ntroduction to computer and information science

Suppose that you own a retail store that does NOT have a computer. For the most part, the store’s current information system is paper-based. The most technological items in your store are 2 cash registers (which are not connected to each other), a point-of-sale credit card processing machine (which is not connected to the cash registers), and a fax machine. Other than that, you use paper and clipboards, file cabinets, etc., to keep track of everything (i.e., sales, inventory, customers, and employees). Your payroll and accounting are done manually.

Suppose that you are thinking about buying a computer and the appropriate software in order to computerize your store’s information system. You haven’t made up your mind about any of this yet, and you have a lot questions that come to mind. Here are just a few of the things to consider:

1. How will you decide how much money to spend on a computerized information

system? Will this be a portion of your profits and, if so, how much can you afford?

2. If you decide to buy a computer system, you will need specialized point-of-sale software (not just “office”products such as Excel). You will also need accounting software. Where will you get this software? Are you going to have to hire a programmer to design a software system just for your store, or can you buy software from some other place that is designed for retail stores? How will you find out where to look for the software you’ll need? How much do you expect to pay for this specialized software?

3. Once you decide on the software, what kind of hardware will you need, including the computer itself and any specialized devices you would need for input and output? How will you make the decision on the computer type/brand (PC running Windows, Mac, other) and the additional hardware you need to buy?

4. How will you decide on the best time to start computerizing? Do you do it as soon as possible or wait for the “slow season?”

5. How much time do you think it will it take to convert from your paper-based system to a computer-based information system? How long will it take for your employees to learn how to use the specialized software? Who will train them? If you get new employees, who will train them?

6. What happens if the computer system doesn’t really do the job? Can you return it for a full refund of the money you spent on hardware and software? Do you have any

contingency plans?

7. What happens if Amazon starts selling the same products your store sells? How will a computerized information system help you stay in business?