Posted: September 4th, 2013
Evaluation of success
Evaluation of success
Presently, the state of the ICT sector in Penguin Special Parts (PSP) is as follows. The company has very little emphasis on the Information Systems and technology aspects of business. The best attempt at introducing ICT in its operations is the introduction of computer aided design (CAD). Their financial system is comprised of basic accounting and stock taking applications that were responsible for the firms’ financial records. However, much later, PSP engaged in other similar off-the-shelf products that performed just as poorly. PSP also had local databases that were not consistently structured owing to the development by the staff themselves who were not competent enough in handling dynamic databases.
Data handling as well as manipulation was also in shambles with inconsistent data storage being the norm in PSP. Multiplicity was a noted problem in relation to data handling. The financial reporting system was still manually operated by the line staff which slowed down the process as well as providing room for error. The same is true for stock taking within PSP. The company (PSP) had no special experts dealing solely with ICT. Information Technology was not even a fully fledged department in the firm. Instead, it was placed under the Finance department. The firm also engaged in the manufacture of steel parts, as well as other electronic parts, but in all these plants, the inclusion of ICT in the manufacturing was negligible. Instead, only the top designers were applying computer-related knowledge strictly for designing products.
PSP requires an overhaul of the information system currently in place and the installation of an improved system that will see its transformation into a dynamic company. PSP also needs a change in the leadership roles as well as the human resource department so as to realign them with the management of ICT in the future. First, we shall look at introducing an Enterprise Information System (EIS) within PSP as a solution to the emerging executive problems. An enterprise information system is basically a computing system that offers assistance to the executive levels in organizations (Futrell, 2002). Such systems provide information dissemination across the and along the hierarchy as well as creating a standardized data system that would be vital for ending the issue currently at PSP that is the scattered, multiple information systems within an organization.
PSP would require a tailor-made enterprise information system that includes the establishment of data handling departments. This will ensure that there is staff dedicated to ensuring the timely and secure transmission, receipt and dissemination of data within PSP. This company would also benefit from enterprise software alongside proper training on the said software for maximum gain. Enterprise systems are application packages that support all the processes required by an EIS including information flows, reporting and customer support.
PSP would in particular require a boost in their Research and Development department which had an evolving product set to salvage the company. Using customer relationship management software that is available within the framework of EIS, PSP can ultimately develop the new innovation with the customers’ contributions in mind so as to ensure its success in the market.
Another information system solution would be the installation of Internet –based networks as well as linking different departments through Wide Area Networks (WANs) or Local Area Networks (LANs). The best types of networks that would be most beneficial to PSP are educational or research organizations. These networks explore development initiatives into new products. Learning networks may also help PSP by offering training and support to employees on methods of production and management. Networks will generally assist PSP to gain valuable information about the changing trends in airplane production. Networks also assist in the communication among different department within the same organizations. This can be done through e-mails and portals. Lastly, PSP will benefit from networks as they are an endless source of potential customers and suppliers willing to engage in commercial links with PSP.
PSP should also consider human resource reforms that will help boost the human side of business in order to meet their goals. The company should engage in leadership training programmes for their top executives. These programs should not only involve management skills like minimizing costs or team building but must also include Information technology skills like problem solving using Decision support systems(DSS) as well as embracing computer – related ways of running a company, for example, communication through e-mail.
The transformation of PSP into a fast growing and profitable company needs to be done in section so as to ensure the continuity as well as the efficiency this new system will bring. This will be divided into six major steps. First to be implemented should be the project preparation. This will involve PSP forming a team to manage the kind of software choice to be made. The creation of a team should include key stakeholders. For example, the general managers up to the bottom rank staff for the purpose of representing all the interests of the users in PSP. At least one member competent in information technology should be on board. Management staff is also included in order to thrash out the budgetary issues that will spring up later on. The budget also needs to be clearly set in order to provide enough funds for the implementation of the project. Evaluation of the result also needs to be set up in order to monitor the progress of the project.
I would suggest the following procedure in selecting and prioritizing which technology projects to be implemented. The most urgent sector is manufacturing where the company has very minimal inclusion of Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) as well as Computer Aided Design (CAD). (Bennatan, 1995)The injection of these two methods into the production of aircraft parts within PSP will be beneficial in two ways. One, faster and more efficient productions of aircraft parts will boost the sales margin for PSP resulting in greater profits for the firm. Two, higher levels of computer aided manufacturing alongside design will help revolutionise the type of product at PSP thereby making it more updated and relevant in the dynamic environment of aeronautical engineering. The Sales and Marketing department should be next in line for reforms although this solution should be ideally implemented throughout the whole organization. Sales and marketing in PSP lacks a direct network linking the administrative section to the manufacturing section. Currently, the detached nature of these two departments provides the biggest challenge to PSP as they cannot closely monitor their activities thus no proper rectification can be made before the damage is done. PSP needs to implement a functional system that ensures real time communication between the core and the periphery. Maximization of internet tools, for example, online databases and integrated e-mail capabilities will provide a closer link that would mimic parent-subsidiary relationships in large companies. (Bocij, 2008)
Projects may fail due to a myriad of reasons. Similarly, PSP has many signals that ring an alarm which could sabotage the system implementation if they are not remedied early. One major reason for the failure of most technological implementations is the overworking of staff without proper reward systems. Staffs always needs to be adequately catered for as they are the biggest users of a system and will, therefore, determine its success. The move to downsize the bulk of the staff has created a definite staff shortage in PSP which will be in charge of implementing the new information system software. If the administration does nothing to reimburse the staff with increased pay or improved working conditions, the implementation may backfire. This was the reason behind the downfall of D.R.A.M.A, a project to record the decision-making process for universities. (Cerpa, 2009)
Most projects also fail due to attempts by developers to beat the deadline for the delivery date. In the process of planning a working time table, many project managers overlook numerous contingencies, which later surface. In an attempt to jump these hurdles and finish the project on time, developers rush the whole software ending up in an inefficient system which will eventually fail. (Charette, 2005)The urgency with which PSP requires the new system up and running in order to avoid bankruptcy may push the team of developers to produce timely but faulty system software. This is especially likely if the developers are sourced from within PSP.
PSP can evaluate their progress in implementing the technological system using the Goals-Oriented model which will describe whether the firm has met its goals and use the results to inform their new instructional strategy. However, the problem with this model is that the evaluating body may overlook
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BOCIJ, P., GREASLEY, A., & HICKIE, S. (2008). Business information systems: technology, development and management. Harlow, England, FT Prentice Hall.
NARCISO CERPA, VERNERM.JUNE. (2009)WhyDidYourProjectFail.COMMUNICATIONS OF THE ACM .52, no. 12
CHARETTE, R., (2005).Why software fails. IEEE Spectrum, 42-49.
FUTRELL, R. T., SHAFER, D. F., & SHAFER, L. (2002). Quality software project management. Upper Saddle River, NJ, Prentice Hall
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