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Creating an IT System Essay Sample

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Creating an IT System Essay Sample

My local newsagent, Cannon Hill Newsagents, has a problem. Its owners Mr and Mrs Shiva have a newspaper and magazine delivery service. With over 500 customers, the task of managing deliveries, cancellations, modifications, can be very time consuming using a manual method, such as entering data into a ledger.

When customers go on holiday, they want to cancel their normal deliveries. It can get very untidy in their book and, even though they write in pencil, to help it get less messy, it still gets untidy and can get quite confusing.

If papers become completely cancelled then this adds to more confusion as papers cannot be removed completely.

As a result of all the above, their account management system is quite poor.

As mentioned before, they have over 500 paper rounds to deliver. They always have new customers coming in to ask for deliveries. Therefore this service is getting quite large and will not be able to cope with many more customers if they carry on using the same manual system which is used now. Currently, all the ledgers are kept in a pile underneath the counter and this space is decreasing rapidly.

There are many ways in which this system could be improved. For example the writing could be done in pencil, as is done now. This would make the ledger less messy and less confusing, but it would not solve the problem of having many customers or the problem of removing customer accounts.

Better than any manual system, would be a computerised method of storing the customer subscription details. This is due to the fact that a computer would be able to access a customer’s details in a few seconds and it could be printed out very quickly by pressing a few buttons. It is also easier to remove customer details completely and can be done in a few minutes whereas in a book it would take a long time.

There are many different types of software that can be used to store the information. For example there are word processors, e.g. Microsoft Word, spreadsheets, e.g. Microsoft Excel, and databases, e.g. Microsoft Access.

Microsoft Word is like the current manual system except that it can be edited easily. It is not suitable for use as a database because of its lack of search or sort function.

Microsoft Excel is like word except a table can be used for storing information. Therefore again, for the lack of good quality search or sort functions, it is not a suitable application to use.

A database program is the best option to use because it can create queries, reports, and data entry forms. With this data can be entered in easily and quickly without any hassle. For this an application called NewStar will be used. It is a program made especially for this purpose.

There are many more advantages of having a computerised system:

> A computer can work 24 hours a day continuously.

> There is no need for a ledger; it can all be stored on a computer ready for use whenever it is needed.

> Computers are accurate.

> There is a low risk of data being lost as it can be stored on back ups.

> This information is easily and quickly accessible.

> On a computer there are many validation checks that can be used to minimize the amount of mistakes.

> Editing can be done by pressing a few buttons.

There are, unfortunately, a few disadvantages to having a computerised system:

> All the equipment, hardware, software and staff training can be a bit expensive.

> Access to data will be lost if something happens to the computer.

My observations tell me that there are more advantages than disadvantages of having a computerised system.

With a computer, the space taken up is relatively small, compared with the space taken up by piles and piles of books. Since these books are quite large, one book carries a great deal of information. So instead of having all these books, all the space could be cut down with the installation of a computer. If the space on the computer is insufficient, extra memory can be purchased cheaply and all the data can be backed up on disks for portable use as well as storage. CDs and floppy disks could be used for this purpose although CDs can hold a lot more information than floppy disks.

The main advantage of using a computer is that all the data can be backed up, if this was tried on a manual system it would not work as well as it does on a computer due to the high photocopying bill and lack of extra storage space. Another thing is that updating the manual back ups would be rather difficult.

Also with a computer, the information that is backed up can be done so using a CD re-writer or a zip disk. This means that a CD re-writer must be bought and installed. Knowledge of how to use it must also be provided to the staff.

The hardware needed to set up this database is as follows:

A main processing unit, a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse and a printer would be helpful for printing receipts and reports.

I am going to create a database for Cannon Hill Newsagents, which will allow the user to:

> Access customer details quickly and easily.

> Update customer subscription information rapidly.

> Easily add/remove customer accounts.

> Store hundreds of customer accounts on one easily accessible database.

My aims are to:

> Clear up all the books underneath the counter.

> Make Cannon Hill Newsagents much more efficient and make their service the best it can be.

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