CIS 301, Management Information Systems, Golden Gate University



As you may well know the Internet is the hottest and most talked about item around. It appears that most business communication, of the future, will be done via eMail and the Internet. Communication via eMail is a quick and easy way to communicate ideas to colleagues; yet, it saves you time and money by not having to compose lengthy memos. A big and growing part of the Internet is the World Wide Web ( the Web); a graphical interface that is user friendly. The Internet and the Web are constantly being written up and reported on in the news and a variety of trade journals. Most recently you may have heard about the vulnerability of NetScape -- one of the graphical interfaces used on the Web.

To be competitive in today’s job market, graduate students will need not only an understanding of the way in which information systems are utilized but also an understanding of the Internet or more specifically the Web. Individuals will need to know how to navigate the Web as well as access information from it.

Your participation in IS 301 will give you the practical knowledge needed about information systems design, and through the case study method, a direct understanding of the different configurations and systems used in the business community. To this end, each student will be required to select a company and interview an individual within that company. The purpose of the interview is to gain information about the type of information systems used, the usefulness of the system, any problems the company has experienced, and so forth.

Attached is a packet of information which will guide you through the case study method needed in order to synthesize and extrapolate the similarities and differences in the configuration and design of Information Systems within the business community. By preparing your case study in this manner, your work may eventually be placed on the Web for publication. There is a group on campus whose goal is to publish and update a homepage that describe the different types of Information Systems in the real world. This homepage is targeted toward academics and other individuals who are looking to create or enlarge their own information system.

Web publication is an exploding and exciting field. Being the first to have something published on the Web will put you on the cutting edge of Information Systems technology. What you learn from your case study will put you on the cutting edge of your field and will make you more competitive in the work place. The project is designed to be informative as well as fun--enjoy it!!



This is a sample set of questions for a comparative study of current practices in the management of information systems. These questions were developed from a sampling of approximately 200 interview questions from the first case studies interviews conducted by graduate students at Golden Gate University.

The purpose of the basic question set serves several purposes:

· It determines the boundaries of the inquiry ¿ what is included, what is excluded.

· It provides a standard set of questions so that captured responses can be easily compared.

· It assures that all of the territory of the inquiry has been covered with minimum redundancy

· It provides a common language which facilitates inquiry and comparison

The following questions have been organized according to levels of learning and performance using the Transformational Learning and Performance MatrixÔ developed by Verna Allee (510 825-2663). This framework assures that all levels of performance of the system are addressed.


Attend carefully to the submission process. Follow the written guidelines and standards for materials. The standards address such topics as permission to publish, formatting guidelines (length, fonts, software compatibility, etc.) resource information (such as who wrote the case study and where they can be contacted), overview of the screening process, criteria for selection of case studies, etc. Each company profile must include the basic background information such as that contained in Hoover’s or Standard and Poor’s company descriptions.

Case studies that have not been analyzed, that do not follow the question set, are only data and information. They have no way of becoming part of a knowledge base, they have little or no meaning and they cannot be compared to other case studies to determine patterns for the purpose of integration. If the question set does not address the Integrating, Renewing and Union levels, there is no way to extract the wisdom of the database or discern the path of regeneration and renewal. Without questions from the other levels, operational application will be impossible.


As a requirement for submission to the database, all case studies will be analyzed according to the following question set. All data from the interview will be edited into concise responses and organized under the following questions. This allows comparative analysis of the responses and case studies. Individual interviews may address either all or only part of the questions. This will not affect the integrity of the data.


Context Questions (Think background and company information)

C1 Can you give me some background information about this company?

C1a Address and phone number

C1b Chief Executive Officer

C1c Type of Industry

C1d Net Worth

C1e Annual Revenue

C1f Number of employees

C1g Description of products or services

C1h Who are your customers?

C2 What is special about your requirements for information systems?

C3 How has IS technology affected your industry?

C4 What is your area of responsibility in the company? (also function, job title)

C5 How are you involved in information management? (internal customer or user, system administrator, designer, external consultant?)

C6 Please give us an overview of the institution’s information systems(s)

C7 How do you define IS and what is included in that?

Data/Data (Think measurements and numbers)

D1 In relation to annual revenues, what percentage is spent annually on information systems?

D1a What percentage is allocated for hardware?

D1b What percentage is allocated for software?

D2 Do you track technology based IS separately from non-computer based IS? If so, how do you break down those expenditures?

D3 How many IS employees do you have?

D3a How many users does IS support?

D3b What is the ratio of IS staff to users?

D4 What is the average wait time for assistance?

D5 What percentage of employees actively use the Internet?

D5a What do they use it for?

D6 Does your business have a “Home Page” on the Internet?

D7 What percentage of employees have a computer workstation?

D8 How to you measure customer satisfaction?

D9 How do you measure performance?

D10 Do you conduct cost/benefit analysis?

D11 What are your primary data sources?

D12 What types of electronic communication are accessed in your system? What percentage of people in your organization use each type?

D12a Internet

D12b World Wide Web

D12c Dial Up services

D12d Video conference and downlinks


D12f Other ______________________________________

Procedural/Information (Think step-by-step procedures and conformance to standards)

P1 Do you have a disaster recovery plan for IS?

P1a What are some of the features (back up system recovery procedures for documentation, alternate power supplies, obtaining vendor source codes, etc.)

P2 Do you have a backup system?

P2a Where is it located?

P2b What are its features?

P3 Do you test your contingency plan? If so how often?

P4 How rigorous is your selection process for picking software?

P5 How are requests for IS needs by various users articulated to the IS dept.?

P6 What is the process for responding to IS requests?

P7 Does your system produce audit trails?

