Question

Wong Engineering Corp (WEC) operates in 25 states and three countries. WEC faced a crucial decision: choosing network software that would maximize functionality, manageability, and end-user acceptance of the system. WEC developed and followed a four-step approach:
Step 1. Develop evaluation criteria. WEC organized a committee that interviewed users and developed the following evaluation criteria:
• Ease of use
• Scope of vendor support
• Ease of network management and administration
• Cost, speed, and performance
• Ability to access other computing platforms
• Security and control
• Fault tolerance and recovery abilities
• Ability to connect workstations to the network
• Global naming services
• Upgrade and enhancement options
• Vendor stability
WEC organized the criteria into the following four categories and prioritized them. Criteria vital to short-term and long-term business goals were given a 5.
“Wish list” criteria were weighted a 3. Inapplicable criteria were given a 1.
1. Business criteria: overall business, economic, and competitive issues
2. Operational criteria: tactical issues and operating characteristics
3. Organizational criteria: networks’ impact on the information systems structure
4. Technical criteria: hardware, software, and communications issues
Step 2.  Define the operating environment. Several data-gathering techniques were used to collect information from which an information systems model was developed. The model revealed the need to share accounting, sales, marketing, and engineering data at three organizational levels: district, division, and home office. District offices needed access to centralized financial information to handle payroll. WEC needed a distributed network that allowed users throughout the organization to access company data.
Step 3. Identify operating alternatives. Using the criteria from step 1, committee members evaluated each package and then compared notes during a roundtable discussion.
Step 4. Test the software. The highest-scoring products were tested, and the product that fit the organization’s needs the best was selected.

Required
a. Discuss the committee’s role in the selection process. How should committee members be selected? What are the pros and cons of using a committee to make the selection?
b. What data-gathering techniques could WEC use to assess user needs? To select a vendor?
c. What is the benefit of analyzing the operating environment before selecting the software? What data-gathering techniques help a company understand the operating environment?
d. In selecting a system using the point-scoring method, how should the committee resolve scoring disputes? List at least two methods.
e. Should a purchase decision be made on the point-scoring process alone? What other procedure(s) should the committee employ in making the final selection?



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  • CreatedDecember 19, 2014
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