Business activities have kept on evolving over the resent past. Markets have evolved into something more diverse and only the fittest and quick adapting businesses have survived in this era (Bent, Mette & Søren 2002). In the process of adaptation cooperates have met several challenges that have seen some of these cooperates fall to the bottom of the value chain. Several factors have been highlighted as the main cause of these challenges. Over the years, issues such as professional conduct, business ethics and civility issues have been major contributors to the general success of cooperates (Brenner 1997). Similarly, information technology has become a key aspect that largely affects the success of the business. The current global world is characterized by improved technology and advanced IT infrastructures.
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Information technology is a vital element that largely contributes to the general success of the business. With the current state of the market, mailing and other slower means of communication have become a thing of the past (Gordijn 2002). With the current globalization, the world has become like a village market and therefore any business activity should aim at reaching out to the entire world at large. This can be possible through the improved science technology that has seen several cooperate and companies cut across the global market.
This research report tries to explore some of these technological advancements especially in the information technology that are of concern in a business corporation today. The research features Om Limited, a company that deals with designer furniture and appliances. The company needs to upgrade on its IT assets so as to cope with the growing competition in the market today. As such, the research report tries to highlight some of the key aspects that should be put into consideration in the process. It gives guidelines on the computer hardware and peripheral devises that should be employed. It also gives suggestions on the operating systems, productivity software and other specialist applications needed to be upgraded. Choice of telephony devices and the IT use procedures and back up facilities to help better Om Ltd output are also researched on. All the suggestions in the research are justified with an explanation on how each meets the requirements of the company.
Om Limited is a company that deals with the selling of designer furniture and appliances. It is a big company with its headquarters in Salford Quays. Its branch outlets spreading through Lowry to Trafford centre and Liverpool shows how the company has rapidly grown. As such, it is evident that the company has an increased customer base, an issue that poses a production pressure on its output. With the growing demand of its product, the company seeks to embark on a plan that will enable it reach all its customers in the present competitive global market. This called for reviewing of its IT infrastructures and other related technology appliances. Om Ltd has links with several independent designers. These designers have to go to the office in Salford Quays to submit their designs or send them by courier. Accepted designs are then sent by courier to a manufacturing plant near Cardiff. This whole process is slow and inefficient in many ways. As such, Om Ltd wants to upgrade on its IT assets so as to improvise faster and efficient processes. Some of the suggestions are to expand the company by setting up an in house design studio. The studio will form part of the head office in Salford. Some of the IT assets that need to be improved include computer hardware and peripheral devices, productivity software, various operating systems, telephony devices among others. These improvements would improve connectivity between its three stores, the head office and the manufacturing plant. In addition, they will provide new software for carrying out important business functions such as payroll and accounting. The research report hereby provides various suggestions and an evaluation of each suggestion of the impact they would have on the company’s business.
Computer hardware and peripheral devices
The computer is a good example of the tremendous improvement in technology that has changed people’s lives. Since its discovery, it has revolutionized world business with all sectors embracing its use in their day to day activities (Gordijn 2002). This has been attributed to its efficiency in processing and transfer of data and storage of information. In addition there have been more discoveries on the computer that have proved that it can do more than what we already know. This has led to the manufacturing of more advanced computer that further transforms both the corporate and the business world. With such closely succeeding discoveries of more advanced computers, it is therefore important for every corporate to be alert to upgrade to the latest technologies (Hamel 2000). They should watch out for the latest computer hardware and other peripheral components.
Computer hardware is those parts of the computer that we can see. Neal (2008) describes the term as:
Hardware is the physical aspect of a computer. While computer software exists in the form of ideas and concepts, computer hardware exists in substance. By definition, the different parts of a computer that can be touched constitute computer hardware. Computer hardware includes Central Processing Unit (CPU), the Random Access Memory (RAM), motherboard, keyboards, monitors, case, drivers (hard, CD, DVD, floppy, optical, tape, etc.), microchips as well as computer peripherals like input- output and storage devices that are added to a host computer to enhance its abilities. Together they are often referred to as a personal computer. (p. 72).
