DATA COMMUNICATIONS AND NETWORKING

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How A Web-Based Platform Would Address Communication And Reporting Concerns By Hamilton & Co. Advocates

Contents

Introduction. 1

Executive Summary. 1

Business Need and Current Situation. 1

Problem Statement. 1

Impact on Hamilton and Co. Associates Law Firm.. 3

Technology Migration. 5

Overview of the Web-based Platform Project. 6

Project Description. 6

Goals and Objectives. 7

Project assumptions. 8

Project Constraints. 8

Performance of the Project. 9

Cost Benefit Analysis. 11

Analysis of the Available Alternatives for Hamilton & Co. Advocates. 14

Approvals. 15

 Introduction

Executive Summary

This business case provides an outline of how a Web-based platform would address communication and reporting concerns by Hamilton & Co. Advocates, the benefits, goals, assumptions, performance measures, constraints, as well as alternative options. The shift to a centralized, web-based platform allows the law firm to manage its payroll and administrative tasks with enhanced efficiency. Such a shift would result in a reduction in overhead costs, as well as a reduction in errors and enhancement of accuracy in reporting.

As much as the company has a number of alternatives at its disposal, evaluation of the same has brought to the fore fundamental challenges pertaining to their adoption or retention. Not only does the shift to the Web-based platform result in enhanced efficiency, but it is also in line with the company’s goals and objectives.

Business Need and Current Situation

Problem Statement

Hamilton & Co. Advocates Law Firm was started in 2003. At the time of its inception, the law firm was made up of three lawyers and a secretary. The law firm occupied an executive but single office, in which case its operations and business needs were relatively few. The management of its payroll, as well as other administrative functions could, therefore, be satisfactorily handled using the mainframe system.

However, the law firm has grown over the years to increase not only the number of lawyers and employees that it has but also the size of the office that it needs. Currently, the law firm is composed of 20 lawyers, as well as 7 paralegal assistants and 3 secretaries. In addition, a total of 3 departmental heads are incorporated, not to mention 4 workers in the IT department. These employees occupy two floors in a downtown building. Needless to say, the increase in the number of employees and workers in the office resulted in an increase in the burden for the company as far as the administrative activities and the employees’ payroll are concerned. On a monthly basis, Hamilton & Co. Advocates outsources the services of Mick Consultants Ltd. who assist in the alignment of the payroll and financial reports.

One of the key problems in the law firm revolves around the making of financial reports. In line with the mainframe system all financial reports for the entire week and month have to be done manually by the three secretaries. Needless to say, not only does the manual generation of financial reports take too much time and effort, but it also comes with a higher probability that errors will be made in making the entries. This costs the law firm quite a lot in terms of finances and much needed workforce.

On the same note, the employees are currently required to report to the departmental heads as to the number of hours that they have worked every day, as well as raise any concerns that they may be having pertaining to administrative tasks or the payroll and billings. It goes without saying that the enormous burden weighs heavily on the secretary, especially considering that she is also expected to undertake her daily billable tasks. Maintaining a proper balance between the two tasks presents an enormous challenge on the secretaries.

Since the beginning, Hamilton & Co. Advocates law firm has been using legacy mainframe systems to undertake tasks such as payroll activities, reporting, as well as resource management. These have been rendered inadequate by the increased workforce, which has resulted in higher administrative costs, time wastage, as well as increased turnover of employees. These problems have made it necessary that Hamilton & Co. Advocates inculcates web-based platform to replace the mainframe legacy platform. The implementation of the Web-based platform would allow employees to have an enhanced role in the management of their payroll and administrative issues, as well as allow the law firm to manage its administrative duties from a central platform. It eliminates redundancy in the workforce, allows for timely and accurate reporting, as well as increased efficiency.

Impact on Hamilton and Co. Associates Law Firm

Migrating to the Web-Based platform would have a widespread impact on Hamilton & Co. Advocates law firm, especially with regard to the time, effort and finances required to carry out certain administrative and payroll activities. On the same note, the migration will undoubtedly require input that alters the manner in which the organization is run, as well as the roles and responsibilities, tools and processes in the organization.

Tools: The implementation and operationalization of the web-based platform means the complete phasing out of the existing legacy operating system or platform. Having in mind that the platform is relatively new in the law firm, it is imperative that the employees are taken through some form of training or orientation on the use of the platform alongside other organizational tools.

