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									   EXECUTIVE INFORMATION SYSTEM
                  FOR
            AVONDALE COLLEGE




Name:          David Heise

Student
Number:        31096719

Course:        COMP820

               Information Systems
               Management and Analysis

Due Date:      Thursday, 17th November 1994
CONTENTS
        1. Executive Summary ............................................................................... 1
        2. Background ............................................................................................ 2
           2.1 History and Context ............................................................................ 2
             2.1.1 Ownership ................................................................................................ 2
             2.1.2 Mission ..................................................................................................... 2
             2.1.3 History...................................................................................................... 2
             2.1.4 Size ........................................................................................................... 2
             2.1.5 Funding .................................................................................................... 3
             2.1.6 Courses..................................................................................................... 3
             2.1.7 Development of IS .................................................................................... 4
           2.2 External Relationships ........................................................................ 5
           2.3 Organisational Structure ..................................................................... 6
        3. The Business Problem .......................................................................... 7
           3.1 Problem Description ........................................................................... 7
             3.1.1 Business Practices.................................................................................... 7
             3.1.2 Information System Deficiencies .............................................................. 7
             3.1.3 The Problem ............................................................................................. 7
           3.2 Current Systems ................................................................................. 8
        4. The Proposed Solution .......................................................................... 9
           4.1 Definition of Terms ............................................................................. 9
           4.2 Why EIS? ......................................................................................... 10
           4.3 Project Objectives ............................................................................ 11
           4.4 Project Outline .................................................................................. 13
           4.5 Project Details .................................................................................. 13
             4.5.1 MIS Planning Group .............................................................................. 13
             4.5.2 Key Management Areas ......................................................................... 13
             4.5.3 Interviews ............................................................................................... 14
             4.5.4 Information requirements for specific management areas .................... 14
             4.5.5 Subsystems ............................................................................................. 15
             4.5.6 The Data Model ..................................................................................... 16
             4.5.7 Competitive Forces Model ..................................................................... 18
        5. The Future ............................................................................................ 19
           5.1 The Real Life Project ........................................................................ 19
           5.2 Implementation Tasks ...................................................................... 19
           5.3 Evaluation......................................................................................... 20
        Appendix ................................................................................................... 21
           Minutes of the MIS Planning Group ............................................................... 21
        Bibliography ............................................................................................. 26




David Heise                                                                              6c6b2ac5-0692-479b-bacb-6f6f8ec9ac6b.doc
1. Executive Summary
The Information System at Avondale College is quite underdeveloped in terms of providing
management information and decision support. Part of the reason for this is that in the past, managers
have not demanded this sort of information, and the system was incapable of providing it when
requested. The systems themselves were designed by accountants to automate manual systems.
Management information was not a consideration. A more fundamental reason is that the goals of the
College have been poorly translated into specific objectives with strategic plans for achieving them.
Aligning Information Systems with business goals has never been considered.

For the purposes of this project report, attention will be given to analysing the business problem and the
requirements for a system to solve the problem. Key management areas have been identified, and their
goals and critical success factors will be determined. The management information requirements will
be determined based on these critical success factors. A corporate database will be designed that will
provide a Data Centred Information Management Environment (DCIME). Its primary focus will be to
provide improved management information and decision support.

In real life, the project will go on to completion. Transfer programs will be written to automate the
replication of data held in existing systems into the new corporate database. The database will also be
designed to be compliant with the CASMAC specification (Core Australian Specification for
Management and Administrative Computing), so that as legacy systems are replaced, they will operate
on the new database. EIS (Executive Information System) tools will be evaluated, purchased and
installed. Key administrators will be trained in the use of EIS tools to enable them to make the best use
of the data resource.




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2. Background
2.1 History and Context

2.1.1 Ownership
Avondale College is a privately owned tertiary institution operated by the Seventh-day Adventist
Church. It is part of a global education system that includes primary and secondary schools, and
tertiary colleges and universities.
2.1.2 Mission
The primary purpose of Avondale College is to educate young people for service in the work of the
Seventh-day Adventist Church. At the same time the College has the wider purpose of preparing young
people, irrespective of their future employment, for effective Christian service in the community.
Avondale has a Christian philosophy of education, and this is one of the characteristics that
distinguishes it from other universities.
2.1.3 History
Avondale College was established on its present site in Cooranbong in 1897 as the Avondale School
for Christian Workers. The name was changed to the Australasian Missionary College in 1911 and in
1963, it became known as Avondale College.

Over its history, there has been considerable growth in enrolment, buildings, staff and academic
facilities and standards. A nursing course was added in 1980, utilising the School of Nursing facilities
at Sydney Adventist Hospital in Wahroonga.

The move towards registration of teachers in all states of Australia and in New Zealand in the early
1970’s made it imperative for the college to seek national accreditation for its courses. This was gained
during the 1970’s and 1980’s for most courses, and became an important factor in continuing to attract
students.

Avondale College is currently seeking university status as a teaching university.
2.1.4 Size
There are approximately 750 students, with about 600 on the Cooranbong Campus, and 150 completing
nursing degrees on the Wahroonga Campus at Sydney Adventist Hospital. This number has been
fluctuating for the last ten to fifteen years, with no real growth, and is a major source of concern for the
College. Recruiting and marketing efforts are being giving urgent attention. An enrolment of at least
1,000 students is felt to be necessary to be economically viable.
There are about 145 staff in total, with nearly as many support staff as academic staff. It has been
necessary to add staff in spite of relatively static enrolments because of the increases in courses offered,
with the associated increases in administrative and academic overheads. Liaising with governments for
routine reporting as well as for accreditation and other negotiations has also added to the overheads.
                                 Computer Services             Avondale
                                     Centre                     College          %IS
                    Staff               4                          145           2.7%
                    Budget          $325,000                   $9,500,000        3.3%

                                        Table 1. Staff & Budget


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2.1.5 Funding
Students enrolled in Education courses pay the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) fee,
and the College receives government funding for them.

