Developing a School’s ICT System
Technology is part and parcel of the 21st century way of life. In the last few decades, there has been exponential growth in technology use in various aspects of life. In effect, it is not surprising to find for the increased interest in the use of ICT in schools in HongKong. A basic overview of various countries masters plans reveal the increased interest of countries all over the world to have ICT use in schools with an aim developing students ability to conduct self-learning, critical thinking, analysis, problem-solving, and information seeking. In light of this, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government’s aims at developing an ICT system for its schools to enable students to benefit from the vast opportunities presented by its use. Notably, the challenges presented with the use if the ICT system includes the financial requirement, training of teachers and the cooperation between teachers, and school administrations. When adapting the ICT system for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) my team will evaluate on technical, psychological, goals and values, structural, and managerial ability of the system. 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 the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government. 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
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government should consider the appropriateness of the outsourced services in the organization. In general, the ICT department should mind 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 is 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 teachers and schools administration 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 use the system, as well as give proper guidance to students on how to also use it (Solish & Semank 2007). Similarly, given that some outsourced services may take years to be fully implemented, the Hong Kong’s government human resource may inform the ICT department if the government is willing to make such a commitment at the moment. Evidently, the implementation of ICT systems for such long periods may mean that the schools 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 whether 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 school ICT system, it is important for the government 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 government’s 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 contract documents are 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 the ICT service provider clearly indicates the services that they will be providing will ensure there is a guided method of measuring whether the company has implemented the ICT system as agreed.
Given the challenges in formulating a customized self-developed ICT system, the government 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 by Hong Kong’s government (Hackett & Statham, 2016). In turn, this will serve as a way of ensuring the students, teachers, and school administration have a convenient teaching model that encourages students participation through research, inquiry, and development of critical thinking skills. Primarily, the maintenance of the ICT software should be outsourced from the developer of the system (Wincel 2004). In general, 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 government 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. Noteworthy, the education system and the development of an academic syllabus is a government’s duty and should not be put at the risk of interference by ICT developers who own the ICT system.
Process Flow Model
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government will use a request for information model to evaluate its possible suppliers and select the most appropriate among them. Since the government has never purchased an education 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 education 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 government 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 government’s ICT department so that they may jointly manage the ICT system. It is important to mention that 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 teachers and school administrators may be facing when using the system in various regions of Hong Kong.
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, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government will advertise the following request for information to ICT service providers.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government,
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 Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government. Kindly note that this RFI aims at evaluating your company’s ability to develop and maintain an education software. The education software will be used by the teachers, students, and school administrators. 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 a national education 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, and 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 ICT department will use the key performance index to evaluate on the competencies of the suppliers to deliver high quality an education software for schools supported by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government within the agreed deadline. In this case, each of the key components 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 05
- $40,000-50,000 07
- $30,000-39,999 1
- $20,000-29,999 15
- $1-19,999 2
- History of providing a similar service
- Yes 15
- No 0
- Number of support staff employees
- Five or more 1
- One to five 07
- Zero 0
- Level of commitment to other jobs
- Three to five jobs 05
- One to two jobs 07
- Zero jobs 1
- Maintenance cost of the system
- $20,000-29,999 15
- $10,000-19,999 2
- $1-9,999 25
- Training to schools
- Ten or more 2
- Five to nine 15
- One to four 1
- 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). In such a way, the SLA forms an important benchmark that the customer uses to evaluate the services that the supplier has provided. For this reason, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government will form an SLA with the supplier who will win the tender. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government SLA with the supplier will indicate the following matters:
- The time the service provider is expected to complete developing the education software for the government funded schools as well as the penalties for not completing the work within the agreed deadline.
- The number of personnel who will train the teachers and school administrators on how to use the system.
- The number of teachers and school administrators that the ICT service provider will train on how to use the system, and the penalty for training less than the agreed number of employees.
- The penalty for developing software that is of lower quality than the specifications agreed in the contract.
Report to the CEO
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government,
Education Software Developer and Maintenance
The ICT department in collaboration with the procurement and supplies department has found a suitable supplier for the government’s education software that is intended to be used in all public schools in Hong Kong. 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 that the High-End Technologies Company (HETC) is appropriate to provide us with this service.
High-End Technologies Company has over ten years’ experience in the development of education software. Notably, the company has developed applications for various countries such as the USA, Germany, and Japan. In addition, the company has demonstrated the ability to develop software that uses Chinese and English languages which are the official languages in Hong Kong. Further, the software that the ICT developer has promised to make illustrates practical methods of performing scientific experiments. In effect, this software will act as a major driver in encouraging students to learn sciences and mathematics which are necessary pillars of the country’s knowledge-based economy. HETC has a big workforce with over 50 permanent employees. Moreover, the company has a dedicated team of 10 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 country in the Middle East. In addition, the software that the company will develop will be secure since it will use passwords. Moreover, this software will enable sharing of files and documents. Notably, this is an important element for trainers and students as it will enable them to share educational materials. 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 public school teachers and the school administrators. Given that the company has already developed a prototype of the education software, the company has promised to deliver a customized version of it within 30 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 are 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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