MIS 2101.702 – Amy Lavin – Fall 2017

Weekly Question #2

Leave your response as a comment on this post by the beginning of class on September 14, 2017. Your response only needs to be about three or four sentences. These weekly questions should reinforce class discussions, readings and show some insight.  

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Here is the question:

This week, we reviewed Swimlanes and ERDs as methods of analyzing business processes and using visuals to tell a story.  In your current career or major, which tool do you think would be more helpful and why?  

36 Responses to Weekly Question #2

  • In my current career I believe ERDs would be most helpful. I am a hairstylist and our system saves all of our clients information. For example in my specific career an entity would be clients and their attributes would be address, phone number, birthday etc. Then a relationship could be connecting a client to their store card which has attributes of a card number, points, and an email. And that is just one of the many examples of how ERDs would be useful in my career today.

  • I believe that a mix of both ERD’s and Swimlanes would be the best option for my career. Being an accounting and MIS major I am going to deal with a ton of technical information that ERD’s do an amazing job of presenting. However, with accounting swimlane diagrams will help immensely in putting these ERD’s together. I wouldn’t be able to create information systems for accountants without knowing their process of how their cash accounts flow, or their benefit accounts. Seeing a swimlane diagram will allow me to create these ERD’s, and then implement them into a program.

  • Currently, I am a full-time student. The best ways I can use the Swimlanes and ERD’s right now is to help me visualize my studying. I can also use the Swimlanes to help me see what assignments need to be done and what procedures I should approach the tasks by. In my past work history, I could use ERDs in a medical administration position by creating patient and physician database to be more efficient when looking up data. I believe both of these tools will come in great use in my educational and professional careers.

  • As an accounting major, I believe that the Swimlanes are the best to analyze processes. While doing accounting it is a bunch of steps, so using the Swimlane I would be able to check if one step is done correctly and if it is, I can continue to the end. On the other hand, it would tell me if I missed one step or did not do one correctly and what to do. I also believe that I would be able to use an ERD to make sure the contact name and transactions connect.

  • Swimlanes would be most helpful in my career. I am currently working on growing PDS, Project & Development Services, which frequently involves buildouts, office moves, tenant improvements, etc. It is imperative for each member of our team to fully understand each everyone’s role and to have a thorough understanding of the project which encompasses many different pieces that affect each other especially when dealing with a timeframe. I know that using swimlanes would help us to clearly define the process and effectively identify issues that will allow us to be proactive rather than reactive.

  • Being an Accounting major, I feel Swimlanes would work best. Although, they can get a little more messier than ERD’s, the information you can get out of them is more technical and in depth, I feel, than a ERD is. Accounting is very technical and every step has to be right, so if there was a problem or if something didn’t match right, I would be able to look and see why.

  • In my current career as a mortgage loan officer assistant swimlanes and ERDs would be great tools to use. Swimlane diagrams could be used to show the process of collecting a clients information to the point when they are officially approved for a mortgage. We need to obtain a lot of information from our clients, such as paystubs, tax returns, credit scores, debt to income ratios, social security numbers, ect. The loan process does not always go as smoothly as we would want them to, so having decisions boxes would allow for those extra steps in the process. ERDs would be a great database to keep that information in a clearly readable format. There would be a section for the clients personal information, the house they are trying to get approved for, and other price ranges that may work within their budget. When I am a licensed mortgage loan officer they are tools I will use to keep myself organized.

  • I can see both of these tools being of equal use in a career related to my major: Legal Studies. Having the ability to disseminate and understand large pieces of information is an important skill to have in a legal career; even before working as a lawyer or some kind of legal official, the whole curriculum of law school revolves around reading and understanding mass quantities of information. That being said, if I were to pick one of the two, I’d probably say an entity-relationship diagram (ERD) would be the most useful in a legal career. While a swimlane diagram is best served for understanding the process of something/an activity, an ERD is a good tool to use when trying to separate and understand databases of information and how they all function cohesively.

  • Although both swimlanes and ERDs would be helpful in my current major, legal studies, I do believe that ERDs would be more helpful. ERDs give detailed information about different entities in a system and how they relate to each other. ERDs could be used by lawyer to help organize information regarding his or her case. ERDs also make connections between entities which not only help the lawyer stay organized but also helps the lawyer to strengthen his or her case.

