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b) Will artists have to have such a system as well?

Week-1 case:

Question:

Chapter 1 CASE

Forondo Artist Management Excellence Inc.

Case Description

FAME (Forondo Artist Management Excellence) Inc. is an artist management company that represents classical music artists (only soloists) both nationally and internationally. FAME has more than 500 artists under its management, and wants to replace its spreadsheet-based system with a new state-of-the-art computerized information system.

Their core business idea is simple: FAME finds paid performance opportunities for the artists whom it represents and receives a 10–30 percent royalty for all the fees the artists earn (the royalties vary by artist and are based on a contract between FAME and each artist). To accomplish this objective, FAME needs technology support for several tasks. For example, it needs to keep track of prospective artists. FAME receives information regarding possible new artists both from promising young artists themselves and as recommendations from current artists and a network of music critics. FAME employees collect information regarding promising prospects and maintain that information in the system. When FAME management decides to propose a contract to a prospect, it first sends the artist a tentative contract, and if the response is positive, a final contract is mailed to the prospect. New contracts are issued annually to all artists.

FAME markets its artists to opera houses and concert halls (customers); in this process, a customer normally requests a specific artist for a specific date. FAME maintains the artists’ calendars and responds back based on the requested artist’s availability. After the performance, FAME sends an invoice to the customer, who sends a payment to FAME (please note that FAME requires a security deposit, but you do not need to capture that aspect in your system). Finally, FAME pays the artist after deducting its own fee.

Currently, FAME has no IT staff. Its technology infrastructure consists of a variety of desktops, printers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones all connected with a simple wired and wire-less network. A local company manages this infrastructure and provides the required support

E-mail from Martin Forondo, Owner

Martin Forondo, the owner of FAME, has commissioned your team to design and develop a database application. In his e-mail soliciting your help he provides the following information:

“My name is Martin Forondo, and I am the owner and founder of FAME. I have built this business over the past thirty years together with my wonderful staff and I am very proud of my company. We are in the business of creating bridges between the finest classical musicians and the best concert venues and opera houses of the world and finding the best possible opportunities for the musicians we represent. It is very important for us to provide the best possible service to the artists we represent.

It used to be possible to run our business without any technology, particularly when the number of the artists we rep-resented was much smaller than it currently is. The situation is, however, changing, and we seem to have a need to get some technical help for us. At this moment we have about 500 different artists and every one of them is very special for us. We have about 20 artist managers who are responsible for different numbers of artists; some of them have only 10, but some manage as many as 30 artists. The artist managers really keep this business going, and each of them has the ultimate responsibility for the artists for whom they work. Every manager has an administrative assistant to help him or her with daily routine work—the managers are focusing on relationship building and finding new talent for our company. The managers report to me but they are very independent in their work, and I am very pleased that I only very seldom have to deal with operational issues related to the managers’ work. By the way, I also have my own artists (only a few but, of course, the very best within the company, if I may say so).

As I said, we find performance opportunities for the artists and, in practice, we organize their entire professional lives—of course, in agreement with them. Our main source of revenue consists of the royalties we get when we are successful in finding a performance opportunity for an artist: We get up to 30 percent of the fee paid to an artist (this is agreed separately with every artist and is a central part of our contract with the artist). Of course, we get the money only after the artist has successfully completed the performance; thus, if an artist has to cancel the performance, for example, because of illness, we will not get anything. Within the company the policy is very clear: A man-ager gets 50 percent of the royalties we earn based on the work of the artists he or she manages, and the remaining 50 percent will be used to cover administrative costs (including the administrative assistants’ salaries), rent, electricity, computer systems, accounting services, and, of course, my modest profits. Each manager pays their own travel expenses from their 50 percent. Keeping track of the revenues by manager and by artist is one of the most important issues in running this business. Right now, we take care of it manually, which occasionally leads to unfortunate mistakes and a lot of extra work trying to figure out what the problem is. It is amazing how difficult simple things can sometimes become.

When thinking about the relationship between us and an artist whom we represent, it is important to remember that the artists are ultimately responsible for a lot of the direct expenses we pay when working for them, such as flyers, photos, prints of photos, advertisements, and publicity mailings. We don’t, how-ever, charge for phone calls made on behalf of a certain artist, but rather this is part of the general overhead. We would like to settle the accounts with each of the artists once per month so that either we pay them what we owe after our expenses are deducted from their portion of the fee or they pay us, if the expenses are higher than a particular month’s fees. The artists take care of their own travel expenses, meals, etc.

