Coursework Guidelines: Word Count 2,500
NOTE: If you like, you can work on the many parts of this portfolio with your colleagues, to discuss your experiences and agree what the common decision making aspects there are, before making your personal reflections on your experiences and what the questions and course materials mean to you. The 4 parts include comments and suggestions that should help guide you to understand what you did and find out how this study relates to real-world MIS and ERP systems. Use the text, lecture notes, journal articles and web research on current industry trends to construct your answers and supplement your understanding of MIS and ERP.
(1) Portfolio/Reflective Exercise No.1
(a) Year 1 Data
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Select a business AA to DD for this portfolio piece. Using two separate databases you are to reflect on the Analytics process used to evaluate multi-company SAP ERPsim business data held in the two MS Access database provided. Comment on the comparisons you made to business EE performance, what you have learned and the insight you have gained from the data and SQL queries you generated for Quarter1 to Quarter3 of each data extract.
Compare your results with what you know about best practice in business, logistics and Operations Management, and those of business ‘GG’. Try to identify what aspects of your businesses OM strategy are perhaps better or worse that aspect of business GG or best practice. Specifically, you should explain what factors appear to be significant in the data.
Please illustrate and explain the relative performance by using the MS Access database extract from the SAP system.
Your BI analysis should cover Four basic company performance measures with dimensions by Product by Quarter by Day:
2. Pricing Vs Marketing spend
4. Marketing Spend analysis
The queries are partially developed and shown in the database.
To customise the queries provided, you will need to follow the guidelines you were given on Blackboard (See Document: 02_Query Design with Excel 2010.docx and also one for the latest Excel 2016 in Blackboard) where you create a custom inventory query in MS-Access from first steps using Pivot Charts in MS Access or MS Excel equivalents (See Spreadsheet template document: 03_Excel 2010 Graphs Example Workbook.xlsx see also the workbook for Excel 2016 if you are using the 2016 document version above). You are required to refine the data output from the queries provided by omitting the columns and data you don’t need, modifying the SQL select criteria and sorting order to get what you do want to report. Do this before proceeding to the visualisation stage of the performance analysis. For this purpose I have provided you with basic SQL queries to customise. These have all of the necessary tables connected and data fields identified in plain English. (For example, see query ‘ERPsim-Inventory’ to make your changes) and the sales price analysis query.
The Fourth query required is an analysis of your Marketing spending by Quarter, By Day and by Product using Table ‘BATONSIM/H_MARKETING’. You will need to develop this query directly by following the seminar guidelines to produce a Pivot-Chart from the table data, using the same procedure as that used to create the 3D-Inventory analysis shown graphically below.
Therefore, part 3 of this assessment is based on how well you write/customise the queries, to sort and display the data appropriately in a 3-D Pivot Chart format, aggregated by Quarter, By Day and by Product Code with Product Descriptions. The final step is to then modify the criteria of the SQL query to compare your data graphically with business GG or performance data from another team. Once you have done this, compare the report produced to the query you developed in class. Are there differences, problems or inconsistencies in the source data tables?
(b) Year 2 Data
The queries you developed in part (a) can be imported to the Year2 database, so little additional work is required to repeat the analysis. The steps for importing your finished queries into the second database are shown in the query design documents on Blackboard.
For this part, repeat the analysis in part (a) for Year 2 database and reflect on the comparison of the two sets of data for the business you are allocated. Knowing that the second database has data for a time-period after the initial fist-time simulation, is there any significant performance differences to inventory management, sales, marketing spend, etc? This applies to you and your analysis of a chosen competitor team.
For your individual work, consider how this type of Business Intelligence process could assist you in decision making and reporting if you had the BI information directly from the SAP ERPsim report menu, on-demand and in a performance KPI dashboard. The example queries you develop serve to illustrate the report and insight creation process. In addition to those sets of information, comment on what type of performance and financial information would be useful to get from the MIS on-demand for more complete business management.
