you need when you need it. It may also be redundant and thus wasteful to ask health care organizations for information they have already given to someone else.
Rather than follow this path, you may prefer to use information that another party has already prepared, or direct consumers to data provided by others. In many markets, organizations such as regulatory agencies, purchasers, accrediting organizations, and provider associations are collecting health care quality data on a regular basis. Examples of useful sources of quality information include Medicare, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and possibly agencies in your own State government.
This approach is efficient and offers sponsors the ability to present more data than they could have ever gathered on their own. The potential downside, however, is that you will probably need to make some compromises. That is, the information made available by someone else may not be exactly what you want, ready when you want it, or applicable to the precise information needs of your audience.

Making Sure Information Is Credible

From your perspective as a sponsor hoping to educate and inform the public, the validity and accuracy of data are critical. If consumers do not trust that the data truly reflect the quality of care they can expect, all your efforts are wasted.
To ensure the credibility of your data, make sure you understand the methodology that was used to collect and analyze it. Some tools, such as the CAHPS® Survey and Reporting Kit, include specific instructions for sponsors regarding what they need to understand to maintain the validity of data. You do not need to understand all of the technical and statistical details, but you should feel confident about the following:
• The information has been collected and reported in compliance with an established, tested methodology. If the task is being handled by an outside vendor, confirm that the vendor is following an accepted protocol (e.g., using an appropriate sample size).
• The analysis and interpretation of the data has been handled independently of the health care organizations. That is, while these organizations may offer helpful and necessary advice, they should not be making the final decisions.

To confirm that health care organizations have followed the standard procedures for calculating measures, consider having the measures audited or requiring audited measures. To improve the consistency of auditing criteria and processes, NCQA certifies organizations to audit HEDIS® results from health plans. Since 1999, all health plans accredited by NCQA have had to submit HEDIS® results that have been audited by an NCQA-certified vendor.
For measures other than HEDIS®, sponsors may want to consider vendors that can apply the auditing principles recommended by NCQA. To minimize inconsistencies, hire the same vendor to handle all audits and confirm that all auditors use the same criteria in their work.



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Stihl Lhyn Samonte



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PostSubject: Assignment 4   Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:49 am

Step 3. Presenting the Information

Presentation—or how you say what you have to say—plays a critical part in ensuring thatyour efforts to convey quality information are successful. One of the most challenging aspects of a performance measurement project is figuring out how to present the data in a way that helps consumers interpret the information and apply it to their health care-related decisions. Many sponsors have struggled with this question, only to find themselves making the same mistakes as others before them. One of the key objectives of this site is to support project sponsors in learning from the experiences of their peers as well as from the findings of researchers regarding the best ways to discuss, format, and display information on quality.

Five Key Points About Presentation

Here are the five most important things to remember about presenting information on health care quality:
1. There is no one way to do this—but there are better ways and worse ways. At this time, there is no universally accepted approach to providing information on quality to consumers. The marketplace is full of experiments, most of which have not been evaluated. But we do know that some approaches to presenting quality information work better than others in the sense that consumers find it easier to understand the data and evaluate their options.
2. The answer that's best for you depends on who your audience is and how they'll use the information. The way you present information—and even the information itself—should be
driven by the needs of whoever is supposed to be reading it. Consumers are the focus of this Web site, but they are not the only audience for health care quality information. Sponsors can develop information for:
• Public or private purchasers.
• Non-purchasing intermediary organizations, such as consumer advocacy groups.
• Policymakers.
• Provider organizations.
• Individual providers.
• Health plans.
Each of these audiences has different needs for quality information. As a result, an approach that is appropriate for individual consumers may not be at all useful for a different audience.
For example:
• Plans and providers may want more detail in order to identify specific opportunities to improve quality.
• Policymakers, on the other hand, may want a higher level of aggregation that would reveal larger trends in the marketplace.
• Intermediary organizations and purchasers may want enough data to draw their own conclusions rather than having the information interpreted for them.
3. Data cannot be presented in a vacuum. The context you provide (or fail to provide) for the information affects what your audience pays attention to and how they interpret it. In particular, consumers are more likely to care about the information if you can connect it to their concerns about health care and the health care system. For instance, data on ease of referrals has greater relevance to an audience that understands how a health plan may limit their access to specialists. This implies that it is not enough to provide data; a quality report must include some explanation of how the health care system works and what the data reveal about a health care organization.
4. For the typical consumer, a quality measure has no meaning on its own. It is the sponsor's job to turn quality measures into information that consumers can easily comprehend, evaluate, and use. You can do this by doing one or more of the following:
• Grouping measures into consumer-friendly categories.
• Offering a basis for comparison, such as an average or benchmark for the market.
• Interpreting the information for your audience by making it clear which results are truly better than others.
5. The medium shapes the message. Whether you rely on printed reports, Web sites, or live presentations, the medium you choose to deliver the information can determine how much you present and how you display it. For instance, you can offer many more layers of detail on the Web than you can in print without overwhelming your audience. A printed report, on the other hand, offers the ability to create large displays of information across multiple pages. This suggests that you will need to have some sense of what the final product will be before you can decide on a design and format for quality information. Making Sure Your Materials Work for Your Audience No
matter how limited your resources may be, do what you can to test the materials as you develop them to make sure they are suitable for your audience. This approach allows you to identify and remedy trouble spots along the way rather than waiting until the information has been disseminated to discover any problems. Specifically, sponsors can conduct ongoing testing to assess:
• Whether consumers can read the information easily.
• Whether they can understand it.
• Whether the content is appropriate for your audience.
• Whether people are interested in your content (i.e., its salience).
• Whether consumers can use your materials for the purpose for which they are intended.
• Whether they can navigate through the materials to find the information they want.
Techniques for this kind of iterative testing include one-on-one interviews as well as focus groups.

Step 4. Disseminating Information

Long before you have the information to distribute, you need to be thinking about how and when to get it into the hands of consumers. Sponsors should ask themselves:
• What can we do to ensure that our audience is aware of our information and motivated to use it?
• When is the best time to make the information available? Is this timing realistic?
• What channels can we use to distribute the information to our audience? How can we make sure they see it?
• How should we package the information? Should it stand alone or be incorporated into other information?
The answers to these questions will affect how much time you have to produce the report as well as the kinds of measures and depth of content that you can include. For example:
• If the goal is to release a performance report in early fall so that consumers have it in time for the open enrollment season, you may not have enough time to conduct your own survey of enrollees but you could ask your plans to share the HEDIS® scores—which include results of the CAHPS® survey—that they have to report to NCQA by early summer.
• If the most sensible way to package the performance information is to integrate it into open enrollment materials, you will have to deal with space constraints that would not be necessary in a stand-alone document. This may affect the way you present the data or how much data you can include.

Step 5. Supporting Consumers

For many sponsors of consumer information projects, the job ends once the reports have been distributed. But both experienced sponsors and researchers testing consumer behavior have demonstrated that it is not enough to give consumers data. They need help in interpreting the information on quality, integrating it with other relevant data (such as costs), and using it to make decisions. Without this help, many simply ignore the information they have, or worse, use it inappropriately. Strategies for providing "decision support" include the following:
• Refer consumers to consumer advocates and other "information intermediaries" who can help your audience understand and use the information you provide. You may need to provide those intermediaries with training, scripts, and documents they can share with consumers. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), formerly the Health Care Financing Administration, funds a Nationwide program called SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Programs) to help seniors work through insurance issues and answer their questions.
• Offer consumers a worksheet that guides them through the process of evaluating their options. Worksheets help the reader keep track of the information needed to make decisions. While they can be too complicated for some consumers, they are a valuable tool for the information intermediaries who may assist consumers in reaching decisions.
• Design computer-based systems that facilitate decisionmaking by allowing the user to weight different factors or by ranking the available choices based on the user's response to a set of questions. To determine which strategy will work best for your audience, you may want to consult with representative consumers and/or appropriate intermediaries. Also, be sure to evaluate your support strategy once it is implemented to find out how well it is serving the needs of your
audience and how you can improve it.

Step 6. Evaluating the Project

Finally, the last step for sponsors is to evaluate the extent to which the project achieved its objectives. This could be as simple as asking whether consumers are aware of the information you produced or as complicated as finding out whether and how consumers used the
information to help make decisions. Evaluations are important for internal purposes because they enable you to determine how effective your project is and how it can be improved. But they are equally critical for external reasons. First, being able to demonstrate that the project has had a positive impact will help you secure political support and continued funding. In addition, an evaluation allows other sponsors to learn from your experience.
The following methods are commonly used to evaluate projects:
• Focus groups.
• Surveys.
• Usability testing.
• Analysis of changes in enrollment patterns.



Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_system
http://scm.ncsu.edu/public/facts/facs060329.html
http://www.talkingquality.gov/docs/section1/1_2.htm


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Alfredo V. Ala-an



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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: December 17, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:33 am

You were invited by the university president to prepare an IS plan for the university, discuss what are the steps in order to expedite the implementation of the IS Plan.

Project Implementation: Eight steps to success

Let’s look at the major steps associated with implementation. Note that many of these activities need to be completed ahead of time. You cannot start planning for implementation while you are actually implementing.


1. [b]Prepare the infrastructure
. Many solutions are implemented into a production environment that is separate and distinct from where the solution was developed and tested. It is important that the characteristics of the production environment be accounted for. This strategy includes a review of hardware, software, communications, etc. In our example above, the potential desktop capacity problem would have been revealed if we had done an evaluation of the production (or real-world) environment. When you are ready for implementation, the production infrastructure needs to be in place.

IT Infrastructure Management

FPI maintains one of the country's largest field service group, with trained engineers available to immediately respond to your needs. This is the same field support group that has consistently topped local independent user satisfaction surveys for after-sales support services. Aside from the people, we have invested in a single-point-of-contact call center, to receive all customer calls and assign them to the proper FPI engineers for immediate action. All calls and responses are monitored and measured, to provide quantitative measurements of our service levels.

While we highly value the lessons we have learned from our early mainframe data center support days, we do acknowledge that today's systems are more complex. And we have revamped our service menus to adjust to these realities:
Installation Services

FPI’s experience with Fujitsu and other major hardware brands helps us meet the challenges of installing multiple-vendor systems. Our Implementation Service uses this experience to manage all stages of the platform implementation process – from planning the site, preparing the operating environment, delivering and unpacking the equipment, commissioning the hardware, installing and configuring the operating system, up to performing acceptance tests for clients.
Maintenance Services

FPI’s maintenance service is at the core of all field support services. We provide maintenance and warranty support for all Fujitsu and Sun equipment, and across all major brands of servers, PC’s, monitors, printers, terminals, ATM’s, POS, network equipment, and ancillary gear such as UPS. Spare parts are maintained at our main depot near the NAIA, while a smaller depot is also maintained in Cebu.
Desktop Support

With the proliferation of personal computers at office desktops, FPI offers a complete line of on-site desktop services, covering the complete life cycle from planning, procurement, installation, user education, desktop customization, hardware and software maintenance, and help desk support.
System Support

FPI offers system support services for problems related in the installation and operations of the popular server-side operating systems, including Solaris, Linux, Unixware, other UNIX variants, Windows NT, OS/2 and Netware, as well as the popular client-side environments such as Windows95/98/NT.
Integration Services

Since many enterprises maintain multiple tiers of computing platforms, FPI assists in interconnecting these disparate platforms (from data centers to departmental servers up to workstations), and providing the systems management methodology and tools to optimize the management of these resources.


2. Coordinate with the organizations involved in implementation. This may be as simple as communicating to your client community. However, few solutions today can be implemented without involving a number of organizations. For IT solutions, there are usually one or more operations and infrastructure groups that need to be communicated to ahead of time. Many of these groups might actually have a role in getting the solution successfully deployed. Part of the implementation work is to coordinate the work of any other groups that have a role to play. In some cases, developers simply failed to plan ahead and make sure the infrastructure groups were prepared to support the implementation. As a result, the infrastructure groups were forced to drop everything to make the implementation a success.

Implementation Process

As specialists in providing medical insurance to corporate groups, Allianz Worldwide Care is well versed in the practical requirements of setting up small, medium and large corporate schemes. Having a well established and tested implementation process is particularly important when it comes to the requirements of large groups.

We assign each scheme to our Group Management Centre which is responsible for the successful implementation and management of the account. Once we have gained a full understanding of the client’s key requirements, the details of plan design, premium structure, policy documentation and invoicing, the process for contract sign-off can be discussed and agreed.

An implementation plan is drawn up to ensure that the deadlines for the key implementation milestones are achieved. This plan includes the training of Allianz Worldwide Care staff e.g. Helpline Team, Claims officers, Client Services and Credit Control to ensure that staff are familiar with the details of the client agreement and that high levels of service are maintained.

