The needs analysis of IRTC is the first element of the communications plan which describes how and to who project progress, milestones and issues are to be communicated.
The needs analysis requires the proper understanding of the information system / billing system to be introduced and tailored to meet all the company’s needs.
Please refer to the needs analysis as divided into components depicted below:
- Organizational environment. The company operates in a competitive environment with other company so it needs to assure not only quality products, but also the proper distribution network let alone the communication system with its different departments as well as customers.
- Stakeholders of IRTC require constant minimization of corporate costs and increases in profitability. Customers require services available to them 24/7, 365 days a year at affordable prices at the shortest time possible.
- Users of the new information system / billing system introduced at IRTC require it to be safe, secure, quick, with the lowest possible amount of downtime, user-friendly interface, the smallest amount of clicks made to place an order.
- Levels of management served have their own needs as seen in the ability to keep track of all orders placed and fulfilled in a real-time manner. The management needs to have fast and open communication lines with numerous departments and clients (Leidner, 64).
- Organizational culture for the system certainly has its own needs. The assignment did not comment much on the corporate culture of Small Company, so we need to make some assumptions. For instance if we assume that the corporate culture of IRTC is “work hard-play hard”, then the information system / billing system will require possible connection with the portable/mobile devices like Cell phones, PDAs or laptops, to assure “hard work” on the road.
Our information system / billing system introduced at IRTC will engage in the following activities:
- Communication between departments and workers to assure that orders are handled properly and that the company works efficiently (Ward, 143).
- Online order processing that includes website creation, installation of the order processing software and synchronization of it with production and distribution departments, let alone the managerial department.
- Database maintenance which would allow IRTC to keep track of all orders and clients, establish statistics regarding the most/least demanded products and service and other features.
- Distribution coordination to assure that once the order is placed and paid, IRTC delivers the products in the least amount of time. Here one will need to either use corporate delivery trucks or the postal services. Once again, the system will determine the optimal route, i.e. it will check from which of the existing two locations of IRTC it would be the quickest and the easiest to deliver goods to the final customers (Rowe, 230).
IRTC will use available statistics it generated over time regarding the demanded products, the areas from which the greatest sales were made. The company can use industry data if it can obtain some, check with the local chambers of commerce on the demographics of the areas in which it operates and in which it plans to establish corporate presence. The IRTC information system / billing system will allow IRTC to develop additional methodology by providing the company with the information on the clients and products from online sales. The information system / billing system will allow the management of IRTC to quickly generate various reports and play with statistics to further advance its abilities.
IRTC will need besides introducing the information system / billing system and creating a website, to educate its employees how to use the newly installed information system / billing system . The employees will learn how to use integrative solutions provided for database tools, spreadsheet tools, emailing and online chatting tools (McKeen, 176).
In order to assure that the system works well, it should be run for some time in a testing mode thus requiring coordination between different components of the system where the system design is to be tested.
The system design will effectively depict the needs of IRTC and its goals and objectives. The sample design can be seen as following:
- Customers choose a product online and place an order either via a telephone (the current technique IRTC uses) or in an online mode. The customer pre-pays with a credit card.
The order is received by IRTC where the production department is immediately notified in an email/sms/message that the order for a certain product is obtained. The production department if it does not have that product will need to make it. If it has the product it will need to ship it to the address specified by the customer. The management also receives the information about the order and uses the information for internal corporate statistics (McKeen, 132).
- At some point of time IRTC can decide if it is profitable to hold certain inventory on hand in each of the two cities and ship the required order from the city closest to the customer, or use the JIT delivery system and manufacture products on the go. I need to note that JIT can be better used if there are many orders and clients for Small Company’s products, in this case the production department will comprise the distribution department functions and efficiency satisfy the customer needs.
- The system updates the finance department on the sum the customer pays to the online payment provider and IRTC will collect the payments periodically from the online payment provider and transfer those to the corporate current account. When the amount of orders gets large, it would be more profitable for IRTC to own its own merchant account and not pay a certain commission to the online payment providers.
The IRTC needs to find the new information system / billing system feasible prior to consider its implementation. Feasibility analysis for the system comprises the following elements:
- Operational and Technical. The system will require computers to be present in each of the departments involved in the production-distribution cycle.
- Economic. The system will require the MS Office and MS Windows for the overall price of about $600 per computer in the office. The set up fees required for the establishment of the merchant account would be around $100, while the programming required for the creation of the database of products and clients and its integration would cost additional $2000-$3000.
The system objectives comprise the following:
- Ability to sell products 24/7, 365 days per year is achieved via website creation.
- Ability to receive payments from all around the USA let alone around the world.
- Ability to deliver the products to all the areas from which the order is placed.
- Ability to streamline production to accurately meet the demand and orders placed.
The given system as noted earlier does not require any sophisticated technology past MS Office. The MS Office would suffice a IRTC the assignment speaks about and its needs. The system could also possess the suppliers module where one is capable of keeping track of the Small Company’s suppliers, their contribution, prices and delivery dates to accurately match the production cycle and the sales.
Ward, John, Strategic Planning for Information Systems, NY Random House, 2001.
Leidner, Dorothy, Strategic Information Management: Challenges and Strategies in Managing Information Systems, Third Edition, Penguin books, 2002.
McKeen, James, Making IT Happen: Critical Issues in IT Management (John Wiley Series in Information Systems), McGraw Hill, 2002.
Rowe, Alan, Intelligent Information Systems, NY Random house, 2003.
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