Ch04-IM7ed - Chapter Four Documenting Information Systems...

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_________________________________________ Chapter Four Documenting Information Systems LEARNING OBJECTIVES To read and evaluate data flow diagrams. To read and evaluate system flowcharts. To prepare data flow diagrams from a narrative. To prepare systems flowcharts from a narrative. KEY TERMS INTRODUCED IN CHAPTER THREE Data flow diagram (DFD) Systems flowchart External entities Bubble symbol Source Physical data flow diagram Data flow symbol Destination Data store symbol Internal entity Context diagram Logical data flow diagram External entity symbol Activity Exception routines Balanced Information processing activities Error routines Top-down partitioning Reject stub CHAPTER SYNOPSIS In this chapter, you will learn to read and prepare documentation that depicts business processes and the controls within those processes. You will learn that data flow diagrams portray a business processes’ activities, stores of data, and flows of data among those elements. Systems flowcharts, on the other hand, present a comprehensive picture of the management, operations, information systems, and process controls embodied in business processes. In Chapters 5 and 6 we show you how to read and prepare entity-relationship diagrams. Proficiency with these tools will help you to understand and evaluate business processes, information systems, and internal controls. Auditors, systems analysts, students, and others use documentation to understand, explain, evaluate, and improve complex business processes, information systems, and internal controls. Let’s consider, for example, the order-to-cash process described in Chapter 2. Recall, that this process includes all of the activities associated with receiving a customer order, picking the goods off a warehouse shelf, packing and shipping the goods, billing the customer, and receiving and depositing the customer’s payment. Further, the information system supporting this business process is likely an enterprise system , has a number of PCs connected to it via
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telecommunications links, is used by dozens of people within and outside the organization, has one or more ERP systems with many modules and perhaps hundreds of programs, and performs functions for virtually every department in the organization. This system processes thousands of business events and hundreds of requests for management information, and has people throughout the organization preparing inputs and receiving system outputs. In an e-Business environment this system might be accessed directly, perhaps automatically, by systems and individuals in the organization’s supply chain. For such a system, we require “pictures,” rather than a narrative description, to “see” and analyze all the activities, inputs, and outputs. Being able to draw these diagrams demonstrates that we understand the system and can explain the system to someone else. For example, with a systems flowchart we can understand and analyze document flows (electronic and paper) through the operations, management, and information processes. Perhaps our analysis will lead
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