Creating a Computer System for a Video Rental Shop Essay Sample

Creating a Computer System for a Video Rental Shop Pages
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ABZ World is a video rental shop, located in Stoke Newington town centre. It is a relatively small shop and has 300 members, who live in and around Stoke Newington. The shop is owned and managed by Abdullah Elgayar. He set up the business two years ago and has two other staff working in the shop on a part time basis.

Abdullah currently has a filing system that occupies a great deal of space and is very time consuming to analyse. He gives his members cards and has to manually record which video members are hiring. The old paper filing system is very inefficient in notifying when members are overdue with bringing the videos back. This in turn means other customers are unsatisfied when the video they want isn’t in stock and so Abdullah loses out on revenue. His shop has not got much space and the filing system is taking 1/4 of the shop floor, more spaces are needed for videos and the shop at the moment is looking crap and tight costumes feel isolated and do not get to look around and look at covers of videos as the shop can get cramp, card board standing posters have been scraped this makes advertisement of movies hard. Costumers will not know when the new videos have arrived this make business in his shop go down.

More and more children are coming to the shop and Abdullah says “I have very little movies for young children if I don’t sort it out they will go someplace else.

He is also opening another Abz World in wood green centre about 15 miles away and he would like to link up both shops.

Abdullah possesses greater than average IT skills and is keen to introduce a computer-based system for the rentals of his videos. If we make both shops have a computerized system Abdullah will be able to link both shops and have plenty of space for videos and advertisements and costumers can return videos in both shops.

The system both old and new is needed to:

* Keep track of members and their details.

* Keep track of the number of videos each member of staff rents out to customers.

* Have a listing of all the staff in the shop

* Have a list of all the videos in stock

* Have a list of all the videos rented

* Enable a showing of which videos are rented by which customers

* Show when the video is due back

* Be able to add/delete members, videos and staff

* Link up both shops

Investigation Methods

An interview was arranged with Abdullah and a list of points to be discussed was drawn up before the interview. Also I contacted Abdullah by telephone and e-mail to pick up certain points.

Topics for discussion:

* The reasons for requiring the new information system

* The problems with the current manual system

* The methods currently used to record data

* The information that needs to be kept in each of the following areas:

Staffing

Videos

Rentals

Members

Video costs

* The required output

* Any hardware or software limitations – for example what was the hardware and software to be used?

* The budget (Money wise)

Summary of the Interview

The nature of the paper-based system was discussed. Basically everything including customers, videos, staff and rentals are all written out manually onto a standard form every time something needed to be updated.

There are a few problems with this filing system:

Keeping track of when videos are due back.

Because all the data is kept in files you must continuously check if people are not bringing data back. Obviously this can be very time consuming and errors are likely to be made, resulting in lost videos, lost assets and revenue. It is also not immediately obvious when a date is overdue because there is so much writing on the forms and so you cannot always see an overdue video.

Seeing how well the staff are doing.

There is nothing in the old system that tells Abdullah how well his staff are doing. If he knew how many videos his staff sold each month he could perhaps reward them with bonuses or even employee of the month awards.

Stock levels.

It can also be a nuisance for Abdullah to go into the storeroom to get a video only to find that the video has already been rented out. There is no way to check if the video is in or out before he goes into the storeroom. This can be quite serious because while he is in the storeroom it can leave the shop unstaffed with potential thieves in the shop.

The amount of time it takes to document a new member.

With the manual system it can be very time consuming, just entering data for the new member. The form has no tick boxes and Abdullah has to write it all in full by hand.

There are no links.

All the different files are all kept separate from each other and so there are no links between: The video the person who rented the video and the staff member who rented the video out. If these files were linked relevant data and information could be retrieved.

Concluding Remarks

Mr Elgayar the end user is used to his position and is suffering from a paper based management system that is inefficient. Abdullah realises his problems and is very willing to become more efficient in his workplace.

Objectives for the New Systems

Qualitative

1. Data entry should be as intuitive as possible.

2. The input screens should explain themselves.

3. Data entry should be quick.

4. The mechanics of the application chosen should not be apparent to the user.

5. A main menu should be loaded automatically when the database is loaded, and the whole system should be menu driven.

Quantitative

1. It should be possible to rent a video without referring to video or member input screens.

2. It should be possible to input new videos, staff members, and customers in less than thirty seconds.

3. It should be possible to provide reports in less than 60 seconds in each of the following areas:

* Videos rented

* The staff that rented the videos out

* Staff currently employed

* Videos owned by the store

* Customer details

System the video shop is using now:

They have files in a filing cabinet in alphabetical order of name and ID number and have forms which are filled out when a video is taken out and returned and they will also have the history of the customer.

e.g.