Once the product and group information is set up on the Allianz Worldwide Care system, the insured member data can be input and policy documents can be issued. Policy documents can be accessed quickly via our Online Services, issued via email, or printed and posted. Our Helpline Team is proficient at guiding and advising members through the transition from one insurer to another and can offer guidance and support to members who could be mid-treatment.

Following successful implementation, the Group Management Centre can be consulted on an ongoing basis and can be contacted for administration queries and updates etc. via email, phone, fax, post and if necessary, through regular conference calls.



3. Implement training. Many solutions require users to attend training or more informal coaching sessions. This type of training could be completed in advance, but the further out the training is held, the less information will be retained when implementation rolls around. Training that takes place close to the time of implementation should be made part of the actual implementation plan.

How to assess Training needs

Training is a means of communicating new knowledge and skills and changing attitudes. It can raise awareness and provide people with the opportunity to explore their existing knowledge and skills. But, to be effective, training should be based on the needs of the people who are being trained (the participants). Training needs should be identified by both participants and their managers. Training should not only meet the needs of people being trained, but should meet the needs of the organization or project they are working for, and contribute to better services or standards for service users .A training need is the gap between what somebody already knows, and what they need to know to do their job or fulfill their role effectively. By identifying training needs trainers can decide what the objectives of the planned training should be. The first step in identifying training needs is to assess the current level of knowledge and skills of the participants. The second step is to clarify what skills, knowledge and attitudes people need to do their jobs or tasks. An assessment of training needs can be done in a number of ways:

_ Questionnaires Questions need to be clear, specific and simple. Avoid closed questions (i.e. those having ayes or no answer) as these identify what people think they know rather than what they actually know.
Questions should be geared towards finding out whether people have the skills and knowledge you think they need to do their jobs effectively.

_ Group discussions with participants these enable health workers to share comments and observations about what is happening in their workplaces and what skills they feel they may need.

_ Individual discussions with participants these give people the chance to talk in confidence about difficulties they are having and things they need to learn.

_ Self-assessment This involves asking health workers to list the things they think they are good attend what subjects they think they need training on.

_ Discussions with managers, service users and others Trainers can gather views on training needs from those who come into contact with the person to be trained.

_ Observing participants while they are working These methods help trainers to assess what people already know and what knowledge and skills they may need to acquire to work effectively. It is best together as much information as possible, using as many different methods as possible. However, you must decide how much information it is realistically possible to gather within the limits of available time and financial resources. This may mean only being able to carry outdone or two of the above. The trainer needs to decide what can realistically be covered during training session. Trainers should aim to ensure that training objectives (what they want people
to learn from the training session or programme) are very clear. Trainers can then plan training so that it addresses only those objectives.


4. Install the production solution. This is the piece everyone remembers. Your solution needs to be moved from development to test. If the solution is brand new, this might be finished in a leisurely and thoughtful manner over a period of time. If this project involves a major change to a current solution, you may have a lot less flexibility in terms of when the new solution moves to production, since the solution might need to be brought down for a period of time. You have to make sure all of your production components are implemented successfully, including new hardware, databases, and program code.

Application Solution Overview

Introduction to Application Solution Processes

Scope

The Application Solution Processes provide methods for evaluating, selecting, implementing, and deploying commercial off-the-shelf application packages. Considerable growth and maturity of the application package marketplace has prompted many organizations to adopt the policy of "package first, custom development second" in fulfilling business application needs. This product has been designed to help organizations select the right application package, tailor it to fit their needs, and integrate it with the business and technical environment where it will operate. Although the application solution processes are specifically designed for selecting and implementing business application packages, it may be possible to adapt the processes to address other types of packages such as infrastructure packages (e.g., DBMS, development tools, transaction monitors) or productivity packages (e.g., word processors, spreadsheets).

The reasons for using the application solution processes generally fall into three categories:

* A business reengineering or business analysis project has identified the need for a system and the implementation of an application package is considered a logical and cost-effective solution;
* An existing application package has become obsolete or unusable, and must be replaced; or,
* A gap in automated support of the business has become a critical problem and needs to be plugged quickly.

Each of these scenarios is fully supported by this product.

Application Solution Processes

Processes for two types of application package projects are contained in this process library:

Application Solution Selection Process

The purpose of this process is to evaluate commercially available off-the-shelf packages against the organization's business and technical requirements, and select a package for implementation. This process is typically performed once for a given need, and encompasses the first two stages of this blueprint:

* Application Solution Strategy - establishes the approach to be used in evaluating packages based on an understanding of business objectives, principles, scope, risks, and the marketplace.
* Application Solution Evaluation - assesses qualified vendors and packages against the organization's requirements, and selects a package for implementation.

Application Solution Implementation Process

The purpose of this process is to tailor, prepare, and deploy the selected application package. This process may be performed more than once depending on the release strategy for the package, and encompasses the final two stages of this blueprint:

* Application Solution Enablement - configures and customizes the selected package to meet the organization's needs, and develops a set of products that are used to deploy the package at specified sites.
* Deployment - installs and makes the tailored package operational at specified sites.



5. Convert the data. Data conversion, changing data from one format to another, needs to take place once the infrastructure and the solution are implemented.


6. Perform final verification in production. You should have prepared to test the production solution to ensure everything is working as you expect. This may involve a combination of development and client personnel. The first check is just to make sure everything is up and appears okay. The second check is to actually push data around in the solution, to make sure that the solution is operating as it should. Depending on the type of solution being implemented, this verification step could be extensive.

Verification Process Details
Verifications are typically performed in batches called “rounds,” so that they can be carefully planned to maximize the coverage within a given budget. Some products and criteria are selected essentially at random but many are selected because they are considered difficult to meet or are particularly environmentally important. The selections are also influenced by the results of previous verifications and by credible input that we receive from purchasers or other interested parties. Stakeholders are encouraged to contact EPEAT if they have good reason to doubt the veracity of a declaration.
When a round of verifications is launched a “snapshot” is taken of the product registry and verification proceeds to its conclusion based on the products and declarations on the registry at that time. Each investigation (the checking of one criterion of one product) generally results in a finding of conformance or of non-conformance. Manufacturers have opportunities to correct problems that are found, but ultimately if a manufacturer is unable to adequately demonstrate conformance they are compelled to correct the declaration. This may result in the product becoming unregistered or may simply reduce the number of optional points toward EPEAT Silver or Gold for that product. Results of verification investigations are publicly reported in a Verification Round Outcomes report, which includes information on the manufacturers and products investigated. If a manufacturer is found over time to not be a trustworthy user they may be barred from using the EPEAT system.



7. Implement new processes and procedures. Many IT solutions require changes to be made to business processes as well. These changes should be implemented at the same time that the actual solution is deployed.



Senior Management must understand, support, and be a part of the Defect Management Program.

The Defect Management process should be integrated into the overall software development process.

The bulk of the defect measurement, collection, and analysis work should be implemented by individual project teams not by an independent function. An independent function, such as a Quality Assurance function, may be appropriate to support the project teams and to provide departmental consolidation and analysis of the information.

To the extent practical, the process should be repeatable and automated.

Specific development approaches (e.g., testing, inspections, etc.) should be chosen based on project objectives and risks that must be addressed.

Process improvement efforts should be driven by the measurement process.

It should be noted, the process does not require a significant investment, yet will likely result in significant payback.

The basic steps to establish a defect management program are as follows:


Define Critical Defect Metrics -- The first step in establishing a defect management program is to understand the organization's objectives. These objectives should point to the defect measures that are most important to the organization.

Identify Critical Risks -- The next step is to understand the critical risks the organization faces when developing and maintaining software.

Identify Process Improvements -- Once the critical metrics have been defined and the critical risks have been identified, one can identify the areas where process improvements are needed.

Develop Defect Management Plan -- The Defect Management Plan documents the results of the earlier steps and defines the implementation strategy for the Defect Management Program.

Pilot the Defect Management Process -- The concept of a pilot project is designed to implement the program in a controlled manner so that issues and obstacles to successful implementation can be identified and resolved quickly.



8. Monitor the solution. Usually the project team will spend some period of time monitoring the implemented solution. If there are problems that come up immediately after implementation, the project team should address and fix them.

Monitoring Process Example

The Microsoft Application Center 2000 (Application Center) monitoring process includes four steps:

*

Data generation
*

Data logging
*

Data summarization
*

Data use

Each of these steps is described in the following sections.
Data Generation

Application Center, Microsoft Health Monitor 2.1, and Microsoft® Windows® 2000 generate events and performance counters and provide them to Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). Application Center subscribes to, or listens for, a subset of WMI events and captures them to a log for use later by the Application Center user interface. Application Center also includes extended information about its events, called event details, and specific troubleshooting information.

Events are generated automatically in response to a specific occurrence on a cluster or cluster member. These events tell you about what is going on in your system. These events are crucial to understanding which actions to take to solve problems that are associated with events and errors.
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Data Logging

The monitoring data that is gathered by Application Center is logged to and stored in a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 database, Application Center Events and Performance Logging, which is in the Application Center installation directory at %Program Files%\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL$MSAC. This database is exactly like SQL Server in its tables' infrastructure and function. You use the same queries, stored procedures, and other data access methods that you use for SQL Server. You can use the information in this database for a variety of operations, including query by the user interface for displaying purposes or query by scripts or stored procedures for archiving or summarizing data.

Logging the monitoring data rather than consuming it in real time allows the data to be displayed more flexibly and provides a simple and structured mechanism for other applications and services to access the data. Because this data is stored in tables, you can use Structured Query Language (SQL) queries to generate reports or archive the data before it is overwritten or summarized.

Application Center scans the 1-Minute, 15-Minute, and 2-Hour logs for data points that are older than the date specified in the Keep logged events for (days) box in the Events Properties dialog box. All data points that are older than this date are removed from the event log. Because data summarization provides several levels of granularity that correspond to the different time frames, Application Center can show data points for several different time frames. For example, the data points for the last 15 minutes are more granular than the data points for the current day.

You can choose to install Application Center without installing Application Center Events and Performance Logging. If you do this, you will no longer be able to view data in the Events view or the performance chart, nor will you be able to archive data or generate reports programmatically.

Bb687494.caution(en-us,TechNet.10).gif Caution If you do not install Application Center Events and Performance Logging, all event and performance counter data will not be available unless you use some other method to capture and log the data. Only a subset of Application Center events logged by the Windows 2000 Event Log will be available.
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Data Summarization

Application Center collects detailed information about cluster and member status. Because Application Center collects a large amount of data, the file sizes of the Application Center Events and Performance Logging tables can grow large. If all this information is stored for a long time, it quickly consumes too much disk space. Therefore, to conserve disk space and to keep these files small, Application Center periodically summarizes the stored data and relogs it to a summarization table.
Data Use

Application Center is the primary consumer of the event and monitoring information that it logs. The user interface, especially the Events view, performance chart, and cluster status, displays this information for the cluster or member. You can customize these views.

You can use SQL Server 2000 Data Transformation Services (DTS), SQL Server Agent, or some other similar application to archive data for later use in reports. You can export the information to various formats, including SQL Server 7.0 tables, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, and Microsoft Access databases.

You can use Active Server Pages (ASP) applications, or similar scripts or applications, to perform queries on the event and monitoring data that Application Center Events and Performance Logging records, and then generate reports from the data. These applications can use SQL queries against the data tables, retrieve and filter the returned data, display the data, and create another table to store the reported data.


Part I of this series pointed out the need for planning and communication to help ensure a successful implementation. In this column, we looked at the actual work typically performed in a complex implementation. However, your implementation may not be as complex, and you may not need to look at all of these areas. Nevertheless, there is usually a lot more involved than just throwing the final solution into the production environment. You need to account for the environment the solution will run in, as well as processes and training needs of the client community. If you think through implementation from a holistic approach and communicate well, there is a much greater likelihood that your project will end as a win.

resources:

http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-1054399.html
http://www.fujitsu.com/ph/services/infrastructure/
http://www.allianzworldwidecare.com/implementation-process
http://www.healthlink.org.uk/PDFs/training.pdf
http://www.gantthead.com/content/processes/9483.cfm
http://www.epeat.net/ProductVerification.aspx
http://www.defectmanagement.com/defectmanagement/implement_process.htm
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb687494.aspx
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Shiela Marie P. Nara



Posts: 62
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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: December 17, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:11 am

MIS 2_4. ISP in the university

Our fourth assignment in MIS 2 was about visualizing ourselves being invited by the university (University of Southeastern Philippines) to prepare an Information systems plan for the university, and then discussing the steps in order to expedite the implementation of the ISP.

Since the university is also an organization and is in the trend in Information Technology, Though, seldom noticed because of its lack of implementation not realizing the dreams, vision, mission, goals, It is also practicing to have an Information systems Plan the same approach with the other organizations.

Although the university is visualizing for an unreachable dream through its strategic Information System’s planning, it can be thought that its actual implementation is yet too far from the truth.

As a result, students, faculties, staffs and other residents and the university itself seem not to recognize the existing ISP and the plans to improve it.

