Explain how the specific technology solution you chose will improve the business process.

Overview of Business Process Analysis for UMUC Hair Cuts

For your Stage 1assignment for the Case Study, you identified a strategy for competitive advantage and a business process that you would improve through the application of technology.

In Stage 2, it is time to implement your strategy for a competitive advantage for UMUC Haircuts.  You will do this by strategically developing the business process that you have identified that needs improvement.  The success of your competitive advantage is going to be dependent on how well you improve the business process you selected in Stage 1.

In a large company, business and IT would work together to develop and implement the business process.  In this case study, you are the consultant that will plan and implement  your proposed technology solution keeping in mind the business process that you are improving and the technology you will use to guarantee success and give UMUC Haircuts a competitive advantage.

For this stage of the case study you will explain the process you selected for improvement, identify and explain a technology solution to improve the process, describe the solution components, explain how the technology solution will improve the process, and how it support the Strategy for Competitive Advantage.  You will provide two models, or diagrams, that demonstrate the steps in the business process as it exists today (AS IS model) and the steps in the business process as it will exist after the technology solution is implemented (TO BE model).



Stage One Notes:  Strategy for Competitive Advantage
Business Process to Improve


Solution Components:

The table below identifies the Information Technology components and Business resources that will be needed to implement the solution for the business process you have identified.

Information Technology Component   or Business Resource  Descriptions of Needs to implement the new IT solution
Software,  Telecommunications
& Facilities
hardware – devices that perform the input, storage, processing, and output functions.  Include the major, important hardware components needed to implement your proposed solution.software – identify the type of application software to be used; if you are proposing to use a software package, provide the name of it.

telecommunications – identify what kind of telecommunications will be needed for the solution, including local connectivity and internet access, if appropriate, and whether it will be used for data, voice and/or video.

facilities – what facilities will be needed to house the equipment and support staff; state whether the hardware be housed at UMUC Haircuts or at another facility.

IT Skills & Services Includes technical knowledge needed to implement the solution including application knowledge, social media skills, technology background
Business/Managerial Resources Includes vendor and outsourcer relationship skills, market responsiveness, IS-business partnerships, IS planning, and management skills.



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Business Process Model:

A process model is a diagram of the steps in a process.  Your models should be professionally created using Word, Excel, or PowerPoint diagramming features.  All steps in each process should be shown and labeled.  You can use arrow shapes to demonstrate the flow of the process.  You may think that your solution will create a new process for UMUC Haircuts and that there is no ‘current process.’  However, all of the processes are being done one way or another without technology and you should draw a model of how the process is being done today.

Please note that the business process model (BPM) should show the steps necessary to carry out the business process including start point, sequence of steps, key decision points along the way (if any) and the end point of the process. The BPM is notan implementation plan for the proposed computer system or for making the business process changes – that is the Stage 5 project not this one! Rather, the “To Be” diagram lays out the process that your software is intended to support.



Tools for Creating the Models:

 Flowcharting http://web.archive.org/web/20130718234318/http://www.hci.com.au/Hcisite2/toolkit/flowchar.htm
 Excel Charting http://web.archive.org/web/20130619031235/http://www.breezetree.com/articles/how-to-flow-chart-in-excel.htm
[closed captions are ok, but the demo is self-explanatory]
 Word http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hNGkxoM_ak

[closed captions & transcripts are not helpful, but demos are self-explanatory]


[closed captions are in German, but demo is helpful]

PowerPoint  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRplZxP6RFg

[closed caption, but demo is self-explanatory]


Modeling the Business Process Example:  If a grocery store had a need to reduce expenses and improve customer satisfaction, a process needing improvement might be improving the inventory process to ensure availability of products for customers as well as to reduce cost related to spoiled inventory.  The model could include the steps necessary to record inventory information, update inventory when merchandise is sold, place orders for additional inventory from suppliers, etc.




Assignment: UMUC Haircuts Stage 2:  Create a document that includes:

  1. Introduction:

Briefly state the strategy for competitive advantage that you will focus on and the business process you will use for success.

  1. Business Process Explanation:

Identify and explain your business process in detail. Explain how a technology solution could improve the process as it exists today. (Do not identify the specific IT solution, but discuss how a solution involving some aspect of technology could improve the process to help reach a competitive advantage.)

