The Decision to Implement a New Information System

The Decision to implement a new information system RE: Decision to Implement A New Information System I have been made aware that the business is looking to invest in a new information system for the handling of stock and other management activities. I would like to bring to your attention the fact that I am concerned about this new decision that management has made to implement this new system without through consultation with other managers and staff.

I would like to stress that extreme caution should be made whilst considering to implement this new IS after the four million pound loss that was made during the implementation of the old IS few years back which led to the demise of the once very profitable craven comics. I would like to outline that I have the companies best interests at heart as I was present when the crisis of a few years back had occurred and would not like the same mistakes being made again.

I shall delve deeper into the reasons why I believe that craven comics should be diligent and extra cautious in considering to implement a new system to handle stocks in the warehouse. I feel that there are a few key points that need to be considered. Reflection We need to look back to the tragedy that occurred a few years back and really understand why the IT system failed and learn from these mistakes. The main reason for the collapse I believe is that the company was over ambitious with what they wanted to achieve but yet were not prepared to thoroughly plan and investigate different options available.

The company relied heavily on the IT consultants without really understanding the type of system they were purchasing and the implications the new system would bring. Staff and management alike were not fully aware of what the system was actually for instead fighting with the system rather than working in harmony alongside the system making seamless work of stock management duties. Stocks were being misplaced in the warehouse, incorrect amounts of new stocks were being ordered by the system along side various other problems all due to the fact that the employees could not interact with the system effectively.

Both employees and management were not trained in handling the system correctly as the system was clearly the wrong choice for this business. I thoroughly recommend that our current employees have a say in what type of system integration they would find useful as a system relies on people for it to work. The staff at the warehouse must have their say as many witnessed the disaster with the old information system and it could prove very beneficial to hear their views and ideas also. We need to plan effectively and make sure that the system first and fore mostly meets the user’s needs.

These will be staff in the warehouse along with the managers. So we all need to meet up and give our views and ideas on what we need this new system to do. The failure of the previous IS was due to the fact that the system didn’t integrate itself within the business. This could have been due to the lack of planning, analysis and research that went into deciding what IS was most suitable. Therefore I think it is imperative that we sit down with all the key members of staff including warehouse staff and discuss the reasons for needing an information system. Questions like: what is wrong with our current system?

What improvements would like to be seen? How much costs are being incurred with this system? Will the business benefit with a modern IS?. With these questions answered we can then conceptualise and initialise the project. If we think implementing an IS is a good idea we need to develop a project plan. We can then address the question of what type of IS will be most beneficial to this business? , a tailor made one or one where the system is bought off the shelf. With the disaster that occurred with our previous system, the business chose to implement a system with the help of IT consultants.

The system implemented was one that was designed initially for a different organisation but was modified to work within Craven Comics. This, I believe was fundamental to the compatibility issues that were suffered. The system failed to perform within our business as staff couldn’t really get to grips with how it really worked and the system didn’t fit in with the existing practices that the business was used to. Recommendation I Firmly believe that investing in a package that has been tailored to meet our needs from the ground up is the best option.

This way we can design a system that answers all the questions asked in the planning and analysis stages. This way, the various departments will be able to have their say and a system that meets everyone’s needs and fits into the way the organisation works and thinks will be attained. This method is clearly advantages over the readymade packages that are available. Readymade packages are good at doing a certain type of job for example stock checking, but may not do everything that is needed. This can be a very quick and often cheaper method with a clarity of the costs but yields negative results most of the time.

There is a very slim chance that the system will fit into the organisations existing practices and staff may need to be trained to use this type of system which may prove very expensive in the long term. I also believe that outsourcing an IS will not be beneficial. Although outsourcing allows a business to focus a greater amount of time on its core business and reduce personnel, it means that the business has less control over the system. There could also be compatibility issues and a risk of losing competitive advantage is also present as valuable information could be leaked.

I recommend that the ‘prototyping’ method is used in the implementation process of the information system. We could submit a systems specification to the IT department and develop the application in-house. This will enable our IT team to work closely with everyone in the business to design a system from the ground up to meet our needs to the fullest. This method will enable staff and management to monitor the project at every stage and make key changes and decisions if the project is not working. A small working model could be developed and will invariably evolve after discussions with the staff and mangers alike whowill be using the system.

This way the system will mould itself to what the business requires and the way the business works. The performance of the system could be closely monitored; is the system fast enough? What’s the user support like? How much is it costing? Is it integrating itself correctly? and so on. If satisfactory results are not being achieved then there is time available to make changes and modifications. Training time and costs will also be reduced as staff will be growing and learning as the system grows. Once the system is complete then staff should be comfortable and should fully understand the operation of the system.

