a) Kenfin Ltd is a medium size commercial bank having branches in major towns in Kenya. The bank provides over the counter services and is planning to introduce online banking services. The online banking services will enable the bank to centralize some information processing systems while decentralizing others. You are the project manager overseeing the implementation of the online banking services project.
(i.) What information systems services would you recommend to be centralized or decentralized? Justify your answer citing any assumptions made.
(ii.) Describe three key risks that may affect the duration and/or cost of the project.
b) Describe how a software developer can make use of the internet
A) (I) ONLINE ELECTRONIC BANKING
This refers to a computerized banking system that enables customers to do most of their banking transactions via home computers linked to proprietary networks or the internet.
Services to be decentralized:
1. Receipt of balance enquiries and reply to these enquiries in the form of balance slips. Software could be designed handle these enquiries thus eliminating the need for anover the counter service. The enquiries could thus be made from a remote computer linked to the bank‘s central computer containing the customer database and the replies to these enquiries sent via the network linking the bank‘s computers to the remote computer.
2. Receipt of requests for bank statements and replies to such requests.
Software could also be designed to handle these enquiries thus eliminating the need for an over the counter service. Such enquiries could be made from a remote computer linked to the bank‘s central computer containing the customer‘s database. Replies could be forwarded via the network to the remote computer.
3. Receipt of foreign exchange rates enquiries and replies to such enquiries
Again, software could be designed to handle these enquiries thus eliminating the need for an over the counter service. Such enquiries could thus be made from a remote computer linked to the bank‘s central computer containing the exchange rates file.
4. Receipt of simple enquiries as to the type of accounts offered Kenfin ltd and the reply to such enquiries. Software could also be designed to handle these enquiriesthus eliminating the need for an over the counter service. Enquiries could thus be made from a remote computer linked to the bank‘s central computer containing the file that describes the types of accounts offered the bank.
5. Receipt of simple enquiries regarding the types of loans offered Kenfin ltd and the reply to these enquiries. Software could also be designed to handle these enquiries.The enquiries could thus be made from a remote computer linked to the bank‘s central computer containing the loan types file.
To be centralized:
1. Complex loan enquiries
Such enquiries warrant the advice of a personal banker since its difficult to design software to respond to such enquiries. Hence, such a service should be centralized at the bank‘s branches where personal bankers are available.
2. Complex account opening enquiries
Such enquiries may include questions concerning the possibility of opening multiple accounts. Such enquiries are best dealt with a personal banker and thus they are restricted to the bank‘s branches meaning that they must be centralized.
3. Cash and cheque depositing
This service should be centralized for convenience on the part of the bank. It could be decentralized where such deposits would have to be mailed but this would imply that there have to be security checks in the mailing processes, which at current are not present in Kenya‘s post system. Decentralization would mean that the mailing of cash and cheque deposits must be reliable in terms of speed in order to ensure that transactions are updated on time. Reliability in terms of speed comes at a cost that must be incurred the bank. Since Kenfin is a medium-sized bank, it would not be able to cope with such a system.
(ii) Risks that may affect the duration and/or cost of the project.
1. Changing equipment costs
Changing costs of hardware and software equipment required the project could increase the cost of the project beyond the budgeted level.
2. Insufficient funds– this could lengthen the duration of a project since an organization would have to wait until it has adequate funds before it can resume the project.
3. Poor planning– Poor plans may delay a project since time will be spent reformulating the plans to meet the organization‘s objectives. Poor plans may also result in over expenditure as management may abandon unrealistic budgets and spend freely.
4. Poor management commitment to the project.
Management‘s lack of commitment shown their absence during meeting and reluctance to provide funding to project phases could delay a project beyond implementation time.
5. Unhappy members of the project team. An unhappy team has low motivation to work and consequently deadlines may not be met on time resulting in project delays.
b) How a software developer can make use of the Internet:
1. The Internet as a source of program code
The software developer could source code needed for specific parts of a program being developed from the Internet. For instance, a programmer could source code used for implementing a username and password security system for a specific application such as a payroll application. This would thus save the developer time in coding.
2. Expertise from programming websites
A software developer could join programming groups in websites such as programmers heaven.com for free and thus get an opportunity to share ideas and exchange advice on software development issues.
3. The software developer could also view software similar to the one he/she intends to/is developing via the Internet. Usually most software for sale over the Internet is provided for free or at a low cost for trial. The software developer could thus register for these software trials in order to see how the software implements the functions it‘s supposed to carry out. The software developer could thus use the ideas in developing his/her own software.
4. Internet as a platform for testing software.
Once the software developer has finished creating a program he/she could make it available over the Internet for free at a low cost for other Internet users to test it. Through the feedback received, he/she could modify the software so as to improve its accuracy, usability, and reliability. The only downside of this approach is that making the software available on the Internet, the developer is exposing his/her originality to unscrupulous programmers.
5. Internet as a tool for communication.
Software developers working in groups could greatly benefit from the Internet through the concept of groupware. The software developers could be in constant communication via groupware such as Microsoft Outlook which provides chat services through Microsoft Net meeting and e-mail services which could greatly boost communication and hence productivity of the software developers.