On the other hand peripheral components are those devices that can be attached to the computer so that together with the computer they achieve certain special tasks such as printing, storing more information or accessing the internet. They are supportive devices that the computer can still function without them. “The peripheral devices are the devices that are connected to the computer in order to get most of the advantage out of it. If you in to detail description of peripheral devices it can be explained as the devices that are optional, and which are not required in principle” (Neal 2008, p. 73). Therefore, peripheral devices include computer scanners, mouse, printers, modems, digital cameras and cards. Information about the computer is very important in deciding which computer one should buy and for what purpose it is expected to serve.
Om Limited wants to set up an in house design studio. The studio is expected to link with other branches of the company so as to fasten data transmission within and between the studio and the branches. Being a designer company, it entails much drawing.
As thus, computer peripheral devices that help enhancing computer ability in drawing should be preferred in the process of improving the IT assets. For example, advanced printers, scanners, digital cameras, digital flash disks, media devises, blue-ray disk, compact disks among others. All these peripheral devices play a big role in enhancing data processing and storage of information. Scanners help in inputting images and photographs into the computer (Neal 2008). A series of bits and bitmaps is used to transfer the scanned photographs into the computer. In the computer, the photographs can be edited to improve their contrast and quality. Printers on the other hand help enhance the output of digital information onto papers. Blue-ray disks and other media devices improve storage of information as it is burned on CDs and DVDs. Blue-ray disks have the ability to burn a lot of data onto storage devices such as DVDs. Other storage devices such as digital flash disks can also be used to store more information. Digital cameras can help in taking high resolution photographs as exhibits of the various designs. The photographs can be sent to the studio house in the company’s headquarters through various electronic means such as emails and faxes that are faster and more efficient than the use of couriers (Jose 2009).
Computer networking IT assets are of significance when it comes to internetworking computers. The job processes Om Ltd indulges in require much interconnection between its data processing computers within its studio house. This interconnection helps in enhancing easy movement of data and information within and between it studio and the branches in Trafford Centre and Liverpool. As a result, IT assets improvement should consider acquiring more advanced IT assets that are efficient in data transfer (Neal 2008).
Computer networking in the modern competitive world requires more advanced networking hardware components. These components comprises of modems, network cards, routers among others. Modems are computer peripheral devices that help in dial-up connections. They connect the computer to the internet by changing computers’ digital signals into analog. In so doing, the computer is enabled to interpret telephones’ and satellites’ digital messages. As thus, modems are of great significance in Om Ltd as they enable transfer of data and information through the internet through means like emails. They increase the company’s research base as studies of new designs can be done on the vast internet. Network cards also enhance communication of the computers over the internet. “They provide each computer with a MAC address that acts as a networking medium” (Stern & El-Ansary 1992, p. 67). With its state of the arts technology, emails and attached files can be sent across vast distances upon a click of a button. Both wired and wireless computers in the studio are joined by routers. When it so happens, designers will not have to transport their pieces of work manually to the headquarters, instead, they can send them from one computer to the other, courtesy of the routers.
Choice of computer hardware and peripheral devices
Speed and efficiency are the key determiners of the kind of computer one has to buy. Similarly, the nature of the job the computer is expected to do also play a big role in the general decision of the right IT assets to be acquired (Stern & El-Ansary 1992). In order to obtain maximum value of the assets, the equipment agreed on should be relevant and pocket friendly. That is to say, instead of acquiring whole new and expensive assets, the company can decide to improve the ones they are using by acquiring the appropriate hardware.
Various aspects have been suggested to be taken into consideration when accessing the IT assets required. For example, the company required advanced peripheral devices such as printers and scanners. When choosing a printer one should consider the color quality of the output. Getting such a state of the art printer can be a complex task. However, a good printer should be able to support multiple applications.
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Clock speed is a key element when it comes to choosing the right CPU. Jobs involving designer graphics require faster processors. In the past we had processor that had a speed of below 30 megahertz (MHz). However, today we have more advanced processors with a speed up to 3000+ MHz (3 gigahertz). The speed is determined by the circuit boards and other relevant chips and the motherboard on with they are housed in. Most of these chips can be upgraded without having to replace the whole motherboard. The software developed now are designed to work with the newest and fastest processors. A number of the software recommended for the design job at Om Ltd require this high speed processors and the latest software (Sullivan & Steven 2003).
