New Emerging Technology

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As part of my A2 ICT project I will be creating a database system for Mr Azizur Rahman, Mr Bilal Sheikh and Mr Iman Ahmed who are part of their own computer-upgrading business, called N.E.T (New Emerging Technology) computer upgrades.

Mr Azizur Rahman will be my main source of contact; he will be supplying me with the relative information and documents. Using the information a prototype project and design will be revealed to Mr Rahman and using his feedback the final system will be developed.

N.E.T computer upgrading business is relatively new, started about a year ago; it’s a semi professional business with the workers being part-time students in university and college. In a recent interview with Mr Rahman equal partner and worker for N.E.T, he explained that they provide assistance to at least 4 customers a month. He explained that because of their studying commitments they do not have the time to build their own database system.

N.E.T basically works as the middleman. Information s gathered by then on what the customer requires, then they order the appropriate components and build or fix the customers computer.

In the current process the members have to record customer details, the problems they have with their computer and what they want the computer to perform, these details are at the moment recorded on paper-forms (see next page). In addition they have to work out how much money will take to buy the appropriate components for the upgrade, plus make additional calculations on their fees. All of the cost must be added to see if it falls in the customer’s budget. The customer gives them a deposit, and then they build the specified computer.

The Current system & Problems with the system

To find out all the information I require to build the system I first created a questionnaire to give to the end-user to fill in.

Furthermore I interviewed the user in how exactly his system works, so he can explain it to me face to face so that it is more understandable. I took notes of these conversations.

See next page for the scanned questionnaire given to the end-user:

The current system is all recorded manually on paper. I will now explain step by step on how the current system works. First of all the members of N.E.T have organised a recording sheet on which customer details, user requirements and faults with current computer can all be recorded.

Below is the is scanned recording sheet on Customer Details:

Below is the scanned recording sheet on Current computer spec+ Faults with current PC+ Possible Solutions/User Requirements:

In order to keep track of customers and their orders all information is currently recorded manually and kept in a file. The customer can make several orders depending on how much he or she wants to update their computer (this must be with in their price limit). This order is then sent to the supplier (I.T. Computer Solutions Limited).

Their current system of recording on these sheets, shown on the previous pages has many problems these are as follows:

Time consuming: The current system takes the workers around 15 minutes to record all the customer details, requirements, problems and price. This is half due to the fact that they do not have a form already organised to record the customer details.

Human Errors: When recording customer details/requirements the technicians try to note down what information they need from them, this is usually brief and unprofessional plus the writing in the recording sheet is usually not understandable, as the individual boxes are too small to record, thus human error occurs in gathering the information e.g. spelling.

Furthermore when making the customers current computer spec, the table in which they record it does not contain hardware software RAM etc. They do not have a form with all the questions already written. As a result they miss out some of the vital questions, which leads to calling back to customer to get their full details. This results in a delay in the ordering of the new components and in effect delays the up grade of the computer. In addition the calculations made to work out the overall cost of the upgrade and to see whether or not it meets the price limit set by the customer.

Generates Excess amount of paper: The current system uses too much paper as the recording of the customer details and orders wastes unnecessary amount of paper.

Tracking Customers: The un-organisation of the file in which customer details are kept, makes tracking customers time consuming.

Data Protection: All customer information including contact number and address are kept in a file where other customer details are also kept. This file is not well protected; the file is placed in a drawer, from where anyone can access it.

Data Storage: No back up copies of the customer/order details are made all information is kept in the file.

The calculations, which are involved in their current system, may also cause error. At the moment the N.E.T staff works out the total cost of upgrade by first adding the prices of the components ordered. They then work out 35% of that price then add it on top of the original total cost (this is their labour cost). The calculations that they make are done on a separate piece of paper, usually when they are searching on the Internet for computer components. A scanned copy of one of their customer’s total price is shown on the next page:

As the source document above shows the current system of calculating the customers total cost of upgrade including labour cost is very unorganised.

The calculation is done on a separate piece of paper; the only way to relate this information to the customer is by the name. This would delay the process of acquiring the data later on, as this calculation sheet could get misplaced.

In addition all the calculations looks as though they have been rushed thus the accuracy of the data is in question.

Furthermore if the customer requires more components the technician would need to edit their information, place their new component price on to the list, this would make the layout of the information untidy, as the technician would either have to fit in the new order in to their current sheet or start on a brand new sheet. This would be time consuming or the data could even be indecipherable due to the frequent changes.

Mr Rahman feels that the introduction of a computerised Recording System could tackle some or all of these problems. He is hoping for a system that can organise the customer details and order forms efficiently and mort accurately. Also as the business grows, in the future paper-based system will not work.

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