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Assume Smith Systems Consulting is privately held, wants to expand operations, and is faced with three options for expansion:

 

·       

Going public through an IPO

·        Acquiring another organization in the same industry

·        Merging with another organization

  

1*** You compare and contrast options and make a recommendation about which strategy Smith Systems Consulting must choose. Address the following:

 

·        Strengths of each approach

  

2*** Also consider the following as it relates to all three options should Smith Systems Consulting pursue an international location:

 

·        Effects of globalization on financial decisions

Welcome to Smith Systems Consulting.

Serving clients since 1994 with high value Web and Business Application Services.

From custom web design to database solutions and network applications, SSC has the knowledge and experience to make your project a success.

Design

Let us help you design and implement your network or website or custom programming project.

Host

We offer the latest server technology to provide safe and secure web site hosting.

Develop

Our skilled and experienced staff can help you develop your newest technology project or upgrade your current system.

Maintain

To keep customers returning to your web site you need to keep it current. We can help.

Database

Let our database experts design and develop a database system that will meet your needs.

Support

We offer premier support services to our clients.

Programming

Our highly qualified programming staff offers services to meet your programming needs.

About Us

The Web is the market place of the new millennium — and can be the center piece of your growth strategy, by automating sales, lowering the cost of world class customer service, and enabling any time, anywhere access to streamlined business processes.

Smith Systems Consulting, Inc. has the competencies — technology, skills, and capabilities, to join you in realizing your strategy, from concept to a fully functional Web site, built with cutting edge programming, database, and networking tools, methods, and techniques. Once your site is deployed, SSC can help optimize operations through highly responsive support and high availability maintenance services.

Serving

clients

since 1994 with high value Web and business application services, SSC is your preferred partner when the goal is optimizing business results through a highly effective Web market presence.

Network Design

Your network is the foundation for the successful application of Information Technology in your organization. Your network consists of cables, workstations, hubs, routers, workstations, and/or servers. In addition to the physical equipment, each of the above components has software such as Windows 95/98, NT, Windows 2000 and/or Novell. Routers have special configuration and management software which require an understanding of basic network principles.

By contracting with SSC for Network Services, you will get:

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Knowledgable, trained technicians which are focused on results.

· A planned, managed approach to ongoing support of your network resources that will keep them in top form.

· Microsoft specific product knowledge which helps get you off to a fast, problem-free start.

· Linux specialists which can help you capture the benefits of this rapidly growing software market

Internet security experts that can help keep those hackers out of your system.

Installation

Your network is the conduit that delivers the connectivity required for market place value. At installation and modification time, the SSC team can focus on what’s important — rapid deployment, steps that help with long-term reliability and maintainability, documentation and component labeling.

The SSC installation A+ and MCSE certified technical team is ready to provide the following services for a rapid, problem-free installation:

· Preparation of design documentation and detailed drawings for the SSC team, your personnel and contractors.

· Acquisition and configuration of all network hardware and software.

· Routing and termination of all cable.

· Testing and verification of the network, based on the design.

Training for your network support team, and for your management and business operations personnel, building the right skills mix to help ensure uninterrupted network operation.

Database Design

A database is a collection of data, which is categorized in some way. The data has to be quickly accessible and modifiable for optimal categorization. Relational databases are the most commonly used databases. Data in them is placed in tables and they are accessed usually with SQL (Structured Query Language). The are many different types of databases from proprietary one like Oracle to free ones like MySQL.

A carefully thought-out database design forms the foundation for future success.

We provide a wide range of database design and programming services. Our software tools are using several different database systems, from simpler databases like MS Access for example, up to powerful SQL servers like MS SQL Server. We can provide your business with a brand new database system, but also take care of integration and data migration from your existing solution to the new and modern database system.

Application Support

Through its information technology services and support, SSC works with its clients to integrate information technology products into existing architectures, infrastructures, and strategic plans.

