As part of the coursework for their final term, students in Conestoga’s Information Technology Business Analysis - Operations two-year graduate certificate program have delivered cost-effective IT solutions to ThreePL Quality Systems (TQS), an Oakville-based logistics company that has already implemented the students’ recommendations.
Faculty members David Holmes and Marion Kennedy said the project, completed over the winter term, provided a real-world challenge where students could use the skills and knowledge acquired throughout the program to address the needs of TQS. Information Technology business analysts help companies make sense of vast amounts of data in order to improve their competitive position and growth.
“This wasn’t just about coming up with solutions, but finding IT solutions that are cost effective,” said Holmes. “Students also had to explain how they arrived at their solutions -- the rationale behind them.”
By understanding their clients’ product demands, TQS coordinates enterprise resources to best supply the market and build a sustainable supply chain that promotes client growth. To add to its current service offering, TQS was interested in a “demand driven” business model that could allow the company to predict trends before they happen, providing further cost and service benefits for their clients.
The group of 60 students was divided into four teams, each responsible for providing solutions to the three challenges presented by TQS: recommend and design a database for the required data elements, evaluate and recommend a solution to create a statistical forecast based on historical trends, and evaluate and recommend a tool to leverage the data at an aggregate level.
“The most challenging part was learning a new tool and analyzing it to fit the TQS requirements,” said student Manjunatha K. Mohana. “I learned team work and team coordination is of the utmost importance for project success. To work as a team was a challenging task that helped me realize the importance of appreciating each other and sharing our thoughts for project success. All together it gave me a real-world experience of working as a business analyst.”
The teams were required to submit a report to their client, followed by a formal presentation of the recommendations to the full executive team at TQS and other invited guests. TQS implemented the proposed solutions, one of which was a software application called Tableau, and the company is using its outputs to drive business decisions.
“We were extremely pleased with the project results from all teams. ThreePl Quality Systems Inc. benefited beyond the actual outcome of the students proposals. To orchestrate a successful project, TQS executives expected input from our own staff in preparing for the actual project, as well as the students,” said Chris Mattice, TQS president. “The entire experience created a positive collaboration producing tangible end results as well as broad spectrum learning which ultimately benefited both the students and the TQS business analysts. It is my hope that these types of forums are the beginnings of collaborative thinking that is very much needed within business.”
Conestoga’s Information Technology Business Analysis - Operations two-year graduate certificate program has been offered by the School of Workforce Development, Continuing Education, and Online Learning since Fall 2015. Collaboration with industry partners provides students with relevant real-world learning opportunities and provides partners with valuable student solutions.
Program intake for Fall 2018 is still open. For more information, visit the program page.