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Running head: INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INVENTORY 1

Information Technology Inventory System (I.T.I.S)

Capstone Proposal

Cody Dill & Jared Hubbard

California State University Monterey Bay


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Executive Summary

The Information Technology System Inventory is a simple concept that will relieve stress
from the information technology departments that do not have a proper inventory system. The
goals for this project are to allow colleges and small businesses access to an inventory web
application. It will allow users to insert their own data and use to report functionality to see the
equipment. Our primary target is a local community college that we have been in contact with.
They have given us the data to build this project.
The purpose of this project is to upgrade a community colleges inventory system. They
are currently using an excel spreadsheet to process their inventory, but it has flaws. It does not
always have the most current data after equipment gets replaced, and people forget to update the
spreadsheet. A few complaints about the spreadsheet is that some of the technicians have copied
the original and only update theirs. Therefore, the inventory spreadsheet is not always up to date.
This project will eliminate the issues of multiple copies of a spreadsheet by giving everyone
access to this website. The technicians will be able to update the inventory wherever they are
located on campus.
This project will mainly be affecting the information technology department since they
will need to understand how to operate the website. However, it will be designed so that it is
straight forward and user-friendly. The only training that will be needed is how to use the
administrator features on the database side. Once the techs feel comfortable using the website it
will be very beneficial when it comes to ordering new equipment and determining when
classrooms need an upgrade.
The outcome of this project is to assist the information technology department with its
inventory process. It should help reduce the costs of having to pay techs overtime to redo the
inventory every year since they will be able to update it throughout the year without any issues.
Also, it will aid the supervisor to plan projects throughout the year based upon the age of
equipment in the classrooms. During the test period of this application, we will be able to get
feedback on the project and create additional features to benefit the college even more.
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Table of Contents

Part I

Introduction 5

Project Goals and Objectives 6

Environmental Scan/Literature Review 7

Stakeholders and Community 8

Approach/Methodology 9

Part II

Ethical Considerations 10

Underprivileged Groups 11

Short Term and Long-Term Danger 11

Mitigating Ethical Concerns 12

Legal Considerations 13

Copyright Act 13

Domain Name 13

Trademark Concerns 14

Linking and Framing 14

Part III

Project Scope 14

Timeline/Budget 15

Resources Needed 15

Milestones 15
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Risks and Dependencies 16

Final Deliverables 17

Usability Test/Evaluation 18

Team Members 18

Division of Labor 20

References 21

Appendix 22
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Introduction

Our project is called Information Technology Inventory System or I.T.I.S. for short. The

idea behind this project is to develop a web application for a community college whose current

inventory system needs an upgrade. Due to limited funds, old methods of processing inventory

are still in place. This includes using standard spreadsheets with multiple sheets across various

department computers. Our web application looks to improve the functionality of their current

inventory process and ultimately reduce costs.

Our client is the Allan Hancock College Information Technology department, and we will

be upgrading their inventory process to make them more agile. Our application will allow the

department to better project when equipment is reaching its end of life and new components can

be ordered prior to failing. It will also allow the technicians a place to update in real time when

maintenance has been performed on equipment. In addition, it will also assist with alerting which

classrooms need upgraded equipment.

The main reason for this project is to reduce issues associated with the manual entry and

multiple copies of the inventory system. Since everything is currently inventoried manually, it

does not all get updated to the excel spreadsheet in a timely manner. Therefore, when equipment

is needed to keep the classrooms functioning it is not always ordered on time. This application will

help eliminate that problem and keep the classrooms at the campus always functioning correctly.

It will also give the supervisor the tools needed to project the number of computers that need to be

upgraded that year and determine how many can get upgraded with the current funds available.

Since I (Cody) currently work at this establishment, I am seeing these issues happen in real time

and have been trying to stay on top of it. However, with the old ways of performing the inventory,

there is no way to be efficient with staying on top of the equipment on campus. Due to the campus
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being large in size, it is quite difficult and time-consuming to have accurate data all the time. The

end goal of our application is to keep the data current and give the IT manager a better advantage

for allocating device funds.