  • Hello,

    Being an accounting major, my first thought was that both ERDs and Swimlanes were equally as important; however, ERDs and Swimlanes are useful in different ways. ERDs would be most beneficial when creating or changing the accounting software being used. In this we could look at what attributes contribute to each entity and how they relate to other entities to ensure that all pertinent information is stored in the database when designing an accounting system. ERDs make sure the businesses needs are met. Swimlanes contribute greatly in showing the detailed steps taken during processes. This would be most helpful in accounting as it allows us to examine specific operations for the department to be more efficient. Swimlanes also provide visual How-To’s for team members within the organization to better understand the steps involved, analysis of the current actions taken to streamline processes, avoid delays, and miscommunication, all of which contribute to value-added.

  • Being a finance major, I feel as though swimlanes would help the best. Finance majors, along with accounting majors, can use swimlanes to help organize what ever processes they are trying to show. This organization will help with visualization, efficiency, and analyzing complicated processes. It seems to me that ERDs would not be very useful for finance careers unless the change the content in them completely but that wouldn’t help for anything.

  • In my current career, I believe that the most useful method would have to be Swimlanes. The reason is because i am a manager at a supermarket it would be very useful to know the in’s and out’s of the supermarket. Basically, in the supermarket there would be many things that can be improved upon knowing everything in the store through swimlanes. An example would be an item that came in with a certain company. The swimlane diagram would explain to me how, when, and where it came in from and would help me to track the item while in the store. In my major and hopefully my future career, EDR’s would be way more useful. My major is Real Estate. Having a EDR would give me easy access to client information. I can find out direct information with the click of a button.

  • I am an international business major so I feel ERD’s and Swimlane diagrams would work best for me. I do not know exactly what I would like to do in the future but I feel as though knowing and understanding both would give me an advantage. I also believe having a visual representation between transactions of any kind would help understand the business better. However ERD’s would seem more useful wanting to go into a career where I would have clients, but Swimlanes would show the interaction more.

  • During my time as a customer service associate at Wawa Inc., I would say that Swimlanes and ERDs are equally important to the business process. Swimlanes would be used to help understand how customers order their food, pay for their food, and retrieve their food. Through using swimlanes, Wawa executives could make sure the business process is as efficient as possible. For example, Wawa allows customers to pay for their food before the food is finished, which saves time for the customers. ERDs would be responsible for cataloging the items ordered and paid for by the customer, so that the customer will pay for each item. For my future career in the field of Statistical Science, I believe that ERDs would be more important than Swimlanes. As a statistician, you collect data from many sources and must use that data effectively for whatever business purpose you have. ERDs would help to organize the data collected and display how all of that data is related. As a result, ERDs will allow statisticians work more efficiently with their data as the information for each piece of data would be easily available. Swimlanes would be helpful when statisticians would be collected and reporting the data, as they would make sure the data is being collected and interpreted in the most efficient way.

  • Using swimlane diagrams would actually make my job right now, and the people I’m trained jobs much easier. They have a lot of questions about our processes like “if this happens then what do I do?” A swim lane diagram could walk them through scenarios and show them what to do depending on the customers actions and words. I think I’m going to talk to my boss about implementing these for training purposes immediately.

  • Both swim lane diagrams and ERDs would be helpful in my current major, marketing. With that being said, I believe that ERDs would be more helpful in more scenarios. ERDs give detailed information about different entities in a system and how they relate to each other. ERDs can assist a marketer’s every day work, by keeping information more organized and allowing their marketing plan to run with efficiency and accuracy. ERDs also make connections between entities which can allow a marketer to not only present a stronger marketing plan, but also stay organized all the time when working.

  • In my current profession, Swim Lane Diagram’s are definitely more useful than ERDs. A perfect example as to why can be noted from our internal “onboarding process” which consists of multiple departments collaborating together to make the hiring process for new employees seamless. Unfortunately, this process has been everything but that; however, each department was able to identify the gaps by creating swim lane diagrams to illustrate their involvement later used to see where the conflicts occurred. By having this information, everyone could clearly understand the issue and see the effects they were being caused throughout the whole matrix. Many organizations, such as mine, have found swim lane diagrams extremely beneficial because they can simplify a complex process/task, identify potential issues and/or find areas for improvements which could be applied to later increase their ROI.

