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Chapter XII. The Evolution of Technology... > Systems Development Life Cycle at Da...

Systems Development Life Cycle at Dakin Farms

Phase 1: Systems Initiation and Investigation

With the company growing in the mail order business, its success demanded the implementation of an efficient method for generating and processing mail orders. The Rolodex file system required manual input and maintenance, which made it very inefficient. The manual storage and processing of customer orders also slowed the process substantially, leading to errors and delays. Sam negotiated with a developer, and acquired a mail order software package for Dakin Farms. Sam purchased a used Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) PDP 11/73 minicomputer with four dumb terminals for U.S. $3,000 in 1983. The software was supposed to be an on-line order-entry system that would allow the Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) to service their customers with the required information while they were on the phone. The system was sluggish, littered with bugs, and could not respond fast enough for people who were trying to order over the phone.

Sam hired a programmer to modify the software by dropping a few modules and rewriting others. Eventually it looked like the original software package that was purchased. Rather than being on-line, the mail orders were processed manually on paper, and then entered in batches into the computer. The system was inefficient, but marginally sufficient for the volume of business that Dakin was doing in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These problems seriously affected the sales and profits of Dakin Farms. Sam Cutting commented:


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