Project Goals and Objectives

The website that we are going to be creating has the potential to grow as the need is

required. For the time being, this project is simply focused on upgrading the college’s current

inventory system for their equipment. The features that we will be developing will aid in keeping

classrooms in operation by performing preventative maintenance on classrooms with older

equipment and projecting when upgrades are needed. Additional features to this project will

allow the technicians to display reports based upon certain types of equipment to focus their

attention on rooms that need upgrades. The goals that are in place are providing cost savings,

determine equipment refresh dates, project when classroom equipment is inadequate, and allow

technicians the ability to insert new data as they perform maintenance. These goals will allow the

information technology department to run more efficiently and effectively by being able to see

the data in real time.

The objectives in place to help achieve the lists of goals are essential for the overall

project. The first goal that is listed is the cost savings plan this is going to happen because of two

objectives. One of those objectives is to reduce additional hours being paid to perform inventory

updates. With the application, it will have all current data and will be able to be accessed

anywhere on campus. Thus, when technicians are performing maintenance or replacing

equipment, they are able to update the inventory in the same location. This will assist with

keeping the data as up to date as possible and remove the chances of forgetting to update the

inventory. Another objective is better project planning and having a better inventory of backup
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equipment. In some instances where classroom equipment has failed, it has left that class

unusable. Equipment still had to be ordered and additional costs were incurred due to a quicker

shipping method. Whereas if the I.T.I.S. was in place, this could be prevented because a report

would show the age of equipment and then it could be replaced before it failed. The next goal is

to determine when the equipment needs to be refreshed. The objective to reach this goal will be

the reporting system that will be developed. This will show how old the equipment is within the

rooms and based upon the life the equipment it will show if it needs to be upgraded. It will allow

the supervisor to plan classroom upgrades throughout the year. The next goal is to project when

the classroom equipment is inadequate. This includes computers, audiovisual equipment,

furniture, and document cameras. The objective to allow this goal to happen will be an additional

report that will show when the equipment was installed. It will allow classrooms to continue

working correctly because the older equipment will be replaced in a timely fashion. The last goal

is to allow the technicians access to the database and changes data to show upgrades that have

taken place. They will also to allowed to enter new information when maintenance is performed.

The objective to allow this goal to happen will be to create an administrator account that has

access to all the tables which would allow the technicians the ability to change the data.

Environmental Scan/Literature Review

The project that we are creating has been implemented in other community colleges that

have run into the same problem. When older methods are still being used with new technology

that is available today, the question gets asked: “Is there a smarter way to complete this task?”.

The answer to that question is usually yes because someone else has already developed an

application or website to make that problem easier. Many community colleges and smaller

businesses have developed a way to keep track of their IT inventory. In the case of small
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businesses, there is no reason to purchase a high-end product that keeps track of inventory

because the monthly rates would be too high. Many of these businesses decide to use an excel

spreadsheet and manually import the data. There is nothing wrong with the method of inventory

other than the fact that if it is stored on one PC then it can’t be accessed at another work station.

Therefore, a database comes in handy because the information can be turned into a web

application and the data can be presented in different reports. This could inform the business of

what items are selling better than others and if prices have been reduced or raised to see how

sales are doing. The concept is quite similar at community college IT departments because they

run into a problem where they are limited to a certain amount of funds for the year. Usually, the

funds have already been divided into certain projects based upon the age of equipment. However,

with the inventory application, it would allow the IT users the ability to predict which pieces of

equipment are getting towards the end of life and need to be replaced. Thus, it allows the

supervisor the knowledge to purchase replacement equipment prior to the old equipment failing.

Stakeholders and Community

The stakeholders in this instance will be the people that work in the IT department since

this will be a new resource for them to learn how to use. The community who will see the

effect will be faculty members and students. The effect the community will see is that the

equipment will have fewer problems and function how it normally should. This will increase

the community view of the IT department since it shows how hard they work to keep the

classroom technology working. The IT department will be taking this biggest hit with this

project because they will have to learn how to use the website. However, our intent with the

design is that it should be straight forward for people with a technical background. The only
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part that will need to be explained will be making changes to the database because data can be

deleted and not recovered.

To bring the stakeholders up to speed, a demo will be presented going over the

functionality and the potential it has as the need is required. Once the technicians in the

department are comfortable with the application it will be a smooth process and it will aid the

team with predicting when projects need to happen throughout the year. The supervisor will

find this part of the application the best because they will know how much funding needs to be

allocated for the year and when new equipment needs to be purchased. Along with the training

for the stakeholders on how the functions work on the website, we will also go in-depth with

the coding portion. This will allow them to perform maintenance on the website if need be or

add additional functionality if it suits the team. A member of the programming team will be a

part of the demonstration to assist the IT team with the programming language and concepts.

