Reference no: EM131302744
The Case Study
ArkRoyalCollege is a multi-campus private tertiary education college having its headquarters and main campus located on the outskirts of Portsmouth with smaller satellite campuses in Fareham, Gosport and Havant. The college was established in 1991 with 250 enrolled students and has since expanded to an annual enrolment of 2,500 students distributed among the four campuses, with 50% studying at the main campus and the remainder distributed approximately equally between the three smaller sites. All campuses comprise of converted military establishments disposed of during the mid-1980s by the Ministry of Defence.
Ark Royal's mission is to provide affordable high quality education to the population in Solent region, whilst also recruiting approximately 10% of their student numbers from the international student market. Its courses are mainly post GCSE ‘O' level and focus on vocational programmes in business studies, accounting & finance, general engineering, and English language. The college has previously enjoyed an enviable reputation for the quality of its courses and student support due to the dedication of its teaching and administrative staff. The college's competitive strategy has been to ensure the maintenance of high pass rates resulting from a policy of continuous monitoring of student progress and early action taken to address issues with students falling behind in their studies. This has not gone unnoticed by parents wishing to provide an excellent education for their children, and during the college's 25 year existence there has been no problem in attracting students.
The college, having no website, promotes itself by way of open days, local newspaper and magazine advertising, and ‘word-of-mouth'. However, more recently, intense competition from new colleges accommodated in purpose built, centrally located, campuses and benefiting from up-to-date administrative and teaching technology and professionally designed promotional websites is beginning to adversely affect Ark Royal's ability to recruit new students and expand.
College administration is supported by a computer-based information system which comprises a main server located at the Portsmouth campus which is linked to individual PCs located on the desks of senior administrative staff via a local area network (LAN). Most of the computers are at least 5 years old and operate under Microsoft's Windows XP operating system. Communications between sites rely on a broadband link of limited bandwidth using standard British Telecom (BT) phone lines. Access to the system may take many minutes particularly at peak times. Technical support consists of one computer technician who is responsible for all four sites. This may result in the system at one campus being down for some considerable time whilst he is away solving a problem at another campus.
The current administrative resource is located on the main server and is called the "L-Drive". This consists of several folders and sub-folders containing thousands of Word, Excel, Access and PDF documents, amongst others, filed loosely under their respective administrative functions. Typical information contained on the "L-drive" are reports, campus directives, departmental financial data, collaborative projects, etc. The informal nature of this resource does not promote and maintain effective communication and collaboration between administrators of the various campuses. This is developing into a major problem due to the increase in staff, and student population and programmes being offered.
The complex and disorganised nature of the "L-Drive" system has resulted in poor resource management and has influenced departments within Ark Royal to work independently of each other. This has resulted duplicated purchasing of equipment, ineffective deployment of company personnel, and loss of campus resources. Collaboration via the "L-drive" is almost non-existent and multiple copies of the same documents exist containing varying amount of data. Some computers lack the software to interpret the documents contained on the drive and access is difficult for new members of staff.
Teachers' access to computer systems across the college is very limited. They have no PCs dedicated to their use and depend on a single secretary at each campus for all their word processing needs. The secretaries appear overwhelmed by the mounting workload and teachers often experienced delays in completing their word processing tasks. All word-processed documents are stored in and retrieved from a manual paper-based filing system and teachers are often seen carrying paper-based files containing students' records, class work and assessments. Teachers consider the manual filing system to be stressful and this is beginning to impact on their overall morale. The insecure nature of this procedure also has implications under the Data Protection Act.
The problems resulting from the inefficient "L-drive" system have become a commercial and financial burden on Ark Royal. It is important to solve this problem in order to maintain the college as an efficient, functional and affordable tertiary educational institute that is able to compete with the region's emerging colleges. To this end, the college management have decided to seek the advice of consultants on the design of a new information system that will support all activities in the college and provide a strategic resource which will help to restore Ark Royal's reputation.
Management have approached a number of consultants, each of which will tender for the contract to offer a computer-based information system to address the problems current situation. They have requested that the tender be in the form of an oral/visual presentation and written report.
There are three tasks to be completed:
1. As a starting step you must do the following:
a. Design a suitable logo;
b. Create a suitable motto (strapline);
c. Submit these items to Moodle on or before the deadline (see Proposal Deadlines below).
2. You are required to produce a report of approximately 2,000 words (excluding appendices) which should include:
a. An analysis of the above case study, identifying and discussing the organisational problems currently experienced by Ark Royal College due to the inadequacies of its current information system.
Remember, there are likely to be problems other than those described in the case study. It is your responsibility to identify these by reflecting on material taught in other business related modules.
b. A proposal for new system that will address Ark Royal's problems and provide it with an information system and appropriate technical support to help them regain competitive advantage over their rivals. Your proposal should be supported by a discussion of relevant theoretical concepts.
c. A bibliography conforming to the Harvard APA style (see below) containing a list of references to books, journals, web pages, etc., used to research and support your report.
d. Appendices containing copies of your web pages and any other material you may wish to include for reference purposes.
3. Develop and demonstrate a website which encapsulates the essence of the college and provides an attractive resource for the promotion of the college to prospective students and their families. Your website should contain a home page which provides links to at least four further pages each of which will contain more specific information about an aspect of Ark Royal's education and social (student activities, etc) provision.
Important: there are penalties for failing to meet the deadlines shown in the Proposal Deadlines section. It is your responsibility to ensure these deadlines are met.
Notes on Tasks
You will deliver a short demonstration of your website to explain your business proposal for a new information system to Ark Royal College's senior management. The demonstration should be supported by two further deliverables:
i. A promotional website which you will demonstrate.
ii. A word-processed report of approximately 2,000 words that explains the proposal in more detail. The brochure should be delivered as both a hard and soft copy, the soft copy being uploaded to Moodle by the deadline shown below.
• Demonstration: You need to demonstrate a website which helps ArkRoyalCollege in restoring their competitive position.
• Report: Your objective is to convince ArkRoyalCollege's senior management of the viability of your proposed solution by report.
This should include:
- A table of contents
- An executive summary
- The features of the proposed system and the problems they address
- Evidence of the appropriateness of your solution based on theoretical concepts sourced from authoritative texts
- An Excel spreadsheet printout containing costs of hardware and software, and total implementation costs.
- Your plan for system implementation.
- A bibliography of source material written in the Harvard APA style see:
Note: Soft copies of the report and a functional copy of the website (in a Zip file) must be uploaded to Moodle on or before the deadline.
Please note that the nature of this assessment makes anonymous marking impossible.
In addition to the knowledge acquired in the BIS module, you should draw on knowledge gained in other modules of the course, for example: study skills, marketing, accounting/finance, organisational behaviour, etc.
Bocij, P. Greasley, A. &Hickie, S., 2008, Business Information Systems, 4th Edition. FT Prentice Hall (ISBN: 9780273716624).