Proposal For An Information System For East West University

Key Objectives of the Information System

The university management system (UMS) is a web-based system of an enterprise that automates the interaction with the instructors and students as well as the university internal operation processes. East West University (a private university in Aftabnagar, Dhaka-Bangladesh) is planning to adopt an information system which will allow them to develop a more structured organization, boost the internal control system and increase the transaction management capabilities.

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The aim of implementing an information system is to replace the manual processes at East West university student taking a specific course to a computerized system that can compute. Besides, the system will assist in minimizing the time needed while retrieving data.

The key objectives of the information systems are:

  • Drive functional effectiveness
  • Eradication of duplicate processes of data entry
  • Automate fee payment system
  • Automate admission and registration of new students
  • Computerized check-in and check-out
  • Support E-learning
  • Decision support and monitoring system
  • Automation of all the administration activities
  • Self-service system that are easy to use
  • Facilitate integration of unified data model with online application workflow
  • Accuracy and ease of reporting

The suggested information system will be of great assistance to East West University because it will address three modules which require concentration for correct functioning of the whole school and if they are mismanaged they can cause management failure. The first module is Student management module. This module will cover all the processes associated with students such as registration, class attendance, grading, E-learning. The second module is the management and administration which will aid the university management to manage and monitor human resource and other resources within the university. The third module is the finance and accounting where the system will integrate a payment gateway between the university accounts and the finance module such that every payment made through banks will be automatically reflected in the system and thus students will not be queuing anymore to confirm their fee payment status. The system will automate all the critical processes within East West University

The following are some of the benefits associated with computerized system.

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  • Better service: the information system offers the tools that offer higher management and students with top-level service such as automatic petition forms, updates, online registration and change of periodic or major status.
  • Liability reduction: during the process of executing a procedure, East West University management can monitor all users. Due dates are cautiously traced and user can describe what happens when a task increases. Regular adjustments in University rules no longer need to be memorized by employees.
  • Increased accuracy: the centralized infrastructure will manage all needed data from various departments to accurately classify and identify cases and take decisions appropriately. Information systems are famous for accuracy. Therefore, rules and regulation are mandatory.
  • Increased collaboration: workflows can easily be integrated with business partners, remote offices, home employees and other branches. Besides, the collaboration between various branches will adhere to a standardized working pattern
  • Decreased labour expenses: information system increases operations’ efficiency. A workflow system will allow the university to automate several routines, exhaustive paper works conducted by employees.
  • Errors can be rectified easily
  • Information stored in the system is long lasting and can be kept for future use
  • Information stored in the system is safe since it is encrypted, uses figure prints and passwords
  • The information system uses inbuilt formulae to conduct calculations
  • Data in the system is well arranged thus it can be retrieved easily
  • The system allows massive data storage

It has been noted that specific factors are vital for the successful deployment of information systems (IS). These factors are grouped as technical and management factors. The critical factors that influence the success of information systems implementation include:

Commitment of the top management: Top management commitment is critical for a successful implementation of IS. Whenever the top management is committed, minor problems and issues do not intensify into major ones and they usually do not present a challenge. Nevertheless, lack of such dedication makes even small issues unmanageable. Therefore, it is essential for top management commitment to be present during the implementation of information system and should be communicated well within the university to avoid unclearness about the dedication (Thite and Sandhu, 2014).

Benefits of Computerized System

IS Team Composition: IS implementation is performed by a team. The team comprises of management and technical experts from the vendor firm and people from the department of IS and other departments of shareholder of East West University. The composition of the team is very essential and a vital factor in the successful IS implementation. The team must be made up of members from the user community, designing team in East West University, individuals from the department of human resources, individuals who were involved in planning and other shareholders of East West University. In addition, the team must have representatives from the vendor firm who have adequate knowledge of the information system being deployed. According to Virmati (2018) it is good if such a team operates under the control of a superior management with adequate authority and powers to take appropriate decisions about the project so that better management can be practiced on the deployment schedules and problems that emerge can be resolved.

IT Teamwork: the created team must work in unison and be goal oriented. A unified presence must be predicted to improve the acceptability of the project. If members of the team waste time in public quarrels, the likelihood of successful deployment are grim.

IS planning Quality: if the process of planning is successful, then the implementation of IS will be successful. As such, planning should be done diligently.

Diligent Project Management: another critical success factor is the way in which project implementation is managed. Modern techniques of project management must be employed to approximate accurate time schedules and cost which must then be strictly followed and monitored.

Change Management ambitions and their Efficiencies: the implementation process is usually a change process and thus is infested with challenges. As such, change management is among the significant factor in most substantial implementations of IS. The change management ambitions should be conducted proactively and treated with seriousness.

Efficient Communication: communication is a key success element. Both informal and formal communication should be managed in order to implement the IS successfully (Blau and Presser, 2013, p. 1005). Efficient communication will be built trust and enhance transparency within East West University, thus minimizing the reliance on change management interventions.

Training: it is a major factor in the successful IS implementation. It contributes to user acceptance of the proposed system and creates an ideal environment for smooth implementation of IS. Nevertheless, the level of training must be high and users must be taught about the added benefits of the information system being deployed. The users will then understand the reason of moving to the new IS. Besides, training will assist in the smooth shift from the old to the new system without interfering with the efficiency of business process of East West University.

