Smarts Company’s Post-Implementation Issues

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Introduction

Purpose of document

The document is aimed at identifying strategies that can be used by the SMARTS Company to ensure the flexibility of their work. The company is growing at a higher rate and there is a need for the management to come up with a strategy that will ensure that its customers are satisfied. The work of draper consulting limited is to bring solutions to networking problems and ensure that small and medium-sized companies grow with technology. We have been involved in the consulting business for years and believe that we have enough experience in coming up with a workable solution. There are a lot of improvements and developments that are being experienced in the field of information technology. We aim to integrate such developments into the projects that we are assigned to ensure that the companies concerned are served without any hitches. An information system is an important aspect of any organization that desires to grow. The current economy has moved from basically serving a small group of people to wider society. There is hence a need to ensure that customers all over the region know-how and where to obtain their services. They also need to be informed of the various activities that the company is involved in so that they make an informed decision. There are customers of different kinds and nature that will need to be served at their convenience. This document will ensure that all the clients of the company have a wider choice of convenient services that they can pick from.

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Scope

The scope of this project is the ability to make it effective to the company without necessarily interfering with its other activities. There is a specific amount that has been set aside for the development and expansion of the project which should not be beyond the abilities of the company. The training and installation process is meant to take a specific amount of time to minimize any extra costs that may be incurred. The company has therefore instituted a plan which is a schedule of events and the maximum time that it will take (Cronin, 2004). The operations of the scimitar and frostie will be fitted into the schedules of the company to utilize the available resources. For instance, the customer care department of the company will take overall activities that involve giving support to the customers through the scimatar. Activities of frostie will be managed by the information technology department of the company (Beynon-Davies, 2002). There are also some marketing strategies that will be employed in ensuring that the clients of the company are aware of the existence of the project. The current website of the company will be utilized and merged to the installations of the company.

Installation

Deployment plan

The project is being installed for the main purpose of communicating with the clients and employees of the company more easily. The mode of communication is mainly based on internet coverage which is an important feature that has been considered by the company. Despite the wide use of internet communication, there may be some clients of the company who may not be accessible to the means. This may be due to their geographical location and their economic activities. It was however considered that at least seventy percent of the company clients were able to use the system according to a survey that was done on the use of the company website. The other branches of the company were also had access to the connection and hence facilitating the communication. Alternative means of communication have also been left open for the sake of other clients who are not able to access the connection. There may also be other problems that may be related to the breakdown of the system that may affect networking. The company is thus not closing down on the previous methods that were used for communication.

The SCIMATAR system will be used by different employees of the company to communicate on what they are currently dealing with. The system will ensure that the information is online yet it will only be accessed by a specific group of people. This will hence require some technical training to the employees so that they know how to easily access the information. The facilities that will be used will however not be too complicated and it will not necessarily require them to do a whole computer package for them to use it. There are mainly simple directions that can be taught to the employees during their normal duties.

The FROSTIE system on the other hand will be an open user group site that will be opened as a normal website. The site will be opened in the name of the company and extensive marketing done on it. Using this site, consumers will be able to log in and find all the information that they need to know about the activities of the company. What will differentiate it from another website is the different links that will be fitted to it to guide the clients to specific information (Cadle & Yeates, 2001). There will be an icon which will be linked to specific information that the customer will need. For instance if the customer wants to know about a tailor that is specialized in men designer suit, then he or she will simply click on the icon that reads the same. The link will give him different tailors and where they are located so that he can make his orders or other inquires. In case the customer will want the suit to be made for them, then there will also be a link on the same page that will direct him on how to place his measurements, choose the colour of the suit and the kind of material to be used. There will also be an option where he can personally meet the tailor in case he requires more information.

