MS112 Business Analysis and Technology

A series of non-random symbols, numbers, values or words; a series of facts obtained by observation or research; the record of an event or fact

Information Systems
A set of components that process data into useful information.

Information Systems

Basic Process

  1. Classification
  2. Rearrangement
  3. Aggregation
  4. Calculation
  5. Selection


  • People
  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Network
  • Databases


  • Improves decision making
  • Customer and supplier intimacy
  • Operational excellence
  • New products, services and business models
  • Competitive advantage
  • Continued existence/survival

Types of Information Systems

Transaction Processing System (TPS)

A cross-functional system that processes data resulting from the daily routine transactions necessary for business functions

Inputs: basic business transactions, customer orders, purchase orders, receipts and invoices

Outputs: Updated records after last transaction

Users: Operational personnel, supervisors

Management Information System (MIS)

Provides lower and middle management with electronic reports and inquiry capabilities to enable control, organisation and planning

Inputs: Data from TPS, ERP and CRM systems, external data from customers, suppliers, competitors and stock holders.

Outputs: Management reports

Users: Management

Decision Support Systems (DSS)

Provides support in problem solving and decision making activities

Inputs: Databases optimised for statistical analysis

Output: Responses to queries, statistical test results

Users: Professionals, senior management

Process Mapping

  • Identifies the types of activity that take place during the process
  • Shows the flow of transforming resources
  • Identifies the sequence of activities
  • Creates a visual understanding of the process
  • Helps to eliminate unnecessary tasks in the process

Process Mapping Techniques

Flowchart: sequential flow of actions
Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN): a standard with a well defined syntax, consists of flow objects, connecting objects, swim lanes and artifacts
UML Diagrams: modelling language used for specification, visualisation, development and documenting of software systems
Integrated Definition for Function Modelling (IDEF): a family of methods that address modelling needs of enterprises and its business areas.
Petri Net / Coloured Petri Net (CPN): graphically oriented language for design, specification, simulation and verification of systems.

Supply Chain Management

Including manufacture, supply, transport and service

  • Purchasing
  • Producing
  • Storing
  • Distributing
  • Selling

Coordinating a supply chain is generally difficult due to uncertainty in demand and uncertainty in supply.

SCM Cycles

  • Customer order cycle
    • Customer arrival
    • Customer order entry
    • Customer order fulfilment
    • Customer order receiving
  • Replenishment cycle
    • Retail order trigger
    • Retail order entry
    • Retail order fulfilment
    • Retail order receiving
  • Manufacturing cycle
    • Order arrival
    • Production scheduling
    • Manufacturing and shipping
    • Receiving at the distributor, retailer or customer
  • Procurement cycle
    • Based on manufacturer's production schedule or stocking needs
    • Supplier production scheduling
    • Component manufacturing and shipping
    • Receiving at manufacturer

SCM Customer Order Decoupling Point

A point in the value chain for a product which is pulled in response to actual customer orders, and pushed in anticipating of customer orders


Processes upstream from the CODP are 'push' processes, processes downstream are 'pull' processes.

SCM Policies

Make to order

  • Used for customised products
  • Produces products to customer specifications after the order has been received
  • Low inventory cost, high flexibility, high quality of design ceiling
  • Delivery lead time is relatively long

Assemble to order (build to order)

  • Used when there are many variations of the end product
  • Product is partially completed and kept in a generic form
  • Medium inventory cost, medium flexibility, relatively fast delivery

Make to stock

  • Produces products for immediate sale or delivery, in anticipating of demand
  • Produces standardised products in large volume
  • Fast and dependable delivery, efficient production
  • High inventory costs, low flexibility

SCM Strategies need to be chosen with consideration to desirability, feasibility, responsiveness and efficiency.

Business Analysis Strategies

PESTEL Analysis

Political, economic, socio-cultural, technical, environmental, legal

Porter's 5 Forces

Potential entrants, suppliers, buyers, substitutes, industry competitors

SWOT Analysis

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats


Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound