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Case Analysis: Midsouth Chamber of Commerce: The role of the Business Manager in Information systems

The Organization: Midsouth Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit member, formed by a group of powerful businesspeople to lobby the state government on the issue of transportation. The organization was dealing with this issue until 1930s, until it begin to include broader issues affecting business community, but still through legislative advocacy. The key players in Midsouth Chamber of Commerce case are as follows. Jack Wallingford: President of Midsouth Chamber of Commerce Leon Lassiter: Vice President of Marketing at MSCC. He plays an important role for the move to the UNITRAK system. Ed Wilson: Vice President, Public Affairs and Operations, MSCC. He performed a variety of duties. He coordinated the legislative lobbying team and also managed the operations of Midsouth. Ted Vassici: Information Systems consultant for MSCC. He was hired as an outside consultant. Developed and recommended systems. Simon Kovecki: Information system specialist hired for MSCC. Jeff Hedges: Vice President of Public Finance. Greg Ginder: President, UNITRAK

Core Information Systems Issue: The history of the new information system began in 1986 when the Ed Wilson introduced the personal computer and database management to the organization. The MSCC decided that they needed to update its computing systems to a more modern structure to meet the growing demands of the employees and its members. Many staff members were not in favor of this change and are reluctant to accept such an approach. The Midsouth Chamber of commerce hired Simon kovecki, a computer science graduate with no experience. The computer system were designed, installed and supported by outside consultants. In mid 1990s, the Upper management decided to begin to consolidate their computer systems to an AS/400 based system called UNITRAK. Kovecki was tasked to implement the new system.
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He ended up with heavily problems which left MSCC with lost data on the old systems. Mostly everyone in organization experience tough times in implementing and conversion to a new information system. Users are expressing difficulty accessing the new system including the regional managers.

Needs to Change : Lassiter noticed that more advanced and faster information system will provide a competitive advantage to MSSC. Although the system was running stable but he still feels like information system require more attention so he requested information about several software companies that serve the needs of the organization. Lassiters Proposal: Lassiter attended a meeting of national association management software, where he identified the features provided by software made by UNITRAK will make MSCC more efficient, including faster access to account information. Following are the main points of his proposals to the organization Acquire an IBM A/S 400 computer and UNITRAK application software package. Promises of the new system10 15% ($150,000) increase in sales thru increased contacts 20% increase in productivity Six month payback Steeply reduced price from UNITRAK.As much as 30%. Promises of unlimited support.

Implementation Problems: Kovecki told Lassiter that no one had approved the purchase order. Kovecki himself was uncomfortable with many aspects of the system. The biggest concern for him seems to be on level of user access. Promised completion of March 99 not met. Training occurs well before the system is ready.
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Hedges shows less interest in implementation and did not provide assistance at key stages of this system. Several staff members were upset that they had not been consulted or informed of the idea before its approval.

Implementation Failure: Lack of IT Knowledge (attempt to manage the change from old technology system to a new one without proper knowledge in information system). Inappropriate planning (Lassiter should recognized the issue and address it to be taken by IT expert). Ineffective and inefficient Resource Management. Suspicious of vendors pricing and promises of support (the decision and promised by UNITRAK for unlimited support at no charge). Behind schedule. Training not coordinated with time of usage. Neither system working due to implementation problems. Did not backup old system before conversion. Lack of assigned responsibility/accountability

Lessons: Beware of vendor promises. Team is important in any organization and Lassiter should not have proceeded without colleagues. There should be a clear responsibilities and accountability for implementation. There should be a clear IS management role before undertaking enterprise wide implementation. There should be a proper, reasonable, reachable and acceptable time frame for completion of the project. Establish a realistic expenditure budget to avoid financial issues in later stages.
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In the end, it was the lack of proper management, cooperation, team work that caused the problems. All the decision maker and upper management in organization lacked the proper knowledge of information systems, and relied heavily on outside sources to make decisions for them that are not familiar with the organization.

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