IN this particular assignment, I was assumed or presumed to be an IT expert or even a Systems Analyst who was hired by the university to prepare an ISP.

It is not necessarily for me to create a new ISP, what are the things I must do is to study and understand the real scenario of the university, And then, study the existing ISP. And decide to create modifications, changes, improvement and possibly integration with the current ISP that was not yet realized.

Also, I have to consider the various specifications and constraints. Considering that it is a state university which is subsidized by the government, so budget allotted for ISP must be optimized.

In the article Information Systems Plan: The Bet-Your-Business Project by by Michael M. Gorman, the rationale for an Information plan is stated.

Every year, $300-700 million dollar corporations spend about 5% of their gross income on information systems and their supports. That's from about $15,000,000 to $35,000,000! A significant part of those funds support enterprise databases, a philosophy of database system applications that enable corporations to research the past, control the present, and plan for the future.

Even though an information system costs from $1,000,000 to $10,000,000, and even through most chief information officers (CIOs) can specify exactly how much money is being spent for hardware, software, and staff, CIOs cannot however state with any degree of certainty why one system is being done this year versus next, why it is being done ahead of another, or finally, why it is being done at all.

Many enterprises do not have model-based information systems development environments that allow system designers to see the benefits of rearranging an information systems development schedule. Consequently, the questions that cannot be answered include: What effect will there be on the overall schedule if an information system is purchased versus developed?

At what point does it pay to hire an abnormal quantity of contract staff to advance a schedule?

What is the long term benefit from 4GL versus 3GL?

Is it better to generate 3GL than to generate/use a 4GL?

What are the real costs of distributed software development over centralized development?

If these questions were transformed and applied to any other component of a business (e.g., accounting, manufacturing, distribution and marketing), and remained unanswered, that unit's manager would surely be fired!

We not only need answers to these questions NOW!, we also need them quickly, cost effectively, and in a form that they can be modeled and changed in response to unfolding realities. This paper provides a brief review of a successful 10-step strategy that answers these questions.

Too many half-billion dollar organizations have only a vague notion of the names and interactions of the existing and under development information systems. Whenever they need to know, a meeting is held among the critical few, an inventory is taken, interactions confirmed, and accomplishment schedules are updated.

This ad hoc information systems plan was possible only because all design and development was centralized, the only computer was a main-frame, and the past was acceptable prologue because budgets were ever increasing, schedules always slipping, and information was not yet part of the corporation's critical edge.

Well, today is different, really different! Budgets are decreasing, and slipped schedules are being cited as preventing business alternatives. Confounding the computing environment are different operating systems, DBMSs, development tools, telecommunications (LAN, WAN, Intra-, Inter-, and Extra-net), and distributed hard- and software.



Rather than having centralized, long-range planning and management activities that address these problems, today's business units are using readily available tools to design and build ad hoc stop-gap solutions. These ad hoc systems not only do not interconnect, support common semantics, or provide synchronized views of critical corporate policy, they are soon to form the almost impossible to comprehend confusion of systems and data from which systems order and semantic harmony must spring.



Not only has the computing landscape become profoundly different and more difficult to comprehend, the need for just the right--and correct--information at just the right time is escalating. Late or wrong information is worse than no information.



Information systems managers need a model of their information systems environment. A model that is malleable. As new requirements are discovered, budgets modified, new hardware/software introduced, this model must be such that it can reconstitute the information systems plan in a timely and efficient manner.

Characteristics of a Quality ISP

A quality ISP must exhibit five distinct characteristics before it is useful. These five are presented in the table that follows.

Characteristic

Description

Timely The ISP must be timely. An ISP that is created long after it is needed is useless. In almost all cases, it makes no sense to take longer to plan work than to perform the work planned.

Useable The ISP must be useable. It must be so for all the projects as well as for each project. The ISP should exist in sections that once adopted can be parceled out to project managers and immediately started.

Maintainable The ISP must be maintainable. New business opportunities, new computers, business mergers, etc. all affect the ISP. The ISP must support quick changes to the estimates, technologies employed, and possibly even to the fundamental project sequences. Once these changes are accomplished, the new ISP should be just a few computer program executions away.


Quality While the ISP must be a quality product, no ISP is ever perfect on the first try. As the ISP is executed, the metrics employed to derive the individual project estimates become refined as a consequence of new hardware technologies, code generators, techniques, or faster working staff. As these changes occur, their effects should be installable into the data that supports ISP computation. In short, the ISP is a living document. It should be updated with every technology event, and certainly no less often than quarterly.

Reproducible The ISP must be reproducible. That is, when its development activities are performed by any other staff, the ISP produced should essentially be the same. The ISP should not significantly vary by staff assigned.



Whenever a proposal for the development of an ISP is created it must be assessed against these five characteristics. If any fail or not addressed in an optimum way, the entire set of funds for the development of an ISP is risked.

ISP Within the Context of the Meta data Environment

The information systems plan is the plan by which databases and information systems of the enterprise are accomplished in a timely manner. A key facility through which the ISP obtains its Adata@ is the meta data repository. The domain of the meta data repository is set forth in Figure 1, and, as seen through Figure 1, persons through their role within an organization perform functions in the accomplishment of enterprise missions, they have information needs. These information needs reflect the state of certain enterprise resources such as finance, people, and products that are known to the enterprises. The states are created through business information systems and databases.


The majority of the meta data employed to develop the ISP resides in the meta entities supporting the enterprise=s resource life cycles (see TDAN issue #7, December 1998, Resource Life Cycle Analysis), the databases and information systems, and project management. All these meta entities are depicted within the meta data repository meta model in Figure 2.

The ISP Steps


The information systems plan project determines the sequence for implementing specific information systems. The goal of the strategy is to deliver the most valuable business information at the earliest time possible in the most cost-effective manner.



The end product of the information systems project is an information systems plan (ISP). Once deployed, the information systems department can implement the plan with confidence that they are doing the correct information systems project at the right time and in the right sequence. The focus of the ISP is not one information system but the entire suite of information systems for the enterprise. Once developed, each identified information system is seen in context with all other information systems within the enterprise.

Information Systems Plan Development Steps

Step

Name

Description

1. Create the mission model The mission model, generally shorter than 30 pages presents end-result characterizations of the essential raison d=etre of the enterprise. Missions are strategic, long range, and a-political because they are stripped of the Awho@ and the Ahow.@
2. Develop a high-level data model The high-level data model is an Entity Relationship diagram created to meet the data needs of the mission descriptions. No attributes or keys are created.
3. Create the resource life cycles (RLC) and their nodes Resources are drawn from both the mission descriptions and the high level data model. Resources and their life cycles are the names, descriptions and life cycles of the critical assets of the enterprise, which, when exercised achieve one or more aspect of the missions. Each enterprise resource Alives@ through its resource life cycle.
4. Allocate precedence vectors among RLC nodes Tied together into a enablement network, the resulting resource life cycle network forms a framework of enterprise=s assets that represent an order and set of inter-resource relationships. The enterprise Alives@ through its resource life cycle network.
5. Allocate existing information systems and databases to the RLC nodes The resource life cycle network presents a Alattice-work@onto which the Aas is@ business information systems and databases can be Aattached.@ See for example, the meta model in Figure 2. The Ato-be@ databases and information systems are similarly attached. ADifference projects@ between the Aas-is@ and the Ato-be@ are then formulated. Achievement of all the difference projects is the achievement of the Information Systems Plan.
6. Allocate standard work break down structures (WBS) to each RLC node Detailed planning of the Adifference projects@ entails allocating the appropriate canned work breakdown structures and metrics. Employing WBS and metrics from a comprehensive methodology supports project management standardization, repeatability, and self-learning.
7. Load resources into each WBS node Once the resources are determined, these are loaded into the project management meta entities of the meta data repository, that is, metrics, project, work plan and deliverables. The meta entities are those inferred by Figure 2.
8. Schedule the RLC nodes through a project management package facilities. The entire suite of projects is then scheduled on an enterprise-wide basis. The PERT chart used by project management is the APERT@ chart represented by the Resource Life Cycle enablement network.
9. Produce and review of the ISP The scheduled result is predicable: Too long, too costly, and too ambitious. At that point, the real work starts: paring down the suite of projects to a realistic set within time and budget. Because of the meta data environment (see Figure 1), the integrated project management meta data (see Figure 2), and because all projects are configured against fundamental business-rationale based designs, the results of the inevitable trade-offs can be set against business basics. Although the process is painful, the results can be justified and rationalized.
10. Execute and adjust the ISP through time. As the ISP is set into execution, technology changes occur that affect resource loadings. In this case, only steps 6-9 need to be repeated. As work progresses, the underlying meta data built or used in steps 1-5 will also change. Because a quality ISP is Aautomated@ the recasting of the ISP should only take a week or less.


Collectively, the first nine steps take about 5000 staff hours, or about $500,000. Compared to an IS budget $15-35 million, that's only about 3.0% to 1.0%.

If the pundits are to be believed, that is, that the right information at the right time is the competitive edge, then paying for an information systems plan that is accurate, repeatable, and reliable is a small price indeed.

Executive and Adjusting the ISP Through Time

IT projects are accomplished within distinct development environments. The two most common are: discrete project and release. The discrete project environment is typified by completely encapsulated projects accomplished through a water-fall methodology.

In release environments, there are a number of different projects underway by different organizations and staff of varying skill levels. Once a large number of projects are underway, the ability of the enterprise to know about and manage all the different projects degrades rapidly. That is because the project management environment has been transformed from discrete encapsulated projects into a continuous flow process of product or functionality improvements that are released on a set time schedule. Figure 3 illustrates the continuous flow process environment that supports releases. The continuous flow process environment is characterized by: Multiple, concurrent, but differently scheduled projects against the same enterprise resource

Single projects that affect multiple enterprise resources

Projects that develop completely new capabilities, or changes to existing capabilities within enterprise resources

It is precisely because enterprises have transformed themselves from a project to a release environment that information systems plans that can be created, evolved, and maintained on an enterprise-wide basis are essential.

There are four major sets of activities within the continuous flow process environment. The user/client is represented at the top in the small rectangular box. Each of the ellipses represents an activity targeted to a specific need. The four basic needs are:

Need Identification

Need Assessment

Design

Deployment

The box in the center is the meta data repository. Specification and impact analysis is represented through the left two processes. Implementation design and accomplishment is represented by the right two processes. Two key characteristics should be immediately apparent. First, unlike the water-fall approach, the activities do not flow one to the other. They are disjoint. In fact, they may be done by different teams, on different time schedules, and involve different quantities of products under management. In short, these four activities are independent one from the other. Their only interdependence is through the meta data repository.

The second characteristic flows from the first. Because these four activities are independent one from the other, the enterprise evolves by means of releases rather than through whole systems. If it evolved through whole systems, then the four activities would be connected either in a waterfall or a spiral approach, and the enterprise would be evolving through major upgrades to encapsulated functionality within specific business resources. In contrast, the release approach causes coordinated sets of changes to multiple business resources to be placed into production. This causes simultaneous, enterprise-wide capability upgrades across multiple business resources.

Through this continuous-flow process, several unique features are present:

All four processes are concurrently executing.

Changes to enterprise resources occur in unison, periodically, and in a very controlled manner.

The meta data repository is always contains all the enterprise resource specifications: current or planned. Simply put, if an enterprise resource semantic is not within the meta data repository, it is not enterprise policy.

All changes are planned, scheduled, measured, and subject to auditing, accounting, and traceability.

All documentation of all types is generated from the meta data repository.

ISP Summary

In summary, any technique employed to achieve an ISP must be accomplishable with less than 3% of the IT budget. Additionally, it must be timely, useable, maintainable, able to be iterated into a quality product, and reproducible. IT organizations, once they have completed their initial set of databases and business information systems will find themselves transformed from a project to a release environment.

The continuous flow environment then becomes the only viable alternative for moving the enterprise forward. It is precisely because of the release environment that enterprise-wide information systems plans that can be created, evolved, and maintained are essential.

Strategic Information Systems Planning (SISP) - An IS Strategy for ERP Implementation

Written by:

Cecil Bozarth, SCRC


The following is based on Dr. Bozarth’s research on “ERP Implementation Efforts at Three Firms: Applying lessons from the SISP and IT-enabled change literature” which is scheduled to appear in the International Journal of Operations and Production Management.


Strategic information systems planning, or SISP, is based on two core arguments. The first is that, at a minimum, a firm’s information systems investments should be aligned with the overall business strategy, and in some cases may even become an emerging source of competitive advantage. While no one disagrees with this, operations management researchers are just starting to study how this alignment takes place and what the measurable benefits are. An issue under examination is how a manufacturer’s business strategy, characterized as either “market focused” or “operations focused,” affects its ability to garner efficiency versus customer service benefits from its ERP investments.