From my perspective, the most important benefit of a new system would be an improved ability to know real-time how my managers are serving their artists. Are they finding opportunities for them and how good are the opportunities, what are the fees that their artists have earned and what are they projected to be, etc. Furthermore, the better the system could predict the future revenues of the company, the better for me. Whatever we could do with the system to better cultivate new relationships between promising young artists, it would be great. I am not very computer savvy; thus, it is essential that the system will be easy to use.

Project Questions

1-52. ​Create a memo describing your initial analysis of the situation at FAME as it relates to the design of the data-base application. Write this as though you are writing a memo to Martin Forondo. Ensure that your memo addresses the following points:

a. Your approach to addressing the problem at hand (for example, specify the systems development life cycle or whatever approach you plan on taking).

b. What will the new system accomplish? What functions will it perform? Which organizational goals will it support?

c. What will be the benefits of using the new system? Use concrete examples to illustrate this. Outline general categories of costs and resources needed for the project and implementation of the ultimate system.

d. A timeline/roadmap for the project.

e. Questions, if any, you have for Mr. Forondo for which you need answers before you would be willing to begin the project.

1-53. ​Create an enterprise data model that captures the data needs of FAME. Use a notation similar to the one shown in Figure 1-4.

Answers for above questions are:

Thank you for choosing our company to do this project. We understand that you are not very

tech-savvy; thus, I will not bore you to all technical details but important points that will explain

this project and show you how it will improve your business and efficiency.

First, I will go through the stages we will follow to develop this database-driven software. We

will use SDLC, software development life cycle, and we will specifically concentre on a method

within SDLC called waterfall method.

In this following draw, you can see there are 5 stages. We will go through each of them with you

first below and understand your requirement and explain how we will fulfil those requirements—

draw (1).

First, let us go through your requirements. In the memo, you have described your requirement

pretty well to pick things from there and lay them out for better understanding.

As your company is growing every day, you want to have better management. From customer

management to agents to artist, you would like to keep them organised. You would also like to

have stats or understand how an agent or artist works and fits your business model. You would

also like to have better knowledge about all expenses and keep them as neat as possible.

Now let us talk about designing the system. It is essential to understand that to build a better

system we must not skim on this part but rather tightly focus on this subject and accomplish the

requirements. This is how our system will look like -draw (2)

After this will go to code the whole system and bring it to life, our specialised time will go

through the entire developed system and rigorously test it so there would not be an issue with the

final product. We will also provide one year free of cost maintenance service for the system,

extending indefinitely with a fee each year.

With this system, every process from contacting a prospective customer to connect an agent to

that customer to the agent handling their artists will ease a few clicks. For instance, when a client

makes the initial contact to the Fame, you will have the option to designate an agent to that

client. That agent will have pool artists, from where that agent will select one and connect the

client with that available artist. You will be able to see contact details, expenses, earnings, and

performance, such as if that particular agent could complete the deal, if the artist performed well,

all the expenses made during the contract. A full, accurate detail will be readily available once

the agent and artist fulfil a task for you to view.

You will also have two separate databases, one for agents and one for artists to see all sort of

information about them, current contracts, contracts detail, availability, performance stats,

earnings and much more.

This software has the potential to support every prospect of your organisation, and it will tidy

neat the whole business together.

Cost details:

item
cost

Front end development
$150 per hour for 100 hours.

Back end development
$180 per hour for 150 hours

Axillary and mis. software
Subscriptions or one-time license (approx.2,500 US dollar.

Storage
$300 US dollar per month

Maintenance
Free for 1st year, then $1999 each year.

There are a couple questions we need to ask before we can finalise the whole project.

1) Will you require this system to have various users? if so,

a) Will agents have their particular system to maintain like yours which will be

connected to the main systems?

b) Will artists have to have such a system as well?

c) Do you require a system for your accounting office?

2) How would you like to store the data? Would you do it locally in your office or on cloud?

Or IT Solution will have to maintain the data?

Now

Week-2 case study depend on above:

Chapter 2 CASE

Forondo Artist Management Excellence Inc.

Case Description

Martin was very impressed with your project plan and has given you the go ahead for the project. He also indicates to you that he has e-mails from several key staff members that should help with the design of the system. The first is from Alex Martin (administrative assistant to Pat Smith, an artist manager). Pat is on vacation and Martin has promised that Pat’s perspective will be provided at a later date. The other two are from Dale Dylan, an artist that Pat manages, and Sandy Wallis, an event organizer. The text of these e-mails is provided below.

