Cost Benefit Analysis for The Antique Boutique


Case Study – The Antique Boutique

Consider the following case study scenario.
The Antique Boutique
You have recently joined an establishment and successful family antiques business. It has grown from a business that originally offered second hand goods (sources mainly from deceased estates) through to one store, to one that offers genuine antiques through five shopfronts.
Alvin Anderson is your boss. He has been the general manager since 2000. He is a third-generation owner of the business, having taken over from his father. The business was founded by his grandfather, in a Victorian country town in the 1960’s.
Over the years, as the scale of the business grew, the business model evolved to sourcing and reselling better quality, true antiques. The business also outgrew its original small-town location. In the 1990’s Alvin’s father opened another store in a nearby, larger town.
In 2005, with bank loans backed by a buoyant and growing cash flow, Alvin opened two main stores. One was in a large Victorian city and another in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. In 2015, he again expanded the business, opening his latest and fifth store in Canberra, and it too is doing quite well.
As the business has grown, the essential business processes have remained remarkably similar, however, they are now far more numerous, complex and varied. And, despite his business acumen, Alvin is not very savvy with computer technology. He even struggles a bit with email and Word, but is getting the hang of both.
Alvin sees technological advances all around him. He senses that, in failing to understand and apply relevant technologies, he is missing a lot of economies and efficiencies as well as additional opportunities for the business.
He is also hearing a lot about the advantages and promise of the cloud, yet he is not sure what it really means and what it applies to. But he feels it may form part of an approach to overhauling his information and computer technology (ICT).
When it was a two-shopfront operation, the business had modest information and computing needs. Each store has a cash register and EFTPOS terminal to facilitate sales. Thinking themselves quite advanced, they also had a brochure-style website with some nice photos, basic contact and location information. And that was about all.
Financial records continue to be maintained manually by a part-time bookkeeper and a young sales assistant handles email enquiries that come via the business’s free Hotmail account. Phones also continue to be the main way that the stores communicate with each other.
Alvin needs your help!
Alvin recognises there is more he needs to know, and this is where you come in.
Presently, there is no-one in the business he can refer to, even though he regards two of his five store managers as tech savvy. These managers have installed their own computer systems and internet connections and seem to be operating quite well on their own.
So, with no overall ICT strategy for his business, and not knowing where to start, he is hoping you can help. He sees from your CV that you have recently undertaken this unit of study, and he is asking for your advice on processes and strategy for the business to adopt regarding ICT.
Working with Alvin, your role, as an ICT Adviser, is to advise on how the business can adopt relevant ICT to consolidate it into a single, cohesive entity from its current five successful, yet virtually independently operated shopfronts.
Additional Information:
Each store’s cash registers have manual override for accessing the money in the event of a failure.
Each store’s EFTPOS machines are run on electrical power and phone line. Last time they were updated was 2012. All terminals are through ANZ bank. Each store has Manual Transaction Processing vouchers and any such manual transactions are authorised via an 1800 number, as a backup for the terminal failing. Merchant support is also via an 1800 number
Fees involved:
Establishment Fee $90
Annual Fee $30
Monthly Fee $40
Merchant Fee (minimum) $20
Despite the contingency options, the cash register and EFTPOS machines are considered absolutely essential due to the failure to be able exchange currency if these systems are down.
Each store currently only has one Windows computer in the manager’s office. Alvin replaced all existing computers at the same time as acquiring a computer for latest shop in Canberra, he spent $1600 per computer.
All core desktop applications are from the Microsoft Office Suite. Each store uses Office 2010 (purchased and fully installed on existing computers in 2011 for $296. Can be install on up to 5 computers). There are no more allocations left under the current license. Each store utilises Outlook, Word, Excel and Publisher. Employees assist each other with learning these programs.
The bookkeeper uses MYOB AccountRight Plus version 19.7 (purchased by the business for an initial cost $1195.00). There are no ongoing fees. There is one file per store. The bookkeeper backs-up the company files onto an external portable hard drive before closing the program each time. The bookkeeper takes the portable drive with them. The main copy is left on the shop computer. Payroll is completed in a manual ledger by Alvin and he enters the amounts into MYOB. Sales and Purchases functions in MYOB are not utilised for the normal daily business processes.
The bookkeeper produces quarterly reports for each store and exports them to excel where the data can be used to create charts displaying information requested by Alvin. Alvin advised the bookkeeper what information he needed (Tax Liabilities, Sales Statistics, Performance, Position, etc.) to evaluate the store and the bookkeeper designed the reports. At the end of the financial year, the bookkeeper produces an additional copy of these reports displaying the full year information.
Each store has a multifunction printer connected by LAN. Internet is connected to an ADSL router by LAN. There have been no issues with LAN connectivity. There is room within the LAN setup to expand to another 9 devices in each store. The LAN wires are unseen within the office partitions and therefore do not pose any issue with being accidently disconnected. The LAN hub is housed neatly in a wall cupboard in the manager’s office.
