Matthew Moss BUS381 8-7-13 Chapter 10

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Oct 29, 2013 (4 years and 14 days ago)

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Matthew Moss

BUS381

8
-
7
-
13

Chapter 10

1.

(10 points)
You

are the CEO at an insurance firm and a manager has proposed
implementing an expensive new project management software that would help increase
the efficiency of the staff. The idea of improved efficiency sounds good, but is there any
way you can evaluate
her decision before purchasing the software? Be specific.

In order to make this important decision, I must break up my thought process into 4
stages of decision making. First I must discover what
the
problem is. In this case the
companies problem is
wheth
er or not to purchase software to increase efficiency. Second,
we must find a solution. We could either get the expensive software or we could forget
the whole thing and save a bunch of money in the short run. Third, we must chose what is
the best solution
. Fourthly, is the solution working to increase efficiency?
If it is, then
continue to use the software. In not, go back and find another solution or stop using the
software.

2.

(10 points) Why are managerial users and methods considered an important part of
the BI
environment? Not all business intelligence users are managers interested in forecasting
sales figures for the next quarter. What different types of users are there for a business's
intelligence systems?

Managerial users and methods are important to

the BI environment because they

impose
order on the analysis of data using a variety of managerial methods that define strategic
business goals.

There are many different types of users in a business intelligence system. IT Developers,
Super Users, Busines
s analysts, Analyical modelers, Customers/Suppliers, Operational
employees, Senior managers, Managers/Staff and Business analysts.

3.

(10 points) Read the case study (IBM’s Watson: Can Computers Replace Humans?) on
page 353. And then answer the following ques
tions:

o

How powerful is Watson? Describe its technology. Why does it require so much
powerful hardware?

Watson is quite powerful! It consists of 10 racks of IBM Power 750 servers
running Linux, has 15 TB of RAM, and 2,880 processor

cores that operate at
8
0,000,000,000 Floating point operations per second (80 TFlops)
.
It requires all
that hardware in order to perform quick analysis of input and decision making to
select an answer.


o

How “intelligent” is Watson? What can it do? What can’t it do? What kinds of

problems is Watson able to solve?

Watson can use many of the pre
-
programmed algorithms to determine thousands
of solutions to a problem then select which solutions fits best with the question. It
had to first learn how to improve its responses.

Watson
cannot talk about itself, it's feelings, intentions, objectives or the future.

o

Visit the IBM Web site and search for information on Watson. Which industries
or disciplines is IBM targeting with Watson?

IBM is targeting companies that offer Customer Service. They are engaging
customers in a dialogue without the use of people.

o

Try to find video of Watson playing Jeopardy (it is available in the Internet).
What kinds of questions does it get wrong?

One qu
estion was about the location of
both a
n airport names after a

world war 2
hero

and the second largest for a WW2 battle
. Another was about

the type of art

that 8 paintings that were sold

in 2010.

4.

(15 points) Improving Decision Making: Using spreadsheet to
identify service.

Milford Financial Services is a financial services company headquartered in Boston
Massachusetts. Milford along with many other companies in the industries has gone
through substantial changes in recent years. Extensive use of computer s
ystems and the
ability of customers to directly order financial services via the web, have caused
substantial changes in the way employees do their jobs. There is a feeling that morale and
relationships among the employees has suffered due to the rapid pac
e of change. In
addition, employee turnover is at an all time high.

Cindy Sanders, the Vice President of Human Relations at Milford, feels that programs
encouraging employee interaction outside the work environment can help to both reduce
turnover and imp
rove employee moral. Such programs can help to strengthen social
relationships between employees and help to build those relationships more quickly. The
increased camaraderie created should also improve overall morale and reduce employee
turnover.

One pro
gram that has come to Cindy's attention is the offering of free or reduced
-
rate
health club memberships to employees. Such a program would be offered through a
health club facility very near the Milford office complex. This would make it easy for
Milford e
mployees to use health club facilities before or after work, or even during the
lunch hour. By promoting use of health club facilities around the time and place of work,
it is felt that employees will schedule activities together or simply "run in to each
other"
in the health club facility. Another consideration in Cindy's mind is the fact that several
competing financial services firms have begun offering this "perk" to their employees.
Cindy feels that it is time to investigate the costs of such a program
.

