Consulting Opportunity 11.4

  1. What approach can the analyst take in suggesting more reports with a less- crowded format?

The repost does not seem to be easy to read for Stephen. Paul has a challenging job to organize the report in a manner that it can be better understood by Stephen. In my opinion, there are many ways in which Paul can organize the report. Paul need to make the report in such a way that the reader has no difficulty to follow the different sections of the report in a logical flow. Stephen will then have less chance to get confused in reading any part of the report or following up on different sections. The report need to have different parts pertaining to specific material. I mean the information from different sections should not be mixed together. For example information related to meat should be in the same section.

  1. Comment on the difficulty of implementing user suggestions that go against your design training.

Involving user in the system design and information collection has always been a difficult task (Baroudi, Olson & Ives, 1986). Different users will have a different approach when it comes to read the same report. The system analyst has to adopt to the requirements of the user. In the present case study, Stephen has different demands than what the system analyst is actually trained for. But this should not be an excuse for the system analyst. The system analyst should be able to properly decide about the constituents and length of the different sections of the user report in such cases.

 

  1. What are the trade-offs involved (as far as information overload goes) in generating numerous reports as opposed to generating one large report containing all the information Stephen wants?

Different users have different preferences when it comes to reading a report. For example if a user is interested in reading some specific part of the overall large report related to a specific product then it is better to present that user with a separate report for that specific product. The readers gets a chance to use their time productively. If a user is presented with one large report, it is possible that he/she will read the first few pages with proper attention and as the report goes on, they will lose their interest.

  1. Devise a heuristic concerning the display of report information on one report in contrast to the generation of numerous reports.

When a single report is presented to a user, different strategies can be adopted to highlight the important information that the analyst wants the reader/user to focus on. The necessary information or part of the report can be bolded, underlined, highlighted or italicized. This way when the report is read, that information can pop up from the report in the eyes of the readers and they can have their full attention to it.

  1. Consider advocating a Web-based or dashboard solution that would permit hyper-links to all the information Stephen desires. How feasible is that?

Dashboard or web-based solution are becoming popular in the modern world due to the ease and flexibility of their availability to different users and updating them timely. It has been a challenge for different departments to properly communicate and share different product data. With the help of web-based platforms, inter departmental connectivity has become productive and easy (Teo & Pian, 2004). Web-based and dashboard solution are just like tables of content. The user can click on any part of these table like menus and are taken to that part in seconds. For example sales databases are connected to these web-based platforms and they can be updated with a single click. In contrast if you have traditional hard written reports, you have to manually put the sales data in to them and manually make different calculations that would take a huge amount of time and effort.


 

References

Baroudi, J. J., Olson, M. H., & Ives, B. (1986). An empirical study of the impact of user   involvement on system usage and information satisfaction. Communications of the ACM, 29(3), 232-238.Teo, T. S., & Pian, Y. (2004). A model for web adoption. Information & Management41(4), 457-468.