  • Proposed Technology Solution:
  • Identify in detail a specific technology solution to improve the business process. I recommend that you do propose a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software application and you can find many candidate solutions by web searching. If this were are real world application you’d need to identify and assess multiple solutions to make sure you find the best one for your business. For this application I only require that you identify one solution, but it must be at least a reasonable one. Please include the Web Link so I can check it out. (For example, Quick Books is not an ERP and it doesn’t have ERP functionality.) At a minimum I need to be reasonably satisfied that the solution you’ve recommended will actually work in conjunction with the Business Process improvement that you’ve proposed. If you can’t get enough information from the website or the vendor to confirm what the software actually does, you might want to steer away from it!
  • I recommend that you do not propose a custom built solution (such as one based on the MS ACCESS program) since many commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software applications are known to be available to meet the needs of this application. However, if you do decide to propose a custom built solution, then at a minimum you’ll need to prepare a functional requirements document. This document must identify the key data that the system will need to process, the main data input screens, define how the data must be processed, and what outputs will be produced.
  • Using information from your readings, discuss the specific solution, the type of solution it is, and why you chose this solution.
  • The proposed IT solution should focus on improving the chosen business process

and should be appropriate to UMUC Haircuts.

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(Do not discuss how it will improve the specific process yet. That’s in Step 5.)


  1. Solution Components (refer to table above):
  • Identify the hardware, software, telecommunications, and facility components needed to implement the proposed technology solution.
  • You should also identify the IT skills and services that will be needed to implement the project.
  • Also include the Business/Managerial Resources that will be needed to implement the project.


  1. How the Technology Solution will Improve the Process:

Explain how the specific technology solution you chose will improve the business process.


  1. Support for Strategy for Competitive Advantage:

Use course resources and outside research to identify how your specific proposed solution will support the strategy for competitive advantage identified in Stage 1. (Your resources should include more than vendor resources.)

  • Model the Processes:

Create two clearly titled and labeled diagrams that demonstrate:

  • the steps in the business process as it exists today (Model 1: AS IS), and
  • the steps in the business process as it will exist after the technology solution is applied (Model 2: TO BE).


  • References:

Provide at least one external resource in your paper. An external resource is a resource other than those provided in the class or text book.   Incorporate a properly formatted APA citation in the text of your document.  Then, place an APA style resource on a reference page at the end of your document.



Additional Instructions:


Formatting:  Stage Two Business Process Analysis & Technology Solution Proposal submission. 


For academic writing, the writer is expected to write in the third person. In third person, the writer avoids the pronouns I, we, my, and our. The third person is used to make the writing more objective by taking the individual, the “self,” out of the writing. This method is very helpful for academic writing, a form in which facts, not opinion, drive the tone of the text. Writing in the third person allows the writer to come across as unbiased and thus more informed.


  • Submit one document that includes your paper and the models.
  • Write a short concise paper: 2-3 double spaced pages of text
  • Use at least one external resources with APA formatted citation and reference
  • Include a title page and a reference page.
  • Models should be professionally formatted in Word, PowerPoint or Excel, and inserted as part of your WORD document.
  • Compare your work to the rubric to be sure you have met content and quality criteria.
  • Submit your paper as a Word document, or a document that can be read in Word.
  • Your submission should include your last name first in the filename:     Lastname_firstname_Stage _2


Model Notes:

  • The process that you model must be the one you identified in your Stage 1 (or the one suggested by the instructor) and it needs to be appropriate to UMUC Haircuts.
  • Give each model the appropriate title
  • Break your model down into sequential steps in your diagram.
  • Include and label all the major steps in the process.
  • Cut and paste your models at the end of your paper in your Word Document.

The “right” and “wrong” answers have to do with whether or not you correctly incorporated the course vocabulary and concepts from the textbook to support your choices, and that you address all parts of the assignment. The specific solution you select for an IT solution is not as important as that it makes sense in light of the course content.

Note: Be sure to read the instructions for the remaining projects in this case study (Stages 3-5) to get an understanding of the future projects that build on the solution.  You want to propose a solution that can be used throughout the case study assignments.

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