You have been hired as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for a small company "Hosted Desktop Solutions" (HDS), which provides hosted "open-source" IT solutions to small and medium sized businesses.
Due to internal IT constraints and issues, the founders, Bob and Jeff have asked you to undertake a thorough business IT analysis and to suggest solutions to resolve these constraints and issues.
HDS was started by Jeff and Bob, with a laptop each, and not much else! While they have devoted time and effort to meeting their clients IT needs, their own IT infrastructure has become an ad-hoc affair unable to meet the demands of current growth.
Networking capacity is underdone, with one 4 year old server being used for networking, storage, file sharing, as well as some legacy hosted applications for customers. The server box lacks sufficient processing power or RAM, and the server set-up has become unstable over the years, as the founders and the senior technician implement quick remedies when something goes wrong. Staff computers are becoming old, with a messy jumble of hardware, operating systems, and software versions. Email is hosted through Google Apps, and the website is externally hosted.
Customer management systems are also a mix of paper based and Excel files from the company’s beginnings, together with an initial but undeveloped CRM system. Mistakes with customer’s records are inevitable because of the mix of systems. Telephony has also become inadequate. As well, helpdesk email monitoring and response management is under increasing pressure.
While many of the hosting services supplied to customers are externally hosted, older clients are still managed using the company's own IT. Most client IT system monitoring and maintenance is still undertaken through internal IT.
There is a separate application development “box”, however, but as with other systems it is not being optimally maintained and application development has slowed significantly.It is a classic case of a small owner-operated business, where the hands-on approach of the founders is no longer capable of managing all arising issues. As the company grows, amidst whatever organisational systems are in place, company operations can no longer be effectively managed. For example, Bob and Jeff used to look after all internal IT but when the senior technician was employed he was given the task of managing internal IT. However, with customer growth, all 3 are often out of the office on a daily basis, so who does internal IT fixes, and when these are done is unclear and unsystematic.
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