All other students are full fee-paying students. This creates a reporting difficulty when submitting our
Student Data Collection to DEET (Department of Employment, Education and Training), since the Act
does not have any provision for undergraduate Australian students who pay their own tuition. The
church contributes a significant operating grant which is in effect a subsidy for those students.

                                          Source of       %
                                          Funding
                                          Students        51
                                          Church          25
                                          Government      15
                                          Other            9

                                Table 2. Funding Source Breakdown


2.1.6 Courses
Most courses have government accreditation, and attract Austudy for eligible students.

There are degree courses, with a variety of majors and minors.

   Award         Course Type              Majors and Minors
   Type
   Certificate                            Business Studies, Aviation
   Diploma/      Arts                     English, Geography, History, Mathematics, Religion,
   Bachelor                               Visual Arts
                 Business                 Accounting, Computing
                 Education, Primary
                 Education, Secondary     Accounting, Biological Science, Business Studies,
                                          Chemistry, English, Geography, Health & Physical
                                          Education, History, Home Economics, Industrial
                                          Technology, Mathematics, Music, Physics, Religious
                                          Studies, Visual Arts
                 Nursing                  (Bachelor, various Graduate Diplomas)
                 Theology (Arts)
                 Science                  Biological Science, Chemistry, Geography, Mathematics,
                                          Physics
   Masters       Arts

                                      Table 3. Courses Offered




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2.1.7 Development of IS

                    1977     Datapoint terminals connected to Sanitarium
                              in-house General Ledger
                              in-house payroll and other office systems
                              various in-house Student Records systems
                    1981     Datapoint computer purchased
                              administrative computing
                    1983     PDP 11/34 purchased
                              secretarial word processing (DecWord)
                              computing classes
                    1988     MicroVAX - replaced Datapoint under emulation
                              administrative computing
                              Student Administration written in COBOL
                    1991     VAXstation cluster replaced PDP 11 &
                             MicroVAX’s
                              administrative computing
                              secretarial word processing (WPS-Plus)
                              computing classes
                              Payroll package purchased for PC
                              PowerHouse 4GL purchased for on-going
                               development
                              terminals being replaced by PC’s
                    1991     some computing classes moving to PC’s

                                Table 4. IS Platforms and Systems

There are several notable aspects to the development of Information Systems at Avondale College.
    1. Much of the software development in the past was done by staff already in the department, such
       as the accountant or registrar.
    2. The structured methodologies were still in the early stages of development. Limitations in the
       language (Databus) and in the machine (Datapoint) made it difficult to apply the structured
       approach.
    3. Typically, the developers had no formal training in computer science or computer systems
       development. The poor data design and programming style resulted in systems that were
       difficult to maintain.
    4. The developers had a good understanding of the systems that were in place at the time, which
       were usually manual systems. The computer applications that they developed were little more
       than automated versions of these manual systems.
    5. Developers and users had no “outside” experience with commercial packages or standard
       commercial office practices.
    6. Some commercial packages were evaluated, but they had a poor fit. The accounting methods of
       the College were found to be non-standard in many ways, and the College was unwilling to
       make the necessary changes.


David Heise                                      4          6c6b2ac5-0692-479b-bacb-6f6f8ec9ac6b.doc
     7. The application development activity was usually restricted to the developer and the immediate
         users. The developer was often seen as one of the office staff. There was no global view of
         Information Systems for the College. Administration offered little input or direction.
As a result, Avondale College has Information Systems that have served its operational needs quite
well, but have contributed only poorly in the areas of planning, management and decision support. (See
Table 9. Focus of Expansion Stages for a list of the stages of growth of Information Systems.) There is
a growing awareness that this needs to change, and the success of this current project is seen as a
critical factor in the future of Avondale College.

2.2 External Relationships
Avondale College has contacts with many external organisations. The contacts it has give some of idea
of the types of information that the College has to prepare to answer external requests.

       Church                   Church                      Sanitarium                      Sydney
     Head Office              Head Office                   Health Food                    Adventist
      (Sydney)                   (US)                        Company                       Hospital



                                                                                            Federal
                                                                                           Government
       Church                                               Avondale
     Conferences
                                                             College
                                                                                              State
                                                                                           Government

       Schools

                                                                                             Local
                                                Avondale              Business            Government
      Churches             Alumni                College                                  & Community
                                                                      Suppliers
                                               Foundation

                                    Figure 1. External Relationships

The following table summarises the types of contacts that Avondale College has with the external
organisations.

      External Entity                       Type of contact
      Avondale College Foundation           funding for projects, student loans
      Alumni                                promotion, fund raising
      Schools and churches                  PR and promotions
      Schools                               practice teaching
      Conferences                           funding, scholarships
      Head Office (Sydney)                  operational reporting, funding
      Head Office (US)                      standards reviews, reporting
      Sanitarium Health Food Company        employment, bursaries
      Sydney Adventist Hospital             campus for School of Nursing, employment


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      Federal Government                    course accreditation, statistical reporting, funding
      State Government                      course accreditation, statistical reporting, employment
      Local Government & Community          planning, development, community needs
      Business Suppliers                    goods and services

                               Table 5. Contacts with External Entities
Most data flow is outward from Avondale College to the external organisations. DEET data is starting
to be returned from Canberra in summary form which allows useful analysis and comparisons with
other universities.

