ICT: Long Project Analysis – Travel Agency

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My client, Michael Long, owns a travel agency called Lee’s Holidays. This has been a long established business and as business continues to thrive, he is becoming increasingly more disorganised and is constantly losing some of his files, which causes him to lose customers resulting in a loss of money and a decrease in profits. Currently, he uses hand written documents and stores them away in filing cabinets which take up quite a bit of space. This is extremely inefficient as it takes him a long time to pull up files which makes his customers wait.

Furthermore, the files sometimes get lost or misplaced which takes even more time to sort out. This isn’t good as most travel agencies use computers to enable them provide a good service that is fast and efficient. He has a computer, which he doesn’t use much so he has little knowledge with computers therefore, if my solution involves the use of ICT, it will have to be simple to use and user friendly. I have been asked to create a system to make his business easier to administrate. Also, it has to be easy to use so he will be able to use it quickly because he doesn’t know much about computers and often finds it confusing.

One way of solving the problem is making a spreadsheet based on the things the travel agency needs by using a software package. The spreadsheet could include all the customers’ details on one sheet and then all the destinations on another sheet and so on. This would minimise the time taken to book flights because everything is on the computer. The staff wouldn’t need to go looking through the cabinets because everything would be in front of them. However, the spreadsheet wouldn’t be able to run queries to allow the staff to see certain types of information.

For example, if the staff wanted to see destinations in a certain price range, they would have to scroll down and look for it individually. If all the destinations were given in ascending price order, then the staff will just have to scroll down until they reach the minimum price and take all the destinations up to the maximum price. Also, the spreadsheet will not be linked so bookings will be made by typing in the cells. The spreadsheet is a reusable solution because all the data can be deleted and sorted when ever it is needed to.

This will keep the system always up to date and available. Another way of tackling the problem is by creating a database using a software package. In a relational database, when data on one table is changed, the same data on other tables and forms is also changed, therefore, they are reusable. The database could be set up to store information on destinations and customers etc. and be able to search selected ones. The end user, the staff of Mr Long’s business, will also be able to run queries to pull up certain pieces of information.

They can be adjusted so that wanted information will come up; therefore, the queries are a reusable aspect. They will also be able to add, delete and sort out all the records. This solution can be used over and over again unlike hand written files that have to be thrown away and written up again whenever there is a new change. The data in the database will just have to be altered whenever there is a change and have the changes saved so the tables are reusable. Alternatively, Mr Long could hire a new member of staff who will be in charge of sorting out the files.

The person must be qualified and dedicated to their job and very organised to keep all the files in order. However, this wouldn’t really solve the problem because the business will still be using the old system and just hiring another person to take care of it. This is just wasting money. Also, it doesn’t solve the problem of the filing cabinets taking up space because they will still be there as the files still need to be stored there. Solution: I have chosen to make a database using a software package to solve the problems Lee’s Holidays currently faces.

This is because spreadsheets are more suitable for solving problems that involve calculations using formulas which isn’t needed with this business; therefore, making a spreadsheet isn’t the best solution. What is needed is a system that will keep everything in order and be able to be accessed easily and quickly. This is the reason why I think creating a database using Microsoft Access is more suitable for the business. The user would want to use this method because it has many benefits over the other methods.

I will also need to do mail merged letters for Mr Long to send to his customers for promotional offers and customer loyalty. To do this, I will use Microsoft word. With Microsoft Access, I will be able to store all of the data into one database. This will save space unlike all of the cabinets Mr Long’s business currently uses. Also, whenever certain information is needed, the user can just run a query to get want they want. Backup copies of the system can easily be made so in the case of the system crashing or something wrong with the computer, he can retrieve the data from the backup files.

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