P7a What is included in the audit trail? (I.e., transaction updates, security events such as changes in user authorizations, changes in resource protection, attempted security violations, and system utilization)

P8 What type of security system do you have?

P8a What are some of the features?

P9 Do you have an internal or external control on security

P10 What is your level of concern with security? Why?

P11 Do outside personnel or vendors have access to the system?

P12 Are there screens and filters for who has access to particular information?

P13 Do you have a help desk?

P13a Do you use help desk software?

P14 What are the main features of your data processing function? (I.e., batch files, on-line processing)

P15 How do you ensure consistency of messages?

P16 How do you ensure alignment across technical platforms?

Functional/Knowledge (Think key processes, technology, structure)

F1 How do you approach the organization of the content of the IS system? In other words, what categories of systems applications do you use? Please give examples of what is included in these categories, if you use this type of organization.

F1a Human Resources

F1b Operations

F1c Financial

F1d Marketing

F1e Inventory

F1f Project Management

F1g Process Management

F1h Planning

F1i Executive Information Systems

F1j Other ____________________________________

F2 Is there critical company information, data and statistics that are not included or catalogued in the IS system?

F1a How are these compiled and maintained?

F3 Would you regard the flexibility of your system as poor, average or excellent?

F4 How are major changes evaluated and implemented?

F5 Does your company follow a formal methodology for the development of systems projects?

F6 Is your system energy efficient?

F7 How do you maintain connectivity with other internal systems?

F8 What type of architecture are you using and do you plan to change it soon? (I.e., LAN, WAN, H/W)

F9 Have you reduced the actual number of documents and files that are in hard copy or physical storage? By how much, over what time period?

F10 How do you use customer feedback to evaluate and change the system?

F11 Do you have a clearly defined process for identifying problems and developing solutions? Please describe it.

F12 Do you have a clearly defined testing and modification process during implementation?

F13 What kind of training do you do and How often is it offered?

F14 Do you feel that you have enough time to do a thorough and personally satisfying completion of each assignment?

Managing/Meaning (Think goals, systems administration, technology planning, user requirements, roles)

M1 Generally speaking, what do you view as the single biggest problem in IS? (Past, present or future.) What do you feel can be done about this problem?

M2 In your particular situation what do you feel is your biggest problem with your current system? What do you see as the solution?

M3 How did the Information System(s) come to be as they are? How did they evolve?

M3a Who originally designed the system? When?

M4 What changes to your Information System(s) are already planned? Over what time period will these changes be implemented?

M5 How do you gather user requirements for content and output?

M6 What kind of review do you make to be sure the system keeps up with changing technology and the needs of the industry?

M7 How are IS requests prioritized? By what criteria? (I.e., time, costs, political factors?)

M7a Who makes priorities decisions?

M8 How do you get money allocated for maintaining or enhancing your communication package?

M9 What are the current goals for IS?

M10 If your organization is multi-location, is IS decentralized or centralized?

M10a How much autonomy do decentralized units have?

M10b Where is MIS headquartered?

M11 What does this enterprise contribute, if anything, to the IS systems of its customers, supplier, etc.?

M12 To what extent do executives depend on specific information developed periodically by IS systems?

M12a How is the information accessed?

M12b How is the information presented?

M12c Who maintains it?

M13 Do you have an Executive Information System? If so, what are its features?

M14 What level of support do you get from vendors or companies from which you buy equipment or software?

M15 Does IS take the initiative to introduce to management new technologies or information systems (hardware or software) to solve perceived problems?

M16 Does the IS group install systems that they do not maintain?

M17 Who makes the decisions for IS investments?

M18 Does the programming staff share data processing operations responsibilities?

M19 Is the responsibility for security administration clearly identified?

M20 What do you feel are the key success factors in systems design?

M21 How would you describe the management style in IS?

Integrating/Philosophy (Think overall business and IS strategy)

I1 What are the main internal and external drivers having an impact on the company?

I2 How does IS support the overall strategic goals of the company?

I3 Where do you see information technology leading the company? (within 5 years)

I4 How do you discriminate between what is and is not important information to manage?

I5 Are there plans for changes to improve IS to help the organization achieve its goals?

I6 Is it important to have uniformity in the IS environment throughout the company? I6a How is this accomplished?

I7 How do institution politics influence the IS department?

I8 Does your institution use multi-level and cross functional strategic management teams?

I8a How does IT help these teams accomplish their goals?

I9 Are there plans to extend your business through the Internet?

Renewing/Wisdom (Think purpose, values and vision)

R1 What is your wish list? Why?

R2 How does the organization value MIS?

R3 How does information management relate to and support the purpose, vision and mission of the organization?

R4 As someone deeply involved with IS, where do you see all this taking us in the future?

R5 Where do you think people in your organization need to be paying more attention?

Union/Union (Think alignment with the greater good)

U1 Do you feel information technology is making a contribution to the greater good?

U2 What are your concerns and reservations about IS in society?

U3 What do you think we all need to be paying more attention to?


Tips for Creating Case Study



Forming the Group

· The class will break up into groups consisting of 4 people

· Students whose second language is English should place themselves in groups where native English speakers are present.

· Groups should be formed and case studies completed by Final's Date.

Creating the “Stories”

· Members of the group will exchange case studies with each other.

· Each person will review the new case study in their possession and create a four to five paragraph story. The story should capture the essence of the case study. Quotes from the interviewee should be used and are encouraged.

· Once all stories have been created the group will come back together to review each story and correct any grammatical, punctuation, or writing errors. Keep in mind that these “Stories” may be published on the Web, so the final copy must be impeccable.

· All “Stories” and original case studies must be turned by the group by end of the semester.