Overview of the Case
The Jefferson County School System (JCSS) has more than 10,000 students in its schools. It also serves the diverse community composed of a county seat of about 80,000 with the substantial community, the major state university and the rural area surrounding. In JCSS the administrative computing started in the early 1970s and these computers were used for scheduling, reporting grades and keeping the students enrollment data. A DEC PDP 11/34 COMPUTER was purchased in 1976 and it was then possible to convert the student management applications from the university computer. For the few years that followed, more student management applications were developed and also financial applications were added. There have been a lot of changes in the JCSS technical architecture and they even had personal computers connected to the system through a high speed TCP/IP network and four Dell servers operating under UNIX. A task force of administrators was made to evaluate the JCSS systems and it recommended the buying of new software and the new systems should be integrated. A committee was made to select the system to use and it selected Data Systems Inc (DSI). The cost of ownership with DSI included the software purchase price, installation, training and five years of maintenance and support. DSI system was then installed, but the students and teachers at JCSS are experiencing problems in using it.
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During the implementation process DSI experienced difficulties with the financial systems and also major problems in installing and using the student management systems. The also provided a training which was rushed and was therefore not effective. It also took the students and the teacher long to understand how to use the DSI system. In case of a problem with the DSI system, they have to wait for two or three days in order to get it fixed since DSI firm is located in Virginia.
The DSI system can be upgraded by people from that firm and push them to provide an effective training for the teachers and the students on how to use the upgraded system. However, the best option is changing the system by purchasing a new one.
Rationale for Selecting the Best Alternative
The system should be simple to use and should have the capability of keeping and maintaining vital information for a very long time. It should be highly flexible in its use and configured for the users thereby making it quick and easy to access information accurately. It should also have a high level of security and data protection. With the system you should be able to enter student tests, assessment scores and grade them, track student attendance, build and manage schedules for the students and many other student related needs. The system should be integrated so that the faculties, the students and even the parents can share the vital information of the students’ academic activities (Double First, 2009). The system provider should be able to provide an effective training to students and the teachers. Following the above qualities, JCSS will be able to get the best system for the institution which will solve the problems experienced with DSI system.
Implementation Process and Reactions to the System
The selected system should be installed on the JCSS servers by its technical experts. They should ensure that the financial and the student management systems are fully installed in the new system and are working properly. During the installation process, they should take their time in order to avoid making errors. The firm should also be available in case of any problems with their system and their response should be quick enough, not taking days to respond. With this implementation the system should react properly and to the satisfaction of the JCSS.
Summary with Recommendations for Improving the Process
With the new system in place, problems will be minimal and if they occur they will be solved quickly and with ease. Another option to getting the best system is searching for a good consulting firm. A committee will be required to evaluate the consulting firm. However, this committee should first identify the objectives and the budget of the institution before searching for the best and affordable consultant firm. It should write down these objectives, and give the project description to the selected consultant. A good way to find the firm with a track record of providing quality service for its clients is by asking other people. The committee can contact professional organization or other similar institutions and ask for firms that have provided them with quality service. They can also scan industrial publications for articles related to their project. They should then narrow down to a small list of potential firms. Then interview at least three consultant firms before making their choice. The consultant they choose should be able to do the work efficiently and cost effectively and also offer innovative solutions to their problems. The chosen consultant firm should have worked with similar institution as JCSS and with similar problems.
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Double First management information systems (2009). Engage your school. Retrieved on May 4, 2009 from http://www.doublefirst.com/engage.asp?clid=CJvw_76wopoCFRC Zwoduxhn-Q
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