  • I am currently undeclared, but I am leaning towards becoming a finance major. I feel as if both of these diagrams will be extremely useful, but I think I would use swimlane diagrams more often than ERD’s. A swimlane diagram would allow me to give a visual representation of business processes. After analyzing the process, I could work on making it more efficient. Once I get more comfortable with making my own swimlane diagrams, I think that I will use them more. ERD’s are still very useful though, because they help people understand a business model more by clarifying the relationships between separate entities within the business. Swimlanes are more about business processes, while ERD’s are more for storing and finding data. They both have a different use, so they should both be used often in the business world.

  • In my future being a marketing major I believe the ERDs method of analyzing business processes and using visuals to tell as story would be better than the swimlanes because the ERDs shows the relationships of entity sets stored in a database. An entity in this context is a component of data. In other words, ER diagrams illustrate the logical structure of databases. ERDs show the relationship between all of the data.

  • I am an accounting major and I see swim lane diagrams being more useful in this career field. Swim lane diagrams are useful tools for illustrating steps in a process. There are a lot of steps that an Accountant must go through before finalizing financial statements for a company. I believe a swim lane diagram would be a nice visual aid for remembering these steps, and to help the accountant keep track of where the information is coming from. Additionally, I can see swim lane diagrams as being useful tools to possibly track a company’s cash flows and expenditures.

  • I believe that both ERD’s and swim lanes would be helpful tools in my career. As a merchandiser, I am involved with many aspects of the retail process. Having a data base to provide contact and detail job information of each individual I work with, as an ERD would show, would be extremely helpful in communicated with buyers and brand representatives. Swim lanes would help myself and my company to gain efficiency in our work. A lot that we do is time sensitive. Using a swim lane diagram, we could potentially fixed any slow downs or errors in our process by mapping each step/ relationship.

  • Although I could make an argument for both, I believe the swim lanes would be the most helpful for me in my present career. My husband owns a plumbing company, we like to say that he owns it and I operate it! I am the office manager and I oversee three other employees in the office and 20 technicians. There are so many things in motion at any given time and it can be overwhelming. Two of the office assistants are newly hired and have just been trained up on the basics. With our office staff doubling, there have been growing pains. It is clear to me (and the others) that we need to reorganize and divvy up the duties in a more efficient manner. I am actually trying to use the swim lane technique to do this! It has helped me figure out where our communication gaps are and where we set up to fail, so to speak. We do a lot of work with warranty companies as well as our own retail customer basis. We have to keep track of jobs that are completed, jobs that have estimates out, jobs that need to be scheduled, jobs that have parts on order etc. There is a lot of correspondence with municipalities and township offices for permits and licensing as well. The swim lane technique is helping us to flesh out new job duties and ultimately allow us to hold people responsible for the work they do. It is a work in process, but I am confident we will get there!

  • I am currently a marketing major, and depending on what type of Marketing I go into, I believe both charts will help me. In the Chen’s and Crow’s examples, it shows tracking of shoppers for marketing purposes. Based on both, they will both give a successful outcome of information. So, if I were to pursue research marketing, either chart would be helpful for me.

  • As an aspiring sales professional, I feel that a both swim lane diagrams and ERDs can be very helpful in my perspective career. Swim lane diagrams can help me, and anyone else that I work with, visualize the sales process, and will also allow me to identify and areas in which changes need to be made very easily. ERDs, on the other hand, can help keep me organized. It will help keep customers, products, and other information organized, which in turn, leaves less room for error.

  • I am currently an intern for Wolters-Kluwer Health, and I work with a team of Editorial Coordinators that handle the project management for medical textbooks that are to be published at a certain launch date. Swim lane diagrams would be the most helpful because each their are different jobs and responsibilities for each aspect of the publishing process. For example, their are authors, contributors, development editors, permission coordinators, editorial coordinators, freelancers, etc. that are involved. A swim lane diagram would visually show the process of book publishing from start to finish.

  • I am a business management major who is building the skills to properly manage a manufacturing facility which follows high productivity and efficiency protocols. I believe that swim lane diagrams will be perfect for this job type because of the need for following a strict process. There are endless processes in a manufacturing facility. Some processes are intended to grow the bottom line, while others are created to ensure the safety of workers. Diagramming these processes out make things easy to understand for others and for myself.

