Successful Systems

The success of a computer system depends on seven elements. Each must be pre-planned and then executed properly for the system to be successful.

1. Strong System Administrator

For any system to be successful, the most important element is the client’s system administrator who is responsible for its implementation and daily operation. This person must not only be capable of performing this role, but also must be dedicated to the system’s success.

2. Good Procedures and Records

A new computer system will not necessarily improve the accuracy of a client’s records. If the company’s records and operational procedures are lacking, the computer system will probably only accentuate these flaws. However, if the procedures and records are in good condition, the new system can significantly improve the company’s operation.

3. Application Software

For a system to be successful, the application software must fit the client’s needs at the detail level. Furthermore, it must continue to fit the client’s needs, even after the “initial known needs” are met. When selected properly, the application software becomes the “permanent” solution to the client’s system needs. With these seven elements in place, the application software should never need to be replaced.

4. Good Computer Hardware

The computer hardware should provide the power and growth capacity needed, at a reasonable cost. Since system needs will almost certainly grow, the equipment should be expandable to meet known future needs. Also, since future needs are not predictable, the system should utilize industry standards (like the UNIX operating system) to provide the client with as many future hardware options as possible.

5. Training

A system without training is useless. Conversion to the new system must be carefully planned by people experienced in this process, and client personnel must be thoroughly trained to convert, implement, and operate the new system.

6. Hardware Maintenance

When any part of the computer equipment fails, the operating efficiency of the client organization suffers, which results in lost profits. The goal of hardware maintenance is to get the system back to its optimum operation as soon as possible, with the least effort. The best way to accomplish this goal is with an on-site maintenance agreement with an authorized maintenance organization.

7. On-Going Programming and Operations Support

Like hardware maintenance, the goal of on-going support is to optimize the continuing utilization of the system. In order for this goal to be achieved, the client needs programming support, telephone “hot line” support, technical support, and maybe even accounting support–available from responsive and experienced computer professionals. With these seven elements in place, the system will be successful from its implementation through many years of valuable use. When any one element is missing, the entire system suffers or fails. Data-Link Associates not only understands the critical need for these elements, but makes sure all seven are in place before implementation begins. Our goal is to make every client’s system successful, and with careful attention to these seven elements, this goal can be achieved every time.

Copyright 2006 by MASI President Joe Taylor, CPA, CPIM