He will also aid with maintenance if the technicians are unable to figure out the issue at hand

or need another set of eyes on the application. Overall, with how the application will be

developed it will be able to run without any issues and will be able to be updated by the IT

department.

Approach/Methodology

Prior to picking this project my team member and I enjoyed a previous class assignment

that required us to create a website with a database. We both enjoyed the concept and wanted to

create something similar for our capstone. During that time, I joined the IT department at Allan

Hancock College and noticed their inventory process needed an update. However, everyone else

was content with how it was, but I saw a moment to develop a website with a database to store

the data. From that moment on I told my supervisor the plan I had and the features to benefit the
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department. From this point forward I collaborated with my teammate and we discussed how we

would develop the features and how the design should look. We were given a copy of their

current inventory on an excel spreadsheet and saw patterns that would make for a database

schema. After that, we talked about key features that need to be developed in order for the

project to be successful and efficient for the IT department. A few of those features consisted of

reports that could be viewed at a moment’s notice by pressing a button on the website. From that

report the user would be able to search the database or filter it to find a certain piece of

equipment. This would eliminate the time it would take to locate the excel document and check

to see if it is the current spreadsheet. Another feature is to assist the techs when they are

performing maintenance or replacing components in classrooms. Once they fix the issue, they

will be able to update the new equipment in the classroom or determine if the equipment that is

having issues is obsolete. If the equipment needs to be replaced or checked to see if it is under

warranty all the equipment information will be in the database. This will remove the headache of

searching for the spreadsheet for the information or manually detaching the computer from the

podium to grab the information.

Ethical Considerations

When developing this project or any project for that matter the conversation usually hits a

point where members ask if there are any ethical lines that are being crossed. The members of

the I.T.I.S. will be creating an inventory system to benefit small businesses and community

colleges by giving them the chance to move away from manual entry systems. In today’s world

everything comes with a price and sometimes those prices are not practical to the average

business or college. Therefore, this project will give those who need a platform to store their data

the chance to improve their current methods and adapt. Our targeted community college is Allan
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Hancock College where we were given data regarding their equipment that is used in the

classroom setting. Since this data is private it will not be shared as an example to other

institutions. Instead the data will be removed but the skeleton of the project will stay in place.

This will allow other institutions that decided to use this project the benefit of having all the

features we developed but will be limited to the categories we will be using. Some ethical

concerns that will be presented during the creation of this project and the maintenance afterwards

will be:

 Will the application be free to the public or will there be a service charge?

 Will there be ads on the website?

 What will be the best way to build the skeleton to allow users to make quick edits to

tailor it to their needs?

 How will we make it secure, so data doesn’t get stolen?

Along with the concerns listed above, the I.T.I.S group was determined to figure out which

underprivileged groups might be negatively impacted by our capstone project. This will affect a

few different types of groups. If a community college or small business comes across this project

and decides to take the skeleton, then they will have to understand the ruby language. This could

affect businesses that develop and maintain inventory websites because they would be losing out

on business. It might also lead the users that are less experienced to accidently delete data due to

a poor understanding as to how the application works. To help prevent mistakes from being

made and to assist those who decide to use our application, helpful notes will be created for each

page. This will give the user an understanding as to what the page does and how it effects the

website.
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The next concern we face is what will be the short term and long-term danger, social

injustice, and environmental impact for the project. A short and/or long-term danger that could

be presented is if a college or business decided to use this for private data and it was not as

secured as it should be. Information related to computers, especially the model, name, operating

system, etc. can provide hackers with enough information to exploit a system. Another long-term

danger is the possibility that a user’s application deployment becomes stagnant and the proper

Ruby patches, operating system updates, etc. are not applied. This also leaves the data vulnerable

to outside parties.

