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Is 535

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By jacobba12
Words 2758
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Current situation
The importance of Information System for businesses or organizations is nowadays incontestable. In fact, I.T’s impact in overall business improvement if used properly keeps growing. Consequently, Ball State University like lots of other organizations is investing so much in its I.T. According to the University’s board of funding, Ball State University allocates a recurring balance of $ 10.1 million for computer equipment renewal as well as for computerizing other campus system, such as library circulation. The school signed in 2011 a software licensing and services agreement with SunGard Higher Education Inc. of $31 million for implementation process of a new technology, including an off-site application hosting service of the software. The university, for their strategic plan has also assigned $ 25.3 million in order to implement an administrative system technology within the coming years. In addition, over $ 14 million is currently set aside for capital projects including eventual campus telephone system replacement, academic building equipment provision, and part of the geothermal conversion development.
Currently, Ball State University has a powerful and varied network system, using Ethernet, fiber optic, and Wimax technologies. According to the University fact book 2011-2012, they have actually 2,461 managed network devices, a wired network using 10 gigabit fiber network with 21,135 ports, and more than 1,400 access point of wireless capable of providing 54 mbps of mobile connectivity. The University’s high speed wireless and wired network connect students, staff, classroom, labs, resident halls, and offices throughout the campus. The University estimates having one of Indiana’s largest libraries with about 400 public use computers, and also has its own public television and radio stations. It also proclaims that 99 percent of the students have their own computers, but unclear if those devices are included in the students’ tuition.
According, to its fact book, Ball State University estimated 22,147 enrolled students during the academic years of 2011-2012, about 80% of those students (17,627) are undergraduates studying at the bachelor’s and associate degree level. The University counts more than 18,000 students attending on campus, with 16,400 undergraduates and more than 3,800 of those started as freshman at Ball State University. Their students came from 48 states of the US with13% of students coming from out of Indiana State, and the school has also more than 620 registered international students which represent about 2.8% of their effective students.
To accommodate students living, Ball State University has approximately ten residence complexes housing where about 7,000 students live. According to the school fact book, their freshman residence hall program is listed as one of the best in the nation by the "Unofficial, Unbiased Insider's Guide to the Most Interesting Colleges." In addition the University has one all-female residence hall that house approximately 600 students.
The University also has 2,832 full time employees (faculty, staff) in 2011-2012, where we have seen a decrease from 2010; 2011 respectively 2,872; 2,844. As a student looking for school to go to, it’s important to know the retention and the graduation rate before applying for any school; high retention and graduation rates are naturally positive sign. Ball State University has a student retention rate of 78%, which is considered as above Indiana average, and a graduation rate of 60%.
So regarding over all statistic, Ball State is a good school to go to. However, we notice a moderate new enrollment from the academic year 2007-2008 to 2011-2012, respectively 19,849; 20,243; 21,401; 22,083, and 22,147, except the academic year 2009-2010 where they have registered more than 1000 new students enrolled.
Major goals of the Business plan: We all know for any business, customers and clients are critical in order to improve revenue and profit. The more customers, or consumers a business get the more profitable the business would be. That rule applies for education too. Students must be considered as customers, or clients and treat as such. So, the more students a school can enroll, the more rewarding it will be. That taken to consideration, we can see Ball State University is behind its peers such as for instance Purdue University and Indiana University Bloomington. According to the National Center for Education Statistic IPEDS database, Perdue and Indiana University are outpacing Ball State’s student enrollment mostly because they are presents outside of Indiana State, so they are getting more incoming out of State students. For instance Purdue University has 26% of students coming from others US States and 14% of international students, whereas Ball State University counts respectively 13% and 2.8%; a huge difference.
