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By trinacham ·
I am curently doing cert 3 in IT, I need to answer the following question (any help would be greatly appreciated):
You are the manager of a small building company with 5 full time employees and a varying nuber of contrctors, depending on the jobs being done.With the introduction of the GST, you decide that it is time your company computerised. You need to assess the hardware, software and networking options. Put together three different scenarios to show your accountant in order to discuss financial commitment to the computerisation.You have in mind to spend no more than $150,000, but preferably less than that. your report should show a detailed costing of each scenario which considers hardware, software, training, installation cost and maintenance fees for a 3 year period.

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by Oldefar In reply to Computerisation

An interesting question. Not being an Australian, I don't know what GST impacts beyond payroll for the employees and contractors.

Are you really looking for adding technology to the building company business, or just technology to the accountingaspects?

Regardless, start with a set of business objectives. Use this to develop the business requirements (such as specific GST reporting and cost parameters). The technical objectives will come from the business requirements, and the actual technical requirements and solutions will flow from there.

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additional information

by trinacham In reply to Scenarios

For the purpose of the excercise, I am assuming that the business doesn't have any computers at all, and that the 5 employees are as follows:
Oversees all the work in the business
Sales Rep
Completes quotations for customers, ensures contracts are signed with customers, and is the liaison point for customers whilst work is being undertaken.
Completes the plans for houses and buildings using a computer-aided drafting package (CAD).
Answers the phone and prepares letters and contracts for sales staff and the manager

Accounts and Payroll clerk
Maintains the accounts receivable, accounts payable and the payroll.
(so that I can work out software requirements)
any help with this would be greatly appreciated,
Thank you Oldefar

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Here you go

by Deadly Ernest In reply to additional information

You should be able to do this from yor class wrokbooks. But here is the infor, you will need to cost locally.

Best hardware solution would be a basic PC for each member of staff (buy from you get 3year warrantee - buy from me you get the same but a tech who visits instead of sending back to them); one very decent PC as a file server etc; Cat5 or Cat5e NICs (cat5e is better but dearer), a switch to suit; cabling as needed; and an ADSL connection with a multiport router. thiswould give a basic peer-to-peer arrangement with server services for the major corporate stuff (best way for a small business).

Software wise your will need something like Attache or MYOB for the accounting with MS WinXP Pro and MS Office 2000 (or Corel Office with Linux). Using a recent version of accounting software resolves the entire GST issue.

Using the ADSL allows you to share e-mail and Internet access whilst using the basic firewall capabilities within the ADSL router (most will also be a DNS server for you) and Network Address Transaltion.

What college are you at, I did something similar for one of my IT Certs at the Canberra Institute of Technology last year. You can contact me by e-mail on if youwant furtehr help.

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Business Objectives

by Oldefar In reply to additional information

I see 3 possible valid business objectives in the most generic approach. Real life is of course a lot more complex.

First, automating existing processes required to support additional work coming in.

Second, automating existing processes required to reduce costs (permanent staff).

Third, and most likely, a hybrid of the first two.

Since we don't have real facts supporting any objective, you can tackle the class work from any or all objectives.

What you provided is a start on business requirements to deal with. You need to think in terms of the 5 employee work product, and the risks associated with introducing technology.

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Business Requirement

by Oldefar In reply to additional information

The next step is to outline a work flow. I recommend a flow from finding a new client to completing work, issuing invoices, and posting receipt of payment.

The trick is to focus on the what, not the who. For a cost saving business objective, certain tasks may be moved to other functions via technology, allowing a position to be eliminated. I can envision elimination of the receptionist and outsourcing the accounting via technology. Likewise, technology may allow an increase in task quantity without an increase in staffing for a growing business.

CAD is not board drafting. Don't overlook the value of the master drawings. How will these be converted to CAD? What sort of file structure will be used? Also, masters are done on linen paper with india ink. Mylars are made of the masters and updated with razor blade and pencil. Blueprints are made from the mylars. Going to CAD means different skills, and use of a plotter for the blueprint master.

Think hard on data capture. The info used by sales can be used by the quote sheet, contract, and invoicing as well if a database stores it. This means looking at how various applications interface with databases.

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BR and technical objectives

by Oldefar In reply to additional information

I started slipping into the technical objectives in the BR post, and dropped a business requirement.

Your study business has no computers today, so I have to assume limited comfort with computers. If using the computer is work to the users, it defeats the gain. So the requirement is a user friendly interface. This may inlude stylus input versus keyboard or even voice recognition software.

Back to tech objectives -
shared data for client info
support for blueprints
off site data backups
security (a door lock and locked files may no longer suffice)

Add to this whatever the contractors may use in terms of automated systems - there may be gains if they can receive their marching orders electronically, and also get paid for their work without a check being printed and mailed. This would drive a network requirement.

Seems to me you might have a need for:
PC for manager (maybe a PDA as well?)
PC for sales
PC for receptionist
CAD system with plotter
Office printer
File server
Data backup
and maybe network connectivity. VPN is preferred for multiple contractor connections.

Pick your applications and OS after you have a workflow diagram. All aspects should link to specific tasks or they are unneccessary.

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