Management Project: Consultancy Bid Report
University of South Wales
Management Project: Consultancy Bid Report
The last decade has witnessed unprecedented development of important disruptive technologies which have revolutionized the fields of information and communication. Thomas and Thomas (2012), notes that the rise and surge of social media and subsequent development of Web 2.0 interactive technologies has ushered a new era of how people communicate. Introduction of the smartphone mobile technology has played a critical role in facilitating smooth flow of information globally businesswise. Proliferation of smartphones and tablets has brought innovations to its peak with different applications which have become popular due to their simplicity of use. Daniel, 2016; Dahlstrom et al., 2015; OECD, 2004 are of the view that the increased use and possession of internet enabled devices such as smartphones, Laptops and tablets have influenced business conditions and strategies, consumer behaviors, and marketing as information becomes more freely available. Moreover, Zamfiroiu (2015) suggest that lives of different people are revolving around smart technology applications mainly in smartphones and tablets than it was when internet via desktops and laptops was popular.
Proliferation of mobile applications and in particular B2B apps has evolved to become important business tools mainly used for marketing and communication with customers. Kuhr (2017) indicate that business are forced to reevaluate their business strategies and Company X is on similar path as it is intending to develop their B2B application to help the firm attain its goals (Lamberton, and Stephen, 2015). By launching a mobile B2B app, company X will radically revolutionize and overhaul archaic practices of reaching to their audiences and also help meet its customers’ expectations.
Project Requirements and Objectives
Company X which is a SME in food sector is the current client. Company X deals with provision of food products to other companies mainly in the catering industry. The SME is aware of the current business trends enabled by technological advancement and they are keen to revolutionize their business by adopting the new marketing system driven by mobile B2B application. As a result, the company has contemplated to hire a business tech consultant to undertake an assessment and identify different requirements of developing a functional mobile B2B app. When the app is fully developed and launched, Company X believes that it will be in a better position to build and publicize its brand, revamp and upgrade their clientele engagement, come up with a direct communication and marketing medium, and give the company a new perspective that will not only help it stand out but enhance its customer loyalty. Nevertheless, in order to develop and tailor made a fully functional B2B app, Olga (2018) suggests that the project implementers should carry a thorough study and determine clearly the requirements needed beforehand.
Software developers and IT specialists’ recommend that businesses to have identified a wide variety of functional and non-functional requirements in order the application meet the expected needs upon development. Currently, Company X management wants to carry out a study to identify the project requirements. As a result, the objective of this project proposal is to recommend to Company X after closely studying their organization aspiration of developing a B2B application. The study aims to propose the best approaches of identifying the project requirements by employing the appropriate measures that will conscientiously map a wide range of business studies geared towards informing and guiding future inquiries, programs and guidelines. Following are the key objectives that will guide the study:
To establish practical requirements for the mobile B2B application in the fast food market for the catering enterprises. In order to accomplish this objective, following variables will be evaluated in order to identify the specific functional requirements;
- Market and stakeholders mapping
- Software/mobile benchmarking
- Safety & security requirement analysis
Determine the structural requirements of the software/mobile application and implement the program to fit in or improves the structure and capabilities of the company. In order to conduct an appropriate description of the structural requirements following are key variables which will be invaluable to the study;
- System environmental analysis
- Personnel/employee evaluation
- Risk description and analysis
To identify resource requirements needed for program development, implementation and operation of the B2B application. This will be achieved by evaluating the following;
- Project timeline planning
- Project life-cycle cost evaluation
This section describes the techniques used to the information about the project requirements. (Hussain, and Mkpojiogu, (2016), notes that the success or failure of any project is hinged upon the quality of information gathered and the methods used to collect the requirements of the product to be developed. According to Dolly & Khanum (2016), any application development demands requirements quotation and requirements engineering. As such, the study will rely more on secondary data gathering methods and it will utilize case studies and business-based researches to deduce the project requirements. Requirements quotation/elicitation is deemed as an indispensable stage in software development engineering (Gunda, 2008; Rafiq et al., 2017; & Lent, 2018). Consequently, the requirement elicitation design proves to be imperative to the study and businesses using mobile B2B apps, clients and other stakeholders will be interviewed to inform the study. Lastly, although the study will critically evaluate and validate the methodologies employed, a detailed assessment of Company X will be conducted to provide suitable data needed for the development and relevant content of the mobile app.