The format of some of the data is pre-determined, such as for church administrative reporting and
government reporting. However, much of it is ad hoc.


2.3 Organisational Structure

                                          Board of Governors


                                                 Principal


     Assistant Principal      Business Manager               Public Relations            Student Services
                                                             and Development


              Registrar         Assistant Business Mgr               Marketing                 Residences

          Academic Heads          Land Management                   Promotions                  Recreation

              Librarian            Food Services               Publications - Internal         Counselling

        Information Systems          Book Store                Publications - External

                                    Maintenance

                                      Security

                                      Cleaning

                                 Figure 2. Organisational Structure

The purpose of this diagram is to identify the administrative structures for decision making purposes.
The two levels immediately below the Board of Governors represent the chief administrators. They
form an administrative group called Adgroup. All executive decisions are made by this group.

There is one other group with the power to formulate and enact policy, and that is the Academic
Standards and Policies Committee. There are many advisory committees. Relevant ones are listed
later.

The structure is not as hierarchical as this representation indicates. There are significant cross-
functional responsibilities arising from memberships on the various management committees.

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3. The Business Problem

3.1 Problem Description

3.1.1 Business Practices
There are many aspects to the business problem. Some of them have to do with the need for
fundamental changes in management procedures.
     Avondale College has a Mission Statement in which it concentrates on the philosophical aspects
      of Christian education. However, the practical details of its goals and objectives are poorly
      defined.
     There have been no objectives relating specifically to operating efficiency or enrolment targets,
      although this is starting to change.
     Strategic Planning is pursued in only an elementary way, and has not been formally practised.

3.1.2 Information System Deficiencies
Another aspect of the business problem is the inadequacy of the Information System. It does not
support management planning and decision making. This is partly because of problems with business
practices as mentioned above. There has been no co-ordinated attempt to align Information Systems
development with business goals.

In the past, management processes at Avondale College have not relied to a significant extent on input
from computer-based information systems. There are a number of reasons for this.
      Our financial software was developed in-house almost twenty years ago, and is primarily a
        record keeping system. The system does not produce management information.
      Most of our accountants, business managers and administrators have not worked with systems
        that provide decision support, so they are not experienced with the kind of assistance that state-
        of-the-art management information systems can provide. As a result, their requests for
        information have been infrequent and relatively unsophisticated.
      Unfortunately, on the occasions when the Computer Services Centre is asked for decision
        support information, it is usually not able to provide it with our current systems, and that
        discourages the administrators from making further requests.

As a result, the Information System is quite underdeveloped.
     it is a collection of separate applications mostly written in-house to serve the needs of particular
       functional areas
     it is data processing rather than information oriented
     there are legacy financial systems (emulating Datapoint on a Vax), with foreign data formats
     data is fragmented between systems, with duplication
     there are no user reporting tools

3.1.3 The Problem
The potential benefits of the information resource are not being realised. The college administration is
coming to see that changes have to be made if we are to attract students and continue to operate. “The
only sustainable form of competitive advantage is flexibility to change. At the heart of flexibility is the
infrastructure by which a corporation gathers and distributes knowledge.”1

1
    John Craven, Anderson Consulting, quoted in Pacific Computer Weekly, 23 September 1994

David Heise                                                 7           6c6b2ac5-0692-479b-bacb-6f6f8ec9ac6b.doc
An appropriate Management Information System can be an enabling factor in bringing about that
change. End user EIS tools are available that support decision making, provided there is an appropriate
underlying database. The problem is that in its current format, corporate data is not accessible via these
tools - it does not support decision making.
A long term project has been set up (called the Administrative Software Project) which has as its goal
the replacement of the existing administrative software. An objective of this project is to maintain a
central corporate database in a form conducive to analysis via EIS tools. However, the problem here is
that the timescale for completion is six to eight years, so this does not address the urgent need for
improved management information.
The problem is:
     to provide corporate data in a form that can be analysed with end-user EIS tools,
     in the shortest possible time,
     in a way that is compliant with the CASMAC specification,
     and in a way that can be used as the foundation for the Administrative Software Project.

3.2 Current Systems
The current computer-based system could be described more as a data processing system than as an
information system. The major components are as follows:
  Component                   Platform       Data Format       Comments
  Student Administration      Vax            RMS               adequate
  General Ledger              Vax            Datapoint         some what adequate, but no
                                                               integration, no EIS
  Budgeting,                  PC             spreadsheets      inadequate
  Financial Planning
  DEET Reporting                                               no EIS
    Student                   Vax            RMS               adequate
    Staff                                    manual            inadequate
    Finance                   Vax            Datapoint         no integration
  Banking                     Vax            Datapoint         some what adequate, but no
                                                               integration, no EIS
  Payroll                     PC             Progress          adequate, but no integration, no EIS
  Human Resources                                              non-existent
  Accounts Payable                           manual            inadequate
  Accounts Receivable         Vax            Datapoint         partly computer-based, inadequate
  Asset Management            Vax            Datapoint         inadequate
  Recruiting, Marketing &                                      non-existent
  Promotion
  Management Information                                       non-existent
  Ad hoc enquiry/analysis                                      no user tools
  EIS                         PC             spreadsheets      no user-specified extraction
                                       Table 6. Current Systems

There is an urgent need to provide EIS access to corporate data, without having to wait until all the
current systems are replaced. The current systems are inappropriate as a basis for an EIS for a number
of reasons. There are a variety of data formats, as shown in Table 6. Current Systems. Most EIS tools


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operate via client-server techniques on relational databases using SQL, and none of the data is currently
held in relational database format.