The second core argument behind SISP is that companies can best achieve IS-based alignment or competitive advantage by following a proactive, formal and comprehensive process that includes the development of broad organizational information requirements. This is in contrast to a “reactive” strategy, in which the IS group sits back and responds to other areas of the business only when a need arises. Such a process is especially relevant to ERP investments, given their costs and long-term impact. Seegars, Grover and Teng (1) have identified six dimensions that define an excellent SISP process (notice that many of these would apply to the strategic planning process in other areas as well):

1. Comprehensiveness

Comprehensiveness is “the extent to which an organization attempts to be exhaustive or inclusive in making and integrating strategic decisions”.

2. Formalization

Formalization is “the existence of structures, techniques, written procedures, and policies that guide the planning process”.

3. Focus

Focus is “the balance between creativity and control orientations inherent within the strategic planning system”. An innovative orientation emphasizes innovative solutions to deal with opportunities and threats. An integrative orientation emphasizes control, as implemented through budgets, resource allocation, and asset management.

4. Top-down flow

SISP should be initiated by top managers, with the aid of support staff.

5. Broad participation

Even though the planning flow is top-down, participation must involve multiple functional areas and, as necessary, key stakeholders at lower levels of the organization.

6. High consistency

SISP should be characterized by frequent meetings and reassessments of the overall strategy.

The recommendations found in the SISP literature have been echoed in the operations management literature. It has been suggested that firms should institutionalize a formal top-down planning process for linking information systems strategy to business needs as they move toward evolution in their management orientation, planning, organization, and control aspects of the IT function.
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Six Steps to Implementation

Many organizations have invested a great deal of effort in educating and informing consumers about health care quality. The most ambitious of these sponsors have embarked on multi-year projects to measure quality of care at various level of the health care system and report their findings to the public. Others with more limited resources and expertise may adapt publicly available materials to their own needs or recommend alternative sources of information for their audiences.

Although no two projects are exactly alike, successful sponsors generally follow the following six steps. Understanding what is involved in implementing a quality measurement and reporting project from start to finish is especially important for those sponsors that do it all themselves. But even sponsors that borrow as much as they can from others need to be aware of these steps so that they can make a conscious choice to skip those that do not apply.
Step 1. Getting Started
The first step in a consumer information project is to lay the foundation for the project—financially, politically, and organizationally. While this may sound obvious, many projects fail because sponsors do not take the time to prepare. They dive right into the process of collecting and reporting data, only to be taken by surprise when someone objects to the project or the money runs out.
On the other hand, some projects never even get off the ground because the sponsors can't move beyond the planning process. The key to moving beyond the organizational stage is to develop and stick to a schedule that will force decisions and push the participants forward in the process.
Step 2. Collecting and Analyzing Data
During the planning stage (Step 1), sponsors choose what types of quality measures to share with the audience.
For many sponsors, the next step in a consumer information project is to gather that data and conduct the appropriate analyses so that these measures have meaning for consumers.
Step 3. Presenting the Information
Presentation—or how you say what you have to say—plays a critical part in ensuring that your efforts to convey quality information are successful. One of the most challenging aspects of a performance measurement project is figuring out how to present the data in a way that helps consumers interpret the information and apply it to their health care-related decisions. Many sponsors have struggled with this question, only to find themselves making the same mistakes as others before them. One of the key objectives of this site is to support project sponsors in learning from the experiences of their peers as well as from the findings of researchers regarding the best ways to discuss, format, and display information on quality.
Five Key Points About Presentation

Here are the five most important things to remember about presenting information on health care quality:

1. There is no one way to do this—but there are better ways and worse ways.

At this time, there is no universally accepted approach to providing information on quality to consumers. The marketplace is full of experiments, most of which have not been evaluated. But we do know that some approaches to presenting quality information work better than others in the sense that consumers find it easier to understand the data and evaluate their options.

2. The answer that's best for you depends on who your audience is and how they'll use the information.

The way you present information—and even the information itself—should be driven by the needs of whoever is supposed to be reading it. Consumers are the focus of this Web site, but they are not the only audience for health care quality information. Sponsors can develop information for:
Public or private purchasers.
Non-purchasing intermediary organizations, such as consumer advocacy groups.
Policymakers.
Provider organizations.
Individual providers.
Health plans.

Each of these audiences has different needs for quality information. As a result, an approach that is appropriate for individual consumers may not be at all useful for a different audience.

For example:
Plans and providers may want more detail in order to identify specific opportunities to improve quality.
Policymakers, on the other hand, may want a higher level of aggregation that would reveal larger trends in the marketplace.
Intermediary organizations and purchasers may want enough data to draw their own conclusions rather than having the information interpreted for them.

3. Data cannot be presented in a vacuum.

The context you provide (or fail to provide) for the information affects what your audience pays attention to and how they interpret it. In particular, consumers are more likely to care about the information if you can connect it to their concerns about health care and the health care system. For instance, data on ease of referrals has greater relevance to an audience that understands how a health plan may limit their access to specialists. This implies that it is not enough to provide data; a quality report must include some explanation of how the health care system works and what the data reveal about a health care organization.

4. For the typical consumer, a quality measure has no meaning on its own.

It is the sponsor's job to turn quality measures into information that consumers can easily comprehend, evaluate, and use. You can do this by doing one or more of the following:
Grouping measures into consumer-friendly categories.
Offering a basis for comparison, such as an average or benchmark for the market.
Interpreting the information for your audience by making it clear which results are truly better than others.

For explanations and examples of each of these tasks, go to How To Say It.

5. The medium shapes the message.

Whether you rely on printed reports, Web sites, or live presentations, the medium you choose to deliver the information can determine how much you present and how you display it. For instance, you can offer many more layers of detail on the Web than you can in print without overwhelming your audience. A printed report, on the other hand, offers the ability to create large displays of information across multiple pages. This suggests that you will need to have some sense of what the final product will be before you can decide on a design and format for quality information.
Making Sure Your Materials Work for Your Audience

No matter how limited your resources may be, do what you can to test the materials as you develop them to make sure they are suitable for your audience. This approach allows you to identify and remedy trouble spots along the way rather than waiting until the information has been disseminated to discover any problems. Specifically, sponsors can conduct ongoing testing to assess:
Whether consumers can read the information easily.
Whether they can understand it.
Whether the content is appropriate for your audience.
Whether people are interested in your content (i.e., its salience).
Whether consumers can use your materials for the purpose for which they are intended.
Whether they can navigate through the materials to find the information they want.

Techniques for this kind of iterative testing include one-on-one interviews as well as focus groups.

For specifics on testing your materials, conducting interviews, and focus groups, go to Refining What You Do.

Step 4. Disseminating Information
Long before you have the information to distribute, you need to be thinking about how and when to get it into the hands of consumers. Sponsors should ask themselves:
What can we do to ensure that our audience is aware of our information and motivated to use it?
When is the best time to make the information available? Is this timing realistic?
What channels can we use to distribute the information to our audience? How can we make sure they see it?
How should we package the information? Should it stand alone or be incorporated into other information?
The answers to these questions will affect how much time you have to produce the report as well as the kinds of measures and depth of content that you can include. For example:
If the goal is to release a performance report in early fall so that consumers have it in time for the open enrollment season, you may not have enough time to conduct your own survey of enrollees but you could ask your plans to share the HEDIS® scores—which include results of the CAHPS® survey—that they have to report to NCQA by early summer.
If the most sensible way to package the performance information is to integrate it into open enrollment materials, you will have to deal with space constraints that would not be necessary in a stand-alone document. This may affect the way you present the data or how much data you can include.

Step 5. Supporting Consumers
For many sponsors of consumer information projects, the job ends once the reports have been distributed. But both experienced sponsors and researchers testing consumer behavior have demonstrated that it is not enough to give consumers data. They need help in interpreting the information on quality, integrating it with other relevant data (such as costs), and using it to make decisions. Without this help, many simply ignore the information they have, or worse, use it inappropriately.
Strategies for providing "decision support" include the following:
Refer consumers to consumer advocates and other "information intermediaries" who can help your audience understand and use the information you provide..
Offer consumers a worksheet that guides them through the process of evaluating their options. Design computer-based systems that facilitate decisionmaking by allowing the user to weight different factors or by ranking the available choices based on the user's response to a set of questions.
To determine which strategy will work best for your audience, you may want to consult with representative consumers and/or appropriate intermediaries. Also, be sure to evaluate your support strategy once it is implemented to find out how well it is serving the needs of your audience and how you can improve it.

Step 6. Evaluating the Project
Finally, the last step for sponsors is to evaluate the extent to which the project achieved its objectives. This could be as simple as asking whether consumers are aware of the information you produced or as complicated as finding out whether and how consumers used the information to help make decisions.
Evaluations are important for internal purposes because they enable you to determine how effective your project is and how it can be improved. But they are equally critical for external reasons. First, being able to demonstrate that the project has had a positive impact will help you secure political support and continued funding. In addition, an evaluation allows other sponsors to learn from your experience.
The following methods are commonly used to evaluate projects:Focus groups.Surveys.Usability testing.Analysis of changes in enrollment patterns.

References:
http://www.tdan.com/view-articles/5262
http://scm.ncsu.edu/public/facts/facs060329.html
http://www.talkingquality.gov/docs/section1/1_2.htm
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Jethro Alburo Querubin



Posts: 43
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Join date: 2009-06-22

PostSubject: Implementation of Information System Plan   Wed Dec 16, 2009 7:55 pm

Rationale for an Information Systems Plan
Every year, $300-700 million dollar corporations spend about 5% of their gross income on information systems and their supports. That's from about $15,000,000 to $35,000,000! A significant part of those funds support enterprise databases, a philosophy of database system applications that enable corporations to research the past, control the present, and plan for the future.
Even though an information system costs from $1,000,000 to $10,000,000, and even through most chief information officers (CIOs) can specify exactly how much money is being spent for hardware, software, and staff, CIOs cannot however state with any degree of certainty why one system is being done this year versus next, why it is being done ahead of another, or finally, why it is being done at all.
Many enterprises do not have model-based information systems development environments that allow system designers to see the benefits of rearranging an information systems development schedule. Consequently, the questions that cannot be answered include:
• What effect will there be on the overall schedule if an information system is purchased versus developed?
• At what point does it pay to hire an abnormal quantity of contract staff to advance a schedule?
• What is the long term benefit from 4GL versus 3GL?
• Is it better to generate 3GL than to generate/use a 4GL?
• What are the real costs of distributed software development over centralized development?
If these questions were transformed and applied to any other component of a business (e.g., accounting, manufacturing, distribution and marketing), and remained unanswered, that unit's manager would surely be fired!
We not only need answers to these questions NOW!, we also need them quickly, cost effectively, and in a form that they can be modeled and changed in response to unfolding realities. This paper provides a brief review of a successful 10-step strategy that answers these questions.
Too many half-billion dollar organizations have only a vague notion of the names and interactions of the existing and under development information systems. Whenever they need to know, a meeting is held among the critical few, an inventory is taken, interactions confirmed, and accomplishment schedules are updated.
This ad hoc information systems plan was possible only because all design and development was centralized, the only computer was a main-frame, and the past was acceptable prologue because budgets were ever increasing, schedules always slipping, and information was not yet part of the corporation's critical edge.
Well, today is different, really different! Budgets are decreasing, and slipped schedules are being cited as preventing business alternatives. Confounding the computing environment are different operating systems, DBMSs, development tools, telecommunications (LAN, WAN, Intra-, Inter-, and Extra-net), and distributed hard- and software.
Rather than having centralized, long-range planning and management activities that address these problems, today's business units are using readily available tools to design and build ad hoc stop-gap solutions. These ad hoc systems not only do not interconnect, support common semantics, or provide synchronized views of critical corporate policy, they are soon to form the almost impossible to comprehend confusion of systems and data from which systems order and semantic harmony must spring.
Not only has the computing landscape become profoundly different and more difficult to comprehend, the need for just the right--and correct--information at just the right time is escalating. Late or wrong information is worse than no information.
Information systems managers need a model of their information systems environment. A model that is malleable. As new requirements are discovered, budgets modified, new hardware/software introduced, this model must be such that it can reconstitute the information systems plan in a timely and efficient manner.

Characteristics of a Quality ISP

A quality ISP must exhibit five distinct characteristics before it is useful. These five are presented in the table that follows.

Timely
The ISP must be timely. An ISP that is created long after it is needed is useless. In almost all cases, it makes no sense to take longer to plan work than to perform the work planned.

Useable
The ISP must be useable. It must be so for all the projects as well as for each project. The ISP should exist in sections that once adopted can be parceled out to project managers and immediately started.

Maintainable
The ISP must be maintainable. New business opportunities, new computers, business mergers, etc. all affect the ISP. The ISP must support quick changes to the estimates, technologies employed, and possibly even to the fundamental project sequences. Once these changes are accomplished, the new ISP should be just a few computer program executions away.

