The Appleton Artists Collective Technology Upgrade Plan Background Information A
The Appleton Artists Collective Technology Upgrade Plan
Appleton Artist Collective and Gallery is an organization that promotes artistic works in the Lowell area. The organization employs three workers on a permanent basis and these include the Resident Manager, custodian, and Gallery Director in addition to a board that consists of ten members. Currently, the organization has made little investments on technology due to its small workforce and only the Resident Manager and Gallery Director have computers at their disposal. Some of the uses of the computers at Appleton Artist Collective and Gallery include managing the organization’s financial accounts such as the management of its payroll and tracking revenue and expenses. The organization also operates a website that had been created using SquareSpace by the previous Gallery Director and the website allows artists to submit their exhibit proposals. Some of the issues facing the organization include increased costs of renting the building and low workload to the Resident Manager. The management believes that the Resident Manager’s responsibilities should be increased to include the rental management to reduce the organization’s monthly expenditure on the rents. The new Gallery Director believes that the organization’s website should be upgraded to include eCommerce solutions, improve the handling of the organization’s rentals, and enhance internal communications.
Appleton Artists Collective Mission Statement
The organization’s mission is preserving in perpetuity the Appleton Artist Studios and Gallery as an affordable place for artists to work and live in and created based on a rental model. Appleton Artists Collective also strives to be recognized as an important arts building that has active participation from the residents in addition to participating in and supporting the arts community in the greater Boston and Lowell areas.
The Current State of Technology at Appleton Artists Collective
Currently, Appleton Artists Collective has a significant shortage of computers and related networking hardware. The organization currently has only one desktop computer for the Gallery Director and another one for the Resident Manager in addition to two laser printers. The software installed in the computers include Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Avantquest Bookkeeper, and Microsoft Office Professional. The organization also operates a rudimentary website that was created using SquareSpace by the former Gallery Director and some of the apps used on the website include Google Calendar and FormStack for online forms. The two computers operate as standalone and this reduces the organization’s ability to evaluate its employees’ activities and integrate activities. The available at the organization is inadequate in making the organization competitive in meeting its obligations to the artists. However, the current Gallery Director is knowledgeable in graphic designs as well as the management of the organization’s website. The Gallery Director has succeeded in improving the Appleton Artists Collective’s website design despite the SquareSpace’s limitations and she believes that the organization should consider building an enhanced website that would be hosted by an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Additionally, the Gallery Director believes that the new website should have integrated features that support internal communications, eCommerce, and rental management to reduce the organization’s operating costs.
Technology Acquisitions and Improvements
Presently, the organization requires a technology roadmap that would help in communicating Appleton Artists Collective technology strategy and aid in making strategic decisions on the organization’s technical infrastructure. The technology roadmap is also necessary because it assists the organization to determine its hardware and software requirements in addition to making it easier for Appleton Artists Collective to access funding to support its technology upgrading efforts. Some of the organization’s hardware requirements include a new HP Compaq 6200 Pro computer with 16 GB DDR3 RAM, CPU speed of 3.30 GHz, and a hard drive with 500 GB capacity that will be purchased at $750. The Gallery Director will use this computer to manage Appleton Artists Collective’s collection of artistic works and enhance internal communications at the organization. Appleton Artists Collective will also need to buy a new HP Compaq dx7400 Microtower computer that will have an 8 GB DDR3 RAM with a CPU speed of 2.33 GHz and a hard drive with 250 GB capacity that will be bought at $600.
Moreover, the organization will need to buy an HP Compaq ProLiant DL380 Gen 9 Server that will have a 16 GB RAM and internal hard disk with a capacity of 500 GB. The server will cost about $2,500 and will be used in supporting the organization’s operation and communication needs. The server is also important because it will increase Appleton Artists Collective’s flexibility in addition to supporting the organization’s future technology needs. The server will be kept in a small room that will be rented for about $2,400 per year. The organization’s required software will include Windows Server 2017, Windows 10 operating system, SQLite database that supports small to medium installations for between one and one hundred users, Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5+, and IIS Express Version 10. Appleton Artists Collective will also need to develop an integrated library system and train its Resident Manager on how to manage the new website. The organization will also create a new website that will be hosted at InMotion Hosting, Bluehost, or Dreamhost. The cost of the software to be used and website hosting is approximated at $4,000 and the hardware cost is $3,850.
