MIS 2101.701 – Amy Lavin – Spring 2017

Weekly Discussion Question #2

Leave your response as a comment on this post by the beginning of class on January 31, 2016. 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 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?  

35 Responses to Weekly Discussion Question #2

  • Lavin is the best!

    • A friend and I started a blog together over a year ago, and currently have one contributor that writes a blog post every month, and other miscellaneous guest bloggers that write a one-time blog post.
      I recently created a document to explain the process of publishing a blog post: the writer and I come up with a topic, the writer writes their post, I proof it and give my feedback, the writer makes the edits, if the writer has questions about the edits he/she asks me, we brainstorm and agree on a title for the post, the writer submits it for review, my friend or I proof it one last time and add an image. After the post is published, my friend or I add it to our master list of posts and post it to the blog’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts using a Bitly (shortened) link.
      All of this could be shown and explained in a simpler and straight-forward way if we used a Swimlane diagram. While creating a Swimlane diagram in class, I realized how helpful it could be in explaining the process to guest bloggers.

  • While I found swimlanes to be easier to create and comprehend, I think that ERDs would be more useful for my major. I am a double major in International Business with a concentration in marketing and French. ERDs could be very useful in IB because they would offer professionals the chance to look carefully at various stakeholders involved in the business. A key component of international marketing that I keep learning time and time again is to really understand and study your markets. You could create a detailed ERD for just one market and use it to implement or improve business in a new market. Ane because ERDs are easily accessible, and quickly available, it would be great for global businesses who may not meet in real-time. By giving attributes to the different external and internal stakeholders, you could also start to analyze the relationships they have with other entities such as resources, long-term assets, and modes of communication. On the other hand, for someone studying international supply chain, I can see why it would be useful to use a swimlane rather than an ERD.

  • I find that a swimlane diagram would be a better option for my field of work(banking), because this option would provide a more detailed roadmap of our procedures for opening/closing the branch, job titles and roles, other departments, etc. I work with many other departments throughout the course of my day, and it would be convenient for my employees and I to be able to reference this pictorial if need be to keep on track with everything. I would also say from a management prospective this option would be a great tool for emergency situations too, such as if there was a fire which exits are closest and safest to use. There are many more detailed ways to use this diagram, and a lot of helpful situations it could be used for which is why I would choose the Swimlane diagram for my field of work.

  • As a Human Resource Management major, I believe swimlane diagrams would be more useful in my career. We are able to use swimlane diagrams to determine the process of how employees will receive their paychecks. Swimlane diagrams are also used to track Wellness points and can also be used to help track personal development hours. In Human Resources, many of the everyday tasks that are completed, are completed by more than one person. That is why swimlane diagrams are so helpful, because they are a visually representation of who does what in order to complete a task.

  • I work in the Finance Department and I think the Swimlanes would be the best method of analyzing the processes in my department. We have several units in our department that are responsible for different functions, and some functions do cross. The Swimlane diagram would show where the process starts, and the steps that are involved in completing the process. It could also point out that some processes are redundant and should be streamlined.

  • In my business the ERD would be used more often. I have many customers and products to keep track of. I have information on customers like their name, address, phone number, email, credit cards used in the past, items rented in the past and how much they spent on said item. As for my products, I have the item, the size, the weight, the RIO by year, month, the number of times it has been rented, all maintenance logs, all inspection and of course the registration numbers. My system does save more than just what I have listed and I am sure it can be broken up much more. However, I am still learning the ERD construction.

    Michelle Martiuk

  • In my place of work, a Swim lane Diagram would be the most useful. We have many SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure) that out line various and tasks to ensure consistencies and cross training. What sometimes is lost in an SOP is what happens when it flows to another department. For example, I work for a catering company and when a customer places a special order it touches a few departments before eventually the client picks it up. We have multiple SOPs for each department from taking the order, to processing the order, and preparing it in the kitchen. A swim lane diagram would be helpful to show how all of these tasks flow from one department to the other.

