Information Technology Aquarius Marketing Project Term Paper

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Migrate off of any individualized content management systems and processes not integrated to a single portal platform for greater cost and time savings in administration. Olson (32) provides an excellent case study on how universities are making use of open source portal applications to alleviate redundant and often conflicting data in multiple portals on an IBM WebSphere platform

Define and build out a portal development plan that encompasses all shared processes across the project areas.

As Murphy and Columbus state, re-organize content by the context of each dominant workflow, and this could include larger, more complex projects as defined by Aquarius Marketing first, then align to the customer-facing processes to ensure the highest levels of efficiency and responsiveness.

Development of a portal roadmap that allows for eventual move to Web Services based on a Service Oriented Architecture, giving Aquarius Marketing greater scalability than if a single, stand-alone application was chosen.

Stakeholders involved

Figure 1 highlights the roles of stakeholders in this project. The Content Contributor role, which is going to be the Web Administrator for Aquarius Marketing, has responsibilities that encompass both Knowledge and Content Management roles regarding the creation, organization, and deployment of content throughout the portal. The secondary stakeholder is the client, who navigates, searches, and customizes the portal to their specific requirements (Wilkinson, p. 458-465). These are the two dominant stakeholders; the focus needs to be on balancing the role of internal contributors with the needs and requirements of clients. The process flow diagram shown in Figure 1 shows how the stakeholder roles of the Aquarius Marketing Associates who function as content contributors and the job seeking visitors and employers interact with one another.

Figure 1: Mapping of Stakeholders

Project Deliverables

The following are key deliverables throughout this development project:

Portal Development Project Plan

Portal Development Roadmap for ECM to SOA Migration

Project Cost Estimates and Weekly Updates Relative to Budget

Quality Assurance Plan

Aquarius Marketing Portal Launch Plan which includes the a change management program for getting users trained on the new system

Work Breakdown Structure

Development Methodology adopted

The Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) is used for the development of the Aquarius Marketing ECM platform and portal. SSM (Systems Development Life Cycle) has become a central component to rapid application development (RAD) strategies in enterprise software (Molineux, Haslett, p. 477). First, it's common knowledge in the software industry that 70% or more projects fail, and that even when there is an abundance of information regarding applications, they still fail due to lack of accumulated knowledge applied to the development process. This is in turn exacerbated by the need for creating applications that meld together core concepts from computing, programming, and most important, business process re-definition as it applies to line-of-business users' needs.

A secondary series of benefits from adopting the SSM Model to software development is that the process of building software to the model allow for early identification of technical and management issues, disclosure of all life cycle costs to guide business decisions, and the fostering of realistic expectations of what systems will and will not provide (Winter, pp. 802-812).

There is also the ability through the use of the model to define the relative level of progress of initial software development, and the ensuing quality levels of performance. Finally, the SSM Model also leads to greater alignment of software application features with customer requirements. Each of the following steps of the SSM Model are to be addressed during the planning, systems analysis and design, implementation and launch phases of the project:

Problem Situation Unstructured - This is evidenced by the request from clients for higher levels of responsiveness and customer service, in addition to greater depth of insight delivered in the market reports. The unstructured problem also requires more intensive business process management (BPM) and business process re-engineering (BPR) to ensure that processes change in conjunction with system development stay aligned with the unmet needs and requirements of customers (Checkland, Winter, p. 1434)

Problem Situation Expressed - This translation of customer requirements into design objectives and the definition of a portal platform architecture and ECM application components in response to customers' requirements. Taking this a step further, the discovery of customer-facing process workflows and their relative levels of efficiency is also critical in this step of the SSM Model.

Relevant Systems & Root Definitions - the development of definitions of key portal and ECM system definition elements and application components that are in turn aligned with the process workflows for producing research reports in addition to providing higher levels of responsiveness to clients.

Conceptual Models - Development of portal frameworks and integration models that specifically focus on interlinking siloed or disconnected content repositories located throughout Aquarius Marketing. The conceptual model of the portal and its reliance on BPM-based application layers is critical for re-defining process workflows to make them more customer-centric.

Comparisons - Foremost of concern to Aquarius Marketing is the defining of comparisons or the overlay of the potential future state of the firm based on the system definition, complete with business process workflows. In addition, the use of value stream mapping for the more complex customer-facing processes is advisable to ensure the highest level of performance is achieved.

Debate about Change - as has been often stated, change must be systematically desirable and culturally feasible (Paucar-Caceres, R Rodriguez-Ulloa, 702-709). Also critical in this specific step of the SSM model is the development of implementation strategies that interlink pre-existing processes with the newly defined ones to ensure the highest levels of efficiency possible (Starns, Odom, p. 186)

Action - the structural, procedural, policy and attitudinal/cultural aspects of the SSM methodology require a synchronized series of strategies to complete (Reisman, Oral, pp. 164-178) and ensure a cohesive systems strategy. The catalysts of change in SSM strategies specific to Aquarius Marketing center on getting Marketing Associates and Marketing Directors to change how they complete their daily processes and tasks. The greatest risk to the proposed system is in not having enough internal coordination, training and ownership to ensure the system gets a high level of user adoption.

In terms of resources and timescales, the definition of the critical path as it relates to this project is imperative. Relying on Operations Research-based approaches to balancing and optimizing resources across all activities, the project management aspects of the system implementation for Aquarius Marketing will center on completing process definition and re-engineering as necessary.

It is anticipated that the development team for this project will need to be comprised of eight professionals, comprised of a project manager, five programmers, and two Java/AJAX Web Programmers. It is anticipated that the team will be dedicated to the Aquarius Marketing project and will work onsite with the Marketing Directors and Marketing Associates for the duration of the project to facilitate greater communication, collaboration, and training. Previous experiences with projects highlight the need to have dedicated, exclusive team members allocated at Aquarius Marketing to ensure the training and eventual transfer of the system to the client is successful. The Managing Director acts as the coordinator of resources in our firm with the project manager having direct authority over all tasks on the timeline.

Budget & costs

The following are the costs associated with both programs:

Cost Components

Content Management System

Portal Development

ECM Application

Legacy Systems Integration

Professional Services

Total Costs

Identified Risks & Mitigation strategies

The biggest risk to the project is that of acceptance by the users it is meant to assist. To gain acceptance of the portal has to be minimized through the use of advisory councils and a strong focus on launching a series of applications and broader system they can quickly take ownership of. This is critical for Aquarius Marketing to accomplish quickly. Getting both internal stakeholders and external stakeholders involved in Advisory Councils is critical for the adoption and use of the portal.

Ethical & legal aspects involved

The following are the key ethical and legal aspects of this project:

Adherence to strict confidentiality on the part of the development staff when given internal data from Aquarius Marketing and its clients.

Thorough failure analysis and comprehensive testing of 128 bit encryption and the development of platform-layered security to enforce strict security layers between clients' and Aquarius Marketing's data.

The creation of policies for the capturing and use of cookies, session data, e-mail addresses and opt-in lists and reports from subscribers.

Rigorous login and password policies to ensure the development of robust security programs

These steps ensure that the data on the site and its applications will be protected from any potential ethical lapses that could result in legal prosecution.

Quality Assurance Processes

As critical part of the project is the creation and fulfilment of a Quality Assurance Plan that encompasses testing at each major attribute of the program including the following key testing areas:

Usability testing and verification

Integration testing and validation with other systems including adapter development, testing, and roll out, and systems maintenance.…[continue]

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