AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Using Quantitative Analysis To Plan And Manage IS Support Functions
Quantitative analysis techniques are used in the planning and management of production and operation functions in order to maximize output and quality while minimizing resource consumption. These objectives exist regardless of whether the operation is one of manufacturing automobiles, serving fast food, or, as is the focus of this article, supporting information systems.
The following case study demonstrates how quantitative analysis techniques can answer any operational questions in the management of information systems support. Specific quantitative techniques will be introduced and their application shown.
"Good morning . . ."
"Well good morning, Tom! You said you were a morning person and am I ever glad to see you here already." Tom turns around, overcoat in hand, to see his new boss, Bill Smith, standing in the doorway of the office he just managed to locate and enter five seconds ago. Without hesitation, Bill continues. "Things are really popping around here this week and there are several items I need you to get into right away. I tell you, we brought you on board as the manager of end user services not a day too soon. Don't know how we've survived up to now with me managing both application development and end user support. Anyway, as soon as you find a place to hang that coat and get a cup of coffee, come down to my office. Let's say five minutes."
As Bill turns and leaves, Tom has to agree with him. It is nice to be here. Atlantic Engineering Associates (AEA) has all of the signs of a company that is just beginning to grow, and during the interview Tom took an immediate liking to both Bill and to his new management position with responsibility for end user services.
As Tom hangs up his coat and looks for the coffee machine, he spends the time refreshing his memory on the company and its MIS function. AEA is indeed growing quickly, with revenues increasing at a very healthy 20% compound growth rate. Profits aren't doing quite as well, but that is where the expanded MIS applications come in.
AEA has a large mid-range processor with attached PC workstations. In addition to the standard financial accounts receivable/payable applications, there is an on-line office system for more than 50 secretaries and administrative staffs, and an expanding array of sophisticated design packages for the 200-plus engineers who are the bread and butter of the company. Tom also recalls that Bill stressed the fact that both the number of engineers and the number of packages they run are expected to increase rapidly over the next three years.
Knocking on Bill's door, Tom enters and, trying to match Bill's intensity, says "Here I am. Let's get to it." "Great, here are the items I mentioned. First, John Thompson, our senior project manager, called me on Friday afternoon and complained bitterly that his engineers were waiting for an average of almost 45 minutes to talk to somebody in my, or should I now say your, help desk. Needless to say I checked this out immediately with Jim Brown, our lead person on the help desk. Jim said that although we don't specifically track call-back time, he and the other two folks on the help desk were just not busy enough to explain the wait times that John was so upset out. Jim went on to say that he would guess that he and the others don't even have a problem to work on as much as 20% of the time, and that of course they pick up every call as soon as someone is free on a first-come, first-served basis. Something just isn't right here. But one thing I do know, it is critical that our engineers take full advantage of our system capabilities if we are to achieve the productivity improvements we need and, in any case, our revenue comes from billing out their time at …