Processes: The greatest impact of the web-based platform will be felt in the process aspect of the law firm especially with regard to the administrative and payroll activities. These will become streamlined and their efficiency enhanced, which will result in a reduction of the workload on the secretaries. In addition, the implementation of the system comes with an element of independence to the employees as far as the management of their payroll and administrative tasks is concerned.

Roles and Responsibility: The increased autonomy and efficiency, alongside the streamlining of some activities will result in a reduction of the magnitude of work, as well as the manpower required for its execution. In essence, as much as the law firm values its workforce and employees, it will have to reduce their numbers. This is especially with regard to outsourced services, as such activities would become redundant in the new system. The current workforce, with the new web-based platform, would have the capacity to handle the activities. This will undoubtedly result in a reduction in the expenses spent on outsourcing certain services, which will increase the law firm’s return on investment. As much as the platform is new, the current workforce in the IT department is sufficiently capable of putting it into place and operationalizing it.

Additional hardware: The initial capital investment will involve the purchasing of software, as well as obtaining of a license for the implementation of the project. However, it is imperative that the law firm buys additional servers in an effort to accommodate the web-based platform today and in the future.

Technology Migration

The migration of the existing data from the legacy operating system to a new Web-based operating system requires that disruption to the daily activities in administration and payroll are kept at a minimum. In essence, a phased approach incorporating 6 stages will be used. These stages include the following.

Stage I: Any software and hardware that will be required in the upgrade will be purchased. The Information Technology development group will undertake the creation and testing of the Web Platform in a web-based environment.

Stage II: A temporary legacy operating system that backs up the system and archives all data stored in the law firm’s mainframe will put in place. This legacy operating system will be used in the daily administration and payroll activities for the time being.

Stage III: At this stage, the IT team fills the Web-based operating system with all data pertaining to administration and payroll activities alongside end-of-a-pay cycle.

Stage IV: Considering that the web-based platform is a relatively new phenomenon in the law firm, it is unlikely that the employees are privy to its functioning. In essence, the IT team will take the employees through training on the functionality of the platform.

Stage V: This stage involves full internalization of the web-based platform, as well as the archiving of the legacy operating system. At this time, the web-based platform or operating system is the only one used in carrying out the varied administrative and payroll activities in the law firm.

Overview of the Web-based Platform Project

Project Description

The Web-Based Platform Project undertakes a review and analysis of likely products that would best replace the legacy platform that Hamilton & Co. Advocates Law firm has been using with an entirely new web-based platform. The selection process involves the evaluation of programs with regard to the sufficiency with which they replace the current system while still allowing for the expansion for the next decade.

The new platform, on being selected, will be implemented in phases where the current system will be phased out and archived while the new platform becomes fully operational. The key objective of the project will be realized through enhanced efficiency in carrying out administrative, payroll and reporting activities, which will result in a significant reduction of the expense. On the same note, the increased independence and flexibility of employees is bound to result in enhanced job satisfaction, thereby reducing the turnover in the law firm.

In addition, the time spent undertaking redundant activities that do not bring any income to the law firm will be channeled to productive activities, thereby adding to the return on investment.

The IT department will issue an RFI so as to have clear knowledge of the products available in the market both in terms of software and hardware. The specifications of the products should be listed so as to determine the ones that would sufficiently replace the existing system, as well as meet the future needs of the law firm for at least the next decade. This will allow for evaluation, determination and acquisition of the best product, paving way for the implementation, as well as data population using internal resources.

Goals and Objectives

The implementation of the Web-based Platform project is aimed at enhancing the capacity of Hamilton & Co. Advocates law firm to meet certain goals and objectives. These are especially with regard to enhancing its efficiency, reduce costs and enhance accuracy and timeliness.

Enhancing employee efficiency: The undertaking of administrative and payroll activities is bound to require a reduced number of employees, in which case the law firm will increase its efficiency as it will not need to outsource some of the services.

Enhanced accuracy and timeliness in reporting: all data pertaining to administrative and payroll activities will be reported in an accurate and timely manner.

Reduction in employee turnover: Enhanced flexibility and independence of employee allows for quick addressing of any concerns that the employees may be having, thereby enhancing their satisfaction. This results in a reduction in employee turnover.

Reduced expenses: The increased efficiency results in fewer employees and outsourcing being required by the law firm, in which case it saves on overheads and costs spent on these.

Project assumptions

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Type: Essay || Words: 3963 Rating || Excellent

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