The case against direct changeover

Direct changeover may not be a good decision for the company considering the different stages that the site will have to go through. There are certain steps that will have to be taken by the company before familiarizing the site to its employees and clients. It should be noted that this is a system that is being adapted by the company for the first time. If it were an improvement to the existing one, then it will be easier for the company. The system will first be installed in one of the branches as a pilot project then transferred to other branches in stages. It should be first confirmed that the project is indeed worth making and that it will be economical to the company. It is not all about having a new look in the company. Installing new systems is a costly business to the company considering the associated maintenance charges. The company should first ensure that it has adequate funds to support its installation and that the employees are at par with it. It is one thing to have a certain system in the company but it is totally a different thing for the system to be used for its purpose. It is hence necessary for a pilot project to be instituted and its use verified before it is spread to other branches.

Data migration

The company has been currently storing its data its raw form in the records and then transferred to the systems of the company. For safety purposes, some of the data was kept on computer discs for necessary clarification just in case they are tampered with. Most of the information that pertained to the daily orders that were made by the clients was recorded in books to ensure that the tailors that are dealing with them easily obtain them. There are certain company data that will not be transferred to the new system because the orders were completed and a confirmation of their reception received from the company. Such old and outdated data will not be considered under the new software. However, all the pending orders of the customers will be transferred to the new software. The information that was saved on the disks and systems of the company will be easier to transfer. For those that are on paper, they will have to be typed and effectively organised to fit in the system. All information that relate to the activities of the tailors and their various locations will be included in the system. There will also be information about all types and colours of fabrics that are available in different branches of the company. There will also be details on the detailed charges that will be required for making different designs of clothes with provisions pertaining to transportation charges just in case the client will prefer such deliveries to be made.

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SCIMATAR data

The scimitar will be fixed with the following data; records which pertain to the records of the clients like their age, sex and measurement details. There will be also details on the kind of fabrics that the company has which will ensure that the customers make a choice of what they want. There will also be details about the fee that is charged in making particular clothing and also making repairs. There will also be other details that pertain to the kind of work that is being done by the different staff of the company. Patterns that are used to make different clothing will also be included. Information about stock categories and the tailors that are dealing in the work will also be considered.

FROSTIE data

The data that will be required in the frostie will be details about the fabric being used by the staff, the patterns that are being adapted in the activities and the number or orders that are being purchased. There will also be information on the categories of stocks that are being made, quantities of stocks maintained by the different branches and the people involved in the supply procedure.

Training

Training is a necessary procedure that will need to be carried out in the company. Being a new system in the company, employees will need to be made familiar with how it should be used so that it effectively serves the company. Tailors will need to be shown on how to obtain information that has been posted by the customers’ min the system and how to decode it for appropriate required design. The training will be done basing on the format that will be used to enter the information. The format that will be adapted will however be set to ensure clarity and simplicity. Pattern cutters will basically be the people that will obtain the information fist hand and will hence be tough on how to retrieve customer information and also send feedbacks to confirm that their requests have been received. They will also be taught on how to get back to the customers using the site in case they need any other clarifications. Tailors and those that are involved in stitching and assembly will also need to be trained to access the information. They are to look continue looking at the details that the customers sent to ensure that the come up with their required design. Thos will minimize on the conflicts that may arise from the customer due to the mistake of a specific employee.

Administrators, workshop managers and technical support staff will require training on how to access customer information as well as the various entries that have been made by other employees from other branches. They will need to clarify all the information that has been sent by clients concerning their request and also confirm that the work has been done as per their demands. They will also need to identify the specifics that have been demanded by the clients and grant them with the necessary feedback. They will also be the ones to be handling the different updates that have been posted by employees from different companies and ensure that the coordination is right. They will hence require a more specialized kind of training compared to the tailors, pattern makers and stitching and assembly staff. Before the information is dispatched to the staff, it will fist have to go through the administrators and the managers.

