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Information Systems Experts Gather for SIGSAND 2014 at Saint Louis University

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Information systems experts from across the US and Canada assembled this past weekend at the John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University to share research findings and compare teaching techniques related to information systems analysis and design.  Attendees came from as far away as University of British Columbia and University of Newfoundland. Additionally, there were local researchers from SIU Edwardsville, the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla) and Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Saint Louis University sponsored and hosted this event organized by Palash Bera, Ph.D. and Fred Niederman, Ph.D. of the Cook School’s Operations and ITM department. 

“We were extremely pleased with our turnout and confident that our visitors left with excellent new ideas and a very positive impression of the Saint Louis University campus and hospitality,” said Dr. Bera.

dsc00424Research presentations focused on state of the art lessons in the design and development of information systems.  Topics ranged from the philosophical underpinnings of how we organize data to mathematics for finding the quickest path through tasks in managing projects.  Other topics included the causes and results of problems when information systems users resist introduction of new systems; methods for development specialists to select the techniques and approaches that will be most effective and efficient in creating new systems, and tools and techniques that support the emerging philosophy and practice of “agile” development.

On the first day of the conference, a panel of faculty members led a discussion of approaches and techniques for more effective teaching of database and systems analysis and design courses.  These provide the fundamental building blocks for storing and organizing data as well as developing new systems.  Discussion included topics of creating involvement for students, the selection and use of particular textbooks, formation and management of groups and teams in class, and the relative emphasis on various topics as they relate to actual use in practice.

On the second day of the conference, a panel of local industry experts discussed the application of systems analysis and design as currently practiced and outlined their view of what unanswered questions they’d like to see research addresses.  Panelist were Michael Abbene, retired Chief Information Officer from Arch Coal and chair of the advisory board for the department of Operations and Information Technology Management; Sallie Taylor, Senior Application Technical Specialist at Wells Fargo Advising; Affan Waheed, Executive Director Custom Solutions at Mercy Technology Services; and Edie Van Wert, Senior IT Project Manager at Washington University in St. Louis.

“The content of the program exceeded our expectations,” said Dr. Niederman, “in terms of both the diversity of topics and the sheer number of stimulating new ideas.”

dsc00427The panel suggested unanswered questions in a number of areas including design techniques for building applications for mobile devices, modelling techniques for business intelligence applications, integration of work by onshore and offshore developers participating in the same projects as well as more investigation into IS personnel retention and better measures for project and ways to foster stronger communication between IS professionals and project stakeholders.

The papers in full are posted on the conference website here or are available on request from Dr. Bera and Dr. Niederman.

Photos courtesy of Pat McQueen. 

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