From assessments to implementations, to migration assistance, SSC offers the right assistance at the right time to shorten your deployment cycle and maximize your productivity.

Application Programming

Our staff of application specialists will work with you to find a business solution that fits your needs.

· Custom Software helps you achieve your Business Vision more directly with high benefits results.

· The goal is to achieve a clear return on investment, lowest cost of ownership and real value from your Custom Software Solution throughout its life.

· Small projects can provide high yield results.

We provide full service to Define, Develop and Support software projects. Whether you have the full product specification or only the business idea, we can turn your project concept into reality.

Website Development

Web Design services at great prices. If you’re looking for a professional website design, then you’ve come to the right place for all your web design needs.

e-Commerce

The ultimate goal of your e-commerce initiatives is to generate sales through an ongoing relationship. To this end you want a system that makes maximum use of the convenience of the Internet. An automated process that allows customers to order goods directly from your web site. This takes advantage of one of the most important aspects of e-commerce – hooking the prospect while they are hot.

Customized e-Commerce solutions include options for shopping cart, user feedback, customer support, problem management, and customized site features. Specialized graphic arts designs, human factors analysis and design, and a variety of standard and specialized page designs are available.

Database Applications

There are thousands more applications for database website development and in the near future database driven sites are going to become the norm. This is partly due to the fact that web development sites are growing larger all the time and it is impractical to update a large site in any other way. The most common databases for website development are Access, for simple databases; SQL, for more complex databases and Oracle, for the largest, most complex jobs.

Active Server Pages

We have a specialist website development team that consists of very experienced programmers with extensive experience of building dynamic and database driven sites. Whatever you need our website development team can develop the most effective solution for your requirements. Although our website development team uses many different technologies, we recommend ASP – Active Server Pages – a windows based server side programming language – as the best solution.

Website Development Packages and Custom Solutions

· Fixed price packages starting at $449 for simple, but effective “Web Presence” solutions.

· Custom eCommerce solutions start at $899.

· Custom site development, enhancement, and upgrade solutions, including logo design and specialized Web programming, is also available.

Web site test and verification services. The fixed price and custom eCommerce solutions include thorough test and verification of the work done on your site for accessibility, searchability, and page rendering integrity. These services are also available independently.

Website Maintenance

The number of websites that make up the Internet is enormous, unfortunately you don’t have to browse very far to find numerous websites that have outdated and incorrect information including broken graphics, links and even contact details on their website.

Many of these website owners lack the resources and expertise to correctly maintain their websites and are often reluctant to contact development firms such as Website Designs, due to the envisaged costs and protracted contracts.

Some form of continuous management and ongoing maintenance is obviously required, SSC has therefore developed the resources and implemented strategies to enable all website owners to have a fully maintained website.

SSC has implemented efficient systems to enable us to fully maintain your website, this encompasses:

· Content
The content you present to your website visitors needs to be alive, current and accurate, with regular fresh content people will have a reason to return to your website time and time again. Older articles, files and content can be archived within the website for added resources thus enabling you to build an extremely comprehensive website.

· Promotion
Every successful website should constantly generate more and more visitor activity over time. Regular search engine registration and META tag re-engineering are paramount to ensuring the best possible ranking within the search engines.

· Technology
Internet technology changes so fast that what is current in one month maybe outdated the next month, this can be clearly demonstrated by the term a ‘web year’ is only, one actual calendar month. A website begins to look and act old without regular updates and upgrades, furthermore components of the site can malfunction requiring maintenance and updating.

· Customer Service
Site visitors, customers and potential customers often require a response to an enquiry. They may have questions, comments, suggestions and complaints; they wish to know how to place an order or how to contact your customer service department. Whatever their reason some form of timely response is required, we can take care of this function on your behalf or assist you to implement an in-house system to best handle this function.

At SSC we have implemented systems that enable us to manage and promote your website in a highly professional manner, we become your webmasters working on your behalf allowing you to concentrate on your business.