E-mail from Alex Martin, Administrative Assistant

My name is Alex Martin, and I am the administrative assistant to Pat Smith. While Pat’s role is to create and maintain relationships with our clients and the event organizers, I am responsible for running the show at the operational level. I take care of Pat’s phone calls while Pat is on the road, respond to inquiries and relay the urgent ones to Pat, write letters to organizers and artists, collect information on prospective artists, send bills to the event organizers and make sure that they pay their bills, take care of the artist accounts, and arrange Pat’s travel (and keep track of travel costs). Most of my work I manage with Word and simple Excel spread-sheets, but it would be very useful to be able to have a system that would help me to keep track of the event fees that have been agreed upon, the events that have been successfully completed, cancellations (in the current system, I sometimes don’t get information about a cancellation and I end up sending an invoice for a cancelled concert—pretty embarrassing), payments that need to be made to the artists, etc. Pat and other managers seem to think that it would be a good idea if they could better track their travel costs and the impact these costs have on their income.

We don’t have a very good system for managing our artist accounts because we have separate spreadsheets for keeping track of a particular artist’s fees earned and the expenses incurred, and then at the end of each month we manually create a simple statement for each of the artists. This is a lot of work, and it would make much more sense to have a computer system that would allow us to be able to keep the books constantly up to date.

A big thing for me is to keep track of the artists whom Pat manages. We need to keep in our databases plenty of information on them—their name, gender, address (including country, as they live all over the world), phone number(s), instrument(s), e-mail, etc. We also try to keep track of how they are doing in terms of the reviews they get, and thus we are subscribing to a clipping service that provides us articles on the artists whom we manage. For some of the artists, the amount of material we get is huge, and we would like to reduce it somehow. At any rate, we would at least like to be able to have a better idea of what we have in our archives on a particular artist, and thus we should probably start to maintain some kind of a list of the news items we have for a particular artist. I don’t know if this is worth it but it would be very useful if we could get it done.

Scheduling is, of course, a major headache for me. Although Pat and the artists negotiate the final schedules, I do, in practice, at this point maintain a big schedule book for each artist whom we manage. You know, somebody has to have the central copy. This means that Pat, the artists, and the event organizers are calling me all the time to verify the current situation and make changes to the schedule. Sometimes things get mixed up and we don’t get the latest changes to the central calendar (for example, an artist schedules a vacation and forgets to tell us—as you can understand, this can lead to a pretty difficult situation). It would be so wonderful to get a centralized calendar which both Pat and the artists could access; it is probably, however, better if Pat (and the other managers for the other artists, of course) was the only person in addition to me who had the right to change the calendar. Hmmm…I guess it would be good if the artists could block time out if they decide that they need if for personal purposes (they are not, however, allowed to book any performances without discussing it first with us).

One more thing: I would need to have something that would remind me of the upcoming changes in artist contracts. Every artist’s contract has to be renewed annually, and sometimes I forget to remind Pat to do this with the artist. Normally this is not a big deal, but occasionally we have had a situation where the lack of a valid contract led to unfortunate and unnecessary problems. It seems that we would need to maintain some type of list of the contracts with their start dates, end dates, royalty percentages, and simple notes related to each of the contracts.

This is a pretty hectic job, and I have not had time to get as good computer training as I would have wanted. I think I am still doing pretty well. It is very important that whatever you develop for us, it has to be easy to use because we are in such a hurry all the time and we cannot spend much time learning complex commands.

E-mail from Dale Dylan, Established Artist

Hi! I am Dale Dylan, a pianist from Austin, TX. I have achieved reasonable success during my career and I am very thankful that I have been able to work with Pat Smith and Mr. Forondo during the past five years. They have been very good at finding suitable performance opportunities for me, particularly after I won an international piano competition in Amsterdam a few years ago. Compared to some other people with whom I have worked, Pat is very conscientious and works hard for me.

During the recent months, FAME and its managers’ client base has grown quite a lot, and unfortunately. I have seen this in the service they have been able to provide to me. I know that Pat and Alex don’t mean any harm but it seems that they simply have too much to do, particularly in scheduling and get-ting my fees to me. Sometimes things seem to get lost pretty easily these days, and occasionally I have been waiting for my money for 2–3 months. This was never the case earlier but it has been pretty typical during the last year or so. Please don’t say anything to Pat or Alex about this; I don’t want to hurt their feelings, but it just simply seems that they have too much to do. Do you think your new system could help them?