Quality
While the ISP must be a quality product, no ISP is ever perfect on the first try. As the ISP is executed, the metrics employed to derive the individual project estimates become refined as a consequence of new hardware technologies, code generators, techniques, or faster working staff. As these changes occur, their effects should be installable into the data that supports ISP computation. In short, the ISP is a living document. It should be updated with every technology event, and certainly no less often than quarterly.

Reproducible
The ISP must be reproducible. That is, when its development activities are performed by any other staff, the ISP produced should essentially be the same. The ISP should not significantly vary by staff assigned.

Whenever a proposal for the development of an ISP is created it must be assessed against these five characteristics. If any fail or not addressed in an optimum way, the entire set of funds for the development of an ISP is risked.
ISP Within the Context of the Meta data Environment
The information systems plan is the plan by which databases and information systems of the enterprise are accomplished in a timely manner. A key facility through which the ISP obtains its Adata@ is the meta data repository. The domain of the meta data repository is set forth in Figure 1, and, as seen through Figure 1, persons through their role within an organization perform functions in the accomplishment of enterprise missions, they have information needs. These information needs reflect the state of certain enterprise resources such as finance, people, and products that are known to the enterprises. The states are created through business information systems and databases.
The majority of the meta data employed to develop the ISP resides in the meta entities supporting the enterprise=s resource life cycles (see TDAN issue #7, December 1998, Resource Life Cycle Analysis), the databases and information systems, and project management. All these meta entities are depicted within the meta data repository meta model in Figure 2.


Figure 1


Figure 2

The ISP Steps
The information systems plan project determines the sequence for implementing specific information systems. The goal of the strategy is to deliver the most valuable business information at the earliest time possible in the most cost-effective manner.
The end product of the information systems project is an information systems plan (ISP). Once deployed, the information systems department can implement the plan with confidence that they are doing the correct information systems project at the right time and in the right sequence. The focus of the ISP is not one information system but the entire suite of information systems for the enterprise. Once developed, each identified information system is seen in context with all other information systems within the enterprise.

Information Systems Plan Development Steps


1. Create the mission model
The mission model, generally shorter than 30 pages presents end-result characterizations of the essential raison d=etre of the enterprise. Missions are strategic, long range, and a-political because they are stripped of the Awho@ and the Ahow.@

2. Develop a high-level data model
The high-level data model is an Entity Relationship diagram created to meet the data needs of the mission descriptions. No attributes or keys are created.

3. Create the resource life cycles (RLC) and their nodes
Resources are drawn from both the mission descriptions and the high level data model. Resources and their life cycles are the names, descriptions and life cycles of the critical assets of the enterprise, which, when exercised achieve one or more aspect of the missions. Each enterprise resource Alives@ through its resource life cycle.

4. Allocate precedence vectors among RLC nodes
Tied together into a enablement network, the resulting resource life cycle network forms a framework of enterprise=s assets that represent an order and set of inter-resource relationships. The enterprise Alives@ through its resource life cycle network.

5. Allocate existing information systems and databases to the RLC nodes
The resource life cycle network presents a Alattice-work@onto which the Aas is@ business information systems and databases can be Aattached.@ See for example, the meta model in Figure 2. The Ato-be@ databases and information systems are similarly attached. ADifference projects@ between the Aas-is@ and the Ato-be@ are then formulated. Achievement of all the difference projects is the achievement of the Information Systems Plan.

6. Allocate standard work break down structures (WBS) to each RLC node
Detailed planning of the Adifference projects@ entails allocating the appropriate canned work breakdown structures and metrics. Employing WBS and metrics from a comprehensive methodology supports project management standardization, repeatability, and self-learning.

7. Load resources into each WBS node
Once the resources are determined, these are loaded into the project management meta entities of the meta data repository, that is, metrics, project, work plan and deliverables. The meta entities are those inferred by Figure 2.

8. Schedule the RLC nodes through a project management package facilities.
The entire suite of projects is then scheduled on an enterprise-wide basis. The PERT chart used by project management is the APERT@ chart represented by the Resource Life Cycle enablement network.

9. Produce and review of the ISP
The scheduled result is predicable: Too long, too costly, and too ambitious. At that point, the real work starts: paring down the suite of projects to a realistic set within time and budget. Because of the meta data environment (see Figure 1), the integrated project management meta data (see Figure 2), and because all projects are configured against fundamental business-rationale based designs, the results of the inevitable trade-offs can be set against business basics. Although the process is painful, the results can be justified and rationalized.

10. Execute and adjust the ISP through time.
As the ISP is set into execution, technology changes occur that affect resource loadings. In this case, only steps 6-9 need to be repeated. As work progresses, the underlying meta data built or used in steps 1-5 will also change. Because a quality ISP is Aautomated@ the recasting of the ISP should only take a week or less.

Collectively, the first nine steps take about 5000 staff hours, or about $500,000. Compared to an IS budget $15-35 million, that's only about 3.0% to 1.0%.
If the pundits are to be believed, that is, that the right information at the right time is the competitive edge, then paying for an information systems plan that is accurate, repeatable, and reliable is a small price indeed.
Executive and Adjusting the ISP Through Time
IT projects are accomplished within distinct development environments. The two most common are: discrete project and release. The discrete project environment is typified by completely encapsulated projects accomplished through a water-fall methodology.
In release environments, there are a number of different projects underway by different organizations and staff of varying skill levels. Once a large number of projects are underway, the ability of the enterprise to know about and manage all the different projects degrades rapidly. That is because the project management environment has been transformed from discrete encapsulated projects into a continuous flow process of product or functionality improvements that are released on a set time schedule. Figure 3 illustrates the continuous flow process environment that supports releases. The continuous flow process environment is characterized by:
• Multiple, concurrent, but differently scheduled projects against the same enterprise resource
• Single projects that affect multiple enterprise resources
• Projects that develop completely new capabilities, or changes to existing capabilities within enterprise resources
It is precisely because enterprises have transformed themselves from a project to a release environment that information systems plans that can be created, evolved, and maintained on an enterprise-wide basis are essential.
There are four major sets of activities within the continuous flow process environment. The user/client is represented at the top in the small rectangular box. Each of the ellipses represents an activity targeted to a specific need. The four basic needs are:
• Need Identification
• Need Assessment
• Design
• Deployment
The box in the center is the meta data repository. Specification and impact analysis is represented through the left two processes. Implementation design and accomplishment is represented by the right two processes. Two key characteristics should be immediately apparent. First, unlike the water-fall approach, the activities do not flow one to the other. They are disjoint. In fact, they may be done by different teams, on different time schedules, and involve different quantities of products under management. In short, these four activities are independent one from the other. Their only interdependence is through the meta data repository.
The second characteristic flows from the first. Because these four activities are independent one from the other, the enterprise evolves by means of releases rather than through whole systems. If it evolved through whole systems, then the four activities would be connected either in a waterfall or a spiral approach, and the enterprise would be evolving through major upgrades to encapsulated functionality within specific business resources. In contrast, the release approach causes coordinated sets of changes to multiple business resources to be placed into production. This causes simultaneous, enterprise-wide capability upgrades across multiple business resources.
Through this continuous-flow process, several unique features are present:
• All four processes are concurrently executing.
• Changes to enterprise resources occur in unison, periodically, and in a very controlled manner.
• The meta data repository is always contains all the enterprise resource specifications: current or planned. Simply put, if an enterprise resource semantic is not within the meta data repository, it is not enterprise policy.
• All changes are planned, scheduled, measured, and subject to auditing, accounting, and traceability.
• All documentation of all types is generated from the meta data repository.
ISP Summary
In summary, any technique employed to achieve an ISP must be accomplishable with less than 3% of the IT budget. Additionally, it must be timely, useable, maintainable, able to be iterated into a quality product, and reproducible. IT organizations, once they have completed their initial set of databases and business information systems will find themselves transformed from a project to a release environment.
The continuous flow environment then becomes the only viable alternative for moving the enterprise forward. It is precisely because of the release environment that enterprise-wide information systems plans that can be created, evolved, and maintained are essential.

Here are the steps that will help expedite the implementation of an Information System Plan:

I got this from Federal Emergency Management Agency site which will exactly help our University in implementing an Information System plan also.

Step 1 – Establish a Planning Team
There must be an individual or group in charge of developing the emergency management plan. The following is guidance for making the appointment.
Form the Team
The size of the planning team will depend on the facility's operations, requirements and resources. Usually involving a group of people is best because:
• It encourages participation and gets more people invested in the process.
• It increases the amount of time and energy participants are able to give.
• It enhances the visibility and stature of the planning process.
• It provides for a broad perspective on the issues.
Determine who can be an active member and who can serve in an advisory capacity. In most cases, one or two people will be doing the bulk of the work. At the very least, you should obtain input from all functional areas. Remember:
• Upper management
• Line management
• Labor
• Human Resources
• Engineering and maintenance
• Safety, health and environmental affairs
• Public information officer
• Security
• Community relations
• Sales and marketing
• Legal
• Finance and purchasing
Have participants appointed in writing by upper management. Their job descriptions could also reflect this assignment.
Establish Authority
Demonstrate management's commitment and promote an atmosphere of cooperation by "authorizing" the planning group to take the steps necessary to develop a plan. The group should be led by the chief executive or the plant manager. Establish a clear line of authority between group members and the group leader, though not so rigid as to prevent the free flow of ideas.
Issue a Mission Statement
Have the chief executive or plant manager issue a mission statement to demonstrate the company's commitment to emergency management. The statement should:
Define the purpose of the plan and indicate that it will involve the entire organization
Define the authority and structure of the planning group
Establish a Schedule and Budget
Establish a work schedule and planning deadlines. Timelines can be modified as priorities become more clearly defined.
Develop an initial budget for such things as research, printing, seminars, consulting services and other expenses that may be necessary during the development process.

Step 2 – Analyze Capabilities and Hazards

This step entails gathering information about current capabilities and about possible hazards and emergencies, and then conducting a vulnerability analysis to determine the facility's capabilities for handling emergencies.
Where Do You Stand Right Now?
Review Internal Plans and Policies
Documents to look for include:
• Evacuation plan
• Fire protection plan
• Safety and health program
• Environmental policies
• Security procedures
• Insurance programs
• Finance and purchasing procedures
• Plant closing policy
• Employee manuals
• Hazardous materials plan
• Process safety assessment
• Risk management plan
• Capital improvement program
• Mutual aid agreements
Meet with Outside Groups
Meet with government agencies, community organizations and utilities. Ask about potential emergencies and about plans and available resources for responding to them. Sources of information include:
• Community emergency management office
• Mayor or Community Administrator's office
• Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)
• Fire Department
• Police Department
• Emergency Medical Services organizations
• American Red Cross
• National Weather Service
• Public Works Department
• Planning Commission
• Telephone companies
• Electric utilities
• Neighboring businesses
While researching potential emergencies, one facility discovered that a dam -- 50 miles away -- posed a threat to its community. The facility was able to plan accordingly.
Identify Codes and Regulations
Identify applicable Federal, State and local regulations such as:
• Occupational safety and health regulations
• Environmental regulations
• Fire codes
• Seismic safety codes
• Transportation regulations
• Zoning regulations
• Corporate policies
Identify Critical Products, Services and Operations
You'll need this information to assess the impact of potential emergencies and to determine the need for backup systems. Areas to review include:
• Company products and services and the facilities and equipment needed to produce them
• Products and services provided by suppliers, especially sole source vendors
• Lifeline services such as electrical power, water, sewer, gas, telecommunications and transportation
• Operations, equipment and personnel vital to the continued functioning of the facility
Identify Internal Resources and Capabilities
Resources and capabilities that could be needed in an emergency include:
• Personnel -- fire brigade, hazardous materials response team, emergency medical services, security, emergency management group, evacuation team, public information officer
• Equipment -- fire protection and suppression equipment, communications equipment, first aid supplies, emergency supplies, warning systems, emergency power equipment, decontamination equipment
• Facilities -- emergency operating center, media briefing area, shelter areas, first-aid stations, sanitation facilities
• Organizational capabilities -- training, evacuation plan, employee support system
• Backup systems -- arrangements with other facilities to provide for:
o Payroll
o Communications
o Production
o Customer services
o Shipping and receiving
o Information systems support
o Emergency power
o Recovery support
One way to increase response capabilities is to identify employee skills (medical, engineering, communications, foreign language) that might be needed in an emergency.
Identify External Resources
There are many external resources that could be needed in an emergency. In some cases, formal agreements may be necessary to define the facility's relationship with the following:
• Local emergency management office
• Fire Department
• Hazardous materials response organization
• Emergency medical services
• Hospitals
• Local and State police
• Community service organizations
• Utilities
• Contractors
• Suppliers of emergency equipment
• Insurance carriers
Do an Insurance Review
Meet with insurance carriers to review all policies. (See Section 2: Recovery and Restoration.)
Conduct a Vulnerability Analysis
The next step is to assess the vulnerability of your facility -- the probability and potential impact of each emergency. Use the Vulnerability Analysis Chart to guide the process, which entails assigning probabilities, estimating impact and assessing resources, using a numerical system. The lower the score the better.