Table Showing Appleton Artists Collective’s Hardware Needs
Hard Drive Size
Compaq 6200 Pro
16 GB DDR3
8 GB DDR3
Compaq ProLiant DL380 Gen 9 Server
Appleton Artists Collective’s Technology Objectives and Goals
The organization wishes to improve its internal communications to enhance the interactions between its two main departments with the Collective’s artists. Appleton Artists Collective hopes to achieve this by developing an improved and interactive website that would allow the artists to communicate with the Gallery Director and book for exhibitions. Additionally, the organization also wishes to upgrade its technology to help in reducing its rental costs and improve its profit margins. The revamped website will help in offering a convenient online platform that will allow the artists to advertise and sell their artwork to their clients. The Gallery Director has indicated that she understands how to develop a website that would meet the board members’ technology goals.
The network server will help in offering a centralized functionality to Appleton Artists Collective’s local area network and it will serve as the organization’s application server, e-mail server, database server, print server, and file server. A server-class UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) will be used to protect the server from power outages and the server will be proactively monitored to identify and address any potential problems with the system. The server will have the capacity to support a maximum of 100 concurrent users and will be used in supporting the organization’s enterprise resource planning applications. The artists will have the opportunity of interacting with their peers through the organization’s new website and share ideas on how to improve the works. The Gallery Director will also use the new website to schedule exhibitions and allow the artists to submit their works.
Establishing a local area network is essential in the technology upgrading process because it allows the Gallery Director, Resident Manager, and board members to communicate effectively and achieve their organization’s goals. Some of the important resources that will be required for the technology upgrade effort will include Internet access, connection to subscribed databases, hosting services, and QuickBooks Pro that will help in the Gallery Manager in developing the new website. Appleton Artists Collective will also train the Resident Manager on the use and management of the new website that will feature a number of improvements over the old website that was built using the SquareSpace that only supported basic features. The new website will support eCommerce and online payments to improve the artists’ sales to diverse clients while the Collective will benefit from the upgrade by increasing its collection of commissions from online sales.
Another objective of the technology upgrade program is enhancing the current technology and establishing new avenues of interactions among the artists and the local community in a method that was previously impossible. One of the initiatives of this objective is increasing the participation of Appleton Artists Collective’s community with the newly established telecommunications center. The new system will also be used to engage the artists and Resident Manager in additional modalities for interacting, advising, and learning opportunities. The technology upgrade will also help in offering new and increased access to important information to improve Appleton Artists Collective’s decision-making processes through increased access to information that could be used in planning and operational use. The artists and employees at the organization will also use the new website and communication platform to access external and internal sources of information effectively and efficiently. Moreover, the revamped website will assist Appleton Artists Collective to offer customer-oriented services to its end users and allow the organization to focus on enhancing its value-added services.
The new website and computers will also be upgradeable to allow Appleton Artists Collective to increase its flexibility and evolve its services and infrastructure in the future to allow the organization to leverage changing technologies. The strategy of achieving this will include establishing and implementing an infrastructure replacement cycle that meets the current organizational requirements and anticipates its future needs. Moreover, this will require the organization to conduct regular assessments on its software and hardware in addition to creating an improved local network infrastructure that facilitates communication and improved services to the organization’s end users. The Gallery Director who will be responsible for maintaining the new website will also be involved in ensuring that the organization’s technology for administrative purposes. The revamped website will also have digital signage to assist the customers who visit the organization’s digital platform to easily browse through the different exhibitions as well as identify the future shows.
The success of the technology upgrade depends on a number of factors that include support from the board members and artists, communication, appropriate staffing, and culture change. The adoption of the new website and its strategic usefulness depends on the level of support it receives from the artists, board members, and employees at Appleton Artists Collective. The previous website created using the SquareSpace software had limited functionalities and supported a limited number of users. However, the technology upgrade will result in the creation of a system that will have far-reaching effects on Appleton Artists Collective. Consequently, each individual at the organization must understand the objectives and goals of the new technology plan and how it will influence interactions at Appleton Artists Collective. It is important that all the stakeholders at the organization leverage and embrace the new technology upgrade to realize its true value to the organization. The Gallery Director should also conduct ongoing communication to ensure that all the other stakeholders accept the proposed strategic technology plan.
