Input/Output Requirements

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It is important to identify the input and output requirements of the proposed system. Inputs and outputs include:

Automation of Processes

Computers and applications are commonly used to automate "stable" repetitive tasks. In the past, the focus was to automate internal processes and this still remains a priority today. However, many organisations that are satisfied with the automation of internal processes are now shifting their focus toward automating processes which integrate interaction with their suppliers and customers.

Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management covers a broad spectrum of business activities including: contractual arrangements; service level agreements; relationship development; disclosure of information; and much, much more. Our interest is to identify the technical requirements for the computer-based interaction.

Two common interfacing methods are: EDI and XML. Detailed discussion on these exchange standards is outside the scope of this resource pack but a brief overview has been provided at the links below.

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Interacting with Customers

Organisations are actively pursuing methods of automating procedures for communicating with customers. Two main types of interacting with customers are:

Interfacing with external computer systems

Interfacing with external computer systems means you are accessing a computer outside of your organisation.

In a Business to Business (B2B) environment you may need to consider:

data moving to customer's system

The other side of interfacing with customers' systems is interfacing with suppliers' systems. The perspective of whether an organisation is a customer or a supplier is based on the organisation's position within the supply chain.

Enabling self-service over the Internet

Enabling self-service over the Internet means you are enabling customers to negotiate and search your website for information. More advanced self-service involves enabling the customer to enter data to automate or trigger a business process.

In a Business to Consumer (B2C) environment you may need to consider:

data exchanged with users

An ideal example of self-service is an e-commerce transaction where the customer selects a product, then provides their delivery address and credit card details to enable the transaction.

ecommerce screen

Identifying Technical Requirements for Input/Output

The stages involved in identifying technical requirements for input/output are:

  1. Identify the interaction process (whether for business to business or business to consumer)
  2. Identify the trigger/s that begins the interaction
  3. Identify the input/output data required for the process
  4. Identify relevant protocols for the data exchange
  5. Document the input and output requirements for the interaction

Complete Activity 1: Input/output requirements

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Activity 1

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