I set up an interview with the owner of the specialist garage to ask some questions so I could get an inside view of what he wants the system to do and how it would benefit him and the whole company.
What details are currently held?
At the moment we write down customer information on paper such as name, home address, contact numbers and email address. We also have to write down specific upgrades and how they want the car to look. We have the price list written down and kept on the counter to read of.
What do you want from the new system?
I would like the new system to be able to store customer information in the order we want. I would like the system to calculate the prices for the parts and paints and allow us to email this price to our customer and update them on progress our report any problems we have had.
A good amount of memory such as 80 GB.
How many records will be held?
We usually get about 10 customers a month but we are looking to expand like the garage in London and with a set of computers we will be able to serve 20+ customers a month and keep their records for 5 years (until warranty runs out) and then they will be deleted from the system hopefully automatically if possible.
This means probably 1200 records held at one single time.
Where will they be held, how quickly do you need to access data?
The customer information will be held in a spreadsheet in an order that will suit the company and how they work possibly by date of completion or alphabetical order. The data can be opened from the desktop so it’s quick and easy to use.
Who will access data?
The staff and owner will access the data and to ensure it is only them that access the data is will be password protected and it will also know who logs in at what time.
How long will it be used for?
This system will always be used and will be running throughout the working days as long as someone is logged in.
Advantages of using a spreadsheet:
* Spreadsheets allow us to see information clearly in an ordered form.
* They can also calculate prices and totals very quickly which also considers all the formulas and will change prices automatically for us.
* Spreadsheets allow us to customize our system to suit us if that includes macros or just standard formulas to make our lives easier and quicker service, which the customers require.
* Spreadsheets are quite easy to use for the basics and easy to teach to the staff, this will save time on staff training.
* Spreadsheets in the form of excel come with standard Microsoft packages, E.g. Windows XP or Windows 2003.
Advantages of using a word processor:
* Word processors are very easy to use.
* All staff should be confident using a word processor.
* Comes in Microsoft packages, E.g. Windows XP or Windows 2003. (word)
* Word processors correct spelling mistakes (usually).
* Languages can be changed quite easily in case of foreign customers.
* Word processors lay out information clearly.
Advantages of using a database:
* Databases can calculate prices for us.
* Very useful for setting out information.
* Good way of collecting data.
* Very easy to see information clearly.