An information system is one of the most important facilities that an organization needs to have. The information system helps in the accomplishments of tasks with minimal supervision and improved accuracy. An information system needs to be planned well and properly designed so that it can achieve the functions assigned to it. An elaborate information system has several components that should be able to work together so as to achieve the desired functionalities. The components of an information system usually vary depending on the nature of operations that the system is supposed to cover/handle (Beynon, 2004). The travel agent company being handled in this case requires a new information system which lists all the information about different resorts available in different countries around the pacific island. The information system that we are going to design for this case includes a website for the company and a database whereby information about the clients, employees and the available resorts can be stored. The system will be able to facilitate communication between the company and the clients who are involved in the business. The information system is going to be divided into three distinct sections. This will ensure that the system design is completed in a timely manner and that the final software is of the desired quality. The sections for the design of the database include:
i. planning section
ii. implementation section
iii. maintenance section
The planning section is also called the systems requirements phase whereby the required items are gathered. The functionalities of the system are also listed in this section. Implementation stage involves putting into use all the activities that were defined in the requirements stage. This stage is mainly concerned with writing of the codes and making the system function as it is supposed to function. The last stage is the maintenance stage which involves a routinely practice conducted on the system to ensure that the system is always up to date and that it functions as desired. If any technical problem is realized at this stage, then it would be very easy for such a problem to be sorted out. The personnel in charge of this section must be able to gain access into the codes of the system so that he/she can be able to correct the codes whenever there is problem (Date, 2003).
Travelling agency is one of the fastest growing sectors in the tourism industry. The travel agents handle huge junks of data that needs to be recorded in a timely manner and as accurate as possible. The information system that is going to be designed should be able to list all the information about different types of resorts available in different countries around the pacific islands. The information system which is to be designed should therefore be able to manage all the information available from the resorts and also enable customers to make reservations in the resorts and also get quality services from the travel agent. In the design of this information system, we will design a website for the company and then design a database for the company. The website for the company should then be able to link to the database whereby customers can be able to get information about different packages offered by the system (Date, 2003). The new system should be able to handle online payments whereby customers can make reservations and pay for the services offered online. Each of the different resorts will have unique rates charged by the travel agents depending on the location and the arrangements made between the company and the resort.
Each of the resorts is then given a unique code which can be used by the clients to identify the resort in the system. The company has a fleet of cars that operate to different destinations. The cars are assigned different zones and each zone is supposed to serve a given number of resorts in a particular area. Each car also has a unique code used to identify it in the system. The travel agency therefore has to have an elaborate and robust system that can handle all the requirements of the system. The new information system to be designed is supposed to replace the manual system of operation which has proved to be inefficient as there are usually cases of delay and misappropriation of entries.
The information system being designed is very complex. the interfaces to be used involves the interfaces between the clients, management and the resorts. information that needs to be kept in the database include:
Under the database for the resort, the following items need to be added. the name of the resort, identification number for identifying the resort, the location of the resort and the vehicles serving that particular zone.
ii. vehicles’ database
The vehicles’ database should carry following information:
a) the registration number of the vehicle
b) the name of the driver operating the vehicle
c) the number of passengers the vehicle can carry and the zone on which the vehicle is supposed to operate
d) the car manufacturer
e) year of manufacturer
f) model number
g) engine size
h) number of doors
i) fuel type used
j) The environmental working conditions of the car.
Part A: Information database planning system
The system, which is being designed, is supposed to be able to show the number of resorts that are found within the Pacific Ocean countries. The database is also supposed to be an interactive one whereby the clients can query the system and have their queries resolved within the shortest period. The new system is supposed to keep track of all the cars owned and managed by the company and the zones that the vehicles are supposed to operate in. The new system will affect both the senior managers of the company and the junior employees of the company.
The customers who are to use the system can log into the system and get all the information pertaining to the resort availability and reservation. The customers can also be able give their feedback to the company regarding the quality of services that they receive from the system (Ulrich, 2000).
In the planning stage, the system developers will carry out requirements elicitation and specify all the requirements for the system. if this stage is not handled correctly, then the whole process is likely to fail. In this phase, both the software developer and the customer takes an active role in the design. The software requirements specify what the customers expect from the system and the activities that they want the system to perform for them. Once the entire requirements have been collected, a requirements document is then prepared. The document is prepared in a language that the customers can easily comprehend. The requirements form the contact between the system developers and the customers. The system developers have to make a system that meets the specifications indicated in the requirements document (Ulrich, 2000). Once the requirements have been specified, the system can then be modeled and all the modeling jobs done on the system should be in line with the specifications in the requirements document. The following procedures need to be taken into consideration when handling the requirements phase.
i. Requirements elicitation
ii. Requirements analysis
iii. Requirements specification
iv. Requirements validation
Once all the requirements of the system have been specified, the objects and attributes of the system are then stated.
