ITMG 350 IT Infrastructure Written Assignment (must be submitted in both electronic [e-mail] and paper copy]
This assignment is "modeled after" the case assignment “Improving Decision Making Using a Spreadsheet to Evaluate Hardware and Software Options’ listed at the end of Chapter Five in the Laudon book (pages 196-199). Your task is to provide a proposal for a small business company (referenced in class as Marshall Insurance Agency). Your proposal should be in both a numerical and written assessment including recommendations. The best formats would include an introductory memo, followed by explanation of challenge, solution proposals supported by numerical analysis (conducted in excel), and ending with a conclusion that not only highlight benefits but includes an estimate timeline for implementation.
Similar to the case assignment the Marshall Insurance Agency has 30 employees, however, it was discussed in class that perhaps a computer for each individual may not be necessary You could instead consider that there was an office staff of 5 individuals with 20 other sales people. One solution could be to have 20 laptops and 5 desktops with 2 to 5 servers. Or perhaps some sales personnel could share laptops or use a different type of technology (iPad, smart phone).
It is also important to consider the business environment when creating your configuration proposal. For example the insurance agency deals with a large amount of data such as customer history, customer billing as well as dealing with different types of insurance (auto, home, life, boats, and motorcycles). In addition because the agency is dealing with some very sensitive personal information hence security issues also need to be addressed.
The IT Infrastructure Ecosystem (Figure 5-12) could also be important to consider in your planning process.
Naturally, your first step would be to consider your operating system and hardware platforms. However in your decision analysis you should be aware of potential conflicts with some of the other areas specifically the networking, data management, and Internet platforms. It is recommended that you solution allow the company flexible to work with multiple vendor solutions in the future.
The case assignment in the book mentions pricing for 15 printers. This could be overkill and as such you may decide that not that many printers are necessary. You are also directed to investigate what software is necessary and how many licenses are needed. One of the main components is to start with your own perception of the business and to provide an adequate solution. This can range from very simple to very extravagant, but what is most important is how you explain and justify your decisions and proposal.
Another important item to include is the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The table (5-4) provides an excellent framework to start with. It is recognized that in many of the components some form of estimating and assumptions will need to be utilized. For example use either your own experience or cite from the web to determine how long it would talk to install computers and software. You can also come up with your own solutions for training, support, and maintenance (i.e. either in house or outsourcing). While you don’t have to consider the ‘space and energy’ costs you will need to consider downtime costs again here is another estimate. One suggestion is to just take the installation time and convert it into days.
Some other suggestions for assignment completion.
1. Start with identifying and analyzing the business model to determine hardware and software needs.
2. Identify and evaluate possible vendor solutions.
3. Calculate total hardware and software costs.
4. Estimate and calculate other IT infrastructure costs.
5. Prepare Total Cost of Ownership table in summary form.
6. For the final submission it is recommended that you start off with a brief introduction of the assignment task (or at least your understanding) with the total cost of ownership of your solution and intended benefits. Then your discussion should be an organized description of assumptions and choices that led to your final analysis. This could also include a more specific breakdown of your TCO choices, i.e. a more detailed description of hardware types and software licenses. Lastly, your conclusion should be a reinforcement of your analyses/recommendations as well as providing the client a solid understanding of all expectations (time, cost, etc).