  • I am a Marketing major and I believe that a combination of swim lane diagrams and ERD’s would be best suited to help visualize and perform tasks that will be presented to me in the future. However, I personally would be more keen to use swim lane diagrams because I feel it allows for infinite entries and options. Considering the fact that the approaches to reaching customers are always changing, I think swim lanes would allow for more flexibility in adding new factors to certain processes. The flexibility the swim lane diagrams offer are the main reason I feel they would be more slightly more useful. That being said, I have not been put in a situation yet where I would need to use either, so I will not be certain until then.

  • I currently manage an ice cream and candy store and a retail store and I believe an ERD would be more useful.This is because when dealing with logging inventory and working with purchasing orders and contact information for different suppliers and employees an ERD can make it very easy to visualize the many aspects of the retail industry. I believe swim lanes diagrams would also work but because there aren’t usually many steps in any one process I deal with it would be in a sense a waste. The ERD would show all the information needed to quickly identify products, employees or suppliers.

  • I find that both swimlane and ERD’s are very useful tools for analyzing a business system. Neither is better than the other but it it really depends on the purpose when it comes to choosing which one to use. As a Finance/Accounting major, I think swimlane is a much more relevant tool due to the fact that all things in accounting process need to stay as clear as possible. In order to avoid any irrelevant information that might mess up the process, ERD’s is not the best candidate. However, I find myself most of the time gearing toward ERD’s when it comes to planning my personal life. For example, I often use ERD’s unconsciously more or less as a spider web diagram to branch out any thoughts that pop up not necessarily in a neat order. I then number them so I know which one to do first, which could then potentially turn into a swimlane, just less mechanical and professional compared to that of a business process.

  • By taking on a business scene that distributes mass products across a large area, ERDs are a better tool for analyzing business process’s. I am Undecided Business at the moment, but if I were interested in managing a company like UPS, ERDs would be of better use than Swimlanes. The customers that use UPS create a large file for themselves just by mentioning customer service, customer information, and the transactions between company and customer. Other aspects of the business process under UPS such as employee information, relationships with other companies, and any other third party involved, makes for a big picture perspective.

  • In my retail banking job, I often run into inefficient procedures which I believe could be improved to save time and money while improving the customer experience. A swimlane diagram would be a good starting point to map out a current procedure and attempt to redesign it to improve efficiency. Swimlanes may help point out situations where many hands are currently involved in a process, but not necessary to complete the task. If not that, drawing out the swim lane may make a shorter, clearer path more evident.

  • At my place of work, working in the field of architectural sheet metal, implementing swimlane diagrams or ERDs could be a massive improvement in efficiency of the company. We are a small business that takes on a ton of work, so it is not always easy to keep up with communication between the office, the shop where we fabricate, and the customer. If we were to sit down and draw up a diagram, it would always be clear who we were getting material from, what we were making, where it was going after, etc. It would also help account for any customer discrepancies and what could be done to remedy the situation in a timely manner.

  • I believe that ERD’S are more useful in my current job. We use a database that keeps all the information on the employees we hire as well as their skills. As I progress in my business management degree, I can see that ERD’s are used more in my current career path as there are many searches that we can pull from in order to get accurate information on different items such as areas about different jobs that are available for me to offer. I think that if we used swimlanes that would be a basic bullet point that we would have used in order to narrow information down.

  • My major is Finance.I think swimlane would be better for the job about Finance since this kind of job need to keep all the information of process clear.At the same time,we could make the complex process become more simple by using swimlane,but ERDs may let us mess up the information.Anyway,I think swimlane is my first choice .

  • I work in a technical support field. Swim lane and ERD diagrams can be used to understand how different departments interact with one another and visualize what activities each department is responsible for. We have a document known as the ownership matrix. This is essentially an ERD that lists the responsibilities and level of service each of our many departments are supposed to handle. Something like this allows an agent to know where to transfer a call if the customer has a request outside of the scope of their expertise.

  • In my current position, I feel that Swimlanes would work best. Because I work in nursing home, a document has to travel through many channels before it can be accepted by a both the resident’s doctor and by the resident’s proxy. It can get messy and can constantly get sent back to be rewritten or reviewed. With medicare and medicaid playing a role, the documents often have to be reviewed by their representatives then edited according to what is and is not involved for the resident’s healthcare plan. An ERD might a too long and be difficult to read.

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