Generally, this chapter will describe the research methodologies and processes, necessary to cover all the items and requirements needed to develop and implement the client’s project. Various established techniques will be deployed to explore and gather relevant information corresponding with the projects needs and requirements. Interviews, prototyping, and brainstorming will be the chief methods employed to collect data while other techniques such as model users, team consultations, and marketing analysis shall be used to complement the main methods (Hair, Page, and Brunsveld, 2019).
Consultant should at all times maintain healthy communication with the client throughout the information gathering and requirements elicitation process. Like any other projects, changing circumstances usually happen during the requirements elicitation stage and this calls for integration of the emerging issues identified. Nakatani et al., (2014); and Rafiq et al., (2017) suggest that requirement elicitation constantly keeps on shifting and to ensure adequacy of the study, a two-way communication between the Company X and the consultant should be prioritized at all times. For instance, project managers claim that more than 50% of the project requirements alteration takes place after the actual plan has been put in place. Daimler-Chrysler projects requirement examiners Houdek and Pohl (2000), in their study echoes similar sentiments by claiming that major changes in any particular project needs takes place after the elicitation process has taken place.
Objective 1: Practical/Functional Requirements
Development in technologies has brought complicated inventions which has revolutionized businesses around the globe. Chaffey and Ellis-Chadwick (2019); Al-Naeem et al., (2005) posit that the advent of internet and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets have played an important role in development of B2B applications which enables businesses to cover a wide variety of functionalities such as marketing, sales, and advertising among others. In order to develop an application that will add value to the business, factors such as, the appearance of the application to appeal to the targeted users and the functional direction the app will take. As such, this section will explore the B2B application, usability and the users’ safety.
Market and stakeholders analysis
Market analysis plays a crucial role when launching a new product (Sadler, 2005). Without the knowledge of the target market and customers, the designers of the app will develop an application that doesn’t meet the needs of customers. However, a thorough understanding the unmet and existing gaps in the market will help in developing an application that will not only meet the market needs but will provide a tailor made marketing tool for the Company (West, Ford, and Ibrahim, 2015).
Tidd, and Bessant, (2018) note that market analysis plays a crucial role in contemporary business environment where firms are forced to adopt user/consumer centric approach in order to find out the needs, expectations and preferences of the consumers. This will be crucial identifying and integrating requirements that will make the mobile application to be customer-centric. Market research will also provide invaluable data about the existing and expected operating systems in future that can support the application, and an estimation of customers who have the ability to use the mobile app. Therefore, the study will illustrate the app users, their attributes and this will help to determine the devices and operating system will the app run from. Market analysis also will help to shape the applicability features of the app such as type of transactions and access for users. Lastly, market analysis will be significant in analyzing the project key stakeholders and their contribution in shaping the new business frontier.
In project management, stakeholder evaluation is fundamentally important and it is broadly acclaimed by scholars and managers as an essential step in identifying project requirements and providing necessary information. Ryan (2014) defined that stakeholder as an organization/individual that have an interest or can influence (d) by the activities of the business. On the other hand, in software engineering, stakeholders refer to individuals, companies, or any group that can be affected by the development of a particular software/application either directly or indirectly (Power, 2010). The main goal or stakeholder analysis is to identify who are the most valuable project stakeholders, what are their wants and needs and their level of relevance in contrast to other stakeholders. Usually, all projects have stakeholders who maybe obvious or not depending on their interest in the venture.
Meetings and brainstorming will be the main tools employed to identify the key stakeholders, their attributes and the level of influence in order to come up with a strategy engaging them accordingly. Company X will be engaged through meetings in the process of stakeholder analysis as they understand well their internal operations and their external stakeholders (Pouloudi and Whitley, 1997). In particular, Sharp et al., (1999) used the terms “Baseline stakeholders” to describe the process of identifying stakeholders. According to Sharp et al., (1999) Baseline stakeholders are “the internal and external users, developers, legislators and decision-makers” whilst considering the life cycle of the application.
When the stakeholders are fully identified, their involvement in requirements elicitation process should kick off immediately. Open communication with the stakeholders should be prioritized as advised by Hoque, (2017). Usually, this should be conducted through personal exchanges and structured meeting and it is important as it leads to comprehension of the key stakeholders of the project from its onset. Constant communication with stakeholders helps to map their individual needs act like stepping stone in knowing all stakeholders and zero in those who are more relevant to the B2B application. However, prioritization of stakeholders must acknowledge the strategic readjustment of the company operations. As not all stakeholders are evenly relevant to the mobile application development, a stakeholder’s matrix which depicts their relevance, objectives and inputs should be produced as suggested by Lock (2013).