She begins her investigation by examining the types of health club membership options
offered by related companies in the area. She discovers that some larger companies have
their own "in plant" facilities. Many firms do not offer health club services a
t all. The
remainder offer free or reduced price memberships to a health club with at least one
facility within the immediate area of their offices. When memberships are offered, they
cover only the employees themselves, although health clubs often offer d
iscounted rates
for covered employees who want to establish family memberships.

Cindy also engages in some informal conversations with a variety of employees. These
discussions suggest that free health club memberships would be viewed as a significant
ben
efit by many employees, particularly if the membership included the availability of
free aerobics classes. Based on these preliminary discussions, Cindy decides to
investigate the cost of fully supporting memberships for all employees. She begins
discussio
ns with health clubs. She is able to find three health clubs with nearby facilities
that are willing to offer a corporate membership for Milford employees.


o

Firm
-
It
-
Up operates a single facility which is located two blacks from the Milford
offices. It off
ers a full range of health club services, although only very limited
aerobics classes are offered. Firm
-
It
-
Up's owner is willing to guarantee that
additional classes will be added to meet Milford's needs if Milford sings a
contract with his club. The owner

quotes Cindy a flat rate of $25 per membership
per month for a basic membership not including aerobics classes. He would
charge $40 for a premium membership including aerobics classes. Firm
-
It
-
Up
would charge Milford only for those employees who signed up

for memberships
and would charge the premium rate only for those employees signing up for
aerobics classes.

o

The Sweat Shop operates from a single, large
-
scale, facility which is located
approximately 4 blocks from the Milford offices. It offers a full ra
nge of services
and appears to have sufficient facilities to accommodate the needs of all Milford
employees without further expansion. The ownership of the Sweat Shop quotes
you a price of $25 for each employee per month. For this fee every employee
would
receive a membership including access to aerobics classes. This rate is
offered with the understanding that memberships will be issued to ALL
employees and Milford will pay $25 per month for all employees including those
not using the health club.

o

The Fit
ness Factory operates five health facilities in the greater metropolitan area.
The nearest facility is approximately one
-
quarter mile from the Milford offices.
This facility currently offers only a limited number of aerobics classes, but all
other faciliti
es and services appear to be more than adequate. The ownership of
The Fitness Factory is willing to commit to offering additional aerobics classes as
needed if Milford signs a contract with them. The ownership quotes you a price of
$35 per membership per m
onth. They would charge Milford only for those
employees requesting membership cards from the club and would offer aerobics
classes to all members.

In order to compare this alternative to the others, Cindy sees that she will need to have a
reasonable esti
mate of the proportion of employees who would plan to attend the club
and become members. To assess the first plan, Cindy also needs to know how many
employees will participate in aerobics classes. She does a quick phone survey to estimate
the interest lev
el. Because she feels interest in the health club may vary by age, Cindy
randomly select about 25 employees from each of four age categories for the survey. The
survey categories and results are shown below.

Age

Number
Surveyed

Number Who Would Request
Membership

Number Who Would
Request Classes

Under
30

26

23

19

30 to 39

22

16

10

40 to 49

27

15

8

Over 50

24

16

12

To generate estimates of the costs of the alternatives the employment levels for these
demographic groups are also needed. From personnel records in a database Cindy was
able to retrieve the following data about the current level of employment in each
demo
graphic group used in the survey:

Age

Number of Employees

Under 30

262

30 to 39

307

40 to 49

214

Over 50

194

Cindy asks you, as her employee, to develop a spreadsheet for her that will produce
estimates of the total monthly cost of each of the three programs based on the survey and
employment data provided above. To estimate the number of employees in each
demogr
aphic group who will participate in the health club, calculate the percentage of
participation based on the survey and multiply that by the number of employees in the
given age. Make sure that every element of the rate structure for each of the health club
s
is entered as a parameter that can be modified by changing the value of a single cell.

To complete this assignment, you must develop a spreadsheet model to meet Cindy's
requirements. You also write a recommendation based on the results.

Upload your wor
k (one Word file and one Excel file) by the midnight of the due date.