Website Hosting

SSC offers business class domain web hosting at affordable rates. All web hosting is provided on high-end servers inside a state-of-the-art data center located in Phoenix, Arizona.

· Low Cost Monthly Web Site Hosting Fee

· ASP, CGI, PHP, MYSQL, SSL, FrontPage ext.

· 24/7 support, online manual

· Month to Month, no contracts

· Free Search Engine Submission

Redundant T1 Backbone connections

Clients

Our clients include small and medium sized business organizations, large domestic, multinational, and global corporations in a varied cross-section of industries. We also serve a number of government and not-for-profit organizations. Collectively, our clients are some of the most satisfied in the Information Technology Services industry, with overall satisfaction exceeding 98%.

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EMPLOYEE SITE

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HOME

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FIN. & ACCT.

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HR

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LEGAL

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SERVICE REQUESTS

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INTERNET

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INTRANET

OUR PRESENT

Smith Systems Consulting was founded in 1984. From an initial group of five, we have grown to become a major regional consulting company with 350 employees generating in excess of $45 million in revenues.

We provide information technology services primarily to clients located in the Western United States from our headquarters located in Houston, Texas.

Our clients for technology services are from a wide variety of industries including:

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Transportation

· 
Retail

· 
Financial Services

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Manufacturing

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Education

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Healthcare

Smith Systems Consulting is a proven leader in innovative, but practical, information technology services and consulting.

Our strengths are:

· Providing development solutions to business information processes

· Integrating business process technology services and support

· Strengthening existing business processes by the practical application of new technologies

· Providing business relevant analysis, design, development, and implementation services in information technology areas of: networks & communication; database; and application programming.

OUR PAST

In the late Seventies, our founder, Blair Smith, was a partner with a large public accounting firm in Houston, Texas. Having an advanced degree in computer science in addition to his undergraduate degree in accounting and his CPA certification, he would often use appropriate technology applications to solve the finance and accounting problems of his clients. Seeing the explosive growth of the personal computer industry, he foresaw a day when technology consulting would become an equal partner with accounting and auditing in the public accounting organization.

Frustrated by his partners who were reluctant to change the mold of their traditional public accounting firm, Blair saw that he would either have to put his vision of the future aside or breakout on his own. Encouraged by the success of firms like EDS and Computer Associates, he decided there was professional talent and sufficient market opportunities in Houston to launch an independent technology services consultant business. Thus, with three associates from his firm and a handful of business clients, he formed Smith Consulting in June 1984.

OUR CREDO

We will provide the absolute best to our customers in all aspects of services and technology at reasonable prices to assist them in obtaining and maintaining solutions to business problems.

We will, and can, do this because we have and keep the very best employees in providing technology services and solutions.

We believe that if we take care of our customers and we take care of our employees, the rest will take care of itself.

Finance & Accounting

Hardware:

All F & A systems are run “In-House” off dedicated (for security reasons) servers and thin client desktops…again, as a security precaution…no file storage or retention on desktops.

Security:

· All applications/systems are password protected to maximum industry recommended standards.

· All F & A personnel undergo a comprehensive background check prior to hire…education, prior employment, police, credit and citizenship.

· Attendance logs (automated) are maintained on each F & A staff member and all other personnel authorized access to any part of the F&A Systems

· Access and transaction logs are maintained for each employee and their workstation.

· No employee is permitted to work from other than their own work station.

· All cubicles in F & A must have a maximum height of not more than 36 inches.

· No personal electronic devices of any kind may be present at a work station.

· No F & A system access is granted to personnel working from an “off-site” environment.

Software Applications:

· The primary F & A application used by Smith is a National/International RDMS Enterprise Software Application containing the following modules:

General Ledger

Accounts Payable

Cash Management

Budgeting

Cost Accounting

Taxes

Payroll (Shared application with HR)

Financial Reporting

· Note that the Billing/Invoicing Module is not used. Due to the complexity of invoicing/billing — multiple contracts, variable billing rates, time and materials and “out-of-pocket” vs flat rate, etc…Smith has developed a propriety billing module with an interface to the F & A System Application.