You are free to use as many of the textbook resources, Blackboard lectures and any on-line SAP references to support your experience, opinions and to illustrate your understanding of contemporary MIS and Business Process Integration issues.
Conclude this section of your portfolio with a statement of what benefits you believe this Analytics experience has provided, if any? [50 Marks]
(2) Portfolio Reflective Work: Part 2
Since an ERP system tries to be a common MIS software package and useful to a broad range of businesses, it can be said that development or customisation of such an ERP system is extremely difficult when it comes to matching the business processes and software functions to the MIS requirements of the end-user organisations. By trying to remain “generic” and as broad as possible, vendors aim to keep software customisation costs to a minimum, while trying to fulfil as many of the specific requirements of individual organizations at the same time, and to attract others as new customers.
For this reflective piece, I would like you to consider the impact that Internet (Web 2.0), software integration technologies and ubiquitous mobile devices have had on what MIS and ERP systems can deliver now. In your reflection/answer consider the new delivery models available for MIS, ERP and related services for business: such as Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) or equivalent SAP ASP (Application Service Provision), software as a service (SaaS), Business 2.0 and Web 2.0, and combined with these, what cloud computing has done to both business processes and software development.
Consider also what these might mean in the context of how businesses deliver value to customers. For example, compare traditional notions of the value chain and the manner in which business might have delivered services in the past or still do. Also consider how the wide variety of SaaS, SOA and browser based technologies impact service delivery and cost, e.g. how laptops, desktops, tablets, smart-phones and other mobile or BYOD device policies could enhance business efficiency and customer service as well as likely problems they also bring.
It is argued that ERP product ‘services’ which use such technologies provide significantly lower operating costs by compelling ERP systems vendors to create products that ‘talk’ to each other, and in a common agreed language. In your reflection, explain your understanding of the business benefits that can be achieved from this global software development approach?
For smaller companies and start-up’s, what do you think SAP is trying to do with their “SAP by Design” and cloud based ERP technologies that benefit Small to Medium size Enterprises (SME’s) and more recently to very small, high-growth start-up companies? [25 Marks]
(3) Portfolio/Reflective Exercise Part 3
Data Warehouses are software tools designed for the collection, manipulation, display and utilisation of data to support executives and managers when analysing large volumes data in order to respond faster to market changes and to improve the quality of their decisions. Indeed SAP ERP has an extensive Business Intelligence and predictive analytics product range that supports strategic and operational decision making.
Requirement: Based upon the materials presented during the course, reflect upon your understanding of the concept of Data Mining, Business Intelligence and predictive analysis, explaining the value chain for Information and the Knowledge generated from volumes of raw data, and how these could lead to a competitive advantage for an enterprise. [25 Marks]
List of references (examples)
Burford, D. (2010) ‘Cloud Computing: A Brief Introduction’, Lad Enterprizes
Brain,M. ( 2011) How ASPs Works [Online] available from
Mardjan, M. (2010) Business disadvantages using cloud computing [online] available from
Sen, R., Subramaniam, C., Nelson, M., ‘Determinants of the Choice of Open Source Software License,’Journal of Management Information Systems (JMIS), Vol. 25, No. 3, pp. 209-241
Johansson, B. (2010), ‘ERP Systems Diffusion among SMEs: Does Development of Open Source ERPs Play a Role’. Proceedings Of The European Conference On Information Management & Evaluation, 168-174
Shehab, E.M., Sharp, M.W., Supramaniam, L. and Spedding, T.A. (2004) ‘Enterprise resource planning: An integrative review’. Business Process Management Journal 10 (4), 359-386
Siriginidi, S.R. (2000) ‘Enterprise resource planning in reengineering business’ Business Process Management Journal 6 (5), 376-391
Thomson Reuters (2012) Profile: SAP AG (SAP) [online] available from
< http://www.reuters.com/finance/stocks/companyProfile?symbol=SAP> [11 Aug 2017]
These references are just a few exemples. You are free to use the course textbook and any other materials and references you see fit in completing your study and reflections.
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