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Research on Information Management

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Research on information management
IM Professional position that I aspire to have
From my point of view, I will choose business technology analyst as my aspiring position. It is a position that requires people to have the technical background and business knowledge. As a student in information management, this position matched us best.
A special profile is listed as follows. Maggie H Chen
(https://www.linkedin.com/in/maggiehchen) who was graduate from Syracuse University is a business technology analyst. She have a dual degree in Finance and Information Management and Technology. She is aspire to become an effective international business communicator and is currently have more than one year working experience as business technology analyst.

Practices that will cause failures in IM management
In this specific position, the practice that you cannot correctly translate the business requirement into technical requirement will most likely be the case failure in IM management. Considering the specific profile listed above, it is possible for her to incorrectly translate the requirement since she didn’t have the strong technology background. Business analyst is now crucial for the success of the information management. Since this position provide the “translation service” for the business department and technology department, and imprecise translations will result in failure of the project. A study [2] has showed that poor definition requirements (50%), communications problems (14%) and inadequate risk management (17%) are the major reasons for failure of projects. And these are all related to business analyst.

Illustration

As shown above, poor definition requirements is the condition that most likely lead to the failure.
For example, Business requirements are high level requirements that management and a board of directors would typically understand, such as: "We need to establish an online customer portal and the portal should list our products."[7] Then business analyst translate it into functional requirements which are very detailed and outline exactly, as following: "The system shall be able to register a product using the following fields: Name (20 characters long), Details (2000 characters long), Price (currency), Category (pick list), and the system shall support that up to 5 pictures can be listed per product." If the business analyst define the technical requirement without defining price in the requirement, this will result in the failure.

Beside the requirement definition problem, another practice that will lead to IM failure is inefficient communication. For instance, Business analysts also have the toilsome task of translate technical complexities to business language so that stakeholders can easily understand, such as "why your HTML-based application can't have as slick of a user interface as a Visual
Basic application,"[3] They often explain what the technical staffs are doing and why they need to do it. Engaging with people and understanding what they need are key to successful requirements analysis and management. Business analysts must be good communicators. They need to support on working meetings by asking good questions and absorbing what’s being said.
Moreover, it is necessary to have a strong communication skill via web meeting and phone call for the reason that communication does not always happen face-to-face nowadays.

Why
The success of IM program is based on the interaction of these four components [1]: people, technology, process, structure. People means those individuals or groups directly involved in the information system. Technology is defined here as hardware, software, and telecommunication

equipment. The process component of an information system is defined here as the series of steps necessary to complete a business activity. The structure component refers to the organizational design, reporting, and relationships within the information system. Mark
Hedley[1], the former CIO of Wyndham International, perfectly said: “Many companies rush out, buy software solutions, install them quickly, and then can’t understand why the system failed.
You have to look at what business issues exist, what people and processes pertain to that business issue, and what those people do. Technology won’t solve [a problem] by itself—other components have to be part of the solution.”
For this special profile, business analyst always work with the people: business staff and technical staff. IT team are technology oriented. They are focus on how the system work.
Business units are customer oriented and are concerned with business related things such as return on investment. These two departments are two separate organizations. They seldom communicate effectively because they don’t use the same language. So business analyst is the bridge between them. In other words, the business analyst must have an extensive understanding of the business and then translate that interprets the requirements of the business team into a project definition that the IT group can use to build a successful solution. At the same time he should also have enough technical knowledge of IT technology and the capabilities of the technical employees and communicates the capabilities of the technical group to the business unit. The best business analysts understand technology's potential and its limitations. "You just can't assume that IT can do anything that the business wants them to. There are some things that are technologically impossible," Schwaber [4]. "And even if something is possible, it's not always cost effective." Furthermore, nowadays more and more company outsource the technology team.
It becomes more difficulty for business analyst to bridge the two groups. An external IT team

doesn’t have any basic business knowledge compared to internal IT group. Therefore it makes accurate requirement definition critical to the project success.
Then the technology and process components will be influenced because of the poor requirement definition and communication problem. The series of step to complete will be affected since the technical requires is not accurate. And it is impossible to build an information management software system that will meet the business activity. After the introduction of information management system, the security of the system will also be influenced.
From the previous discussion, one can see that to guarantee the information system meets the expectations, four elements must be present simultaneously. Loss of any one of them will result in the failure of the entire system. Moreover, these four components do not function separately, instead they have a strong interdependence on each other.

