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Hardware Replacement Project

Hardware Replacement Project Ronald Hanson IT 205 August 29, 2010 Shane Wehkamp This project should start with a project management plan. Project management activities include planning the work, assessing risk, estimating resources required to accomplish the work, organizing the work, acquiring human and material resources, assigning tasks, directing activities, controlling project execution, reporting progress, and analyzing the results (Laudon & Laudon, 2009). At a very minimum one should always consider five major variables: scope, time, cost, quality, and risk.

One of the first steps in the process is to determine what changes will and will not be included. In this case the Information Technology (IT) department has decided to replace the customer relationship management software within its corporate offices, which requires upgrading the hardware that drives the system. Time is usually a major concern with any project. The time any project will take depends greatly on the scope of that project. If the scope consists of upgrading or modifying one computer the time factor can be inconsequential.

However, if the scope requires replacing an entire network, the timeframe can be quite extensive. Cost is also greatly dependent upon the scope. It comes to reason that the cost is directly related to the scope, the smaller the scope, the smaller the cost and vice versa. The actual scope of the project will determine the cost. Will the product meet the objectives that have been outlined? The quality of the new system should be one of the first, if not the first, items considered.

Many different customer relationship management packages exist. Which one will best meet the objectives? Research is commonly required to determine this factor. A bad decision can result in loss of existing and future revenue. The risks that may hinder the success of the implementation should also be considered. As with any project, the risks may prolong the project time, thereby increasing the cost and lowering the quality. Risk factors for any project are probably the hardest variable to predict.

The level of project risk is influenced by project size, project structure, and the level of technical expertise of the information systems staff and project team (Laudon & Laudon, 2009). Delivering the best business value is the ultimate goal of implementing any new system. The project management team should determine if the benefits outweigh the costs of implementation and have a positive return on investment. The cost of a new system comes in two stages: implementation cost and operational cost.

Implementation costs consist of hardware, software, telecommunications, and personnel. The hardware cost is self explanatory; it encompasses the price of the hardware to be installed. The price of the software should also be considered. Telecommunications between IT staff, technical support, and end users is also a consideration. Finally, the actual cost of installing the hardware and software by the IT staff is a factor. Operational costs are far more extensive than implementation costs.

Some of these costs are: Training, computer processing time, maintenance, operating staff, user time, and facility costs. Most of these costs are long term and may be difficult to predict. Benefits of a new or upgrade system project can be categorized as tangible and intangible. Tangible benefits are categorized as: Increased productivity, Lower operational costs, Reduced workforce, Lower computer expenses, Lower outside vendor costs, Lower clerical and professional costs, Reduced rate of growth in expenses, Reduced facility costs, and Increased sales.

Intangible benefits include: Improved asset utilization, Improved resource control, Improved organizational planning, Increased organizational flexibility, More timely information, More information, Increased organizational learning, Legal requirements attained, Enhanced employee goodwill, Increased job satisfaction, Improved decision making, Improved operations, Higher client satisfaction, and better corporate image. An information systems plan should be used during the implementation of the system in order to maintain the planned organizational change.

The following is a sample of such a plan as shown in Essentials of Management Information Systems, Eigth Edition (Laudon & Laudon, 2009). 1. Purpose of the Plan Overview of plan contents Current business organization and future organization Key business processes Management strategy 2. Strategic Business Plan Rationale Current situation Current business organization Changing environments Major goals of the business plan Firm’s strategic plan 3. Current Systems Major systems supporting business functions and processes

Current infrastructure capabilities Hardware Software Database Telecommunications and the Internet Difficulties meeting business requirements Anticipated future demands 4. New Developments New system projects Project descriptions Business rationale Applications’ role in strategy New infrastructure capabilities required Hardware Software Database Telecommunications and the Internet 5. Management Strategy Acquisition plans Milestones and timing Organizational realignment Internal reorganization Management controls Major training initiatives

Personnel strategy 6. Implementation of the Plan Anticipated difficulties in implementation Progress reports 7. Budget Requirements Requirements Potential savings Financing Acquisition cycle In closing, when developing or implementing a new system the IT department should use an information system plan and consider the five major variables before starting any work. References Laudon, K. C. , & Laudon, J. P. (2009). Essential of management information systems, eigth edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc..

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