  • Since I am a HRM major, I can definitely see the usefulness of a Swim lane diagram within this field. For example a swim lane diagram can be used to explain and show the process of communication for employees within the HR department. As well as you can use it to display for example a swim lane diagram of how to file a complaint, and how it gets processed. Basically it can be used to not only direct information towards employees, however, also explain the processes within. I think this is very useful, because it is direct, and to the point.

  • As a MIS major, I believe both ERD and Swim lane diagrams are useful. However, I think the ERD diagram may be more suitable since working in IS field requires to use and process a lot of data and ERD helps to show clearly the relationships of entity sets stored in a database and illustrates the logical structure of databases

  • As a Marketing Manager I find both swim lanes and ERDs could be a useful tool but I can see more value in an ERD. In a marketing role, our goal is to sell our product or service to the customer through communication and highlighting the true value of what we are selling. In order to successfully do this, we must understand our market and who we are selling to. We must understand their needs and wants and help them identify. An ERD can help us better understand through the collection of data and leads in a database. We can easily reach our entity’s, their attributes and better understand the relationships between them through this tool.

  • As a Business Management major, both ERDs and swimlane diagrams are great resources. In my Pharmaceutical line of work, an ERD would be a better resource. We have many different types of people on out team and each have a different role. It is hard to always remember which team member is in charge. An ERD would create an easier tool to know which team member is in charge of which process in pharmaceuticals. This helps us stay on track and we would be able to know which person to go to in order to proceed to the next step in validating the drug.

  • In my current career, I work for a residential management company. I believe the swim lane diagram would be very useful for different tasks that need to be completed that go through various departments. A great example is how to process a security deposit refund. This is a frequent task that starts with the resident and goes through the property site bookkeeper, property manager, the regional property manager, the corporate security analyst, and back out to the resident. I feel the swim lane is a great visual tool to use so that everyone is aware of who oversees what tasks. If something went wrong or was delayed, it would be very easy to see who was accountable for that. It is also a great tool for a new employee to have a better understanding of the process for those different tasks.

  • I believe that as an HRM major, swimlane diagrams would be a more useful tool within my field. What I have in mind as an example to support this claim is the multi-faceted process that is recruiting. I believe an HR process, such as recruiting, that involves decisions from two or more people (i.e. a Hiring Manager, Upper Management, and an HR Assistant) would lend itself well to being laid out in a swimlane diagram. Communication is key in the field of Human Resources, and I believe that a swimlane diagram would be the most effective tool to clearly communicate information to all employees within the company.

  • In my current career, we use SAP and other programs, which I wished communicated better but I use ERD programs. I need to know all my customers information at a glance, inventories, purchasing cycles, order histories, accounting data, etc. I need to place orders at real time or my customers can also order online on their accounts. I need to access data to look up their history to help them reorder items or offer ideas for alternative items. ERDs help me with my job on a daily basis and without this system; it would be hours of looking up old, out dated data.

  • I am a business administration accounting major. So in my specific major I feel like a swim lane diagram would be just as useful as an ERD program. The ERD would let me know specifically in the real world when I get a job in accounting specific qualities and relationships of one client, and even similar clients. I could Take an ERD and create it for clients and have within that field for clients their addresses, names, cities, states and phone number. Then I could create another field called say Financial stability. Based off the accounting information I am filing for each client I then would be able to attach in this field a list of assets, liabilities, and other sources of equity. This is just a basic example but I could continue effectively creating a database of my clients linking them through specific relationships, and in each field have specific qualities. As for the swim lane diagram I feel like that would be useful in any career or major. Certainly being able to express the logical process of decisions and who all is involved in the process would be a good tool to use. I feel like more companies should capitalize on using swim lane diagrams to weed out redundancy.

  • Swim lane diagram’s more applicable for my field of working to analyze processes. I currently work as a Quality Control Inspector at my workplace, and I work with closely with several departments to update and resolve quality issues. I use a document that we call “Inventory checklist” per shipment to get the information for the list of the SKUs and the amount we supposed to receive by unloading a container. I also use an inspection sheet per SKU to evaluate product qualities based on our quality standard. I analyze quality issues and share it internally with our product managers, designers, and inventory controllers depends on the type of the quality issue we have. I notify quality issues to the vendors if the quality issue to advise them just for improvement on future productions or to request replacement shipment for serious quality issues. I keep tracking PO#s and vendor invoice #s to check the inventory status both in SAP and physically in warehouse to figure out the volume of items that have quality issues. I need to improve our current quality control process and the standard for the different types of product to maximize efficiency and get rid of unnecessary steps. Getting ideas on improving process and standards can’t be done by ERD because it’s more suitable to get information on what falls into which category. Swim lane diagram will help me fully understand the logic of process and get some ideas to improve process itself or quality control standards.

