Apartment Manager Spreadsheet - DOC

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					                       Apartment Finder
                        Business Case



Project Name: Apartment Finder


Project Manager: Toya Burton, Vicky Brookshire, & Talal
Alarja


Project Sponsor: Dr. Pamela Dembla




This business case was prepared for educational purposes for Pamela Dembla of Kennesaw
State University (2008).


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                                                            Table of Contents

1. DEFINITION OF PROJECT: .................................................................................................................................... 3
1.1.     Description of Problem ................................................................................................ 3
1.2.     Brief Description of Project .......................................................................................... 4
1.3.     Project Objectives ....................................................................................................... 4
1.4.     Project Scope .............................................................................................................. 5
2. ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS .................................................................................................................................. 7

3. ALTERNATIVE <A>.................................................................................................................................................. 7
3.1.     Description .................................................................................................................. 7
3.2.     Impact Analysis ........................................................................................................... 7
3.3.     Project Costs (including first year of Support) ............................................................. 7
3.4.     Quantifiable Benefits ................................................................................................... 8
3.5.     Non-Quantifiable Benefits ........................................................................................... 8
3.6.     Risk Analysis ............................................................................................................... 8
3.7.     Investment Return Period (Payback ) and Withholding Tax Calculation ..................... 9
3.8.     Implications / Implementation Flow ............................................................................. 9
4. ALTERNATIVE <B> ................................................................................................................................................... 9
4.1. Description ................................................................................................................... 9
4.2. Impact Analysis ............................................................................................................ 9
4.3. Current Costs ............................................................................................................. 10
5. RECOMMENDATIONS- .…………...………………………………………………………...........................10




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1. Definition of Project:


1.1 Description of Problem

Currently Brookshire Heights is one of the most recommended apartment rental
companies for relocation to Atlanta and the surrounding area. They have a basic
company website, but the only functionality it has is to showcase the three locations of
the complexes. Looking for an apartment at Brookshire Heights entails visiting one of
the three complexes that Brookshire Heights operates around the city. Sometimes
customers don’t find what they want at one complex and have to take the time and effort
to visit another of the Brookshire Heights complexes to see what is available, when it is
available, and what the rental cost is. There is also no way at this point to keep up with
the information acquired at any one of the complexes for future reference or decision
making purposes.

The current situation, without integration of this tool, keeps customers from finding
useful information to aid in their apartment hunt, generating customer frustration, and
therefore impacting the growth and success of Brookshire Heights apartment rentals.

User difficulties may be listed in the following order:

      No current system implementation
       The application is not implemented and with the current influx of customers
       hitting the web site, customer frustration will increase due to lack of helpful
       information available.

      Support from other systems
       Our system is designed to mesh seamlessly with the existing on-line platform in
       terms of appearance and functionality. There is currently not a developed
       system like Apartment Finder to offer detailed information from each of the
       complexes.

      System Performance
       Given the high volume of hits to the web site and lack of information available,
       the stickiness factor of keeping interested clients at the site is non existent. There
       is no system currently implemented that provides any service to the client.

      Meeting Developmental Demand
       Due to the high need for the development of this type of system, approximately
       50% of revenue is lost due to frustration on the client’s part in not having a tool
       that allows the customer to access rental information from each of the three
       complexes available, resulting in loss of the customer to a different rental
       company.



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Given this situation, it becomes quite evident that there is a loss of system functionality
to provide routine services, which wastes time and leads to a loss in revenue.



1.2 Brief Description of Project

In order to help customers locate an apartment at any of the three complexes that
Brookshire Heights operates, an Apartment Finder system is needed.

This system will mesh seamlessly with the web-based interface that Brookshire Heights
already employs and can be started by choosing the Apartment Finder link on the main
page.

When chosen, Apartment Finder will let the user look for an apartment by location first.
Once the location (or complex) is chosen, the user can then search for available
apartments by amenities, number of bedrooms, or price range.

The integration of information from the three separate complexes will save valuable time
by letting the user search all apartments available at once. Included in the application
will be a “print” function so the user can take the search results with them when they go
to a complex, therefore simplifying the apartment viewing process.

Included in the application will be a link for the customer to contact the manager of any
of the complexes. Also in the planning stages is the possible implementation of a form
for the user to input their credit information to send to the manager of a complex for
credit pre-approval.



1.3 Project Objectives




Overall Project Objectives             Strategic Objective
To create a system for a customer      To develop a system to hold a dynamic renter
to conduct a search of available       database that allows for the search and query
apartments for rent in the three       of data to facilitate the renting of apartments
different complexes available to       and generate more revenue.
them.




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Project Objectives          Business Strategies        KPI            Target
To implement a system       To ensure that customer    Increase in    50% increase
to allow a customer to      knowledge and satisfaction revenue        within 2 years
search for available        is increased, resulting in
rentals, print the          more apartment rentals
results, and send pre-      and higher revenue.
credit information to the
manager.



Technical Objectives of        Business Strategies      KPI           Target
Project
One site searching for all     Maximization of use of   System’s      Achieve 90+%
available apartment            new Learning             end-user      good &
information allowing:          techniques.              Evaluation    excellent
1. Better performance                                                 evaluation
2. A user-friendly front end
based off the main site
3. Accuracy of information


1.4 Project Scope

The purpose of this project is to provide the end-user with an application to search up-
to-date information on apartment availability, allowing them to choose from a “What do
you want to do” type menu, such as printing their search results or sending their credit
information to the manager. This tool is designed to promote optimal customer
satisfaction and reduce customer frustration.


Common Technical Skills – This system requires the basic computer understanding
and standard technology support to utilize this tool.

