Traditional & Cloud-Based Technologies and Feasibility

Stakeholders are people who have an interest in a business as they are impacted by the decisions made. Stakeholders need to communicate with the business for a variety of needs and both traditional & cloud-based technologies can help to do this in different ways.

All projects need to have a feasibility study carried out before they begin to determine whether the project can actually be delivered and whether or not it will bring a benefit to the business.

In this lesson, we’ll learn about:

  1. How traditional and cloud-based technologies and services are used to communicate and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders
  2. Factors that determine digital project feasibility

1. Traditional & Cloud-Based Technologies

Using Cloud & Traditional Systems Together

Traditional technology refers to the hardware and software that we use on a daily basis. This includes laptops, desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, and more. Traditional technology is designed to be used locally, meaning you need to have a physical device to use it. For example, if you want to play a game on your PlayStation 4, you need to have the console in order to do so.

Cloud-based technology is a type of technology where your software and data are stored on a server accessed over the internet. This means that you can access your data and applications from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection. However, it does also mean you are very reliant on your internet connection. Some popular examples of cloud-based technology include Netflix, Dropbox, and Google Drive.

Cloud-based technologies have been extremely beneficial for communicating & collaborating with internal & external stakeholders of a business.

Internal stakeholders are those within the business, such as owners, managers & employees. External stakeholders are those from outside the business, such as customers, suppliers, lenders & the government.

Some of the ways cloud-based technology could be used for communication and collaboration include:

  • Video conferencing – This allows employees to communicate with each other face-to-face, regardless of their location. It could also be used to hold meetings with potential customers & suppliers to discuss sales/purchases without having to travel to a location.
  • File sharing – This allows employees to easily share files with each other, regardless of their location. This means employees can work together on the same document, even at the same time, and will always be accessing the latest document. We can also share files with external stakeholders like suppliers, such as sharing a new order form.

It’s worth noting that traditional technologies are still important for collaboration and communication. This is particularly useful when communicating confidential information with stakeholders as, generally, traditional technologies will be more secure as they don’t require transfer over the internet.

Some traditional technologies used for collaboration and communication include:

  • Telephones – traditional phone calls are still heavily used for communicating with co-workers, customers & suppliers. It is much more broadly available and understood than video conferencing.
  • Faxes – while less common now, fax is still used by many businesses for communicating with external stakeholders, such as for sending an order form to a supplier or an invoice to a customer.
  • Local network storage – organisations can distribute files internally through the company’s own file server on the local network. This will be more secure than cloud-based storage technologies.

Further Thought

Have you used a cloud-based system to work with your classmates on a document at the same time in your school or college? How did you set up access?

2. Determining Digital Project Feasibility

Before implementing a digital project, a business must determine if the project is feasible. “Feasible” means that the project is achievable within the time and budget available, using the resources available.

Benefits and Drawbacks

When looking at building a new system, the overall benefit to the business must be assessed. There is no point in spending time and money implementing a new IT system if it doesn’t make things better for the business or its employees.

Benefits of the system could include:

  • It allows employees to carry out their jobs faster.
  • The software is easier to use.
  • The system is faster and more reliable.
  • The system is up to date with modern Security protocols and software versions.
  • It has a greater range of functionality.
  • It will help make the organisation make more money.

Drawbacks of the system could include:

  • It may be expensive to implement.
  • Staff need to be trained on how to use the system.
  • Staff may take a long time to understand how to use the system effectively.
  • Staff may be reluctant to use the new system.
  • The system might not work perfectly at the first attempt.
  • The software might have errors that need fixing.

Risks, Constraints & Dependencies

Risks are problems that may or may not occur during the project development that could cause the project to fail. Risks may include:

  • Financial – the organisation runs out of money to develop the system.
  • Technical – Your employees might encounter problems they don’t know how to solve.
  • Time – it may not be possible to complete the project by the required date.
  • Staffing – members of staff fall ill or leave the company, meaning that the project might not be finished on time.
  • Legal – the legislation around the software changes while the project is being carried out.

Constraints are problems or restrictions that you already know exist and limit what can be achieved in the digital project. Constraints may include:

  • Financial – there is only a fixed amount of money available for the project
  • Technical – staff members must have the skills to build and implement the system, or new staff members need to be hired.
  • Time – the project has to be completed by a certain date
  • Staffing – you don’t have enough staff members to complete the project
  • Legal – the system must conform to all existing IT Legislation.

Dependencies are where one task or activity has a relationship to another, i.e. one task may not start until a previous activity has been completed. Dependencies may belong to one of the following four categories:

  • Mandatory – this is when one activity cannot be started until another has been completed, e.g. the project cannot begin until the team members are ready to begin working on it.
  • Discretionary – this is where the order of activities has a preferred sequence, but the order is not fixed and can be changed if the need arises, e.g. the team decides to work on the user interface before building a database.
  • External – the project relies on activities outside the project, e.g. the project cannot begin until it has been approved by stakeholders.
  • Internal – these are activities within the project that rely on each other, e.g. the software cannot be installed until the hardware has been purchased and configured.

Further Thought

Imagine you have been asked to build a Python program for a client. Would your current knowledge level be a risk, a constraint or both? Why is this?

Lesson Summary

So, to summarise what we’ve learnt in this lesson:

  • Traditional technology refers to the hardware and software that we use on a daily basis. This includes laptops, desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, and more.
  • Cloud-based technology is a type of technology where your software and data are stored on a server accessed over the internet.
  • Some of the ways we use cloud-based technology to communicate with stakeholders are video conferencing and filesharing.
  • Some of the ways we use traditional technology to communicate with stakeholders are telephone, fax & local network storage.
  • A system can have benefits to an organisation by allowing employees to do their job faster, being easier to use and being more reliable and up-to-date.
  • The system could have drawbacks, including errors, being more difficult to use, being expensive and having employees reluctant to use the software.
  • A risk is a problem that may or may not happen. Risks could be financial, technical, time-based, staffing or legal.
  • A constraint is a problem that you are aware of before a project starts that could have an impact on the success of the project. Constraints include financial, time, knowledge, and legal.
  • A dependency is where one activity needs to be completed before another begins. There are four kinds of dependencies: mandatory, discretionary, internal and external.