Objects/entities and attributes
In the implementation phase, there are several objects and attributes, which are involved in the case of the travelling agent company. The objects and their corresponding attributes are shown in the preceding section.
i. Employees’ database – the employees’ database holds data for all the employees of the company and the areas whereby they are assigned to operate in. it also shows the departments or the nature of duties discharged to them.
b. Employees’ name
d. section assigned to him/her
section assigned to him/her
ii. Customers – the customers form a very important part of the system. The customers ensure that a business remains in operation. their absence can literally put the company into a state of bankruptcy. the following attributes are attached to the object customers
a. Customer ID
b. type of membership
c. resort to be visited
d. preferred choice of car
type of membership
resort to be visited
preferred choice of car
iii. Resorts – in this type of business, the resorts also form a major component of the system, as the travel agents need to transport the customers to the resorts of their choice. The agency needs to know all the resorts available so that it can be easy for them to set prices for the services offered based on the location of the resorts. The following list shows the attributes attached to the object, resort.
a. Resort ID
b. Name of Resort
c. Location of Resort
d. vehicles operating within those zones
Name of Resort
vehicles operating within those zones
iv. Cars – The Company deals with the provision of travelling services. they use cars and other small vehicles to facilitate the movements of their passengers. the following attributes are attached to the object, car used by the company.
c. Engine size
e. Number of Passengers
f. Car color
Number of Passengers
Modeling the entities
This section is going to include all the entities and the attributes that are used for designing the database. The modeling phase also includes all the relationships used for the attributes and the entities used for each of the attributes (Ulrich, 2000).
This section is also going to take into consideration issues related to entity modeling. In order to successfully complete this section, we have to list all the entities, their attributes and the relationships existing between the entities.
Cars - the company owns cars and needs to have information about them
Route/zones – the cars cover specific routes which needs to be defined
Town – the resorts are located in different towns which the cars cover and the company needs to have information about those towns
Drivers and tour guides (employees) – the company has a number of employees and need to have information about them.
Customers – the company has a number of customers and need to have information about their regular/registered customers.
Relationships existing between the entities used in the database
Cars to Zones (one to one)
Each car in the company is assigned to a given zone (one zone). The cars are to transport passengers/ customers going to the resorts which are within the specified zones that they are supposed to cover.
Zone to car (one too many)
Several cars are assigned to one zone. A single zone can serve a number of cars depending on the number of resorts and passengers going to those resorts.
Drivers to cars (one to one)
One driver is assigned to a particular car. The relationship between the cars to the drivers is also on a one to one basis. This helps in identifying the person handling a particular kind of car so that if there is a problem, the perpetrator (who is the driver) can be easily traced and the appropriate action taken regarding the same.
Customers to cars (many too many)
Different customers can be assigned different cars and different cars assigned to different customers. There is no instance whereby a particular kind of a car is assigned to a specific customer.
Customers to routes/zones (many too many)
Customers can tour/ use different routes depending on the choice they decide to make at any given time. There is no instance whereby a customer is assigned just one particular route may be interested in providing several attributes about the cars that they are dealing with.
Summary of the ERD model
Part B – Interface Design
The interface forms the point of connection or meeting of different components of the system. The interface being designed should be able to link the users of the system with the system in a user friendly perspective. The interfaces to be used in the system design include:
i. Interface between the customers and the system
ii. Interface between the drivers and the system
iii. Interface between the resorts’ management and the system
iv. Interface between the management and the system
A good design of interface also helps in ensuring that both the employees and the customers have a good interaction point whereby they can be able carry out their transactions without any hurdle (Ulrich, 2000).
General overview of the system
The arrows shown above, shows the interfaces between several components of the system. There is no interface that exists between the drivers and the customers. The drivers only interact with the customers in the course of discharging their duty i.e. transportation, but there is no any transaction that exists between the drivers and the customers.
Part C: Information Analysis
This section is divided into three different sections namely:
This part shows the intention of designing the designing the database. The database was designed so that it could be easy for the company to keep track of their cars, employees and customers. This helps the company to maintain and manage its operations and also carry out some activities that can help the company improve its services hence earn customer trust and satisfaction (Date, 2003).
The mode of communication in the database is divided into sub-sections. Each of the sections is arranged in a hierarchal structure. The senior management can communicate directly to any of the junior employees and the customers. However, the junior employees cannot communicate directly to the top-most management but have to follow some hierarchal sequence. The drivers cannot carry out any form of transaction with the customers on behalf of the company. The drivers are simply directed by the managers on the route to follow and the activity to perform. This way of sectioning the database into similar subsections helps in ensuring that there is no communication breakdown (Saltzer, 1984).
Language tools analysis
In the modeling phase of the database, we used the UML language (Unified Modeling language) and the entity relationship diagrams. These methods were chosen since they have some universally acceptable standards which are agreeable to many designers. Since the languages are universally acceptable and widely used, database management and maintenance of such a database is very easy as the codes can be easily accessed and then modified (Date, 2003)
A well developed system is able to meet all the specifications listed in the requirements stage. In order to have a well developed system, a given procedure has to be followed and different professional involved in the design process. A good system should have a well developed database that is independent of the main system. The database needs to be stored in a remote location and backup measures be taken into consideration. This helps in ensuring that the company does not lose its data in case there is a technical failure in the system. The new system should be user friendly and allow customers to give their feedback on the satisfaction or dissatisfaction about the system. This will help the company improve their services hence improve their customer base and also increased profitability for the company.
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