Other F & A Systems Items of Note:

· There are no credit card sales.

· Invoicing billing is per contract…not an end of the month transaction as with most businesses.

Many of the contracts require a “set-aside” by the customer…e.g., a percentage of the invoice amount or contract amount will be retained by the customer in an interest bearing account until such time (usually 30 days after job completion) as the terms and conditions of the contract have been fully met.

Human Resources

Management Team

Legal

The Houston, Texas law firm of Gauby & Noone, L.L.C. has been the legal counsel for Smith Systems Consulting since 1996. All work performed by Gauby & Noone for the company is done on a contract, flat fee basis.

The first project undertaken by Gauby & Noone for Smith was a comprehensive legal audit of the company. Based upon the audit, the following actions were taken:

· With the input of the officers and managers, the law firm created a set of standardized contracts for the company. The contracts are reasonable and equitable to both Smith and its customers. They are written in plain language and are easily understandable to both parties. Since the creation of the standardized contracts, it is very rare that a customer will demand changes to the contract language. In those cases where a change to the contract is requested, Gauby & Noone will provide an analysis of the effects of the change within 48 hours for a set, nominal fee. The contracts are standard computer documents and any changes can be made by Smith’s administrative staff rather than using the law firm.

· Gauby & Noone worked with Smith to create training materials for the firm’s employees on the use of the standardized contracts as well as various HR issues such as sexual harassment and discrimination.

· The firm has a subscription to Gauby & Noone’s electronic newsletter which is sent out each month and contains information about legal issues relevant to Smith’s business operations.

Gauby & Noone’s cost control approach is also applied in more traditional legal areas such as litigation. For example, in 1997, Smith was sued in a Utah court. While Gauby & Noone have attorneys with extensive litigation experience, they assumed a more supportive role.

· The law firm helped Smith find a local attorney to handle the litigation and helped negotiate a reasonable hourly fee structure with a cap on both costs and fees.

· Gauby & Noone represented the employees of Smith when they were deposed which eliminated the need for the Utah attorney’s travel expenses.

· Gauby & Noone attorneys were on call during the actual trial to give advice, answer questions or e-mail needed documents, but they did not travel to Utah to “second chair” the trial.

The company has few copyright/patent issues as the majority of Smith’s work is deemed to be work for hire. Since Gauby & Noone does not specialize in these areas, if a copyright or patent issue arises, the law firm would do no more than basic research and would refer Smith Systems to an attorney specializing in intellectual property.

The legal audit included the firms accounting practices and procedures, but focused on the business law aspects of operations, not on tax law issues. Smith employs a local accounting firm and refers any tax law questions to them.

The legal audit did not find any business practices that raised ethical concerns. Smith Systems did not see a need to give employees any training in ethical issues so Gauby & Noone were not contracted to help the firm prepare training materials on ethics.

In 2001, Gauby & Noone suggested that a follow-up audit be performed and Smith Systems contracted for a review audit. A few minor changes were made to the standardized contracts and some of the training materials were updated.

Kudler Fine Foods

Disaster Recovery Risk Analysis

Riordan Manufacturing

Computer Security Situation

McBride Financial Services

– 10/12/2005 Subject: Programming Languages


Assignmen
t:

Assume Smith Systems Consulting is privately held, wants to expand operations, and is faced with three options for expansion:

 

        Going public through an IPO

        Acquiring another organization in the same industry

        Merging with another organization

1*** You compare and contrast options and make a recommendation about which strategy Smith Systems Consulting must choose. Address the following:

        Strengths of each approach

2*** Also consider the following as it relates to all three options should Smith Systems Consulting pursue an international location:

 

        Effects of globalization on financial decisions

Answer #1 & 2 in yellow highlight. Each at 150 words.

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