To add a new member they use this form:

Constraints

Hardware

This report explains the specification of the proposed Computer that the library will need buy, and the advantages and disadvantages of buying these computers.

Midi-Tower Case ATX

This is a stylish steel case. Both side’s are spring loaded and easily removed by pulling the handle on the side panel.

It is more compact and takes less space compared to old cases.

This is the casing that holds all the components, and is the case that all peripherals connect to, such as the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers.

The weakness point it can not take as many hardware as the bigger version

ATX Motherboard.

The ATX motherboard rotates the orientation of the board 90 degrees. This allows for a more efficient design, with disk drive cable connectors closer to the drive bays and the CPU closer to the power supply and cooling fan, an ATX motherboard is required to use the newest Intel processors.

This is board that hold the core components of a computer and connects them together. The CPU, graphics card, sound card, Hard drives all connect to the motherboard.

ATX power Supply

This is the power supply that powers the computer. Connects the main 240V and converts it 16V. It powers components inside the case, such as the motherboard, hard drives, DVD drive, and floppy drive. Gold plated connectors provide perfect conduction. Also it is noiseless.

Intel Pentium III 1GHZ Processor

This is the main part of the computer. It is a hardware component, which act upon instructions to process, input and output information. It determines the speed of the computer, and the software that can run on the computer. A P3 1GHz processor can handle multimedia applications, it will suit the leisure centre as they will not require extensive applications.

128MB SDRAM

Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory. This is the memory that computer uses while running, its non permanent and all is lost once the computer is turned off. The memory is used for running applications, the more the memory the better. It is slower than the new 512MB DIMM but cheaper.

20GB HDD

This is the size of the Hard drive that stores user data and installed applications. It would be more suitable if twice that hard disk space was used. As the price difference would not be that much different.

Audio Controller

This processes the Audio output from applications, a speaker must be connected to hear the sounds. This would work well for the leisure centre. A more advanced card such as one that outputs digital surround sound will not be needed as it is only a luxury addition which is not necessary important for the centre.

Integrated 56k V.90 modem

This is the modem that converts digital signal to analogue and sends across the telephone line. It connects computers to Internet Service Providers (ISP) such as AOL and Freeserve by a normal telephone line. It has no use in a network environment since the computer will be connected via the Ethernet Cards to a server. And the Server will be connected to the internet for outside connection to web for web browsing. The connection by a modem is slow, ADSL or Cable connections would be more suitable for the leisure centres as more then one computer can use the internet and it will run much faster.

Intergraded 10/100 Fast Ethernet LAN

This is the network card that can connect two computers together, or connect a computer to central server. It will allow file sharing and peripheral sharing such as a printer.

8xDVD-ROM drive

For accessing DVD-ROM disks, that can hold information as much as 16GIGS on one disc. Eight speed is sufficient for the leisure centre as they will not be copying DVD’s so will not need a faster one.

Windows XP

The operating software is the back bone that other software run on, and is used for management of user information.

The weakness of Windows ME is that some software programs will not function properly and some of the new software would not run on it at all. It will suit home user only and does not suit business organisation.

12 months Collect and return warranty(up gradable to 3 years)

This covers the computer for any faults that may occur. If a fault occurs then the computer is collected and returned once fixed without any charges.

105 key WIN XP keyboard

Standard keyboard for input data which is transferred to the computer. But the keys are small and will be hard for novice users to use.

A newer keyboard would be more suitable, one with shortcut buttons and hand rest, which puts less strain on the wrists and allows the shoulders to relax. Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a common complaint of keyboard users ans a comfortable wrist posture helps to avoid it

3 button mouse

A very common handheld pointing device it allows the user to navigate applications and icons. The mouse will allow the user to do tasks like selecting, drawing, scrolling pages and many other useful tasks.

Studies showed users holding the mouse with their fingertips not palms, it could lead to pain in user’s hand in long run

80W speakers

Standard PC speakers to hear Audio output. It will take the sound being sent from the computer’s sound card to allow the user to hear the sounds.

Advantages

* Good price

* 12 month warranty

* Have all the essential facilitates required by the leisure centre

* Ethernet card included which allows networking later on and fast transfer of data.

* Intel Pentium 3 1GHz processor, this is fast possessor that can handle most applications.

* DVD-ROM drive is included so CD/DVD can be played on the computer.

Disadvantages

* User may struggle with new software as it does not have high processing power and memory.

