Throughout this course, you will be developing the specifications for a web-based solution to a business need. As you do so, remember to incorporate the tools and techniques you learn in this class into your proposal. You won’t actually be creating the proposed project in this class, so think big and imagine all the possibilities! The kind of project that you are proposing might require three or four programmers and many months of development and testing time.
You will complete parts of this project each week as you go through the course, starting in Week 1 with an overview of the business situation you are addressing. Your instructor will provide you feedback and you will need to incorporate this feedback into your project. After completing most of the required sections in class, you will then incorporate them into the final report, which will summarize your proposal and add a few additional sections. This project takes the place of the Final Exam in this course, so you are expected to work on the final version of your proposal during Week 8. Your instructor will provide you with the exact time the project is to be delivered to the Week 8 Course Project Dropbox.
The organization you are crafting a solution for can be real or imagined. If you’d like, you can look at an existing solution as a starting point, such as virtual supply chain management software. In this case, you’d want to think about what you could do to extend that application. Creating a solution from scratch is fine as well, as each approach has its advantages. Starting with an existing solution helps you to model data and system use, which isn’t as straightforward for a complex system as it is for say, a shopping cart on a website. If you are interested in Systems Analysis or working with larger, complex, business-internal processes, this is the correct path to choose. On the other hand, if you are interested in creating a customer-facing entrepreneurial venture, than chances are you’ll need to envision the basic business processes involved from the ground up, and they might even be novel processes. You have a lot of flexibility to work with in this course project.
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The Week 1 Assignment should consist of the following section:
Overview of Business and Web-Based Solution (1-2 pages)
Describe the business (real or imagined) involved thoroughly. What is the industry? What is the revenue model? What is the company’s strategic vision, and who are the stakeholders? Do they produce goods, services, or both? How are the products distributed, and what operations strategy is involved? Who are their competitors and how does their business differ from the company you are describing?
Describe the web-based solution to the situation. In this section, only a general description is required, but some things to include would be how many visitors per month would be expected, how much downtime on the server could be acceptable, what data storage needs, and what general processing needs will be required.
The Week 2 Assignment should consist of the following section:
Server Side Technology Required (1-1.5 pages)
Based on what you have learned in the course, which technology platform would you choose, and why? Remember that although we are using ASP.NET for this course, developing in Visual Basic, and using Microsoft Access as our RDBMS, this solution does not work in every circumstance. You might choose to use an open source solution such as LAMP (described in the lecture) if your company has a reduced budget. You might upgrade to Oracle and multiple web servers if you need massive scalability. You might also choose to have a small site hosted by an external hosting company.
You should create a cost estimate of the required technology platform. Make sure to include licenses for your server if required (IIS), physical hardware components (your server machine), a static IP address, your domain name, any security issues, licenses for your web application platform (e.g., ASP.NET), your database server (e.g., Oracle), and your development time (how many developers at what salary for how many months). You might not have done this while drafting the assignment, so be sure to include your budget calculations now.
The Week 3 Assignment should consist of the following section:
Interface and Processing Required (2-3 pages)
What does your user interface look like? What components are required? Are there buttons, dropdown menus, labels, etc.? How is database data presented—as a table, or a form? Is the application available from the home page, or do users have to navigate to it? What does your navigation structure look like, and what colors are featured on the site? Make sure to include a mock-up of your main interface screen. This can be done in a tool such as Visio, or you can create it by dragging and dropping components inside Visual Studio and then creating a screenshot. Hand-drawn sketches are not acceptable in your final report.
What is the main processing routine required by your site? Describe it in detail and include a chart showing the input, processing, and output (IPO). You should probably make this in Visio, but any other drawing tool is fine as well if it can create the required shapes. As an example, imagine adding customer information to a database. The input required includes a first name, a last name, a zip code, an e-mail address, and so on. The processing that needs to occur is that the system needs to check whether or not that customer already exists, and if the data that they have entered is valid (e.g., zip code can’t equal “Mars”). If all is well, the information gets entered into the database. The output generated would be a confirmation that the address was successfully added, or a rejection of the submission. Remember to always provide output to your users, it lets them know the results of their interaction with your system, even if it’s a simple yes/no answer. Note that here you need to describe the main processing routine for your system; this was not a requirement in your memo, so you might have to revise your earlier submission substantially.
