Developing an Organization’s ICT System
Technology is part and parcel of the 21st century way of life. Therefore, organizations inevitably have to fully embrace the use of computer systems and computer aided technologies. In light of this Ningbo Virtual Elder Care Service will adopt an ICT system to make their work easier. Basically, these elderly care service will ensure that home-visiting care staff (HVCS) have remote access to the facilities health records. In essence, the computer system will give the HVCS a history of the patient’s health and any important matters that they should evaluate when carrying out the elder care service. In addition, the ICT system will ensure that the patients’ information are kept in a safe and confidential manner. Importantly, as the person charged with the duty of outsourcing an ICT system, I will consider the pros and cons of all the available systems. In light of this, I will be careful to identify the specific organization departments that can use outsourced ICT system and those that may use a tailor made system.
Report on Outsourcing of ICT
Outsourcing of ICT systems presents various opportunities and challenges for Ningbo Virtual Elder Care Service. Nonetheless, despite the vast opportunities that this system presents to the organization, it is important to consider some of the pertinent issues that may arise during the outsourcing process. Notably, some of the challenges and issues that should be carefully considered in the outsourcing of the ICT system are as follows.
Inappropriate ICT Outsourcing
Ningbo Virtual Elder Care Service should consider the appropriateness of the outsourced services in the organization. In general, the ICT department should consider the competence of the human resource in using the outsourced ICT system, the strategic control of the ICT facilities, and the period needed to train the ICT department officers on how to operate, manage and correct various issues that may arise during the use and development of the system (Myerson, 2012). When analyzing the in-house ability of the organization to use the ICT system, the ICT department should liaise with the human resource department to evaluate the most appropriate system for the organization. In essence, the main agenda of their meeting will be to identify if the organization staff are capable of using a complex ICT system.
On the same note, the human resource department may be able to share information on whether the organization will have adequate time to train the HVCS on how to use the ICT system. Basically, these individuals should be trained on its use to ensure they have the pre-requisite skills needed to access and record the patients’ health once they visit their homes (Solish & Semank 2007). Similarly, given that some outsourced services may take years to be fully implemented, the organization’s human resource may inform the ICT department if the organization is willing to make such a commitment at the moment. Evidently, the implementation of ICT systems for such long periods may mean that the healthcare provider ordinary day-to-day activities will be distracted for a long period.
Transfer of Technology
One of the main challenging issues in the outsourcing process is determining if the ICT service provider personnel have necessary skills to successfully implement the system (Hugos, 2011). Although an ICT company may have the kind of system that the organization may want to be implemented in the mobile ICT platform for the HVCS, it is important for the organization to consider underlying factors that may affect the systems use. One of the preemptive measures that the organization may undertake is an evaluation of the ICT’s company staff turnover, its willingness to offer support services, and the manner in which it plans to execute the ICT implementation process.
Documentation of the Process
Poor documentation of the ICT process may present a big challenge in future. In light of this, the ICT department must ensure that the outsourced ICT service provider has given a detailed description of the services they will offer. Correspondingly, the department should ensure that the document is written in a clear and simple to understand manner (Asefeso, 2012). Basically, this will ensure that there are no difficulties in the interpretation of technical terms in future. Further, a report that clearly indicates the services that the company will be providing will ensure there is a guided method of measuring if the company has implemented the ICT system as agreed.
Given the challenges in formulating a customized self-developed ICT system, the organization should outsource the ICT services for development and maintenance. Evidently, the outsourcing of this service will ensure there is an immediate implementation of the system in the organization (Hackett & Statham, 2016). In turn, this will serve as a quick remedy for the difficulties the HVCS team has in identifying patients’ when they visit their homes. Primarily, the maintenance of the ICT software should be outsourced from the developer of the system (Wincel, 2004). Generally, the developers of the ICT system have in-depth knowledge of the ICT system and may be able to detect any errors that may be in the system. Nevertheless, the organization should have full ownership of the system. Importantly, this will enable it to use the system as it wants without having to pay annual subscription fees.
Process Flow Model
Ningbo Virtual Elder Care Service Ltd. will use a request for information model to evaluate its possible suppliers and select the most appropriate among them. Since the organization has never purchased a similar software before, it does not have an in-depth knowledge of the qualifications of the available ICT system providers. In effect, the request for information (RFI) model will give it insight of their competencies. Subsequently, having read the companies information and experiences in this field, the health facility will request the interested suppliers to issue a tender to provide the organization with the software. In general, the tender will be in the development and maintenance of the mobile ICT system.
Having tendered the documents, there will be a thorough analysis of the supplier ability to provide the ICT service. Further, the selected service provider will have a special meeting with the organization where there will be a negotiation of the contract. Basically, this negotiation will involve determining how the organization will pay for the ICT service and conditions that may lead to termination of the contract (Walker & Robinson, 2008). Finally, the ICT service provider will liaise with the organization ICT department so that they may jointly manage the ICT system. Importantly, the service provider will also train the ICT officers on certain necessary skills needed in the management of the system. In-depth knowledge of how the system works will be necessary when the ICT department is offering support services to issues that HVCS may face when using the system.
Chart1: The Process Flow Model
Request for Information (RFI)
A request for information document is a letter that a business sends to potential suppliers telling them to provide the business with information about the goods or services that they offer, as well as a brief description of their business (Dominick & Lunney, 2012). In light of this, the businesses give information such as their history, their capacity to offer the required services, and their location. Consequently, Ningbo Virtual Elder Care Service Ltd. will advertise the following request for information to ICT service providers.
