Monroe College is a fast expanding college offering different academic modules to different categories of students. With this expansion comes the need to have a well structured IT department that will be instrumental in promoting excellence in the institution. This paper aims at coming up with a plan that will be used when creating the new department. A feasibility study has been conducted to determine its suitability and effectiveness of the department in question.
1.1 Feasibility study
IT services are essential for every running of an organization. The need for IT services cannot be overlooked (Anderson 17). At New Monroe College, the importance of the presence of IT department is paramount. Different departments like the arts, engineering and social sciences need the same services. Previously, these departments have been incurring a lot of expenses engaging out sourcing staff for the management of their IT infrastructure. Lecturers needed to teach in these departments, have cost a huge fortune. It is with no doubt that teaching aid like projectors need to be operated by experts, who are not available to engage in those activities.
These problems have posed a lot of setbacks to the organization in trying to meet its objectives. IT department therefore would provide more benefits to the college in terms of both technical services and academic services. The availability of high demand for IT services makes it a feasible ventures that when undertaken would result in more benefits to the stakeholders. In addition there is existing man power that can be employed to service the department. With the current transformation in the technological aspects in the world, laxity cannot be afforded as regard to adoption of strategic IT planning and implementation. Having a well equipped IT department introduces relevance to the college in the realization of automation of its services. Automation of services improves service delivery. The same can only be achieved by having a well structured IT department (Kennewell and Tanner 87).
1.2 How to create IT department
Having understood the need for an IT department in the institution, a procedure for creation of the same has to be developed. The first thing is to have the required staff in place. The need for staff is important in the sense that the implementation of the procedure that will be carried out will be their responsibility (Phil 219). The structure of how the same department would be run is important. Therefore below is a departmental chart showing the department structure.
Organizational structure of IT Department
The above departments will be instrumental in the delivery of services to the entire college. Under the leadership of the director, all units will work in harmony toward achievement of the same goal. Before purchase and development of laboratories and work station, staff will be needed in all the departments so that they could offer expert advice during implementation.
1. Purchase and procurement of IT equipment and material
The available laboratories need to be renovated to meet the IT laboratory standards as set by the ACS (Anderson 201). With the limited budget of only $125, 000, proper renovations need to be done at a cheap cost. There is need for expansion of windows to ensure efficient light entering the laboratory and free air circulation. Comfortable chairs and computer tables should also be acquired. To reduce the cost of the same, a proposition is made that the school tables and chairs to be ordered from the school of arts and engineering. There is an immediate need to acquire fifty chairs to go in line with the fifty computers to be acquired.
Fast and effective computers should be purchased. The rising need to quick Internet computational services by the users necessitated the recommendation of machines with a minimum of 160 GB hard drive, at least 1GB memory, 2.6 GHz Intel Core with 2 processors. Due to the need to allow easy visibility a 17-inch display with pixel of 1650 by 1050 resolution is needed (Peltier 471).
The type of PCs to be purchased needed to be considered carefully. A comparison between two giant market dominants was done; Mac and Windows PC. It was realized that windows machines is the biggest target of malware and viruses. Though Macs are a target too by the same, the intensity and frequency of attack is normally lower as compared to the former. Virus creators develop viruses that target a larger number of machines and due to the large market offered by windows, thousands of viruses are created daily. Windows PCS have found much infiltration in the market; due to that, there has been constant improvement in its functionality. It offered informative feedback for any crash or problem developed. Mac PC, however, does not offer efficient informative feedback like windows does. In most cases, most crashes are unexplainable. It is therefore hard for users using Mac to diagnose and repair their systems. (Peltier 176). Though Mac comes with a lot of physical attractiveness and beauty, the variety of machines available in the market are few. Windows, on the other hand, offer a variety of choices with a variety of acquisition prices. In addition, most software applications are tailor-made for windows, therefore giving it the advantage of compatibility flexibility. It is therefore recommended that windows machines be purchased due the advantages it brings to the table.
2. Software acquisition
A study was done to establish the best software to be used in the set up. Because a recommendation was made to the effect that windows systems be used, it is also important that windows operating system be used in some machines for teaching purposes. The advantage that is associated with this operating system is its ability to offer frequent updates (Peltier 98). It also offers ready technical support in case of a problem, not forgetting the fact that most applications run on windows environment. Most of the intended users of these systems are well conversant with windows environment, therefore introduction of different unfamiliar platform would mean extra training which will translate to extra cost to the department.
Open source operating systems like Linux are gaining momentum now days. It is with no doubt that the best software to be used today is the open source. Linux offers a plat form that is free of malware. This advantage alone reduces the cost of maintenance in terms of purchase of anti viruses and updates (Peltier 118). While that was realized, it was also realized that the advantage of no cost of acquisition is a beneficial factor especially given the low budget of $125, 000 in use. The same open source software will provide a good opportunity for students to learn since it offers the ability to modify code and restructure it to suit ones needs.
Because both software offer various advantages, it is recommended that office machines run on Windows platform while those used for teaching purposes run on Linux platform. Other software that is to be used in should be open source in as much as possible. Though some needed software might be closed software, an exception should be made so that they could be acquired.
3. Maintenance and servicing
As shown on the departmental structure chart, there is a unit that is established so as to be in charge of servicing and maintenance of systems. The help desk and maintenance unit will be charged with day-to-day monitoring of the systems. This will ensure proper backup of software is done as well as having the necessary software running on the systems.
For effective running of the department, it is recommended that adequate staff be employed in order to meet the demand for services needed. The same staff also will be instrumental in the implementation of the new department policies and objectives. Furthermore, a recommendation is made to the effect that the budget allocated to the department be increased in order to purchase more systems still needed like the servers and networking devices.
One of the recommendations that I would suggest that should be done in the creation process of the information technology department is that of consultancy. There should be more consultancy services in the creation. As the IT department is a crucial department in the organization, there is the need to have one with optimal operations. It should not be too complicated so that it is difficult to operate, nor too simple as so that simple security measures are overlooked, it should be simple and yet not vulnerable to threats.
I also recommend that established companies should be surveyed so that they are evaluated and probably get the best out of them. This way, the best will be sought from the other companies.
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Pakroo, Phil. The small business start-up kit. California. CA: Nolo, 2010. Print
Peltier, Torres. Information Security Policies, Procedures, and Standards: Guidelines for effective information security management. Boca Raton, FL: Auerbach publications, 2002.print.
Steve, Kennewell and Howard, Tanner. Developing the ICT capable school.New York NY: Routledge, 2000. Print.