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Introduction to Accounting Information Systems

68 PART ONE / An Introduction to Accounting Information Systems

3. What is the average number of hours of use of each application for all the employees in the company? What training would you recommend if funds were limited to only training one type of application for the entire company? 4. Using spreadsheet tools, create graphs that illustrate your findings in parts 1 and 2. Do you think that your graphs or your numbers better “tell your story”? 5. What alternatives are there to onsite training? Suggest at least two alternatives and discuss which of your three possibilities you prefer.
2-27. Backwater University (Automating a Data Gathering Task) Backwater University is a small technical college that is located miles from the nearest town. As a result, most of the students who attend classes there also live in the resident dormitories and purchase one of three types of meal plans. The “Full Plan” entitles a student to eat three meals a day, seven days a week, at any one of the campus’s three dining facilities. The “Weekday Plan” is the same as the Full Plan, but entitles students to eat meals only on weekdays—not weekends. Finally, the “50-Meal” plan entitles students to eat any 50 meals during a given month. Of course, students and visitors can always purchase any given meal for cash. Because the school administration is anxious to attract and retain students, it allows them to change their meal plans from month to month. This, in fact, is common, as students pick plans that best serve their needs each month. But this flexibility has also created a nightmare at lunch times, when large numbers of students attempt to eat at the dining facilities simultaneously. In response to repeated student complaints about the long lines that form at lunchtime, Barbara Wright, the Dean of Students, decides to look into the matter and see for herself what is going on. At lunch the next day, she observes that each cashier at the entrance to the dining facilities requires each student to present an ID card, checks their picture, and then consults a long, hard-copy list of students to determine whether or not they are eligible for the current meal. A cashier later informs her that these tasks are regrettable, but also mentions that they have become necessary because many students attempt to eat meals that their plans do not allow. The cashier also mentions that, at present, the current system provides no way of keeping a student from eating two of the same meals at two different dining facilities. Although Barbara thinks that this idea is far-fetched, the cashier says that this problem is surprisingly common Some students do it just as a prank or on a dare, but other students do it to smuggle out food for their friends. Barbara Wright realizes that one solution to the long-lines problem is to simply hire more cashiers. She also recognizes that a computerized system might be an even more cost-effective solution. In particular, she realizes that if the current cashiers had some way of identifying each student quickly, the computer system could immediately identify a given student as eligible, or ineligible, for any given meal.
Requirements
1. Suggest two or more “technology solutions” for this problem. 2. What hardware would be required for each solution you named in part 1? 3. What software would be required for each solution you named in part 1? What would this software do? 4. How would you go about showing that your solutions would be more cost-effective than simply hiring more cashiers? (You do not have to perform any calculations to answer this question—merely outline your method.)

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