So, from this database compare to the overall budget and funds allotted to Ball State University for its IT, the Becker and Monroe Management Firm IS plan would make sense. We know, no business can succeed without handling information properly and managing operations professionally. Thus, with our new IS plan, we will improve the way prospective and existing students receive information at and about Ball State University. The major task of Becker and Monroe Management Firm would be using Information Technology in order to have a better website with a goal of attracting and bringing more students to enroll and retain them toward graduation. The design of the new website will include the creation of an automatic help desk system, by using live video chat 24/7 for all technical assistance; that would cut expenses and satisfy students for their support needs, rather than calling and never get answer and be frustrated. The new system will also come with an automated financial aid assistance that can for example help to estimate student’s financial aid eligibility for any student that submits his income information. The use of new website and technology will help Ball State University staff and faculty to make a better data-informed decision that would boost students learning results. As we said before better managing data is essential for a continuous correction and improvement, otherwise it makes it to determine if we are achieving our mission. Furthermore, our new system would be also use as tool to focus on teaching and learning, supporting students’ success initiative, which will develop a strong experience rising students retention toward graduation and can even intensify students’ transfer rate. That would be a door of more students enrolling to the school. Thus, with a growing students’ enrollment, an IT team would be in place working with the University administrators or decision makers in areas such as enrollment management, students’ performance, and an ongoing academic program reviews. The new system will be also design with a dashboard tool that enables all end users to access any data whenever they need it, and at the level they need it. Students’ automatic assistances would be also analytic tools for administrators on a daily basis to monitor students’ needs or specific enrollment trends. It will give the University staff an instantaneous update of anything happening, it helps to identify for instance which strategy of enrollment is working, and which need to be changed to ensure relevancy, and meet students’ needs. Monitoring trends has multidimensional effect, not only it helps make necessary program changes that would have a long-term impact on student retention, but also gives staff the ability to recognize students that need academic assistance at an early point, and then necessary tool to help them throughout the semester. Those assistances can be helpful especially with students at risk of dropping, to communicate with them, with the goal of keeping them enrolled. By monitoring trends and managing data effectively, instructors will be able to report students showing high risk behavior, such as excessive absences, poor academic performance, and severe conduct issues. Thus a case alert can be automatic generated and sent to a counselor that would continue to truck and communicate with that specific student throughout the semester or his entire time is the college. Doing so could help those students get back on truck, as we know; we all love to feel we are showed or receive care. So it could improve retention.
Furthermore, there also something that in most schools frustrates students. We all at once or constantly have or had a bad experience with academic advising, which can have a negative impact on attracting new students that have a desire to succeed. The lack of organization and long waiting times, both in person and on the phone, to speak with an advisor, is an area that needs improvement for schools. So to better the experience of students in that field and satisfy them at Ball State University, the Becker and Monroe new IS for the school will come with a new scheduling system to address the issues. For a better organized and efficient scheduling, we will have a web-based scheduling system that enables students to view schedule of multiple advisors and counselors on various days, and be able to generate an appointment that best fit for them. So, anytime a student pick an appointment time, the system will send an alert to that specific counselor or advisor, and that time availability for the counselor would be taken out of the system. It could solve, or at least reduce the problem with student waiting line for counseling.
In addition, our IS plan will also contain an eventual affiliate program with high schools in Indiana State. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are 289 high schools in Indiana State alone. So, an affiliation with most of the high school that display on their website information about Ball State University can have a tremendous impact on new students’ enrollment. For instance, by working with 150 to 200 high schools and get just 5 to 10 students by school could bring 750 to 2000 students which would be phenomenal.
And last but not least, the Becker and Monroe Management Firm’s IS plan will come with an idea and possibility of providing smart mobile devices to all faculty and staff in order to enable adequate and instantaneous inter action between students and instructors or staff whenever they need it. As again, students are the reason of a school existence, they are the essence of any college or university, success of students is the success of their school. The more satisfy are students “Academically”, the more retention it can be, and the more new students are expect to enroll in that school, which mean more profit.

