As with any other business entity within the current global business world, the need to remain relevant in the market has been shifted from just developing strategic plan. Today, business is more about adopting the emerging technologies in a bid to improve service delivery and customer satisfaction. At Widget Manufacturing Company (WMC), it has become necessary that the company adopts a paradigm shift in operations (Knutson, 2001). The manual methods of management and processing are turning out to be a big inconvenience for businesses and the earlier they are shed off, the better. However, any transition plan has its risks. The magnitude is great when the manual systems have to completely overhauled and replaced by a new set of automated systems (Kock, 2007). This issue requires caution. For one, the company must develop a transition plan agreed upon by all workforce and stakeholders so as to reduce the resistance on the new systems which would compromise business operations. The comprehensive plan must be built to reflect the time, cost and efficiency feasibility of the system at both transition and implementation to avoid such risks.
The report will thus cover a wide area of the transition plan, to determine the costs of implementation while setting up the strategies that will seek to minimize the losses associated with adoption automated systems. The report also covers a great deal of the optimization of internet within WMC in operations. The target is to ensure full optimization of internet and new technologies to reduce production costs, human resource management overheads as well as accounting complexities (Davenport, 1998). WMC has three major targets as of now. These include the automation of the human resource management department, the automation of the Accounting Department and the utilization of the Internet in its business operations. The implementation is to be done in such a way as to ensure that all other business operations and entities/ departments are incorporated with no compromise in the ability to function effectively.
The implementation evaluation plan will cover a number of issues under each department these include systems development, training of staff, licensing, local network, digitization of data, purchase of hardware, systems maintenance, and an overall look up at systems testing.
The system development
This accounting department acts as the custodian of the financial database of the company. Thus, its designing will require a high level of expertise and skill to ensure highly secure systems. The sensitivity of data in this department means that the systems must be kept secure and free from unauthorized access. Achieving this means having a delegated allocation of duties within this department. The system must thus support delegation through creating a set of access levels depending on the duties of each staff member or systems user (Knutson, 2001). The system design process will cost $5, 5000 which is a fair value considering the logical and arithmetic complexities of at this level as well the security mechanisms involved. Due to its connection to all other departments, the systems design will ensure an expandable module and thus explains the costs associated with this process. Formulating a design that will accommodate change in the future across all platforms requires a high level of expertise which WMC must be ready to cater for the cost (Kock, 2007).
On the other hand, the Human Resource department will require an equally secure system as it will hold much of the information related to the employees. The module design here is not complicated as it requires a low level of arithmetic complexity. However, the design will accommodate systematic supervision of the department as well as delegation through creating access levels for each user depending on their role within the company (Davenport, 1998). The design process will cost $4, 000, a fair value in relation to the adherence to specifications and quality of the final product.
Training of staff
This is a crucial component of the automation process. For one, the efficacy at this stage will determine the time it will take WMC to realize the real value of the new systems. Thus, all efforts must be placed at this level. If the staff is not well versed with the systems, there is a high chance that they will be able to optimize the systems in the early days of operation. This could cost the company a large sum of revenue. The human resources department is endowed with a large base of staff and the operations in this department determine the level of output for other departments and WMC in general. Thus, it is worth that the company invests $10,000 in this process. From this amount, $2,500 should be dedicated to training the staff on the design so that they have a clear view of the systems. The remaining amount should be directed to training after implementation.
The Accounting department has a smaller number of staff and the most critical aspect to consider in their training is the adherence to security of the systems. Database operations and logic flow of data should be part of the information that is imparted to the staff in this department. With a clear picture of the logic flow, though not at expertise level, WMC will negate the probabilities of systems crash due to invalid operations (Knutson, 2001). This department will require a new member with a high level of systems expertise to ensure a smooth transition by offering guidance until a time when the company feels that the staff is sufficiently knowledgeable in optimizing the system. This justifies the $7,000 placed on this activity.
The cost of the software licensing will be $3,500 for each department. This is a standard price for the licensing. The importance of this exercise is to ensure that the manufacturer remains liable to any hitches that may be associated with a compromise in the manufacturing process. On the other hand, it is critical that the company avoids the legal complications that come with the use of unlicensed software. Licensed software will allow the users to utilize all possible functionalities of the systems. Since the software was intended for optimization, there is no need to limit the levels of optimization as a result of licensing avoidance (VMware Inc, 2012).