Characteristics our system implements:
   Apartment Finder option on site main page
   Which Location – provides option to search a specific complex
   Options to Search- finds available apartments by user specified criteria
   What do you Want to Do menu- Let’s the user decide what function to perform

Online Integration – Based off current online system layout and configuration for
seamless integration with the current platform. This will help to keep a consistent theme
with the main web site and maximize customer usability, reducing user confusion and
frustration.




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System Front-End – Use of Visual Basic to develop a front end application interfacing
with a backend database.

System Back-End – Its main purpose is to act as a database for system administrators
to enter apartment updates or modifications to the platform.

Other possible project functions
    FAQ page (Frequently Asked Questions)
    Renter’s Tips page



 Processes        Changes after implementation                Areas            Systems
 involved                                                     involved         affected
 1. Online        -Located on main company site web page All Company           IT Department
 implementation   will be a button to start the Apartment     areas.
 of Apartment     Finder Application.
 Finder           -Next will be a prompt for which location
                  to search for
                  -The user will then be given a choice as
                  to choose which type of search criteria to
                  search with
                  -The user will then submit criteria and get
                  results
                  -The user may choose to print results or
                  contact a manger, or access any
                  informational pages

 2. IT            -The technical support and monitoring will All areas         IT Department
 Department       be added to the current department.
 Development      Employees will be designated to monitor
                  and maintain the system

 3. Training and -Current employees will be trained on        All areas.       IT, HR
 Development     how to maintain new system and how to
                 update database.




Business requirements not met by this project:

      Apartment Finder does not perform any type of credit calculations
      Does not provide a user input interface. All inputs and choices given to the user
       are decided by Apartment Finder



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Company units benefited: All business units.


2. Alternative Solutions


In an attempt to find the best technological and business solution for the current lack of
a system informational database and search function, alternatives are presented as
specified below:

a) Implementing Apartment Finder System
b) Keeping the current situation unchanged



3. Alternative <A>


3.1 Description

The Apartment Finder, an integrated online system, will help clients search a central
database for available apartments from each of the complexes of Brookshire Heights.
This system will allow users to conduct a criterion chosen search, print the results, and
input credit information to send to a manager for early credit pre-approval. This system
will lesson user frustration and help to facilitate more rental agreements, generating
more revenue.

This alternative will be made up of the systems described under 1.4 Project Scope.


3.2 Impact Analysis

3.2.1. Business Aspects

The main advantage to the Apartment Finder system is that it can easily be
incorporated into the existing on line platform, eliminating the need for additional
contracted labor to implement or maintain the system. Even though additional
employee training will be needed to set up and maintain the database, the projected
increase in revenue far outweighs the training costs.


3.3 Project Costs



                                                                                             7
Resources        Month1         Month2            Month3
In-House           $10000            $10000          $10000
Personnel
Contracted            0                 0                0
Personnel
Hardware           $30,000              0                0
Base               $15,000              0                0
Software
Staff Training      $5000            $5000              $5000
NOTE: Initial Development costs only.




3.4 Quantifiable Benefits

The Apartment Finder will cause an increase in productivity with the current employees,
resulting in increased revenues. The system’s easy integration with the current online
platform will also result in a savings of adding and training personnel to maintain the
system.


       Benefits             MONTH 1         MONTH 2      MONTH 3
Increased revenues          5% total        15% total    30% total
Savings– Added              $15000          $15000       $15000
employees
Savings in Training         $10000          $10000       $10000




3.5 Non-Quantifiable Benefits

Benefits of this kind may be classified as follows:

      Seamless system integration
      Clients and staff self-development
      Easier and quicker access to available resources
      Manager and employee time savings, and higher overall efficiency
      User able to manage their own search progress


3.6 Risk Analysis

Refer to Risk Analysis spreadsheet.


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3.7 Investment Return Period (Payback) and Withholding Tax
Calculation

The Payback was calculated using the NPV formula for a three month period.
NPV: $60,000.


3.8 Implementation Flow

The system will be divided into two major parts:

       Front End System – the graphical interface that will be present on the
        company’s existing main page.


       Back End System – the actual databases where apartment data is collected and
        stored. This system directly interacts with the front-end system interface.



4. Alternative <B>


4.1 Description

Should the current situation remain unchanged, the lack of new system integration will
incur the following drawbacks:

       Frustration - on not being able to gather information efficiently.
       Loss of Revenue – customers going somewhere else, due to the fact of an
        easier interface and better information retrieval.
       Cost of Employees – needed to handle customers personally because cannot
        readily get the information they need.



4.2 Impact Analysis

4.2.1. Basic Aspects
If the current situation remains unchanged, lack of tool integration and productivity
reduction will continue. And as the volume of information increases, the problem will
grow worse.




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4.2.2. Business Aspects
To leave the situation as it is would be inefficient and cause a reduction in revenue. In
order to avoid this, a tool that organizes and centralizes user information and helps to
facilitate rentals is necessary.



4.3. Current Costs


Resources         Month 1         Month 2       Month 3
In-House          $20,000         $20,000         $20,000
Personnel
Contracted            0              0               0
Personnel
Hardware              0              0               0
Software              0              0               0
Support               0              0               0
Others                0              0               0

Below is the rationale for the current costs:

Employee Wages – Extra Personnel                    $60,000
       Total                                        $60,000




4.4. Current Costs

Non-quantifiable costs of the current platform and its systems are specified as:


      Low Productivity
      No encouragement of Self-Development
      Difficulty in monitoring skill development and assessing performance
      Underutilization of current equipment
      No quick access to important information
      Loss of efficiency


5. Recommendations
If business and technical objectives are taken into account, alternative <A> proves to be
the one which best meets our needs. We therefore recommend its adoption.




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ficiency


5. Recommendations
If business and technical objectives are taken into account, alternative <A> proves to be
the one which best meets our needs. We therefore recommend its adoption.




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