Collaboration System

The purpose of this document is to provide an implementation and management plan, as part of a scenario, for implementing a collaboration system into Kucera Clothiers. Included within this document is a definition of the organizational goals or communication issues the collaboration system will resolve. Also included within this document is an explanation of some of the key players who will be part of the implementation or management of the system, as well as, an explanation of what type of input should be gathered from these key personnel. An explanation of developing a technology or purchasing the technology is best suited to benefit the company. A recommendation for which type of training should be provided and how it will be provided to either key Kucera employees or all employees. A plan explaining how the implementation of the collaboration system into the organization can be executed, as well as, a plan for system maintenance included any software upgrades or security patches that need to be applied to the system. Finally a plan describing how and when periodic audits will be conducted on the system.

Kucera Clothiers is a large business with 100,000 employees spread out over 3,500 locations around the world with their corporate headquarters in Chicago, Illinois who is looking to invest in a collaboration system to align with their business strategy and resolve some communication issues they are incurring. The collaboration system that Kucera is looking at investing in provides the ability to communicate either by using a web-based or network-based interface. The collaboration system provides the ability to improve communications between the corporate headquarters and the satellite offices throughout the world and it also provides travelling employees the ability to communicate by using either synchronous or asynchronous communication methods. The benefits of the collaboration system falls directly in line with Kucera’s corporate strategy as they wish to improve communications between their corporate and satellite offices, as well as, reducing the time it takes for inventories to get to the distribution centers so that the products can get from the distribution centers to the customers in a shorter amount of time while travelling employees can still have access to customer and company information.

When introducing a new system into an organization, such as the collaboration system into Kucera Clothier’s, there are key players who help to make the system successful for implementing and managing the system. Due to the collaboration system being installed into the corporate headquarters communications room the IT staff is responsible for installing all of the equipment, testing it, and maintaining it once the system is up and running. This makes the IT staff key players for the implementation of the project. Once the system is installed the corporate headquarters staff will most be likely to be the initial users of the system to ensure user to smooth rollout and implementation of the system. Key players who work in the corporate headquarters are the managers of the different departments such as accounting, shipping, billing, personnel, and support. It is important to have the managers ensure the collaboration system is being populated with current business data so that when the system is being used by all locations then all employees will have access to current and correct information. Additional key players are the managers or even site leads for the different satellite locations. The satellite location managers are key players because they need to be initially trained on the system so that they can ensure all employees at their location know how to use the system according to company protocol and policies. The key players are the staff that is directly or indirectly responsible for ensuring the system is installed, operating, being maintained, and then being used according to company policy. The key players are instrumental in ensuring the collaboration system is successful within the organization by providing valuable input to ensure the system meets each of their specific requirements or needs based upon their specific areas of expertise. Input that can be gathered from the IT staff is the technical information pertaining to the system such as network connectivity and configuration information, IT security information, network policy information, data migration information, and even user account management information. The input that can be gathered from each of the department managers is the specific information that pertains to the respective department. For example accounting may need to ensure that only accounting personnel have access to accounting specific data whereas personnel data may need to be accessed by each manager, but also by accounting, corporate, and the IT staff. Input that may be gathered from each satellite location manager may pertain to site-specific information such as which network connectivity method best suites the needs of their specific site.

When Kucera Clothier’s is trying to make an initial determination whether to purchase and existing technology or develop their own there are some different factors that they need to predetermine. One question that can be asked is, “when is the system needed?” If the system is needed on a short timetable then there may not be an option to develop the technology if a similar technology like already exists (Frenzel, Frenzel, 2004 P.305). Another factor that may come into play is the size of the IT team and what level of experience they have developing the needed technology. Since Kucera is a clothing company they may not have the IT staff to develop IT products, their IT staff may only be experienced in maintaining and administering systems. Another consideration may be that if the company is looking to get into other markets by selling the technology they are considering developing. There are numerous collaboration systems on the current market so Kucera Clothier’s may want to consider purchasing one of the existing technologies to benefit their needs and that their own IT staff can support. There are different considerations to take into account when making a determination whether to develop a technology or purchase an existing technology and since Kucera is in the retail business it may best suite their business model to purchase an existing technology and allow their own IT staff to support it.

