Solving The Computer Maze. Part 3

/ May 22nd, 2012/ Posted in Communication / Comments Off on Solving The Computer Maze. Part 3

Table 1. Computer Consultant Tasks

* Research the available software applications, and prepare an overview of this research for review.
* Coordinate with software vendors and prepare bids.
* Prepare hardware bids for review. 
* Select the most effective hardware configuration to fit the current and future needs of the club, including local area network configuration, printer locations, point-of-sale cash drawers, etc.
* Prepare an overall proposal for hardware and software installation, and coordinate with vendors regarding installation dates, etc.
* Coordinate efforts to install a local area network, including running necessary cables and making dedicated phone lines available.
* Oversee the installation and configuration of software to ensure efficiency.
* Work with software vendors to download or key in existing member demographic and billing information.
* Coordinate and oversee the training of staff.
* Continue on a contractual arrangement to assist with troubleshooting.
Reprinted by permission from Grantham, W., R. Patton, T. York and M. Winick, 1998. Health Fitness Management, (Champaign, Ill.: Human Kinetics), 463.

Table 2. Guidelines for Selecting a System Provider
Stability Make sure that the system provider is going to be around in the long term and has the resources to serve you well and continually enhance the system. Longevity is certainly a factor, but customer growth and staff turnover in the last two years will be your best indicator of stability, and a good predictor of whether your vendor is strong and stable.
Development Any system that is not continually being enhanced will soon be
history obsolete. Ask vendors to provide their version histories with release dates and feature enhancements, not just bug fixes, from the last two years. Check out who (including qualifications) is providing the professional content of the research and development.
Service A prompt, pleasant, effective response to a request for assistance is crucial. Ask for a complete list of customers that can serve as references, and contact several. Be suspicious of any vendor who hesitates to provide a full list. Explore discrepancies between the partial and complete lists. Ask customers about response times, attitude, update frequency and quality, and overall satisfaction with the products and company.
Reprinted by permission from Michael M. Dehn. Health promotion software should provide solutions, not problems. AWHP’s Action. 20 (2): 1,11, 1998

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