  • Considering I am taking accounting for information systems this semester, I have learned that Swimlane diagrams are very beneficial in being able to look at a particular system and find ways to cut costs. As an accountant this seems invaluable as the role of accountants have somewhat changed. Since much of the accounting process has been streamlined thanks to technology, accountants can put a greater focus on the actual numbers they report, and make informed decisions to aid in the decision making process. I think this change is welcomed. It makes the position more interesting and allows the accountant to become an even greater asset.

  • My major is Business management and I feel that both swim lanes and ERD’s can be very beneficial but it truly depends on the business. In my current field of aviation, I feel that swim lanes is the most helpful. Swim lanes can facilitate which direction to go for trouble shooting or maintenance based on what the current variable is. Swim lanes can also help facilitate the ordering of parts or any other needed paperwork for the company/FAA.

  • In my previous position at a securities broker-dealer, a swimlane diagram would have been enormously helpful when I first started out. My job mostly revolved around clearing unregistered securities for sale, which meant that not only did I have my own set of responsibilities, but I also had to monitor the progress of several other departments. The process could have been simplified by providing a visualization tool, such as a swimlane diagram, to explain the responsibility and duties required of customers, brokers, operations, compliance, legal, clearing firms, and traders. I am sure that I will utilize visualization tools like swimlane diagrams and ERDs in the future.

  • A friend and I started a blog together over a year ago, and currently have one contributor that writes a blog post every month, and other miscellaneous guest bloggers that write a one-time blog post.
    I recently created a document to explain the process of publishing a blog post: the writer and I come up with a topic, the writer writes their post, I proof it and give my feedback, the writer makes the edits, if the writer has questions about the edits he/she asks me, we brainstorm and agree on a title for the post, the writer submits it for review, my friend or I proof it one last time and add an image. After the post is published, my friend or I add it to our master list of posts and post it to the blog’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts using a Bitly (shortened) link.
    All of this could be shown and explained in a simpler and straight-forward way if we used a Swimlane diagram. While creating a Swimlane diagram in class, I realized how helpful it could be in explaining the process to guest bloggers.

  • In my current position, I think a swimlane diagram would be more helpful. I’ve worked in several positions at my company, from retail compliance to AP to billing. We also have a number of subsidiary companies that I work within. A swimlane would help visualize what is done by who, which makes it easier for management to know who to ask, as well as make it easier to cross-train personnel (I’ve personally helped train at least half a dozen people on various tasks) and help new employees better know who would be able to answer their questions. These detailed diagrams would help make the day-to-day operations go more smoothly at the corporate level. The different companies and departments get even the management team confused at times.

  • In my current position as a receptionist, I think that a swimlane diagram is the way to go. I recently had a problem with the management and I wanted the issue resolved ASAP. I went to my boss, who then went to his boss with my request, who then had to go to her boss, who finally told me that I should’ve went to her directly in the first place. If I would’ve known the proper channels to go through initially, then I don’t think my request would’ve been as much of a hassle as it turned out to be. Our company isn’t really that large, so knowing who to go through for what is a process that should definitely be put into place so that issues like this don’t arise in the future!

  • In my current position as in insurance sales representative, I think a swimlane diagram could be helpful. In selling insurance products that are many procedures and government regulations a rep must follow. This can be dozens of pages which is wordy and long-winded; if that could be condensed into a swinlane diagram that could make the process and training far easier. Presenting the different scenarios that can arise in a typical policy sale into one succinct diagram could save a lot of time, prevent some mistakes, and save a company money on training.

