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New online trading system

JOHN AND JACOB, INC., ONLINE TRADING SYSTEM

John and Jacob, Inc., is a regional brokerage firm that has been successful over the last several years. Competition for customers is intense in this industry The large national firms have very deep pockets, with many services to offer to clients. Severe competition also comes from discount and Internet trading companies. However, John and Jacob has been able to cultivate a substantial customer base from upper-middle income clients in the northeastern United States. To maintain a competitive edge with its customers, John and Jacob is in the process of developing a new online trading system. The plan for the system identifies many new capabilities that would provide new services to its clients.

Edward Finnigan, the project manager, is in the process of identifying all the groups of people who should be included in the development of the system requirements. He isn't quite sure exactly who should be included. Here are the issues he's considering:

- Users. The trading system is to be online to each of the company's 30 trading offices. Obviously, the brokers who are going to use the system need to have input, but how should this be done? Edward also isn't sure what approach would be best to ensure that the requirements are complete, yet not require tremendous amounts of time. Including all of the offices would increase enthusiasm and support for the system, but it would take a lot of time. Involving more brokers would bring divergent opinions that would have to be reconciled.

- Customers. The trading system will also include confirmations, reports of trades, and customer statements. Web access is also planned, which will enable customers to effect trades and to check their accounts. Consequently, Edward wonders how to involve John and Jacob customers in the development of system requirements. Normally, customers are not asked to participate in the development of systems. However, it would be nice to know how best to serve John and Jacob's customers. Edward is sensitive to this issue because some brokers have told him that many customers do not like the format of their statements from the current system. He would like to involve customers, but he does not know how.

- Other Stakeholders. Edward knows he should involve other stakeholders to help define system requirements. He isn't quite sure whom he should contact. Should he go to senior executives? Should he contact middle management? Should he include back-office functions such as accounting and investing? He isn't quite sure how to get organized or how to decide who should be involved.
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1. What is the best method for Edward to involve the brokers (users) in development of the new online trading system? Should he use a questionnaire? Should he interview the brokers in each of the company's 30 offices, or would one or two brokers representing the entire group be better? How can Edward ensure that the information about requirements is complete, yet not lose too much time doing so?

2. Concerning customer input for the new system, how can Edward involve customers in the process? How can he interest them in participating? What methods can Edward use to ensure that the customers he involves are representative of John and Jacob's entire customer group?

3. As Edward considers what other stakeholders he should include, what are some criteria he should use? Develop some guidelines to help him build a list of people to include."
(Satzinger)
Satzinger, Jackson, Burd. Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World, 5th Edition. Course Technology, 03/2008. <vbk:9781133614302#outline(4)>.

Solution Preview

1. The company can use a combination of web-based questionnaire involving all the brokers in the system to conduct an extensive quantitative analysis regarding the broker's views, opinions and preferences with respect to the new system, such as list of desired features, functionality, etc. in the proposed system. Further, the company can conduct focus group survey involving the top 1-2 brokers from each ...

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