With the implementation of the new system Kucera Clothier’s needs to plan the who, what, why, when, where, and how of training for its personnel so that they will be familiar and comfortable with the new system. Initially after the system has been installed, tested, and all relevant data has been migrated over to the system it would be beneficial to the organization for all of the department leads to learn the system first. That way if any subordinate personnel, offices, or organizations have questions about the system they can contact their department head to try to initially resolve any issues they have. If the division lead has identified a system training or support person or persons for their division, it may be more beneficial to have them attend the initial training that can be conducted onsite at the corporate office in Chicago. Each division lead should determine which is a better method, either the division head or division support team, for their division respectively. The training rollout for the collaboration system should initially begin with the corporate headquarters, since that is where the division heads and or the division support personnel are located. Upon training of the Kucera headquarters, the department heads should set a schedule a time for the training of each satellite lead personnel to be able to utilize the collaboration system in order to receive training. The schedules of this remote training method should be scheduled to best suite the business hours of the satellite offices in a particular region. All training should be conducted during normal business hours and the initial remote training method may take a bit longer than on site training due to remotely training personnel. Once the satellite office leads feel comfortable with the system they can schedule training times for their employees at their respective satellite office. The method of starting from the top of the organization and working to the bottom, until all personnel have been trained should satisfy any system training requirements for the entire organization. Also, due to the nature of the online collaboration system, refresher videos may be posted on the system so any employees who feel they need either a annual training or just a refresher training, can be accessed at their leisure.

The collaboration system can start to be implemented as soon as all of the equipment has arrived at the corporate headquarters and has been inventoried and tested for any hardware failure issues that may have been caused during shipping. Due to the collaboration system not replacing another system, it can be implemented immediately without being intrusive to the organization. The implementation should be broken down into a three-part implementation process. The initial phase of the process will be receiving the equipment, testing the equipment, installing the equipment, and then testing the physical hardware of the system again. The second phase of the implementation plan should be where the configuration of the system takes place. This includes configuring the system to support all network services that the system will support. The last part of the second, or configuration, phase should be to apply any security to the system that is necessary. The last part of the second phase is to test the system to ensure that everything is functioning properly and locked down according to any security policies. The final phase of the implementation of the system should be to start creating user accounts for the initial personnel who will be responsible for training and being trained on the system. The second part of the third phase is complete the rest of the user accounts based on the hierarchical structure of the organization, starting from the top and working down until all user accounts have been completed. The last step of the third phase is to provide any user support for users who are having issues with the system and completing documentation. Completing the implementation of the system in a three-part process can assist with setting milestones for the project so that the implementation of the system can be a success.

Once the collaboration system has been completely implemented and personnel have been trained, system hardware and software maintenance schedules will need to be completed. Due to Kucera Clothiers being a global organization, it is virtually impossible to complete maintenance during a time when nobody is using the system, however system maintenance can be completed during non-peak hours of use. The most ideal time for system maintenance should be during a Saturday morning between the hours of 8 AM and 2 PM. This means that for 12 hours ahead of Chicago time zone is either late Saturday night or early Sunday morning and 12 hours behind Chicago time zone is late Friday night and therefore Saturday morning until mid day should be the most ideal time to conduct system maintenance. Prior to any system maintenance, either hardware or software, system audits should be completed so that the exact state of the system prior to any maintenance, can be identified so that in the event of a software maintenance causing a problem on the system the system can be restored to its previous condition (Frenzel, Frenzel, 2004 P.492). System maintenance should include once a month hardware preventative maintenance such as cleaning any dust from the internal chassis of the servers. Weekly checks of security or software patches should be conducted and applied to the system as necessary. Finally weekly complete backups of the system should be conducted and then the backups should be stored off-site so that in the event of a natural disaster the system can be recovered with no data loss.

Frenzel, Frenzel, C. W., J. C. (2004). Management of Information Technology Fourth Edition. Boston, Massachusetts: Thomas Learning Inc..

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