Vulnerability Analysis Chart
Rate each criteria on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being low and 5 being high.

Type of EmergencyProbability Human Impact Property Impact Business ImpactInternal Resources External ResourcesTotal

List Potential Emergencies
In the first column of the chart, list all emergencies that could affect your facility, including those identified by your local emergency management office. Consider both:
• Emergencies that could occur within your facility
• Emergencies that could occur in your community
Below are some other factors to consider:
Historical -- What types of emergencies have occurred in the community, at this facility and at other facilities in the area?
• Fires
• Severe weather
• Hazardous material spills
• Transportation accidents
• Earthquakes
• Hurricanes
• Tornadoes
• Terrorism
• Utility outages
Geographic -- What can happen as a result of the facility's location? Keep in mind:
• Proximity to flood plains, seismic faults and dams
• Proximity to companies that produce, store, use or transport hazardous materials
• Proximity to major transportation routes and airports
• Proximity to nuclear power plants
Technological -- What could result from a process or system failure? Possibilities include:
• Fire, explosion, hazardous materials incident
• Safety system failure
• Telecommunications failure
• Computer system failure
• Power failure
• Heating/cooling system failure
• Emergency notification system failure
Human Error -- What emergencies can be caused by employee error? Are employees trained to work safely? Do they know what to do in an emergency? Human error is the single largest cause of workplace emergencies and can result from:
• Poor training
• Poor maintenance
• Carelessness
• Misconduct
• Substance abuse
• Fatigue
Physical -- What types of emergencies could result from the design or construction of the facility? Does the physical facility enhance safety? Consider:
• The physical construction of the facility
• Hazardous processes or byproducts
• Facilities for storing combustibles
• Layout of equipment
• Lighting
• Evacuation routes and exits
• Proximity of shelter areas
Regulatory -- What emergencies or hazards are you regulated to deal with?
Analyze each potential emergency from beginning to end. Consider what could happen as a result of:
• Prohibited access to the facility
• Loss of electric power
• Communication lines down
• Ruptured gas mains
• Water damage
• Smoke damage
• Structural damage
• Air or water contamination
• Explosion
• Building collapse
• Trapped persons
• Chemical release
Estimate Probability
In the Probability column, rate the likelihood of each emergency's occurrence. This is a subjective consideration, but useful nonetheless. Use a simple scale of 1 to 5 with 1 as the lowest probability and 5 as the highest.
Assess the Potential Human Impact
Analyze the potential human impact of each emergency -- the possibility of death or injury. Assign a rating in the Human Impact column of the Vulnerability Analysis Chart. Use a 1 to 5 scale with 1 as the lowest impact and 5 as the highest.
Assess the Potential Business Impact
Consider the potential loss of market share. Assign a rating in the Business Impact column. Again, 1 is the lowest impact and 5 is the highest. Assess the impact of:
• Business interruption
• Employees unable to report to work
• Customers unable to reach facility
• Company in violation of contractual agreements
• Imposition of fines and penalties or legal costs
• Interruption of critical supplies
• Interruption of product distribution
Assess the Potential Property Impact
Consider the potential property for losses and damages. Again, assign a rating in the Property Impact column, 1 being the lowest impact and 5 being the highest. Consider:
• Cost to replace
• Cost to set up temporary replacement
• Cost to repair
A bank's vulnerability analysis concluded that a "small" fire could be as catastrophic to the business as a computer system failure. The planning group discovered that bank employees did not know how to use fire extinguishers, and that the bank lacked any kind of evacuation or emergency response system.
Assess Internal and External Resources
Next assess your resources and ability to respond. Assign a score to your Internal Resources and External Resources. The lower the score the better. To help you do this, consider each potential emergency from beginning to end and each resource that would be needed to respond. For each emergency ask these questions:
• Do we have the needed resources and capabilities to respond?
• Will external resources be able to respond to us for this emergency as quickly as we may need them, or will they have other priority areas to serve?
If the answers are yes, move on to the next assessment. If the answers are no, identify what can be done to correct the problem. For example, you may need to:
• Develop additional emergency procedures
• Conduct additional training
• Acquire additional equipment
• Establish mutual aid agreements
• Establish agreements with specialized contractors
Add the Columns
Total the scores for each emergency. The lower the score the better. While this is a subjective rating, the comparisons will help determine planning and resource priorities -- the subject of the pages to follow.
When assessing resources, remember that community emergency workers -- police, paramedics, firefighters -- will focus their response where the need is greatest. Or they may be victims themselves and be unable to respond immediately. That means response to your facility may be delayed.

Step 3 – Develop the Plan

Plan Components
Your plan should include the following basic components.
Executive Summary
The executive summary gives management a brief overview of: the purpose of the plan; the facility's emergency management policy; authorities and responsibilities of key personnel; the types of emergencies that could occur; and where response operations will be managed.
Emergency Management Elements
This section of the plan briefly describes the facility's approach to the core elements of emergency management, which are:
• Direction and control
• Communications
• Life safety
• Property protection
• Community outreach
• Recovery and restoration
• Administration and logistics
.
These elements, which are described in detail in Section 2, are the foundation for the emergency procedures that your facility will follow to protect personnel and equipment and resume operations.
Emergency Response Procedures
The procedures spell out how the facility will respond to emergencies. Whenever possible, develop them as a series of checklists that can be quickly accessed by senior management, department heads, response personnel and employees.
Determine what actions would be necessary to:
• Assess the situation
• Protect employees, customers, visitors, equipment, vital records and other assets, particularly during the first three days
• Get the business back up and running.
Specific procedures might be needed for any number of situations such as bomb threats or tornadoes, and for such functions as:
• Warning employees and customers
• Communicating with personnel and community responders
• Conducting an evacuation and accounting for all persons in the facility
• Managing response activities
• Activating and operating an emergency operations center
• Fighting fires
• Shutting down operations
• Protecting vital records
• Restoring operations
Support Documents
Documents that could be needed in an emergency include:
Emergency call lists -- lists (wallet size if possible) of all persons on and off site who would be involved in responding to an emergency, their responsibilities and their 24-hour telephone numbers
Building and site maps that indicate:
• Utility shutoffs
• Water hydrants
• Water main valves
• Water lines
• Gas main valves
• Gas lines
• Electrical cutoffs
• Electrical substations
• Storm drains
• Sewer lines
• Location of each building (include name of building, street name and number)
• Floor plans
• Alarm and enunciators
• Fire extinguishers
• Fire suppression systems
• Exits
• Stairways
• Designated escape routes
• Restricted areas
• Hazardous materials (including cleaning supplies and chemicals)
• High-value items
Resource lists -- lists of major resources (equipment, supplies, services) that could be needed in an emergency; mutual aid agreements with other companies and government agencies.
In an emergency, all personnel should know:
• What is my role?
• Where should I go?
Some facilities are required to develop:
• Emergency escape procedures and routes
• Procedures for employees who perform or shut down critical operations before an evacuation
• Procedures to account for all employees, visitors and contractors after an evacuation is completed
• Rescue and medical duties for assigned employees
• Procedures for reporting emergencies
• Names of persons or departments to be contacted for information regarding the plan
The Development Process
The following is guidance for developing the plan.
1. Identify Challenges and Prioritize Activities
Determine specific goals and milestones. Make a list of tasks to be performed, by whom and when. Determine how you will address the problem areas and resource shortfalls that were identified in the vulnerability analysis.
2. Write the Plan
Assign each member of the planning group a section to write. Determine the most appropriate format for each section.
Establish an aggressive timeline with specific goals. Provide enough time for completion of work, but not so much as to allow assignments to linger. Establish a schedule for:
o First draft
o Review
o Second draft
o Tabletop exercise
o Final draft
o Printing
o Distribution
3. Establish a Training Schedule
Have one person or department responsible for developing a training schedule for your facility. For specific ideas about training, refer to Step 4.
4. Coordinate with Outside Organizations
Meet periodically with local government agencies and community organizations. Inform appropriate government agencies that you are creating an emergency management plan. While their official approval may not be required, they will likely have valuable insights and information to offer.
Determine State and local requirements for reporting emergencies, and incorporate them into your procedures.
Determine protocols for turning control of a response over to outside agencies. Some details that may need to be worked out are:
o Which gate or entrance will responding units use?
o Where and to whom will they report?
o How will they be identified?
o How will facility personnel communicate with outside responders?
o Who will be in charge of response activities?
Determine what kind of identification authorities will require to allow your key personnel into your facility during an emergency.
Determine the needs of disabled persons and non-English-speaking personnel. For example, a blind employee could be assigned a partner in case an evacuation is necessary.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a disabled person as anyone who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for oneself or working.
Your emergency planning priorities may be influenced by government regulation. To remain in compliance you may be required to address specific emergency management functions that might otherwise be a lower priority activity for that given year.
5. Maintain Contact with Other Corporate Offices
Communicate with other offices and divisions in your company to learn:
o Their emergency notification requirements
o The conditions where mutual assistance would be necessary
o How offices will support each other in an emergency
o Names, telephone numbers and pager numbers of key personnel
Incorporate this information into your procedures.
6. Review, Conduct Training and Revise
Distribute the first draft to group members for review. Revise as needed.
For a second review, conduct a tabletop exercise with management and personnel who have a key emergency management responsibility. In a conference room setting, describe an emergency scenario and have participants discuss their responsibilities and how they would react to the situation. Based on this discussion, identify areas of confusion and overlap, and modify the plan accordingly.
7. Seek Final Approval
Arrange a briefing for the chief executive officer and senior management and obtain written approval.
8. Distribute the Plan
Place the final plan in three-ring binders and number all copies and pages. Each individual who receives a copy should be required to sign for it and be responsible for posting subsequent changes.
Determine which sections of the plan would be appropriate to show to government agencies (some sections may refer to corporate secrets or include private listings of names, telephone numbers or radio frequencies). Distribute the final plan to:
o Chief executive and senior managers
o Key members of the company's emergency response organization
o Company headquarters
o Community emergency response agencies (appropriate sections)
Have key personnel keep a copy of the plan in their homes. Inform employees about the plan and training schedule.
Consolidate emergency plans for better coordination. Stand-alone plans, such as a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) plan, fire protection plan or safety and health plan, should be incorporated into one comprehensive plan.

Step 4 - Implement the Plan

Implementation means more than simply exercising the plan during an emergency. It means acting on recommendations made during the vulnerability analysis, integrating the plan into company operations, training employees and evaluating the plan.
Integrate the Plan into Company Operations
Emergency planning must become part of the corporate culture.
Look for opportunities to build awareness; to educate and train personnel; to test procedures; to involve all levels of management, all departments and the community in the planning process; and to make emergency management part of what personnel do on a day-to-day basis.
Test How Completely The Plan Has Been Integrated By Asking:
• How well does senior management support the responsibilities outlined in the plan?
• Have emergency planning concepts been fully incorporated into the facility's accounting, personnel and financial procedures?
• How can the facility's processes for evaluating employees and defining job classifications better address emergency management responsibilities?
• Are there opportunities for distributing emergency preparedness information through corporate newsletters, employee manuals or employee mailings?
• What kinds of safety posters or other visible reminders would be helpful?
• Do personnel know what they should do in an emergency?
• How can all levels of the organization be involved in evaluating and updating the plan?
Conduct Training, Drills and Exercises
Everyone who works at or visits the facility requires some form of training. This could include periodic employee discussion sessions to review procedures, technical training in equipment use for emergency responders, evacuation drills and full-scale exercises. Below are basic considerations for developing a training plan.
1. Planning Considerations
Assign responsibility for developing a training plan. Consider the training and information needs for employees, contractors, visitors, managers and those with an emergency response role identified in the plan. Determine for a 12 month period:
o Who will be trained?
o Who will do the training?
o What training activities will be used?
o When and where each session will take place?
o How the session will be evaluated and documented?
Use the Training Drills and Exercises Chart in the appendix section to schedule training activities or create one of your own. Consider how to involve community responders in training activities.
Conduct reviews after each training activity. Involve both personnel and community responders in the evaluation process.
2. Training Activities
Training can take many forms:
o Orientation and Education Sessions - These are regularly scheduled discussion sessions to provide information, answer questions and identify needs and concerns.
o Tabletop Exercise - Members of the emergency management group meet in a conference room setting to discuss their responsibilities and how they would react to emergency scenarios. This is a cost-effective and efficient way to identify areas of overlap and confusion before conducting more demanding training activities.
o Walk-through Drill - The emergency management group and response teams actually perform their emergency response functions. This activity generally involves more people and is more thorough than a tabletop exercise.
o Functional Drills - These drills test specific functions such as medical response, emergency notifications, warning and communications procedures and equipment, though not necessarily at the same time. Personnel are asked to evaluate the systems and identify problem areas.
o Evacuation Drill - Personnel walk the evacuation route to a designated area where procedures for accounting for all personnel are tested. Participants are asked to make notes as they go along of what might become a hazard during an emergency, e.g., stairways cluttered with debris, smoke in the hallways. Plans are modified accordingly.
o Full-scale Exercise - A real-life emergency situation is simulated as closely as possible. This exercise involves company emergency response personnel, employees, management and community response organizations.
3. Employee Training
General training for all employees should address:
o Individual roles and responsibilities
o Information about threats, hazards and protective actions
o Notification, warning and communications procedures
o Means for locating family members in an emergency
o Emergency response procedures
o Evacuation, shelter and accountability procedures
o Location and use of common emergency equipment
o Emergency shutdown procedures
The scenarios developed during the vulnerability analysis can serve as the basis for training events.
OSHA training requirements are a minimum standard for many facilities that have a fire brigade, hazardous materials team, rescue team or emergency medical response team.
4. Evaluate and Modify the Plan
Conduct a formal audit of the entire plan at least once a year. Among the issues to consider are:
o How can you involve all levels of management in evaluating and updating the plan?
o Are the problem areas and resource shortfalls identified in the vulnerability analysis being sufficiently addressed?
o Does the plan reflect lessons learned from drills and actual events?
o Do members of the emergency management group and emergency response team understand their respective responsibilities? Have new members been trained?
o Does the plan reflect changes in the physical layout of the facility? Does it reflect new facility processes?
o Are photographs and other records of facility assets up to date?
o Is the facility attaining its training objectives?
o Have the hazards in the facility changed?
o Are the names, titles and telephone numbers in the plan current?
o Are steps being taken to incorporate emergency management into other facility processes?
o Have community agencies and organizations been briefed on the plan? Are they involved in evaluating the plan?
In addition to a yearly audit, evaluate and modify the plan at these times:
o After each training drill or exercise
o After each emergency
o When personnel or their responsibilities change
o When the layout or design of the facility changes
o When policies or procedures change
o Remember to brief personnel on changes to the plan.
Conduct a formal audit of the entire plan at least once a year.