Financial data is held predominantly in Datapoint format, which is emulated on the Vax. Some
financial data resides in spreadsheets on PC’s. The payroll package runs on a PC and uses a database
called Progress.

As part of the analysis phase, data held by existing systems will have to be analysed. This will be the
source for most of the data that is provided in the EIS corporate database.



4. The Proposed Solution

4.1 Definition of Terms
“As IT professionals began investigating key performance information systems, a number of acronyms
appeared in the industry.”2

                                   EIS        Executive Information System
                                   DSS        Decision Support System
                                   ESS        Executive Support System
                                   BIS        Business Intelligence System
                                   OLAP       Online Analysis Processing

                               Table 7. Management Information Acronyms

According to John MacGregor of Crendal MacGregor & Associates, DSS is a financial modelling tool,
with statistical analysis and forecasting. “The term EIS appeared in the mid-80’s, to describe a product
which was more concerned with the delivery of information, rather than analysis. It was aimed at
senior executive users. The ESS in theory merges EIS and DSS, in the delivery and analysis of larger
data sets.”3

In “Management Information Systems”, Laudon and Laudon define Decision Support Systems (DSS)
as “Computer systems at the management level of an organisation that combine data and sophisticated
analytical models to support semistructured and unstructured decision making.”4 They define
Executive Support Systems (ESS) as “information systems at the strategic level of an organisation
designed to address unstructured decision making through advanced graphics and communications.”5

Because the management team is so small at Avondale College, the roles are not specialised enough to
warrant making a distinction between these systems. For the purposes of this project, the system will
be referred to as an EIS, although it may contain aspects of some of the other systems.




2
  Kerry Hicks, Pacific Computer Weekly, 21 October 1994, p21
3
  Kerry Hicks, Pacific Computer Weekly, 21 October 1994, p21, quoting John MacGregor
4
  Kenneth C Laudon and Jane P Laudon, Management Information Systems, p550
5
  Kenneth C Laudon and Jane P Laudon, Management Information Systems, p568

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4.2 Why EIS?
Executive Information Systems can be a tool with which value can be added to data. It can be used to
drive and underpin organisational change, which makes it critical that the system be business driven
and not technically driven. EIS makes senior managers technically and data aware, and their
involvement is essential in designing a database that meets their needs.
A Data Centred Information Management Environment (DCIME) will allow integration across business
functions. Questions of data ownership, the right to access and the right to update will arise. Such
integration will necessarily impact organisational practice and structure. The people issues need to be
thought through, and the costs of integration must be carefully assessed. However, integration is
necessary for a successful EIS.
“There is still confusion surrounding the definition of EIS. With EIS comes numerous buzzwords, but
it is argued that EIS must provide the user with tools to access and analyse business data quickly. The
critical factor is that the system lets them ask questions as they occur without seeking assistance from
MIS.”6
John MacGregor runs J.M.MacGregor & Associates, which specialise in EIS/DSS consultancy. He has
identified ten characteristics for success with EIS.

                  1. Focus on the data
                  2. Keep data volumes to that which is needed
                  3. Text is as important as numeric data
                  4. The EIS must be integrated to Email/Groupware
                  5. Start small, be successful, then grow
                  6. The software you select is important
                  7. The most important data time frames are the current and the future
                  8. Recognise data providers
                  9. Information presentation
                  10.Continuously review progress

                               Table 8. Suggestions for Success With EIS7

The growth of Information Systems within a business has been classified into seven stages.

                              1.   Clerical and Administrative Support
                              2.   Management Control Support
                              3.   Consolidate Corporate Databases
                              4.   Value Added Support for Competitive
                              5.   Management Policy Support for Sustaining
                              6.   Strategy Planning Support for Innovation
                              7.   Workflow Support

                                    Table 9. Focus of Expansion Stages8

6
  Pacific Computer Weekly, 8 July 1994, p8, edited by Sallyanne Hapke
7
  Pacific Computer Weekly, 21 October 1994, p25, from John MacGregor
8
  CNG Dampney COMP820 Notes for Session 3 Harnessing the Information Resource, p19

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Avondale has had good support from its Information Systems at stage 1, and at least in the academic
area, at stage 2 as well. The focus of this EIS project is on stage 3 - Consolidate Corporate Databases,
but the benefits will flow into most of the other stages.

The impact an Information System has on an organisation has been characterised as a progression.


                                             Operational functions


                                             Management control


                                              Strategic initiatives


                                            Organisational structure


                                              Business processes


                                               Company mission


                                          Figure 3. Growth of Impact9

At Avondale College, the current Information System has very little impact beyond the operational
level. However, EIS technology is targeted at all of these levels. With proper planning between
management and IS, all of these areas can benefit from the coordinated use of information as a key
asset.


4.3 Project Objectives
The Computer Services Centre is coming under mounting pressure from administration to provide end-
user tools that allow administrators to analyse information in a way that supports the planning and
decision making processes. It is intended that when this project is complete, corporate data will be
accessible using standard EIS tools.

Another desirable result of this project is that we will have a well analysed and designed database for
use as the foundation for new software development to replace the Databus systems. The database will
be CASMAC compliant, so the interfaces required for DEET reporting will not be difficult.




9
    CNG Dampney COMP820 Notes for Session 3 Harnessing the Information Resource p23

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Designing an EIS database that can serve as the foundation for new software development may turn out
to be a difficult objective. Experience has shown that few EIS systems fail for containing too little
information, but many fail for costing too much to maintain.10

“The Corporate Core Data Model accommodates the data of the entire corporation so that data can be
shared.” On the other hand, “the Strategic Data Model reflects the (current) strategic business
processes of the enterprise.”

