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Case study: Snacks Now

From the Systems Planning assessment

Dionne Worontschak andJohn Sawittown and manage an independent supermarket in the inner suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia. They believe in hard work and acting to capture business opportunities. Neither of them went to university, but John holds a Certificate IV in business management from TAFE.

They have developed a business concept and it is ready for systems planning. The concept is Snacks Now.

Dionne and John have contracted IT Foundry for systems development. You are a systems analyst working at IT Foundry and your manager has allocated to you the systems planning tasks for the Snacks Now project.

Snacks Now will offer home deliveries of groceries or fast food to customers who order via a website or smartphone app. Customers will be able to ‘like’ Snacks Now on Facebook and follow Snacks Now on Twitter; also they will be able to share and tweet their orders. When customers share or tweet an order they will accrue social points and once the points reach a certain level, customers will be rewarded with a 20% discount on their next order. 

Customers will also accrue loyalty points with every purchase. When a customer’s loyalty points reach a particular threshold, they receive a $20 discount on their next purchase.

The menus of participating fast food outlets will be available via Snacks Now. Any groceries that are available in Dionne and John’s supermarket can be delivered, including dairy, delicatessen, fruit, and vegetables. An online menu will be compiled from the supermarket’s inventory system and from the online menus of participating in fast food outlets. When customers place an order, they pay via PayPal.

Prices will be automatically updated once a week, on Wednesdays. Prices will account for all ongoing costs, plus a 5% profit margin, some of which will recoup start-up costs.

Snacks Now will operate Thursday-Sunday nights from 8pm to 5am. If the Snacks Now the business concept is successful and an opportunity to expand exists, additional hours or nights will be added.

As Dionne and John work full time running the supermarket, they will hire a junior manager who will be responsible for the day-to-day management of Snacks Now. Dionne and John expect to hire one driver in the first instance. If Snacks Now expands, additional positions will be created. The junior manager will be based in the supermarket. He or she will be responsible for compiling orders and handling any issues that arise. The driver will collect an order from the supermarket or from participating fast food outlets. Then, he or she will deliver the order to the address specified by the customer. If no one is home, the order will be left by the front door.

As Snacks Now is the first service offering such a wide range of delivered items in Adelaide, there is limited competition. However, it is important that the technology is available as soon on as possible in order to capture early adopters. A social media viral marketing campaign is being designed by a local advertising company.

Finally, you present your findings to your manager and to Dionne and John. Your manager and clients have requested a 15-minute presentation.

You have completed systems planning and Dionne and John have approved the plan you prepared and they have requested progress to the systems analysis phase of the Snacks Now project. 

At IT Foundry, you have a regular lunch with one of your colleagues, Tanya Collins, who is an old friend from your days as a uni student. At your next lunch, you discuss the Snacks Now project: your recent project planning success, your forthcoming systems analysis tasks and the various plans Dionne and John have for Snacks Now.

Tanya says, “So, it’s a late-night home-delivery service? People can order their favorite pizza and maybe cleaning products and everything is brought in one delivery to their house?”

“Not necessarily their house, it could be any address.”

“Well, it’s perfect. I would order from them all the time. How are they going to staff it?”

“One person in their supermarket will prepare the orders and a driver will deliver.”

“One person? Alone in a supermarket all night long? That doesn’t sound very safe. It’s not a job I’d like to have.” 

You hadn’t thought of that, but you can see that Tanya has a point. You wonder if this is something Dionne and John have considered. You have a client meeting scheduled for the next day. You know that future staffing decisions are not really within a systems analyst’s purview, but Tanya’s comments are troubling you.

New information

The preliminary investigation you wrote up for the Snacks Now project enabled you to develop a basic understanding of the business context. Your scope lists and scope statement captured the project’s key elements and made a positive impression on Dionne and John. They have approved the project’s progression to system analysis and you have scheduled a meeting with them.

1. Prepare for this meeting. Write an agenda that includes six topics you would like to discuss with the Dionne and John (if you do not know what an agenda is, look it up on the internet). These topics should provide them with an opportunity to discuss data and processing in depth.

Put your answer here.

After this meeting, the following requirements are known:

• The information you provided in the systems planning documents is confirmed, except where it conflicts with the following.

• When an order is placed, the junior manager will gather items from shelves in the supermarket, scan them and package them for delivery. 

• When all the items are packaged, the junior manager will close the ‘packaging’ business process for the order; an alert and delivery address will be automatically sent to the driver’s mobile device.

• When items are scanned, the supermarket’s inventory database is updated and the transaction is placed in the Snacks Now accounting system (it is not considered a transaction of the supermarket).

• As the supermarket carries thousands of different products, and as the local fast food outlets also have specific ranges of products, the website and mobile app will have nested menus.

• When a supermarket product is out of stock, it must not be displayed in the menus. For example, when a hurricane destroys the banana crop in Queensland.

• The menus are updated dynamically in response to changes in the inventory.

• Daily, weekly and monthly transaction reports are required.

• Data analytics on the website and the mobile app are required.

• A customer database will maintain customer details, transaction history, loyalty, and social points. 

• In compliance with the Australian Privacy Principles, it will be possible for customers to opt-out of storing any data that identifies them as individuals.

• As yet, no decision has been made regarding the most effective way to present the items offered by local fast food outlets; suggestions are welcome.

• Also, a final decision on which accounting software will be used for Snacks Now has not yet been made, but Dionne and John have expressed a preference for buying a second license for the accounting system they are already using for the supermarket.

You make a start on systems analysis. It is clear that system response times are important. It is also clear that interfacing with the supermarket’s existing inventory database is important. However, you also realise more detailed information will come to light over time, which may require you to amend your current analysis. 

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