Dissertation: Soft Systems Techniques

Pages: 73 (20187 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] The execution time for the transition can also affect the perceived cost - benefit relationship. The new system must begin to return applicable benefit to the organization within a planned amount of time, or else the transition will begin to be opposed by those involved

Figure 2: Critical Mass of Transition Process.

This is the situation in which IMS Group currently finds themselves. Managing this change process, from Pre-planning through the resolution of the last bug and glitch is the responsibility of an IT consultant, and the focus of this project.

The web was designed principally as a mechanism for information access - to some extent a form of collaboration in its own right. However, it is not at all obvious how this existing infrastructure is best used for richer forms of collaborative activity. The most obvious architectural issue is which parts of the web infrastructure are modified or extended. This infrastructure operates in three parts: server, client and protocol:

server-end modifications

Several systems including BSCW (Bentley, et. al. p 12) use server-end extensions: both CGI scripts and independently running servers. The former make use of the existing ease of extension within web servers.

Client helpers and applets

The incorporation of JAVA and JAVA-script into web applications has emphasised the value of client-end computing, especially for rapid user interface feedback. In common with server-end scripting, the need for users to download special code is avoided. In addition, some systems have made use of downloaded helper applications and modified clients, including clients modified to run Tcl/Tk as a client-side script language (van Welie, et. al. P. 8) additional protocols

Http is certainly not suited to real-time conversations Hence, those systems which aim to give 'talk' style interaction must use their own protocol over independent Internet channels (Walter, p. 24) It is more suitable for the user to consider interactive text messages, and then notification mechanisms.

HTTP as a transport layer

The systems which fall into one or other of the above categories are all clearly 'web' applications which effectively uses HTTP as a transport layer that allows very large (whole file) transactions.

This makes the web a perfect working platform from which to launch the type of intra- corporation, or inter-continental production management system.

Purpose of the Project

This section describes the purpose of my assignment with IMS and the details of their control systems change over. Many systems use the web as an interface. It is hard to produce platform- independent interfaces, and with the advancement of the world wide web, it is increasingly cost-ineffective to do so. The web combines the advantages of platform independence with a rapid distribution mechanism. Furthermore, interface development is iterative, and using the web means that changes are automatically propagated to all users. Because of these features of the web, and the platform independent applications which can operate cooperatively over global distances in real time, International Metal Service selected the STRATIX production and corporate management software from Inverna in Jan 2003.

In June 1996, Invera was requested to respond to a major systems proposal for International Metal Service (IMS), which headquarters in Paris, France. Inerva The systems which fall into one or other of the above categories are all clearly 'web' applications which effectively uses HTTP as a transport layer that allows very large (whole file) transactions.

This makes the web a perfect working platform from which to launch the type of intra- corporation, or inter-continental production management system.

Purpose of the Project

This section describes the purpose of my assignment with IMS and the details of their control systems change over. Many systems use the web as an interface. It is hard to produce platform- independent interfaces, and with the advancement of the world wide web, it is increasingly cost-ineffective to do so. The web combines the advantages of platform independence with a rapid distribution mechanism. Furthermore, interface development is iterative, and using the web means that changes are automatically propagated to all users. Because of these features of the web, and the platform independent applications which can operate cooperatively over global distances in real time, International Metal Service selected the STRATIX production and corporate management software from Inverna in Jan 2003.

In June 1996, Invera was requested to respond to a major systems proposal for International Metal Service (IMS), which headquarters in Paris, France. Inerva's involvement was based on previous implementation of STELPLAN (another metal production and processing management software package) in a large number of metal service centers in the U.S. Starting in April 1997 and concluding in July of 1998, IMS and Invera conducted a joint 15-month study of the specific requirements of the European service center industry. As a result of this review, Invera embarked on the development of a totally new, metal-specific, international, highly scalable system called STRATIX. This web based application incorporating technology to also form the foundation to meet, and exploit for the benefit of the corporate business demands the challenge and opportunity of the Internet.(invera.com, 2003).

Released in January 2003, STRATIX included state-of-the-art technology which addressed the global metal market. The STRATIX system included integrated applications for multi-lingual metal distribution and global metal manufacturing. STRATIX was designed and billed as a web application which would address the most sophisticated enterprise customers to the most price-conscious, single location companies. The STRATIX core functionality, in addition to distribution functionality, addresses multi-step production operations with integrated capacity planning & production scheduling, shipping, sales, accounting, and purchasing sides of the controlling parameters.

According to Inerva literature regarding the STRATIX IMS system, the rollout and implementation of the new control software was to include:

Implementation Schedule: The implementation of STRATIX is a highly organized and structured process. The process of implementation and the timetable is scalable, and dictated entirely by the client company

Executive Overview: The project commences with an Executive and technology overview to outline the scope of the product operations.

Core Team Training: This is followed by the selection and training of a Core Team. The Core Team is composed of individuals from the metal company with specific areas of responsibility such as sales, inventory, production, purchasing, accounting, etc.

Operational Fit Analysis: As part of the training process, the Core Team will examine the STRATIX operational fit to the metal company. There are two objectives of this process. The first is to specify the policies and procedures with STRATIX and the second is to specify any modifications that may be mandatory for operation of the product in the metal company.

Data Conversion: As a parallel process, the data conversion from the proprietary, in house computer system is planned and system gateways into Invera Product data tables is specified to run concurrently during the roll out phase.

Technology Installation: The deployment of technology (hardware, software and network) must be planned to allow for Core Team Training, user training, simulation and finally the product rollout.

Simulation & Conversion: After a comprehensive business and technology simulation has been successfully conducted, the conversion weekend consists of verifying and balancing all information in the new databases. This is followed by full computerized operations the following weekday with the new policies, procedures and computer systems (invera.com).

However, throughout the actual implementation of this process, the STRATIX system is not performing to the expectations of the local IMS plant. Nor have the proposed features and benefits listed above been the experience of the IMS staff as they have attempted to fully implement the STRATIX system. After months of progressive, phased incremental roll-outs, and working through successive glitches, the plant staff responsible for managing the performance and production facilities do not have much confidence in the STRATIX system. The STRATIX is pc based, with the ability to seamlessly interface with the internet, and the global corporate structure. This is the end goal. However, at the time of this writing, the company was not able to rely on the system to create accurate control data in their own plant.

A short summary of the situation is as follows. The manager of information systems and the financial director need the workers to start using the system immediately in order for their positions to have the necessary data for oversight and control. However the people in the plant, a staff of approximately 85 workers in the production floor and shipping department don't want to commit their success to a system which is not been successfully delivering accurate data. The staff who are in charge of transport planning are also unwilling to trust their success to a seemingly recalcitrant computer system.

Grunge suggests that company re-engineering such as this "is conducted as a top down and goal directed fashion." fails to meet the directives of a truly empowered organization. He argues that a change process, which changes the substance and culture of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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