                          Corporate Core                     Strategic
                          Data Model                         Data Model
                          universal                          focused
                          large                              selective
                          stable                             changing
                          apolitical                         political
                          reflects operations view           reflects executive view
                                    Table 10. Enterprise Data Models11

It may be that the EIS functionality will require a separate “data warehouse” with automated replication
from the operational corporate database. However, it is clear that the strategic data model should be
contained within the corporate data model.

The strategic plan for Avondale College calls for it to move toward University status to enable it to
carry out its mission of preparing professionals for service in the church and in society. It has targeted
specific growth areas including enrolment and a wider provision of academic offerings.

This project will enable administration to be much more effective in implementing the strategic plan. It
relates very closely to some of our objectives, namely, to reach the potential students we see as our
market, and to achieve and maintain a viable enrolment. Other objectives include operating the
residences and cafeteria as efficiently as possible, optimising the quality of education within allowed
budgets, and realising the potential of the information resource.

By placing powerful ad hoc enquiry and analysis tools in the hands of decision makers, it is felt that
effective marketing and development plans can be devised and implemented. Management decisions
can be made that respond to changes in the most positive way.

The project outlined in this document will give decision makers a tool for choosing the best course to
follow in order to implement the strategic plan. It will also give them tools to measure their success in
achieving their goals and objectives. Measurement criteria have yet to be determined.

Broad Objectives
   1. provide a system that assists in clarifying goals and determining strategies
   2. provide an information system that is aligned with business goals
   3. support users with training, documentation and on-going support

Specific Objectives
    1. make corporate data available for EIS analysis

10
  John MacGregor in Pacific Computer Weekly, 21 October 1994, p25
11
  CNG Dampney, COMP820 Notes for Session 6 Corporate Information Architecture, pp13, 15

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    2. empower the Principal to find answers to various ad hoc enquiries
    3. provide the Assistant Principal with strategic information for academic planning and
       administration
    4. provide the Business Manager with strategic information for financial planning and
       administration
    5. provide the Assistant Business Manager with tools that facilitate budgeting, costing and analysis
    6. support the Director of Public Relations and College Development in marketing activities with
       potential new students, and fund-raising and promotion amongst alumni
    7. provide the Registrar with tools for analysing academic performance and other matters relating
       to academic administration and enrolment


4.4 Project Outline
    1.   Form MIS Planning Group
    2.   Identify specific management areas that should be targeted for EIS
    3.   Interview managers and users from targeted areas and determine a set of critical issues
    4.   Analyse the management information requirements for those areas

The steps required for the completion of this project are beyond the scope of this report. They are
outlined in Section 5.1 The Real Life Project, and will be performed as part of the EIS project that is in
progress at Avondale College.


4.5 Project Details

4.5.1 MIS Planning Group
One of the most concrete results already achieved in this project has been the formation of a group to
oversee the planning of Management Information Systems at Avondale College. It is chaired by the
Assistant Principal, and is set to play a major role in bringing about change in the use of IT/IS.

The MIS Planning Group has scheduled meetings with representatives from each of the key
management areas (it has already met with three of these). The objectives of these meetings are:
        to publicise the EIS project
        to collect initial ideas on the kinds of information that should be provided
        to foster thinking in terms of strategic planning
        to develop a culture in which the potential of the information resource is harnessed to
         facilitate decision making

4.5.2 Key Management Areas
The management areas that have been selected as targets for the EIS project correspond to the major
operational areas of the College, namely:
                                  1.   Administration
                                  2.   Academic
                                  3.   Financial
                                  4.   Public Relations and Development
                                  5.   Student Services


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                               6. Library and Audio Visual
                               7. Computer Services

                                Table 11. Key Management Areas

These are the main areas where management decisions are made. The actual decision making is done
primarily by three groups, but they are supported by many advisory committees.
After identifying the key management areas, it is helpful to try to determine the decision making
processes. There are three groups with the power to formulate and enact policy:
          Board of Governors
          Adgroup
          Academic Standards and Policies Committee
Some of the advisory committees supporting these decision making groups include:
         Standing Committees of the Board
         Academic Committees for Course Programs
         College Council
         Computers Management Committee
         Finance Advisory Committee
         Library Management Committee
         Recruitment and Promotion Committee
         Staff Ranking Committee
         Student Aid Committee
         Student Awards Committee
         Student Services Council
The names of these committees give some idea of the sorts of information they require in making
recommendations to the decision makers.
4.5.3 Interviews
After meeting with Academic staff, the PR Director and Library staff, some clear messages are already
coming through.
         there is major concern about data ownership, quality and integrity
         there is major concern about accessibility of information
         historical data will be needed for analysis
         follow-up analysis of marketing strategies through to applications and registrations
         the importance of email has been emphasised
Minutes of these meetings are shown in the Appendix.
4.5.4 Information requirements for specific management areas
A preliminary list of topics has been compiled for each of the specific management areas. This list
gives an indication of the diversity of information that will have to be held.

