The Selection and Deployment of System in Gulf Private School: Issues, Challenges, and Lessons Learnt

The Selection and Deployment of System in Gulf Private School: Issues, Challenges, and Lessons Learnt

Ahmad Fayez (Information Fort, UAE)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2220-3.ch008

Abstract

The high academic posture of Gulf Private School (GPS) and its outstanding students’ performance in the gulf region is a translation of its vision to be the leading school in the region. Technology applications were always viewed by GPS as tools to leverage change and drive continuous improvement, and thus, the utilization of Information Technology applications was weaved into GPS strategy to maintain its high ranking among private schools in terms of the delivery of quality education and the provision of distinguished services to students and parents. This positive attitude to new technologies explains why GPS is always on the lookout for the latest advancements in educational technology aids and tools to support its functions and processes. This case reflects on the ups and downs associated with GPS decision to implement an ERP system with a promise for major business gains that can help GPS to reinstate its position in the leaders’ quadrant.
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Setting The Stage

GPS administration had always had a positive attitude towards adoption of new technologies to support education and learning, and they have regularly budgeted for investment in both hardware and software to equip classes and facilities and to serve staff, teachers, and students. In fact, the school had always a specific interest to have technology rich classrooms with smart boards, personal computers, projectors, and educational aids. GPS also prides itself for being a pioneer among other private schools for creating a Local Area Network (LAN) connecting teachers and administration and using a standard operating system environment based on MS Windows and MS office applications. GPS has also had procured different standalone software for the accounting department, human resources department and the library.

Unfortunately, what could have been described as a lavish spending on technology did not include the connectivity of school with students and parents. In addition, GPS departments were not connected to each other and one simple report could take a very long time to produce because relevant information resides in different isolated software and databases. Furthermore, much of the hardware and software used in GPS were aging and in some case deemed obsolete or outdated compared to new Internet technology applications and new computers with much faster processing, data storage, and reporting capabilities.

It was evident that although the basic infrastructure represented by the hardware and software were in place, the low level of utilization of suitable technology and the modest business gains were linked to a number of factors that are summarized as follows:

  • Outdated technology.

  • Lack of integration of the software applications.

  • Lack of connectivity.

  • Lack of analytical reporting tools.

  • Lack of good quality data.

This resounds the findings of a task force that was delegated by the school board to investigate the current status and level of utilization of technology in GPS and to submit recommendation of corrective actions that could pave the way and provide the justification for investment in suitable information system and technology applications to support the school's drive to reinstate its role as a leader in the region.

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