Budget requirement

Information Technology budgeting has always been a complicated and struggling task for organizations and businesses. According to Shimamoto in his article a strategic approach to IT budgeting, this often happen because organizations’ IT team does not understand the budgeting process, and the finance team does not understand IT. In fact he states that IT budgeting should be excised into a meaningful planning and an ongoing management process where organization’s leaders work together in order to define IT role in realizing the organization’s objectives. Visualize IT as an investment rather than a cost. Good IT budgeting could be seen like a good financial planning, Shimamoto (2012), looking at IT spending as an investment in an organization’s development may be seen effective and has much in common with personal financial planning.
Additionally, determining the short and long term goal of our business could help ensure that we project our IT strategy with our business strategy, resulting in a good IT investment decision. So for our Ball State University IS plan initiative and objectives, which is designing a better website that enables more new students to enroll, we will consider into account some expenditure in order to estimate the budget. To support a better decision making and planning, we will classify our expenses by types and categories. With our objective of bringing more and more students, there would be a need of investing for hardware which is generally all the equipment and other fixed assets including the installation cost, maintenance contracts, and warranties. The hardware expenditure is related in ownership of any physical assets and their maintenance. We also will consider spending for software which is software licenses and support contract. It usually has a set price for a fixed term. Then we will allot funds for subscriptions and services which are related to cloud computing and managed-service providers, employees’ new system training etc. They can have fixed or variable price, and a fix or variable term.
So implement the IS plan our expenses budget will be as follow:
Software procurement New Skyward applications | 35,000 | Remote access to network resource add | 25,000 | Virtual learning opportunity | 80,000 | Total | 140,000 | Hardware, facilities and networking equipment Equipment component, backup tapes, adapters, cables | 35,000 | Mobile computer labs add | 90,000 | 250 additional computers (library) | 75,000 | Servers add | 30,000 | Network switches, routers | 25,000 | Total | 255,000 |

Operation, Maintenance, Upgrade, communications Internet service add | 15,000 | Service Contract (anti-virus, firewall) | 30,000 | Maintenance and service support | 25,000 | Programming | 150,000 | Total | 220,000 |

So to start with our new IS plan we will need a starting budget of $615,000 for the first academic year 2012-2013. However, this is just to implement the first part of plan which is changing Ball State University’s website lay out, and anticipate the first expected students increase. As the overall plan is to bring more students, the system reinforcement will follow accordingly.
However, the primary advantage of the new system would be seen early though, as we are also expecting to cut expenses in areas such as students’ personal technical support and most of the financial aid assistance, since in our plan we are including live video tutorial for everything related to technical support and most of the financial aid inquiries for all registered students or prospect by giving their financial situation. Furthermore as more students coming in, we expect the school to make more profit in the long run.
Running a business and improve it cannot happen without the proper use of resources, and all starts about availability of money. So to realize the new IS plan for Ball State University, we are obviously going to need disposal of fund. We already know that Ball State University invests millions in their IT. But do to the recent financial crisis, states throughout the country are facing massive debt and seeking to balance budget. Therefore cost cutting is hurting numerous state programs including public universities. According to education week journal of June 2011, Indiana State has cut more than $300 million on public universities budget. So in order to start and funding the new system few options are available. It’s either using part of the funds set aside for Ball State capital project, or organize a fundraising, like the School former students’ did before and collected over $10 million.
Acquisition cycle Activities | Actions | Timetable | Outcomes | Creation of a new network | Analyzing all the weaknesses of the current system, then elaborate a new one more performing | From July 2012 to December 2013 | Network system will be improved throughout the development of the new one, and be able to support eventual students increase | Creation of an intranet network | Build in an intern network connection running on the new system | Beginning implementation Spring 2013 | Gives faculty, staff and students more relevant database, fastest accessibility, and a better and secure interaction. | Creation of digital assistance | 1* Conception of live video tutorial replacing technical support staff2* Creation of financial aid live video assistance | Start implementation Summer 2013Start implementation Summer 2013 | Enabling students self-autonomy of solving their technical issuesEmpowering students to most of financial inquiries without aid of live person financial aid assistant |

References
Helgesen, O. (2008). Marketing for higher education: A relationship marketing approach. Vol. 18 issue 1 pp29, 50, & 78.
Wetzel, J. N., O’Toole, D. Steven, P. (2009). Factors affecting student retention probabilities: A case study. Journal of economics and finance Vol.23 issue 1, p45
Ball State University’ student enrollment. Retrieved June 02, 2012, from the fact book at http://cms.bsu.edu/About/FactBook/Enrollment.aspx.
The IT budget in 2012. Charts, diagrams, etc. Information retrieval, computer security. The CIO insight, Nov (2011), Issue 120, pp. 125-126.
Eddy, N. (2011). IT budget increases as businesses add staff Channel insider 11/9/2011
Donny, S. (2012). A strategy approach to IT budgeting. Journal of accountancy Vol. 213 issue 3. P38-44.
New model for financing public Universities March (2011). Retrieved from May 29, 2012 at www.educationportal.com…...

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