Purchasing and Implementing a Student Management

6 June 2017

Purchasing and Implementing a Student Management System at Jefferson County School System BY dtmi27 Jefferson County School System OCSS) is one of the largest school systems in the US. It provides education for about 10,000 students and consists of fourteen elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools. In 1976, the school system purchased and implemented the DEC PDP 11/34 computer that helped to develop the student management applications, financial applications, and other student management applications.

Today, the JCSS owns four Dell servers running on UNIX nd everything is connected via a high-speed TCP/IP network. All the applications were developed by David Meyer, a director of data processing, and his two programmers. Once the current JCSS superintended of school retired, Dr. Harvey Greene was hired. Dr. Greene wanted to replace the existing build in-house software with a purchased system. Meyer, who didn ‘t agree with this decision leaves the JCSS and being replaced by Carol Andrews, the new Director for Data Processing (Brown, Dehayes, Hoffer, Martin, & Perkins, 2012).

Purchasing and Implementing a Student Management Essay Example

Carol Andrews started with the selection of vendors. She selected fourteen members from different school departments to select a vendor. Together, they created a Request for proposal (RFP) that was sent out to twenty three vendors. Specifically, the RFP consisted based on current system ‘s equipment capabilities and the needs of school. Out of 23 vendors, only 7 sent back their RFP response. After reviewing the responses, the committee selected three vendors that were in line with the original RFP. The three vendors were asked to provide demonstrations to the committee.

After visiting the schools where the current systems were in use, the ecision was made to purchase the software from Data Systems Inc. (DS’) in June 1995 (Brown at al. , 2012). Even though eventually the software was successfully implemented, the analysis of the implementation process is needed to point out several issues and recommendations. First of all, the decision of building in-house JCSS system could have provided several benefits, such as customization, better security, faster patches and fixes, careful control of the process using SDLC approach, and highly structured process.

On the other hand, building own system can lead to very long and costly process, equires management commitment, and does not account for evolving requirements (Brown at al. , 2012). As was learned from the case, JCSS went with purchasing decision which provides several advantages, such as quicker implementation with almost the same functionality than a custom-developed solution by David Mayer. Although, it has one major disadvantage such as the JCSS became more depended on DS’ that could go out of business.

Personally, I noticed that Carol Andrews had a great start with going through the definition phase of the SDLC process that defines ystem needs, identifies potential vendors, and collects enough information for further evaluation (Brown at al. , 2012). Specifically, she started with thorough teasibili ty that assessed economical, technical, and operational (Brown at al. , 2 Next, she prepared requirements, such as accurate specifications about the system input and output, and performance requirements. Everything was detailed. She created a list of packages and established evaluation criteria.

Once the RFP was written, it was distributed to various vendors. When description of software and ackages was submitted back by the vendors, the committee used the point system to evaluate the vendors by functional capabilities, technical requirements, costs, amount and quality of documentation, and vendor’s support. In addition, choosing the right package involved onsite demonstration, references from other users, and site visits. Finally, the JCSS negotiated contract which provided detailed plan for reminder of the SDLC process. Unfortunately, implementation phrase didn’t go very well due to several reasons.

First of all, JCSS was aware that the system is a new web ased technology, but JCSS still processed without proper software testing. In addition, there was no proper testing on a smaller scale with end user participation. What JCSS should have done is to have longer testing by its own IS staff and asked users to test each module of software before assembling them together. In addition, JCSS should have done pilot deployment before the main implementation. Pilot approach would allow installing the system at only one school for a certain time (a year) to fix all the bugs.

Another issue that needs to be addressed is training. The training was short, staff didn ‘t really understand how to use the software due to sophisticated manuals, unknowledgeable DS’ training staff, and lack of any planning. Instead, JCSS should have tried to solve any miscommunications between JCSS and DS’. Specifically, JCSS should have requested better trained DS’ staff, created proper training schedule, allowed paid summer time for staff, and asked for user friendly manuals. Finally, maintenance, the process of making changes to a system after full implantation, was a disaster (Brown at al. 2012). The system had many errors such as glitches and slow response times. In addition, DS’ didn ‘t fully stand to its responsibilities. JCSS needs to hold DS’ responsible for failing on providing major modifications to the system after the problems were identified. In addition, Carol Andrews needs to get more programming help from DS’ to help with varies modifications in the system. In the end, JCSS successfully installed the new system from DS’. Even though Carol Andrews had a good run through definition phase, JSCC had experienced a lot of issues during the implementation phase.

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