    1. Administration
         numerous ad hoc requests
         employment placements
    2. Academic
         class sizes
         teaching load/teaching capacity
         staffing

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           course development
           staff study projections
           management reports
           resource scheduling - classes, lecturers, students, rooms, buildings
           retention rates by course and other fields
           pass/fail by course and other fields
           changes in application and enrolment patterns
           distribution patterns of TER’s
           various statistical summaries and analyses as required by the Principal
    3.   Financial
           budget forecasting and modelling
           management reports
           board proposals
           course costing
           enrolment/fee modelling
           cafeteria/residence costing & fees
           teaching load/staffing
           fleet management
    4.   Public Relations and College Development
           recruiting/applications from school leavers
           alumni
    5.   Student Services
           student personal data
           behaviour analysis
    6.   Library and Audio Visual
           matching acquisitions to borrowing patterns
           managing diversity of AV equipment
    7.   Computer Services
           tracking projects
           tracking PC hardware and software, and licensing

Partly to measure the feasibility and partly to give the project some visibility, replication procedures
have been developed for General Ledger account master and transaction tables.
The remainder of the action plan is to carry on with the real life project.

4.5.5 Subsystems
The following table lists the subsystems that have been identified so far as needing to be supported by
application software. For some of these subsystems, no software is currently in use. For many of the
others, new software will have to be developed or acquired.

These subsystems will be a major source of data for the EIS database, and their requirements will have
to be analysed in detail.

                                                               BU           Budgeting
Subsystem ID        Subsystem Name                             CI           Common Information
    AP              Accounts Payable                           ED           Education Department
    AR              Accounts Receivable                        FA           Fixed Assets
    BK              Banking & Receipting                       GL           General Ledger


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       HR           Human Resources
       IN           Inventory                           Subsystem ID       Subsystem Name
       KR           Key Register                            MU             Music Department
       LI           Library                                 PA             Payroll
       MT           Maintenance Costing                     PC             PC Register
                                                            PM             Project Management
                                                            PO             Purchase Orders
                                                            PR             Public Relations
                                                            SE             Security
                                                            SR             Student Records
                                                             SS            Summer Schools
                                                            SW             Student Work Allocation
                                                            TL             Telephonist/Receptionist
                                                            TM             Time Management
                                                            VE             Vehicle Management
                                 Table 12. Application Subsystems
4.5.6 The Data Model
A central part of this project is to build a data repository for a Data Centred Information Management
Environment (DCIME). It will form the basis for an Executive Information System (EIS) and its
primary purpose will be to provide decision support. At least initially, the data will be extracted from
the various production systems.

As an EIS, it will have to provide appropriate snapshots and summaries for analysing trends and
making comparisons over time.

Being unrestricted by the processing requirements of the functional areas, the concept of “shared data”
is much easier to implement. However, a requirement of the detailed analysis still to be performed is
that the resulting design be compliant with the CASMAC specification.


 EIS
                                                                                  Financial




              Student           Resource                  Human
              Admin            Management                Resources



                                                                                   Core Info
                                                                                  Name
                                                                                  Address


                                                                                                         Fig
                                     ure 4. High level data model



David Heise                                       16          6c6b2ac5-0692-479b-bacb-6f6f8ec9ac6b.doc
This is a very high level representation of the data model. The major operational modules shown here
are:
          Financial
          Student Administration
          Resource Management
          Human Resources

Information such as person name and address and similar details about external organisations will be
treated as Core Information. It will be shared amongst the modules that use it, to avoid duplication and
possible inconsistency.

EIS is a very important part of this model. The EIS functionality will require the ability to access data
belonging to all of the other modules. For that reason, all of the other modules are represented as lying
within the EIS module. However, that is not the way it will be implemented. EIS requirements will
only need a limited subset of the full operational data, possibly with some summary data as the initial
view. As managers analyse through a given scenario, it should be possible for them to “drill down” to
the actual line data detail if necessary.




David Heise                                        17         6c6b2ac5-0692-479b-bacb-6f6f8ec9ac6b.doc
4.5.7 Competitive Forces Model
New entrants do not pose a threat to Avondale College because of Government policy in relation to
new universities and because the College targets a specialised market. The same could be said of
substitutes. Our reason to continue to exist is due largely to our unique view on the philosophy of
education in the Christian context.

Because of our small size and low volume of purchases, the effect of suppliers on competition is
minimal.

The other competitive forces are considered to have a high impact on our enrolments and therefore on
our success as an enterprise. The range of courses offered and the quality of facilities available at state
universities far exceeds ours, and this attracts many students who might otherwise attend Avondale
College for their tertiary education. Students wanting to study medicine, law or social work for
example have no alternative but to study elsewhere. Financial considerations will also influence some
against attending Avondale College. Students come from all over Australia and New Zealand, Asia,
the Pacific, Africa and North America and the cost of travel and board has to be weighed against the
cost of living at home and attending the local university.


              ENTRY BARRIERS
                                           NEW ENTRANTS
              Capital requirements
              Government policy
              Specialised market

                                                LOW                DETERMINANTS OF BUYER POWER
                                                                   BARGAINING LEVERAGE
                                                                   Low switching costs
                                                                   PRICE SENSITIVITY
                                                                   Full fee-paying courses
                                             INDUSTRY
                                           COMPETITORS

       SUPPLIERS                                                                        BUYERS
                              LOW                                   HIGH
                                               Intensity
 DETERMINANTS OF SUPPLIER POWER                of Rivalry   HIGH
 Low materials purchases
                                                               RIVALRY DETERMINANTS
                                                               Range of courses offered
                                                               Quality of facilities
                                                LOW



                                            SUBSTITUTES


                               DETERMINANTS OF SUBSTITUTION THREATS
                               Philosophy of Education




                                     Figure 5. Competitive Forces




David Heise                                         18          6c6b2ac5-0692-479b-bacb-6f6f8ec9ac6b.doc
5. The Future

5.1 The Real Life Project
The remaining steps listed here are beyond the scope of this project. They will be performed as part of
the real life project that is in progress at Avondale College.

