Software Problems Midsouth Chamber of Commerce

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In recent years, board members and staff of the Midsouth Chamber of Commerce (MSCC) have been trying to update their information system. Their information has steadily required more capabilities and in pursuit of better more efficient capabilities they have made several missteps that have cost them a very large sum of money. They have had personnel acquire information systems that did not meet the requirements of MSCC. The cost of these nonfunctioning systems has been in excess of $277,000.00 dollars. MSCC is now on their third person to manage the acquisition of an information system that will meet all the current and foreseeable future needs of MSCC. They need to ensure that the person in charge of the acquisition of new information systems takes prudent steps to ensure that the information system that they acquire has been given a test run and it is able to complete all required tasks with a minimum of training required by the personnel who will be using the new system. MSCC needs to ensure that they start with a sound grasp of what the information system needs to collect, manage, retrieve and report to meet the requirements of supporting the business activities performed by MSCC. Failure to ensure that these steps are followed will result in the same types of problems experienced in the past by MSCC. MSCC must ensure that the language in the contract with the vendor has enough teeth that if the vendor fails to provide an information system that meets the needs of MSCC, they have viable repercussive actions to take against the vendor.

Mistakes that the Chamber Made since the implementation of the UNITRAK Software The Chamber has made numerous mistakes over the several months following Unitrak’s installation and implementation. Among them: Wilson did not vest enough time or interest in the presentation by Greg Ginder, president UNITRAK Software Corporation, who gave a brief demonstration, scheduled for 3 hours, to Wilson who only observed 45 minutes at which time he stated, “I will support it if you wish. Chamber did not have a good system in place to migrate the data from the old information system to the new information system. Personnel were just directed to migrate the necessary data from the old computer system to the new system. Problems encountered during the migration resulted in less than 15% of the data moved into the appropriate places. No documentation available on the old software which resulted in further delay of implementation of the new system. During implementation most of MSCC’s computers did not function at all. Also, MSCC was unable to request registration and labeling for mail delivery, which means that requests can not be fulfilled costing MSCC revenue. Putting new person in charge of acquisition of a new information system who did not have experience working with AS/400 system and had no insight on the UNITRAK software and trade associations in general. This individual soon he began to struggle with even the basic systems management tasks. MSCC was too cost-oriented. It may have been expensive to continue to run both the old information system and the new information system in parallel, but this would have ensured that the work that MSCC still needed to get done would get done. They also should have hired an outside consultant to lead a thorough needs analysis of the proposed purchase. MSCC's representative appears to have contacted only one vendor, a single vendor is bad. Single vendor means limited choice of products available for review prior to purchase. If the representative had check with more than one vendor, these problems may have been avoided. MSCC did not ensure that the software selection process was comprehensive.” When the proposed contract arrived, it was not reviewed, the contract was sent...
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