The choice of good computer hardware should have most of these aspects into consideration. See appendix B for the specifications of the recommended computer hardware.
Operating systems, productivity software and specialist applications
There are various operating systems available today. This is due to the advancement in science technology. Today, the business world has been improved as almost every task can now be done by a click of a button. Various discoveries in computer operating systems seen the business platform reform from the old slow business processes to new modern processes characterized by high levels of accuracy and speed. Jose (2009) states:
Operating systems and productivity software have seen business personnel acquire
- Have a mastery of the Microsoft Office suite of business productivity programs (word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and presentation software).
- Master the skills necessary to produce professional looking documents utilizing software application (word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and presentation software).
- Are prepared with the specialist skills required for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, and Microsoft PowerPoint.
- Demonstrate keyboarding speed and accuracy with a minimum touch keyboarding rate of 40 words per minute on a three-minute timed writing with 95% accuracy.
- Communicate clearly and effectively, both orally and in writing.
- Conduct research from a variety of sources.
- Demonstrate computer literacy.
With all these, information technology has reformed the face of business all over the world. (p. 89)
Om Ltd, being a designer company, requires good operational systems. Its work entails more printing and data processing. As such, document processing systems and software will be of great significance to the general success of the company. The choice of the operating system should consider;
- It has in built security features which enhance the safety of information on the computer.
- Safety against suspicious programs like viruses.
The system should be
- Easy to navigate through open files and programs
- To search for files and programs by help of search boxes
- Have an explorer interface that provides consistent, streamlined menus. This makes sorting and filtering of information easier
- The system should serve the small business in the course of operational growth. It provides a solid foundation for small business to move into larger network in the event of growth in activities
With the above specification, the most appropriate operating system for Om Ltd is Windows Vista Business Operating system. The system is best designed for small companies as it is user friendly and cost effective. With the system, more complex business documents such as receipts and other payment documents such as payroll scripts can be easily processed.
Its system requirements are compatible with the laptops and desktops recommended for Om Ltd and includes;
2 GH 32-bit or 64 bit processor
1 GB of system memory
80 GB hard disk with at least 15 GB available space
Support for Direct x 9 graphics with:
256 MB of graphic memory
Pixel Shader 2.0 hardware
64 bits per pixel
Other features why Window Vista Business is chosen for the operations of Om Ltd are
- It can scan and remove unwanted application using spyware
- It restricts other operating system resources such as malicious software – malware- from spreading to the system
- It includes internet explorer 7 browser. Internet 7 browser offers dynamic security protection and helps prevents users from unintentional provision of personal data or sensitive data to fraudulent websites.
- Microsoft office 2007 small business software which include word, excel outlook PowerPoint and publisher.
Appendix A shows price suggestions for various software and operating systems offered by KRW Digital Company.
For productivity software, AutoCAD 2008 software version is recommended to be installed in designer’s desktops and laptops. The software is best in computer-aided-designs.
Its system requirements are listed below and are compatible with both the hardware devices chosen and the operating system windows vista business
- Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon dual-core processor, 3 GHz or higher with SSE2 technology
- RAM of 3 GB
- 1 GB free disk space for installation
- 1,024 x 768 VGA display with true color
- Internet Explorer 7.0 or later
- Install from download, DVD, or CD
Sage Construct Advanced software is recommended for accountants desktops.
Its features includes;
- Business Process
- Integration Construction
- Job Costing
- Purchase Order Processing – POP
- Construction Industry Scheme Processing
- Tracking Variations or Extras
- Valuations and Applications for Payment Aged
- Application Reports
- Insurance Tracking
Being an art and design company, it needs constant connection between the employees. The employees in the company’s branches need to report to the studio at the company’s headquarter. This connection can be through cloud computing. This is where by computers are connected over the internet. It uses virtual servers that can host OS application services thus enabling over the internet computing which is efficient in business activities such as sending invoices and other business documents. The concept is the most effective for the company as software used with it are cheap and readily available. For example, Google apps are readily available software. It also has high security and compatible with most small enterprises.