The prototyping method will allow Craven Comics to have full control. Project Schedule and budget The business needs to have a project schedule and budget. This is very important and wasn’t present during the implementation of the previous IS. Funds need to be split into small manageable parts, for example consultancy costs, IT management costs, Labour costs should all be budgeted. This will enable the business to see where funds are going and any cost over runs could be dealt with swiftly. Problems in the planning stages are the main reasons why most systems fails.

Planning and budgeting correctly will also avoid the business in being over ambitious as was the case a few years back. The business should know how much cash is available and exactly where the cash is going. Failure to do this was a major factor in the failure of the previous IS, this disaster could have been avoided. Analysis and Resource Budgeting We also need to analyse and budget for the resources we have. For example how many staff do we have? how much space is available? The hours that will be needed? Will this impact in sales for the business? All these are key issues that need to be thoroughly monitored and carefully planned in order to minimise a fall in company revenues during the implementation process. I feel that we need all the staff to play a part in helping in the development of the information system. We need to use just the sufficient amount of space that we think we would need to accommodate the system. we should have adequate space to store the mainframe and need to look at the placement of wires and cables so as to avoid any hazards. we need to look at the placement of a backup system and the storage space for all the relevant IT technology.

This will allow valuable space to be maintained for the everyday running of the normal business. Risk The concept of risk needs to be taken into account also. We need to appreciate that there is an element of risk present in this project as is with every new project a business decides to undertake. We need to understand what could potentially go wrong, and the measures that we could take in order to avoid this and minimise damage to the operation of the business. This was not done during the implementation of the previous IS as a result the business didn’t know where resources were going and how errors could be dealt with.

Management Management issues do also need to be addressed. We need to look at the reasons why management failed during the last disaster and make sure that these errors don’t reoccur. I believe managements lackadaisical approach was the main issue. Management were not truly aware of what the business actually needed but were just following the recommendations of the ITconsultants. Management also failed to communicate effectively with fellow employees and just expected them to know what was going on rather than explaining to them what they were looking to do and how it would affect them.

Legal issues and quality standards Legal issues also need to be dealt with alongside required quality standards. For example, data protection and health and safety issues. Project Reporting The project needs to be reported on at every stage. We need status reports, progress reports and forecast reports allowing the project to stay on track and under control. This was not present during the last IS therefore the project veered off course and we lost control of costs and valuable resources.

Once we are approaching the final stages of the implementation process we should sit with all the key staff members and conduct a systems follow up. This will involve re-evaluating the systems effectiveness through discussion with top managers and end users. We should also evaluate the controls, processing and the output of the system. This will enable us to prepare a post implementation review report and make necessary revisions to the system if required to do so. This is also useful for future systems implantation as we will have crucial data of what worked well and what didn’t and the changes that were needed to be made.

If we had taken the above steps during the disaster of the previous IS then this would have allowed the business to save a considerable amount of time and money in implementing a new IS. Mistakes could easily be pointed out and avoided. The fact that we didn’t keep progress reports of the project a few years back we couldn’t really see what went wrong and at what stage clearly enough. Therefore it is imperative that we evaluate the project of implementing a new information system and ask questions like, did this project achieve our scope? Did we make the correct decision in choosing to prototype?

Is the quality there? did we meet our cost/timescale targets? , what were the major hurdles and what measures did we take to overcome them? . The answers to these questions will enable the business to learn from the mistakes and make sure that they don’t reoccur during any future projects. Craven Comics failed to take the above steps therefore there is no accurate record of the mistakes that were made a few years back. Final thoughts/Conclusion Overall I believe the decision to implement an information system is a good idea as the correct Information System can prove very valuable for an organisation.

I also recommend looking at past disasters and the measures the firms took to overcome them. Disasterssuch as the international stock exchange (Taurus project, London Ambulance Service and Northumbria Police and so on and so forth could be looked at to gain invaluable insight. I believe a bespoke package will be the best option. This is the similar to the measures Craven Comics took a few years back. But I believe if all my recommendations are followed then this will be a very beneficial choice for this business. We need to approach the project with care and must avoid the mistakes that were made a few years back.

I will grateful if you can take the time out to acknowledge the advice that I have given to you in this report. I have the companiesbest interests at heart and would not like to witness the collapse of this business again. Arif Saddiq Year 2 Accountancy and finance References Websites Library of Failed information systems projects’[online] [date unknown] ,http://www. scit. wlv. ac. uk/~cm1984/qmp/failures/NINE. HTM [accessed 20 march 2009] [accessed via www. google. co. uk and searched it failures] Wikipedia 2009, Information systems, http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Information_systems [online] accessed 21 march 2009]

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