References:

http://www.tdan.com/view-articles/5262
Michael M. Gorman –
Published: September 1, 1999
Published in TDAN.com September 1999
Michael, the President of Whitemarsh Information Systems Corporation, has been involved in database and DBMS for more than 40 years. Michael has been the Secretary of the ANSI Database Languages Committee for more than 30 years. This committee standardizes SQL. A full list of Whitemarsh's clients and products can be found on the website. Whitemarsh has developed a very comprehensive Metadata CASE/Repository tool, Metabase, that supports enterprise architectures, information systems planning, comprehensive data model creation and management, and interfaces with the finest code generator on the market, Clarion ( www.SoftVelocity.com). The Whitemarsh website makes available data management books, courses, workshops, methodologies, software, and metrics. Whitemarsh prices are very reasonable and are designed for the individual, the information technology organization and professional training organizations. Whitemarsh provides free use of its materials for universities/colleges. Please contact Whitemarsh for assistance in data modeling, data architecture, enterprise architecture, metadata management, and for on-site delivery of data management workshops, courses, and seminars. Our phone number is (301) 249-1142. Our email address is: mmgorman@wiscorp.com.
Recent articles by Michael M. Gorman
• Business Event Management
• Earned Value Management
• Data Semantics Management - New Book Just Announced

FEMA
http://www.fema.gov/business/guide/section1a.shtm
http://www.fema.gov/business/guide/section1b.shtm
http://www.fema.gov/business/guide/section1c.shtm
http://www.fema.gov/business/guide/section1d.shtm

FEMA has more than 3,700 full time employees. They work at FEMA headquarters in Washington D.C., at regional and area offices across the country, the Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, and the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland. FEMA also has nearly 4,000 standby disaster assistance employees who are available for deployment after disasters. Often FEMA works in partnership with other organizations that are part of the nation's emergency management system. These partners include state and local emergency management agencies, 27 federal agencies and the American Red Cross.

Statutory Authority
Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, PL 100-707, signed into law November 23, 1988; amended the Disaster Relief Act of 1974, PL 93-288. This Act constitutes the statutory authority for most Federal disaster response activities especially as they pertain to FEMA and FEMA programs.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security | Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street SW, Washington, D.C. 20472
Disaster Assistance: (800) 621-FEMA / TTY (800) 462-7585


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Tanya Clarissa G. Amancio



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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: December 17, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:04 pm

[center]You were invited by the university president to prepare an IS plan for
the university, discuss what are the steps in order to expedite the
implementation of the IS Plan. (at least 5000 words)
[/center]

If I were invited I would suggest some tips which I think would help to implement an Information System plan. With the help of some sources through internet and books I will try to compile it for this topic..^_^

According to NcrTec:

Many planners believe their job is complete after a plan is written,
but in actuality it has only begun. A written technology plan has
direction and long-term technology goals. However, for each new
technology introduced to an organization, there will be stages of
implementation that include resource development (budget), evaluation,
selection, installation, training, pilot projects,
mini-implementations, and, finally, full implementation. These stages
should all be reflected in a technology plan. It is also important to
remember not to judge technology as ineffective when it is not
implemented according to the plan (Holmes & Rawitsch, 1993).
Flexibility, patience, and adaptability are essential for any kind of
change process and certainly for implementing technology. The following
questions should be addressed when planning the implementation of your
plan:


  • What is the timeline for meeting the goals of your plan?
  • Who is responsible for achieving milestones on the timelines?
  • What professional development strategies will you use?
  • How will you provide time for ongoing staff development, including time to practice and learn new technologies?
  • What is your plan for networking, acquiring hardware and software, and updating the facility?
  • How will you deal with the rapid changes in technology?
  • What funding is available currently?
  • How will funding be provided over the life of the plan?
  • How will you coordinate and leverage a variety of funding resources to support your plan?
  • How will you deal with contingencies such as changes in leadership and changes in budget?
  • How will you determine which program area, discipline, or staff will receive highest priorities for receiving technologies?
  • Who (or what group) will be responsible for implementing the technology plan?
  • What incentives and sanctions will you implement to ensure that everyone achieves a high level of technological proficiency?
  • How will you ensure equity of access to technology and engaged learning experiences for all students?
  • How
    will your instructional use of technology address district, state, and
    federal mandates including curriculum, special needs, minority
    populations, and equity issues?

  • What new policies are needed to support implementation of your plan?

Reference: http://www.ncrtec.org/capacity/guidewww/imple.htm


According to Faculty Focus:


Each of these groups had “quite a bit of decision-making power. They
recommended what they felt were the key items. As a leadership team we
told them up front, ‘We reserve the right to make some judgments with
budgets and other priorities the institution is taking.’ They were
given a lot of voice in helping shape the plan, the initiative, and the
process,” Pyle says.
Another element of the implementation planning process was bringing
in a consultant group to foster innovation halfway through. Pyle chose
a group called Brave New Workshop, a Minneapolis-based comedy group
that also does organizational workshops. Although this sounds like an
unlikely resource to help with the operational planning process, [the
process] was well received by participants. “I think people really
resonated with it. There was a lot of energy. It wasn’t a highly
theoretical process. It was really simple and straightforward, and
people seemed to buy into it,” Pyle says.
The process that Brave New Workshop brought to St. Mary’s was based on John Sweeney’s (the owner of Brave New Workshop) book Innovation at the Speed of Laughter, which features the following eight secrets to innovation:


  • Accept all ideas, not just those you are comfortable with.
  • Defer judgment. When participants don’t feel as if they’re being judged, they are more likely to present their ideas.
  • Accept styles. Allowing people to work in the manner that they are comfortable with encourages participation.
  • Declare point of view. This reduces ambiguity.
  • Create a statusless environment. This increases confidence and encourages participation.
  • Create a reward system that recognizes innovation.
  • Yes first. By responding to an idea with “yes,” you show that you accept and respect the person presenting the idea.
  • Perceive change as fuel. The need to respond to change is a great motivator.


Working with this consultant group “helped create a culture that
really fostered innovation,” which is a key component of the
university’s mission, Pyle says. “I thought this would be a way to help
invigorate new idea generation instead of just sitting around in
meetings and talking about this trend in this field or this trend in
that field.”
Throughout the process, Pyle made it a point to share progress
reports with the entire campus. “We were pretty open with the campus
community about the whole operational plan. We posted it on our
Blackboard website and allowed people to comment. I also had a monthly
newsletter that gave updates on progress outside of these special
[campus-wide] sessions,” Pyle says.
Lessons learned
From this experience, Pyle cites the following lessons learned:


  • Be willing to take risks.
  • Make the process meaningful to people’s work.
  • Create cross-functional teams.
  • Use metaphors to help focus the group.
  • Talk regularly about how people will be involved and where their ideas will be used.
  • Initiate the brainstorming early in the process.
  • Provide regular updates.

Reference: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/academic-leadership/tips-for-implementing-your-strategic-plan/


According to WebAIM:

The Model of Reform at a Glance...


  • Gather baseline information
  • Gain top-level support
  • Organize a web accessibility committee
  • Define a standard
  • Create an implementation plan
  • Provide training and technical support
  • Monitor conformance
  • Remain flexible through the changes


Every organization will need to adapt this model to it's own circumstances,
but the general principles apply across organizations and circumstances.


Measuring the impact

The impact of disability access issues may be minimal on small, infrequently-accessed
web sites, but the impact of web accessibility issues on sites of large
organizations, such as universities, businesses, and government agencies,
can be enormous. Nearly all web sites that have any significant amount
of traffic are visited by users with disabilities. Not all of these visits
result in pleasant experiences for the individuals with disabilities,
so some never return to the site. For this reason, it is difficult to
gauge how many people with disabilities are using a web site. Before the
Americans with Disabilities Act was made law in the United States, some
bus companies complained about the requirement to make their buses accessible
to people in wheelchairs, arguing that these people don't use the bus
system. The rebuttal to that argument is that they weren't using it because
it was impossible for them to use it. In areas where wheelchair-accessible
buses are available, it is common to see individuals in wheelchairs making
use of them. In much the same way, web site statistics of users with disabilities
are not meaningful for sites that are not designed to be accessible. The
mantra from the movie "Field of Dreams" applies here: "If
you build it, they [people with disabilities] will come."

Let's look at three different scenarios in different arenas--postsecondary
education, e-commerce, and government--where disability access to the
web could be a serious issue:



Three scenarios

Postsecondary Education

Internet technologies can transform our educational experiences, but there
is a very real divide between students who do and do not have access to
the Internet in education today. As universities grapple with issues of
physical access to hardware, software, the web, and a National Information
Infrastructure, decision-makers must be mindful of those with disabilities.

Postsecondary entities, like the rest of our society, use the Internet
more and more for daily tasks. The rapid rise in the use of the Internet
as well as the functions of pages within sites grow each day. Today if
you were to go to almost any institutional site, you would find that students
could at least do the following:


  • get information about required courses,
  • register for courses,
  • look up transcripts,
  • order books,
  • pay for educational expenses with a credit card,
  • take online courses,
  • gain access to web-enhanced courses,
  • complete web-based assignments,
  • meet others in virtual student lounges,
  • conduct research from library holdings or the Internet,
  • take tests online (e.g., MAT), and
  • get information from web-based kiosks about social and community
    events and issues.

Each day students can find new ways to interact with their education
provider as new functions are added to sites. It is clear that the web
is seen as a central element in postsecondary education. So much so that
many institutions are dedicating enormous resources to keep up with the
advantages that this technology holds for students. This access is viewed
as desirable, if not necessary, for students to succeed in their educational
endeavors and participate in the digital community that has emerged. However,
the population of students with disabilities are often shut out of these
opportunities.
When institutional sites are not accessible we harm students with disabilities
in at least 2 ways:

  1. First, they may not have an educational experience that is equivalent
    to their non-disabled peers.

  2. Second, they loose out on opportunities to learn how to efficiently
    gather web-based information.

It becomes a tail-chasing phenomenon where lack of access reduces skill
acumen and fledgling skills further reduce access. The adage"practice
makes perfect" comes to mind. Students without opportunities to practice
cannot be as prepared to meet their future, one that will include the
Internet. Postsecondary education systems must be created and sustained
to help students with disabilities participate in the web-based society
that is growing each day.

So what can be done about this important issue? The only way to really
get the job done is for institutions of higher education to engage in
a system-change effort where they are dedicated to coordination and reform
of their web sites.