These are devices that work hand in hand with voice modems in transferring the analog data and information into digital data. It is important for the Om Ltd to acquire advanced software and telephony devices in the efforts of upgrading their IT infrastructure (Shafritz 1990). IP phone models can work effectively for the company. This is because the models are cheap and user friendly. Similarly, the phone devices can multitask. For example, business documents can be sent at the same time making receiving invoices. The new model of IP Phone 7941G handsets is user friendly has interactive soft keys and an inbuilt manual that help users on how to use it.
IT use procedures and back up facilities
With all the IT assets acquired, the company requires appropriate IT procedures and back up facilities. Back up facilities are those facilities that help in recovery of information incase there is an interruption in the ordinary functioning of a system. These interruptions may be due to electricity interruption or attacks of the software by viruses. As such, every company needs to put in place effective measure to minimize on the losses that result from these interruptions. In the case of Om Ltd, it needs to put in place mechanisms such as ‘uninterrupted power supplies’ (UPS) and standby electric generators. This will help solve the challenges posed by abrupt interruption of power. These back up measures are important as they ensure continuous running of the business. Even though they seem expensive to acquire, their tremendous advantages can not be compromised. A back up electric generator goes for around $18,500. It is expensive but durable and fairly easy to maintain.
Globalization has seen the business world transform tremendously. It has made the world become like a global village. The current market is characterized with a diverse nature. This factor has made business corporations seek other adaptations in the efforts of securing a place in the current competitive world. Information technology is one of these adaptations that has been embraced by several companies so as to cope with the ever growing demand of quality and speed. IT infrastructures are key elements that determine the general success of the business. It is a factor that can see Om Limited rise up the value chain if it embraced the changes in IT assets and dedicated to adoption of the latest assets.
Bent, F., Mette, K. & Søren, L., 2002. Underestimating Costs in Public Works Projects:Error or Lie? Journal of the American Planning Association, 71 (2), pp. 279-295.
Brenner, S., 1997. Business interaction networks. Journal of Business, 21 (3), pp. 391- 399.
Gordijn, J., 2002. Value-based Requirements Engineering – Exploring Innovative e- Commerce Ideas. Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit.
Hamel, G., 2000. Leading the revolution. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Jose, P., 2009. The era of the computer: Market Research. New York: Times Business.
Neal, B., 2008. Understanding computer technology. Washington DC: The National Academies Press.
Shafritz, M., 1990. Essentials of Business. New York: Penguin Books.
Stern, L. & El-Ansary, A., 1992. Marketing Channels. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.
Sullivan, A. & Steven, M., 2003. Economics: Principles in action. New York: Pearson Prentice Hall.
KRW Digital ships an open source software bundle with all new computers. This bundle includes the latest versions of the Mandriva Linux operating system, the OpenOffice.org productivity software suite, the Mozilla Firefox web browser and the Mozilla Thunderbird email client. KRW Digital can also supply the following titles:
|Vista Business Operating system||$190.00|
|Microsoft Windows XP Home||$185.00|
|Microsoft Windows XP Pro||$289.00|
|Microsoft Office 2003 Basic||$299.00|
|Microsoft Office 2003 Pro||$499.00|
|F-Secure Internet Security||$120.00|
|Laptop (Intel core 2Duo P8700 with 2 GB RAM)||$110.00|
|HP Desktops with 800MHZ||$80.00|
At your request, we can also source other titles to fulfill your needs. Don’t forget that if you need custom software to support your business, KRW Digital offers specialist software development services. If you’d prefer that we refrained from loading any software at all, please mention this when ordering your computer.
