Scenario Imagine you are the IT director of the George Washington School District, a 30,000-student district spanning 30 elementary, six middle, and four high schools. As the district expands, you are continuously trying to improve the use of technology across the schools, specifically in the areas of resource and information management. The superintendent has informed you that the district was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve technology within the district, and the board is awaiting your determinations on what improvements may best serve the district. After meeting with the IT staff and talking to faculty and staff across the district, you have decided that integrating a district-wide ERP system would be the best use of the grant. Currently, data is stored centrally in the district office as well as in each of the 40 school databases. The IT team provides maintenance and support for the student information system, a district portal, 40 individual school websites, voice-over-internet protocol (VoiP), and the individual district office departments. The district office consists of the human resources department, budget, maintenance and operations, accounting, information technology, education technology, child welfare and attendance, risk management, special programs, and the special education department. The student system consists of a 2014 SQL Server with a Microsoft Access front end database. The business system is a proprietary system that runs on an IBM AS/400 Mainframe. Ideally, you would like to connect the following systems: student information system, human resources system, payroll, research and assessment, and risk management. In order to appropriate the recent funds to implement the ERP system, you must brief the school board at the next meeting on your proposal and the value of enterprise resource planning for the district. Additionally, you must construct a proposal detailing how the funds will be utilized and the steps for implementation of an ERP system. While the board members will be primarily concerned about your presentation and your expected allocation of funds, IT staff will need the detailed proposal to prepare for implementation and potential challenges. Therefore, it is important to balance the technical needs with the organizational needs while drafting your written proposal in order to connect with both audiences. Be sure to provide the appropriate resources and examples for support when necessary. In the professional IT world, research is key, and supporting your claims becomes one of the most successful means of persuasion. Prompt Your board presentation must address the following prompt: What value could the ERP system provide the George Washington School District and, in general, how do you plan to allocate the grant funds? Specifically, the follow critical elements must be addressed:
a) Summary of Issues: Summarize the IT issues that the district is facing because of its lack of an ERP system. In other words, provide a brief assessment of the existing information systems (the technology/software/hardware) used throughout the district and how effective or ineffective the current systems are. Explain your reasoning, and provide examples or instances of issuesto substantiate your claims.
b) Current Business Processes: Analyze the current high-level business processes (the procedure that each terminal, such as each school, employs to store and analyze information, for example) used in relation to the flow of information shared across the district to identify areas that could be altered to improve efficiency.
c) Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems: Provide an overview of enterprise resource planning systems. Specifically, review the concepts of ERP for board membersto facilitate their understanding of the purpose and functionality of the concepts. Be sure to address the following questions:
i. What is ERP and what is its purpose?
ii. What are the leading tools?
iii. What are the types of systems that you can connect to ERP systems?
iv. What types of reporting can ERP systems produce?
II. Examples of Use: What other organizations or school districts utilize ERP systems? Provide a brief evaluation of that organization’s use of a particular ERP system/tool for managing enterprise resources. To what extent has the implementation within this organization improved the management of resources?
III. Pros/Cons of Implementing ERP: Weigh the pros and cons of implementing an ERP system for George Washington School District. Some areas to consider include cost, limitations of reporting, and impact(s) on current users and process.
A. Limitations: Assess the extent to which there are limitations of ERP that will not allow for consolidation and successful integration of all existing and potential systems. Will the ERP system be able to connect to all systems? Is there any information that might be difficult to obtain from the ERP system? How can you address these limitations? Provide sources relevant to the scenario to support your claims.
B. Key Considerations: For George Washington School District, what are the key considerations before implementing an ERP system? What level of implementation needs to happen (full, partial, etc.)? What software purchases are necessary? Will you need to purchase software to implement the ERP design?
C. Integration of Software and Technology:
1. Integration: How will you handle implementation? Outline a brief big-picture plan for handling integration of software and technology that attends to the key considerations around data collection, storage, and sharing across the district. To what extent will you need to integrate differentsoftware and technologies?
2. Organizational Needs: What organizational needs and factors need to be considered when planning for integration? Will you need to hire a consultant to ensure proper implementation or will your IT staff be able to support the new system? What type of training will be required for your users and who will have access to the system?
IV. Closing Statement: Return on Investment: What is the goal of the ERP system? How can the information in an ERP system add value to the organization? How can we ensure the implementation will be worth the investment?