The Week 4 Assignment should consist of the following section:
Database Structure Requirements (1 page)
What requirements do you have for your database? You have already specified which platforms you are going to use in the first section of the document, so there’s no need to repeat that here. You do need to answer the following questions, however. How many tables will your database include? What are the primary keys for each? Which fields are included for each? What are the datatypes and field sizes for each field? What validation will be done at the database level? Are you setting up any table relationships? Include a chart showing the tables and their fields; you can create it in Visio or by building the table in Access and getting a screenshot. Note that a chart by itself does not fulfill the requirements, and hand-drawn sketches are not acceptable in your final project. Like the previous section, this section will require substantial reworking of your earlier submission. You have had some time to reflect and learn new possibilities, and now is the time to look at the overall picture of the site.
The Week 5 Assignment should consist of the following section:
Security and Mobile Devices (2-3 pages)
What are the business needs for the security of your site? Are you in a regulated field like finance, healthcare, or education? What are the legal security requirements for protecting data and the privacy of your users? How will you go about securing your site? Will you obtain a digital certificate? Will you use HTTPS protocol? How will you physically secure your server? What is your backup plan, and how will you assure business continuity in the event your server is damaged or destroyed? Where will the server be kept, and who has access to it?
What mobile platforms will access your site? Will you try for maximum compatibility across all platforms, or require particular mobile devices or kinds of devices to be used? What elements of your site will you discard for mobile users, and which will you prioritize? What percentage of mobile users do you actually expect to use your site vs. desktop users? What about laptops and tablet computers?
The Week 7 Assignment should consist of the following sections:
Deployment and Testing (1-2 pages)
How will you deploy your site? If you are replacing an existing system, will you simply turn off the old system when the new one is ready? Do you have to transfer your application data to a server? How would you go about doing that? How do you get a static IP address and configure your machine to use it? How do you activate your backup system?
What testing will be performed on the application before you deploy it live? What limit cases could you use for data? What data would you expect to fail your validation testing? What use cases will you consider—what user profiles would you expect to visit your site? Include at least three different scenarios for use of your site.
The Final Course Project must also consist of the following sections:
Summary and Conclusion (1 paragraph each)
In sum, what is the problem and how do you propose to address it? Precisely and succinctly summarize your proposal in one small, neat, paragraph. Please note that this is not the time to add or discuss new features or ideas. A summary restates what has been described previously in the paper. It is designed to be redundant. You already know the contents of your paper, but your reader may not, and he or she may be skimming ahead. The summary is for his or her convenience, not yours.
What is your conclusion? Again, a conclusion is not a time to add or discuss new ideas. It’s the time to state that your solution can be implemented for so many dollars and labor hours and parts, and it will address the need that you have identified previously and proposed a solution to. If you complete this section correctly, the conclusion will be apparent because you have set it up in the previous paragraph; yet you need to make it clear that what you propose will adequately address the problem. Watch out for overreaching and hyperbole. You aren’t creating a be-all end-all for the Internet or pushing the boundaries of technological evolution. You are proposing a well-considered, modest web-based solution to a business problem or situation. You should acknowledge that are other possible solutions that can be considered as well. A good business argument comes from rational choice among logical possibilities. You have made the case for one possible implementation, but ultimately, you should be prepared to accept that your proposal might be one of many.
Back to Top •Page counts are outlined in each assignment milestone.
•Assignments should follow APA format (title page, in text citations, reference page, font type/size, spacing, paragraph indentation, etc.).
•Do not use clip art anywhere in the assignments, not even on the cover page.
•No more than 2 spelling or grammar mistakes are allowed.
•Incorporate feedback from your instructor into future assignments and the final project.
•Do not leave any isolated headings at the bottom of a page.
•Adhere to Standard Edited American English.