As now we have selected our two variables (competitors and Software developers) to bench mark on, the next step will be to collect data which fits the client’s requirements (Kodali, 2008). For the purpose of this study, the data gathering for the benchmarking software will be qualitative and information will be collected from acknowledged and verifiable market databases, market reports, mobile B2B applications benchmarking reports, software developers. Moreover, key software manufacturers such as Microsoft, Android, Oracle and SAP will be evaluated to shed light available mobile applications in various sectors and in particular food products in catering industry.
After sorting out and normalizing the data collected, the benchmarks are evaluated and analyzed and then a compared with relevant stakeholders objectives. Finally, a structured meeting between the key stakeholders to determine definitive functional requirements which will make the mobile B2B application a valuable addition to the company’s marketing strategies will be convened. Nonetheless, the process of benchmarking has its own shortcomings, especially at the current fast paced world where technologies are becoming obsolete in a short period of time. Therefore, the new application should be compatible to various operating systems since today’s benchmarks are bound to change in the future (Kumar and Harms, 2004).
Security/Safety Requirements Evaluation
Cyber threats such as phishing, malwares, and data breaches among others are some of attack techniques used by the malicious actors to compromise the functionalities of software and mobile apps so that they can have access to personal information such as location and financial accounts. As a result, users’ security should be prioritized while eliciting the mobile application requirements (Lent, 2018). Generally, security requirements of the mobile app should use the current data protection policies mainly used by the companies such as Microsoft and Oracle. Although it is difficult to protect data which is outside the realm of the organization, limiting personal data visibility is a well applied strategy to protect data loss (Pizzutilo 2015; Lent 2018). As such, this offer will present important security measures and requirements that will keep all users data safe from cyber-attacks and access from unauthorized users.
Software developers encourage the use of Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) to evaluate the preeminent facets of the vulnerability and risks emanating from mobile application usage (Clark, 2016). Furthermore, CVSS should enable the app developer to establish the severity of the risks and develop vulnerability management processes.
Objective 2: Structural Requirements
Above sections have disclosed the functional requirements for the mobile B2B application, this part will delve into illustrating the structural requirements the client should provide in order to develop and implement a functional B2B mobile app in the current complex internal and external business environment. This section will look into IT skills, personnel and risk management capabilities to ensure the client has the ability to manage the app or external service providers will be used in cases of deviations and malfunctions.
System Environmental Analysis
System environmental analysis is very important in analyzing suitability of the proposed solution to client’s problems. In this case, the external and internal factors of the project are very important more so when the design to be adopted is something that is meant to serve Company X for a very long time. This would mean that the IT solution system is coherent with organizational structure as a way of creating harmony between the technical and manual aspects of operations (Nicholas and Steyn, 2012). In addition, this IT software has to be dynamic enough to enable Company X to effectively apply it during various seasons of the market. MacLean et al., (2004) notes that sustainability of IT solutions relies not only on the functionality aspects but is also influenced by external influences within the organization as well as in the external environment.
In order to confront this imminent problem that may undermine the efficiency of the proposed IT solution, it is better to look at the existing statistics in the corporate IT incorporation. The existing data show that major IT projects in small, medium and large corporations have failed due to redundancy as well as internal technical problems (Charette, 2005). Redundancy can be attributed to employee resistance as well as wrong project formulation and development. To ensure suitability and sustainability of IT solutions, it is important for all aspect of the proposed solution to be examined thoroughly to ensure coherence and suitability. Walid (2017) suggest that system environmental analysis is articulate in addressing IT failure in corporate field. System environmental analysis enables developers to identify essential elements that enhance user friendliness while still maintaining the functionality aspects of any proposed IT system (Pries and Quigley, 2008). Such analysis also takes into consideration the market environment and trends and thus enables the software to adjust to the dynamic nature of the business environment. The proposed IT software will not function in isolation and thus consistent interaction between the technical and manual aspects guarantee overall success and efficiency. Personnel analysis is very important to ensure acceptance and overall efficiency of the IT system.
Actually, IT systems are meant to supplement and streamline human effort within a business environment. In addition, IT system performance relies on human effort in terms of developers, maintenance personnel, administrators, testers and managers among others. All of these personnel oversee the IT system right from formulation, implementation and maintenance activities (Project Management Institute, 2013). In addition, Passenheim (2009) suggests that the IT system might also encompass consumer experience as a way of ensuring efficiency in consumer service as well as value addition to operational services. Ensuring that all these individual needs are encompassed within the IT system without a single compromise on the functionality of the system may be very cumbersome. However, Dave and David (2018) indicate that regular assessment on any software is very important in enhancing sustained relevancy as well as suitability within the workforce and external environmental needs.