Nonetheless, the communication should be two way to ensure that the artists, board members, and other Appleton Artist Collective’s employees understand how to use the newly adopted technologies as well as their impacts on their activities. The Gallery Director will also need feedback from the other stakeholders to assist her in identifying ways of improving the technology to meet the organization’s future needs. In addition to training the Resident Director on the new technologies adopted by the organization, Appleton Artists Collective will also employ an IT expert to assist in managing the new website and the organization’s internal networking. The successful adoption of the technology upgrade will also require a culture change at Appleton Artists Collective because it will change how the organization’s artists market and sell their artwork. The support from the board members will also help in ensuring the successful integration of the technology upgrade in the organization’s operations. The board members should also help in communicating the strategic benefits of upgrading the organization’s technology.
Some of the expenses that will be incurred by Appleton Artists Collective in upgrading its system include buying the new personal computers and server, upgrading software, network costs that include installation and administration of its local area network, and renting a room for the server. Other expected expenditures will include the costs of physical installation of the new system, development and hosting of the new website, training, software testing, and maintenance costs. Moreover, the organization will have to review and upgrade its computers and website after five years, and this will result in incurring additional costs due to technology obsolescence.
The expected benefits from upgrading Appleton Artist Collective’s systems will include enhanced marketing support for the artists, improved rental management, enhanced customer service, and improved accessibility to the organization’s exhibition. The new system will improve the internal communication at the organization as well as allowing the artists to interact more effectively with their clients. Appleton Artist Collective will also benefit from the new system by increasing its capabilities to collect commissions from the sales of its artworks as well as addressing the limitations created by using the website designed using SquareSpace. Adopting the new system will also help in improving Appleton Artist Collective’s image and assist its management and board members in identifying new opportunities to improve the organization’s net profits.
Characteristics of Malcolm Baldrige Recipients
Characteristics of Malcolm Baldrige Recipients
According to Keyes (2016), some of the important elements of excellence according to Malcolm Baldrige include strategic planning, leadership, and market or customer focus. The recipients of the Malcolm Baldrige award have leaders whose leadership qualities include the capacity to motivate workers to increase their productivity, ability to develop energizing organizational cultures, and value feedback. The leaders in such organizations also insist on continuous improvement, build powerful teams, and maintain upward momentum as well as promoting excellence in their organizations. Furthermore, the leaders demonstrate high levels of perseverance in addition to sharing their visions and formulating processes, systems, and strategies that allow their organizations to realize excellence and long-term sustainability (Lighter, 2011). The organizations also have confident and visionary leaders who proactively promote and reward innovativeness.
Strategic planning is another important characteristic of the Malcolm Baldrige recipients and this feature focuses on the ability of the identified organizations to implement strategic objectives that increase their future success, overall performance, and competitive positions. For example, Lighter (2011) observes that SSM’s leaders create Mission Awareness Teams in the organization to ensure that all the work and planning efforts are aimed at promoting its mission. The leaders in the organization also create annual plans for their subordinates to ensure that the employees understand the milestones and benchmarks that they must meet each year. The management at St. Luke’s Hospital has also designed a yearly strategic plan that involves seven steps and ensures that all the employees at the facility participate in the implementation of the plan based on a Balanced Scorecard system.
The market or customer focus of the Malcolm Baldrige recipients emphasizes how the organizations maintain interactions with their clients. Additionally, this quality focuses on the organizations’ commitment to identifying the major factors responsible for the retention, loyalty, and satisfaction of their customers (Lighter, 2011). Collier & Evans (2017) also point out that such organizations listen to their clients and use the feedback to identify new opportunities as well as improve their service delivery. For instance, SSM collects its customers’ feedback through the organization’s SFPP system for semiannual assessments to determine the customers’ satisfaction levels based on how SSM’s conducts its operations.
Collier, D. A., & Evans, J. R. (2017). OM. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Keyes, J. (2016). Implementing the IT balanced scorecard: Aligning IT with corporate strategy. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Lighter, D. E. (2011). Advanced performance improvement in health care: Principles and methods. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.