Susan, president of MOTO, Inc., a human resources management firm, is reflecting on the client management software system her organization purchased four years ago. At that time, the firm had just gone through a major growth spurt, and the mixture of automated and manual procedures that had been used to manage client accounts became unwieldy. Susan and Nancy, her IS department head, researched and selected the package that is currently used. Susan had heard about the software at a professional conference she attended, and at least initially, it worked fairly well for the firm. Some of their procedures had to change to fit the package, but they expected that and were prepared for it.
Since that time, MOTO, Inc. has continued to grow, not only through an expansion of the client base, but through the acquisition of several smaller employmentrelated businesses. MOTO, Inc. is a much different business than it was four years ago. Along with expanding to offer more diversified human resource management services, the firm's support staff has also expanded. Susan and Nancy are particularly proud of the IS department they have built up over the years.
Using strong ties with a local university, an attractive compensation package, and a good working environment, the IS department is well staffed with competent, innovative people, plus a steady stream of college interns keeps the department fresh and lively. One of the IS teams pioneered the use of the Internet to offer MOTO's services to a whole new market segment, an experiment that has proven very successful.
It seems clear that a major change is needed in the client management software, and Susan has already begun to plan financially to undertake such a project.
This software is a central part of MOTO's operations, and Susan wants to be sure that a quality system is obtained this time. She knows that the vendor of their current system has made some revisions and additions to its product line. There are also a number of other software vendors who offer products that may be suitable. Some of these vendors did not exist when the purchase was made four years ago. Susan is also considering Nancy's suggestion that the IS department develop a custom software application.
a. Outline the issues that Susan should consider which would support the development of a custom software application in-house.
b. Outline the issues that Susan should consider which would support the purchase of a software package.
c. Within the context of a systems development project, when should the decision of "make versus buy" be made? How should Susan proceed? Explain your answer.