Introduction of a new system in a business organization can be one of the most challenging and risky undertakings that a business can carry out. This is especially the case if a completely new system is required or available, and the business has been using another system. The risk is usually because the management of the business may not know the reliability of the new system.
In addition to this, the users of the new system may be completely unfamiliar with it, leading to a bottleneck in the offering of services or production of goods, which will obviously lead to a reduction in profits or an increase in losses.
Also of essence is the consideration of the fact that the implementation of a new information system in a business requires a high level of expertise in order to ensure that the expert gives proper hardware and software specifications for the effective and efficient running of the new system.
It is therefore critical that before a business organization implements a new information system, it puts all these issues into consideration. This report offers recommendations of how Top Cuts, a chain of hair dressing salons in the U.K. should implement a new system in their business premises.
Businesses at some point find themselves in a situation in which they need to upgrade their information systems. A number of reasons prompt this, the main one being the functionality of the system. As businesses expand, they may add portfolios and functions in their scope.
This may render the information system being used incapable of handling the operations of the business since the information system may not include functions related to the additional portfolios and functions.
In other cases, businesses upgrade their systems when the technology that they use with the current system becomes obsolete. With time, new and more powerful technologies emerge and thus businesses are forced to upgrade their systems in order to maintain their competitive advantage.
Many business information systems have failed either during the development process or during the implementation stage. This is normally due to poor planning. During the development stage, if custom software is being made, it is important to plan holistically for the software. It is vital to collect sufficient data before the development process begins.
Many programs fail during development due to failure to collect the sufficient data. This is because the data and requirements of the business organization will determine the components of the system. It is also important to choose a reliable platform on which the program will be developed.
This is because the platform will determine many aspects of the information system ranging from speed to security, and even reliability. Many systems fail during the implementation stage due to failure to choose the right platform for program development. Another problem that may lead to failure during implementation is the failure to match hardware with the requirements that are needed to run the developed software.
The use of computer information systems by business organizations gives them competitive advantage against other businesses in the same industry. This is especially the case because the use of information systems leads to increased productivity due to the efficiency that they come with. The use of computer systems also ensure that data is adequately preserved and thus no data will be lost.
They also make data accessibility easy and thus no time will be wasted when accessing data. In addition to these, a business that uses information systems is more likely to satisfy the needs of its clients than a competitor who does not use information systems (A Survey of System Development Process Models 2008).
This will obviously translate to a larger client base for a business that uses computer systems. All these factors combine to make a business more profitable than its competitors do.
From the description of the information system that Top Cuts wants to implement, it is apparent that the system is available over the counter. Therefore, considerations as to whether the system should be custom-made or purchased over the counter are not necessary.
Top Cuts management should thus concentrate on how best to implement the new system and ensure that the chain of hair dressing salons benefits maximally from implementing the new system. It is therefore prudent for the management of Top Cuts to disregard the first steps of Systems Life Cycle and concentrate on the last three steps, which are system integration and test, system implementation and system operation and maintenance.
First, the management of the business should ensure that they have hardware resources that can effectively run the new system. It is of essence to acquire computers whose processing speed and memory can offer a good platform for the running of the new system.
Since the system is providing real-time results of data processing, it is vital that the computer system on which it runs has a processing speed that is sufficient to run it without performance bottlenecks. A duo-core with a combined processing speed of at least 4 GHz will be required for this system.
Because the system will be storing thousands of pictures and one picture may have a large capacity depending on its format, it is of essence to acquire a computer whose memory is at least 500 GB. This will ensure that the computer can support the system’s pictures and that it can sufficiently allow for system expansion in the future.
The business should also acquire a camera that is compatible with the system, which can produce good pictures of hairstyles with the finest details, and which cannot easily malfunction. Such a camera would have a resolution of at least 8 megapixels and it will be digital. The business should also purchase a user friendly operating system on which the system will run. See selected pictures of appropriate hardware below.
(Advice for life 2012)
(Computer Systems Center 2012)
System integration and test
With regard to system implementation, the business should start by carrying out the system integration and test step of system implementation. During this step, the business will be able to establish if the new system is able to meet the requirements of the business. This will be done by making use of the available requirements analysis that the business came up with as it developed the existing system.
The step will be advantageous to the business because it will help in lowering the cost of system implementation. The business should match the requirements of the business with the capabilities of the new system.
The workflow of the business should be established and the components of the new system checked for the ability to support such workflow. This will ensure that there will be no surprise failures during system implementation.
In implementation, the first step is installation; the system should be installed well with all components and according to the specifications of the manufacturer. Before any further steps are taken, it is of essence to test the functionality and compatibility of the system components.
For instance, the compatibility of the system with the operating system being used should be checked and the compatibility of the camera with the computer system and the information system should be checked. Thus after installation, every component of the system hardware should be functioning as intended. After this, the business will need to check the functionality and reliability of the information system.
The business should first implement the system as a pilot, running concurrently with the other system. That is, since the new system is more automated and faster, the staff should ask a customer to sit in front of the camera and incase of any dysfunction, of either hardware or software, ask the customer questions that are characteristic of the first system.
This way, the business will be able to complete the final stages of system testing because the system will be operating with real client data.
During this piloting phase, the business will also have an opportunity to train its staff on how to use the new system. This will ensure that there will be no problems or inefficiencies related to human error once the system becomes operational.
The piloting is advantageous because apart from the training, the staff will also familiarize themselves with the system and identify any professional inefficiencies of the system that the system specialist cannot identify. This will give the business a chance to rectify these inefficiencies before the system becomes operational. The supplier or the system specialist can carry out the staff training.
After the reliability of the system has been confirmed, the new system can be fully implemented, meaning that the old system is phased out and the new system operates alone.
System operation and maintenance
As the system continues to serve the business it is of vital for the business to ensure staff operates the system as per the guidelines and in case of any difficulties, the supplier or a system specialist is contacted to help the business. The business should also ensure that the system is maintained by use of utility software like antivirus software to avoid a situation where the system may shut down.
From the discussion above, it is apparent that the way a business implements a new information system can draw the thin line between profits and losses in a business. This is evidenced by the experience of a chain of hairdressers who implemented the new system but failed miserably.
Implementation of a new information system requires a holistic approach that ensures that the system is suitable for the business, that the appropriate hardware for the system is used, and that all the components of the system are functional. During system implementation, it is of essence to carry out system testing because the system will be working with real data and thus unforeseen errors may occur.
The proposed approach of pilot implementation is crucial because it ensures that the operations of the business are not interrupted during system implementation. It also ensures that the system is reliable before it can become operational.
A Survey of System Development Process Models 2008. Viewed on <http://www.ctg.albany.edu/publications/reports/survey_of_sysdev/survey_of_sysdev.pdf>
Advice for life 2012. Viewed on <https://www.jessops.com/>
Computer Systems Center 2012. Web.