Practices that lead to successes in IM management & Illustration
The definition of information systems success in textbook [1] is that we can unequivocally deem an information system a failure if it is abandoned (i.e., the design and implementation phase is never concluded) or not used (i.e., the information system is completed only to be rejected by its intended users). There are multiple types of success such as the success of development team, success of the organization paying for the software. For technical Team, the definition of success involves time, cost, and quality in some way. Business success are often about return-oninvestment. They are focus on time and on budget. If the project cannot achieve the goal of finance and schedule, it is defined as failed project.
A good example is displayed in Robert Glass's Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering [8].
There exits project overran schedule by 200% and budget by 400% and this project failed in

terms of business. It is, however, successful in terms of technology since the development team came up with a low-defect product and managed to deliver it. Therefore, generally it is not well defined for success or failure for projects in Software Engineering, that is, success in on aspect may be able to compensate for the failure on the other one and vice versa.
However, from the aspect of business technology analyst, criteria that define success in IM management should make project success from both technology and business sense.
Today, business analyst can influence the result of IM management. So what do the best business analysts do so well? Here are four critical professional characteristics for business analysts that lead to successes in IM leadership or management.
At first, they have a thorough understanding of the problems in each and every project. Ron
Bonig, CIO of the George Washington University [4], said that it is important for the best business analysts to find the actual business problem and after that they should figure out the solution to the problem. He also said that people always try to solve the incorrect problem, which may have solutions that is irrelevant to the original problem. Good business analysts should always think—who, what, where, when, why and how. Bonig believes that if they can describe the problem based on this thoughts, then the solution they obtained is mostly useful and vice versa. In summary, he thinks that being able to determine the problem is a necessary skill for the best business analyst.
Also, most of their work lies in assisting technical teams in solving technical difficulties and their roles becomes especially essential when these difficulties involve negotiation between technicians and business groups.

Secondly, they should provide great translate service. More specifically, it means that they should be wise and mellow as diplomat, knowing how to seek the balance between different groups. In addition, good business analyst should be able to provide "translation services", meaning they should be the bridge of communication between technical teams and business ones. Similarly, Jim Shepherd, senior vice president of research at AMR Research, regard this
“translation” skill as the watershed between the good business analysts and the not-so-good ones.
"You're looking for someone who can translate between the technology folks within IT—and sometimes the external consultants and software vendors—and the businesspeople," Shepherd says. "They often don't speak the same language. They both have their own jargon."
Thirdly, they should have understanding of business from higher level even though a big chunk of their job description involves fundamentally basic works on software. This specifically means that they need to understand the background of the project, its work distribution and those who are of influence in each group. This is crucial as it is what is required of a business analyst to foresee

how the project would go and thus to anticipated potential crisis or benefits in a relatively long term. Further, it brings to another point that business analyst should always be able to seize the big picture and keep reminding all the members involving in the project such that the project progress is set in the right course.
Fourthly, they fully aware of the limitation and potentials of the technologies involved in projects. A good BA should always realize that real technology is not a rabbit hole which extends to where ones’ imagination goes. In other words, IT has its limitations. “There are some things that are technologically impossible," Schwaber [4] said, "And even if something is possible, it's not always cost effective." A competent business analyst should and must be able to explain these limitations in languages which both IT and business group can understand.

For example, a business analyst will know that IT is not going to be rewriting the company's legacy applications to deliver a new Web application, Schwaber points out. "They may know what the constraints are for that application—how fast it can change, when it can change—in ways that the business can never understand," she says. "But they can help them understand the impact of all these requirements."

Why
From the view of four components of information management system, reasons for the above five successful factors that lead to successes in IM leadership are stated as follows. As we discussed in the above paragraph, the success of projects are based on the interaction of the four components. Considering a project of information management system, business analyst will receive the business requirements first. Then he will provide the translation service between the business unit and IT group. At this point, the sense of business, knowledge of the technology limit and good translation skill will together guarantee that the project have an accurate requirement definition. Then there will be problems to solve in the series of steps. At this time the ability of determine the problem is essential for figuring out the solution efficiently. In this process, it may be necessary at some steps to communicate with other departments to solve the problem. At last, the built software should meet the business expectation. After the introduction of information management system, the security of the system will be influenced. All in all, these five best practice for business can help lead to the success of the project.

References:
1) Piccoli G. Essentials of Information Systems for Managers [M]. Wiley Publishing, 2012.
2)

https://www.trainingindustry.com/it-training/articles/business-analyst-vital.aspx

3)

http://www.cio.com/article/2436638/project-management/what-do-business-analystsactually-do-for-software-implementation-projects-.html

4)

http://www.cio.com/article/2436115/project-management/six-secrets-of-top-notch-businessanalysts.html

5)

http://www.smsmt.com/AU/Social/Blog/Nine-Top-Traits-of-Great-Business-Analysts

6)

http://www.bridging-the-gap.com/business-analysis-process/

7)

http://www.requirementone.com/Thought-leadership/Blog/2012/02/20/What-is-thedifference-between-business-and-functional-requirements

8) Glass R L. Facts and fallacies of software engineering[M]. Addison-Wesley Professional, 2002.

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