150 HP desktop with the following features
|Type||Intel Pentium Dual core E5300 processor|
|Cache||2 MB L2 cache|
|Floppy drive||3.5” 1.44MB floppy disk|
|Type||Intel core 2Duo P8700|
|Cache||3 MB L2 cache|
|Graphic card||Discrete nVidia FX 370M|
|Hard disk||320 GB|
|Floppy Drive||3.5” 1.44 MB floppy disk|
The recommended specifications of scanners is listed below
|Scanner Type||Universal Workgroup Scanner|
|Scanner Element||CCD (2)|
|Features||Border Removal, Custom Color Dropout / Enhance Color, Deskew, Double Feed Detection, Punch Hole Removal, Skip Blank Page, Text Orientation Recognition|
|Max. Resolutions||Optical: 1200dpi|
|Scanning Speed: Feeder Capacity:||20 pages per minute, 40 images per minute |
|Scanning Mode||Simplex, Duplex, Skip Blank Page, Color, Grayscale, Black and White, Error Diffusion, Advanced Text Enhancement (Two Types)|
|Max. Document Size||8.5″ x 14″|
|Interface||Hi-Speed USB 2.0|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||17.3″ x 15.7″ x 7.1″|
|OS Compatibility||Has Drivers for Windows 7 (32/64), Vista (32/64)|
|Software||Canon CaptureOnTouch, Canon CapturePerfect, Adobe Acrobat Standard, NewSoft Presto! BizCard, Nuance OmniPage SE, Nuance PaperPort Standard|
|Max. Power Consumption||33W or less (Energy Saving Mode: 3.7W or less)|
|Warranty||Six-Year Advanced Exchange|
|Scanner Device Driver||ISIS, TWAIN|
|Speed / monthly volume|
|Print speed, black (normal quality mode)||Up to 31 ppm|
|Print speed, black (best quality mode)||Up to 31 ppm|
|Print speed, color (normal quality mode)||Up to 31 ppm|
|Print speed, color (best quality mode)||Up to 31 ppm|
|First page out, black||Less than 10 sec|
|First page out, color||Less than 10 sec|
|Processor speed||533 MHz|
|Recommended monthly volume, maximum||Up to 100000|
|Print quality / technology|
|Print quality, black||Up to 600 x 600 dpi|
|Print quality, color||Up to 600 x 600 dpi|
|Paper handling / media|
|Paper trays, max.||6|
|Input capacity, max.||Up to 2600|
|Standard envelope capacity||Up to 20|
|Media sizes, std.||Letter, legal, statement, executive, envelopes (No. 10, Monarch)|
|Media sizes, custom||Multipurpose tray: 3 x 5 to 8.5 x 14 in; 500-sheet input trays: 5.8 x 8.3 to 8.5 x 14 in|
|Media weight, recommended||Multipurpose tray: 16 to 58 lb bond; 500-sheet input trays: 16 to 32 lb bond|
|Media types||Multipurpose tray: paper (plain, glossy, colored, preprinted, letterhead, recycled, HP tough and high-gloss laser), envelopes, transparencies, labels, cardstock; 500-sheet input trays: paper (plain, glossy, colored, preprinted, letterhead, recycled, HP tough and high-gloss laser), transparencies, labels|
|Memory / print languages|
|Memory, max.||544 MB (512 MB DDR SDRAM, 32 MB Flash memory on the formatter)|
|Memory slots||Two 200-pin DDR DIMM slots, two Flash memory card slots|
|Print languages, std.||HP PCL 6, HP PCL 5c, HP PostScript Level 3 emulation, HP-GL/2|
|Typefaces||93 internal TrueType fonts scalable in HP PCL and HP Postscript Level 3 emulation; additional font solutions available via Flash memory|
|Connectivity, std.||IEEE 1284C-compliant bidirectional parallel port, USB 2.0 Hi-Speed port (compatible with USB 2.0 specifications), 2 open EIO slots, foreign interface port, accessory port for third-party solutions|
|Connectivity, opt.||HP Jetdirect internal and external print servers, HP wireless print servers, Bluetooth wireless printer adapter|
|Dimensions / weight / warranty|
|Dimensions (w x d x h)||20.5 x 37.4 x 22.9 in (with paper tray extended)|
|Warranty, std.||One-year, next-day, onsite warranty|