CS 330 Management Information System
Assignment #1 (10%)
Due by 12pm noon, Wednesday, Oct 16th
Late work will NOT be accepted!
Case Study: Express IT Upgrade
Jason is an old-school business man with his own small import and export company,
Express Inc. The company was founded in 1989 and grew steadily over the years. Right
now, there are 10 employees, including himself. Competitions have been fierce in recent
years. Except a DOS based primitive accounting system and a few computers to type
business documents, his company does not use much computer technology. Almost all
business operations are done manually and on paper. He is considering creating a new
information system to help improve business performance. He did some study on his own
about IT and emerging technology. But he clearly knows very little about IT. On Sept 1st,
he visited Joe, a business consultant from ABC Consulting Inc. Below was the
conversation took place between the two.
Jason: Hi, Joe, my company does not use much of computer technology and I would like to
change that. But I have a few questions and concerns.
Joe: Ok. How can I help?
Jason: We had a hard drive failure last year and lost lots of data. What do you recommend
Joe: You should try something called RAID technology. It combines multiple hard drives
into one storage unit and improves storage reliability and performance. There are
different RAID levels. You should consider RAID 1 as it is the fastest and the most
Jason: I went to Future shop yesterday for a new laptop. They talked about these 64-bit and
32-bit machines. What are they?
Joe: They refer to the amount of data the computer can process. A 64-bit computer can
process data as large as 64-bit and 32-bit for a 32-bit computer. Obviously, the
larger, the better.
Jason: I have just read an article explaining different storage devices for a computer. Holy
cow, there are many, like register, RAM, ROM, cache, hard drive, SD card etc. Why
make it so complicated? Can they just make up their mind and use one of them, say
the hard drive?
Joe: They are indeed the same thing. But different people have different preferences. So
they build everything into one machine to satisfy different needs.
Jason: I heard about mainframe and supercomputer. They are very expensive. Do you think
I would need a supercomputer?
Joe: Not quite. Mainframe is designed for multi-tasking, to support many applications
and users at the same time. Supercomputer is for large scale and complex
computations. For business computing, mainframe is more appropriate.
1 Jason: The other day, I went to Canada Computer Inc. They recommended tower server. Its
price is very affordable. Do you think a tower server would be sufficient to run my
e-mail, web site and accounting software?
Joe: It depends on what operation systems these services require. If they run on the same
type of operation system, it should be fine. But if some run on Unix, some run on
Windows, you will need multiple tower server machines as a server machine can
only install and run one operation system at any given moment.
Jason: We had problem in the past to find suitable shipping company or alternative
supplier when the original not working. Is there something out there can help us?
Joe: Most definitely. You need a Supply Chain Management System. It could help you
streamline your suppliers, transportations and warehouse and make them more
Jason: Really? That is fantastic. Ok, right now, we have 5 Intel Pentium PCs with
Windows 98 preinstalled. Each is running some accounting software and MS Office
2000. We occasionally use Gmail. We want to replace them. We also like to have a
web site for the company, some kind of program to keep track of inventory. How
much would it cost?
Joe: 5 PCs, each costs $600; 5 copies of accounting software, say Microsoft Money, each
is about $100; 5 copies of MS Office 2013, each is about $300; 5 copies of Excel-
based inventory system starting from $500; building a web site costs about $1,000
and up. So you are looking at $8,500 and up.
Jason: Ok. This is not as expensive as I expected. But once we build it, how long can it
Joe: It depends on its usage. The more often you use it, the more likely it will break
down sooner. On average, I would say about 10 years.
Jason: One of our employees, Janet, suggested that we could use some software for free
and we could even customize it to our needs. She called it … … Mmm … … Yes,
she called it freeware. Is it really so?
Joe: I believe she meant open source software. Freeware is free but open source software
is not only free, but also its source code is publicly available and you are allowed to
modify it. Because it is free and highly customizable, if you find some open source
fits your need, you definitively should go for it.
Jason: I heard about this cloud computing thing. It sounds really cheap. What is it and
should I use it?
Joe: Cloud computing means that you run your application and services on someone
else’s machine and you access it over the Internet using a web browser. It is cheap,
easy to set up and flexible. I never heard any bad things about it. You should
definitively use it as much as possible. You can even run your inventory system,
office software and accounting software in the cloud.
Jason: Ok, then, what should I do with the old machines?
Joe: You can either recycle them or give them away. But make sure you delete all your
data and files before you do that. You can do that by deleting the data and files
under Windows, then empty the recycle bin.
The above conversation is full of mistakes. Joe is obviously NOT a subject matter expert on
IT. But he desperately needs this contract. He answered the questions to his best
knowledge. Now he turns to you, his best pal, for help to fix whatever mistakes he has
made. Write a report to list the mistakes, propose a proper IT infrastructure and estimate the
TCO. The following are requirements for the report.
2 Report Content
We don’t expect the body of the report to be more than 6 pages but you will not be
penalized if you have more pages. You are encouraged to use bullet point, numbered list,
table or diagram wherever appropriate. Your report should at least contain the following
At the minimum, include a report title, student name and ID, e-mail address and
date of the submission.
To make it easy to sort and record grades, please write your name in the format of
“Last Name, First Name” and use your official name