* The windows ME operating system is for home use only, it has a lot of bugs, and may cause the computer to crash or stop working.

* The hardware suppliers gave a vague specification for Tower Case, motherboard and the ATX power supply

* Only 20GB of hard disk space, this my not be enough

* Win 98 keyboard, this is a old keyboard which does not take advantage of windows ME keys such as logoff . Also it does not have a palm rest.

* 128MB SDRAM this may not be enough memory for some applications the leisure centre may use.

Software:

Office XP which includes word excel, access and PowerPoint.

Member requirements

Purpose of process

The purpose of the process is to record all information about videos in the library, videos on loan, reserved videos, as well as to record specific details about all members, and produce reports about all borrowed videos, overdue videos and list of reserved videos.

Description of process

Members come to the library to borrow or to reserve videos, the library allows them to borrow and if the video is not in the library the member will make reservation. The library will send a notification to the borrower if he/she has not returned by the due date

The library will hold the video once the other borrower has returned the video. The video is held on reservation for four days. If the member does not pick it up within these days, the library will cancel the reservation and put the video back on the shelf. Reports are produced for all reserved and overdue videos.

Member details

information

The purpose of the system

* Information about Members, videos, borrowing, borrowing line and reservation information will be stored in five separate files.

* Allows entry of information via data entry screens about members, videos and borrowing or reserving

* Allows the updating and the deletion of information

* Production of document such as reserved videos, overdue video/videos reminders

List of potential sources

* Interviewing staff and managers who are using, entering or receiving all different data for the system

* General information about the library for example annual reports, brochures, standard operating procedures and strategic plan, or other long-range planning documents.

* Analysis of the documents used to record information about how to record information about members, videos and borrowing .etc

* Analyse all the existing documentation such as reports, letters, and transaction. etc

* Identifying data which may be internally generated within the system. for example total fine calculation

* Questionnaires to collect facts and opinion from respondents

* Visit and see how similar libraries managing information

The school have given me a budget of �10,000 to design a simple and flexible system that can be used by a person with not that much of an experience on a computer, because some of the staff have no experience because they’ve always been using a paper base system, although they will still get some training by myself as part of the negotiation done.

Computers must be purchased with the necessarily hardware, software needed (output devices such as: printers scanners etc) and a network with the computers and hardware devices must be established.

As letters are handwritten at the moment some of them may not be understandable to read, to solve this problem I have decided to create and include a button within the database programme which will be linked to Microsoft word where the letter may be typed making them clear to understand and read. By developing a new database system there will be no loss of data as it all saved on the computer system. This will reduce the amount of loss of paper work. Supervisor doesn’t need to check the old paper base work.

User’s IT Skills and Knowledge

The end user Mr Elgayar is an experienced user of Word and has a basic knowledge of the operation of Access. He is also quite good at using Excel. His keyboard skills are standard. He has used Publisher for the making of cards but never on a professional basis.

The Systems Life Cycle:

We have been told that we should only document the design, implementation and testing stages of our design. However if I were to document the complete production of the system I would have used the systems life cycle. The systems life cycle helps designers to approach the design of a system in a methodical way. There are several variations of the cycle but below is the most common.

1. Problem Definition – the problem will be defined by the user

2. Feasibility Study – investigate the system and decide if there is need for a new system

3. Analysis – analyse the requirements and produce a specification

4. Design – the design is produced

5. Construction

6. Testing – system is fully tested

7. Implementation – system implemented and users trained

8. Maintenance – there are three types of maintenance:

a. Perfective maintenance, where you make the system easier to use or you add new facilities

b. Adaptive maintenance, where you make changes to suit the changes in working environment

c. Corrective maintenance, where you change something because of errors discovered in the original system

9. Evaluation – evaluation of the system and if it meets the requirements of the user

Methods of Gathering data:

If I had had to collect my own user information on the requirements of the new system and what the problems were with the new system there are four techniques I could use these are: –

1. Interviewing staff at different levels about the present system and what they would like to see from the new system.

2. Sending out questionnaires and analyzing results.

3. Observing current procedures with current system.

4. Examine current business and systems documents and outputs.

Design

The Feasibility of a Computer Based System:

It has been required that I should produce a computer based system for the video libary. There are many advantages to a computer based rather than a non-computerised system these advantages include: –

* Computer systems can be backed up so that if there is a fire or the computers contract a virus, the files are not lost altogether. However if the system was not computerised and there was a fire, the data would be lost. Which could lead to a loss of customer due to a lack to reliability to the customer.