What I would like to see in a new system—if you will develop one for them—are just simple facilities that would help them do even better what they have always done pretty well (except very recently): collecting money from the concert organizers and getting it to me fast (they are, after all, taking 20 percent of my money—at least they should get the rest of it to me quickly) and maintaining my schedule. I have either a laptop or at least my smartphone/iPad with me all the time while I am on the road, thus I certainly should be able to check my schedule on the Web. Now I always need to call Alex to get any last-minute changes. It seems pretty silly that Pat has to be in touch with Alex before any changes can be made to the calendar; I feel that I should be allowed to make my own changes. Naturally, I would always notify Pat about anything that changes (or maybe the system could do that for me). The calendar system should be able to give me at least a simple list of the coming events in the chronological order for any time period I want. Furthermore, I would like to be able to search for events using specific criteria (location, type, etc.).

In addition, we do, of course, get annual summaries from FAME regarding the fees we have earned, but it would be nice to have this information a bit more often. I don’t need it on paper but if I could access that information on the Web, it would be very, very good. It seems to me that Alex is doing a lot of work with these reports by hand; if you could help her with any of the routine work she is doing, I am sure she would be quite happy. Maybe then she and Pat would have more time for get-ting everything done as they always did earlier.

E-mail from Sandy Wallis, Event Organizer

I am Sandy Wallis, the executive director of the Greater Tri-State Area Concert Halls, and it has been a pleasure to have a good working relationship with Pat Smith at FAME for many years. Pat has provided me and my annual concert series several excellent artists per year, and I believe that our cooperation has a potential to continue into the foreseeable future. This does, however, require that Pat is able to continue to give me the best service in the industry during the years to come.

Our business is largely based on personal trust, and the most important aspect of our cooperation is that I can know that I can rely on the artists managed by Pat. I am not interested in the technology Pat is using, but it is important for us that practical matters such as billing and scheduling work smoothly and that technology does not prevent us from making decisions fast, if necessary. We don’t want to be billed for events that were cancelled and never rescheduled, and we are quite unhappy if we need to spend our time on these types of technicalities.

At times, we need a replacement artist to substitute for a musician who becomes ill or cancels for some other reason, and the faster we can get information about the availability of world-class performers in these situations, the better it is for us. Yes, we work in these situations directly with Pat, but we have seen that occasionally all the information required for fast decision making is not readily available, and this is something that is difficult for us to understand. We would like to be able to assume that Pat’s able assistant Alex should be able to give us information regarding the availability of a certain artist on a certain date on the phone without any problems. Couldn’t this information be available on the Web, too? Of course, we don’t want anybody to know in advance whom we have booked before we announce our annual program; therefore, security is very important for us.

I hope you understand that we run multiple venues but we definitely still want to be treated as one customer. With some agencies we have seen silly problems that have forced them to send us invoices with several different names and customer numbers, which does not make any sense from our perspective and causes practical problems with our systems.

Project Questions

2-59. ​Redo the enterprise data model you created in Chapter 1 to accommodate the information gleaned from Alex Martin, Dale Dylan, and Sandy Wallis’ e-mails.

2-60. ​Create an E-R diagram for FAME based on the enterprise data model you developed in 1-52. Clearly state any assumptions you made in developing the diagram.

2-61. ​Use the narratives in Chapter 1 and above to identify the typical outputs (reports and displays) the various stake-holders might want to retrieve from your database. Now, revisit the E-R diagram you created in 2-60 to ensure that your model has captured the information necessary to generate the outputs desired. Update your E-R diagram as necessary.

2-62. ​Prepare a list of questions that you have as a result of your E-R modeling efforts, and that need to be answered to clarify your understanding of FAME’s business rules and data requirements.

Answers :

Project Questions

2-59. ​Redo the enterprise data model you created in Chapter 1 to accommodate the information gleaned from Alex Martin, Dale Dylan, and Sandy Wallis’ e-mails.

The relationship between the customer and the manager is M: M

The relationship between the artist and the manager is M: M

The relationship between the organizer and the manager is M: M

The relationship between the calendar and the artist is M: M

2-60. ​Create an E-R diagram for FAME based on the enterprise data model you developed in 1-52. Clearly state any assumptions you made in developing the diagram

Question mark in bold is 1-52 above.
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