A vibrant local network is critical for effective communication within the company’s departments. This will require a secure local network port licensed by the service provider. The network topology chosen should reflect the levels of communication and data transfer. In essence, a hybrid topology will be effective because of intra-department and interdepartmental connectivity (Pal & Pantaleo, 2005). This in both the implementing and setting up will cost $2,500 in each of the departments. The network infrastructure will rely on the business policies that govern data sharing within WMC. A further procedure should be the implementation of a Virtual Private Network to reduce chances of data attack from the internet. This should take care of the database as well die to the focus to keep the data on the cloud.
Digitization of data
With the implementation and operation of the automated systems across the departments, the company will have to convert the database into digitalized information. This is to ensure compatibility with the new systems. The human resources department holds a vast amount of data and will cost up to $12,000 while the Accounting department will cost up to $9,000. The conversion to digital data will take a period of about three months and will require outsourcing of labor for the data that will be considered sensitive under the company’s policies on data security. All other data conversion operations deemed sensitive will be handled by the staff within the respective departments (International FAIM Conference, 2013). The cost of data conversion is high due to the need to outsource labor and perform the conversion within the shortest period.
Purchase of Hardware
The two departments will require a hardware platform that will be able to accommodate the overall changes. This will include hardware that will accommodate the database. The requirements for the hardware components will be defined within the systems design requirement specification document. Both the functional and non-functional hardware requirements will cost $7,000 in the HR department. The Accounting department will cost up to $5,000. This difference is due to the extensiveness of the HR department as compared to the accounting department. Considering that the HR department will involve a number of functions among them recruitment, hiring, supervision and retrenchment, the hardware platform must be strong enough to accommodate the volume of data and complexity of software. The cost in each department, however, includes the overall cost of the Local network connectivity but only on the hardware purchase.
One of the core pillars of ensuring reliability and durability of a system over time is keeping at maximum the maintenance techniques. This will involve a written agreement with the software supplier who will be required to revisit the systems frequently to keep them performing at maximum level. On the other hand, the supplier will check on any potential vulnerability especially in the security of networks and data. The maintenance will be governed by a thorough audit of the system by a technician to ascertain its operational efficacy (Kock, 2007). The cost for maintenance in the first phase will cost $5,200 and $4,350 in the HR and Accounting departments respectively. This extensiveness of the HR department accounts for the difference in cost between the departmental maintenance costs.
Below is a graphical representation of the overall costs labeled against each component as well as department. It offers a clue as to where the costs will be maximized. The Work Breakdown Structure of implementation will govern the expenditure over the period of implementation.
The specific costs for items hardware and software requirements
Based on the above figures and analysis, WMC need to have a comprehensive plan heading towards the implementation. To ensure the effectiveness of the system within the first few days of operation, the following recommendations should be adhered to:
Efficacy test: The top management should sit down and evaluate the system in relation to value addition to the company’s chain of supply and demand. While the automation is vital, the suggested systems may not effectively reflect the company’s value addition innovativeness, and this would be a far flung idea as compared to the strategic plan of WMC. This evaluation by the top management should redefine the requirements as well as the budget while involving the other working staff to ensure certainty (Kock, 2007).
Training: as defined in the cost analysis, the cost of training is a way above the other costs. This is in line with the conventional automation procedure. Training, however, is not just at the time of operational or implementation of the systems. The workforce in the departments should be involved early from the definition of requirements, design and testing so that their views as the direct user of the system can be incorporated. This will reduce the resistance to change witnessed on most automation transitions at the workplace as the workers will feel as part of the whole process. Subjecting a system to the workers at implementation brings about a level of dissatisfaction as they do not feel comfortable operating an ‘alien’ entity (International FAIM Conference, 2013).
Reengineering: The transition process is a period between an overhaul of the current process and the introduction of a new set of operations. Thus, it should be handled in such a way that the transition does not compromise the operations of the company. WMC, in this case, should focus on a transition that involves reengineering of the business processes with the new set to ensure continuity (Mohapatra, 2013). Thus, the new system must be able to integrate at transition with the current systems. However, this should be clearly defined within the system requirements.
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