1. After analysing the two businesses, Talking Software produced a report for Cleverbox. Read the Executive Summary below and match sentences 1-6 with sections i)—iv)c of the summary.
e.g. Two different apps are used to maintain the same function. iv)a
Cleverbox Software: Problems & Options
Talking Software carried out an analysis on the IT estates of the two businesses and the high level summary is as follows:
Problems: Talking Software has noted that:
i) The IT Infrastructure of the two businesses requires consolidation into a single data centre and database. There is an opportunity to reduce cost through server consolidation. Communications infrastructure is compatible (MPLS based) but will require some capacity increases on certain links to ensure the end users’ experience of using the applications is
ii) Server Operating Systems are incompatible being Windows and Linux. Desktop Operating Systems are also a problem because Windows and Mac OS are used.
iii) Software Licences: all departments have been purchasing their own licences and there are lots of agreements with lots of vendors and no volume discounts. There are no coordinated upgrades leaving some users and departments without the software functionality they need. This is all leading to high numbers of calls to the IT Helpdesk and significant training costs.
iv) At a departmental level there are the following issues:
a) Human Resources: Cleverbox uses HR Pro as its HR application in real time, whilst Smart Route runs their HR activities using Microsoft Excel updated monthly.
b) Finance: Cleverbox Finance is struggling to integrate with your own HR, Sales and Procurement applications due to different data formats and scheduling. This is leading to delays in Payroll for your own staff, late billing to your clients and late invoice payments to suppliers. Smart Route uses the Sage Release 2.0 which you will not be able to integrate to.
c) Manufacturing: Cleverbox uses a self developed application that integrates well within the business but will be completely incompatible with Smart Route. Although it is integrated, the functionality is limited and it provides very little management information.
Options: Given the observations above we believe the options for Clever–pox management are to:
1 Invest in Smart Route to change their operating system and replace their applications to mirror Cleverbox. A second stage would then consolidate the information of both businesses into a single database. This solution will support your business for the next three years. The cost of Option 1 will be one year’s profit and it will take two years to execute.
2 Scrap all the legacy software in both businesses and invest in an off-the-shelf ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. This will provide a common database and synchronized data across the combined business. Modular software applications for each department allow every department to store and retrieve standardized data in real-time. This option is future proof. Option 2 will cost two years of profit and take one year to implement and will support your business for seven years.
2. Read sections i) to iv) again. Find words or phrases that mean:
3. Use some of the words from exercise 2 to complete sentences 1-5.
4. Look at the two options in the summary. Put these notes on each option into the correct column.
5. You see that the text doesn’t contain any recommendations. I want you to write a couple of sentences with recommendations for Cleverbox based on their problems and the options suggested. Remember to mention which of the options would be better, why, and express your personal opinion on how the company will benefit from it.
P.S. If you don’t do this part, I might think that you gave up on your homework or didn’t do it at all, so better write at least something. 🙂