  • My current career is sales and I sell B2B outbound teleservices (telemarketing solutions). I actually use flow charts (similar to Swimlanes) to help sell my solutions. So when we started learning about them last week I was already familiar with the concepts and the flow of a swimlane. Flowcharts/Swimlanes literally help me “paint a picture” for my prospects and clients. Showing them specifically how our process works and how the flow of a call will go. This absolutely helps my prospects buy into what we are selling so that we can help grow their business.

  • As a business management major, I feel that both swim line diagrams and ERDs are extremely useful in the business world. Depending on what field you are in would determine which diagram would be more appropriate or useful. With my experience with small businesses, I think in this atmosphere ERDs would be more useful. There are generally not many employees in a small business so tasks are frequently switched back and forth making a swim line diagrams change frequently. ERDs would make it easier for keep track of data, inventory, and orders.

  • As a risk major, I believe that swim lane diagrams would be more useful, as they are very effective at showing each department’s responsibility in accomplishing the business task. These diagrams show the steps of the task at hand and the resources involved, and also are helpful in showing where a mistake occurs. In the insurance world for instance, when an auto or medical claim is filed by an insured, many steps take place in order to process that claim. Swim lanes could help display and coordinate this process by showing each department, such as claims, underwriting, legal, sales, and more.

  • I am currently a marketing major. In the marketing area, I believe ERDs would be most useful. This is because I think they show the most data and relations to each product/entities. Marketing requires a lot of data in order to fully understand how a product can sell to a specific audience and what that audience reacts best too. I think the swim lane diagrams would be more useful for supply-chain management or finance/banking positions because they are more straight-forward and help to see where everything flows to and from efficiently.

  • Currently I work in the Apple store, but I’m going toward a career in marketing. In either setting, ERDs seem like they could be used more often. On the SmartDraw Software site, I found ERD layouts for inputting marketing data. Marketing requires massive amounts of data to be collected, analyzed, and sorted. ERD systems for marketing can be used for a large range of projects in order to make the data easy to navigate and understand. ERDs would help with internal systems and employee information and marketing events and results. At the Apple store we use tons of systems, some of which are derived from other or merged together in order to make a process more efficient. I can only imagine how they implement and use them in the corporate sector.

  • Currently I work for a Casino as a server/bartender. I find that swimlanes are much easier to understand, but I do think that ERDs would be more useful. They ERDs could be split up into sections for the types of alcohol we use, the sections we have, the different bars and restaurants within the establishment, and etc. However, swimlanes could be used to show the process of ordering drinks, reporting them to the bartender, the bartender making the drinks, then the sever delivering the drinks. This could improve that process and possibly sort out any kinks or disruptions that may occur.

  • The swim lane diagram is a little easier to follow and would be my preference. However, as an accounting major, I believe that an ERD would be a more appropriate approach to diagramming the details in accounting. It would be a better visual for all the parts of the processes. Yet, for a big picture flow of cash a swim lane would be a great go to tool.

  • Swim lane diagrams seem to connect with me as a future entrepreneur. They break down easier and would be a great tool to help organize the business flow. They can be created quickly and would help understand where departments belong and how they will interact with each other on a daily basis. Keeping things organized and simple help with cash flow and order. Swim lanes will be a better addition to the way I would like to conduct business.

  • As an audit and account reconciler a swim lane diagram would be most helpful. Throughout the day I work with several other departments to fully complete a task. If the account isn’t able to reconcile at the end it is my job to research the history to see where it went out of balance. A swim lane would be helpful as a visual tool to quickly identify which department signed off on item as well as the next procedure when a task is or isn’t completed correctly. In turn, the item would not create a timely exception because it was tracked more efficiently.

  • In my current place of work, a swimlane diagram would probably work best because of their effectiveness. They show a step by step process of the task and are able to clearly show where mistakes occur, if they occur.

  • In my internship in insurance, I would think Swimlanes as a method of analyzing processes and using visuals to tell a story would be more beneficial for the employee benefits sector. I think this would be more effective due to the many department communications and projects that end up overlapping multiple roles and operations. With a visual to tell the story of how one task is completed could help newly acquired or transitioned employees in a respective department – great for new employees to understand at a high level.

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