$RU-case-03-informat - $RU Teaching Case(INFS1000) by Dr. Kai Riemer Part 3: Information

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Unformatted text preview: $RU Teaching Case (INFS1000) by Dr. Kai Riemer Part 3: Information and documents @ $RU $RU is a small business. When Murray and his partner funded the company they not only left behind the rigidities and product restrictions of a large bank, it also left behind a lot of office management support and modern information systems. Essentially, this meant that Murray, Kerrie and their colleagues had to create from scratch a new way of keeping track of client, product and investment information. How does $RU manage its information? In her day ­to ­day work managing the $RU North Sydney office, Kerrie mainly uses standard Office Software, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and an Internet Browser, as well as MS Out ­ look for her email and to manage Murray’s diary (calendar). Kerrie is also responsible for the accounting side of the business, e.g. keeping track of expenses and the money flowing in from the clients. For doing so, she uses a software called MYOB. At present, information is managed as a mix of physical documents and electronic lists, which are being kept as spreadsheets in Excel. Also, some information about clients and their investments is stored on the aggregator’s online platform, where all the investments for the clients are carried out. While basic client information is stored in Excel spreadsheets, the majority of information about clients and any related documents are filed away in a paper ­based file. This means that information about clients is kept in at least three different places: on Kerrie’s computer, in the client file (which is usually safely locked away in a fireproof locker) and on Asgard’s online platform. Client information, especially the information collected in the client file, is critical to $RU’s operations, as the relationships with their clients is $RU’s most valuable as ­ set. What information is currently being kept? First and foremost, $RU needs to keep track of client information, such as names, address, contact details, and date of birth. Currently, $RU has about 250 clients. Each belongs to one of the financial planners. $RU is structured as a profit centre organisation, which means that the financial planners essentially have their own client base. Kerrie figures that, as the busi ­ ness grows, it will have to keep track of the financial planner’s personal details as well. The statement of advice (SoA) is the single most important document in $RU’s business model. For every client a SoA is issued after the first meeting (called the discovery meeting as it is used for the financial planner to discover the client’s personal circumstances). It summarises the personalised advice and investment strategy developed for the client. While initially every client receives one document, over time whenever something changes in the Faculty of Economics & Business Discipline of Business Information Systems Page 1 $RU Teaching Case (INFS1000) by Dr. Kai Riemer client’s circumstances, another statement of advice has to be issued. For legal purposes $RU needs to keep track of all SoAs over time. The planners also rate their clients according to value for the company; a client is marked as either an A client (most valuable to the company), B or C client. This information is currently also kept in Kerrie’s client spreadsheet (one spreadsheet exists for each partner). On the investment side, $RU operates with a range of preselected investment funds; each fund is provided by an investment company. Kerrie keeps information on each of these companies, especially contact information of the funds representative, the person who from time to time comes and visits $RU to tell them about their various managed funds. More ­ over, for each fund, $RU needs to keep description texts and research information. As part of the investment strategy, for every client $RU buys shares in one or more of the managed funds. Today, a list of all transactions is kept on the aggregator’s platform, where Kerrie can access information on each transaction, such as the date on which the transaction was executed, its volume (number of shares), the funds price at the time, fees charged, and the total amount invested. What are implications of the current information management practice? Murray is concerned. Currently, a lot of information is being kept in different places and in people’s heads. Kerrie once joked about this: when Murray asked her what she thought the most valuable piece of data for the business was, her reply was: “Me”. And she was right! At least to a certain extend; a lot of information floats around in people’s heads and in various different places. While this is not a big problem at the moment, Murray feels increasingly agitated that when the business expands they will no longer be able to manage information in this hands ­on manner. Also, some inefficiencies are already showing. For example, in the North Sydney office client files are kept in a fireproof filing drawer. As a consequence, whenever a client calls, Tracey or Kerrie have to first leave the phone and retrieve the client file from the locker. At the same time, this client file is the only copy of this information; there is no backup! And some information is not even in this file. When a client wants to inquire about their portfolio, Kerrie has to first log on to the aggregator’s platform and ac ­ cess the client’s account. What if this platform had an outage and was unavailable? What if the Internet was too slow? Swift availability of this investment information is critical to $RU’s philosophy of superior customer service. Murray starts wondering if a database solution could solve their problems and make the company fit for future growth? But, how will they get there? What needs to be done? What needs to go in the database? Faculty of Economics & Business Discipline of Business Information Systems Page 2 ...
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This note was uploaded on 08/18/2011 for the course INFS 1000 taught by Professor Dr.kairiemer during the Three '10 term at University of Sydney.

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