Lastly, we come across the question as to how will plan to eliminate or mitigate these ethical

concerns that have been presented. The project that we will be developing will be free to the

public once it is complete. The data that will be adding will get removed and comments will be

placed throughout the project to aid those who want to take this and make it their own. We will

not be collaborating with any companies to place ads on any of the pages. This will allow a clean

skeleton to be passed off to anyone who will benefit from this project. We will do our best to

make it secure by requiring users to create login information to allow those who are not supposed

to have access not get any. To assists users with accidently removing data from the database,

there will be an administrator account that has access to make these changes and then basic users

to view it. In order to assist those underprivileged groups that may get impacted by this capstone,

we will be providing links to great resources that were used to help understand the ruby

language. That way in case a small business or college decides to use this but doesn’t understand

the language they will know where to go to find information on it.


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Legal Considerations

When coming up with our project the legal considerations weren’t a topic we thought about,

however, as we have done research on the topic, we realized there is much to consider. After

doing research on the main points we have found that will affect our I.T.I.S project are the

following topics:

 Copyright Concerns

 Domain Name Concerns

 Trademark Concerns

 Linking and Framing Concerns

The Copyright Act grants five rights to a copyright owner and they are the right to reproduce

the copyrighted work, the right to prepare derivative works based upon the work, the right to

distribute copies of the work to the public, the right to perform the copy righted work publicly,

and the right to display the copy righted work publicly (Bolin, "BitLaw", 2018). Since copyright

act is important, we want to make sure that anything we are going to use we will create. Unless

we have permission from the original creator, we won’t be using anything that may fall into that

category.

The next concern is the domain name which consists of the selection and protection process.

Since everyone has similar ideas, names may be taken when projects get developed. Therefore,

the domain name should be protected to avoid losing the name under the InterNIC domain name

dispute policy, a domain name owner should obtain a trademark registration on their domain

name (Bolin, "BitLaw", 2018). To prevent this issue from happening with our project we will be

claiming our project name before starting the capstone.


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A trademark is a word, image, slogan, or other device designed to identify the goods or

services of a particular party. Trademark infringement occurs when one party utilizes the mark of

another in such a way as to create a likelihood of confusion, mistake and/or deception with the

consuming public (Bolin, "BitLaw", 2018). Since we will be working with the college on this

project, we will be using their logo since we received permission from the college. There will be

no other images that will be used that are not from our own creation or provided from the

college.

The next concern is linking and framing of a website. Links between pages are the raison

d’etre for the world wide web. Without widespread linking, the web as we know it would not

exist (Bolin, "BitLaw", 2018). In order to prevent this issue from happening we will make it

know as to which link goes to which page. We will have additional information that will be

linked to outside sources. In order to keep the users informed of these links they will be clearly

labeled and known to the destination it will be going to.

Project Scope
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Budget

Name Description QTY Price


Amazon AWS Platform to create project 1 Free
Heroku Post project to server 1 Free

Resources

 Amazon AWS (EC2, Cloud9)

 Database (PostgreSQL, Sqlite)

 Heroku (Free dyno)

 HTML, CSS, Bootstrap and JavaScript frameworks

 Ruby on Rails

Milestones

During the development of our project that will be many milestones as the project comes to a

close. The first mile stone that we will hit is setting up our project using Ruby with Rails. Then

adding in the views, models, and controllers. Once those files have been added it will be easy to

get the skeleton of the website created. This will be the exciting part of the project because we

will be able to see the project come alive. The next milestone we will cross is getting the data

into the database and then coming up with a design that would be good to represent the data. We

will be using bootstrap to assist with the design and allow the pages to flow. The next milestone

that we will cross is creating the user authentication. This is a big step in our project for our

client because the data needs to only be seen by the information technology department. When

the functional is working as expected we’ll create accounts for the technicians to use during our

testing period. After this is complete, we will be focusing on developing reports and metrics.

Since the techs will use this for maintenance on the equipment, we will have reports that will
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determine when equipment needs to be replaced. This should aid in projecting projects based

upon the age of equipment and allocating money needed for those upgrades. Once that is

complete our last milestone will be testing the features that have been developed and get

feedback from the client. After receiving their feedback certain changes will be made based upon

their suggestions. Then the project will be official completed.

Risk and Dependencies

With any project that is developed there is always sometime of risk that goes along with it.

This could be that the project has major bugs along the way or certain features don’t correct as

expected. Here is additional risk that we may run into.

 Time Management – Due to the number of tasks we have set up for ourselves there is

a possibility of it taking all seven weeks to be completed. However, if we keep to our

schedule throughout the weeks there will be no issues with it being finished by the

sixth week. My partner and I have set up a weekly schedule to make sure we hit each

goal we have listed out for the week.

