Summary of the Assignment:
Task: In this assignment, you will write a short report to the owner of a company to which you
Have just been hired.
• Length: 1200-1500 words, single-spaced
• Graphics: You must integrate at least one graphic
• Sources: You will integrate at least three sources into the report.
The Situation and Your Role In It
You have been hired for the Customer Service Manager position at Forrest Lawn Services, A Landscaping company.
Forrest Lawn maintains a robust business in landscaping both residential and business properties. The company has many clients in the local DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) area.
The landscaping staff that services residential and business properties comprise 75 individuals.
In addition, the company has several staff working in its office in Landover, Maryland. Included among these office staff members is the IT Department, which consists of 10 employees.
The company’s growth has led to some problems that concern you as a new employee. Writing Assignment 4 Report to Your Supervisor
The History of Forrest Lawn Services
The company’s history will help explain the problems Forrest Lawn has now.
Forrest Lawn started in 2010 as a small outfit owned and operated by Richard Smith. Richard grew up in Prince George’s County, Maryland. He graduated from high school and took a few courses at a local community college. He never graduated from the community college but, after completing 18 credits, decided to leave school to start a landscaping business. WA4 WRTG 393 Assignment 4 Report to Your Supervisor.
Richard started off the business with one truck, three lawnmowers, and a few helpers. He operated the business out of his house. Eventually, as the number of clients grew, so did the number of trucks, lawnmowers, and equipment. He added new employees to assist with the landscaping.
Richard eventually leased office space in Landover to have a more professional and scalable base from which to operate the company. In addition, as the company grew and its office staff grew, so did the technology and IT needs. WA4 WRTG 393 Assignment 4 Report to Your Supervisor.
For the IT needs of the company, Richard took several steps. He hired a web developer, Sandra
Davidson, to develop a website for Forrest Lawn. Sandra used WordPress as the platform. Richard later hired Jack Johnson to develop and maintain a database of customers, past and present. The database includes personal information on the customers, such as physical addresses, email addresses, and, for some, credit card information.
Eventually, Richard hired a few more IT employees. They all persuaded Richard to put the company’s database on the cloud instead of purchasing an expensive server to maintain in the office. Richard agreed. The company then contracted with CloudCorps, a local cloud company.
The IT Department grew as the company grew. Marsha Nolton was later hired. She maintains the company blog on WordPress but with a different account from the website. The blog is an effective marketing tool. It provides weekly updates on services, deals, and other information on the company. In addition, other functions began to involve IT. Jared Stone was hired to run payroll for Forrest Lawn. With Jared’s input, the payroll information was put on the cloud. CloudCorps maintains all payroll information on its servers. WA4 WRTG 393 Assignment 4 Report to Your Supervisor.
Problems That Have Developed
Richard, in hiring the IT staff and organizing the department, was not privy to best practices in security in the area of IT. As a result, some problems have developed.
For example, only Jack has access to the database of past and present clients. Jack logs into the system with an ID and password that CloudCorps has provided him. This is not an ideal situation. If Jack were to experience a medical emergency and become unavailable for some time, no one else at Forrest Lawn Services would have access to the database. If Jack were to leave the company, no one else at Forrest Lawn Services would be able to perform his duties. In addition, CloudCorps has a company policy forbidding it to provide login or password information to anyone other than approved individuals.
The only approved individual now is Jack. Moreover, Sandra maintains the website through WordPress. She uses her personal email and password to log into the system. But she is the only individual in the office with access to or who can update anything on the website. Again, if anything were to happen to Sandra, Forrest Lawn would be stuck. No one else in the company can update its website.
Marsha manages the company’s blog, also on WordPress. The blog is an excellent marketing tool, with weekly updates on services, deals, and other information on the company posted weekly. However, Marsha is the sole maintainer of the blog. No one else at Forrest Lawn has access to the blog to update it.
Jared runs payroll. Like the others, he is the only individual with access to the payroll records.
Because the records are also on CloudCorps, if something were to happen to Jack, no options are
Available for anyone else in the company to access the payroll records.
Overall, Forrest Lawn grew at a rapid pace. Richard Smith applied excellent management skills in growing the landscaping business. However, Richard needs help establishing responsible IT personnel policies for the company. Richard has no background in this area. Richard is not aware of the problem the current arrangement poses. WA4 WRTG 393 Assignment 4 Report to Your Supervisor.