    1. Model the data requirements as determined from the management information analysis, using
       Entity Relationship modelling techniques.
    2. Derive a high level process model, and represent it graphically using Data Flow Diagrams.
    3. Design a relational database to meet these requirements, keeping in mind:
         the need for power, flexibility and change
         DEET reporting requirements and the CASMAC specification
    4. Develop data transfer applications to load data from existing systems:
         Student Administration        Vax RMS
         Financial systems             Datapoint Emulator
         Payroll system                PC Progress
    5. Produce user documentation for the database
    6. Evaluate and install EIS packages, such as Impromptu and PowerPlay from Cognos
    7. Train and support users


5.2 Implementation Tasks
This is a first estimate of the tasks required for the completion of the whole project and the time in
person weeks for each task.

                 Task                                                        Time
                                                                            (weeks)
                 Start Project
                 Seek input from the key management areas                        4
                 Analyse the management information requirements                20
                 Design a relational database to meet these requirements        10
                 Develop data transfer applications                              6
                 Evaluate and install EIS packages                               3
                 Produce user documentation for the database                     4
                 Train and support users                                         3
                                  Table 13. Implementation Tasks




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5.3 Evaluation
The progress of implementation will be reviewed regularly by the MIS Planning Group that has been
set up. This group will ensure that the various tasks listed in the Implementation Timetable are
completed satisfactorily.

Measuring the success of a project like this is not easy. It is not simply a matter of performing all the
tasks in the Implementation Timetable. You cannot implement technology and expect the technology
alone to solve business problems. As Bill Gibson, technical director for SAS institute said, “You’ve
actually got to at some point, have someone who understands the technology, and particularly the way
the organisation has stored its data, and can also relate to the needs of the business.”12

Upon completion of the project, a number of factors will be used to measure its success.
   1. the number and type of enquiries being made on the corporate database by administrators
   2. the number of management reports being prepared by administrators
   3. user requests for changes, additions, enhancements to the database
   4. user evaluation of the system




12
  Bill Gibson in Pacific Computer Weekly, 8 July 1994, p16

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Appendix

Minutes of the MIS Planning Group

                    MINUTES OF AVONDALE COLLEGE
                   COMPUTER PLANNING TASK FORCE
                     HELD ON 26 SEPTEMBER 1994 AT 8.15 am


PRESENT:              D Cooke, L Harris, D Heise, R O’Hara, G Valentine (Chairperson)

NOMINATION OF         L Harris nominated as secretary.
SECRETARY:

COMMITTEE PURPOSE:    An ad-hoc group to function as a strategic planning committee re
                      computing needs. It should identify issues, trends and objectives
                      for discussion by Adgroup.

DEET PROJECT          A draft proposal to apply for DEET funding in order to develop an
PROPOSAL:             Executive Information System (EIS) was presented by D Heise.

                      General discussion followed on several points particularly
                      - CASMAC Initiative.
                      - Various information systems currently in place
                      - Computer Services medium term plans

                      REQUESTED that committee members give any input they have
                      on the DEET proposal to D Heise. The proposal has to be sent by
                      28 September 1994 if we want consideration for funding.

NEXT MEETING:         As soon as practical after the mid-semester break. Arranged by
                      the secretary.

MEETING CLOSE:        The meeting closed at 9.20 am




                      (Chairperson)




                      (Secretary)




David Heise                               21         6c6b2ac5-0692-479b-bacb-6f6f8ec9ac6b.doc
                MINUTES OF AVONDALE COLLEGE
       MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM ADVISORY COMMITTEE
                     HELD ON 24 OCTOBER 1994 AT 9.00 am
                     The meeting commenced with prayer offered by G Valentine

PRESENT:             D Cooke, L Harris (Secretary), D Heise, R O’Hara, G Valentine
                     (Chairperson)
PREVIOUS MEETING:    VOTED that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 26
                     September 1994 be accepted.
MATTERS ARISING:     COMMITTEE PURPOSE: The committee has been formed to
                     serve as an advisory group to Adgroup, with particular emphasis on
                     the development of strategic plans for College information
                     systems.Its initial focus will be to advise on the development of a
                     Management Information System. (MIS)

MEETING FREQUENCY:   Meetings will be held weekly, each Tuesday at 3:30pm in the
                     boardroom.
SISP PRESENTATION:   D Heise presented an article dealing with some of the problems
                     encountered by corporations who were trying to implement a
                     Strategic Information Systems Plan (SISP).

                     The focus of the SISP will be determined by its objectives. These
                     objectives can be divided into two categories
                      - Strategic advantage over competitors
                      - Development of a corporate wide Data Centred Information
                     Management Environment (DCIME).

                     It was noted that while the development of a SISP and in particular
                     a DCIME was highly desired, few of the companies surveyed had
                     satisfactorily achieved their goals in this area.
DATA GATHERING:      Prior to the development of a SISP it was felt that the committee
                     should obtain the view of a wide range to users, it was
                     VOTED that the committee meet with departmental representation
                     to discuss their immediate needs and visions of the future.

