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Midsouth Chamber of Commerce (a) Case Study

1. Describe the mistakes that the chamber has made since the implementation of the Unitrak software – since the Midsouth Chamber of Commerce (A) case study. A. Prior to the implementation of Unitrak, Lassiter thought Unitrak had the software capabilities of help MSCC’s information system problems. Lassiter allowed the lack of “time” to be the guiding factor concerning the decision making of adapting the system. He, alone, was not qualified to make the best determination to adopt the Unitrak system. i.

Wilson, Kovecki, and outside consultants should have reviewed and compared the software capabilities of the Unitrak system to MSCC’s needs. The involvement of key IT personnel should have been involved in the needs for the information system. There was not enough buy in and acceptance from MSCC personnel. Key employees were not part of the decision-making. Lassiter should have waited for a complete evaluation of the software before suggesting to management that it was the best software package. B. Wilson only observed the demonstration for 45 minutes of the 3-hour presentation by Unitrak.

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He was not vested in the decision-making. Kovecki was not convinced that it was the correct tool for MSCC. He expressed his concerns because MSCC staff would have uncontrolled access to unnecessary data. Lassiter disregarded concerns and pursued approval from the board of directors. i. Input by end users and people with IT knowledge should have been seriously considered by Lassiter as end users would be the ones most frustrated with difficulties of the system. C. MSCC only talked to one client of DMA and was not given a positive review of the DMA system and the company itself.

Also, only one individual, Gramen, was left to choose who would recieve the business once the decision was handed down to change to the RS/6000 system. This lead to the selection of DMA as Gramen simply fed his friend, who worked for the IBM selected VAR, his opinion of the system instead of perfomring a comprehensive analysis of MSCC’s needs. i. When contemplating such a large information system change, one should contact many references to determine that the company has the best interest of the client in mind. After receiving a negative reference,

Lassiter should have asked for more referenced from DMA and contacted those clients as well. Other clients were not contacted until many months later and in return MSCC found out that these other clients also had troubles with DMA, including one client in litigation with DMA. D. A legal attorney that specialized in IT systems did not review the contract. The contract was not even read by Gramen and Wallingford before Wallingford signed it. i. One should never sign a contract without a qualified person looking out for the best interest of the company. The contract did not protect MSCC.

There were no standards set, or rollout timetable agreed upon. DMA placed verbage favorable to them in regards to support costs, service fees, and the rights to the source code. E. After the implementation of the Unitrak system, the training was scheduled before the data migration was completed two months later. The employees had forgotten what they learned in the training sessions. Less than 15% of the data was transferred to the PC’s and the PC’s were inoperable. It was difficult to perform basic procedures such as word processing, payment of invoice posting, and data changes, to name a few of the problems with the system. . Testing should have been performed before rushing into total data migration. As part of the rollout, training should have not been performed until the system was ready for deployment. Training is more effective when the fundimentals can be readily applied. F. Kovecki was not keeping Lassiter informed of the progress toward correcting the problems. The system had limitations and when one problem was corrected, another occurred in the relational database management system. G. Unitrak management decided to move its software to a Windows-based environment away from the Unitrak environment.

This change eliminated the technical support for MSCC which was needed because employees of MSCC did not have the technical knowledge needed. H. Kovecki resigned from MSCC in September 2000. His replacement, Gramen, had no experience working with the current system and MSCC. One month on the job, Gramen’s solution was to change the Unitrak system to the RS/6000, because of his lack of experience and lack of desire to learn the current system. i. With employee changes, one must make sure that a full report of the current information system is presented to the new employee.

This will ensure that new employee has the information he/she needs to administer the new system. It should also be necessary to understand the environment that the new hire is coming from, their experience, and how that relates to the job at hand. Had the MSCC known of the differences between the AS/400 platform and the RS/6000, chances are Gramen may never have been hired. 2. How would you evaluate the job that Niele has already performed? So far, Niele has done an acceptable job in identifying the key problems for MSCC and understands that the decisions to be made will be difficult and painful.

She has also already begun the analysis for potential software solutions in the event the DMA solution is scrapped by researching various software packages and forming committees of employees to evaluate shortcomings in the current system and a “wish list” for a new, or complete system. Niele still could use some work on the relationship with DMA, but this may already be out of her control. 3. In what ways does the contract cause problems for the MSCC? There are many problems with the contact.

After consulting with an attorney specializing in computer software contracts, MSCC found that situation was far worse than MSCC first imagined. The contract did not contain any of the assurances that Lassiter and Gramen were given verbally. It also gave DMA the right to increase the price of services and products at its discretion, while limiting DMA’s financial and performance liabilities. The contract also stated that half of the cost of the new system was to be paid as a down payment and the rest of the cost to be paid upon acceptance of the satisfaction of the installation of each individual module.

Even though the acceptance certificates were not signed, MSCC had paid for the system in full, in effect, accepting satisfaction of the system and leaving MSCC with no recourse. 4. What should Niele do now? Niele needs to continue with her ad hoc committees to figure out what is best for MSCC. By acknowledging that she needs the help of these committees, Niele understands that this is a bigger problem than one person can handle. She needs to continue trying to repair the relationship with DMA so that MSCC may eventually get the source code or the technical support that MSCC needs to get this information system up and running successfully.

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