Your Concern About the Situation
As a new hire at Forrest Lawn, you have observed this situation and are concerned. The current arrangement leaves the company in a very vulnerable situation if one of these individuals experiences a medical emergency or has to leave the company for any reason.
In addition, the current arrangement poses a cybersecurity danger to the company. Individuals dissatisfied with the company or disgruntled can take advantage of Forrest Lawn and significantly damage the IT function the individual controls. WA4 WRTG 393 Assignment 4 Report to Your Supervisor.
For example, personal data on customers reside with CloudCorps’ servers, which only Jack Johnson can access. Suppose Jack were to develop a toxic relationship with the company. In that case, Jack could use his exclusive access to customer records and wreak havoc with them, possibly manipulating the company with his control or compromising the customers’ privacy. Forrest Lawn, not Jack, would be liable in such a situation.
As Manager for Customer Service, you realize that many potential problems that could arise at Forrest Lawn will impact your area. Customers will not have records updated, will not be billed on time, will not receive blog updates, and will be impacted in other ways if any of the situations described above occur. Moreover, if customers’ records are compromised, you will have a customer service crisis.
You are to write a short report to Richard Smith, the owner, and point out the problem with the current personnel policies at Forrest Lawn. You also want to suggest some basic steps the company takes to address the situation before a problem arises.
Some concepts and strategies you might want to point out to Richard include the following:
• separation of duties
• mandatory vacations
• job rotation policies
• agreements with vendors, including password and other login information
• IT confidentiality agreements
Your report will
- be 1200-1500 words in length.
• incorporate at least three references.
•Integrate more than three references if you would like.
• Cite and list them in APA 7th edition style.
• include at least one graphic. The graphic should demonstrate either the current personnel arrangement (and the problems it poses), your proposed personnel arrangement (and how it addresses the current Problems), or both. Of course, if you would like to include more than one graphic, you may do so.
You will need to apply the following Golden Rules of Technical Communication:
- Rule #1: Paper is Permanent. Ensure your word forms are accurate and correct grammar and mechanics. In addition to Richard, others in the company might see your memo. It is not only Richard who might judge your message based on the quality of your writing.
- Rule #2: Know your Audience.
Keep in mind that you are writing to Richard Smith. He is your primary audience. He is neither an IT expert nor a human resources professional. In addition, consider his education level and lack of acumen for IT-related matters.
Note that Richard is your boss. You are writing to a superior about a problem that he does not realize is a problem.
•Understand that, while Richard is your primary audience, other IT team members are secondary audiences. They might see your memo eventually.
Consider their level of education. Some of them have bachelor’s or master’s degrees. Don’t offend them. You don’t want to write anything that would cause a problem between you and IT department members if they see your memo.
- Rule #4: Break It Out. Instead of writing long, thick, dense paragraphs, you want to write readable text.
•Bullet information in places if necessary
• Write short, crisp sentences that are readable.
•Write short paragraphs rather than long ones, as you deem necessary.
Use your judgment about how to break out your text as you consider the rhetorical situation.
- Rule #7: Signpost. Use headings to help Richard navigate your document. Provide a table of contents to help Richard see your report’s different sections and help him find them easily.
- Rule #9: Contemplate Before You Illustrate. As you construct your graphic, ensure it adds to your document and does not simply dress up the document. Consider how best to illustrate the current problem or the possible solution with your graphic(s).
- Rule #10. Cut the Fluff. Richard is a busy business owner. He is not expecting your report. He has not budgeted time in his schedule to read it. You will need to communicate the current problem and suggest an alternative to it without getting wordy or including information that is not helpful to your purpose. How the Report Should Be Organized
Your short report will have the following sections:
- Memo (written to Richard Smith) – no more than 150 words
• Executive Summary – no more than 250 words
• Table of Contents
• The Problem
• Suggested Solution
• Conclusion – no more than 200 words
The bulk of the report will be The Problem and Suggested Solution. These two sections should compose half or more of the report’s length.
Your instructor will notify you of the due date. You will write the first draft, your instructor will comment on the first draft, and you will submit a second draft using the comments as your guide
WA4 WRTG 393 Assignment 4 Report to Your Supervisor Sample Solution
To: Richard Smith (Owner)
From: your name (Manager for the Customer Service)
Subject: Need for Change in the Personnel Policies
I am writing to bring to attention the problems that I have noted in the IT department that make the company very vulnerable.
