The case study:
Heidi Preston is a sole trader in handcrafted products. She is a creative artist who makes bespoke quilts that are used as bedding blankets, sofa covers, and ornate wall hangings. In addition to creating beautiful quilts, she also teaches classes to handicraft groups which are close to her home. Heidi wants to get more work as a tutor, but also wants to find new ways of promoting her business. She would like to publicise her talents via a website and if possible, deal with booking arrangements for teaching via the internet. At the moment this is always done by telephone. Present clients (usually the leader of a local craft group) makes an arrangement to pay by cash on the day or to send a cheque payment through the post. Heidi wants to appear much more professional and hopefully open up a wider market by providing information, bookings and payment options online. Promotion and online sales of her products is also an area that Heidi is interested in developing.
A business approach/strategy is required. As she is a sole trader, she would be responsible for her own; social media marketing, keeping business accounts, providing an updated calendar of events, and keeping track of the communications between herself and all clients.
Heidi realises that technology will play an important role in the business. She has read about Customer Relationship Management software and Enterprise Resource Management software, but just does not know what kind of digital business technology support she really needs. Heidi requires professional digital business advice before she can make any final decisions about investing funds in business software. Also, she has heard that she may be able to save money by using Open Source Software, but does not understand if there are any implications, so Heidi needs your advice about this too.
Heidi has no technical experience and therefore requires a report that can be easily read and understood. You are the OIM consultant who is responsible for researching this business and providing a consultancy report.
Assessment task details and instructions
You are a consultant who has been employed to advise on the effective implementation of strategic changes. You are required to produce the following for the case study provided below:
Part A: Analysis – Business Process Models and strategy analysis
In this section you should develop
1. A series of at least two Business Process Models, which capture the existing and your proposed business processes. The models should follow the BPMN notation shown in the lecture slides. You can utilise Microsoft Visio, Word, PowerPoint or appropriate alternatives to create the models.
2. Strategic analysis: You should use at least one recognised analysis technique such as SWOT, PESTLE etc
Part B: Open Source Software Comparison Table
In this section, you should conduct research into a suitable software solution. You should decide on the set of characteristics which you will use to evaluate the software and your research should consider 4-5 alternatives in detail. This section should be presented as a table.
Part C: Report
In this section, you should write a report which provides an overview of the current situation together with a roadmap outlining how the proposed changes to the business can be achieved to the benefit of the business. This should draw on your analysis in Part A, include your recommendation for software in Part B, and provide recommendations for ensuring that the strategy is effectively implemented, including consideration of the challenges ahead.
This section should follow standard report structure:
Title Page – Contents – Introduction – Main Section – Conclusions and Recommendations – References.
You should use appropriate theories, frameworks, models, that we have covered in the module, to inform and justify your recommendations.
Part D: Reflection on your contribution to the online discussion
In this section you should submit a 250-word reflective summary, accompanied by your own self-assessment of your contribution to the online elements throughout the module, using the table labelled ‘Reflection Self-Assessment Pro forma’ in Appendix A (copy and paste it into your assignment document). The reflective report should include your detailed reflection on your learning process of theories, frameworks, models that we covered in the module, supported with evidence (pasted URLs) from the online discussion forum.
Using the Discussion Boards
The Blackboard module site has been set up with discussion boards for you to explore the assignment/share your ideas and findings of group activities. It is recommended that you use these to:
Share papers and articles that you have found on relevant topics (remember to include links / reference / pdfs if you do this!)
Discuss the changes to the ways of working – i.e. discuss what processes will change and explore how these might work in practice. You might also consider the changing information needs of the business
Discuss and share examples of Open Source software that could be of use.
Present the practice/outcomes/discussion of group activities outside class.
Please don’t be shy of using the discussion board – the purpose is to give you experience of using collaborative technologies.
This is the marking table which will be used to guide the marking of assessment components:
Section Content Word Count Marks
Part A Analysis – Business Process Models and strategy analysis 1000 (equivalent to) 30
Part B Open Source Software Comparison Table 500 (equivalent to) 20
Part C Report 1250 40
Part D Reflection on your contribution to the online discussion and wiki 250 10
Total 3000 100
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