San Francisco Bay Case Study

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1. The primary reason for the disputes and frustration stem from changes in business needs from the initial mission of the CS group at the time of the conversion from leasing off-site mainframe time to doing all computing in-house. That mission was to provide a network and platform that was “as reliable as a public utility.” In order for the CS group to maintain such a reliable system, they were in charge of purchasing and supporting all hardware and software and ensuring compatibility within the network. However, as computing needs changed, researchers demanded new and different hardware and software to allow them to better do their jobs. CS had a general reluctance to approve such purchases for specific projects. Because CS was responsible for supporting the purchases and if they did not have an application to a broad level of the firm, they were not likely to approve the request, as they already had to support over 100 software programs. The CS team is frustrated in that the researchers couldn’t seem to understand that if a new program or computing system was purchased, they were responsible for supporting the purchase and they simply couldn’t be experts in all things.

A secondary but critical source of conflict came about with CS’ internal billing for their services. Researchers felt that the billings were exorbitant. One cited as an example that their internal billings for the use of a SUN computer on one project were nearly equal to the purchase price of the computer. This was not a cost they were willing to pass along to the customer. Also, researchers see what they are being billed for their computers and determine it is excessive compared to what they see the same computer selling for in the retail market. CS’s rebuke to that position is that they are constantly responding to researchers needs and solving problems which are critical services that must be paid for.

Ultimately, while both sides have legitimate complaints, the researchers...
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