The ability to track the daily production of each cow allows members of the Cooperative Societies of Dairy Producers of Rosario Area Ltd. in Argentina, to sell them at a better price, since the production of their offspring can be guaranteed and supported with many years of information about their ancestors.
Though all computerization projects have a start and an end date, computerization itself, once started, is a project that transforms and improves all the time as requirements, people and technology change. This is called project evolution.
Numerous studies of the impact of computerization have shown that computerization produces two major impacts:
one is felt immediately, which is that processes are expedited or manual procedures are economized.
the second, often more important, occurs several years later. This happens as enterprises learn to organize themselves better, and so become more competitive and make new investments that are enabled by computerization.
Exactly how the project evolves will depend on many factors: you might decide to change the technology or modify the procedures, or maybe expand the system to other areas, or add more services.
Training should be an ongoing process: Technology changes all the time. Continual training will help to keep staff satisfied and reduce their fears of displacement. Businesses that learn how to cope with change and manage it tend to be successful in competitive markets. Those that refuse to change usually fail. This means that the cooperative's training plan should set short-term, midterm, end-of-project, and post-project training objectives.
Upgrading hardware: The expected life of a computer is from 24 to 48 months. Computer technology advances so fast that it is recommended to make some upgrade (improvement) in the equipment at least once a year. As the project evolves, you can buy new faster computers for those persons that will do computing-intense tasks such as reports, graphs, and leave slower computers for others working on accounting, reporting or data entry.
Updating software: The software application will also need to change over time. If you have developed your own software, the most organized way to update the application is to keep a list of desirable changes, cataloguing them into: (1) errors (called bugs) that affect the use of the software and require immediate fix; (2) small corrections that have minimum effect on the system; and (3) desirable changes that add services or improve existing features.
Internet Access: A modern computerization project cannot be sustained if the cooperative does not have reliable Internet access. All software, hardware driver and firmware fixes are delivered through the Internet. An implementation will quickly run into overwhelming system problems without Internet availability.
Sustainability: You have to make sure that there are skilled resources and enough funding available to sustain the project over time. You will need funds to pay for human resources, software, electricity, computer repairs and upgrades. You must try to assess to the maximum extent possible the human and financial resources to maintain the continued operation of a computer project. Since available cooperative funding may vary year to year depending on performance, you are encouraged to take the necessary precautions to build a fund to maintain and replace equipment.
Replication: If you believe your software might be useful to other organizations, you might want to consider selling, renting or sharing the cost of updating the software with them.
Many cooperatives have set up a Web site giving information about their history, business and products. A Web site is easy to install and cheap to design and maintain, giving global visibility on the Internet.