Introducing the new software for the customer care and billing systems is a valuable decision of the Rick Auto Enterprises top management. It will have positive impact on the whole Rick Auto Enterprises system, including customer benefits – easy to access and to operate system via internet; RAE benefits – attraction of new clients and good service for existing ones and departmental collaboration, which would lead to the higher productivity
It is possible to outline the following to the general functions of management: planning, motivation, execution and control over the done work. That is why in our research we would stress on planning the project. Our planning would include the following aspects: system work, project budget, its tools and techniques, time management and controlling tools for metrics.
The main aim of introducing the new project into the practice is complete automation of billing and customer care system. That would have some benefits for the Rick Auto Enterprises. Among them are the following: reducing costs for labour; the time for executing the main activities would be saved in comparison to the time and efforts, required for doing all work manually. And finally, the quality of work would be higher and the mistakes, caused by human factor, would be prevented by such system. More than that, improving of the customer care system would attract new clients because of its usability and possibility of making payments on-line.
Among the benefits for the clients it is possible to outline the following: it would be easy to operate with on-line payments system and that would save clients’ time; it would be possible to see the planned services for the auto individually for each client- just entering the system (under personal login and password) and looking at the personal account (or getting messages via e-mail or cell-phone).
The system approach towards introducing new system into the practice and its installation will allow reaching the following:
· Reducing time and costs for the program installation, because all needed freelance personnel (programmers, consultants) would be hired for one time and the work would take less time. More than that, teaching and drilling the staff would be done at one time – both for customer service staff and for billing and sales staff.
· The collaboration between customer care and sales departments would allow to generate new and convenient approach towards work and towards application this system to the needs of Rick Auto Enterprises;
· Getting discount from the vender for ‘wholesale order’ – complex of legacy billing system and customer service add-on. That would reduce cost of the project and the save money it is possible to use for the personnel teaching and training.
· Saving time for the software updating: the complex program installation process would take less time and there would be no need for drawing personnel’s attention away from carrying out their responsibilities and that, in turn would make positive impact on the productivity of staff work and company revenue.
The planned project budget ($125000.00) would include the following articles of expenditure: wages for the staff – the consultants would be hired for 4 hours – two in the beginning of the program installation and two hours in the end- totally that would cost 4(hours)*165($/hour)=660$; the technical architects would be involved into the process for 6 hours- 135$/hour*6hours = 810$; programmer would get 110($/hour)*5(days/week)*1(hour/day)*20(weeks) = 11.000$ and testers’ work would cost 100($/hour)*5(days/week)*1(hour/day)*20(weeks) =10.000$. Total sum for tester and programmer is 21.000$. The project manager salary would be 150($/hour)*300(hours)= 45.000$. The staff teaching, consultation and drilling would cost 110($/hour)*2(hours for customer care system lecture)*2 (hours for billing system lecture) = 440$. The total cost for the program installation and implementation would take 660$+ 810$ + 21.000$ +45.000$ + 440S = 67.910$. The budget of the project may cover also costs of add-on customer care program – 45.000$ and the package of current training/documentation – 8.500$. Total sum in this case would be 120.940$. That means that the project manager has saved additionally 3.590$ and also there is an opportunity of getting discount from the vendor after negotiations, concerning the complex order. All saved money it is possible to use for: covering costs for additional personnel training (if needed), covering costs for AtTask program installation; paying bonuses for the personal after successful implementation of the program; the reserve fund for the software maintenance creation. Finally, the issue of 3.590$ predestination should be discussed with the top management of the Rick Auto Enterprises.
The project implementation is the responsibility of the project manager. The implementation and execution includes the following aspects: developing clear and well-defined objectives, outlining the general requirements towards each employee, including freelance employees, involved into the program installation process and to the consultation. Also the triple constraint (cost, time and scope) for the project should be controlled by the project manager (PM).
To the main tools, used by the PM it is possible to consider the project management software – the program, which covers different software types, including controlling over the costs, budget, time management, communication and documentation. That allows the manager to have common database of all activities, to have access towards all needed sources with a little time required, to carry out the control over done work and to evaluate its quality.
One of the most popular programs, used for that propose is the AtTask, which allows to carry out the following functions: using collaborative software, applying of the issue tracking system, scheduling, project portfolio management, recourse management, documentation management and web-based activities.
All expenditures, concerning AtTask software installation and maintenance it is possible to cover from the project budget (as it is said above, there are 3.590$ for additional expenditures).
Using high- quality software allows the PM to work effectively and to be able to control all the processes of the project. More than that, the program may be applied for the other projects- so it may be considered as a long-term investment.
Time management aspect is another important issue in successful project managing. The time, required for the project complication should be well-planned and all the activities should be done according to the plan. If here are some deviations, the reserve time should be included in the business project timetable. In our case it is possible to get the reserve time if to shift the programmers and testers’ timetable the following way: to organize their work for 1 week- five days/week and 2 hour/day instead of two weeks 1 hour/day working day.
For the Rick Auto Enterprises digital system improving, we have determined 20 weeks term. The time, required for the program installation and control over its work is 100 hours – the 5 days/week and 1 hours/day – for two employees- programmer and tester. Also, other employees would be involved into the process of the software installation, but their working hours won’t affect the whole timetable of the project. The introduction of the program should be done after program installation – simultaneously with the personnel training. In such case, the system would be installed, tested and implemented into the practice in 20 weeks term.
The evaluation of the work quality and control over the system work and its efficiency is considered to be the project control- the process, which begins from project planning and accomplishes with post-implementation phase. The project manager is responsible for successful project closing and system work. The control should involve both scheduled and unscheduled check-out, total control over expenditures documentation, personnel knowledge control.
It is possible to evaluate the new system efficiency after, at least, month of its exploitation. For that purpose, it is necessary to carry out the control of current (old) system and to collect all important data about it: information, concerning quantitative and qualitative indexes and after a month – to make comparison analysis.
To conclude, we would like to say that this project is very important step in improving of the existent system. The add-on software should be installed and that would have great benefits for the customers and attract them. Increasing of competitive advantage on the current market for Rick Auto Enterprises – is the key success factor for its work.
- Joseph Phillips (2003). PMP Project Management Professional Study Guide. McGraw-Hill Professional, 2003. ISBN 0-07-223062-2 p.354.
- Martin Stevens (2002). Project Management Pathways. Association for Project Management. APM Publishing Limited, 2002
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- Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia (2010) Project management software [Online] (Updated 25October 2010) Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_management_software [Accessed 29 October 2010]