* A computer system can be modified and changed more easily than a non-computerised system. E.g. if you wanted to change the format of the customer data entry forms on a computer it could be done in a few minutes but manually on a non computerised system it would take a very long time to rewrite the records if they were held on card.

* A computerised system can find files within seconds where as on a card filing system it would take people a lot longer as it has to all be done by people and then the process is subject to human error.

Going on my recommendation of a computerized system I now have to provide and recommend the hardware and software most suitable for the system.

Hardware:

The hardware of a machine is the physical machinery, which makes up the computer. In order to start to think about designing a system I need to first of all think about the possible use of different types of hardware: –

* Keyboard – used mainly to enter in data about the customer, parcel and the parcels destination.

* Visual Display Unit – A user-friendly way to display the database system.

* Digital scales (for weighing parcels) – so weights have been calculated accurately

* Computer mouse – to select different function options.

* Screen Touch Screen – to speed up the input of data and other functions within the database system.

* Screen pens – to speeded up processes within the system especially the input of data.

I have decided to keep the hardware simple any only have a computer, keyboard, VDU and mouse. This is relatively cheep compared with the other options and will be sufficiently simple for the users to handle.

Choices of Software:

There are three main choices of software these are Excel a spreadsheet, Access a database or a high level language such as Pascal. All have advantages and disadvantages.

Excel:

Excel has many advantages, which include the following points and features: –

* Excel allows you to insert buttons or macros these allow you to open and close forms at the click of a button. They also allow you to do things like run a query or calculation.

* Excel allows you to highlight different cells in colour and fill effects. You can highlight a cell by first clicking on the cell you want and then the fill colour icon, which brings up a range of colour, you can also colour the text or lines.

* There is a formula bar at the top, which displays the formula of the cell you are viewing; here you can also add things to the formula.

* You can create look-up tables.

* You can create graphs using the Chart Wizard tool.

* In Excel you can also copy the cell of a formula from cell you cell. This can be very useful when using a formula to calculate a certain equation.

* You can name cells, which makes identifying cells easier.

* Excel is a multi dimensional spreadsheet, this means that you can have as many sheets as you want, this is also known as a three dimensional spreadsheet.

Excel has disadvantages as well as advantages, these include: –

* If you change the name of a page after making a macro it can’t find the correct page because it has changed names. This means you then have to go into Visual Basic and manually change the name of the page on the actual piece of code. This all takes time and if you change more than one page’s name it will take a very long time.

* With the labels of the graph they will not change with the data so you end up having to go over the whole process of making a graph again.

Access:

Access also has its advantages and disadvantages, which need to weigh up against Excel’s advantages and disadvantages to come up with the right choice of software. Access’ advantages include: –

* Access can perform advanced queries.

* Access can make forms to insert data.

* Access is very user friendly.

* In Access you can have macros to go between forms and queries.

* Access has lots of facilities which help to improve the appearance these include- Word Art, Paint, text and line fill, Spell check, Clip art, Importing pictures

* Access is not a flat file database so you can also create relationships between tables of data.

* It has a query language, which means it can perform advanced searches.

* You can hide certain forms out of view.

* You can put a password on the system to prevent people tampering with it.

* There are writing tools including spelling and punctuation tools available.

* Access can have relational tables, which are linked together. This avoids repetition in entering in data as more than one department of the system can share one bit of data.

Access has disadvantages as well as advantages these include: –

* Access is more sophisticated than Excel and is therefore harder to use for a novice.

* Access is used by professional system designers who design systems for end users. This means the system must be very powerful and very detailed. However it is more complicated for a non-expert to use.

High Level Language Such as Pascal

I have decided not to use a high level language, as I do not have the necessary knowledge to produce a system written in a high level language such as Pascal.

Advantages

* It can be customized to suit the company’s needs.

Disadvantages

* Developer does not have sufficient enough knowledge.

* I would take a long time to code some areas where as in Access they are easily done in tables.

Evaluation of possible software solutions

I have decided to recommend the use of Access to the clients as being most suitable because it seems to offer more facilities and features, which will help me in designing a program for the, clients.

Access is more usable than both Excel and Pascal and the end users will find the system easier to use as the system will save time by cutting out repetitive tasks and will give them quick access to the information they need. A system designed is Access should give a very user-friendly interface and will function in the way the client’s want in to. Access is a quick database and is quick to open files and change to new pages. Access will really provide a solution to the client’s needs, as it is a diverse program, which can be used in many different ways. Another very good thing about Access is that it will be very easy to upgrade, introduce new functions and make modifications as and when they are necessary.

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