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Hardware Replacement Project

Craig Lowrie
March 18, 2012 IT 205

The Information Technology (IT) departments implementation of new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software has made it necessary to undertake a hardware replacement project (HRP). The current hardware in use today has become too costly to maintain and upgrade, and would be more efficient to replace the existing hardware. This decision is based on a recently completed system analysis which showed a problem with the current technology currently being used by the IT department. The current hardware is unable to run the new CRM software, this software is greatly needed to improve the companys overall performance. This project will equip the IT department with the necessary equipment to meet the current needs, and any software needs in the future. This upgrade will prove to be valuable with an increase in productivity and a decrease in operating cost; both will provide financial gains to the company. The rewards will outweigh the capital risk involved in this project. The hardware replacement project will have five key factors that will need to be addressed for this project to be successful. The scope, time, cost, quality, and the risk involved will have to be taken in to consideration before, during, and after this project. It will be necessary for someone to take on the role of project manager either from within the company or outsourcing this to an outside contractor. This person will need the knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques (Laudon&Laudon, 2011) to insure the success of the hardware replacement project. The position will be required to plan the work, assess the risk involved, and estimate the resources needed to complete the project. This person will also need to direct activities, report progress and analyze the final results of the project. The scope of the project is very large and will include the replacement of all the hardware components currently in use in the IT department. This will include all desktop computers, servers, modems, routers, and wireless systems. It has been determined the entire infrastructure is outdated and inefficient. The current hardware will not accommodate the amount have data the new Customer Relationship Management software will generate. This new amount of data will require faster processing than the current hardware can achieve. The new system will also allow for more contact points through the use of wireless devices. This will allow greater access to the system by employees and not keep them tied to their desk. The new freedom and equipment has been shown to improve productivity and reduce the cost to the company. The time required to complete this overall project will be considerable. It is in the companys best interest to get the new system up and running, but it needs to be done correctly to avoid any extra cost. This project will best be undertaken in phases to make sure the entire system is never completely shut down. The new components will be brought online line after installation and passing the proper testing is complete. This will insure it is functioning properly before turning over to the IT department. This approach will also allow

for employees to receive proper training on the new equipment. By taking this approach there should be a seamless transition from the old system to the new one. The cost of the overall project will require a large amount a capital to be invested. A complete replacement of hardware is the only way to make this project feasible. The entire information system does not meet the requirements to successfully run the new Customer Relationship software. The tangible cost of the new equipment and the personnel to install and make the new system will not compare to the intangible cost savings that will be gained by the increase in customer data, and the speed in which it will be able to be processed. This one time investment in capital will produce great returns on the original investment. The quality of this project will be seen by many departments once the new system is functioning properly. The IT department will find the new hardware to be much faster and easier to use. Greater access to the system will allow for increased data input and output. Management will find it easier to generate reports needed to make the proper decisions required for further success by the company. The new hardware will provide more information faster and more accurate than the current system. The multiple risks involved in the hardware replacement project must be considered in detail before selecting this project. The greatest risk will be an increase in cost. If the cost exceeds the original budget the project could fail. Very large-scale projects have a failure rate that is 50 to 75 percent higher than that for other projects because such projects are complex and difficult to control (Laudon & Laudon, 2011). Another important risk factor will be an increase in the time needed to complete the project. An increase in the time frame will increase the labor cost and decrease the return on investment. Consideration must also be taken to insure the proper output is derived from the system once the project is complete. Failure to achieve desired output could lead to unusable or inaccurate data. To eliminate these risks it would be smart to use a Gantt chart to list all project activities and their respective completion dates. A Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) chart should also be developed to decide in what order activities should be completed to make sure one is not delayed because another activity has not been completed. These charts can be easily produced by commercial project management software. The proper training needs to also be considered so the new hardware is not met with resistance from the end user. All of these concerns need to be accounted for in order to complete this project successfully. The Hardware Replacement Project is going to require capital, planning, and testing. This project is needed to allow the new Customer Relationship Management software to function properly and produce the desired results. A well experienced project manager will be needed to make this project a success. This person along with the proper planning software should eliminate the risk involved in a project of this size. Time will need to be taken to phase in this upgrade and train personnel on the new hardware. Following the correct procedures

will complete this project on time, on budget, and create the greatest return on investment. All this will guarantee the future success of the company.

Reference
Essentials of MIS, Ninth Edition, by Kenneth C. Laudon and Jane P. Laudon. Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.