E-commerce
Imagine a scenario from 15 or 20 years ago. A man with cerebral palsy lives
in an apartment in a large city. His muscle movements are spastic, his
speech is slurred, and he uses a wheelchair to navigate his physical world,
but his mind is unaffected by his motor disability. He can type letters
on a computer with an adaptive keyboard that reduces the chance of input
errors due to his spastic muscle movements. He has never used the Internet,
because it has not yet surged in popularity. In fact, like most of the
people in the world at that time, he had never heard of the Internet.
This man cannot easily go shopping for clothing, food, books, or anything
else without someone else's assistance. He is not incapable of these acts,
but there are access issues with public transportation, with the sidewalks,
with the stores, and so on. It can be more bother than it's worth at times.
He depends upon help from others.

Now let's move this man into the present time. He has access to the Internet.
Rather than depending on someone else for every little need, he has the
option to go to web sites to order the clothing, food, books and other
items that he wants. The problem is that the most popular sites for these
items have not taken accessibility into account. He is unable to use a
mouse reliably, and finds that some sites are unusable without a mouse.
In his frustration, he seeks other sites that offer similar products,
and finds a few, but they are not as comprehensive as the ones he really
wants to access. He has a measure of independence, but it is limited.

Finally, let's look into a more ideal future. The web sites that this
man wants to access are accessible to him. He is able to purchase the
items that he needs and wants without always depending on someone else.
His disability is irrelevant in these circumstances. He enjoys a level
of independence that was formerly denied him, and which the majority of
the world takes for granted.

Government
Here is another scenario. A woman in her thirties, who previously had no
disabilities, was blinded as a result of a head injury in an automobile
accident. Throughout the years, she had always taken care of the administrative
details of life, such as car registration, income tax preparation, property
taxes, and so on. Where she lives, all of these details could be taken
care of over the Internet, which she had learned to use before her accident.
Now that she is legally blind, she has learned to use a screen reader
to access the web, but finds that these online forms are confusing, and
that they do not provide sufficient information in a format that is accessible
to her screen reader. This capable individual is now unable to perform
tasks that she routinely performed on her own. She is forced to make several
phone calls, trying to find someone who can give her instructions on how
to perform these tasks. One office even offers her a Braille copy, but
this too is unusable, since she is only beginning to learn Braille.

Conclusion

As the above scenarios illustrate, the inaccessibility of web content
can have a significant impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities.
Many people without disabilities are ignorant of the importance of the
issue to those who are directly affected. They are also often ignorant
of the tremendous benefit that accessible web content can be.



Thinking Ahead

With concentrated effort, it is possible to fix the major accessibility
errors on a web site in a matter of hours, days, or weeks, depending on
the size and complexity of the site. Such an effort would be a wonderful
one-time effort, but it is likely that its would not continue through to
different incarnations of the web site unless there is some sort of system
in place which assures that accessibility is a priority, and which verifies
that the web site is indeed accessible.


Sizing up the task

Always in take into account the size of the problem by taking into account
the size of your organization. It is certainly easier to coordinate the
actions of 10 individuals than 1,000. Moreover, it is easier to ensure
coordination across 15 units than 150. Size does matter in coordination
and reform efforts in organizations as they struggle to support, monitor,
and ultimately comply with internal policies or federal regulations. As
you progress through each step of the process, remember that the size
of your organization may effect decision-making and action plans.
Transforming the climate of an organization with regard to disability access
is not a simple process. It is a complex one whose scope and importance
are increasing with the growth of the Internet's use. Before moving on
to explaining the specific steps of the process of institutional reform,
it is valuable to keep in mind a few key principles.
There are many elements to the future success of postsecondary access.
The most salient would be (a) commitment, (b) action, and (c) an eye toward
new technology solutions. Organizations, especially those in education
and government, must begin to grapple with current inequities and legal
mandates. Organizational commitment and coordination will go a long way
toward reforming the present crisis.


Solid commitment

Organizations need to commit to accessibility to the extent that it
becomes a factor in every major decision related to the organization's
web site.

Speaking specifically about web accessibility coordination in postsecondary
institutions, Cynthia Waddell, in The Growing Digital Divide in Access
for People with Disabilities stated, "Just as a removal of architectural
barriers requires a plan for implementation, the removal of technological
or digital barriers in programs and services requires a comprehensive
institutional plan impacting every campus office."

Due to the complexity of the issue of web accessibility, it requires
a solid commitment to the process in terms of people, time, money and
facilities. Resources committed by an organization also factor into the
complexity of the problem. Entities that can appoint someone to chair
an accessibility committee as part of their role assignment (e.g., half
time for the first year) will do better with web accessibility than those
that cannot.

Also, organizations that use their resources to create a stable environment
for web development staff will have a better chance delivering accessible
sites across the institution. Training and support in accessible design
for web developers are two important elements of this requirement. Salary
and career incentives for technical development personnel are some others.
Employee turnover can be quite high, especially in the lower-paying education
and government positions. Over 1,400 web masters in postsecondary education
in the United States were surveyed in 2000. Of the 536 response (38% response
rate), most had been in their current position for only 2 years. Just
over half of the sample (54%) indicated web design as their full-time
responsibility. Sixty-two percent (n=334) reported that they had learned
about at least some aspect of accessibility; most (n=300) reported that
they did so on their own and not during any pre-service or in-service
training. It is likely that frequent changes in web personnel would have
a negative affect on the accessibility of sites within a postsecondary
institution. Postsecondary entities that commit more resources to this
issue will also be able to better monitor the accessible design of their
web development staff.
Another resource that must be considered in reform is money. There are
funds that can be procured from sources outside of the organization (e.g.
grants). However, this financial support can be slow in coming and should
not be counted on. The financial backing of institutional reform should
become a line item in the organization's budget, just as physical facility
changes conforming with the ADA. Do not wait for money from outside sources
to begin the process of accessibility reform.

Action
An organization's "actions" demonstrate its level of commitment.
A proactive stance on accessibility will show that the organization truly
believes in the principle of accessibility. An apathetic, or slow-to-react
stance demonstrates just the opposite.

These actions must include all stakeholder groups: students, faculty,
web designers, departmental units, administrators. Action plans should
be created with input from all and should articulate change in small,
measurable steps that are place along a reasonable timeline. Systems that
include multiple points for input throughout the process will be more
likely to succeed over time.

With these ideas in mind, let's take a closer look at a model of web accessibility
coordination.


Planning for Success

So you've got a policy. Now what? Your policy won't be taken seriously unless
you actually do something about it. In some ways, it is worse to have a policy
and not follow it than to have no policy at all. By not following through
on the policy, you would send the message that accessibility takes a back
seat to other issues, and that you weren't serious about the policy in the
first place. This can actually put your organization in a bit of a legal bind
too. If you have a public policy which is clearly violated, this leaves room
for undesirable press at the very least and undesirable expensive at worst.

But assuming that your organizations intends to follow through on its intentions,
it is best to lay down a specific plan that will transition to a self-sustaining
model of accessibility that will last beyond the immediate need to fix problems
with the current site.
Let's read a few ideas on how to implement a web accessibility plan.



"Doing it Right"

A priori systems (systems formed or conceived beforehand) must be created
to optimize the participation of all site users. In other words, it would
not be sufficient to maintain an inaccessible site and then say to a blind
person that you'll try to find someone who can read the site to them,
especially if you don't have anyone in mind for this task. After-the-fact
accommodations are inefficient for everybody. It makes more sense from
the perspective of the user to have a site that is directly accessible,
and it makes more sense from the perspective of the site's creators, because
poor planning can make it extremely difficult if not impossible to provide
after-the-fact alterations to inaccessible web content. It is much better
and more efficient to create web content that is created from conception
to be accessible.
It is imperative to create goals aimed at establishing coordinated systems
that enable full access for all. The sooner an organization creates and
implements sustainable solutions, the sooner ALL individuals can participate
in their right to experience the power of the Internet for lifelong learning.
The composition of an implementation plan can be accomplished in any environment
wherever there are creative and resourceful individuals.
An essential part of creating an implementation plan is to thoroughly document
the actions taken by the committee and organization at every step. The
web policy you construct is not only a great way to lay the foundation
for your organization's accessibility, but it also documents your good
faith efforts for others to see. At every step, the policy should leave
detailed and well-documented proceedings for others who may need to use
it as a reference.

When you are constructing your web implementation plan, there are four
areas to consider. They are:



  • establishing timelines,
  • setting priorities in terms of what standards to achieve and on what
    timeline,

  • delegating responsibilities, and
  • monitoring progress.


These tasks often do not occur in order, but should be addressed when needed.


Establishing Timelines

The first task in formation of your plan is establishing a time frame
for implementation. Depending on the size and scope of change needed at
your organization, this time frame may extend from weeks to years. It is
important to recognize that this is a complex process. Establishing a timeline
allows you to sequentially follow the tasks and duties you lay out for all
of those participating in web accessibility at your organization. It also
stimulates action and accountability in everyone involved by creating deadlines
by which work must be completed. However, keep in mind that, although initial
timelines are an aid in your travel toward web accessibility, compliance
is an ongoing process and must be permanently established. Plans should
be made for both initial changes and the long-term establishment of web
accessibility as a priority at your organization.



Setting Priorities in Terms of Standard Achievement

Due to the complexity of the organizational reform process, setting priorities
at the onset along with deadlines for observance is essential. These priorities
outline which pages will be required to be compliant, as well as the minimum
requirements for established deadlines. This process may also take place
in phases. For example, one organization made pages that received the
top 20% of hits their first priority. These pages, as well as training
fell into their first phase, while obtaining further funding fell into
a third phase in the reform process.



Questions to Ask Yourself


  • Which pages must be fully accessible at the beginning of the process?
    Consider the home page and the top-level pages linking from it.

  • Which pages can be partially accessible until those of first priority
    have been completed?


Delegating Responsibilities

Once standards and a timeline have been determined, the next step is to
delegate responsibility for each of the tasks. This portion of the policy
should include a breakdown of each work group's purpose and tasks. As
tasks are delegated to specific members of the main accessibility committee,
subgroups will form. Who will be included in these groups? When will they
meet? A list of the organization's entities and what their responsibilities
are to enforce the policy should be delineated clearly.




Monitoring Progress

The best implementation plan does no good if there is no accountability.
Laying a foundation for monitoring progress and following through is the
best assurance that reform will be successful and complete. It is very
important that you develop a system by which to identify and maintain
contact with individuals who have been assigned specific responsibilities
within your plan. The administrators or managers can provide this leadership
in monitoring and compliance, as well as delegating specific tasks and
follow-up to others.

For example, the administration in some higher education entities require
that web masters attend training on institutional policies, sign agreements
to follow them, and are monitored over time for compliance. Of course such
an endeavor would assume that the administration has a way to identify and
track ALL individuals who place web content on an institutional server and
monitor accessibility as one feature of broader institutional policies.
The framework for these abilities must be laid early on.
There are many different methods emerging throughout organizations to monitor
progress. Let us present a few for your consideration.



  • The first is random checks. This is fairly self-explanatory,
    involving persons being hired to randomly test web pages for compliance
    to the standards.

  • Another method is a yearly purge, in which all pages
    not declared compliant by the web team are swept off the system. This
    may help to clean rogue content off the system, however, it still does
    not verify whether the sites are actually compliant or not.

  • Another method is the honor system, where those responsible
    for becoming compliant are not directly monitored, but it is assumed
    they will keep their sites fully accessible. This brings up the question
    "Why have a policy if we don't even know whether or not anyone
    is following it?"

  • A final method is the peer system. In this system,
    a network of designers is set up to provide mutual feedback, support,
    and idea-sharing opportunities. This association has established policies
    and monthly meetings. Twice a month two sites are sent out for random
    checking by all members of the association. The sites are checked
    against the established policies of the group and feedback is returned
    to the webmaster as well as the designer of the given page. In this
    system it is imperative that feedback be supportive, as well as critical.
    Training may be required to facilitate the requirement of gentle,
    but firm, critiquing.

Reference: http://www.webaim.org/articles/implementation/

According to Business Link:

Strategic planning


Implementing a strategic plan



The strategic plan needs to be implemented, a process that requires careful planning.

The key to implementation of the objectives identified in the
strategic plan is to assign goals and responsibilities with budgets and
deadlines to responsible owners - key employees or department heads,
for example.


Monitoring the progress of the implementation plan and reviewing it
against the strategic plan will be an ongoing process. The fit between
implementation and strategy may not be perfect from the outset and you
may find it necessary to tweak your plans as you progress.


Monitoring implementation is the key. Using key performance
indicators (KPIs) and setting targets and deadlines is a good way of
controlling the process of introducing strategic change. For more
information about this kind of target-setting, see our guide on how to measure performance and set targets.


Your business plan is another important tool in the implementation
process. The business plan is typically a short-term and more concrete
document than the strategic plan and it tends to focus more closely on
operational considerations such as sales and cashflow trends. If you
can ensure that your strategic plan informs your business plan, you'll
go a long way to ensuring its implementation. See our guide on how to prepare a business plan for growth.

Reference: http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?type=RESOURCES&itemId=1079693661

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