The importance of the training is also to inform the employees that some of the information should not be leaked out since it contains some personal information of the company. If some of it is accessed by its competitors, then it will be difficult for the company to effectively carry out its activities. Such training will be done in stages according to how the system shall be installed. All employees are eligible for such training as long as they are permanently employed by the company. The training will be done within the premises of the company as long as there are adequate facilities for the same. The project manager may give all the details to the IT manager of the company who will pass it on to the other employees. The length of the training will depend on the ability of the employees to grasp the basics that are involved (Tourniaire, & Farrell, 1997). It is not a difficult procedure which will not have to cost the company much. Since the technology will be transferred to other branches of the company, it may take quite some time before the entire fraternity is informed. The company may also employ other new people who will need to be oriented on such activities. This hence means that the training process will be there as long as the company remains in operation.

Training of the different end groups will commence in the mid of March. The procedure will be started at the main branch and there after spread to other branches of the company. The company will make use of the IT staff that will orient the users on how to go about with the data. The visiting customers will also have the opportunity of being shown on the new developments that are being facilitated by the company and also trained how to enter the data. The training will be done on the initial operations of the project which. As the company launches the project, the staff will also be oriented on how to use it.

Documentation

There will be different kinds of documents that will be required for the different user groups. The end user groups which are mainly the clients of the company will need a document that will give details on the kind of services provided by the company and how to obtain specific services. Their document will have detailed information of the different branches of the company and the specific tailors that they can contact for their services. It will also have a form where customers can fill in their details if they want certain orders. The format of such a document will be simple with no login details. This is because the company will have a variety of customers which they may not have met or encountered. The document will also be designed in a way of attracting and retaining customers. Details about the measurements and colour of their desired clothing can be accessed by them at any time (Czegel, 1998). This will hence give them an opportunity to make necessary adjustments to their fittings. They can use the information for all other services they will require from the company. They will hence have a login name and probably leave their contacts behind so that they are consulted and updated on the progress of their orders. Some of the clients that will visit the company when the document is being launched will have the opportunity of being shown how it is used and some of the features and benefits that it has.

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The help desk staffs’ document will have information on the activities that are happening in other branches. It will hence be mandatory for them to have a login name where they can access such information. The login names will be kept and maintained by the IT manager so that no other person accesses the information. The login name of the employees will be functional as long as they remain to be employees of the company. In case their services are terminated from the company, their login details will also be blocked so that they don’t access it. There will also be a provision for them to communicate and update each other about the different activities that they are involved in. By doing this, they will also be able to share the work load to ensure balance and support. The format of their document will be a place in the home page where they can log in. after being logged in, they will be connected to different links according to the branches of the company. If they want to know what is happening in a specific branch, they will simply follow the link and find out the required details. The document that will be given to the staff will contain features that will enable them be informed of the mother activities that are taking place min the other branches. Training on how to use the document will be done on a continuous basis but will be launched immediately the project begins operation.

Business change issues

After the installation of the system, the company should brace up for some challenges. They should know that they are normal challenges which can be sorted out with time. The first challenge will probably be the extra costs that will be required to maintain the systems. They will be required to employ other IT specialists to facilitate the frequent updates that are necessary for the company. It may require for the updates to be done on an hourly basis for them to be accurate and reliable. This may be a hectic changeover that may be overwhelming to the IT guys; they are hence bound to make some mistakes before they get used to the work. To facilitate the growth of the company, it will need to employ more such people so that an individual person is not overwhelmed by the work. The other challenge that the company will have to deal with is the excitement on part of the employees. They had not been that much access to the computer as they are and the thought of its access may cause a lot of excitement. Before they get used to the change, they may be less productive as they will want to use the system with the aim of familiarizing with it. They may spend a lot of time browsing through the computer rather than working.

