Information Systems
College of Business Administration
University of Missouri - St. Louis

Every at the end of each year, an old bighearted guy named Santa has to work so hard to plan to deliver all of the Christmas gifts around the world to lovely children who expect a wished gift in the Christmas morning. But this year, something is going to be different.

Early morning of a one fine day in the beginning of December, an elf named Curtis, Santa’s executive assistant, rushing into Santa’s penthouse and shout.. “Sa Sa Santa! We got a problem!” Santa replies calmly “Ho Ho Ho… Good morning, Curtis” “Do you want some hot chocolate?” Curtis takes a quick moment to take a breath and reply “Good morning, Santa. But No, thank you” “You got to see this, Santa, we have new toy delivery requests from Afghanistan!” Santa paused for a while and says “Ho Ho Ho, no sweat, Curtis. We just do like what we do best. We ride our awesome reindeer sledge and deliver our gift through their fireplace.” Then Curtis asks Santa “ Have you ever been there, Santa?” “I don't recall that they have... fireplace...” Santa says “Ho Ho Ho … yeah, you're right... I've never been there and I guess they don't have fireplace.” “Curtis, alert to all elves and we will have a meeting in an hour.” “I need all VPs from every departments including international relations department!” During the meeting, Santa and elves brainstorm and analyze about all the resources and knowledge that they have. Because all elves have been doing all the same thing forever, they have no idea about how to solve this. Therefore, they come up with an ultimate result. They need a local Afghanistan elf. So they can learn the cultures, language, people needs.

Couple days later, after they post a recruitment announcement, they recruit one generous English elf who grew up in Afghanistan called Dobie. Dobie lives in Afghanistan for more than two hundred years with his master Harry Potter. He can speak more than ten languages including Arabic, the language that local Afghanistan people use. He knows everything about Afghanistan, as well as war. Right after Dobie arrives North Pole, Santa summons Dobie and elves to his meeting room to talk about Afghanistan. “Ho Ho Ho, Welcome to the North Pole Dobie. I'll be straightforward. We need your help.” Dobie replies with a generous voice “Don't worry, Santa. Dobie lives with master Potter in Afghanistan for so long. Too long actually.” “Dobie will tell you everything that Dobie know.”

After a whole day meeting, Santa comes up with the ideas of how can he make this works base on the knowledge and suggestions from Dobie. He will learn how to speak local language in the case that his GPS is not working, so he can ask local people. He will assign Dobie to transfer his knowledge about toy in Afghanistan to toy-maker elves. He will learn some new magic to unlock the door since there is no fireplace. He will ask Mr. Sandman for some sleeping in case bad guys catch him. He also will equip stealth devices on his sledge to protect himself, his sledge, and his reindeer from missile. “Now, I can give Christmas gifts everyone in the wish list. Ho Ho Ho!” Then all the children including one in Afghanistan can live happily ever after.

Moral: When someone on one end speaks English and someone on another end speaks Arabic or other languages, then both individuals need to speak to each other to meet a certain goal. The systems analyst is the middleman, assessing the needs of the end-user, understanding and translating them into programming or process to the development department. What are the business requirements? What are the obstacles? Will it be internal or external? How can you deliver the product? These are all questions facing the systems analyst. Also Santa knows how to recruit the right resource at the right time. Sometime systems analysts need to be independent thinkers-people who can think out of the box.

These stories are adapted examples written in my class, IS 6840 (formerly MSIS 488).
© Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.

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