Nonetheless, higher efficiency in formulation, implementation and maintenance aspects should be observed. This can be achieved through selection of qualified personnel at all stages as well as using articulate information to create program design and formulation. IT system should address existing issues within an organization and thus employee input is very important when gathering material information prior to program formulation. Krikor (2010) alludes that when high professionalism is upheld during formulation, implementation and maintenance stages, higher success is deemed to be realized. Success in such an environment is basically driven by the personnel ability to detect flaw early enough and further IT system orientation to meet new expectations is also achieved. Thus the IT system can perform for longer time without being declared redundant. The net effect is enhanced business operation and reduced operations cost. Therefore, personnel analysis is very important to ensure cost saving and overall value for money from the implemented IT solution systems.
Risk Identification and Analysis
Every project has an underlying risk because of the expectation and the capital expenditure that is set aside for such projects. The corporate world is keener on value addition to an expectation level that meets the intended purpose. In an event that a project does not meet the intended purpose, then it is often considered a loss. Apart from value addition, any project has a budget and a timeline that has to be adhered to. These factors further present additional secondary risks that have to be kept under check when proposing any kind of corporate project (Rajman, 2017). Despite these common project risks, IT projects present more technical and complicated risks. To begin with, IT projects has the risk in the sense that clients who seek for these IT solutions do have mixed expectation given that they are venturing into a new system of operation that never existed before. Second, IT system requires several personnel from different fields in the formulation, implementation and maintenance stages. Therefore, preempting sources of threat becomes very difficult more so in a competitive business environment where compromise can attribute to huge losses. The bottom line is that all these risks have to be borne by the client and thus the capacity to handle all these risks is important to be evaluated before the official rollout of the IT system (Passenheim, 2009).
Carlton (2017) proposes that adequate risk identification and analysis mechanisms are required before rollout of any IT project. In this proposal, pre-analysis is expected to enable identification of underlying risks that may affect the project after rollout. In addition, the nature of these risks must also be identified to enable documentation of articulate measures that can be implemented to address every single risk in case they emerge. Failure to identify these underlying risks and effectively establish ways of controlling them can possibly lead to proliferation of the whole project. Most IT projects in the corporate space have been cited to fail due to undermined risk as well as inadequate risk address during the formulation stage (Maley, 2012). To avoid possible proliferation of B2B project, analysis on possible risks is identified in the following sections. Possible mitigation measures that Company X can implement to arrest any possible failure in the program system are also identified and discussed within the project. Looking at the bigger picture, risk identification and analysis presents organizational prospects in terms of cost management, absolute address of raised concerns, and adequate resource allocation from all project stages and consumer integration within the whole system(Nicholas and Steyn, 2012; Passenheim, 2009).
Objective 3: Resource Requirements
Resource requirement is a very fundamental part of project. Identifying relevant resources at company disposal that can effectively incubate project formulation, implementation and maintenance is very important. The most common resources are time, capital and quality assurance. Identifying the resource requirement is very important in enhancing suitability of a project within any given organization. It is also important to know resource requirement to enable effective budgeting within the company budgetary allocation thus avoiding conflict of interest before the end of financial year when a new budget is drafted.
Project Time Planning
Capital expenditure and quality assurance are all dependent on the time function of time within project budget. A project may experience bottlenecks that can lead to compromise on overall project quality as well as capital expenditure on the given project (Tira, 2018). Bottlenecks do contribute to quality compromise in the sense that lead engineers and other stakeholders can choose to offer quick fixes without full consideration of issues raised. In this scenario, the quality expectations of the project are not bound to be met even though the time limitation is met. On the other hand, when a project fails to meet time limitations, the project is bound to require additional capital to complete the set objectives (Lock, 2013). The burden is shifted to the company in all aspect mainly because they cannot accept compromise of any kind in a program that they rest their confidence in. the underlying project bottlenecks have been identified to be attached to poor time planning that later culminates to disproportional budget allocation and relative time constraints (Verner et al. (2007). Much of these time constraints are a subject of inaccurate time prediction due to impatience and inadequate resource allocation. Therefore, structural bottlenecks can be avoided when the management team allocates reasonable time to the project. Proper evaluation of time allocated to the project is very important in avoiding quality compromise as well as supplementary resource allocation to the project budget (Zhang and Bishop, 2013)……………………………………………