Critical Success Factors

Technical Quality of Information System: even if East West University offers all its support, the implementation can be unsuccessful if the underlying technical product of the vender is not of good quality. Technical quality should be good (Cybervision.com.pk, 2018).

HR Measures to eradicate firm Antibodies: firm antibodies are individuals who find defect in everything. Pessimism and negativity are the defining traits of such people. Sometimes they may criticize a new system. It is a HR concern and must be addressed by the department of HR.

                                     

                                                                             Figure 1: Critical Success factors

                                                                       (Source: Talley and Frazier, 2016, p. 412)

                 

Figure 2: East West University Organizational Structure

For a long period, East Wet University have been using a manually to manage the university operations such as record keeping. During registration of new students, the details are captured in an excel document and sometimes by use of pen and paper. The accountants use accounting booklets to record payment of fees by the students with checks for security purposes. Upon paying the fees, the student is required to countersign on the booklet as prove of payment and later issued with a receipt of payment. Many records are stored with the university secretary who is tasked to key in the details using excel system which is very cumbersome (Solution, 2018).  Manual systems have been characterized by slow performance, inaccuracy, and numerous errors. Additionally, employees are put under pressure to ensure that such errors do not occur. Because a manual system is often tiring, users tend to get bored and tend to make more errors while executing their responsibilities.

The level and quality of services offered depends how fast and accurate the employee is. It is easy to have inconsistent data for such a system. Students have to queue to make payments, book hotels, reserve courses, register for units, and have to always sign on an attendance list which is hard copy. Staff tend to get tired having to repeat these processes daily or every semester. Sometimes student may fall victims of circumstances if a lecturer misplaces class attendance file and they are needed for the students to graduate. Moreover, university employees have to also sign attendance book both at the gate and at the various departments they work. This increases data redundancy and often it inconsistent because the times they record at the gat are totally different from those they record at the departmental offices. Basically, manual system affects the overall service delivery and cannot be used to identify trends associated with data discovery (Cram and Brohman, 2012, p. 141). There is also no standard format of reporting. If an employee has been suspected of gross misconduct, the university administration has to go through piles of files in order to get the record which can sometimes be difficult to trace and is time consuming. A lot of human resource is also wasted.

Current System Limitations

Furthermore, the university depends on the old filing system to store and keep track of documents which occupies a lot of physical space and takes more effort. When mistakes occur in a paper-based system, it requires that the entire task be redone in many cases (Ifnoss, 2018). The proposed university management system will address all these limitations posed by manual system. The proposed university manage information system will be able to handle all the requirements and record keeping from just a click of a button (Soja, 2015, p. 285). The system will include a payment gateway whereby when students pay their school fees at the bank, it is automatically reflected in the school finance records. As such, students will not have to queue every time at the finance office to make their payments.

The system will have a centralized database so as to ensure consistency of information stored and accessed. The system will automatically detect errors and many of the functions will require the user to choose from a selection given by the information system (Litms, 2018). Additionally, students will have a portal where they will be able to register online for the course and request for change of course if need be without having to fill a lot of paperwork. Also, all the university employees will have a check in and check out systems located at all the departmental entrance to ensure accurate timestamps are recorded when the employees get to work and leave. The grading system will also be integrated into the information system and all the reporting is automatically generated and results posted on the students’ individual portals. Student can later download and print their transcripts if need be.

The information system will be a complete ERP application for East West University to automate and streamline the university processes (Min et al., 2014, p. 122). It is designed to handle all the small and large university transactions and processes and have the ability to manage pilot campuses around the country. It enables the various departments to communicate, interact, and share resources and information seamlessly across the university. The system will allow all the university staff and students to get on-demand services and enable the university management to make more informed decisions based on the available information (Zhang, 2014, p. 1710). The information system will enable admission automation, simplified record management, improved decision making, offer one-stop student access, resource management, and simplified management of records.

The university management system will have the following features:

Registration and online application- the system will be accessed over the internet and potential applicant can be able to enquire about the various programs offered by East West University. Applicants and new students will be able to register themselves by filling out a standard form available online (Tutorialspoint, 2016). An email will be automatically sent to them upon registration for details confirmation.   

Student performance- students will be able to view course schedule from the student portal. The faculty members will be responsible for creating and updating the schedules as needed.

Lecture management- the information system will allow the university faculty to plan, manage, and track lesson progress of every course and faculty. Study materials can be uploaded and students can download them from the student portal or dashboard (Nazareth and Choi, 2015, p. 129).

Examination Module- the faculty will be able to manage and conduct examinations by keying in the marks scored by the students and using the various techniques of evaluation to calculate and post the overall grades.

Finance module- accounting module will be interlinked with the bank payment gateway such that whenever money is deposited in the school account all the payment details will reflect automatically in the finance system.

E-learning- the system will support e-learning and overseas student can be able to enroll to the university online. The system will online students to attend the lectures virtually and take examinations online (Sylvan, 2017). They will be graded and their results posted online on their dashboards just like the rest of the students.