Ningbo Virtual Elder Care Service Ltd.
The ICT Department,
Request for Information (RFI)
Dear Service Provider,
We are pleased to invite you to provide us with a RFI of your business. A RFI is a mandatory requirement for all potential suppliers as per the Ningbo Virtual Elder Care Service procurement and supplies act. Kindly note that this RFI aims at evaluating your company’s ability to develop and maintain a mobile software to be used by the company’s home-visiting care staff (HVCS) to check on the history of patients. In light of this, please provide us with the following information:
- Location of your business
- Description of projects that the business has carried out.
- Copies of the registration of your business.
- Information on the number of employees in your company.
- The ability of your business to develop and maintain an ICT software.
- Copies of tenders of similar sized work that your business has carried out.
The Evaluation Methodology
Notably, the tenders will be evaluated based on the level of commitment to other jobs, competencies of the service provider, ability of the service provider to finish the work within the specified deadlines, history of the service provider engaging in a similar activity, the number of employees available for maintenance of the system, as well as cost of provision of the service (Christopher, 2011). Further, there will be penalties for failure to deliver the service within the stipulated deadlines, provision of low-quality work, violation of the contract agreement, and failure to train employees on the agreed skills. In essence, all elements will have a score which will be used to indicate the most competent supplier among the ones who have tendered for the work.
Key Performance Index
In general, a key performance index is an analytical measure of the factors that are to be considered when evaluating and employee, a supplier, or a customer (Greenhalgh & Squires, 2011). In this case, the business will use the key performance index to evaluate on the competencies of the suppliers to deliver a high quality mobile software for Ningbo Virtual Elder Care Service Ltd. within the agreed deadline. In this case, the each of the key component will have a weight which will be used to evaluate the most competent supplier (Turner, 2011). Basically, these scores will sum up to 100% and the supplier with the highest score will win the tender. The key performance index for the company will be as follows:
- Tender quotation for development
- More than $50,000 01
- $40,000-50,000 1
- $30,000-39,999 15
- $20,000-29,999 3
- $1-19,999 35
- History of providing a similar service
- Yes 15
- No 0
- Number of support staff employees
- Five or more 15
- One to five 1
- Zero 0
- Level of commitment to other job
- Three to five jobs 5
- One to two jobs 0
- Zero jobs 5
- Maintenance cost of the system
- $20,000-29,999 3
- $10,000-19,999 35
- $1-9,999 4
- Training of employees
- Ten or more 3
- Five to nine 25
- One to four 2
- Zero 0
Service Level Agreement (SLA)
A service level agreement is a correspondence between a service provider and a customer that gives a detailed description of the scope, quality, and type of service that the service provider will offer (Ashworth, 2013). Therefore, the SLA forms an important benchmark that the customer uses to evaluate the services that the supplier has provided. For this reason, Ningbo Virtual Elder Care Service Ltd. will form an SLA with the supplier who will win the tender. Ningbo Virtual Elder Care Service Ltd. SLA with the supplier will indicate the following matters.
- The time the service provider is expected to complete developing the mobile software for the HVCS, as well as the penalties for completing the work after the agreed deadline.
- The number of personnel who will train the company’s staff on how to use the system.
- The number of employees that the company will train on how to use the system and the penalty for training less than the agreed number of employees.
- The penalty for developing a software that is of lower quality than the specifications agreed in the contract.
Report to the CEO
Ningbo Virtual Elder Care Service Ltd.,
Mobile Software Developer and Maintenance
The ICT department in collaboration with the procurement and supplies department has found a suitable supplier for the company’s mobile software that is intended to be used by the HVCS team. Noteworthy, the identified software supplier has demonstrated adequate knowledge, experience, and availability of resources needed to carry out this work. Based on our knowledge of the requirements needed to complete this challenging task, we have found the High-End Technologies Company (HETC) appropriate to provide us with this service.
High-End Technologies Company has over ten years experience in the development of mobile phone applications. Notably, the company has developed applications for leading technology companies such as Apple Inc. and Microsoft. In addition, the company has the ability to develop a mobile software that may work on Android, iPhone, and Microsoft mobile software. Therefore, the application that the company is developing will be usable to all probable phones that the HVCS team members may be using. HETC has a big workforce with over fifty permanent employees. Moreover, the company has a dedicated team of ten employees who are always free to offer emergency support services to any of their customer’s needs.
In the tendering process, HETC had the highest score of the key performance index. HETC was able to demonstrate a prototype version of a similar software that they had developed for a business offering elder care services. In addition, the software that the company will develop will be secure since it will use passwords. Further, the company has committed to provided free maintenance service of the software for the first two years and an annual service maintenance fee of $15,000 thereafter. Finally, the company will provide free training to all the company employees. Given that the company has already developed a prototype of the mobile software, the company has promised to deliver a customized version of it within thirty days after the signing of the contract. HETC has also agreed to pay for full cost of damages, as well as a penalty equal to 30% of the value of the tender if it fails to comply with any of the terms of the contract.
After careful consideration of all the facts presented by HETC and other competitors, we have concluded that HETC is the best company for this job. HETC’s experience in the job and the availability of a team of competent personnel to offer immediate support in case of any problem is the main distinguishing factors. Further, the company’s commitment to pay full damages and a penalty for failure to comply with the terms of the contract demonstrates its willingness to offer a high-quality job.
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