Due to the company’s fast growth, some changes need to accompany the expansion. I haven’t been in the company for too long, but while accessing the factors that will lead to the success of the responsibilities assigned to me, I want to request some changes in the IT department. This department presents most of the vulnerabilities in the company. I have noted that only a few employees are employed in this department, and each of them holds an exclusive role in the company without a substitute who can intervene if there is something wrong. I request to add more personnel to this area in case of any eventualities while working. And also come up with policies to ensure the company is secure and not at any risk.
Going through the company’s history, I have noted the super growth of Forest Lawn under your proper managerial skills. In this growth, some changes and adjustments are required for the company to be secured and continue expanding. I am writing this to inform you of the various problems that I have identified in the IT department which may have very adverse effects on the company and will hinder some of my roles as the Manager for customer service.
The IT department has personalized roles in which each employee handles a sole responsibility without having someone to help or a substitute. The current arrangement of the department is productive, but there is no caution, prompting the company to be highly vulnerable. This company needs there to be a separation of duties, have the employees take mandatory vacations, and there should have a job rotation policy, an agreement should be drawn with vendors, and also there should have an IT confidentiality agreement.
All these factors will help secure and ensure the company’s productivity and growth moves faster than in the past.
Problems and Solutions
Looking into the department, every person has a single job to do without the help of another. Each of the individuals has the sole responsibility of the tasks assigned to do in the company. There is no segregation of duties. This poses a considerable threat to the company, such as fraud, sabotage, theft, and misuse of information. This may come from employees not being transparent in their dealings or a work of malice or spite. Also, mistakes may be made unintentionally, but since only a person is responsible for the task, it will be hard to note and rectify the issue. Having more than one person will reduce the risk.
The suggested solution
No employee should be given ultimate privileges to use a system independently. Segregation of duties is a bit costly, but it’s needed as it will ensure that there is oversight and review to catch errors, and also it will help prevent fraud or theft because there will be more than one employee to oversee the tasks (Kobelsky, 2014).
Ensuring the use of the company’s emails in all dealings and the company’s policies will ensure continuity even when Sandra is not available. This will ensure there is no halt in the business. Also, it will ensure that other people apart from Sandra can maintain and manage the Website in case of her absence.
The IT department employees, given that they have exclusive roles in the company means that they cannot go for any vacations as every time they are required to be at work. Working with no respite makes the employees not have the motivation and the desire to work. This also may be affecting their productivity at work.
Applying a mandatory vacation policy to the employees to rest and relax and then return to work feeling more rejuvenated (Mansfield, 2019). This will keep the workers from having burnout and promote work-life balance by allowing the workers to be more social outside the work area. Additionally, it will help the productivity of the employees.
Having exclusive roles on some of the company’s data without privacy agreements it’s an excellent risk for the company. For example, Jack is the only employee who has access to clients’ details, including their data. On the occasion that an employee may develop a bad relationship with the company or leave out of selfish motives may destroy the excellent customer relationship with the company.
You should hire a company lawyer who will draw up legal agreements which will insist on the confidentiality of the company’s data. Employees should agree not to disclose any information belonging to the customers, the business, and services of the company to which they know unless otherwise authorized (Maguire et al., 2018).
A general solution
There should be an overall manager who will be overseeing all the activities of the IT department. This manager will be in charge of authorizing the privier company data and ensuring that the final tasks are up to the company’s quality standards. The other exclusive roles should be divided into subsects which will also need more employees to help the subheads.
Looking at all problems they stem from not having the separation of duties in it department. If the solutions to these problems can be applied it will help the other departments to run smoothly. I looked at these organizational weaknesses because they affect my department and their failure will mean that I cannot be able to deliver on the tasks assigned to me. Also, there will be crises that I will not be able to solve if these problems are not solved on time.
Kobelsky, K. W. (2014). A conceptual model for segregation of duties: Integrating theory and practice for manual and IT-supported processes. International Journal of Accounting Information Systems, 15(4), 304-322.
Mansfield, A. (2019). Mandatory Paid Vacation and Mental Health Leave for All Employees: Better for the Economy, Employers and Employees. U. Balt. LF, 50, 12
|Maguire, J., Draper, S., & Cutts, Q. (2018). Assessing the Unseen: Roles of Confidentiality and Trust in Software Engineering Work-based Learning Programmes [Poster].|