Essentials of Management Information Systems Sixth Editionprovides a number of case studies for you toanalyze. Included in these cases are questions to help you understand and analyze the case. You may,however, be assigned other case studies that do not have questions. This Handson Guide presents astructured framework to help you analyze such cases as well as the case studies in this text. Knowing how toanalyze a case will help you attack virtually any business problem.A case study helps students learn by immersing them in a realworld business scenario where they can act asproblemsolvers and decisionmakers. The case presents facts about a particular organization. Students areasked to analyze the case by focusing on the most important facts and using this information to determine theopportunities and problems facing that organization. Students are then asked to identify alternative courses ofaction to deal with the problems they identify.A case study analysis must not merely summarize the case. It should identify key issues and problems, outlineand assess alternative courses of action, and draw appropriate conclusions. The case study analysis can bebroken down into the following steps:1. Identify the most important facts surrounding the case.2. Identify the key issue or issues.3. Specify alternative courses of action.4. Evaluate each course of action.5. Recommend the best course of action.Let's look at what each step involves.1. Identify the most important facts surrounding the case. Read the case several times to become familiar with the information it contains. Pay attention to theinformation in any accompanying exhibits, tables, or figures. Many case scenarios, as in real life,present a great deal of detailed information. Some of these facts are more relevant than others forproblem identification. One can assume the facts and figures in the case are true, but statements,judgments, or decisions made by individuals should be questioned. Underline and then list the mostimportant facts and figures that would help you define the central problem or issue. If key facts andnumbers are not available, you can make assumptions, but these assumptions should be reasonablegiven the situation. The "correctness" of your conclusions may depend on the assumptions you make.2. Identify the key issue or issues. Use the facts provided by the case to identify the key issue or issues facing the company you arestudying. Many cases present multiple issues or problems. Identify the most important and separatethem from more trivial issues. State the major problem or challenge facing the company. You should beable to describe the problem or challenge in one or two sentences. You should be able to explain howthis problem affects the strategy or performance of the organization.You will need to explain why the problem occurred. Does the problem or challenge facing the companycomes from a changing environment, new opportunities, a declining market share, or inefficient internalor external business processes? In the case of information systemsrelated problems, you need to payspecial attention to the role of technology as well as the behavior of the organization and itsmanagement.Information system problems in the business world typically present a combination of management,technology, and organizational issues. When identifying the key issue or problem, ask what kind ofproblem it is: Is it a management problem, a technology problem, an organizational problem, or acombination of these? What management, organizational, and technology factors contributed to theproblem?To determine if a problem stems from management factors, consider whether managers areexerting appropriate leadership over the organization and monitoring organizationalperformance. Consider also the nature of management decisionmaking: Do managers havesufficient information for performing this role, or do they fail to take advantage of theinformation that is available?Source : Laudon, K. C., & Laudon, J. P. (2011). Essentials of management information systems. Upper Saddle River: Pearson.
To determine if a problem stems from technology factors, examine any issues arising from theorganization's information technology infrastructure: its hardware, software, networks andtelecommunications infrastructure, and the management of data in databases or traditional files.Consider also whether the appropriate management and organizational assets are in place to usethis technology effectively.To determine the role of organizational factors, examine any issues arising from theorganization's structure, culture, business processes, work groups, divisions among interestgroups, relationships with other organizations, as well as the impact of changes in theorganization's external environmentchanges in government regulations, economic conditions, orthe actions of competitors, customers, and suppliers.You will have to decide which of these factors—or combination of factors—is most important inexplaining why the problem occurred.3. Specify alternative courses of action. List the courses of action the company can take to solve its problem or meet the challenge it faces. Forinformation systemrelated problems, do these alternatives require a new information system or themodification of an existing system? Are new technologies, business processes, organizationalstructures, or management behavior required? What changes to organizational processes would berequired by each alternative? What management policy would be required to implement eachalternative?Remember, there is a difference between what an organization "should do" and what that organizationactually "can do". Some solutions are too expensive or operationally difficult to implement, and youshould avoid solutions that are beyond the organization's resources. Identify the constraints that willlimit the solutions available. Is each alternative executable given these constraints?4. Evaluate each course of action. Evaluate each alternative using the facts and issues you identified earlier, given the conditions andinformation available. Identify the costs and benefits of each alternative. Ask yourself "what would bethe likely outcome of this course of action? State the risks as well as the rewards associated with eachcourse of action. Is your recommendation feasible from a technical, operational, and financialstandpoint? Be sure to state any assumptions on which you have based your decision.5. Recommend the best course of action. State your choice for the best course of action and provide a detailed explanation of why you made thisselection. You may also want to provide an explanation of why other alternatives were not selected.Your final recommendation should flow logically from the rest of your case analysis and should clearlyspecify what assumptions were used to shape your conclusion. There is often no single "right" answer,and each option is likely to have risks as well as rewards.