The company may not be able to completely control this, but it will be manageable. First and foremost, the company should set targets that each employee should meet each day. This will alert the employees and make them know that even if they spent too much time on the computer, they will not be excused from effectively carrying out their duties. The company should also ensure that they are given adequate training on how to use the system so that they don’t waste much time trying to familiarize with it (Targett et al, 1999). The issue of the extra costs to be incurred by the company can be sorted out by having a definite plan. Due to a rise in company expenses, adjustments will be made to its budget to accommodate them. There is also the issue of marketing the system to their clients. It may take quite sometime before the clients realize that they can actually leave their measurements and request for certain orders online. The company can kick off on such marketing by informing the clients that visit them. It will also be necessary for the company to retain the older site for sometime or simply merge it to the new one. It may appear under the same name with extra features added to it. As the customers visit the site, they will immediately be informed of the new online facilities that are being offered by the company.

Installation schedule

Staff activities
Start End
1stmarch 15thaugust
Orienting the staff on the desired project 10% complete
Submission of the staff’s desired log in names 40% complete
Training them on the general use of the software 38% complete
Transferring data to software 42% complete
Entering of new data 15% complete
Assigning responsibilities to staff 43% complete
Staff responsibilities
Start End
1stApril 15thmay 1stJune 15thJune 1stJuly 15thJuly
Receiving customer orders 200 hundred requests recieved
Taking customer measurements 70% of customers measurements have been taken
Recording details of received orders All customer records made
Making clothes as per customer requests 25% of received orders finished
Packing and branding finished orders 50% of finished orders packed and branded
Dispatching the orders to the clients 20% of finished orders dispatched

Support

Support needs

The support services will be given to both the customers and the employees. Customers will probably need help on how to fill the form and probably in login in. The support to the customers will mainly be done online as it may not be possible to meet each one of them for necessary assistance. There will however be an open line where the customer can seek specific clarifications on what may not be clear to them. The procedure of login in for them to leave their information will be a simple process that will be self explanatory as they browse the site. Since they will need a login name and a password so that they can make adjustments to their information and also find out on the progress of their orders, they will be required to leave certain information. There is usually the issue of people forgetting their passwords or even their login name. It will hence be necessary for the company to take all measures to ensure that the details of their customers are safe and at the same time enable them change or access their passwords when necessary. There will be a 24 hour support system for the customers who can access it through live chart and making calls to the company.

Apart from the clients of the company, tailors, pattern cutters and other such employees of the company will be supported in ensuring that they make clothes as per the request of the customers. Customers may use different terms to explain what they want or a language that may not be clear to the employees; they will hence be associated on how to decode the information appropriately. Administrators and managers may also seek the help of a technical expert in case they find a problem in using the system. The system may fail or probably display features that are not familiar to them. The IT managers will be considered for necessary help to sought out the issue. Company staff can be granted such help during the normal working hours of the company. Offering of support needs will be a continuous process that will be offered to any staff member and customer that will be in need.

Tailors and pattern makers will have to be assisted to know how to retrieve the data of the company. They can always contact the IT manager of the company for any clarifications. The systems may also be faced with certain connection issues which will require some specialized attention (Chaffey, 2003). The IT department can take care of the issue and ensure that the systems are upgraded and maintained. Employees will also need help probably in choosing a login name and password. Their passwords may not be necessary for storage but it will be mandatory for them to store their login names with the IT manager. This will enable the company to monitor on the use of the system and also to ensure that unauthorized individuals are not access to such information. There will also be a link on the site where they can frequently change their passwords. They will however not be able to change their login name before consulting the IT manager. If a login name has to be changed, then the change has to be done in the IT records.

The NISS Help Desk

The main function of the NISS help desk is to facilitate any consultation services. It will still be available for the company even after the installation process is over. There may be need for certain updates to be made on the system which can only be facilitated by NISS. There could also be some other challenges that could be faced by the company in operating the system; such challenges will only be taken care of by NISS. The help desk will be located at the main branch in London which will also be the centre for such system. The main skill that will be required for the support team to adequately handle the job is computer literacy. They will need to be informed on the internet basics and how to effectively use the system. It is believed that at least all of them are computer literate; they will not need to have attained a certain higher level of computer literacy since the system is simple and easy to use.