 Migration Issue – Since we will be developing this project using Amazon AWS, we

will be able to run the server locally. This will allow us to see our progress as we

develop new features and the layout design. Once we are satisfied this the result the

project will be moved the Heroku to have the server always running. There could be

some issues with moving the project over, but we will run test prior to make sure

there are no problems when the project is complete.

 Client Requests – When the project gets passed off to the client, we are hoping they

will be satisfied with what we have developed. However, if they have additional

requests, we will be limited to what we can add due to a time constraint. We are
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planning on being in communication with the client from week three to give them a

dry run of what we have. That way they will get a general understanding of how our

application works and we will be able to see what features they want.

Final Deliverables

The final deliverable for our project will be a website developed with Ruby on Rails. It will

allow information technology departments to keep track of their inventory and project when

upgrades need to happen. With the maintenance feature it will track the data from different

sources of equipment to see how it has progressed over the semesters. This data can determine if

a piece of equipment is being over or under used. Based upon that information, equipment that is

not used as much can be replaced with lower end models to be a cost savings. Throughout all the

pages the website will have the data will be searchable to allow users to quickly find certain

equipment. Also, they will be allowed to update or remove data within the database as they view

the data. We will have user authentication before anyone is allowed into the website to assist

with removing unwanted users from using this program. Along with the features talked about

above we will also deliver:

 Import excel/csv feature

 Equipment pricing

 Equipment quick links

 Equipment metrics

 Equipment Reports

 Manual Entry into the Database

 Individual Data Selection


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All of our deliverables have been thought about to best suit an information technology

department. We are hoping these features will eliminate wasted time and allow them to become

agile. With the features listed above it will allow for accurate equipment refresh dates and have a

general understanding of the money needed to be allocated for upgrades.

Usability Testing/Evaluation

Initial Usability Testing Plan

Phase 1 (Website Testing) (See Appendix A for User View)

When developing our project, we will run our application through different web browsers

to verify it will work without any issues. The application will then be tested for the functionality

and a simplistic user interface. The features that will be tested during this part will be:

 Ability to search though the database

 Ability to manually add equipment into the database

 Ability to navigate throughout all pages of the website

 Ability to log in using user authentication

 Ability to send reports

 Ability to view equipment metrics

 Ability to view equipment prices

 Ability to access equipment quick links

 Ability to use maintenance features

 Ability to import excel/csv data


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Phase 2 (Client Testing)

The client will have full access to our application when we pass it off to them. We will be

recommending they use this platform on a desktop since it will be easier to manage. During this

time the client will test these features:

 Ability to search though the database

 Ability to manually add equipment into the database

 Ability to navigate throughout all pages of the website

 Ability to log in using user authentication

 Ability to send reports

 Ability to view equipment metrics

 Ability to view equipment prices

 Ability to access equipment quick links

 Ability to use maintenance features

 Ability to import excel/csv data

Phase 3 (Client Suggestions added and tested)

During this period, we will determine what features are realistic to add from the client’s

feedback. Based upon the amount of time we should have at this point not all recommendations

will get added. However, those additional features that do get added will be tested for

functionality and ease of use.

Team Members

Jared Hubbard

 Generate Models, Views, and Controllers.


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 Set up Database Schema.

 Develop User Authentication.

 Metrics on Dashboard

 Create backend feature for Importing Data.

 Create tests.

 Help debug new features.

Along with the tasks Jared has listed above he will also take part in code reviews every week

to update this partner. Also, he will assist with additional features the client may request when

the project gets tested by the client.

Cody Dill

 Create view layouts and features.

 Develop user interface with bootstrap.

 Create connectivity throughout the pages.

 Create useable form to allow data to be visually seen.

 Change UI based upon client feedback.

 Help debug new features.

Along with the tasks Cody has listed above he will also take part in code reviews every week

to update this partner. Also, he will assist with additional features the client may request when

the project gets tested by the client.


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Resources

Bolin, B. (n.d.). BitLaw. Retrieved April 16, 2019, from

https://www.bitlaw.com/copyright/scope.html

Bolin, B. (n.d.). BitLaw. Retrieved April 16, 2019, from

https://www.bitlaw.com/internet/webpage.html
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Appendix

Appendix A

I.T.I.S User Class Diagram