Student portal- students will use this dashboard to access fees details, announcements, CA marks, attendance, final grades, and timetables.

The main functions of material requirement program (MRP) include inventory control, elementary scheduling, and bill material processing. Many information systems require the use of MRP because thus services are essential and factoring this in the development of information system will address the needs about the requirement needed to process the final product (Newswire, 2017). MRP applications also has the ability to maintain and manage purchasing, manufacturing, and delivering. Some of the advantages of considering MRP as an information system option include: cost where MRP system is used to reduce component inventory and raw material inventory. Secondly, the purchasing process is made more effective because it determines the actual component material and raw material required to manufacture the final product. Additionally, using MRP improves planning of the production process. It has the capability to determine inventory shortages so that the company can adjust the production materials to other products at hand. In addition, it reduces production costs and the business can compete competitively. However, MRP has some shortfalls including technical complexities and the high cost associated in implementing the system, time consuming, and predicted values can be misleading (Min et al., 2014, p. 122).

MRP does not support getting feedback from the users and plans are only sent to them and thus impossible to modify to keep it valid. MRPII (material resource planning) is an extension of MRP which has business and strategic manufacturing as inclusion like distribution and accounting, material requirement planning, ordering, ensuring capacity, quality monitoring, ordering, employee attendance management, inventory management, demand forecasting, and demand and supply balancing (Qualizone, 2015). The university information can benefit greatly from this technology because it greatly impacts on the university processes, staff, and students. MRP II will increase productivity and overall performance, minimized stress, purchase cost, and expediting, and delivery time is improved. However, some of the cons associated with MRP II include complexity, time consuming, and requires correct and accurate data (Lábas and Bács, 2015, p. 409). 

Electronic data interchange (EDI) allows institutions to share data across various applications such as supply chain. Considering this technology in the development of the university management systems makes sure that critical information that is required to make vital decisions, and to carry out major tasks will be sent on time (Ricoh, 2018). EDI brings several benefits to an organization including cost saving, increased speed, improved accuracy, enhanced business efficiency and productivity, environmental privacy, and security is improved. However, EDI has some disadvantages including many standards required, its expensive, initial set up takes a lot of time, the need or regular maintenance, and the need to heavily invest in network infrastructure (Jerini?, Nikoli? and Nikoli?, 2014). However, in B2B models, EDI continues to be the dominant protocol.

The information system will be centered on the existing technology, software, and hardware and can support other addition that may come up. The project also requires continuous technical support in addition to the technical skills needed to accomplish the objectives of the project. The project will be developed using ASP.NET for the front end and the back-end will run on SQL server 2003, it is easy to set up and configure when needed (Abishov et al., 2014, p. 552). The server will be able to handle the huge amount of data within the university. Additionally, the university can procure a cloud back up storage or off-site data backup that will run parallel with the current server to ensure business continuity and disaster recovery in case of a disaster (Grant, 2015).

                                               

                                                                          Figure 3: Entity Relationship Diagram

                                                   

                                                                                     Figure 4: User Views

Risk

Control

Disgruntled employees may create internal weaknesses within the system which is one of the greatest threats facing information systems. Also, uninformed or careless employees who often forget to logoff their computers or forget or forgets their tablets and laptops in taxis or restaurants poses the risk of leaking information (Holm, Vuorisalo and Sammalisto, 2015, p. 161).

Employees access privileges should be limited and monitored. Dorman user accounts should be suspended or disabled.

Continuously train your employees and staff who often access sensitive data within the university of the data safety procedure and the security associated with carelessness.

BYOD where employees are allowed to bring their own devices to use at work is another risk because such devices may have been infected by malicious programs posing a great threat to the university network infrastructure. Such programs may sniff on the network to get sensitive and confidential data.

Carefully and comprehensively state BYOD policies to the employees within the university to ensure that their devices meet the company expectations before being used within the university network (James, 2018).

Cybercrime where attackers continuously try to break the university network for vulnerabilities to get access to the network resources

Implement network encryption protocols and firewalls to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic to ensure that no malicious traffic is allowed into the network.

Third-party service providers- sometimes the university may hire a third party to come and carry out IT infrastructure upgrade and maintenance but some workers may take advantage of such opportunity to get unauthorize access to sensitive and confidential data.

All the third-party providers need to be vetted and validated before getting to the most data sensitive. Continuous supervision is required and they should never be left alone.

Risk impact can be minimized by carrying out comprehensive risk assessment to determine where the most critical resources and data are stored and the controls that are in place to protect it (James He and Sheu, 2014, p. 906). Additionally, it is necessary to develop an incident response and data recovery plans so that to ensure business continuity in case of a disaster.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the proposed university management system for East West University will bring a lot of benefits from process automation to user management. The university will enjoy the benefits of automated admission and registration, efficient management of student information, better management of classes, subject, and courses, automated generation of timetable, monitor staff and student attendance, expense management, automated management of examination system, and enhance data and information security. However, the university should always monitor the system for any emerging threats because the can have a great negative impact on the overall performance and productivity of the system. As such, East West University should adopt the proposed system. 

Reference List

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