Internet (ADSL) and phone are provided by Telstra. Alvin recently changed the plan for each of the shops to that below. He has already spoken with Telstra and mentioned he is looking at cloud computing. They have advised that he can upgrade his plan at any time. The next plan up also offers unlimited data and mobile calls included for $25 extra per month. Alvin does not see the need for mobiles or mobile data for himself or for his shop staff.
Telstra Business Bundle Plan (M) $100 per month per store
Data: 1000GB excess charged $1 per GB (charged per MB) or part thereof capped at a maximum of $300 per month.
Local Calls: Included
National Calls: Included
Mobiles: 55c call + 36c per minute
There are currently no back-up processes in place except for the MYOB back-up as mentioned previously.
Website was setup and is maintained by manager in Canberra. The manager would like to eventually have a database of products online and allow customers to purchase online. It is still in its infancy due to limited time. The website host is Hosting Australia and was chosen due to the price and because the host servers are located in Australia (Melbourne). The average visitors per day is currently 10.
Hosting Australia Plan – Small Business $9 per month:
Bandwidth: Unlimited
Email: Unlimited
Databases: Unlimited
Uptime: 100%
CPU Core: 1.5
RAM: 2GB
SSD Storage: 30GB
6.1 Prepare a Business Case
After reading the case study, use the following template to prepare a short business case for the implementation of cloud computing for the Antique Boutique.
You are required to provide brief commentary and complete each of the 9 sections (as listed in the Table of Contents below).
Business Case
Proposal to Introduce Cloud Computing
The Antique Boutique
Table of Contents:
1. Introduction
2. Current Situation
3. Risks involved if current situation remains
4. New ICT proposal
5. Advantages and Justifications
6. Coaching and Training
7. Cost Factor – Cost Benefit Analysis
8. Risks with the new system
9. Plan to introduce Cloud Computing
1. Introduction
Provide a brief description of why the Business Case report has been prepared.
Hint: prepare the introduction last, after you have filled in other sections of this business case and then summarise them here for your introduction. Please use the headings of each section and a brief outline of each section for the introduction.
2. Current Situation
Limitations
Provide an explanation of the current situation including at least 5 limitations currently affecting the business.
Hint: An example of a limitation would be the lack of integrated bookkeeping with each store having its own file. This creates a limited overall picture of the company’s profitability.
3. Risks involved if current situation remains
List 3 problems confronting the business if the situation is left as is. For each problem, outline the risks and possible consequences.
1. Problem:
1. Risks:
1. Consequences:
2. Problem:
2. Risks:
2. Consequences:
3. Problem:
3. Risks:
3. Consequences:
4. New ICT proposal
In this section provide a brief description of a new ICT proposal to fix the issues as presented earlier in the business case. This new ICT proposal including a list of its component systems. Please provide specific cloud-based solutions for Antique Boutique, not general terms about cloud computing.
In this section please outline any new:
* Cash registers, EFTPOS systems and their interfaces and their integration with the new software
* Cloud computing software and other desktop software updates such as MS Office and CRM software
* hardware upgrades such as PC’s, LAN, phone lines and other equipment needed
* Internet upgrades that may need to occur
* Updates to websites including online shopping integration with the existing website
* integration needed between stores
PRIORITISE THESE SOLUTIONS INTO TWO HEADINGS:
SHORT TERM GOALS
LONG TERM GOALS
Also discuss whether you would seek specialist advice on the planning or implementation of this business case. Some areas of specialist advice include:
• Computer hardware – would you seek specialist advice before purchasing new PC’s? What advice would you seek and from where? (a website link would be useful in this response)
• Disaster planning – would you seek specialist advice with help for disaster planning? What advice would you seek and from where? (a website of who you might use would be useful in this response also)
5. Advantages and Justifications
Outline the advantages and justification for adopting the new proposal and each of its separate aspects.
6. Coaching and Training
Outline the training and/or coaching that staff may need in order to use any new software and to maximise optimal usage.
Hint: Training/coaching may come with a cost, so be sure to include reasonable estimates in the relevant lines of your Cost Benefit Analysis – see below
7. Cost Factor – Cost Benefit Analysis
Prepare a budget and provide a dollar-based Cost-Benefit Analysis
You may make your own assumptions about the costs and benefits dollar amounts arising from the project. Reasonable guesstimations are acceptable in this response.
Provide a reasonable range of amounts for each of the key areas of your proposal.
Budget for The Antique Boutique
Proposal to Introduce Cloud Computing – The Antique Boutique
Quantitative Costs
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Hardware
Desktop
Telecommunication equipment
Software
Furniture and fixtures
Project organisational/support costs
Labour
Training
Transition costs (parallel systems)
Maintenance and upgrades
Data communication/transmission
Total Costs
Cost Benefit Analysis for The Antique Boutique
Increase in online sales
Decreased cost of services provided
Efficiencies
Total Benefits
8. Risks with the new system
List the possible risks involved with the new system.
Also specify what the worst-case scenario is if something goes wrong?

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