Discuss business processes and the mechanisms used to support business decision-making

Unit 14 Business Intelligence - BTEC Higher National Diploma (HND) in Computing

Assignment - Business Intelligence

Learning Outcome 1: Discuss business processes and the mechanisms used to support business decision-making
Learning Outcome 2: Compare the tools and technologies associated with business intelligence functionality
Learning Outcome 3: Demonstrate the use of business intelligence tools and technologies
Learning Outcome 4: Discuss the impact of business intelligence tools and technologies for effective decision-making purposes and the legal/regulatory context in which they are used

Aim & Objective

This coursework is designed to demonstrate the broad understanding and knowledge of the unit, assessing and evaluating the student`s strength and level of analysis; divided into four learning outcomes. The coursework should be submitted as one document in a report format in final submission.
Assignment Scenario:

Business processes are core elements of any intelligent system. Design and development of intelligent systems largely depend on understanding the activities of business processes, their sequences, all relevant decisions around them, and the possible inputs and outputs of them. Business processes exist in any business. The scenarios below are two examples of them.

Case Scenario 1: Charity Fund Request Process
Action Response is a London-based charity dedicated to providing fast responses to critical situations throughout the world. It was founded by Susan N`tini, its Chief Executive, to provide relatively short-term aid for small projects until they could obtain funding from larger donors. The charity receives requests (applications) for cash aid, usually from an intermediary charity, and looks to process the request quickly, providing funds where and when they are needed. The processing of applications is a lengthy procedure requiring careful examination by applications assessors who are trained to make well-founded assessments in line with the charity`s guidelines and values.

Incoming applications are opened by one of the four ‘receipt` clerks who check that all the necessary forms have been included in the application. These are then sent in batches to the coding staff, twice a day. The five coding clerks allocate a unique identifier to each application and key the information on the application into the system. Files are then sent to the senior applications assessors` secretary`s desk. As assessors become available, the secretary provides the next job in the line to the assessor. About one hundred of the cases seen by the assessors each week are put aside because the information is ambiguous so further information is needed. The assessor returns these files to the secretaries, who write to the applicant (usually via the intermediate charity) requesting additional information, and return the file to the ‘receipt` clerks who ‘store` the file until the further information eventually arrives. When it does arrive, the file enters the process and progresses through the same stages again. Of the applications that require no further information, around half are accepted and half declined.

All the applications, whether approved or declined, are stored prior to ratification. Every Thursday the Committee of Trustees meets to formally approve the applications assessors` decisions. The committee`s role is to sample the decisions to ensure that the guidelines of the charity are upheld.

In addition, they will review any particularly unusual cases highlighted by the applications assessors. Once approved by the committee the files are then taken to the completion officers. There are ‘decline` officers whose main responsibility is to compile a suitable response to the applicant pointing out why the application failed and offering, if possible, helpful advice. Successful files are passed to the four ‘payment` officers where again the file is completed, letters (mainly standard letters) are created and payment instructions are given to the bank. Finally, the paperwork itself is sent, with the rest of the file, to two ‘dispatch` clerks who complete the documents and mail them to the applicant.

* This case scenario was adapted from Slack, N., Brandon-Jones, A. & Johnston, R. (2015). Operations management. Pearson education (p. 121).

Case Scenario 2: Event Management

You have been asked to organise a small concert for a charitable group, to raise money for a good cause and also attract more members for the charitable group.
Tickets for the event will be sold in advance (online or by phone) and ‘on the door`. It has been decided to set three price levels for the tickets:
- £5 for concessions (pensioners/ unwaged) and for existing members of the charitable group,
- £7 for students not existing members; and
- £10 for others.
- Anyone who joins the charitable group (annual subscription £5) will get a £2 discount on the event.

At the time of the event you will know how many tickets have been pre-sold.
You should note that ‘at the door` activities can involve signing-up new members on the spot in addition to simply checking tickets purchased in advance and selling tickets not already pre-sold.
The two main responsibilities of door personnel are; to
(a) ensure the right entrance fees are being charged; and
(b) accurately record ticket sales and membership applications.
There are two complications. Your venue has a capacity limit (300) and you must not exceed that capacity (or the function may be stopped on health and safety grounds).
Alcohol will be on sale at the venue, which is thus restricted to those aged 18 or over. Control is critically important and therefore you must also include processes which ensure that the venue`s capacity is not breached, and that under-age visitors are not sold alcohol.

Choose ONE of the above scenarios. You are required to produce a report, which should address the following tasks:

Task 1
Develop a process map or flow chart for the selected case, and examine its core steps and supporting processes. Then, identify its key input and output data and classify and differentiate them in terms of unstructured and semi-structured data.
Recommend an application software that can be employed to process the business activities of the case scenario above, and evaluate its benefits and drawbacks for business processing.

Task 2
Identify the key decisions to be made in the business process above, and compare the support(s) needed to be available for making those decisions. Then, explore the opportunities for intelligent systems to contribute to the decision-making processes and justify their required features. Accordingly, compare and contrast some information systems/ technologies that can be used to

support organising the selected business process, as described in the case scenario, at strategic, tactical, and operational levels.

Task 3
Specify one or two applications of business intelligence for the business process that you chose earlier, and determine its particular tools and techniques. Elaborate your answer by using specific examples in the context of the case scenario.
Based on the application(s) you specified above, design a business intelligence tool (or application or interface) that can support a specific task (e.g. decision making, problem solving, prioritising, and customer relationship management) of the process, mapped earlier for your LO1.

Try to customise different features of your business intelligence tool to enhance its user-friendliness or functional interface.
Critically review your design in terms of how it meets specific user or business requirements and its customisation capabilities.

Task 4
Review the key decisions being made in the above case scenario, and discuss how business intelligence tools can enhance their effectiveness.

Given that legal issues are very critical in your selected case scenario, explore their involvement in the exploitation of business intelligence tools recommended earlier for the case scenario above.

Through wider research on other organisations or sectors, identify two examples of business intelligence tools, which are employed to improve their operations.

Discuss how business intelligence can help organisations to enhance their competitiveness and expand their markets. In particular, evaluate the role of security legislations in business intelligence`s above achievements.