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Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 1 Managing Information Technology 6 th Edition CHAPTER 13 SUPPORTING COMPUTER USERS.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 1 Managing Information Technology 6 th Edition CHAPTER 13 SUPPORTING COMPUTER USERS."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 1 Managing Information Technology 6 th Edition CHAPTER 13 SUPPORTING COMPUTER USERS

2 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 2 Supporting Computer Users In today’s organizations, computer users and applications vary widely One of the main responsibilities of the IS organization providing support services to users both on- and off-site Additionally, some non-IT users may be developing applications and IS organizations may provide support and policies for this user application development (UAD)

3 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 3 History of User Application Development Some history of user application development During the 1970s most IS managers did not expect PCs to be used in a corporate setting – In fact, many PCs were purchased by business managers without the IS organization’s knowledge Over time, increases in computer literacy led to an increasing number of spreadsheets and small applications developed by end users

4 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 4 User Application Development Advantages – Users do not have to explain their information requirements to an analyst who is not familiar with the business context – Users do not have to wait for IS resources to be assigned to work on their project – Business managers gain control over development costs

5 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 5 User Application Development Disadvantages – Loss of application controls (security, data quality) – Loss of opportunities for IT integration User developed applications are more likely to “reinvent” functionality found in other applications and miss opportunities to share data across applications – Increased operational risks due to developer turnover

6 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 6 User Application Development One of the biggest disadvantages from UAD is potential loss of data quality Spreadsheet errors are an example of data quality problems with user developed applications

7 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 7 Types of Spreadsheet Errors Mechanical errors Typing errors, pointing errors or other simple slips Have a high chance of being caught Logic errors Incorrect formulas due to choosing the wrong algorithm or creating the wrong formula to implement the algorithm Eureka errors refer to easy-to- proof errors Cassandra errors are difficult-to- proof Omission errors Things left out of the model that should be there These are difficult errors to detect Qualitative errors Flaws that do not produce immediate quantitative errors, but can lead to quantitative errors later

8 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 8 Magnitude of Spreadsheet Errors Fidelity's Magellan fund experienced an embarrassment due to a spreadsheet error "During the estimating process, a tax accountant is required to transcribe the net realized gain or loss from the fund's financial records (which were correct at all times) to a separate spreadsheet, where additional calculations are performed. The error occurred when the accountant omitted the minus sign on a net capital loss of $1.3 billion and incorrectly treated it as a net capital gain on this separate spreadsheet. This meant that the dividend estimate spreadsheet was off by $2.6 billion....” - J. Gary Burkhead

9 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 9 User Application Development The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) has created additional complexity for user application development Spreadsheets and applications that use financial information are subject to audit and must be protected by the proper controls This increases the risk of UAD for many organizations

10 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 10 Assessing the Risks from UAD Understanding the risks from UAD can help managers understand whether an application is suitable for UAD Three types of risk factors should be considered: 1.Application characteristics 2.Tool characteristics 3.Developer characteristics

11 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 11 Assessing the Risks from UAD 1.Application characteristics – Scope (personal, departmental, organizational) – Criticality/Impact (risk exposure) – Size and usage (one-time, periodic, ongoing) – Business problem complexity (commonality of task, problem structure) 2.Tool characteristics – Tool sophistication/complexity 3.Developer characteristics – User developer skills, experience, and availability – IS specialist skills, experience, and availability

12 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 12 Guidelines for User Developers IS professionals use development methodologies appropriate to the application they are creating Similarly, user developers should select an appropriate methodology based on three of the application characteristics: 1.Scope 2.Size 3.Complexity of the business problem

13 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 13 Guidelines for User Developers Not all applications require a strict adherence to a formal SDLC methodology Panko recommends the following methodologies depending on the application characteristics: Figure 13.3

14 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 14 Guidelines for User Developers User developers commonly underestimate the effort required to define a system’s requirements Asking important questions during the definition and construction phases can guide user developers Figure 13.4

15 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 15 Guidelines for User Developers User developers often learn many lessons during the course of application development Here are a few lessons other users have shared: – Stay in touch with end users – Development is time consuming – Intricate, hard-to-find bugs often show up at end of development – Managing user expectations is crucial – The prototyping methodology has value

16 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 16 Common UAD Pitfalls Even if users developers utilize an appropriate development methodology, they often fall victim to two common problems: 1.Not doing enough testing Thoroughly testing an application can take extensive time and effort 2.Not providing sufficient documentation Multi-user applications are likely to require relatively detailed documentation

17 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 17 Desktop Support One of the primary responsibilities of the IS organization is providing desktop support Virtually all users rely on IS specialists for desktop support A critical success factor is the staffing of the support unit – In the early 1990s, the typical staffing ratio was 1 support member for each 100 PCs

18 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 18 Framework for Designing User Support An overall framework for the design of user support can be useful to organizations Figure 13.5 (Brancheau & Brown, 1993)

19 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 19 Strategies for User Computing Many organizations have developed specific strategies for user computing One useful way to characterize these strategies is along two dimensions: – Level of control established and enforced by the organization – Level of support resources provided by the organization Organizations that move along the control dimension from low control to high control may experience resistance from users

20 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 20 Strategies for User Computing AccelerationControlled Growth Laissez-faireContainment STRATEGIES FOR USER COMPUTING Control Resources for Support (Adapted from Munro et al., ; Brancheau and Amoroso, 1990)

21 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 21 Strategies for User Computing Laissez-faire – This “hands off” approach is characterized by low levels of control and few resources for support – This strategy was common in the 1980s as PCs were first introduced into corporations – Now it is more commonly used when introducing new technologies

22 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 22 Strategies for User Computing Acceleration – This growth approach is characterized by low levels of formal controls and procedures and heavy investments in support resources – The goal is to enable users to acquire and learn computer tools and possibly develop their own applications – Used for more established technologies

23 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 23 Strategies for User Computing Containment – This approach is characterized by high levels of formal controls and procedures and minimal support resources – This risk adverse approach slowly brings in user technologies after policies are established – Strict guidelines for tool usage and security are enforced

24 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 24 Strategies for User Computing Controlled growth – This approach combines high levels of formal controls and procedures with extensive investments in support resources – The approach is considered the most mature and is common in organizations today – Many organizations initially begin with a different strategy and then migrate to controlled growth

25 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 25 Service Level Agreements The development of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) is important for successfully supporting users These metrics are typically established in consultation with business managers Figure 13.7

26 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 26 Support Services IS organizations provide many different services as part of desktop support Figure 13.8

27 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 27 Support Services Many organizations have outsourced their customer service support to organizations that can easily support customers in different time zones at a lower cost Similarly, help desks are commonly outsourced Help-desk staff typically follow scripts when helping to diagnose problems

28 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 28 Support Services Another important service that IS organizations offer is user training Training may be in general computer literacy or in specific tools or applications Many organizations have established “learning portals”—Web sites that provide self-paced training methods—or other e-learning initiatives

29 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 29 Control policies and procedures Control policies and procedures can reduce the risks involved with user computing The policies are usually developed and enforced by the IS organization Figure 13.9

30 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 30 Control policies and procedures Software Licensing – The licensing of application software is another responsibility of IS managers – The piracy of software is a worldwide problem that costs the commercial software industry over $7 billion dollars a year

31 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 31 Software Licensing – To deter software piracy, many of the large U.S. software companies created the Business Software Alliance (BSA) The BSA has power of attorney to enforce copyright claims of its members The organization uses incentives and advertisements to encourage whistleblowers In addition to paying the licensing fees, companies who are caught are subject to steep fines

32 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 32 Control policies and procedures Some of the greatest increases in costs for desktop computing are related to security Issues In 2003, the worldwide economic damage from viruses, worms, and other attacks was estimated at $120 billion Control policies and procedures should be continually modified to address new threats

33 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 33 Gartner has estimated that more than 80 million workers worldwide worked from home at least one day per month in 2005 The number of telecommuters has increased, but not at the rate that was expected Not all jobs are suitable for telecommuting Supporting Telecommuters Special Case

34 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 34 Telecommuting is enabled by advances in technology – Mobile devices and high speed network connections make telecommuting possible – Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and remote access technologies allow location-independent access to company data resources Supporting Telecommuters Special Case

35 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 35 Advantages for workers – Flexibility – Work-life balance – Easier to communicate with others in different time zones – Infrequent or eliminated commute Advantages for Businesses – Possible savings from decreased office space – Tax incentives Supporting Telecommuters Special Case

36 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 36 Disadvantages for workers – Feelings of isolation – Potentially decreased opportunities for advancement Disadvantages for Businesses – Difficult to support telecommuters – May need to change performance appraisal systems – More difficult to secure data Supporting Telecommuters Special Case

37 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 37 Obstacles to telecommuting – Technical Equipment Bandwidth Support – Managerial and behavioral Performance metrics Missing social interactions Securing sensitive data Supporting Telecommuters Special Case

38 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 38 Technical obstacles are becoming less problematic as new technologies are introduced Ways to overcome managerial and behavioral obstacles – Regular meetings can reduce feelings of isolation – Performance evaluation systems can be revised to reflect better metrics for telecommuters – Training programs can help telecommuters feel included and decrease concerns about a lack of advancement opportunities – Data security policies should be enforced to prevent data loss Supporting Telecommuters Special Case

39 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 39 Managing Intranets Special Case Most companies have implemented company intranets for cost savings These cost savings can only be realized if employees can find the information on the intranet Less than half of business users say they can find what they need on the corporate intranet

40 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 40 Managing Intranets Special Case Intranets often have problems with data accuracy and currency Different strategies for user computing have been applied to the implementation of intranets – Some used acceleration strategy (e.g., Boeing) – Others used containment – Generally most of these eventually moved to controlled growth strategies

41 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 41 Many organizations are integrating collaboration tools common to the Internet into their corporate intranet – Employee blogs Successful blogs have two important characteristics – Blogger must have something important to say – Blogger needs to share opinions uncensored – Wikis – Video A supportive culture is crucial for success Managing Intranets Special Case

42 Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall 42


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