                     Academic Office           November 1        D Cooke
                     Public Relations          November 8        L Harris
                     Library & Audio Visual    November 15       L Harris
                     Business Office           November 22       L Harris
                     DOSS Office               November 29       L Harris
NEXT MEETING:        November 1, 1994 at 3:30pm in the boardroom.
MEETING CLOSE:       The meeting closed at 10.20 am



                     (Chairperson)



                     (Secretary)



David Heise                             22          6c6b2ac5-0692-479b-bacb-6f6f8ec9ac6b.doc
                      MINUTES OF AVONDALE COLLEGE
              MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM PLANNING GROUP
                       HELD ON 4 NOVEMBER 1994 AT 10.30 am


                        The meeting commenced with prayer offered by G Valentine

PRESENT:                D Cooke, L Harris (Secretary), D Heise, G Valentine (Chairperson)
                        and D Cottier, E Rosenberg, M Williamson by invitation.

                        Apologies were accepted from R O’Hara (on leave)

ACADEMIC OFFICE:        Academic office staff presented their ‘needs and directions’
                        requests (A copy is on the back of these minutes).The major points
                        of discussion were :-
                             Data ownership and integrity
                             Greater use of E-mail
                             Integration of WP to data

                        D Cooke also highlighted the problems faced by users trying to
                        navigate the existing file structures and in particular identifying
                        which fields contained the data required for some queries.


NEXT MEETING:           November 8, 1994 at 3:30pm in the boardroom.

MEETING CLOSE:          The meeting closed at 11.20 am




                        (Chairperson)




                        (Secretary)




David Heise                                  23          6c6b2ac5-0692-479b-bacb-6f6f8ec9ac6b.doc
                      MINUTES OF AVONDALE COLLEGE
              MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM PLANNING GROUP
                         HELD ON 8 NOVEMBER 1994 AT 3.30 am


                     The meeting commenced with prayer offered by G Valentine

PRESENT:             D Cooke, L Harris (Secretary), D Heise, G Valentine (Chairperson)
                     and L Heise.

                     Apologies were accepted from R O’Hara (on leave)

PREVIOUS             VOTED that the minutes of the previous meetings held on 24 October
MEETING:             and 4 November be accepted.

PUBLIC RELATIONS     The PR department cares for a broad range of college activities, from
&                    PR, College promotion, student recruiting and Alumni. The MIS needs
DEVELOPMENT          are just as diverse. The major points of discussion were :-
                           Data ownership and integrity
                           Access to data
                                 Poor network access
                                 No (or little) historical data
                           Integration of WP to data
                           Tools for analysis of data
                                 Marketing effectiveness
                                 Adhoc queries - How many grads since year n?
                           Access to E-Mail and computer based fax

                     It was noted that the PR and Academic departments share much
                     common data and that the current network access and data transfer
                     systems resulted in additional workload and duplication of effort for both
                     departments.

                     Further it was noted that the lack of computer based historical data
                     hindered the production of reports (mailing lists, grad lists etc.) which
                     were of great importance to the PR department.

NEXT MEETING:        November 15, 1994 at 3:30pm in the boardroom.

MEETING CLOSE:       The meeting closed at 5.15 p.m.




                     (Chairperson)                      (Secretary)




David Heise                                    24          6c6b2ac5-0692-479b-bacb-6f6f8ec9ac6b.doc
                MINUTES OF AVONDALE COLLEGE
       MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM ADVISORY COMMITTEE
                       HELD ON 15 NOVEMBER 1994 AT 3.30 am
                   The meeting commenced with prayer offered by L Harris
PRESENT:           D Cooke, L Harris (Secretary), D Heise, G Valentine (Chairperson) and
                   by invitation R Parmenter, R Power, M Rigby.

                   Apologies were accepted from R O’Hara (on leave)
PREVIOUS           VOTED that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 8 November be
MEETING:           accepted.

MATTERS ARISING:   Allocation of course codes and the entry of historic courses will be cared
                   for by Computer Services staff.

LIBRARY :          The library is the College’s most valuable asset. The cataloguing and
                   circulation functions are performed on a computer run by Unilinc. There
                   is no access to the Unilinc computer from our VAX network at present or
                   in the foreseeable future.

                   Data about library users (patrons) is sent irregularly from College to
                   Unilinc. As such, accuracy of the Unilinc data diminishes over time.
                   Patron data may be maintained via terminal but is only done so when
                   Library staff become aware of discrepancies. No system exists to notify
                   the library of changes in student status.

                   The main points of discussion were :-
                       Access to data
                         Restricted network access
                         Student data - to confirm patron status
                         Financial data - enquiries re expenditure to date
                         Payroll data - student employment
                       Measures to gauge the effective use of the collection


AUDIO VISUAL:      The AV department shares space with the library and may be best
                   described as a sub-department of the library.They supply AV services to
                   any college department as well as supporting the college church and
                   student services.

                   The main points of discussion were :-
                       Inadequate inventory of college AV equipment
                       Poor liaison between departments when ordering AV
                       equipment resulting in poor connectivity.

NEXT MEETING:      November 22, 1994 at 3:30pm in the boardroom.
MEETING CLOSE:     The meeting closed at 4.35 p.m.




                   (Chairperson)                     (Secretary)



David Heise                                 25          6c6b2ac5-0692-479b-bacb-6f6f8ec9ac6b.doc
Bibliography

John Craven, Pacific Computer Weekly, (23 September 1994)
CNG Dampney, COMP820 Notes for Session 3 “Harnessing the Information Resource”
CNG Dampney, COMP820 Notes for Session 6 “Corporate Information Architecture”
Bill Gibson, Pacific Computer Weekly, (8 July 1994)
Sallyanne Hapke, Pacific Computer Weekly, (8 July 1994)
Kerry Hicks, Pacific Computer Weekly, (21 October 1994)
Kenneth C Laudon and Jane P Laudon, Management Information Systems (1994)
John MacGregor, Pacific Computer Weekly, (21 October 1994)




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