Developing and evolving technological systems means many companies are now looking to replace their current computer system with a more advanced system that is easier to operate. Businesses are always looking to improve their efficiency, and one of the best ways to do this is by introducing effective computer systems, which companies can rely upon to help them with the day to day running of the business. Virtually all businesses have some sort of technology, whether it be a simple customer database to a complete stock system, depending on the type and size of the business. Ever our small local shops will have some sort of computer system to monitor their stock.
In our week 5 lecture, we looked at how crucial computer systems were to businesses and how important it was for a system to operate properly in order to have the desired effects. ‘The prospect of buying a small business computer system poses various traps’ [Freeman, 1980]. In the lecture, we found out why this was, analysing a case study of a book business called Craven Books, which had adopted a new computer system in order to help deal with an increasing customer base and growing demand. However, their budget was not sufficient to have a new system built from scratch, so a system from another company was taken and adapted to suit Craven Books’ needs. It can often be tempting for businesses to get their systems for the cheapest cost, but this can be very risky [Danian, 2015].
The new system at Craven Books did not work as planned however – staff did not understand how to use it, it was not counting stock correctly, and customers were being sent the wrong books. This was because, despite the system being designed to make life easier for the business by using advanced new technology, it simply was not appropriate for the business. The old system was much more basic, but it worked for their needs, and when they tried to upgrade to a more advanced system, the business did not operate efficiently at all, and eventually was closed down.
The valuable lesson learnt from this case study is that, irrespective of how advanced or clever the computer system is, it needs to be appropriate for the business, otherwise it is not helpful at all. Take our small local shops for example, they probably use basic systems to monitor their stock count, which works well for them, but it would be useless for a larger business and vice versa. We discussed in the lecture about how problems like we saw with Craven Books could be avoided. One of the crucial mistakes Craven Books made was swapping their system over without any form of testing or phasing in. If they would have piloted or phased in the new system gradually rather than implementing it all at once, they may have realised that there were significant flaws and that it would not work for the business. Instead, they simply scrapped the old system and implemented the new one.
I now understand a great deal more about just how critical computer systems are to the successful operation of a business and how detrimental it can be to a business to have an unsuitable system installed. I think that as computer systems continue to develop and have more influence on businesses, it is important for companies to know exactly what they require and have a purpose built system implemented for them. Why not share your experiences of computer systems with me below?
Danian, D (2015). 9 tips for purchasing computer systems for small business (online). Retrieved from http://www.powersolution.com/9-tips-for-purchasing-computer-systems-for-small-business/
Freeman, J (1980). A practical guide to Small Business Computer Systems