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Outsourcing the Help Desk

Outsourcing the help desk will be necessary in future but it should be done after considering certain factors. In some years to come, the company will have probably grown to a certain level which will require it to have its own facilities. It will hence not be appropriate for it to look for other external assistance to facilitate the procedure of networking (Navtej et al, 1997). This will also require the company to enter into certain agreements to ensure that its information is safe. In-house provision has the main advantage of ensuring safety of company information. In this age and time, companies are looking for means that will grant them competitive advantage over their counterparts. Such companies will hence look out any company information and use the same to compete with them. As they use this procedure, the company may think that it is networking when in the real sense is giving their competitors a chance to effectively compete them.

Issue tracking and escalation

The system will be installed with a tracking devise which will ensure its use is monitored. This will be mainly for the purpose of ensuring that it is performing the purposes that it was designed for. It will also ensure that the system is protected from hackers or any their information that is aimed at disrupting the work of the company. It will be able to sense the entry of unwanted data and therefore protecting the company from attacks.

Support service levels

The main function of the installation of the system is to ensure that the customers and other company stakeholders are access to the services of the company. By monitoring on the use of the computer, the company will be able to know the areas where they have the most clients. From the various information that will be received on the use of the system, it will be easier to ascertain who is using it and where they are located. This will be a good strategy that will tell the company how far it has reached and whether the customers are enjoying its services or not. The support services will ensure that the system is under maximum use and that any related issue is adequately taken care of.

Benefits of the support service

Support services will be of great support to the company in assisting it in various emergencies. In using the frostie.and the scimitar, the company may be encountered with some complications that they will definitely need some consultation. This will prevent the company from making certain mistakes due to lack of professionalism. There may also be new employees that the company may bring in who will also need to be helped in knowing how to use the facilities. The support team will hence be of necessity in such a situation and circumstance. Support services will also be beneficial to the company in monitoring how effective the facilities are to the company. There are usually instances of hacking and interference of unauthorized individuals who may have evil intentions against the company. Support services will hence be necessary to monitor any such kind of misuse an d advice on the correct procedures that can be taken. There is certain software that may be used to monitor and track any unauthorized use of the facilities. The support team will hence be able to advice the company on the best one that will be appropriate for them. They will also inform them of the improvements and developments that are taking place in the field of technology that will be applicable for the scimitar and frostie.

Management summary

Maintaining a reliable communication network is fundamental for the growth and development of a business entity. FROSTIE and SCIMATAR are cites that will facilitate internal and external communication. These are some of the current features that are being developed in the field of information technology. This should however not be considered as an ultimate development project to the company (Cronin, 2004). There are still a number of features that are being invented in the field which should be utilized in the company. The company may not need to install a new project to its system to facilitate the changes that they need. All modifications can be done on the frostie and scimitar as long as they make use of a technological expert. The company should also consider training their em0ployees especially in the field of information technology. Hiring a technician is becoming more expensive even as developments are made into the field. It will hence be necessary for them to utilize their current IT managers and ensure that they obtain higher education to facilitate any such developments.

Reference

Beynon-Davies, P., (2002). Information systems, New York: Palgrave.

Cadle J., & Yeates D., (2001). Project Management for Information Systems, 3rd ed. London: FT Prentice Hall.

Chaffey, D., (2003). Business information systems, London: FT Prentice Hall.

Cronin, B., (2004). Annual review of information science and technology. New York: Information Today, Inc.

Czegel, B., (1998). Running an Effective Help Desk, California: Wiley.

Navtej, K., et al, (1997). Delivering World-Class Technical Support, California: Wiley.

Targett, D., Grimshaw, D., & Powell, P., (1999). IT in Business: A Manager’s Casebook, New York: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Tourniaire, F., & Farrell, R., (1997). The Art of Software Support, London: Prentice Hall.

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